BOSTON — As of Monday, David Pastrnak had gone 44 consecutive days without appearing in a game for the Boston Bruins.
That’s more than six full weeks of watching, either from the press box or from afar on his television, as his teammates took the ice, game after game, without him.
Pastrnak returned to the ice last week, and on Monday, he joined the rest of Bruins for morning skate ahead of the team’s home matchup with the Edmonton Oilers. That means that, barring a late setback in his recovery from a fractured foot, his return to game action should come sooner rather than later.
And for a 19-year-old whose entire livelihood is centered around hockey, it can’t come soon enough.
“(Being injured) sucked most of the time,” Pastrnak said after Monday’s skate. “I called my mom. The biggest key was to get back with my brother and sisters and stuff. That’s pretty much what I did, especially the couple times when guys were on the road. A couple times (I went) to Providence to see a couple of guys. It’s hard to kill all that time, but I’m happy to be back on the ice.”
Unlike some of his older or locally raised teammates, Pastrnak has no family in North America. His mother and siblings — and his dog, Apple — still reside in his native Czech Republic, meaning the young winger spent a great deal of time alone when his injury prevented him from participating in team activities.
“Especially for guys who don’t have families and stuff, they’re here by themselves,” he said. “And when you are injured, you just think how lonely hockey is. So, it’s tough to be injured. You love the team. You’re with them every day, so it’s kind of something nobody wants to be.”
Pastrnak, who says his foot is fully healed, likely will not need to wait much longer. He will miss his 19th consecutive game Monday night, but it would not be surprising to see him back in the lineup by the end of the week.
“I was waiting for seven weeks to be with those guys on the ice,” he said. “We are here together every day. So, it’s great I could join them at practice, and hopefully it’s going to get better and better.”
Thumbnail photo via Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Images