The last thing on David Pastrnak’s mind this year was the looming contract season he faces following the Bruins’ first-round exit at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes.
“I actually haven’t given it a thought yet,” Pastrnak said. “It’s a lot of other stuff to be worrying about the whole year. So I haven’t been thinking about that at all, actually.”
Pastrnak scored a team-high 40 goals to go with 37 assists in his eighth season.
He did it while grieving the loss of his newborn son Viggo Rohl Pastrnak, who died last June, six days after being born. He went the season without discussing the matter, asking for privacy.
He acknowledged that hockey didn’t take up the same space in his mind as before.
“It went down a lot, to be honest,” he said. “It’s been a tough year overall for me. So I want to turn the page, pretty much, as quick as I can. We’re in a very much better place than we were months ago. It was tough, so we got it over and feeling better now.”
We don't see the humanity in athletes very often. It was a poignant moment when David Pastrnak fought his emotions describing how he and his girlfriend cope with their infant son passing away pic.twitter.com/MvOObXzjC2— The Camera Guys (@NBCSCameraGuys) May 16, 2022
Pastrnak embraced the role of alternate captain.
“Huge honor,” he said. “There have been some great leaders wearing those before me ... This organization obviously has a lot of history. It’s a pleasure for me and I’m very humbled about being here. They helped me as a person a lot and as a hockey player.”
Pastrnak missed 10 games this season, including eight down the stretch due to a core injury. The injury hindered him through the postseason, but he described his health overall as “fine.”
“Pretty much I played with it for three weeks and it was like a muscle injury, so it just kept tweaking the whole three weeks every day pretty much until that Columbus game that I tore it, tore the cartilage or something,” Pastrnak said. “So yeah, it was no fun. But I’m feeling all right.”
He doesn’t expect the injury to require surgery.
“Just going to be there for a while,” he said. “What I understood, probably maybe the whole summer then should be fine for next year.”
Matt Grzelcyk to have shoulder surgery
Matt Grzelcyk will have offseason surgery to repair a dislocated right shoulder that will likely lead him to miss the start of next season.
Grzelcyk was hampered for much of the season, he said.
“It was quite difficult just not feeling like myself obviously,” Grzelcyk said. “Pain-wise, it would kind of keep popping in and out. That’s why I’d have to miss a game or two and wait for it to calm down. Unfortunately I have to get surgery, but just looking forward to getting healthy again and start feeling like myself again.”
Despite the injury, Grzelcyk played a career-high 70 games with a 4-20—24 line and was a plus-22
“I played with it for like 50 games or so,” he said. “So obviously it really limited what I was able to do out there, and just getting through practice some days was pretty tough. But definitely worth it and I’d make that decision again to try to grind it out and play for the team.”
Hampus Lindholm confirmed he went into concussion protocol after the hit by Andrei Svechnikov that caused him to miss three games against Carolina.
“Luckily, I could come back pretty quickly there but you have to go through the whole protocol thing, which I think is a really good thing we have. Unfortunately, missed a few games there, but I think it’s nice to at least come back and have an impact on the series.”
Lindholm will also spend the offseason nursing a knee injury. He said he plans to talk to the Bruins staff to decide how to treat it.
“I’m thinking maybe get some therapy or something just to boost the healing,” Lindholm said. “That’s kind of going to reset it a little bit and then rehab it after to make sure it’s all good, strong for next year.”
Charlie McAvoy is healthy after a bout with COVID-19. He entered protocol the morning of Game 4 but was able to return two days later for Game 5.
He did leave the series with chipped front teeth after taking a high stick in Game 1. He has no plans to embrace the look the way Pastrnak did for a while.
“I’m getting these fixed this weekend,” McAvoy said.
Jakob Zboril signs two-year extension
Jakob Zboril didn’t immediately grasp the severity of his injury.
“On the video, it looked like nothing,” he said. “I went to the locker room in so much pain. They checked my ligaments, my knee, and everything. Everyone thought it was OK.”
The next day, he was walking through the Prudential Center with his girlfriend. He had a limp, but he thought it was just a bone bruise.
“I got a call that my season was done,” he said. “I just had to sit down. I almost cried. I was like, holy [expletive], what just happened.”
Zboril played just 10 games this season but liked the way he was trending.
“I feel like I did a pretty good job this year,” Zboril said. “I showed up with lots of confidence in my game and then I just got injured. It’s a slap in the face. Hopefully, I’m just going to pick up where I left [off] for next year.”
The Bruins believed in him, too, encouraging a speedy recovery. On Monday, they signed him to a two-year, $2.75 million contract extension.
“Especially after getting injured and seeing that the team still believes in me, that’s a huge deal,” Zboril said.
Four weeks removed from surgery, his knee still aches at times, but he feels progress.
“If I get loose and I just go, I don’t really think about it and it feels pretty nice,” he said.
Jake DeBrusk remains quiet about trade request
Jake DeBrusk still wasn’t in a hurry to talk about where he stood on the trade he requested before the season, but thanks to Patrice Bergeron, he didn’t have to.
DeBrusk was mid-sentence when Bergeron walked into the Bruins locker room to address the media. Reporters flocked to Bergeron’s stall, leaving DeBrusk by himself.
Relieved, DeBrusk let out a laugh with the rest of the room, chunked the peace sign, and said, “Love you guys. Thank you, Bergy.”
The Bruins were aware of DeBrusk’s trade request before the start of the season, but it became public in November. In the midst of it all, he had a resurgent season, with a 25-17—42 line. At the trade deadline, he signed a two-year, $8 million extension.
“I don’t think I would’ve signed something like that if I wasn’t OK with that,” DeBrusk said. “Obviously it was crazy circumstances around that time, but I’m signed for another two years. I was excited to sign that and I think my game took off after that, as well.”
Swayman added to Team USA roster
USA Hockey announced Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman had been added to the US men’s roster for the 2022 IIHF World Hockey Championships in Tampere, Finland.
Goaltender @JeremySwayman has been added to the U.S. Men's National Team. #MensWorlds pic.twitter.com/mKuX7SOZim— USA Hockey (@usahockey) May 16, 2022
He has represented the US on the international stage on one occasion, helping Team USA to a bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Swayman is expected to arrive in Tampere in time for Team USA’s next game Thursday against Great Britain.
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.