When David Pastrnak was hit in the foot by a puck on Oct. 27, it seemed like any other small mishap that happens, like any other blocked shot. He would shake it off. In fact, Pastrnak played the next two games, a back-to-back in Florida against the Panthers and Lightning.
He hasn't played since.
The time has gone by slowly for Pastrnak, filled with calls home to the Czech Republic, with a few trips down to Providence, with a lot of time alone. That is what happens for an injured player, especially one without a social structure in place, as is the case for Pastrnak.
"Especially for guys which don't have families, they're here by themselves. When you are injured, you just think how lonely the hockey is," Pastrnak said. "So it's tough, tough to be injured. You love the team, you're with them every day, so it's kind of something nobody wants to be [in], and hopefully the injury is going to be less and less."
Early in his recovery he spent most of his time on a bike and working on upper-body strength, but that certainly didn't compensate for the time he would otherwise have been skating. That time had to be filled somehow.
"I did calls with my mom," Pastrnak said. "The biggest key was to get back with my brothers and sisters and stuff. That's pretty much what I did, especially the times when guys was on the road. A couple times [I went] to Providence to see a couple guys.
"It's hard to kill all that time, but happy to be back on the ice."
The initial X-rays on the foot were normal. But when the swelling finally went down and the Bruins were able to get a CT scan, it revealed a nondisplaced fracture "in an awkward location," as general manager Don Sweeney put it in early November.
The right wing returned to the ice with his teammates on Monday, taking part in the team's morning skate before the Bruins played the Edmonton Oilers. Morning skates are short and noncontact, which provides a way for a player to ease in as he comes back.
"Just trying to go day-by-day and get back into shape and work hard," Pastrnak said. "It's been awhile, so it's great to be back on the ice with the team."
Coach Claude Julien said there was not yet a timeline for Pastrnak. He said that whether Pastrnak ultimately needs a conditioning stint in Providence will be up to management.
Pastrnak, for his part, said he would not object to heading down to the AHL to get his legs back before returning to the Bruins.
"It was seven weeks ago. It wasn't a good injury, so better take more time and get it full healthy," said Pastrnak, who started skating a week ago. "We take it slowly. It's nice to be back on the ice."
Highs and lows
Julien opted to play a hunch in the third period — and it worked. The coach elevated Landon Ferraro to the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and it was Ferraro's feed to Marchand that gave the Bruins the tying goal.
"You just try and play your game," Ferraro said. "You don't try and change anything. I'm not going to find some more skill out of nowhere, be making plays like they do. Just try and be the workhorse on the line and get moving for them."
But it wasn't all good for Ferraro, who took some of the blame for the Andrej Sekera overtime goal. He allowed Sekera to get between him and the net, and Sekera jumped on the rebound and beat Jonas Gustavsson 41 seconds into OT.
"Our top players had just played the last three minutes [of regulation], so I was hoping to at least get a shift out of those guys and come back with our players, but we didn't handle that very well," Julien said of starting overtime with Ferraro, Ryan Spooner, and Torey Krug.
That put a little bit of a damper on Ferraro's night.
"I was excited," Ferraro said of getting the call in overtime. "It's something that's really disappointing. I kind of mess up on my coverage and he comes right down the middle and I miss the block and it goes in. So it's a little disappointing."
On center stage
Marchand got to try out his public speaking skills on Sunday, something a little bit different than his usual display of on-ice skills. Marchand was tapped to read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" at Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops.
"I thought it'd be fun to try it out," Marchand said. "Nervous, but it was fun. I met with the conductor before and he kind of filled me in on how they were going to play . . . Felt a little more calm and confident after that. Still nervous up there. It's a different scene for me."
Marchand said he tried to keep his performance simple, read from the script, and just do what he was told. He felt no need to freelance.
"I was speaking to the crowd and 17,000 people [in a hockey arena], I'm one of 40 guys on the ice. Attention's not kind of all on me — and it was not all on me up there — but I was speaking and it would have been easy for me to mess up," he said. "I was the only one who could screw things up up there.
"Luckily when I got up there, the lights were in my eyes. I couldn't see everyone. I could see the first couple rows and a couple balconies up top. I just tried to look into the light."
Ference not retiring
Former Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, who has been a healthy scratch for much of this season with the Oilers, appearing in just six games, said he has no plans to retire before his current deal is up. His contract runs through next season at a $3.25 million cap hit. "I'm going off good friend Mark Recchi," Ference said. "His advice is, 'Stick around until they kick you out.' If they want to kick me out, they can do that." . . . Oilers coach Todd McLellan said Monday that he has enjoyed his time working with Peter Chiarelli, the general manager and president of hockey operations of the Oilers, in their time together in Edmonton. "Tremendous," McLellan said. "I've really enjoyed being around Peter and his approach to the game. We communicate every day, we sit together on the plane, we talk about our team and its future. We talk about what we're doing right now. It's been interesting to hear his approach and how he builds teams, the ingredients that he appreciates. I guess when it's all said and done, we're both without our families in Edmonton, so we spend a lot of time together. And I think that's been real valuable, at least for me, and I think for him as well."
Fluto Shinzawa of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.