Loss of David Pastrnak will not change Don Sweeney’s approach to upgrade Bruins
Don Sweeney has been scouring NHL rosters the last few weeks, hoping to beef up the Bruins scoring prior to the Feb. 25 trade deadline. Now with David Pastrnak hors de combat (thumb surgery), the fourth-year GM finds his club in greater need of answering “Where’s the beef?”
“We were already looking and making calls to see whether or not we could add to the group in the right situation,” Sweeney acknowledged late Tuesday morning during his news conference that revealed Pastrnak will be sidelined for at least two weeks.
“I can look at it two ways: we’re going to get a healthy player back at some point in time . . . ”
Sweeney went on to note that the club has managed well this season despite injuries to such key players as Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Charlie McAvoy.
“Our guys have stepped up,” Sweeney said. “It put pressure on us, there’s no question . . . an area where we’ve struggled to be consistently one of the better 5-on-5 goal-scoring teams, that hasn’t resulted this year. We’re going to have to continue to play really tight defensively. And our goaltending’s going to have to continue to be good.”
The loss of Pastrnak, Sweeney said, would not change his approach.
“I’ve been having calls for a month now, at least, if not longer, in terms of throughout the year,’’ he said. “Specifically the last month, trying to identify teams . . . you can imagine the jockeying going on everywhere. “
Some teams don’t know [if they are buyers or sellers], noted Sweeney, who figures some of those teams might not know right up to the final hour.
“We’ve been looking to do something,” he said, “but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy recorded his 100th win as the Bruins coach with the 6-3 victory over Chicago. He is 100-45-21 since taking over two years ago for Claude Julien. In his season-plus as the Capitals coach, Cassidy posted a 47-47-16 mark.
“A hundred wins?” said a smiling Cassidy. “A hundred wins . . . feels great. I look forward to 101, I guess . . . yeah, always a nice achievement. Good, I guess, but I have no strong opinion right now. I am looking forward to 101. I hope it doesn’t take very long.”
Tom Johnson, who coached the Bruins to their ’72 Cup win, holds the team record for fastest to register 100 wins behind the Black-and-Gold bench, reaching the 100 mark in his 138th game, during that ’71-72 season.
All but left for dead in mid-December after eight consecutive regulation losses, the Blackhawks arrived on Causeway within a game of .500 (23-24-9) with their current seven-game winning streak. They haven’t been .500 since Nov. 18 (8-8-5).
Hawks winger Patrick Kane entered the evening on a Gretzky-like tear since getting blanked in the New Year’s Day Winter Classic against the Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium. In his 14 games since, the Buffalo-raised Kane went a blistering 11-20—31 (2.2 points per game).
Kane, 33-48—81, awoke Tuesday ranked second in league scoring behind Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov (84 points). Pastrnak was T-9 with 66 points.
Injured defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, held out of the lineup over the weekend, skated on his own Tuesday morning at the Brighton practice facility. He did not face the Blackhawks but will be with the club for its upcoming five-game road trip that begins Friday night against the hapless Ducks, then continues with stops in Los Angeles, San Jose, Las Vegas and finally St. Louis . . . Even before Pastrnak’s injury, Sweeney was in the market to find a winger to ride with David Krejci, or a third-line center similar to Riley Nash, who departed for Columbus as a free agent last July. Nash (1-6—7 through 53 games) has been dead on double runners in his tour of service under John Tortorella.