Very few expected Don Sweeney to address the media at Warrior Ice Arena on Tuesday as the Boston Bruins prepared for their Winter Classic rematch against the Chicago Blackhawks. No one thought they’d hear about a tough blow to one their prolific playmakers.
The fourth-year Bruins GM revealed that leading scorer David Pastrnak (31 goals, 35 assists) will miss at least the next two weeks after suffering a broken thumb at a team event late Sunday night. The talented Czech winger will be re-evaluated in two weeks when Boston returns from its five-game west coast trip.
“He was extremely upset [and] disappointed. And he was extremely upset that he feels that he left everybody down despite it being an accident,” Sweeney told reporters about his meeting with Pastrnak following the news. “He was apologetic and was heartfelt in trying to explain that accidents happen.”
This isn’t the first time the Bruins dealt with marquee injuries this season, nor will it likely be the last. Bruce Cassidy has done an admirable job this season navigating the team through the tough stretches without Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo and countless others during the course of the B’s 2018-19 campaign. The Black and Gold sit in third place in the Atlantic Division and that’s a testament to Cassidy’s coaching.
But losing Pastrnak with the Feb. 25 trade deadline looming magnifies Boston’s desperate need for an upgrade in the middle of the lineup.
“We’re already looking and making calls to see whether or not we can add to the group and if it’s the right situation,” Sweeney added. “I can look at it two ways — we’re going to get a healthy player back at some point in time. I think we’ve done a really good job of [managing through injuries]. Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] has missed 20 games, Zee [Zdeno Chara] has missed 20 games, Charlie [McAvoy] has missed close to 30 games. Our guys have stepped up.”
“There’s more pressure on us there’s no question,” Sweeney added. “So we’re going to have to continue to play really tight defensively, which we’ve done. And our goaltending is going to have to continue to be good.”
The Bruins don’t expect Pastrnak out for long following a successful procedure on his thumb. Sweeney maintained a positive approach despite the tough news, as he stated that the fourth-year winger should return at some point during the stretch run.
Pastrnak played in every game this season prior to his thumb injury. Fellow countryman David Krejci is now the lone Bruin to skate in all 56 games.
David Backes, a healthy scratch during the B’s 2-1 overtime win over the Avalanche on Sunday, will likely return to the lineup Tuesday night. Here’s a look at the projected Bruins lineup against a red-hot Blackhawks squad.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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