Bruins

Patrice Bergeron on David Pastrnak talks: 'He wants to be here'

Patrice Bergeron on David Pastrnak talks: 'He wants to be here'

BRIGHTON, Mass – With roughly two weeks to go until NHL training camp, the Bruins commenced with captain’s practice on Thursday morning at Warrior Ice Arena without 21-year-old David Pastrnak. The game-breaking right winger remains the lone unsigned B’s player as the calendar turns to September on Friday, and regulars like Patrice Bergeron, Matt Beleskey and Brandon Carlo skated together while Pastrnak works out away from his teammates.

The Bruins have made a pair of long-term offers to Pastrnak over the course of the offseason with both amounting to a $6 million average annual value (AAV), an amount that isn’t close to what a couple of comparable players in Vladimir Tarasenko ($7.5 million per season) and Leon Draisaitl ($8.5 million per season) signed for under similar circumstances.

So the two sides currently sit a fair distance apart from each other in negotiations, and the clock is ticking toward the start of B’s camp. Despite all of that and semi-recent organizational failures with other young stars like Dougie Hamilton, Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel, Bergeron remains “optimistic” that the Pastrnak contract situation won’t become a major issue for the team.

“It’s one of those [things] where I’m still optimistic and positive. It’s a situation where it’s up to them to figure it out and I leave it up to Don [Sweeney],” said Bergeron, after finishing off a 45-minute skate. “At the same time I think David [Pastrnak] is a young player that wants to be here, and that wants to be a part of the solution with us and wants to win.

“I guess I’m not necessarily worried about the situation going too long. I certainly wish that it could be done soon, but that being said I can’t really take a position on that. I’m going to leave it up to David and his agent, and Don [Sweeney] to figure this one out.”

One issue brought up has been a hesitancy from the Bruins to blow up their internal salary structure, and end up paying 21-year-old Pastrnak more than Cup-winning veterans like Brad Marchand ($6.125 million), Bergeron ($6.875 million) and David Krejci ($7.25 million) on just his second contract. That may be something Sweeney and Bruins management want to keep intact, but then again none of those other players ever scored 34 goals and 70 points when they were 20 years old.

Bergeron said that isn’t something he’s concerned about in the B’s dressing room, and differing player salaries isn’t something the players would be dwelling on.

“It’s business at the end of the day. In those contract negotiations you’ve got to leave the emotion out of it, and it’s the same for [all of] us,” said Bergeron. “We’ve all been a part of negotiations and you know how it goes sometimes. It’s not always easy. I think the hard feelings of the numbers shouldn’t be an issue. It’s about hopefully getting it done soon and moving forward, so we can have [Pastrnak] with us and start building something good here.”

One would assume there will be some movement on both sides as things creep closer to the start of camp, but it also feels like it might be a little while before things get resolved with a sizeable gap between the Bruins and Pastrnak’s camp. 

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.