Bruins

Pastrnak keeping it real as he return to ice with 6-year, $40M deal

Pastrnak keeping it real as he return to ice with 6-year, $40M deal

BRIGHTON, Mass – David Pastrnak said with a wide smile that the first big purchase he made after signing his $40 million contract was an $8 Japanese dinner at the Galleria food court in Cambridge, so clearly money hasn’t changed the 21-year-old. 

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Pastrnak joined his Bruins teammates Saturday for the second on-ice day of training camp at Warrior Arena and skated with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk in a line that could make it all the way into the regular season if the chemistry is right.

Pastrnak was clearly happy to be signed, sealed and delivered after his agent, JP Barry, and the Bruins got things hammered out on Thursday morning. He said he never envisioned playing anywhere else but in Boston.

“It was a little bit harder when it turned to September and other guys from Czech towns left to get ready for their seasons and I kind of stayed by myself," said Pastrnak, adding with a smile that he had a rule at home with his mom this summer that they don’t talk about the contract. "It was a little tougher, but I can’t say I got really nervous. That’s how it works and you just have to be patient. Sometimes you can’t find an agreement until we did, and I want to thank JP [Barry] for a great job. I trust him and I let him do his job.

“The only thing is I really wanted to be here with the guys. It was a really long summer and I couldn’t wait to see them. Torey Krug went through it a couple of summers ago, and it’s just a part of hockey. For me, the biggest focus was getting ready for the season and leaving [the contract] to more experienced guys.”

With one of the biggest contracts handed out to a player coming off their entry-level deal, it’s clear that the bar will be raised for Pastrnak after 34 goals and 70 points last season. That’s okay with Pastrnak, who still takes the same hard-working attitude to the game that’s equal parts confident swagger and joyful approach to hockey.

“I want to have a better season and I want the team to have a better season, and that’s the motivation,” said Pastrnak. “There’s no [pressure] for me unless you guys [in the media] are going to put the pressure on me. For me, it’s still hockey and I’m excited to be back.

“I want to play as much as I can and just help the team. It’s fun to play here and I’m happy I can come back to the Garden. I want to get stronger in the legs, I want to always get faster and keep getting a better shot. There are so many things you want to get better at as a player, but you can’t really do it all at once. Everything has a progress and I had a great summer back home.”

Now, with Pastrnak signed and ready to go with little missed time after a summer of uncertainty, the young winger is poised to see exactly how good he can be with the best years of his NHL life in front of him.

Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

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Rask recovering from concussion, may be ready to play on Saturday

BRIGHTON -- Tuukka Rask is quickly making his way through the concussion protocol and may return to action this weekend.

The Bruins netminder skated with the other injured players ahead of Monday’s main team practice at Warrior Ice Arena, and is on track to rejoin the team at regular practice on Tuesday barring any setbacks in his concussion recovery. That would leave Rask with just a couple of games missed after getting trucked by Anders Bjork at practice last week, and it would give the Bruins back their No. 1 goaltender after Anton Khudobin let in five goals vs. the Sabres on Thursday night.

“He’s in the protocol and progressing well,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “He’ll probably join us [on Tuesday] for the next step if there are no ill effects from today. That’s a positive. If there are no setbacks, I think Saturday is a more realistic [timetable for a return].”

The hope would be that Rask could start elevating his game when he does return, and play better than the goalie that’s posted the 1-3-0 record, 3.30 goals against average and .882 save percentage thus far this season. But first things first with the recovery to his first career concussion as an NHL goalie, and the set of hurdles that must be passed before Rask is again allowed to jump back into game action as early as this weekend.

Here are the line combos and D-pairings from Bruins practice with Rask, David Krejci and Noel Acciari all skating prior to practice, Patrice Bergeron staying off ice with a maintenance day and Kevan Miller skating in main practice with a maroon, no-contact jersey:

Marchand-Schaller-Bjork
DeBrusk-Backes-Pastrnak
Agostino-Nash-White
Beleskey-Kuraly-Vatrano

Chara-McAvoy
Krug-Carlo
Miller-Postma

Khudobin

Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

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Schaller's sterling play helping to ease Bruins' pain

BRIGHTON -- Injuries, and some really tough losses, have put a bit of a damper on the start to the Bruins season. But there've also been a couple of unquestioned bright spots.

And one of them is Tim Schaller, who's been a strong, consistent performer in the first couple of weeks of the season. The New Hampshire native -- and lifelong Bruins fan -- was penciled in as a fourth-line winger throughout most of training camp, but he’s played everywhere as injuries have ravaged the B's roster.

The high point was probably centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak (and notching an assist) in Saturday’s overtime loss to the Sabres, and filling in for a late-scratched David Krejci with a very different set of skills. Certainly he’s been a standout for the Bruins with his physicality, including stepping up and fighting man mountain Erik Gudbranson after Gudbranson's nasty boarding hit on Frank Vatrano last week, and he’s also kicked in a couple of goals and three points in seven games thus far this season.

“It’s a reactionary thing, and that’s just in a person,” said Bruce Cassidy of fighting Gudbranson. “It’s a character thing because you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. Good for Timmy. That earns a lot of street cred not only in your own locker room, but the other teams notice it. too.

"We know with the goals that he can obviously chip in [offensively] and he’s doing a great job for what we’re asking him to do. He’s probably going to take ownership if he’s out there with some young guys on a line, and if he can be a leader and get that line playing the right way every night that is very valuable to us.”

Schaller’s game to this point is a continuation of what he showed in his first season with the Bruins last year, when the 26-year-old posted 7 goals and 14 points in 59 games while becoming a staple in Boston’s bottom-6 group. He’s once again shown pretty good straight-ahead speed for a big man, and a willingness to take his 6-foot-2, 219-pound frame straight to the net.

“I’ve been moving well and I’ve got the two goals, so personally I’m happy [with my game],” said Schaller. “Hopefully others can feed off what I’m trying to do out there, and we get a more well-balanced game [as a team]. I had a good season last year, and what was really good was that I knew that I had more to give. That’s what I’m trying to do this season.

“I can obviously produce more. I had a good start to last season and then I kind of fell off a little bit. So hopefully I can be a little more consistent for this entire year.”

That would be a very good thing for a Bruins team that can use him in a bottom-6 energy role when its roster is healthy, and will fully utilize his versatility in times of injuries and adversity.