David Pastrnak

Morning Skate: Krug-Pastrnak sync it up

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Morning Skate: Krug-Pastrnak sync it up

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while mourning the loss of Shiva the Tiger.

*Who doesn’t love the synchronized spinning chemistry between Torey Krug and David Pastrnak in pregame warmups at TD Garden? They should turn this into a routine and take it to the Winter Olympics when their NHL careers are over.

*Brian Burke was on with sports talk show hosts in Toronto and says the Toronto media openly roots for the Maple Leafs to be bad. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I salute Burkie’s willingness to say it.

*Don’t know enough about Hall of Fame inductee Clare Drake? Here’s a primer on one of the pioneers of the game that probably doesn’t get the due that he deserves.

*Jumbo Joe Thornton isn’t 100 percent right now, but he is certainly battling through for the San Jose Sharks.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mark Recchi shares his thoughts on getting into the Hockey Hall of Fame with the Players Tribune, and it’s exactly as you would expect the Wrecking Ball to be.

*Hockey’s concussion conversation has, for the most part, gone quiet at the Hall of Fame weekend festivities.

*For something completely different: The Ringer looks into their crystal ball and wonders who the next NFL Commissioner will be someday in the future.

 

Pastrnak's sloppy third-period play 'an area of concern'

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Pastrnak's sloppy third-period play 'an area of concern'

BOSTON – While the Bruins once again showed a gutsy effort Monday night with a rag-tag group in a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild despite all the injuries, there were also some lessons to be learned from the game.

Perhaps none was bigger than the way the Bruins played in the third period with a big lead, and specifically, the way David Pastrnak was managing the puck with the Bruins rolling and the Wild teetering on the edge of waving the white flag. The 21-year-old made some high-risk choices with the puck that allowed the Wild to gather confidence, hope and draw a little closer in the final 20 minutes with a couple of goals.

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One was a pass back through the middle of the ice in the defensive zone when he was already at the blue line in the D-zone, and the other was an inability to make a play to hold onto the puck at the offensive blue line that led to Eric Staal’s shorthanded goal. The Staal goal was also on Danton Heinen for throwing a pass back to him that kind of handcuffed Pastrnak while under some pressure. It was something Bruce Cassidy was thinking about postgame.

“We have to manage the puck on an entry on the power play. I think we made a poor decision. We didn’t manage it well in the offensive zone and all of a sudden they are coming back at us. But again, as a coach, I’ll look at who was on the ice, the time and score situation, have to examine that from my end,” said Cassidy. “From the players' end, they have to understand time and score as well, manage the puck. You want to score obviously when you’re on the power play, but not at all costs.

“You have to understand where you’re at in the game. That’s essentially what happened. We had a turnover, ended up in our net. We had three of those the other night against Washington, so that’s obviously an area of concern. But a lot of teams do have turnovers. We just have to make sure we minimize ours and that that’s what happened in the third I think to lead to their chances.”

The negative plays late in the game were in stark contrast to some really nice plays that Pastrnak made in the first 40 minutes to help the Bruins build a big lead, and he did finish with an assist in 18:27 of ice time. The Bruins outshot Minnesota. 15-4 in the second period in perhaps their most dominant stretch this season, but it led the way to some sloppiness and unnecessary fanciness in the final 20 minutes.

But there was a lot of truth in a Pastrnak box score that finished with him at a minus-1, and with as many giveaways (three) as shots on net (three) while getting careless at a time when the Bruins should have kept it simple. It’s all part of the learning process for a still-young player, of course, and it’s a conversation that Cassidy was planning on having with his young star winger.

“It’s a tough job right there. It’s a good question,” said Cassidy, when asked how he’d handle that kind of situation with Pastrnak. “Sometimes you’re going to give him some rope. Hopefully, he doesn’t hang himself with it. Other times you are going to pull back. That’s just a feel...sometimes it matters how the rest of the group is going. Who else is in the lineup? Are you putting a better player out there in that position? Sometimes you just send a hard message and it doesn’t matter who's there. Hey, [sometimes] enough is enough.

“There’s different ways to do it in game. [The next day], there are conversations. Hey, do you want to be a leader? You’re getting into that phase of your career. Is that how leaders play? Kind of see what he thinks of the whole situation. He might have a different answer, so those are the challenges that coach’s face trying to grow his game without shutting him right off. So that’s what we’ll do [at the next day’s practice].”

The good news is that the Bruins won and Pastrnak has rebounded nicely before from previously adventurous games with the puck, so the upcoming two-game trip through New York and Toronto should feature renewed efforts to manage the puck situationally. 
 

Bruins power play may rank high, but it's disappointing vs. Caps

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Bruins power play may rank high, but it's disappointing vs. Caps

The Bruins rank fourth overall in the NHL with a power play that has scored nearly 28 percent of the time, but how much good is an effective power play if a team is very rarely on the man-advantage?

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The Bruins didn’t look like world-beaters when they failed to score on a four-minute power play at the start of the third period Saturday night after a high-sticking call on Brooks Orpik. That proved to be one of the differences in the B’s falling to the Washington Capitals 3-2 at TD Garden. Orpik clobbered David Pastrnak with a dirty high-sticking infraction that cut open the 21-year-old’s chin and the B’s couldn’t even cleanly enter the zone in the ensuing four minutes of power play time.

In fact, the Capitals outshot the Bruins 3-2 in those four minutes. That inability to do anything made a late Pastrnak PP goal meaningless in the one-goal loss. Some of Boston’s initial disorganization might have been because the bloodied Pastrnak was getting stitched up on the bench while Boston’s top PP unit was on the ice without him, but Bruce Cassidy wasn’t hearing it.  

“There were enough good players out there and certainly we didn’t look organized on our entries. We didn’t change anything on them, so you’ve got to give Washington some credit for putting some heat on us, and then we’ve got to...we can’t absolve ourselves of the responsibility, not the appropriate play,” said Cassidy. “That was disappointing. It was an opportunity to get back in the game and eventually the power play did score to around back in the game, but you’d like to see it a little bit earlier and a little smoother because it’s been a strength of our team. Absolutely we needed to be better there.”

The Bruins rank 23rd in the NHL with 43 power-play chances in 12 games and they’ve only generated 18 power plays in the past six games while getting waylaid by injuries up and down the lineup. Both Zdeno Chara and Pastrnak were visibly angry in the victory over Vegas on Thursday night after not getting calls following clear slashing infractions. On Saturday night, the Bruins went without any power-play chances in the first two periods of the game.

The lack of any PP action could certainly be another factor in the special teams’ rustiness for the B’s when they finally did get the four-minute PP at the start of the third period, but the players inside the Bruins dressing certainly weren’t using that as an excuse. Instead, Patrice Bergeron was frustrated at the stagnant zone entries through the neutral zone where the Bruins weren’t gathering any speed or momentum for the attack.

“We can give [Washington’s penalty kill] credit, but at the same time we had no speed and you know if you do that it’s definitely going to…as a penalty killer I want that,” said Bergeron. “It’s easier to defend. I think we definitely have to talk about it and regroup and do a better job.

“We had some really good looks [later in the third period]. I thought we had some good shots, good traffic, and, you’re right, at the end we came close a few times. But the bottom line is it’s tough to let those points slip by [after] a tough start.”

It’s also tough to watch a team on the power play when it’s clear that those special-team chances are going to have to carry the day for the Bruins with so many key offensive players missing.