David Pastrnak wasn’t exactly filled with regret when discussing his nearly month-long quarantine for the first time on Tuesday, but the 24-year-old did admit he “takes responsibility for his actions” after missing nearly all of Phase 3 training camp with the Bruins.
The NHL’s leading scorer has been back practicing with the Black and Gold since arriving at the Toronto Hub City bubble on Sunday night, and should have ample time to ramp up for Sunday’s round-robin opener against the Philadelphia Flyers.
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Bruce Cassidy said it’s “to be determined” if Pastrnak will play in Boston’s one exhibition game on Thursday afternoon vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets, but either way, the game-breaking winger is just glad to be back skating again after spending most of the month of July in quarantine exile.
Pastrnak confirmed he was stuck back in quarantine after skating in a rink in Malden with a bunch of amateur players at the start of Phase 3, but was able to travel to Toronto while Ondrej Kase, still in quarantine after also working out with Pastrnak in Malden, still has not received clearance to meet up with the rest of the team in Toronto.
“I was never sick [with COVID-19], so I don’t think I did anything wrong. Obviously, it was a tough bounce there. Unfortunately having what happened, I had to miss some time there,” said Pastrnak. “The protocol is the same for quarantine, so I had to be locked down at home for a while. It was nothing that I could control. I take full responsibility for my actions and I’m sorry. But I’m finally back and I feel good out there, and I can’t wait to be back with the boys.”
Pastrnak quickly resumed skating with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in his customary right wing spot on the Perfection Line at practice and is manning his pivotal duties on Boston’s top power play unit. Clearly he’s also young enough that he should bounce back quickly from any rust that’s been built up due to the weeks of inactivity.
The carefree Pastrnak admitted he was climbing up the walls a bit over the last month while serving out back-to-back quarantine periods, with just one B’s practice with a small group a couple of weeks ago in between staying away from the team.
“To be honest it’s been really tough. Twenty-eight days in quarantine and the toughest part about it was that I was healthy the whole quarantine,” said Pastrnak. “But at the same time, I couldn’t do anything. It was tough and frustrating. It was a really long month. I’m happy that the thing is over and I’m back with the guys. I really missed them. They’re the reason why I came back to America from Europe to finish the season, so I’m really glad to be back with them.”