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Marchand, Pastrnak could miss start of Bruins’ season after surgeries

Boston Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy joins Dan Bylsma to accept the 2019-20 Jack Adams Award, given to "the NHL coach adjudged to have contributed the most to his team's success."

If the 2020-21 NHL season begins on Jan .1 as hoped, the Bruins might be without Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak early on. The Bruins announced that Marchand, Pastrnak, and star defenseman Charlie McAvoy all underwent surgeries in September.

While McAvoy’s window for a return could have him ready by Jan. 1, Marchand may need until mid-January and Pastrnak may not be back until mid-February.

Of course, when it comes to injury and surgery recoveries, things could go both ways. Sometimes players (especially younger ones like Pastrnak [24] and McAvoy [22]) return ahead of schedule. Alternatively, sometimes players experience setbacks, which could be a higher probability for Marchand (32).

Bruins announce September surgeries for Marchand, McAvoy, Pastrnak

To be more specific:

  • On Sept. 8, McAvoy underwent a “right knee arthroscopy.” Via the team’s release, he’s cleared to resume activities and is expected to be ready for 2020-21.
  • Meanwhile, Marchand underwent surgery for a sports hernia on Sept. 14. The Bruins announced that Marchand needs about three more months to recover.
  • Finally, Pastrnak underwent a “right hip arthroscopy and labral repair” on Sept. 16. This puts Pastrnak’s recovery window at about four months from now.

As people did with the Stars, it may be irresistible to think of what could have been if these Bruins were healthier.

Granted, it’s not as if they weren’t productive. For example, Marchand almost managed a point-per-game clip (12 in 13), while Pastrnak managed 10 in 10 games.

But teams lean heavily on workhorses during postseason play, and maybe that wear-and-tear made a difference for the ill-fated Presidents’ Trophy winners. Yet too much complaining will rightfully inspire other fans to note their teams’ struggles.

(After all, the Lightning beat the Bruins and won the Stanley Cup without Steven Stamkos aside from a memorable three minutes of ice time.)

Really, it might just be a helpful reminder that sports science is starting to emphasize rest. Beyond Pastrnak and McAvoy, the Bruins are an aging team, and if the NHL can pull off an 82-game season, it could be especially taxing for high-usage players.

(Honestly, McAvoy’s been banged up for some time now, and that abuse is clearly causing issues for Pastrnak at times, too.)

As much as the Bruins want to maximize their playoff standing in 2020-21, they might want to emphasize being healthy when games matter the most.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.