( Photo courtesy of Charles Krupa/Associated Press )

By: Maria from Watertown | Follow Me On Twitter @mariaofh2otown

The boys who wear our favorite spoked sweater are back on the ice, and it feels like Christmas in July and August.  I can only hope this feeling continues well into September and October!  Credit is due to the NHL and the NHLPA for collaborating to put together a thorough and safe plan to complete the 2019-2020 NHL season.  The NHL, along with the NBA, are moving forward with their respective seasons to the delight of fans everywhere.

The long-awaited resumption of play for most of our Boston Bruins went relatively smoothly. Unfortunately, for a couple of members of the Bruins, the return to play hit a bump along the way. David Pastrňák and Ondřej Kaše were noticeably absent for a majority of the Bruins two-week summer camp at Warrior Ice Arena.  The circumstances surrounding Kaše is a story for another day. Pastrňák missing camp, however, is a big story.

( Photo courtesy of Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald )

The story begins with both players being deemed “unfit to participate.” In all sincerity, what was the league and PA thinking when it came up with this terminology! The phrase alone is an open invitation to speculate.  Almost as soon as Bruce Cassidy uttered the words “unfit to participate,” he sent the speculation wheel into a full-blown tailspin.


In an effort to slow the wheel down, Pastrňák’s agent, J.P. Barry, released a statement that his client had come in to contact with an individual who had tested positive for COVID-19 while also confirming that Pastrňák tested negative for the virus.


Although Cam Neely downplayed the fact that Pastrňák and Kaše were unavailable to participate in camp with the team, he also stated, “you would have hoped that some different decisions were made.”


When asked about missing training camp during a Zoom conference, Pastrňák took ownership of his actions and said the following:  “I was never sick, so I don’t think I did anything wrong. It was a tough bounce there,”…… “What happened and I had to miss some time … unfortunately, I had to be at home for a while, and I couldn’t control (that). I take full responsibility for my actions.”


Pastrňák eventually made his way to Toronto, is, thankfully, healthy, and he is bringing good energy to his game.  All of this is good news.  Why bring this up now, you ask.  There might be an elephant in the room, and it has me a bit worried when it comes to Pastrňák’s decision making. 

This is not Pastrňák first misstep when it comes to showing some immaturity off the ice.  In February 2019, while leaving a sponsor’s dinner, Pastrňák fell and required surgery on his left thumb.  This injury was sustained at a time of the season where the Bruins were in a heated race to maintain its playoff position in the Atlantic Conference.


Pastrňák was out of action and unavailable to the team for approximately 5 weeks.  Once Pastrňák was able to return to work, he took full accountability for the injury.


Pastrňák is only 24 years of age, and most conventional 24-year-olds still have a good deal to learn when it comes to decision making and using good judgment – trust me when I tell this.  While I am not alarmed, I am a bit troubled.  Here we are just one year later, and Pastrňák is again explaining his decision-making and the impact of that to the team. Pastrňák is well on his way to becoming one of the faces of the Boston Bruins franchise. 

He is now an award-winning budding superstar in the National Hockey League.  There is still time for him to grow and learn how to make better decisions for the benefit of the team and, more importantly, for himself.  Pastrňák does not need to look far to get that tutelage as there is no better teacher than #37, in my humble opinion.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 188 that we recorded below on 8-2-20! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher!

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