Newly signed winger happy to be here
Maybe some day the sixyear, $40 million contract will change David Pastrnak a little bit. But for now, the Bruins winger remains the same goofy kid with a deadpan sense of humor.
Asked yesterday what his first big purchase would be now that he’s struck it rich, the 21-year-old Czech Republic product said he’d already made it.
“I got dinner yesterday. Rice and chicken. Teriyaki. That’s the first thing I did,” said Pastrnak before flashing his chipped-tooth grin.
The Bruins were made whole with the arrival of Pastrnak, whose “holdout” lasted all of about eight minutes Thursday before he signed the deal that will cost the team $6.667 million against the salary cap.
While Pastrnak’s contract situation served as speculation fodder throughout the summer, it never seemed like this could spiral out of control. Things tend to get done when both parties are in agreement on what the end result should be. Pastrnak likes Boston and the Bruins. The Bruins like Pastrnak. It was going to get done. All it needed was a little pressure of lost training camp time for both sides to come together.
“Obviously it was a new experience. I can’t say I was nervous. I’m the kind of guy who was focusing on the season,” said Pastrnak, who flew in from home Friday. “Obviously it was a little bit harder when it turns to September and all the guys from Czech return to their towns and are getting ready for the seasons. I kind of stayed there by myself. It was a little bit tougher, but I can’t say I really got nervous. Obviously, I wanted to get it done and get here with the guys. But that’s how it works and sometimes you need to be patient.”
Pastrnak left it up to the professionals.
“Both sides wanted to get it done as soon as it could get done,” he said. “But sometimes you can’t find an agreement until we did. I want to thank (agent) J.P. (Barry) for a great job. I trust him and I let him do his job. Obviously, it was my first time so I didn’t really know how it works. I didn’t really go much into it. And (general manager) Don Sweeney has done many contracts, so I left it for more experienced guys.”
The only time Pastrnak thought negotiations might last longer than expected was when he put his head on the pillow on the eve of training camp.
“But the time change (which is six hours ahead) is a little bit harder for me. Usually they’re re talking while I was sleeping, but I didn’t really have too much time to think about it,” said Pastrnak, adding with a smile, “but I was just dreaming.”
Pastrnak had made a big jump in 2016-17 after spending the previous summer training in Boston. But while he spent most of the summer at home, he said his training regimen remained strong.
“Obviously I want to get stronger on my legs,” Pastrnak said. “You want to get faster, you want to get stronger, you want to get a better shot. There are so many things you want to get better as a player, but you can’t all do it at once . . . . You don’t want to get stronger by 20 pounds in one summer. Everything has to progress and I have a great coach back home in Czech and we had a great summer. In the beginning of summer we did a test on what I had to get better at most and we worked on it all summer.”
As expected, Pastrnak was immediately placed on a line with his countryman, center David Krejci, and left winger Jake DeBrusk. It was an eye-opener for the rookie.
“The first thing you notice is (Pastrnak’s) speed, right? And his hands and the shot. Those are the big three for him,” said DeBrusk. “Being a player on that line, I want to give him the puck and to spots as much as possible and using my speed to open things up for him and let him shoot the puck. With Krech, he thinks the game on another level from everyone else and knows the next play. You just try to get on the same page as him with his hockey IQ the right way . . . . Give it to those guys and get to the net.”
And do the two Davids always speak English on the ice?
“Ah, they don’t,” said DeBrusk with a laugh. “It’s kind of funny sometimes. I’m Canadian so I’m used to some players speaking French, but no, sometimes they don’t. But they were talking a lot of English today, for sure.”
WELCOME BACK: David Pastrnak (left) mixes it up with Riley Nash in the winger’s first practice of camp yesterday at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton after signing his new six-year, $40 million deal.