Bruce Cassidy might have summed it up best when asked of his immediate reaction to news of David Pastrnak’s injury.
"It was disappointment,” Cassidy said Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena. “He's one of our better players. I'm sure David feels terrible about it, at least that's what I've been told through Donny (Sweeney), that he doesn't feel good about it.”
For a Bruins club that finally seemed to get over the hump after a myriad of injuries back in November depleted the lineup, Tuesday’s news was a punch to the gut — a development made even more ill-fated given the fact that Pastrnak’s injury wasn’t due to an on-ice incident.
One of just two players to play in all 56 games this season (the other being David Krejci) - Pastrnak underwent a procedure for a torn tendon in his left thumb after falling following a sponsorship dinner Sunday night. He is expected to be re-evaluated in two weeks, while Sweeney noted that the team fully expects the 22-year-old winger to return at some point later this season.
Obviously, there’s no immediate solution to fill the void left by Pastrnak — who leads the Bruins with 31 goals and 66 points this season.
Even with Boston’s season-long issues with scoring, especially during 5v5 play, Pastrnak has been a bright spot in the offensive zone — tying for first in the league with 15 power-play tallies, while also being out on the ice for over 44 percent of Boston’s 5v5 goals this season. Yikes.
There’s plenty to digest in wake of Pastrnak’s injury — and a ton of fires that both Cassidy and Sweeney will need to put out as the Bruins prep for the stretch run of the 2018-19 campaign. Boston might be just two points out of second place in the Eastern Conference, but the club can’t simply tread water over the next couple of weeks, given the fact that just five points separate the Bruins from being out out of a playoff spot.
"After the disappointment moves along, it's challenge now,” Cassidy said. “We're taking our leading scorer out of the lineup and we're already struggling to generate enough offense we feel, as it is. Now you're going to the drawing board and — okay, what's the best way to go about this in terms of replacing his production?”
Here’s a look at a few areas that Cassidy and his staff will need to take a long look at while Pastrnak is on the mend.