One has to try really hard to do something terrible to be classified as a “loser” during the Coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown it has created not just in the NHL and pro sports but in life.
As WEEI.com colleague and The Skate Podcast co-host Ken Laird wrote this week, though, there are some in sports that have already managed to come off as losers when even the slightest bit of decency would make one look like a winner.
It’s easy to put Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and his tone deaf financial responses to the crisis in the “loser” category. There’s no one in his or her right mind that could defend the timing or the breadth of Jacobs’ actions, including laying off or furloughing more than 100 full-time staffers even though no hockey games have even been officially cancelled yet.
But then the other Bruins representative in Laird’s “loser” category was David Pastrnak and, well, there’s probably no one among the Bruins, the NHL or Bostonians that’s farther from being a loser right now. Yes, I can understand Laird’s point that Pastrnak won’t have a chance to surpass 50 goals or to seek redemption in the Stanley Cup playoffs because of the shutdown. And, yes, sharing the Maurice Richard Trophy with Alex Ovechkin seems like an extra-bitter pill to swallow.
But as I and everyone that knows anything about Pastrnak knows, none of that individual stuff matters to Pastrnak. The only thing that could make him a “loser” is the same thing that would put every Bruins player or personnel member in that category: the inability to turn a Presidents’ Trophy-worthy regular season into a Stanley Cup championship.
Let’s face it, Pastrnak has a ridiculously bright future, and the Bruins stand to reap the rewards of that. Not only is he an Ovechkin-caliber scorer, he’s a more complete player now than Ovechkin has ever been. At 23, he has plenty of time to improve and become the type of player teams don’t just fear when the Bruins have the puck but have to be concerned about in the neutral and defensive zones. He couldn’t have two better linemates than Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron to help him do that.
He’ll never be a loser.