David Pastrnak farthest thing from a ‘loser’ there is during Coronavirus crisis

By WEEI 93.7

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.

Other than that, we know Pastrnak is continuing to do Pastrnak-like things off the ice while there’s no hockey to play. He’s streaming his Fortnite games for fans to watch on an almost daily basis. He’s answering fan questions on Instagram. He’s being his jolly old self.

.@pastrnak96 on the other hand...#NHLBruins pic.twitter.com/x7EHUm0yBK

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 30, 2020

The player that once told me he doesn’t play hockey for money also doesn’t play it for individual glory. All he cares about is team achievements. And even though it looks less likely by the day that the Bruins will get to pursue any major ones in 2019-20, he’s not letting it get him down.

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.

Only Pastrnak knows what the weeks ahead hold in store for him. Maybe he’ll do an Instagram fashion show with his wild suits for his fans. Maybe there’ll be more Q&As and video games. He embraces the idea of an athlete as an entertainer so much, there’s almost nothing he won’t do to please the audience.

During these tuff times, I’d like to think @pastrnak96 is walking around his house in these suits each day ----That reminds me Glenn, Pasta for supa tonight? --pic.twitter.com/Z8AU3qRzJ3

— The Camera Guys (@NBCSCameraGuys) April 2, 2020

We do know, however, what the years ahead hold in store for Pastrnak. Assuming the NHL starts up again, there are going to be lots and lots of goals, lots of exciting plays and probably a lot of wins by the Bruins are directly related to Pastrnak’s production. All the while he’ll probably maintain his fun-loving demeanor.

He’ll never be a loser.

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