A little fun in Tahoe proved to be just what Bruins needed


David Pastrnak registered his second hat trick against the Flyers in the last 18 days to lead the Bruins to a 7-3 win in Sunday night’s outdoor game at Lake Tahoe, but there was one thing he wasn’t particularly happy about after the game.

As the star of this showcase event, Pastrnak was naturally at the top of the list of players the media wanted to talk to after game. And so it was that a few minutes after the game ended, Pastrnak stepped up to the NHL’s interview station, once again wearing the ‘90s-themed sunglasses he had worn before the game.

Asked why he decided to bring them back postgame, Pastrnak revealed that his media duties -- a given after such a good game -- had caused him to miss a critical part of the team’s celebration.

“We were listening to ‘Barbie Girl’ before you guys asked me to the media,” Pastrnak said. “So I was kind of dancing with these glasses out in the locker room and then you guys ruined it and I had to go answer the questions, so I missed the ‘Barbie Girl’ song.”

It was the perfect way to cap off the weekend for the Bruins: a fun celebration set to a ridiculous ‘90s song, bookending their fun pregame bonding that featured ridiculous ‘90s outfits.

The Bruins showed up to Sunday night’s game dressed in the fashion of the ‘90s, which Pastrnak said was Patrice Bergeron’s idea and which stemmed from the reverse retro jerseys -- based on the jerseys the Bruins wore in the early ‘90s -- they wore for the game.

It was the latest example of an NHL team picking some sort of fun theme for a special game. In 2019, for example, the Bruins wore “Peaky Blinders”-inspired suits at the Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium.

While it was mostly all just done for fun, there was also a not-insignificant element of team bonding in it all. With all the COVID protocols that are in place this season, teams have had virtually no opportunity to do anything as a team other than practice and play games.

They can’t go out for team dinners. They can’t hang out as a group on the road. They can’t even hold full-team meetings, with even those restricted to small groups.

But the four teams that were in Lake Tahoe for the weekend were allowed to do at least a little bit more given the remote setting and abundant outdoor space, and that meant a team photo no one will soon forget.

“I loved the guys’ look,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “You don’t get a lot of chances to bond this year, so this was one that they took advantage of with their dress code, so good for them.”

On the ice, the Bruins also found something they needed: their offense. After being held to two goals or fewer in each of their previous three games, the seven-goal explosion was a welcome sight.

While the Bruins didn’t get a chance to skate on the outdoor Tahoe rink until pregame warmups, Cassidy said they did have a productive practice on Saturday at a nearby indoor rink, where they were able to address some areas of their game that needed addressing.

“We’ve been challenging our group. We haven’t scored a lot lately,” Cassidy said. “It just happened to fall on an outdoor game, but we knew we had to do some things better. You get on a bit of a roll and you start shooting pucks and it gets contagious.

“You see different guys chipping in. Trent Frederic’s a great example. … Obviously your big guns have to score. Pasta brought it today and like I said, there was a trickle-down effect. Good for our guys. We needed it. You’re going to take any win you can get, but we needed some offense, for guys to start feeling a little better about themselves.”

So Pastrnak may have missed the “Barbie Girl” dance-along, but at least he can take solace in the fact that he gave the offense a much-needed spark and helped make sure the team’s pregame fun carried right through the convincing win.