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David Pastrnak did a double quarantine after returning from the Czech Republic after skating at a local rink while he was supposed to be in lockdown. Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP

 

David Pastrnak held his first press briefing since he was set free from quarantine on Tuesday and he seemed very much like the same shaggy, carefree soul who has endeared himself to fans and teammates alike during his young Bruin career.

But Pastrnak was ever-so-slightly chastened for landing on the outside looking in on the Phase 3 practices. The Bruins right wing confirmed that he had to do a second round of his quarantine because he worked out at a rink in Malden, Massachusetts with local skaters after quarantining upon his return to Boston from the Czech Republic. Team president Cam Neely said last week that he wished some better decisions had been made.

“I was never sick so I don’t think I did anything wrong. It was a tough bounce there,” said Pastrnak on a Zoom conference Tuesday. “What happened happened and I had to miss some time … unfortunately I had to be at home for a while and I couldn’t control (that). I take full responsibility for my actions.”

But Pastrnak sounded more frustrated that he had to do the double quarantine than he was contrite about finding himself in the second go-round in detention.

“To be honest, it was really tough to be spending 28 days in quarantine,” said Pastrnak. “The toughest part about it was that I was healthy for the whole quarantine but at the same time I still couldn’t do anything. It was really tough and frustrating at the same time. It was a really long month and I’m really happy that that thing is over and I’m finally back with the guys. They’re the reason why I came back to America from Europe to finish the season, so I’m really happy to be back with them.”

All will be forgotten and forgiven quickly, of course, if he can return as the same player he was when he pumped in 48 goals, earning him a share of the Rocket Richard Trophy. Both he and Coach Bruce Cassidy were happy with his first day of practice on Monday, though it has not been determined if he’ll be ready to play in Thursday’s exhibition game.

“Thursday will be determined once we get through a little contact with him,” said Cassidy. “I think his legs will be there. That wouldn’t be the issue. There’ll be discussion with the player – how much is enough time to get ready, if he feels he needs the exhibition game – so his opinion will matter. I thought he looked great, lots of energy, he was flying around. I thought it rubbed off on his linemates (Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand). His shot looked good. A couple of plays in tight he fumbled the puck. The timing, execution, we’re all going through that a little bit this week so that’s to be expected. But all in all, I’d give him an excellent grade.”

If it was all up to Pastrnak, he’d be in. But as we’ve seen, the sharpshooter still needs a little guidance on occasion.

“I felt great. I was actually surprised. I love the game and I will always be up for playing, so it’s probably not up to me. Right now I’m just focusing on getting better every day and, for sure, I’m up for it. We’ll see on Thursday,” said Pastrnak.

CHARA RETURNS: Zdeno Chara returned to practice on Tuesday after missing Monday’s session due to what Cassidy called a testing “hiccup.” Nick Ritchie, however, missed his sixth consecutive practice.

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