Bruins' Pastrnak on winning All-Star vote: ‘I’m not gonna lie, I love it.’

Matt Kalman
December 28, 2019 - 3:33 pm

David Pastrnak has no problem with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin choosing to skip the 2020 NHL All-Star game in order to get his rest.

“Yeah, if I’d been in his spot I’d probably do the same,” the 23-year-old Bruins sniper, and NHL leader in goals with 28, said about the 34-year-old Russian during a discussion about the All-Star weekend with WEEI.com on Saturday.

Ovechkin has played in the All-Star Game seven times, and this will be the second straight year he has opted out and taken a one-game suspension from the NHL instead. Pastrnak will be making his second straight appearance in the midseason event when he serves a captain of the Atlantic Division team on Jan. 25 in St. Louis.

Pastrnak earned the captaincy by virtue of a fan vote, as people across the globe were able to vote online from Nov. 30-Dec. 20. Here in Boston we see the number of Pastrnak No. 88 sweaters increasing every day at TD Garden, at other rinks and in the streets. But winning a worldwide fan vote in the Atlantic Division, a vote won one year ago by Toronto’s Auston Matthews, proves that Pastrnak is becoming a phenomenon beyond New England.

When the fan vote results were announced Dec. 21, the Bruins were mired in a winless stretch, so Pastrnak had no interest in gloating over personal accolades. But with Boston on a two-game winning streak, he was willing to reflect on his growing popularity with WEEI.com.

“I’m not gonna lie, I love it. I do it for the love of hockey you know, and for the people, you know,” Pastrnak said. “That’s all I do, so I’m happy people recognize that obviously. And at the other end, I wouldn’t do it without my teammates and linemates. But how I said, I love it … I play the hockey because I love it and I play it for the fans.”

Pastrnak said his experience at the All-Star Game last season was a lot of fun, but there was maybe too much going on to fully take it all in. With experience on his side, he’ll probably have even more fun this season.

It might be the dream of every player to be such a perennial star that someday one can go the Ovechkin route and pass on such festivities. But even with Pastrnak’s career off to a roaring start he’s a long way from being a grizzled veteran. And he’s cherishing whatever honors, like All-Star Game selections, come his way.

“But for us young players, I think you’ve got an opportunity to go, you might never get it again. So yeah I’m definitely going to go there and make the most of it,” he said.

Lineup update

Neither Charlie McAvoy nor Torey Krug skated Saturday, so coach Bruce Cassidy ruled both out for Boston’s Sunday night home game against Buffalo. … Everyone else was present and accounted for at Bruins practice, including recovering forwards Karson Kuhlman and Anton Blidh. … Jaroslav Halak shut out the Sabres on Friday, but Cassidy confirmed the Bruins will stick with their plans and give Tuukka Rask the start Sunday.

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