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Pastrnak Gets Back to Work with First Camp Appearance

With new contract in hand, the winger is ready to move forward

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - David Pastrnak flew into Boston on Friday night after signing his new six-year, $40 million contract and went to dinner.

Treating himself to a fine meal after such an accomplishment was a given.

But the 21-year-old is a simple man. Five-course meals and fancy silverware were not in the cards, despite there being no shortage of top-tier restaurants across the Hub for Pastrnak to choose from.

"I got dinner yesterday for $8…rice and chicken teriyaki," he said. "That's the first thing I did."

It is that relaxed, fun-loving attitude that has endeared Pastrnak to his teammates and fans - and in part why the Bruins brass was committed to making the winger a major part of the organization for years to come.

And it is the main reason why he took everything in stride as negotiations between Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and Pastrnak's agent J.P. Barry lingered into the opening hours of training camp.

"It was a new experience," Pastrnak said Saturday morning after participating in his first training camp session at Warrior Ice Arena. "I can't say I was nervous. I'm the kind of guy that was focusing on getting ready for the season. Obviously it was a little bit harder when September turns on and all the guys from Czech left to their towns and getting ready for their seasons.

"I kind of stayed there by myself, so it was tougher, but can't say I got really nervous. I wanted to get it done and be here with the guys, but that's how it works and sometimes you need to be patient."

Video: David Pastrnak arrives at Bruins Training Camp

Pastrnak admitted that he kept himself out of the business side of the contract discussions, instead entrusting Barry to come to the best agreement possible. The time difference - the Czech Republic is some six hours ahead of the East Coast - certainly helped in that regard.

"Both sides wanted to get it done as soon as it could be done," said Pastrnak, noting there was no real deadline to complete the contract. "To be honest, I really left it to J.P. to do his job. It was my first time - I didn't really know how it works, so didn't really go much into it. Same with Don Sweeney, he's done many contracts. I left it for more experienced guys…but the time change was a little bit harder, usually they were talking when I was sleeping.

"I didn't have much time to think about it….I was just dreaming."

The contract, which carries through the 2022-23 season, will pay Pastrnak an average annual value of $6.67 million, making him the fourth-highest paid player on the Bruins roster. And after a 34-goal, 70-point output during his breakout 2016-17 campaign, expectations are sure to rise. Just don't anticipate Pastrnak to be putting any added pressure on himself.

"Not for me, unless you guys [the media] are gonna put the pressure on me," Pastrnak said with a smile. "For me it's still hockey and I'm excited to be back and I want to play as much as I can, just help the team. It's fun to play here and [I'm] happy that I can come back to the Garden."

Now that he has arrived back in Boston, Pastrnak can turn his attention to fully preparing himself for the upcoming season. The travel kept him off the ice for a couple of days, but he seemed to keep up with the pace just fine during Saturday's session.

"He had a big smile on his face when he walked in early this morning," said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. "It was good to see him around, the guys are happy to have him back. On the ice, I won't judge him on his first day like I don't judge a lot of guys. But he's a good player and makes good plays."

Cassidy said on the opening day of camp that his preference is to have Pastrnak play the right side along with David Krejci this season. And the two were together on Saturday, with youngster Jake DeBrusk skating on the left.

"With David, he teaches me a lot, same with [Patrice Bergeron] and [Brad Marchand]," said Pastrnak, who began last season on a line with the dynamic duo before shifting to Krejci's right for the final couple of months.

"I've been playing with those guys most of my time here. Whenever I play with those guys, they are great players to play with. Every player in my position would like to play with those guys. For me, it's motivation. Like I said, I want to get better and have a better season like the team."

Despite being fresh off career-highs in goals and points, Pastrnak is not quite satisfied. He knows there is still room to grow and plenty to build on as he heads into just second full NHL season.

"I want to get stronger in the legs," said Pastrnak. "And you want to get faster, get stronger, get a better a shot and there are so many things you want to get better as a player."

A new contract has not changed the former first-round pick's desire to improve. But it has put him on the hook for a certain post-contract tradition: footing the bill for a team dinner.

"We were in two groups, so I didn't really talk to Marchy…can't wait for him chirping," said Pastrnak. "That's normal. Usually when you sign you take the guys for dinner. [I'm going to] save it before the season or during the season."

Eight dollars certainly won't be enough for that one.

Boston Bruins Training Camp is presented by AT&T.

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