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Pastrnak Honored to Wear 'A' on Sweater, Represent Czech at Olympics

Winger was alternate captain for B's preseason finale; will head to Beijing for 2022 Games

by Elaine Cavalieri @NHLBruins / - Over the course of the preseason, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and David Pastrnak all wore the 'A' on their jerseys as alternate captains, a position left open by the departure of David Krejci. When asked about what wearing the 'A' on his chest in Wednesday's preseason matchup against the Capitals meant to him, Pastrnak had nothing but appreciation for the responsibility.

"Obviously an honor, and it just reminds you how long you have been here and I want to become one of the leaders," Said Pastrnak.

When asked whether or not sporting the 'A' changes the way he might carry himself, he made it clear that he does whatever he needs to do to support the team.

"I don't change, there is a reason I got to the NHL," said Pastrnak  "There's a reason I came here so I'm just trying to be myself and that's how I help the team the most."

The 'A' represents being a leader, and fortunately for the young guys, there are plenty of leaders to look up to within their own team. Pastrnak referenced Patrice Bergeron as one of the best leaders in hockey, and he is happy to be able to learn from the best.

"I'm getting older year by year so just trying to learn and being around one of the best leaders in hockey so they are good guys to learn from," said Pastrnak.

As for who Bruins fans can expect to see wearing the 'A' with the season quickly approaching, coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed it will be a game-by-game decision.

"We are going to rotate," said Cassidy. "It's all situational. I think there are a lot of guys that could handle it. There's a lot of different guys that could handle it and should have it. If you ask any player, they would like to get it. It just shows there's people that believe in you outside of your raw hockey talent."

Video: Pastrnak talks with media on Friday afternoon at WIA

 Cassidy also spoke about the importance of Boston's young nucleus getting acclimated to being in leadership roles.

"Pastrnak, Charlie and Brandon are three younger guys that have now been here for a while -I can't predict where they are gonna be - but let's assume contract-wise and all those things that they're here," said Cassidy. " They are the next wave of the leaders in the core group of this team and they are already pushing their way into that, if they are not already in it."

Cassidy has high hopes that someone from that group of core players could have a different letter on his sweater down the road.

"There's a pretty good chance - I don't want to speculate - but they might be a captain of the Bruins down the road," said Cassidy.

Pastrnak also touched on a number of other topics following Friday's practice:

Competitive Nature: The Bruins put on a show at the end of practice with some 3-on-3 hockey, pushing each other to simulate as close to a game feeling as possible. "It's no secret we have a very competitive group," Pastrnak said when asked about the drill.

"This kind of drill is obviously much better than skating around with no puck. Obviously, there's only one team that can win so it's fun and it keeps a nice energy in the room with a few chirps around. It's great to finish up practice this way"

Carb Load: Pastrnak recently partnered with Stop&Shop to sell "Pasta's Pasta" to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. When asked what his mother thought of the Pasta, he was happy to say she is looking forward to enjoying some of her own.

"She was just asking me today if it was going to make it to Czech Republic, she will be able to actually buy it so she is going to buy it to help out the cause," said Pastrnak.

Olympics Bound: Pastrnak will be headed to the 2022 Beijing Games in his first Olympics experience this February to represent his home country of Czech Republic, an honor that was announced by the national team on Thursday.

"Very happy to get the message yesterday," said Pastrnak. "It was a childhood dream to play at the Olympics for my country. It was very touching and I am honored. I am always going to love to represent my country and I feel very humbled."

Lazar Sidelined

Curtis Lazar exited the final preseason matchup on Wednesday night at TD Garden with an upper-body injury and is likely to miss the start of the regular season."

"He has an upper body that is going to require a little more time because of the inflammation to get a exact diagnosis right now," said Cassidy. "We are going to list him as week-to-week. And hopefully it's on the short end of that not the long one.

Video: Cassidy talks from WIA on Friday afternoon

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