BostonBruins.com - David Pastrnak has every reason to be bitter about the way his 2019-20 regular season came to an end. The 24-year-old winger was in the midst of a career campaign, one that had him well on his way to posting numbers that most players wouldn't even dream of compiling.
But while he's certainly disappointed that he will have to wait another season to reach the coveted 50-goal and 100-point plateaus, Pastrnak - staying true to his patented selflessness - realizes there are far more pressing issues right now than achieving individual accolades.
"It's a little sad - I was actually more mad about the 100 points than 50 [goals], to be honest. Overall, it was a good season," said Pastrnak, who finished his sixth NHL season with a career-high 48 goals, 47 assists, and 95 points in 70 games.
"Sometimes in the world, things happen that you can't control. For me, I'm really happy and felt good the whole season. I'm playing with great teammates and linemates that I can learn from every single day.
"That's a big part that I'm focusing on. A guy like [Patrice Bergeron] being my mentor every single day in the locker room and on the ice. He's awesome. Without them, I wouldn't be where I'm at."
Pastrnak's 48-goal regular season tied him with the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin for the top spot in the National Hockey League and secured his first 'Rocket' Richard Trophy, awarded to the league's top goal scorer. He is the first Bruin to win the award - which was first handed out in 1998-99 - and the fifth player in team history to lead the NHL in goals, joining Phil Esposito (six times), Bronco Horvath, Roy Conacher, and Cooney Weiland.
The 2014 first-round pick was also named the Czech Player of the Year for the fourth straight season, matching a record held by the legendary Jaromir Jagr.
"Huge honor, obviously," said Pastrnak, who said without hesitation that Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl should win the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP. "Rocket, sharing it with Ovi is a huge honor. He's been winning it every single year almost. For me to share it with him is even more special. Other than that, I have huge respect for these guys. But at the end of the day, it's an individual trophy and that's not my main focus."
Right now, Pastrnak is lasered in on his fitness as the Bruins and the rest of the NHL gears up for the opening of training camps on July 10. Currently back home in his native Prague, Pastrnak is skating two days a week and training off-ice five or six as he gears up for a return to Boston in the coming weeks.
"I'm really looking forward to it. I really miss all the boys. Been away from them for a long time. I'm really excited for that," said Pastrnak, who does not yet have an exact date for when he'll be back in the U.S. "Feel pretty good, been really active and working around. I love to play soccer and tennis, that's a big part of me moving back home. Leave the house at 10 a.m. and come back for dinner."
It's clear that Pastrnak is committed to being at his best when and if hockey returns this summer, as the Bruins look to resume their quest to avenge last year's Stanley Cup Final loss.
"Huge motivation," said Pastrnak. "Last season was an unbelievable experience for me. I don't think I would be where I'm at without last year. But obviously we had a great season and I think we were a better team than last year. We'll see.
"We need to get back into work, mentally, most importantly. We're gonna get some time, hopefully. Really excited and can't wait to start the playoffs. Playoffs are the best part of hockey."