BOSTON (CBS) — David Pastrnak is a scoring machine, and opposing teams are doing anything they can to stop him. That has led to some bigger players taking liberties with Boston’s dynamic winger, which in turn, has required Pasta’s teammates to stand up for him on the ice.
On Thursday night, it was John Moore who answered the call after Chicago’s Zack Smith threw a questionable hit Pastrnak’s way in the third period. Moore didn’t like the hit, and let Smith know by dropping his gloves and engaging the Chicago winger in a little fisticuffs.
Moore didn’t fare too well in the tussle, but making his efforts even more valiant was the fact that he was making his season debut after missing six months of action following shoulder surgery. He rushed off the ice to get his shoulder checked out after the bout, but Moore said he was doing what everyone on the ice should: Standing up for a teammate.
“I don’t know if it was the smartest decision my first game back, but I saw someone take liberties with Pasta and felt like it was my turn,” he told reporters after Boston’s overtime loss. “Totally fine, no issues. I just got checked out by doctors and it’s all good.
“All I can say is it was my turn there. I was right there, I saw it, I didn’t like it. I stepped in and I did something,” he added.
His actions garnered plenty of praise from everyone on the Bruins roster.
“You can’t say enough about him,” coach Bruce Cassidy said of Moore. “It’s a reaction thing. He’s not thinking about anything other than protecting his teammates. So that just tells you all you need to know about his character. Probably not the perfect guy in that situation, obviously coming off that injury, but good for him. He’ll earn a lot of respect in that locker room that he already had, but will have even more.”
“That’s the type of culture we have here,” said fellow blue liner Torey Krug. “Moore wants to be a part of it and from Day 1, he’s taken everything that being a Boston Bruin is all about in full swing. That’s what you saw. He’s an unbelievable teammate and a great job by him stepping up.”
Pastrnak would prefer not to see a teammate re-injure themselves at his expense, but he was grateful that Moore stood up for him.
“I don’t really know what to say. Hopefully he’s all right. It’s so good to have him back,” said Pastrnak. “He’s such a nice guy to have around and we all love him. So, I gave him the tap and thanked him for coming for me, but I’d rather he not [fight] at the point he just got back. … It’s a little different when you miss eight months with a shoulder injury. But how I said, he’s a tough kid. It’s tough to battle against him every practice. So that’s the way he plays, and it’s obviously nice to have him back.”
For his part, Pasta said he’s not flustered by the extra physicality that has been coming his way recently.
“Not at all. I mean, it’s hockey,” he said. “I don’t really get frustrated anymore, obviously besides when we lose. Just, it’s hockey. All I’m frustrated about is we lost.”
Knowing that all of his teammates — even the injured ones — are willing to stand up for him likely gives Pastrnak a little more reassurance.
Moore appeared to be favoring his shoulder after the bout with Smith, but returned to action and finished with 16:11 of ice time in Boston’s loss.