As injuries begin to heal, players are returning to the roster with less room for younger substitutes and more room for elite improvement.
Slowly but surely Boston regains its roster
Boston is still missing two major keys to success, despite the recent return of notable players. Torey Krug and Brad Marchand showed promising signs of return Tuesday, as they skated with the team before departure for New Jersey. The two were not permitted to play in Wednesday night’s game or t0 travel with the team though despite a smooth morning skate.
Marchand’s progress has been slower than expected, as he found himself switching to the red, “non-contact” jersey halfway through Tuesday’s practice. Teammates David Backes and Krug also missed the last three games with the team, wore red with Marchand. Marchand talked to NHL.com about his injury.
“It’s frustrating any time you have to miss games and time away from the team,” Marchand said. “It’s disappointing. The guys had a great road trip and are playing well, so it’s fun to watch. It would be nice to be back in the lineup and be part of the team again, but it will come,”
Marchand was quick to acknowledge the younger players who have taken his spot during his five-game hiatus.
“I think the younger guys did a really good job stepping up, Jake DeBrusk had a great game [against San Jose],” Marchand said. “That’s what we need, guys stepping up at different times. We’re getting that.”
Also joining the team Tuesday morning was Bruins’ Center, Ryan Spooner.
After a six week hiatus due to a torn adductor, Spooner joined the team for reps during Tuesday morning’s power play unit and played against the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.
“Not sure if I’m gonna play yet, but I’m gonna go with the team, skate in the morning, and go from there. I felt good, first practice I’ve had and felt fine, so that’s good.” Spooner told NHL.com
On the bright side, in Boston’s time of need – Providence has yet to disappoint.
Boston moves Matt Grzelcyk up from Providence
Matt Grzelcyk returned home to Boston, Tuesday, to travel with the Bruins to New Jersey, Wednesday. The Charlestown MA native will be filling in the gap left by injured defenseman Torey Krug on the second and third lines, as the team awaits the return of their injured defenders.
Bruins’ head coach Bruce Cassidy has high expectations for Grzelcyk, hoping the defender will also assist the team offensively.
“Torey at this level, and even at the AHL level his first year, is a more dynamic offensive player” Cassidy said. “We’re still looking for that from [Grzelcyk]. Whether it’s in him or not, time will tell. We believe it is, we’ve just got to get it out of him.”
Boston is in dire need of a fill-in for solid defensive zone play, and Grzelcyk has the numbers to do so. Grzelcyk currently has four assists and a plus-4 rating in 14 AHL games.
Anaheim Goalie John Gibson’s 40 saves led to a Boston loss Wednesday to Anaheim, 4-2. Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy teamed up to prevail 2-1 in an even play against Los Angeles, Thursday. Boston caught a win 3-1 Sunday against San Jose, with Bruins Goalie Anton Khudobin saving 36 out of 37 shots on goal. A shootout goal from McAvoy separated the Bruins and Devils, as Boston won 3-2.
Next 7 Days At A Glance
Friday, Nov 24 at 1 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh
Sunday, Nov 26 at 5 p.m. vs. Edmonton
Wednesday, Nov 29 at 7:30 p.m. vs. Tampa Bay