Boston Bruins: Larger Than Life

Full disclosure: This series has little, if anything, to do with stats, facts, or analysis of the Boston Bruins. It will not include an in-depth monologue on whether or not so-and-so will re-sign with the Bruins.

Rather, this series aims to put a face on the fanbase by highlighting the fan stories that started and continue to grow the fanbase, to tell the stories in which hockey became larger than life and instilled something intangible in the hearts of fans all over the world.

Last time around, we were interviewing @jensrud95 on Twitter. This time, we are interviewing Brett (@HockeyBender11 on Twitter).

Brett is a 28-year-old Bruins fan who grew up in Massachusetts. To anyone remotely in tune with the big 4 sports world (MLB, NFL, NHL, and MLB), it’s a well-known fact that Boston is a sports city. Therefore, it should take few people, if any, by surprise that, like so many others living in Massachusetts (just under 50 miles south of Boston, in fact), Brett fell in love with hockey.

A humble beginning

When asked about how he became involved with the sport of hockey, Brett explained that while it was always important to him (having grown up in Massachusetts), there was a larger element at play: “I have two older brothers, and we had a pond in our backyard that we used to skate on every winter. …we probably were out there, with all the neighborhood kids, from, you know, you get out of school, and then you come in for dinner then you go out until . . . the lights had to cut off. So, it was really just something that we just flocked to. Just me, and a bunch of my neighborhood kids, my brothers.”

For Brett, it wasn’t just about the neighborhood kids, who were undoubtedly a huge influence. Rather, “My brothers were probably my biggest influence in getting into it. …I would get all of their equipment, all the hand-me-downs, unfortunately, because I’m the youngest.”

Like every diehard fan, there was a moment where the sport and the team became something more than just some guys on ice. Whether that “moment” is a collection of small things all combined together, or the first time hearing a skate scrape the ice, something gives. For Brett, it was more a collection of small things. When asked what the moment was, Brett explains, “I’d say when I was about 7 years old, that’s when I really was doing more of a learn to skate program and skating with my brothers. And I just fell in love with it. I love the feeling of being out there, you know, the wind going through your ears, and face, and it was just something really cool, really addicting, and just brought a lot of joy.

Later in the conversation he continued, “…like many sports, I think it’s the ultimate team game. . . only successful teams are the ones that genuinely care about each other. I experienced that through playing in middle school, playing in high school . . . So it’s things like that. It’s just, you know, it’s many things. It’s memories that last a lifetime.”

No Stranger to Success

Of course, growing up in the Boston area anywhere in the last 20 years has been a road paved with championships galore, but that doesn’t mean that a title can’t be a favorite moment. In fact, for a team like the Bruins, the championship was, maybe, just the beginning. On this, Brett shared, “The best memory is, you know, seeing them win the (Stanley) Cup in 2011 . . . , it was just such a great memory because . . . they’re the ones who I really wanted to see win a championship in my lifetime. . . You know, the Patriots had won three Super Bowls by then, the Celtics won a championship two years prior, the Red Sox had won two championships, and they were the ones that were kind of like the black sheep of the family, so to speak. They would get close, but they would never get it done, and to finally see them win it in 2011 . . .I basically said to my parents, ‘I can die happy now, I’ve seen all of my favorite sports teams win a championship.’ So that was the best one.”

It isn’t just the success that draws fans in, Brett would suggest. Instead, he makes it more tangible, more personal. For him, it’s about connecting with a team who works hard, about a city identifying with their team: “. . . The city kind of identifies with [the Bruins] I think more than the other teams. You know, Boston’s kind of . . . blue collar . . . you work really hard, you do the right thing . . . you punch in, you work hard, you do what you can. And a lot of the players . . . the 3rd and 4th liners, the ones who would . . . get the scraps, or hit a lot of people . . . really worked really hard. They’re the ones that, to this this day, still, I think are the most popular Bruins in history. Guys like Shawn Thornton or Milan Lucic . . . they don’t take a night off, they work their butt off, and those are the ones that really get taken in. Especially to a city like Boston.”

And still for Brett, and for many fans, there’s one player who stands out. For him, it’s Bergeron: “…he was kind of unexpected success because he was drafted, I believe, in the second round in 2003, and that was probably arguably the deepest draft in terms of skill. And he was a 17 year old kid, couldn’t speak a lick of English, but he had a great rookie year, and then he just picked it up in Providence during the lockdown in 2004. And . . . he showed . . . grit, he showed toughness, and he showed pure skill, and it’s a reason he’s probably one of the more popular players in the league today. And he goes up for the award for the (Frank J.) Selke Trophy every year.”

From One Fan to Another

Despite their success, Brett knows all too well the anguish that comes with being a hockey fan, most notably meeting that disappointment head on in June, when the Bruins lost in game 7 to the Saint Louis Blues.

So I asked him what it’s like to be a Bruins fan. He got candid: “Oh, boy. It’s stressful. . . .it might just be the whole Boston mystique over the last 20 years. You know, we’ve had a lot of success, but Bruins fans for a very long time were very upset with ownership in the late 90s, early 2000s, I would say. . . Mainly a lot of stress growing up, but, for some reason, we just always continue to go back, and just, hopefully there was one time where they could make a deep playoff run and change things up.”

While the hockey world will always be anything but predictable, there is a crew of crazed fans who keep coming back, and new fans joining the crew. For them, Brett had a bit of advice to give. For a new fan, he says, “Never stop gaining new knowledge about the game, be like a vacuum.” As someone who played, his encouragement to new players was, “Be patient, work hard, and enjoy the time you have on the ice.”

Hockey will never just be about some guys on ice. Thanks, Brett, for helping to remind us why.

A final, more personal note:

As I’m sure you’ve heard, our founder Josh has made the tough decision to close down Puck77, so this will be my last post. I just want to say that I fully support his decision, and want nothing but the best for he, his fiancée, and Izzy. I had the pleasure of meeting them in Boston earlier this year, and they are some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met.

The people I have worked alongside with, the editors, and especially Josh, have made my introduction to the world of sports journalism an adventure I won’t forget.

I cannot say enough positive things about Josh. He was there at the drop of a hat, and was so flexible with me despite my busy schedule.

He went above and beyond for this site, and I hope that it’s something nobody ever takes for granted. The thing about an undertaking like this is that the front product just shows a small portion of the work. Josh put in loads of work behind the scenes that most of us will never know the fullness of. That level of commitment is admirable.

Thank you, Josh, for giving us a voice in the sports world.

I’ll miss Puck77, but what an adventure it was so be a part of it. Forever thankful.

All the best to all of you,

Kate

player profiles from hockey-reference.com

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins: Connor Clifton Isn’t Done Eating Chowdah

July 1st is always a day on the calendar most NHL fans circle. The first day of unrestricted free agency begins, and the Boston Bruins made a few subtle moves. Adding depth is a speciality of Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, but in my opinion he hit a home run when it came to signing Quinnipiac University alum Connor Clifton.

Time At Quinnipiac

A native of Long Branch, New Jersey, Clifton was selected 133rd overall in the 2013 NHL entry draft by the Arizona Coyotes. Clifton played prep school hockey at Christian Brothers Academy together with his brother, Tim.

Clifton began his freshman season at Quinnipiac University during the 2013-14 season. He was named to the ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team during all four seasons with the Quinnipiac Bobcats. After impressing the coaching staff, Clifton because the captain of the Bobcats during his junior season. Later that year, Clifton was named to the ECAC Hockey All-Tournament, NCAA East All-Frozen Four Team, and honored as Team ECAC Hockey Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Coming out of Quinnipiac, Clifton never got an offer from the Arizona Coyotes. He took his option to play in the National Hockey League by way of the Boston Bruins.

Becoming A Mainstay In the Bruins Lineup

Embed from Getty Images

Clifton emerged this season as a young, and talented NHL defenseman. At first, he was called up from the Boston Bruins’ AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins early on in the season when injuries arose at the NHL level. But, he quickly showed why he needed to be with the Bruins full-time.

Clifton isn’t known for his size, he plays on edge, and plays with the edge that most Bruins fans love to see. I love his end zone puck retrieval, and his ability to make plays from behind his goal line. Although Connor isn’t known for his scoring ability, his defensive play and smart play making ability made him shine in the 2019 Stanley Cup run.

When called upon, Clifton answered the door. Playing top minutes with Zdeno Chara when Charlie McAvoy was suspended, but also learning the ropes from the ninth floor at TD Garden.

Clifton earned himself a three year contract extension today on the first day of “free agency frenzy”. A name that wasn’t atop the list, but a name that Bruins fans should get use to for the next three seasons. He has huge upside potential and makes the Bruins better when he wants to be. He’ll have an AAV of $1M per year for the next three seasons.

stats from hockey-reference.com and eliteprospects.com

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals

 

2019 NHL Draft: Potential Gems Part 1 – Atlantic Division

Welcome to a new series I’m starting here on Puck77. Hidden gems in the NHL Draft.

 
If you couldn’t tell already, I’m an absolute draft nut. And I was starting to get antsy with me not having done a prospect series of some sort in a while. One of my favourite weekends of the year just wrapped up, and as a result, all 31 NHL teams have a new crop of young talent in the pipelines. Some of them could be hall of famers, some of them could be NHL mainstays, some of them might not even see a game of professional hockey. But that’s the beauty of the draft. And to give you all a little more information on who to look out for, I’m going to start a series going over one potential hidden gem from each team’s 2019 draft class. Without further ado, let’s kick things off with the Atlantic Division.
 

Boston Bruins – Matias Mantykivi (D, 6th Round, 185th Overall)

 
The Bruins went slightly off the board with their first round pick and drafted forward John Beecher, a dynamic centre who has good size and great offensive tendencies to make it a good selection overall. Because they didn’t have a second or a fourth round pick, they ended up picking four more players on day two, with one of them being Matias Mantykivi.
 
Mantykivi is a small Finnish defenseman who spent the majority of this season palying for SaiPa U20 of the Jr. A SM-Liiga, which is essentially Finland’s junior league. He was very good offensively this season, putting up 36 points over 34 games for the team while also seeing some ice time with Kettera of the Mestis league (Finland’s version of the AHL) and Saipa of the SM-Liiga, their top league. It’s unknown where he will be playing next season, but the most likely scenario is that he remains in Finland to further develop his game until the Bruins believe he’s ready to come to North America.
 

Buffalo Sabres – Filip Cederqvist (LW, 5th Round, 143rd Overall)

 
Without a doubt, the Sabres’ most hyped up pick was forward Dylan Cozens, taken at seventh overall. The big centre from the WHL could look to provide a really solid one-two punch with Jack Eichel eventually. They also selected a solid two way defenseman at 31st overall in Ryan Johnson. After these two were selected, the Sabres went on to make four more picks, three of them being forwards and one of them being a goaltender. If I have to pick one of these guys to be a potential hidden gem, I’m going with Filip Cederqvist.
 
After getting passed over last year in his first year of eligibility, the Sabres took a flier on Cederqvist in the fifth round and it looks like a pick that could pay off for them. The Skara, Sweden native is a 6’1 winger who spent most of this season playing for the Vaxjo Lakers of the SHL and had a pretty solid campaign, putting up eight points in 33 games. He also spent time with the Lakers’ J20 team where he put up 32 points in 26 games. As of now, it seems like Cederqvist will spend most of his development in Sweden, but he could turn out to be something for the Sabres.
 

Detroit Red Wings – Albin Grewe (LW, 3rd Round, 66th Overall)

 
The Red Wings had one of the busiest days at the draft of any team, leaving Rogers Arena with 11 new prospects under their belts. Their first pick was off the board, but not surprising to me at all, taking German defenseman Moritz Seider at sixth overall. I firmly believe Seider could turn out to be a gem for the Wings, seeing that he wasn’t getting much coverage playing in Germany. But that’s a post for another time.
 
Instead, I’m going with Albin Grewe as the Wings’ hidden gem (his last name is pronounced Gree-vay. Don’t make the same mistake I did). He’s said to be a gritty winger who can also put the puck in the back of the net. Through 25 games with Djurgardens IF J20 of the SHL’s junior league, he put up 34 points. He’s under contract with Djurgardens IF of the SHL, and will more than likely start next season on the main squad rather than in the minors. I personally had Grewe going mid-second round, so the fact that they took him in the third round strikes me as a potential steal for the Red Wings.
 

Florida Panthers – Cole Schwindt (C, 3rd Round, 81st Overall)

 
With Roberto Luongo on the brink of retirement and James Reimer entertaining the possibility of getting bought out, it’s not at all surprising that the Panthers went with the top goaltending prospect in Spencer Knight as their first round pick. They had a busy day on day two, leaving with eight more draft picks. Out of all of the Panthers’ mid-to-late rounders, Cole Schwindt was the one that stood out to me.
 
The 6’2 Kitchener native spent this season with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, and finished a solid campaign with 49 points in 68 games. He has good size and he’s only 18 years old, so another year or two in the OHL could do wonders for him until the Panthers are ready to bring him to the pros. There’s a great chance we could see Schwindt turn into something.
 

Montreal Canadiens – Arsen Khisamutdinov (LW, 6th Round, 170th Overall)

 
The Habs got one of the first presumed steals of the draft in the first round, selecting forward Cole Caufield at 15th overall when he was projected to go as high as seventh overall. Like the Red Wings, the Canadiens had a busy day at the draft and left with ten new prospects. One of these ones was Arsen Khisamutdinov.
 
Khisamutdinov (I feel bad for the announcer who has to say that name) is an overage forward who was born in 1998 and spent this season playing back home in Russia. The 6’3 winger spent the majority of this season playing for Reaktor Nizhnekamsk of the MHL (Russia’s version of the CHL) and also impressed in a small sample size with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk of the KHL, putting up five points over nine games. There always seems to be a number of overage Russians that go in the mid rounds of drafts, and Khisamutdinov looks like he could become a solid pickup for the Habs.
 

Ottawa Senators – Mads Sogaard (G, 2nd Round, 37th Overall)

 
The Senators could have had the fourth overall pick in this draft but sacrificed it in the deal that brought them Matt Duchene (who isn’t with the team anymore). Regardless, they ended up getting a first round pick back from the Columbus Blue Jackets in an ironic deal that sent Duchene to the Jackets. Either way, one first round pick is better than none, and they used theirs to select Lassi Thomson, a solid Finnish defenseman from the WHL. While they only selected six players this past weekend, they might have found a gem in Mads Sogaard.
 
It might be hard to call Sogaard a gem considering he’s a second round pick who was picked right around where he was projected to be, but he has potential to become a really good starting goalie in the league. The 6’7 Danish goalie spent this season with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL and finished with a record of 19-8-2 with a GAA of 2.64 and a save percentage of .921 to go with it. He will likely head back to the WHL for at least one more season, but he could turn out to be something special for the Sens.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning – Max Crozier (D, 4th Round, 120th Overall)

 
After drafting defenseman Cal Foote in the first round a couple of years back, the Lightning went with his younger brother in 2019, drafting forward Nolan Foote. The Bolts drafted a total of seven players in 2019, and one player in particular that sticks out as a potential gem is Max Crozier.
Crozier spent this season playing for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL, putting up 43 points in 60 games from the back end. Being 6’1 and right-handed, he already has an edge in terms of value over some other players. He’s committed to play for Providence College of the NCAA next year, and it will be interesting to see how he develops over a couple years of college hockey.
 

Toronto Maple Leafs – Mikko Kokkonen (D, 3rd Round, 84th Overall)

 
The Maple Leafs didn’t have a first round pick in 2019, but kicked things off in the second round by selecting skilled forward Nick Robertson at 53rd overall. They only made six picks this year, but their potential gem might have come in the third round in the form of Mikko Kokkonen.
 
After reading some scouting reports on his game, he was described as the type of defenseman who won’t blow you away with any one aspect of his game, but plays a steady all around game. He put up 16 points in 59 games for Jukurit of the SM-Liiga and is known to be good defensively as well. If his development goes according to plan, it’s possible he could cap out as a good top four defenseman at the NHL level.
 
Thanks for reading. Tune in next time when we’ll be going over a potential gem from each Central Division team.

Controversy Surrounds Game Five Win For the St. Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues pulled off a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night in Boston.

The win puts the Blues within one win of the franchise’s first Stanley Cup and they will have a chance to do it in St. Louis on Sunday with a win.

I know what you all want me to discuss and trust me we will get to that, but first let’s recap the first two periods.

First Period

TD Garden was rocking. When Zdeno Chara was announced in the starting lineup, the roof almost came off the place and it was going to be a raucous environment. Boston came out strong. They poured the pressure on Jordan Binnington and the Blues, they noted on the broadcast that the Bruins weren’t centering many passes, and their seemed to be a reason for that. Binnington has struggled with rebounds all series and the Bruins were trying to go for that and put one in that way. Binnington, though, played maybe his best period in the playoffs and kept the Bruins off the scoreboard. On the other side once they survived the first ten minutes or so the Blues started getting their chances, but Tuukka Rask was on his game early Both teams got a power play in the first and neither team could convert, Rask made a wonderful save on David Perron (more on him later) on the Blues power play and the first ended scoreless, which had to feel like a win for the Blues with how the game started and how crazy the building was.

Second Period

Like they have done so often this playoffs, the Blues struck early in the period, Zach Sanford made a  beautifully pass from behind the net  to Ryan O’Reilly who was able to stick it to the back of the net and give the Blues lead. Sanford was put into the lineup by Blues coach Craig Berube when Oskar Sundqvist was suspended for game three and has rewarded Berube’s decision with an assist in every game so far. The rest of the period was pretty ugly with only 14 shots coming out it in total. The Bruins got another chance on the power play after David Perron took a penalty but again was unable to do anything with it. So now we can get to the fun stuff as the game was 1-0 heading into the third in favor of St. Louis

Third Period

The beginning of the third started innocently enough and a few minutes in the Bruins went on their third power play of the game as Alex Steen went off for interference. For the third time the Bruins were stymied by Binnington and after dominating the first three games the Bruins power play has gone quiet in games four and five. So more time goes by and the Blues score when David Perron skates around the Bruins defense and is able to beat Rask making it 2-0.

The Trip

You guys want to talk about anything else? X-Men? Godzilla? Maybe discuss Game of Thrones Season Eight? No….ok. So on the David Perron goal Noel Acciari had the puck and was tripped by Tyler Bozak. There is no other way to put it he got tripped, the ref was staring right at the play Bozak looked up assuming a penalty had been called and things seemed to stop. David Perron, however, did not stop and redeemed himself in Blues fans eyes with that goal. Three things can be true on this play, for one like I stated above it was a trip, Bozak tripped Acciari. No one can rightfully dispute that. I saw some Blues fans and others say it might have been embellishment, I don’t see it, Acciari fell stayed down on the ice and had to be put into concussion protocol. Two, the Bruins stopped playing defense. Perron is a nice player but the Bruins allowed him to get where he wanted to be way too easily because they stopped playing. Three, and the one that might make me go into witness protection, that’s a save Rask has to make. The situation may change the viewpoint but take the trip out of your mind (I know it’s hard) if you isolate just Perron and Rask, that’s a save that needed to be made and Rask didn’t make it, which considering how amazing he has been all playoffs is a massive surprise.

NHL Refs

No matter what team you root you have to agree something needs to be done about how NHL refereeing is conducted.  Hockey is so fast that no ref is going to see everything and things will be missed, that is human nature, and as frustrating as that can be I think NHL fans are smart enough to understand that in the grand scheme of things. However, when officials miss calls like the trip when it is that blatant that continues to be the problem. For a lot of this postseason it seems the NHL has thrown away the rule book every team has been playing by all season long because they don’t want to decide the outcome of the game. How’s that working out for you NHL? By not calling penalties you are deciding an outcome and quite frankly that needs to stop. Go through any series and you can find egregious calls for and against every team. It seems like years ago but do you remember Boston vs Toronto Game Two? That was a game where nothing was called and the NHL was embarrassed by it. How many crews have been suspended because of an embarrassing call?

Solutions

I don’t have a perfect answer, no one does. Anything that will get thrown out and tried will go through trial runs and upset people. You have video review though…USE IT!!! The five minute major called on Vegas in Game Seven against San Jose cost them that game. Take a minute go look at a monitor and realize “I messed up I should change the call” but no these are non review able. San Jose I don’t mean to pick on you I really don’t, but the hand pass, how long would that have taken to review? Thirty seconds tops? (Blues fans stop complaining about that it got evened up and you won the series) Add in the fact that officials don’t get to be asked things by the media and if coaches or players dare criticize them they get fined. Rant aside let’s get back to the game.

Rest of Third

After a small delay when Boston fans threw trash on the ice, the Bruins started to take over again as the Blues went into a shell. Finally with around Six and half minutes left Jake DeBrusk scored and the TD Garden was able to go crazy for a positive result. The Bruins kept pouring on the pressure and a puck got through Binnington and was swept away by Carl Gunnarsson and that might have saved the game. The Bruins kept coming and coming until finally the Blues were able to corral a puck and get it out as the buzzer went off giving them a 3-2 series lead.

Wrap Up

This thing is far from over. The Bruins were down 3-2 to the Leafs after losing a home Game Five and went into Toronto played a great road game and then came home and got a Game Seven win. The Enterprise Center will be going crazy and this will be the toughest game of the playoffs for the Blues. Their job was made much tougher as it was announced Ivan Barbashev will be suspended for the game. The Bruins may have lost but for large stretches of the game they dominated and another effort like that in St. Louis and this thing will be going to a Game Seven. If you want to be entertained though go on twitter and find the video of the two Bruin fans fighting. Always fun to see two fans of the same team going at it in the crowd, and with Stone Cold Steve Austin’s music behind them it is perfect.

all numbers and stats gained from NHL.com

Featured Image are products owned by Nikos Michals and created by Tony Ferrari. 

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins: Update On Chara And Grzelcyk

The Boston Bruins need to prepare themselves incase Zdeno Chara isn’t recovered and ready to jump back into the lineup tomorrow night.

Embed from Getty Images

In Game 4, Chara sustained a jaw injury and didn’t return. He came back to the bench, but Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t deploy Chara. It didn’t seem like Cassidy had a choice, Chara wasn’t in great shape. Chara had taken a puck to the face and reports stated that the Bruins captain could barely speak. 

With Chara’s status for Game 5 uncertain, Cassidy and his coaching staff are preparing for the game as if Chara wouldn’t be able to play. Earlier today, Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic Boston tweeted out the Boston Bruins’ practice lines. His tweet is below.

As you can see from Shinzawa’s tweet, Matt Grzelcyk is back practicing at the Bruins practice facility, The Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Grzelcyk was wearing a no-contact jersey, so it’s clear that he’s not 100%, but it’s a great sign that he’s back on the ice. 

In addition, former first round draft pick, Urho Vaakanainen participated in today’s practice. Vaakanainen hasn’t played for the Boston Bruins during the playoffs. The last time that the Joensuu, Finland native was in the lineup for the Bruins was back in October. He played two games for the Bruins (against the Ottawa Senators and the Vancouver Canucks) and failed to record his first NHL point. 

If Chara Is Out And Grzelcyk Is Back In…

If Chara sits out and Grzelcyk is back in the lineup, I’d assume that the Bruins lines would look like this:

Steven Kampfer – Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton

There is no doubt that the Bruins best defensive pairing has been Grzelcyk-Clifton. In the visual below, you’ll see that it would be a mistake to not have them paired up together tomorrow night. The duo has recorded a low expected goals against/per 60 and a high expected goals for/per 60.

visual created by Sean Tierney, data from Moneypuck.com

In addition, I’d role with Kampfer over Vaakanainen. Kampfer has experience playing in the playoffs and Vaakanainen hasn’t been battled tested. I might be more open to going with Vaakanainen if the Bruins had a strong hold over the St. Louis Blues. Instead, the series is coming back to Boston at 2-2. The Bruins can’t afford to go with a defenseman who hasn’t played a playoff game. This is a must-win game. They are playing on home ice and can’t afford to go back to St. Louis for Game with the series 3-2 in favor of the St. Louis Blues.

I would also avoid using John Moore, as he’s proven to be ineffective in the playoffs. During the playoffs, Moore has played in 7 games and has recorded a 40.5 CF% and a ATOI of 13:48. Those possession numbers are awful and I’d be puzzled if Cassidy decided to pair Moore with McAvoy in a highly critical game. Moore’s presence on the top pairing would devalue McAvoy and the Bruins would have to put even more pressure on the second and third pairings to shut down the opposition. But, if Grzelcyk doesn’t play tomorrow night, then the Bruins would have no choice but to feature Moore in the lineup.

Stay tuned to Puck77 for more updates on the Bruins injury situation.

stats from hockey-reference.com and moneypuck.com

visual from Sean Tierney

featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals