Plenty on the line for BCBU weekend series

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Plenty on the line for BCBU weekend series

Friday night wont be Matt Grzelcyks first game against rival Boston College as a member of the Boston University Terriers hockey team.
But it will be the most important one, of course.
The freshman defenseman from Charlestown, Mass. potted a goal in his first meeting against the Eagles, a 4-2 loss for BU, two weeks ago at Agganis Arena. In fact, Boston College has only one loss on the season to Northeastern all the way back in the middle of October, but has otherwise dominated their competition for two months.
The Terriers will once again host the arch-rival Eagles at Agganis on Friday night in a game broadcast on NBCSN, and will try to knock the BC birds off their pedestal.
But this time theyll be looking to postpone BC head coach Jerry Yorks brush with history as well.
York needs just one more win to pull into a tie with longtime Michigan State head coach Ron Mason as the most successful hockey coach in collegiate history with 924 career victories. It would also be pretty sweet for the legendary Eagles coach to pull it off against his good friend, Terriers head coach Jack Parker.
Parker is no slouch with his 883 career victories the second-most among active college hockey coaches behind York but it will be the dean of Boston College hockey holding sole possession of the collegiate record if he can capture both ends of the home-and-home weekend series against Boston University.
So theres a lot on the line for an 18-year-old kid like Grzelcyk, who has lived a charmed life over the last two years while skating with the US National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. before getting drafted by the Bruins in the third round last summer. Now he finds himself ready to suit up for a hotly contested weekend series between household hockey names like York and Parker that he grew up holding in special puck reverence.
Thats pretty heady stuff for a Townie kid that grew up in the shadows of TD Garden, but never made it to Beanpot games despite his fathers standing as a longtime member of the Garden bull gang. Whether or not hed seen the BUBC rivalry with his own eyes as an impressionable youth, Grzelcyk knew it was something he wanted to be a part of.
Thats why you come to a school like Boston University, said Grzelcyk. You get to be part of that BCBU rivalry, you get to play in the Beanpot and you get a chance to play on one of the biggest stages in college hockey. Its the kind of thing you dream about as a kid growing up in Boston.
Grzelcyk will no doubt factor into the big BUBC weekend after putting up 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists) in the first 11 games of his college hockey career. Thats not too shabby for a frosh blueliner, but there will be stars for the teams at both ends of the ice. Forwards Cason Hohmann and Wade Regan are both point-per-game players for the Terriers while freshman goaltender Matt OConnor is 5-2 with an impressive 1.90 goals against average and a .939 save percentage.
Meanwhile sophomore Calgary Flames draft pick Johnny Gaudreau has electrified the Heights with 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) in 11 games, and trails only UNHs Kevin Goumas for the Hockey East scoring lead. Gaudreau is joined on the Eagles offensive attack by Pat Mullane, Steven Whitney and Bill Arnold for the first-ranked and explosive Eagles unit. Senior BC goaltender Parker Milner was an invitee to the Bruins prospect development camp this summer at Ristuccia Arena, and is 10-1 with a .926 save percentage and a 2.06 goals against average for the Eagles.
So while the focus will certainly be trained on York and his pursuit of college hockey excellence and Bruins fans might even tune in to get their first extended look at Grzelcyk, this weekends two-game series is about much more than that. Its about the No. 1 ranked Eagles facing down the No. 9 Terriers in a Battle of Commonwealth Ave that hockey purists hope can simply keep going on forever.

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.