Charlestown kid basks in first experience with Bruins

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Charlestown kid basks in first experience with Bruins

WILMINGTON, Mass. One story from Matthew Grzelcyk illustrates just how quickly tides can change in the life of a hockey player.
The Charlestown, Mass. native was just a spectator two years ago in the Ristuccia Arena stands watching Bruins development camp when Tyler Seguin electrified the packed house, and local defensemen Tommy Cross and David Warsofsky were both part of the group of prospects on the ice.
Back then Grzelcyk was a young kid getting ready to head off to the U.S. National Team Development Program, and now hes mixed in a roster with Cross among other Bruins prospects.
Thats pretty heady stuff.
I havent really had a chance to soak it in yet, so Im doing that now. I was once of those kids in the Ristuccia Arena stands watching the players out on the ice, so I know what thats all about, Grzelcyk. Its pretty surreal. I think Tommy Cross was out there David Warsofsky and Seguin two years ago too.
I thought about putting on the Bruins jersey every night. Getting out on that ice brought back a lot of memories. You try to be as noticeable as you can. Theyre out there watching to see if youre a hard worker and that youre not going to give up. So thats what Im trying to do out there.
While things have settled in for the Charlestown kid, he was still in pinch me mode while turning from adoring, attentive fan into skilled defenseman executing fancy 360 degree spin moves out on the ice.
The 5-foot-9, 171-pounder has a long way to go on the development scale and is long years away from ever potentially skating in an NHL game for the Bruins. But the first of many things on the dreams come true checked list was taken care of Thursday morning when he skated as a member of the Bruins organization for the first time.

Bruins still in waiting mode on Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork

Bruins still in waiting mode on Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Anders Bjork

BRIGHTON, Mass – While the NHL debut for Charlie McAvoy is a matter of “when” rather than “if” at this point after agreeing to an Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO) with the Boston Bruins, the jury is still out on Boston University center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson and University of Notre Dame winger Anders Bjork become pros. 

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney says that Forsbacka-Karlsson has yet to make a “final decision” on his status for next season after BU’s elimination from the NCAA hockey tournament, and Bjork is readying for the Frozen Four this weekend along with the rest of his Fighting Irish teammates. The 20-year-old Forsbacka-Karlsson just wrapped up his sophomore season with the Terriers and posted 14 goals and 33 points in 38 games with a plus-11 rating, and has not given the Bruins any firm word on his plans for the immediate future. 

The urgency perhaps isn’t there for the Bruins to lock things up with Forsbacka-Karlsson right this second, because he wouldn’t be a factor for this year’s NHL team. 

Meanwhile the Bruins can’t do anything with the 20-year-old Bjork until at least the end of next weekend, but have been mightily impressed with a player that’s posted 21 goals and 52 points in 38 games for Notre Dame this season. Bjork had three assists in the game that propelled Notre Dame into the Frozen Four, and there would be a great deal of urgency for the Bruins to lock up a talented forward that might be able to help them right now. 

“I’ve been able to see [Bjork] a few times including the regional [in New Hampshire] last weekend, and he was outstanding. He played every other shift, he set up goals in the game and he’s had a really nice progression as a college player this season,” said Sweeney of the explosive Notre Dame junior, who was far and away the best player at B's development camp last summer. “They’ve done a fabulous job with their team, and hopefully they get to the Finals on Saturday against Harvard, and we get the best of both worlds seeing how our prospects play in the final game. He’s had a tremendous college career to this point, and we’re excited about his development.”

McAvoy is the front-burner issue for the Bruins at this point, but it would surprise exactly nobody if both Forsbacka-Karlsson and Bjork join him in Providence in the next couple of weeks as they wrap up their AHL season.