Morning Skate 511: B's can survive Bergeron loss

191545.jpg

Morning Skate 511: B's can survive Bergeron loss

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON There is a tiny bright side for the Bruins should Patrice Bergeron be missing for the majority if not all of the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay.

The 25-year-old wasnt a huge factor on the scoresheet against the Lightning in four regular-season games largely due to his defensive responsibilities against the explosive Lightning. He had one assist in four games and was a minus-1 while otherwise getting shut down in his 17 minutes per game against the Lightning, but thats also a big reason why Marty St. Louis was held to two points and a minus-1 in four games and Simon Gagne was scoreless and a minus-5 in three regular season games against the Bs. So much for the Ghost of Gagne haunting Boston after stinging them multiple times upon returning to last years playoffs for the Flyers.But that defensive concentration for the Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand line shouldnt skip a beat with Chris Kelly filling in for No. 37 while he sits out with a mild concussion.Gagne broke Bostons heart with the third-period game-winner in Game 7 last May against the Bs and it looks like hell be ready to go after suffering a concussion during their sweep of the Washington Capitals. If its anything like the regular season, Gagne could be a virtual non-factor just as Bergeron on the offensive side of the puck for four games.On to the links: Many teams including the Bruins are salivating at the thought of Nashville defenseman Shea Weber hitting restricted free agency, but Weber says that he isnt going to anywhere but Music City next year and beyond. CSNPhilly.com writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Sarah Baicker wonders if the seven-game battle with the Buffalo Sabres took too much of a toll on the Flyers, and sealed their fate against the Bruins. Truehockey.com writer Andy Strickland reports on the St. Louis Blues beginning contract talks with Patrik Berglund on a new deal as the NHL offseason truly starts to rev up for 25 teams. An amazing ESPN.com E:60 story with Zach Bennett and a minor-league hockey team that will make you smile, cry and hold backan emotional moment. This is why sports can be special to so many people that really need some kind of escape. Pro Hockey Talk maestro Joe Yerdon has a run-down on Jaromir Jagr possibly getting ready for a homecomingwiththe Pittsburgh Penguins . . . it could happen. Brian Burkes son Patrick speaks openly and honestly with James Cybulski and Co. about the disappointing stance of Uptown Hockey Management on same-sex marriage and how understanding most of the hockey world has become. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren disputes reports that Mike Richards failed his Philly teammates and was having issues with the coaching staff through the season. Newsday has the story of the new Islanders arena project that will supposedly keep them stinking out loud on Long Island until 2045. Thats mediocre news for just about everybody. Bruce Arthur with a great column on Sean Avery, who finally may have found the proper home for his agitating nature: activism. Yahoo! Hockey blogger Puck Daddy has a great breakdown of the most intriguing match-up in the Eastern Conference Finals a couple of hockey graybeards between the pipes going at each other.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins center Acciari’s status uncertain after leaving with apparent leg injury

bruins_noel_acciari_082816.jpg

Bruins center Acciari’s status uncertain after leaving with apparent leg injury

BOSTON – There were no updates following the preseason loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night, but fourth-line center candidate Noel Acciari had to leave in the third period with what appeared to be a leg injury. 

The Rhode Island native appeared to be favoring his right leg after getting tangled up in front of the benches just a couple of minutes into the third period, crawled toward the bench and then headed back to the B’s dressing room for repairs.

Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco didn’t have any update in the moments directly after the 5-1 preseason loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

“Noel did leave the game. I’m not sure what his status is, or what the injury was. I haven’t been told,” Sacco said. Acciari finished with five hits and a blocked shot in 10:35 of ice time vs. Detroit. “I’ll have to check with medical and see where we’re at.”

The hope is that the injury isn’t a serious one after Acciari looked strong and heavy playing an energy role down the middle last season for the Bruins in the final weeks of the regular season. He teamed with Justin Hickman and Anton Blidh to play a gritty, energy line on Wednesday night, and they were largely effective for the Black and Gold while some of the other bigger name players struggled.

A potential injury to Acciari, however, does leave the door open for Dominic Moore to really put an iron-fisted grip on the fourth-line center spot after it appeared there would be a big surplus of centers at the start of camp. 

 

 

Local kid Grzelcyk ‘really excited’ to suit up for first Bruins game

boston-bruins-matt-grzelcyk-092916.jpg

Local kid Grzelcyk ‘really excited’ to suit up for first Bruins game

BOSTON – It wasn’t the perfect outcome, or exactly how he probably dreamt it would go down growing up on the streets of Charlestown in the shadow of the home of the Bruins, but Matt Grzelcyk finally got to wear the Black and Gold in front of friends and family at TD Garden. 

The former Boston University standout was on the ice for a couple of goals against in a rough 5-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night and clearly had a little bit of culture shock adjusting from NCAA hockey to the speed and intensity of a preseason NHL game.

The 22-year-old admitted as much after slowly showing during the game that he was getting more accustomed to the speed, power and precision of NHL opponents playing with purpose.

“I think maybe I was a little bit shocked coming out there. The speed of the game is obviously noticeably faster. But I think as time went on I felt a little more comfortable out there, and was able to skate pucks out of trouble. Hopefully I can build on that going forward,” said Grzelcyk. “It was obviously really exciting to get out there. I was a little bit nervous for the game and stuff and [had to] get the jitters out. But it was nice to get my first game under my belt.”

The puck-moving defenseman had tons of friends and family in the stands including his father, John, who usually works on the bull gang making sure the Garden sheet is in tip-top shape for games such as Wednesday night’s affair. So, it was natural for the nerves to be there despite “Grizz” suiting up for plenty of Beanpot games at the Garden as a member of the Terriers, but they went away as the game went along.

He picked up an assist on Boston’s only goal after working the puck up to Ryan Spooner prior to him feeding Austin Czarnik for the score. Then it was about simply playing the game, and showing where his level of play is right now as the Bruins evaluate all of their D-men. Grzelcyk had the point and he logged a solid 19:49 of ice time while finishing with a minus-1 rating and a couple of shots on net.

So, there were some positives for the local kid and some things to work on as he gets ready for some seasoning in the AHL when cuts eventually come in this B’s camp.

“I think it was a night where, as the game went on, he got better. I thought his third period was the best period he had, and as the game progressed, he started to feel a little bit more confident out there,” said Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco. “He was skating. He was avoiding… being able to escape some of the breakouts, and it’s his first game in a Bruins uniform back at home here, so I’m sure at the beginning he was probably fighting some nerves. I’m sure it was a special night for him in that regard, but I thought he got better as the game went on.”

The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder will clearly take that the first time out, but clearly Grzelcyk will be looking to show the abilities that saw him post 20 goals and 61 points over his past two seasons at BU as a talented offensive D-man looking to help sooner rather than later.