Plenty on the line for BCBU weekend series


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.

Patriots place Vincent Valentine on IR, promote Geneo Grissom


Patriots place Vincent Valentine on IR, promote Geneo Grissom

FOXBORO -- Anyone hoping to see Vincent Valentine make his season debut got some bad news Friday. 

Valentine, who has been inactive for both of the Patriots' first two games with a knee injury, was placed on injured reserve. ESPN's Field Yates was first to report the news.

With Valentine on IR, Geneo Grissom was added to the roster from the practice squad. ESPN's Mike Reiss had that one first:

Valentine, whom the Pats chose 96th overall in 2016, has not been practicing with the team as he's dealt with the knee injury.

A third-round pick of the Pats in 2015, Grissom was released by the team in September and signed to the practice squad a day later. 

Cassidy: Khudobin 'has a leg up' on backup competition in Bruins camp


Cassidy: Khudobin 'has a leg up' on backup competition in Bruins camp

BOSTON – Fresh off a strong performance allowing just a single goal on 31 shots in his preseason debut, Tuukka Rask looked close to the top of his game and exactly where he needs to be with the regular season a couple of weeks away. Nearly as important as Rask’s state as the regular season nears, the Bruins coaching staff has been keeping a keen eye through camp on the all-important backup goaltender position as well. 

It’s important that the Bruins have a quality backup goalie in place as they hope to start Rask in just 55-60 games this season, and manage the slender puck-stopper in a way where they can get the best out of him from beginning to end. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy indicated Anton Khudobin has the inside track on the backup job after finding his groove in the second half of last season, and it would appear he’s well on his way to retaining his job with a Malcolm Subban/Zane McIntyre tandem in Providence.

“Tuukka looks good, and looks good in practice and healthy. So that’s reassuring,” said Cassidy. “[Anton Khudobin] I thought played very well in his game. He had the one unfortunate goal, but I thought he was rock-solid the rest of the game. He’s in very good shape and he’s practiced well, so he’s got a leg up on the other [goalies] based on his experience.

“We know that going in, but he’s going to get pushed. Zane [McIntyre] was good in a game, and Malcolm let in a couple where he could have been more aggressive. But it was a first game, so right now they all look good. That’s a good problem to have if they all push each other, but to get direct to the point Anton has done nothing to lose that backup spot.”

At this point, it would likely be McIntyre rather than Subban that would challenge for the NHL backup job if Khudobin did stumble at all in training camp or early in the regular season as he did last year. There will be no backup controversy, however, if the 31-year-old plays like he did in stopping 20-of-22 shots in Tuesday night’s win vs. the Red Wings or as he did going 6-1-0 with a .922 save percentage after the All-Star break last season.