Bruins notebook: Matt Grzelcyk expected to play, Trent Frederic healthy scratched


The Bruins should at least be getting one reinforcement for Thursday night’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Coach Bruce Cassidy said after the team’s optional morning skate that Matt Grzelcyk “looks good” and is expected to play Thursday.

Grzelcyk left Sunday’s game against the Capitals in the first period with an upper-body injury and then missed Tuesday’s loss to St. Louis.

Meanwhile, David Pastrnak, Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Carlo will all be out. This will be the fifth straight game Pastrnak has missed and the fourth straight for Lindholm. Carlo was injured Tuesday night. Cassidy didn’t provide any new updates on any of them or when they might return. None of the three were on the ice for Thursday’s optional skate.

Cassidy said Grzelcyk will be paired with Josh Brown on Thursday. Mike Reilly will join Charlie McAvoy on the top pair, while Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton will be reunited on the third pair after several games apart.

Up front, Trent Frederic will be a healthy scratch. Frederic has struggled the last few games and Cassidy benched him for a good chunk of Tuesday’s game after Frederic took an ill-advised retaliation penalty. However, Cassidy said Frederic’s benching is not entirely about Frederic, and that he doesn’t anticipate keeping him out of the lineup long. He wants to see more from the rest of the third line -- Charlie Coyle and Craig Smith -- too.

“It wasn’t one incident,” Cassidy said of Frederic. “We talked in Tampa, his game was slipping a bit, his details. Trying to give him a chance to work out of it. That line in general, I think their game isn’t where it was a couple weeks ago. Charlie’s the guy that drives that line. It’s not on Freddy, to be honest with you.

“Coyle and Smitty have been around a long time. They’re the guys that make that line go. Freddy’s a good complementary piece on there. Hopefully maybe just one player out will get them going a little bit, and hopefully get Freddy right back in there. He’s been a good player for us. He’s helped that line. So that’s the decision today.”

Tomas Nosek will move up to third-line left wing in Frederic’s place, with Marc McLaughlin sliding down to fourth-line center. This will be McLaughlin’s first NHL game at center (his natural position), as his first five games have all come at right wing.

McLaughlin had been occupying Pastrnak’s second-line right wing spot for the last few games. That spot now goes to Jesper Froden, who was called up from Providence and will get into his sixth NHL game of the season and first since March 3.

Cassidy said it was a close call between Froden and Oskar Steen for the call-up. The two have similar stats in Providence this season (34 points in 49 games for Froden; 33 in 42 for Steen), but Cassidy said he liked what he saw from Froden during his last call-up and thinks his play on the rush could make him a good fit with Taylor Hall and Erik Haula.

“That was a conversation I had with Ryan Mougenel, the coach in Providence, and Donny [Sweeney],” Cassidy said. “They see them more than I do. It could’ve been either/or, to be honest with you. I went with Frodey at the end because I saw him on our Western trip and I thought he made plays off the rush as well as anybody that’s been in that role.

“I think that’s a bit of what Haula and Hall are used to with Pasta. Obviously Pasta does a lot of things well, but that line is effective off the rush with their speed. I think Frodey can keep up. He showed he can make some of those small-area plays when he was up last time, so we went with him. We’ll see how it plays out and go from there.”

Linus Ullmark will start in goal Thursday night. The Bruins can clinch a playoff berth by getting one more point than the Islanders get in their game against the Penguins. Here is Bruins’ expected lineup:

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Jake DeBrusk
Taylor Hall - Erik Haula - Jesper Froden
Tomas Nosek - Charlie Coyle - Craig Smith
Nick Foligno - Marc McLaughlin - Curtis Lazar

Mike Reilly - Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk - Josh Brown
Derek Forbort - Connor Clifton

Linus Ullmark

1972 Cup team to be honored

The Bruins will host a 50-year anniversary celebration for the 1972 Stanley Cup championship team prior to Thursday night’s game. Members of the 1971-72 team in attendance will include Don Awrey, John Bucyk, Ken Hodge, Don Marcotte, Garry Peters, Dallas Smith, Rick Smith, and family members of Ace Bailey and John McKenzie.

Hodge met with the media Thursday morning and reflected on what those early-70s Bruins teams, who also won the Cup in 1970, meant.

“We had dinner last night and Dallas Smith, Donny Marcotte, Johnny Bucyk and I were talking about the era and the legacy we left in New England with the explosion of hockey and what transpired in college hockey and high school hockey and everything,” he said. “It was just great. It was a great time to be in New England. I was very fortunate. My sons played locally. But it was just a good era, to see what took place here in New England.”

The 1971-72 team was coming off the disappointment of the 1970-71 season, which saw the Bruins set a then-record for wins in the regular season, only to get upset by Ken Dryden and the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs.

“Basically ’72 was almost a comeback,” Hodge said. “We should’ve actually had three Stanley Cups. We only had two out of three. Basically it was a good time for the guys. We made some great trades during the season. Carol Vadnais came over from [the California Golden Seals] and went straight into our defensive corps. We just all came together.

“Obviously we had Bobby [Orr] and Espo [Phil Esposito], but it was a great feeling. The only sad thing about it was we had to go to Madison Square Garden to win the damn Cup. We blew it here in the fifth game. It was just too bad. It would’ve been nice to win it at home, especially in the old Garden.”

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