Boston Bruins Recall Tommy Cross and Matt Grzelcyk on Emergency Basis Ahead of Game Three of the Series
The Boston Bruins are making some moves on their blueline. With injuries to Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, Colin Miller and now Adam McQuaid, these changes were to be expected. It isn’t ideal, but the Bruins announced Monday that defensemen Tommy Cross and Matt Grzelcyk were recalled on an emergency basis.
There was hope that Colin Miller, and to a lesser extent Brandon Carlo, could return to the lineup Wednesday, but as it stands, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The Bruins blueline in practice featured pairings of:
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Joe Morrow-Kevan Miller
John-Michael Liles-Tommy Cross
Matt Grzelcyk-Colin Miller
Colin Miller skating alongside Grzelcyk likely indicates that he’s either a game-time decision or not ready to go for Monday night’s game. Cross seems to be a lock for the game, however, as he also took part in the team’s second power-play unit during practice.
Tommy Cross Getting a Chance
It’s never good for a team when they are forced to use players deep on their depth chart. This will be the case Monday, however, as Cross is expected to play in just his fourth NHL game – his first in the postseason. Still, Cross isn’t without experience in his career.
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After being selected with the 35th overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Cross has spent his entire career, minus his brief three games in Boston during the 2015-16 season with the Providence Bruins. In 291 games, the defenseman has scored 23 goals and 98 points. He’s also posted a plus-35 rating.
Over the last two seasons, Cross has taken on a bigger leadership role with the P-Bruins. This season, the 6-foot-3 defender played in 74 games, scoring 12 goals and a career-high 35 points. It’s not an ideal scenario for the Bruins, but Cross has logged a lot of time in Providence. The Bruins will be hoping that he can translate that experience to play a responsible game in the NHL; he doesn’t need to do more than that to help the team Monday.
Matt Grzelcyk and Charlie McAvoy
Despite Grzelcyk being used as an extra defenseman in practice, it’s still worth noting that he and Charlie McAvoy have a history with one another. The Bruin newest blueliner has shined in his first two games with very limited mistakes in the process. An interesting note, however, is that he and Grzelcyk were defense partners in McAvoy’s rookie season at Boston University.
Grzelcyk signed his NHL contract prior to this season and had a solid rookie season. In 70 games, he scored six goals and 32 points with a plus-13 rating. He did briefly play in the NHL with two games coming early on in the year. In those games, the 23-year-old was held without a point and logged just two penalty minutes.
With McAvoy receiving double-duty in both Game One and Game Two so far, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him skate alongside Grzelcyk at some point should the fellow Terrier find his way into the lineup at some points. The Bruins, of course, would much rather see Carlo and Colin Miller be healthy for Game Four than play Grzelcyk at this time of year with winning at all costs becoming the new mentality.
The Bruins return to Boston Monday night in their first home playoff game in three years. The Garden has waited a long time for this, and the Bruins will need to give it their all. If they don’t, they will end up down 2-1 in a seven-game series. After starting the series up 1-0, that would be less than ideal.