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Bruins sign BU defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to entry-level contract

04.01.16 at 5:06 pm ET
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Matt Grzelcyk served as a captain at BU for the last two years. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Matt Grzelcyk served as a captain at BU for the last two years. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The Bruins have signed Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to a two-year entry-level contract, the team announced Friday. The Charlestown native was a third-round pick of the B’s in 2012 and could have become a free agent in August had he not signed with Boston.

Grzelcyk recently wrapped up his senior season at BU, where he served as team captain each of the last two seasons. He had 10 goals and 13 assists in 27 games (he missed 12 games earlier in the season due to injury), putting him fourth nationally among defensemen in points per game. He was named a Hockey East First Team All-Star for the second year in a row.

Grzelcyk will report to the Providence Bruins for the remainder of this season before his two-year deal kicks in next season.

Grzelcyk is listed at 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds. The strengths of his game are transition and offense, as he’s a very good skater who often times led rushes for the Terriers and got involved deep in the offensive zone. He also played an integral role on an effective power play that finished the season at 21.1 percent. Grzelcyk worked to dramatically improve his shot over the last two years, resulting in a jump from six goals over his first two years at BU to 20 over the last two.

Grzelcyk’s connection to the Bruins runs deep, as his father, John, has worked on the Garden’s “Bull Gang” for more than 40 years.

Dennis Seidenberg, Brett Connolly won’t make Bruins road trip

03.31.16 at 11:08 am ET
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Dennis Seidenberg

Dennis Seidenberg

WILMINGTON — The Bruins will play their next two games without the services of Dennis Seidenberg and Brett Connolly.

Neither player will travel for the Bruins’ road trip, though David Krejci and Ryan Spooner will after taking part in Thursday’s practice at Ristuccia Arena. Emergency Seth Griffith will make the trip as a reinforcement, while Austin Czarnik will be returned to Providence.

Krejci missed Wednesday’s practice, while Spooner has not played since the second period of Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs. Spooner has been dealing with a lower-body injury for much of the second half of the season, though he’s missed just two games. Recently removed from the power play, Spooner practiced Thursday in his old spot on the half wall of Boston’s first unit.

The lines and defensive pairings on Thursday were as follows:



The Bruins will travel to St. Louis to play the Blues on Friday, after which they’ll face the Blackhawks on Sunday. The B’s hold a one-point lead on the Red Wings for third place in the Atlantic Division.

Bruins recall Austin Czarnik and Seth Griffith on emergency basis

03.30.16 at 11:05 am ET
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The Bruins recalled forwards Austin Czarnik and Seth Griffith from Providence on an emergency basis on Wednesday.

The recalls came as the Bruins continued to battle injuries up front. Ryan Spooner has been dealing with a lower-body injury for much of the second half of the season, while Brett Connolly suffered a lower-body injury in the first period of Tuesday’s loss to the Devils and did not play in the final two periods.

A first-year pro, Czarnik has 15 goals and 37 assists for 52 points in 59 games for Providence this season. Griffith has 22 goals and 45 assists for 67 points in 51 AHL games this season. He’s dressed in two games for Boston, registering an assist.

5 things we learned as Bruins miss opportunity to build on lead over Red Wings

03.29.16 at 9:43 pm ET
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The Bruins could have gained more separation from the Red Wings and failed. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins could have gained more separation from the Red Wings but failed. (Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports)

The Bruins did themselves no favors Tuesday night, but fortunately the Red Wings did.

After the B’s dropped a 2-1 contest to the Devils, the Red Wings blew a 3-2 lead against the Canadiens and ended up losing in regulation. As a result, the Bruins still hold a one-point lead over Detroit with five games remaining for each team. The B’s will host the Red Wings on April 7 in their 81st game of the season.

The Bruins suffered the loss to the Devils as their offensive struggles continued. Though the B’s outshot the Devils, 40-15, they managed just one tally, courtesy of Brad Marchand. With Tuesday’s one-goal performance, the Bruins have scored three goals against a goaltender just once in their last 10 games. The B’s have averaged 1.6 goals per game in that span.

Tuesday’s loss puts increased pressure on the Bruins to get points out of road games against the Blues Friday and Blackhawks Sunday. It won’t be easy, as the Blues have allowed just one goal over their last five games.

Here are four more things we learned:


Penalties taken by key penalty killers came back to bite the Bruins, who did not allow a goal in 5-on-5 play.

A Patrice Bergeron high-sticking penalty at 16:04 of the first period led to a Travis Zajac goal, while a boarding call on Zdeno Chara yielded the go-ahead goal by Reid Boucher at 4:05 of the third period.

That proved to be the difference in the game given that the Bruins allowed 12 shots to the Devils in 5-on-5 play and Tuukka Rask stopped them all.

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Bruins sign Rob O’Gara, Sean Kuraly to entry-level contracts

03.29.16 at 7:17 pm ET
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The Bruins signed a pair of former college players on Tuesday, inking defenseman Rob O’Gara and forward Sean Kuraly to entry-level contracts.

A fifth-round pick of the Bruins in 2011, O’Gara recently concluded his college career after four years at Yale. The 6-foot-4 defender had four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 30 games as a senior.

Kuraly’s rights were acquired by the Bruins from the Sharks last summer in the Martin Jones trade. Also a 2011 fifth-rounder, Kuraly had six goals and 17 assists for 23 points as a senior at Miami of Ohio.

Zac Rinaldo voted dirtiest, Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara voted biggest pains in National Post NHL player poll

03.29.16 at 1:54 pm ET
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Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand

The National Post polled both NHL players and fans on a number of NHL-related topics recently, ranging from who they felt would win the Stanley Cup to which Canadian cities in the league they liked and disliked.

The Bruins were well-represented in the responses from players. On the subject of who was the “biggest pain in the ass to play against,” Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand tied for the most votes, as Chara, Marchand, Corey Perrt and Ryan Kesler each received 11 percent of the votes. Three-time Selke winner Patrice Bergeron got nine percent of the votes.

As one might have expected, the Bruins were also popular in the dirtiest player vote, as nearly half of the votes cast went to players in the Boston organization. Zac Rinaldo, who is currently playing in Providence but will serve a five-game suspension when he returns to the NHL, got 25 percent of the votes. Just behind him was Marchand at 22 percent. Marchand and Rinaldo tied for the most votes in last year’s poll.

Former Bruin Phil Kessel was voted the most overrated player in the NHL, getting 29 percent of the votes. To see the complete results as well as the fan vote, click here.

National Post graphic

National Post graphic

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Brett Connolly not thinking about what healthy scratches might mean for future with Bruins

03.28.16 at 3:27 pm ET
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Brett Connolly has been a healthy scratch for three of the Bruins' last four games.(Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports)

Brett Connolly has been a healthy scratch for three of the Bruins’ last four games. (Brad Rempel/USA Today Sports)

WILMINGTON — If Brett Connolly shot with the accuracy he used to describe his current status, he’d be a 30-goal-scorer.

“It’s obviously not enjoyable,” Connolly said Monday.

A gifted young player who entered the season with high expectations, Connolly’s lack of production with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand got him bumped to the bottom six early in the month. Recently, he’s been out of the lineup altogether, sitting three of the last four games as a healthy scratch.

In the one game he did play in that span, Connolly lost his cool prior to a faceoff and broke Aaron Ekblad’s stick at the drop of the puck for an obvious slashing call. He ended up playing just 4:45 that night, the last game action he has seen.

After being acquired for two second-round picks at the 2015 trade deadline, this is not how the 23-year-old Connolly (nine goals, 16 assist in 70 games) expected this season to go. Given that he’s on a one-year deal and will be a restricted free agent at season’s end, there’s reason to wonder whether he could be dealt this offseason.

“You’ve just got to keep plugging away,” Connolly said. “It’s the nature of the business. Hopefully things turn around.”

Whether Connolly should be out of the lineup is debatable. He probably offers more right now than Jimmy Hayes, but the Bruins made a three-year commitment to Hayes last offseason and are on the books for Hayes’ $2.3 million cap hit for the next two seasons. Hayes was also the Cam Neely/Don Sweeney leadership group’s acquisition; Connolly was acquired while Peter Chiarelli was still on the job.

Those things work against Connolly, but he has not helped himself. Connolly served as Bergeron and Marchand’s right wing for much of the season, but scored just six even-strength goals prior to Boston’s acquisition of Lee Stempniak.

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