Beleskey gets his groove back, and Bruins are delighted


Beleskey gets his groove back, and Bruins are delighted

BRIGHTON -- After the most disappointing season of his NHL career, Matt Beleskey has turned a summer of motivated work into a training camp of results.

The 29-year-old was at a bit of a crossroads with the Bruins after a knee injury, and the associated conditioning issues, dropped him to three goals and eight points with a minus-10 in 49 games.


Beleskey was talked about in trade rumors and left unprotected in this summer's expansion draft. Some even wondered if the Bruins might attempt to buy out the final three years of his contract. But Beleskey wound up staying, and was determined to put in the hard offseason work necessary to get back to his previous level of hard-nosed, maximum-effort play.

So far it's worked. In training camp Beleskey was a gritty, physical player able to keep up with the high-tempo pace and make the subtle plays -- screening in front of the net, forcing mistakes on the forecheck -- while adding occasional offense as well. It was the Beleskey that the Bruins needed to see in camp amid a highly competitive group of forwards, and he’s satisfied with the way things played out now that the regular season is around the corner.

It would be a huge benefit to the B's if he can get back to the guy that parlayed his hard-nosed approach into 15 goals and 37 points in 80 games during his first season in Boston.

“It’s a good start. It’s what I came back to do,” said Beleskey of his promising showing in camp. “Now it’s the real thing and time to get going. I don’t know how to explain it, but you just feel better. You feel that work you put in, and you feel faster getting to pucks and taking advantage of opportunities.

“It’s good to see the work pay off, but it’s just the beginning. I’m excited to be where we’re at and now it’s just time to get going.”

The one big question is where he'll will fit into the mix up front. Beleskey could be a quick fix for a top-6 left wing spot if Jake DeBrusk struggles out of the gate with David Krejci, but it looks like he’s destined to start on the bottom-6 until he shows that his offensive game is all the way back. Beleskey skated at left wing on the third line with Ryan Spooner and David Backes at Tuesday’s practice ahead of opening night, and that’s the kind of spot where he’s likely to begin the season.

No matter where he’s positioned to start the season, the good news is that the Beleskey of two years ago looks to be back with his pounding physicality, high energy and offense that’s a little better than you might expect.


Morning Skate: Bruins troll Felger for lack of confidence

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Morning Skate: Bruins troll Felger for lack of confidence

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the Bruins are going into troll mode.

*Here is the aforementioned “troll mode” for the Bruins now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth. They came out with a marketing campaign where they’re dragging FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Felger for his early season take that the Bruins season is over. He also ripped the young players at the beginning of the year as well, so they used the sound from “Felger and Mazz” with video clips of David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy dominating for the Black and Gold, and shots of the young players mean mugging at the camera. It definitely shows that the Bruins perhaps care a little too much about what the media thinks about them, but it’s also a fair bit of clap-back toward a take that was a little too harsh on the B’s early in the season.

*What a great piece on the Stoneman Douglas hockey team as they embark on a national hockey tournament after winning at the state level in the weeks after the Parkland shooting.

*Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman says the Hawks aren’t shaken even as they’ll be missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time. What a disappointing season.

*Despite a great season, Taylor Hall may end up missing the playoffs with the New Jersey Devils amidst his Hart Trophy-type season.

*Good news for the Toronto Maple Leafs as Auston Matthews is returning from injury ahead of the playoffs

*For something completely different: This new, updated version of the Karate Kid web series looks awesome with Billy Zabka and Ralph Macchio.



Cassidy eyeing possible Bergeron return this weekend

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Cassidy eyeing possible Bergeron return this weekend

Bruins star center Patrice Bergeron has been dealing with a fractured foot injury since late February. He sustained the injury while blocking a shot in the loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Coach Bruce Cassidy is predicting a return for Bergeron this weekend against the Minnesota Wild if he is medically cleared. He will be evaluated tomorrow.

Depending on the results from the evaluation, there might not even be a need to rush Bergeron back with the Bruins clinching a playoff berth in a 2-1 OT loss to the Blues yesterday evening.

MORE BRUINS: Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues​

The Bruins currently sit six points behind the Tampa Bay Lighting for first place in the Atlantic Division. Ten games currently remain on the B’s schedule with the Presidents' Trophy also hanging in the balance.

If the B’s decide to make a run for the Presidents' Trophy, Bergeron would definitely provide a boost in play in addition to leadership for the final stretch of the regular season.