BOSTON – So the Bruins are saying there’s a chance.
Matt Grzelcyk is still technically under the concussion protocol for the Bruins after getting knocked out of Game 2 with a nasty hit from behind courtesy of Oskar Sundqvist, but he returned to the B’s practice ice on Wednesday morning at TD Garden. Grzelcyk was wearing a red no-contact sweater at practice, but hasn’t been ruled out of a return for Game 5 with a chance that he might be cleared to play ahead of the pivotal Cup Final home game vs. the Blues.
It’s been about a week since Grzelcyk suffered the concussion that got Sundqvist suspended for a game, and he missed each of the last two games in St. Louis while working out on his own back in Boston. He also worked in some power-play drills while skating with the team, which adds some optimism to the possibility he might be able to make a return on Thursday night.
“Grzelcyk skated today, red jersey. He’s still on the protocol,” said Cassidy. “If he gets cleared then he’ll be ready to go. Whether that’s by tomorrow or not I can’t tell you. That’s probably the best I can give you right now. The [injured] guys that are skating are obviously closer [to a return]. Seeing [Grzelcyk] out there today gives you confidence that he’s close.”
Grzelcyk also spoke with the media following Wednesday’s practice, which further raises the speculation that he might be ready to play for Game 5. That would spare the Bruins being forced to throw a young player like Urho Vaakanainen to the wolves or asking too much of a spare defenseman like Steve Kampfer.
“I’m feeling good. It was obviously nice to join back with the team,” said Grzelcyk. “It was nice to be out there and take some reps on the ice. The league handled the hit, so I’d rather not comment on that.”
The 25-year-old Grzelcyk has three goals and seven points along with a minus-2 rating in 19 playoff games and has averaged 16:22 of ice time as an efficient, puck-moving bottom pair defenseman in these playoffs. The numbers aren’t overwhelming, but his quick skating and accomplished puck-moving can be a big strength against a Blues team that’s relying on heavy hits, pressure and aggressiveness to slow down the Bruins attack.
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