Matt Grzelcyk’s ‘local boy makes good’ story just keeps getting better. Hailing from Charlestown, Boston’s oldest neighborhood, which sits a short walk from the Garden, and wrapping up a successful four-year run on the Boston University Terriers’ blue line this past spring, the 22-year-old “Griz” was in familiar territory for his Thursday night Bruins home debut against the Anaheim Ducks.
Drafted by the Bruins with the 85th selection in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Grzelcyk’s local roots run deep. His father John is one of the Bull Gang which gets the Garden ice ready for games and was on the job the day of his son’s Garden debut as he has been for close to five decades. After watching the younger Grzelcyk’s NHL introduction the previous evening on television against the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins in Pittsburgh, John enjoyed this one in person.
Grzelcyk’s Boston hockey history is even richer than that. Growing up attending Bruins home games in an up-close and personal way with his father, he went on to captain the BU squad as a junior and senior. He made the national spotlight in early 2015 when he scored the winning OT goal in the championship game to help the Terriers take home their 30th Beanpot Tournament title. He was named the tournament’s MVP.
In both of his final seasons at BU, Grzelcyk was named a Hockey East First Team All-Star. Tim Brennan in his excellent Prospect Watch piece on Grzelyck details his rise through the ranks of Boston hockey deftly, as well as highlighting other aspects of his game.
The Game: Ups and Downs
The Bruins 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night had its ups and downs for Grzelcyk, who earned 10:24 of playing time and was on the ice for Austin Czarnik’s first-period goal. He missed out on a good chance for a goal that he couldn’t sneak past Duck netminder Jonathan Bernier and manned the point during an expiring Bruins power play that Kevin Bieksa turned into a breakaway goal as he left the penalty box.
In all, it was an eventful second NHL game and we shall see if this two-game body of work translates into a continued stay with the big club for the intuitive, offensively-inclined rearguard whose smallish 5’10”, 176 pound frame, as well as his cerebral and fearlessly competitive two-way game, has drawn comparisons to teammate Torey Krug. With his deep Boston roots and history of success, a stay in Boston instead of returning to Providence would help to further build his local legacy.