In this edition of Boston Bruins News & Rumors, there is plenty of speculation as to whether or not Patrice Bergeron played his final game with the organization on Saturday night, in what was a Game 7 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Meanwhile, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety (DoPS) issued a $5,000 fine to Charlie McAvoy for a trip on defenceman Brady Skjei. In other news, defenceman Matt Grzelcyk was held out of the lineup for Games 6 and 7, reportedly due to an injury.
Bergeron’s Future Up in Air
Heading into the 2021-22 season, there was plenty of speculation surrounding Bergeron’s future, as he was in the final year of his contract. Now, with the Bruins’ recent elimination, those questions have picked up even more so. The 36-year-old was asked about exactly that on Saturday night, but said it was too soon to make a decision. Long-time teammate Brad Marchand, however, made it clear he has earned the right to take some time and reflect on his future.
“He’s the backbone of our team, obviously the biggest part of our team,” Marchand said. “Whatever happens, he’s earned the right to make whatever decision he wants and take the time he needs. I guess time will tell.”
Despite getting up there in age, Bergeron remains one of the games elite two-way forwards. He is considered a Selke Trophy favorite once again after a 2021-22 season which saw him record 25 goals and 65 points in 73 games. All 1216 games of his fantastic NHL career have come with the Bruins.
McAvoy Fined for Trip
This year’s first-round series against the Hurricanes was a whirlwind for McAvoy. The young blueliner was shockingly scratched for Game 4 of the series after it was announced that he was placed in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Now, exactly a week later, the NHL’s DoPS has chosen to fine the 24-year-old $5,000 for tripping Skjei in Game 7.
While they are calling the incident a trip, it was very clear to anyone watching that the incident was an ugly slew foot delivered by McAvoy. There was no call at the time of the play, as neither official saw what had happened, but it’s hard to argue with the decision made by the DoPS here.
Grzelcyk Battled Injuries Throughout Season
To say the first-round against the Hurricanes didn’t go the way Grzelcyk had hoped would be an understatement. The 28-year-old struggled through the first five games of the series, and as a result found himself in the press box for Games 6 and 7. However, according to his head coach in Bruce Cassidy, injuries could be to blame for his rough series.
“Grizz is playing through a little bit of stuff, we know that. He has been throughout the year,” Cassidy said heading into Game 5. “We’ve given him certain nights to recover and we just feel that now is one of those times that we’re gonna do that again.”
Not having Grezlcyk on the back end for the final two games of the series was tough for the Bruins, as he averaged nearly 19 minutes in ice time per game throughout the regular season. Hopefully the offseason will give him the time he needs to get better so that he can be fully healthy entering training camp this coming Fall.
Up Next for the Bruins
With their elimination at the hands of the Hurricanes, the Bruins now face a long offseason with plenty of questions. The main one of course will be the future of Bergeron, though they have some other pending free agents as well in players like Curtis Lazar, Anton Blidh, Josh Brown and Jakub Zboril. It will be interesting to see just how different this roster could potentially look heading into the 2022-23 campaign.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.