Bruins notebook

Bruins not getting free passes from coach on shootouts

Brad Marchand overskated the puck on a shootout attempt Monday, sealing the Bruins’ 6-5 loss to the Flyers.
Brad Marchand overskated the puck on a shootout attempt Monday, sealing the Bruins’ 6-5 loss to the Flyers.Derik Hamilton/associated press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Bruins are a tight group. Brad Marchand is chief of chirps in the room. He dishes it out and takes it in kind.

Can his teammates give it to him about Monday’s duffed shootout attempt?

“Appropriate timing,” said Torey Krug, smiling. “Not yet. We’ll work on it.”

While Krug ponders how he might land the next blow in his long-running social media war with his teammate, Marchand’s confidence didn’t appear to have dipped. Tuesday afternoon, knowing his flubbed puck pickup Monday was making headlines, he tweeted a photo of himself kissing the Stanley Cup in 2011, with a winking emoji.


Meanwhile, his coach was wondering about how he might manage his shooters the next time the Bruins are in that position.

The Bruins fell to 0-7 in the shootout Monday in Philadelphia, by far the worst mark in the league. Next worst: Ottawa and St. Louis, both 0-3. The Bruins are 4 for 30 on shootout attempts, and their best players have struggled.

David Pastrnak is one of several Bruins who have had issues when it comes to shootouts.
David Pastrnak is one of several Bruins who have had issues when it comes to shootouts.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

David Pastrnak, the league’s leading goal scorer, is 1 for 6. Pastrnak has 36 goals, two more than second-place Auston Matthews . Marchand, one of the premier puckhandlers in the league, has scored at a 35-goal pace over the last four-plus seasons. He has zero shootout goals in seven attempts, and his game-ending graze at center ice made headlines across hockey.

“Just one of those things that happens once a year. It happened to him,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said before the Bruins lost to the Blue Jackets, 3-0. “I’m not thinking twice about that. We had four other opportunities we didn’t score on. We’ve had six other shootouts we haven’t scored much in. It was just one of those plays that happens once in a blue moon.”

The coach said he is considering lineup changes, but didn’t commit to them. He has used eight players in shootouts, including the aforementioned stars and Charlie Coyle (2 for 7), Chris Wagner (1 for 3), Jake DeBrusk (0 for 3), David Krejci (0 for 2), and Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy (both 0 for 1).


“As soon as it’s over, you’re thinking, ‘I’m using three defensemen next time, screw it,’ ” Cassidy said. “I just find it hard to go away from your best players in those situations, guys that typically score. At some point, you do need to mix it up.”

One possible adjustment: Cassidy said players have been deking more than shooting on breakaways and shootout attempts. He has been trying to coax several of his charges to shoot more during regular play, too.

Grzelcyk benched

Imagine this scenario: Five years from now, Matt Grzelcyk has carved out a role as the left-side partner to McAvoy on Boston’s No. 1 defensive pair.

If that seems surprising, it shouldn’t.

Grzelcyk, 26, has developed well in his third full season under Cassidy, the only pro coach he has known. He sees regular shifts with McAvoy on the second power-play unit and occasionally at 5 on 5. Though 5 feet 9 inches, he is an excellent skater with a sharp stick, two qualities that help him thwart rushes and transport pucks out of the zone. He makes a strong first pass and is improving as a shooter. More ice time is in his future.

But Cassidy, rankled over a blown three-goal lead in Monday’s shootout loss at Philadelphia, sent a message that mistakes will not be permitted. He made Grzelcyk a healthy scratch for the first time since last January, when he let John Moore take a turn.


This time, Cassidy didn’t sit Grzelcyk to keep Steven Kampfer warm. He also wasn’t managing Grzelcyk’s leg injury from Saturday against the Islanders.

“No,” Cassidy said bluntly. “He didn’t play well enough.”

Matt Grzelcyk was a healthy scratch against Columbus.
Matt Grzelcyk was a healthy scratch against Columbus.Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Grzelcyk, who declined to discuss the move when approached by a Globe reporter, didn’t see the ice for the final 10:35 of the 6-5 loss at Philly, including overtime. He was on the ice for two critical goals in Philadelphia’s comeback, after which an irritated Cassidy described the team’s performance as “unprofessional” in the latter half of the game. Grzelcyk was outworked by Flyers forwards on both goals against, and swatted a clearing attempt toward Jaroslav Halak before Travis Sanheim potted the loose puck for the tying goal.

Cassidy was pointing fingers at defenseman and forwards — noting the latter group’s habit of circling away from the action — to take care of the front of the net.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest guy or the smallest guy,” Cassidy said. “You’ve got to have a good stick, get under people, battle people, so the goaltender can find the puck, see the puck, freeze the puck.”

Also not dressing Tuesday were Par Lindholm and David Backes.

Grand achievements

If Tuukka Rask’s concussion forces him to miss more time, the Bruins could call up Providence starter Max Lagace (14-6-2, .915 save percentage, 2.49 goals against average in 23 games). The Bruins are off Wednesday and face Pittsburgh on Thursday at TD Garden. It’s unlikely Halak would start a third game in a row, given his back-to-back workload Monday and Tuesday. He could take the net Sunday at Pittsburgh . . . Before the game, the Bruins announced plans to honor Rask, Halak, and Zdeno Chara in upcoming pregame ceremonies. Rask (Thursday) and Halak (Jan. 21 against Vegas) will be celebrated for playing their 500th games. The Bruins will applaud Chara for his 1,000th as a Bruin on Feb. 8 against Arizona . . . After the morning skate, ex-Bruin Riley Nash, in his second season with the Blue Jackets, met with several old teammates and friendly staffers outside the visitors’ dressing room. At 13:05 of the third period, Nash scored his fourth goal of the season, this one unassisted, giving the Blue Jackets a 3-0 lead . . . Kampfer skated 16:02 and landed two shots . . . Brett Ritchie landed a team-high five hits, and his linemates Coyle and Danton Heinen combined for eight shots.


Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattyports.