By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
It appears that the Bruins may have found their guy to replace defenseman Matt Grzelcyk in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues. It’s not surprising that John Moore is the leader in the clubhouse.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters after Friday’s practice that Moore is “probably” going in for Grzelcyk for Saturday’s Game 3. However a final decision won’t be made until Saturday.
Interestingly enough, 20-year-old blue liner Urho Vaakanainen is also among the players Cassidy is deciding on before the game. Vaakanainen skated on a pair with Steven Kampfer during Friday’s practice.
It’s wholly unrealistic that Vaakanainen, the Bruins’ 2017 first-round pick, would actually play in the Stanley Cup Final with just two total NHL games under his belt. But it shows how confident the Bruins are in the smooth-skating, defensively sound left-shot D-man to bring him to St. Louis as Grzelcyk’s depth replacement. He has a good chance to play his official rookie season in 2019-20, and be a key piece of the Bruins defense at that.
Maintenance Day for Bergeron
Cassidy also eased fears about Patrice Bergeron, who did not practice on Friday. It’s a maintenance day for Boston’s No. 1 center and he will play in Game 3. Karson Kuhlman skated in Bergeron’s place alongside Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
It’s obviously concerning that Bergeron had to sit out practice the day before Game 3 of the Cup Final. He and his line have not played to their capabilities through two games of the series. The hope is that the extra rest gives him a boost and the line can get back to its expectedly dominant ways as soon as Saturday.
The only question after Friday is who ultimately goes in for Grzelcyk. Moore is a left-shot defenseman with a similar skill set to Grzelcyk, so he’s the logical choice. Putting in the right-shot Kampfer with Connor Clifton wouldn’t be ideal.
Moore looks like the guy for Game 3, but we’ll have to wait until Saturday for an official announcement.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.