Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Sep 24, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Bruins left wing A.J. Greer (10) and Philadelphia Flyers right wing Hayden Hodgson (42) fight during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

  • A second-round pick of the Avalanche back in 2015, it’s taken A.J. Greer over seven years to put himself in the driver’s seat of a potentially full-time NHL role.

    But it’s always a role that Greer, who continues to look like a lock to make the Bruins’ Opening Night roster, knew would come so long as he stuck with it.

    “Honestly, yeah,” Greer said if he saw this moment coming for himself. “Like, I wouldn’t say right now and at this moment, I couldn’t predict that, but I always knew that it was going to come. That’s why I stayed ready. It’s a tough game when you’re up and down for the last six years and it doesn’t seem like there’s much hope. You know, you have a bad year or you have a couple of bad games and then you think that your NHL dreams are over. But it’s really those who persist that have success.

    “And I think it’s mentally really frustrating at times, but again, I always was a hard worker and I always was someone who had to grind my way out to places when I was young and up until now. So I never really gave up. And I knew that I had the ability to do it and I had to be ready once that time came.”

    Through two appearances this fall (and set to make his third appearance Monday night in New Jersey), Greer has two goals, six shots on goal, 10 hits, and a fight (in defense of a teammate) to his name. Jim Montgomery has outright said that Greer’s done everything he can to show that he belongs.

    And with the Bruins playing the Devils tonight, I had to ask Greer, just why didn’t this happen for him with the Devils? Especially after a point-per-game year with their AHL club in 2021-22.

    “I can’t answer that,” Greer told me. “I think personally, I was very happy with my year. Really, really happy. The organization was really happy. My coaches and everyone around me was ecstatic with how I was playing down there. Not only was I putting points up, but I was playing on the penalty kill really well. Defensively, I was very good. Yeah, I can’t answer that question.”

    Greer also knows I’m not the first person to ask that question.

    “You know, I keep getting the same question over and over about, ‘Oh, why haven’t you made it to the NHL? Oh, why haven’t you made an impact there?’ Well, you look at these players, these first-round picks or whatever, who have played in the league for two, three years, and they haven’t blossomed and then they’ll blossom in their fourth or fifth year,” Greer offered. “It happens all the time. Try to do that when it’s your sixth, seventh year and you get 10 [to] 15 games here and there with four or five minutes of ice time. It’s gonna take a while.”

    To Greer’s point, the Devils gave him nine games last year. And during that nine-game run, Greer played over ten minutes just once. Coincidentally, that game, which maxed out at 12:08, also featured Greer’s first and only goal of the season.

    “It’s just a matter of being comfortable and having trust,” Greer admitted. “That’s the biggest thing here. You see me playing with so much passion, energy, and being comfortable. And it’s because I feel that trust within the locker room. I feel that trust within the management and the coaches.”

    An example of that trust comes with Greer’s new boss admitting that he doesn’t believe in a single-digit night truly maximizing any player’s game.

    “I think you gotta play anyone more than eight minutes a night if you want to get the most out of them,” Montgomery said. “Your fourth line, you’d like them to play somewhere between 10 to 12 minutes. And I’m not saying he’s going to play fourth line, but I think every player needs a little bit of rhythm in the game.”

    The great wrench that can get thrown into those plans come with penalties. Montgomery admitted that sometimes a player can get lost if they don’t involve themselves in the power play or penalty kill, or if the coaches don’t trust them in one of those roles. The Bruins have already utilized Greer in a killing role this preseason, and they’ll add power-play duties to his game tonight, with Greer expected to skate in a net-front power-play role for the Bruins on Monday.

    Consider it just another step towards Greer fulfilling his own personal timeline towards an NHL gig.

    “I knew I had that that tenacity and that skill and that that level of play that it’s going to get me here,” said Greer. “I think that everyone has a timeline and certain timelines are different than others. But at the end of the day, you just can’t give up.”

  • Czech it out

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - FEBRUARY 27: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with David Krejci #46 after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars during the third period at TD Garden on February 27, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Stars 4-3. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – FEBRUARY 27: David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins celebrates with David Krejci after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars at TD Garden on February 27, 2020. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • With Taylor Hall considered week-to-week with an upper-body injury, there’s been talk of the Bruins dropping Pavel Zacha down to the second line with David Krejci and David Pastrnak.

    That would give the Bruins an all-Czech line — I refuse to say Czeching line, and to those of you who do, have you no shame? — which would be a definite first for the B’s throughout Krejci’s time in town.

    “The communication obviously would be a little bit different, maybe not easier but different, just saying [anything] in one language,” Krejci said. “If Pavel’s gonna get a shot, then obviously we have to talk. But I like what I see. I know what kind of player he is, played against him for many years.

    “Hopefully the chemistry’s gonna be there, that’s all you can ask for.”

    Zacha, who had been skating with Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk prior to Hall’s injury, put up a career-high 36 points with the Devils last season.

  • Follow your Nos

    Apr 5, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek (17) blocks a shot for goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) and Boston Bruins left wing Tomas Nosek (92)ref10 in the first period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 5, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek blocks a shot for goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic and Bruins left wing Tomas Nosek at Little Caesars Arena. (Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports)

  • Monday in New Jersey will come with a slight lineup tweak for the Bruins, as Tomas Nosek will move from center to left wing on Boston’s third line with Joona Koppanen and Oskar Steen.

    The move isn’t about Nosek as much as it is getting a look at Koppanen at center, according to the Bruins, but a strong showing from the veteran Nosek could certainly go a long way in a jam-packed camp competition for bottom-six minutes.

    “I don’t know exactly when but we’re going to get down to our numbers here shortly, so the time to impress is right now in these next two games especially,” Montgomery said. “As much as you guys are intrigued to see who the third or fourth line guys are going to be that are going to establish themselves as Bruins this year, so are we. And that’s why we’re giving them ample opportunity.”

  • The latest on Matt Grzelcyk

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 06: Matt Grzelcyk #48 of the Boston Bruins looks on during overtime of the preseason game against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden on October 06, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 06: Matt Grzelcyk #48 of the Boston Bruins looks on during overtime of a game against the Washington Capitals at TD Garden on October 06, 2021. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • The Bruins were given some encouraging news on the Matt Grzelcyk front on Monday, as the 5-foot-9 defenseman took his next step forward in his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery and joined his teammates in a non-contact sweater.

    And the good news extended beyond the actual visual of Grzelcyk on the ice.

    “I think he’s slightly ahead of schedule as far as the reports I’ve heard,” Montgomery said of Grzelcyk’s status. “Today was his first day with the group as it was scheduled to be, and he’s non-contact. I don’t know how long he’s non-contact, but right now he’s non-contact.”

    Grzelcyk, who dealt with the shoulder injury from January on, totaled four goals and 24 points along with a career-best plus-22 rating, in 73 games with the Bruins last season.

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