The Bruins and their fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Matt Grzelcyk is feeling OK after leaving Monday's game against the Islanders with what appeared to be some sort of arm injury.
Grzelcyk was back on the ice for Wednesday's practice, in his usual spot on the second defense pair with Brandon Carlo. He and coach Bruce Cassidy both said after practice that they anticipate he'll be good to go for Thursday's home opener against the Flyers, with Grzelcyk saying he feels "pretty close to 100 percent."
Grzelcyk is a critical part of the Bruins' post-Zdeno Chara, post-Torey Krug defense. After playing 18:04 per game last season (fifth among Boston's defensemen) Grzelcyk averaged 23:10 in the first two games this season (second behind only Charlie McAvoy) before being limited to 13:25 Monday because of the injury.
He has proven to be up to the challenge, as he has played well in his own zone, on breakouts and in transition, and currently has a 58.3 Corsi-for percentage. Grzelcyk has also taken over Krug's role as the quarterback of the first power-play unit, helping the group score two power-play goals in the season-opener.
The other piece of encouraging news Wednesday is that David Pastrnak, as anticipated, was on the ice for practice in a non-contact jersey. There's still no date for when Pastrnak might be ready to play in a game, but it could be in the next week or two.
Cassidy said Pastrnak will remain in a no-contact jersey through the end of this week and that the hope is that he'll be able to start doing contact drills next week. They'll evaluate how close he is to playing once that happens.
Ondrej Kase, meanwhile, was not on the ice and remains out with an upper-body injury suffered in Saturday's game against the Devils. Cassidy said there is currently no timetable for his return.
The Bruins' lines and pairings at Wednesday's practice were unchanged from Monday, and it seems likely that is how they will line up for Thursday's home opener against the Flyers.
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Jake DeBrusk
Nick Ritchie - David Krejci - Jack Studnicka
Anders Bjork - Charlie Coyle - Craig Smith
Trent Frederic - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner
Jeremy Lauzon - Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk - Brandon Carlo
Jakub Zboril - Kevan Miller