BRIGHTON, Mass – It would seem Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy has seized the attention of the Boston Bruins with some bold lineup moves a month into the season.
One of Cassidy’s lineup choices was starting rookie netminder Jeremy Swayman in back-to-back games and he responded with a strong weekend winning both contests and stopped 54 of the 58 shots he faced for an outstanding .931 save percentage. The other was sitting defenseman Mike Reilly up in the press box for a couple of games after some soft play in the defensive zone, and inserting former first round pick Jakub Zboril into the lineup for the two wins.
Zboril has been solid with an assist and three shots on net while averaging 16 plus minutes of ice time in the back-to-back games, and Reilly has been getting the birds eye view from the press box with Bruins assistant coach Kevin Dean.
Cassidy admitted that with a young defensemen group there may be more “of a teaching element” than in year’s past with the players, and that appears to have started this week with the 28-year-old Reilly, who arrived at last spring’s trade deadline.
“He has to work hard to get back on pucks and be clean on the breakout. He has to play more north,” said Bruce Cassidy. “I think he’s having a tendency to go back, circle back and circle back where the forwards spacing so far ahead that we lose our attack. Two big things I noticed when he first got here last year was his neutral zone transition first pass where he got the puck up in a hurry and all of a sudden we’re going. We appear faster because the puck was moving quick.
“This year he’s had a tendency to drag the puck back way too often. I think he has to get back on his fair share of pucks as well. I think he’s leaving some of that dirty work to his partner too often when it’s his turn. Like some players it will be a good week of work here and then get back at it because he’s a good player that’s going to help us win games. But I’ve got to tell you that Jakub Zboril has worked hard to stay ready, and that’s a good sign for him. That’s a good pro.”
Cassidy indicated that Reilly would get back into the lineup this weekend against the Flyers and that Zboril is also going to play after looking solid in the wins over the Devils and the Canadiens. That could mean a similar trip upstairs for Connor Clifton, who has struggled with one point and a minus-4 in 11 games this season, and a move to the right side for the versatile Zboril.