The Boston Bruins are set to begin the 2022-23 regular season with a 1-2 punch of Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle up the middle and veteran winger Brad Marchand and head coach Jim Montgomery are confident the two centers can handle the task ahead.
No one will ever replace Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, but the Boston Bruins think Zacha and Coyle can form a formidable top-six duo in the middle. Part of that belief comes from the now-retired Bergeron and Krejci’s influence on their successors.
“They’re both great players,” Brad Marchand told Boston Hockey Now this past Thursday. “I think what I love about both guys is Coyle is so strong on the puck, and he’s such a dominant player down low. That’s very similar to how we (Bergeron and Marchand) played as a line, so I think I’ll match up really well with him if we’re together. ‘Zachs’ (Zacha) is very, very smart.
They’re both really good two-way players; I think that’s something that maybe they’re both underrated in a bit and how defensively responsible they are. They’re good positionally, good on the back check, in the corners, winning battles. So, they both have an element of Bergy’s game where, you know, they can create a lot of offense from their defense responsibilities, and it’s something we’ll be relying upon.”
The Boston Bruins got a small sample of Charlie Coyle and Pavel Zacha manning the top six center slots in games three and four against the Florida Panthers last spring. They averaged 12 minutes and 59 seconds in those two games and Coyle scored a goal. Bruins Head Coach Jim Montgomery has faith they can handle more minutes and get the job done for the Bruins.
“They both can handle a lot of minutes,” Montgomery pointed out. “Both of them are coming into believing who they are and how they need to play, regardless of who they’re playing with, of how they bring success to the Bruins, and how they impact games at both ends of the ice. So we’re really comfortable, especially after seeing them in big games in games three and four play 19 to 20 minutes and play as well as they did. Now, I’m hoping they don’t have to play 20 minutes a night, but we know they can handle that, you know, and that they can handle all three zones of work.”