Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was ejected from the Bruins-Capitals game on Saturday with 1:47 left in the first period.
Grzelcyk received a five-minute spearing major and game misconduct after sticking Washington Capitals winger Max Pacioretty in the nether regions. Pacioretty went down in pain and had to be helped off the ice.
Matt Grzelcyk gets 5 and a game for spearing Max Pacioretty 😳 pic.twitter.com/BHotfowII1
— Gino Hard (@GinoHard_) February 10, 2024
Just before Grzelcyk inexplicably did what he did, Pacioretty came in a bit high and from behind the Boston Bruins defenseman along the Bruins’ endboards. Was this retaliation?
It didn’t matter because, after a review, Grzelcyk was gone from the game, and the Bruins were tasked with killing off a five-minute powerplay for the Capitals. Pacioretty returned for the second period, and to rub salt in the wound for the Bruins, the former Montreal Canadiens winger grabbed the primary assist on TJ Oshie’s ninth goal of the season that put the Capitals up 1-0 just 1:05 into the second period. The Bruins would not allow another goal on that Capitals’ powerplay, but the Bruins still trailed 1-0 and were being out-shot 23-8 after two periods of play.
Things haven’t gone as planned this season for Matt Grzelcyk. In addition to this forgetful moment, the injury bug has already hit him at the worst possible time. The 30-year-old defenseman from Charlestown, MA, is playing on an expiring four-year, $14.7 million ($3.6M AAV) contract and is easily having his worst season since becoming a full-time NHLer in the 2017-18 season. Through 30 games played, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound puck-moving defenseman has just two goals and four assists and has a plus-minus of +3. He’s had a stretch of 13 games without a point and 18 without a goal.
This comes after the best season of his career last season when he had four goals and 26 assists in 70 games and finished second in the NHL in plus-minus at a +46 rating, trailing only teammate and fellow Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm who finished at +49. Despite the fact that he was coming off his best NHL season, Grzelcyk came into the 2023-24 season on an expiring contract and can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. However, that’s not what’s been dragging him down or distracting him. Instead, it’s been the dose of Murphy’s Law he’s experienced on the health front. Grezelcyk missed ten games between Oct. 30 and Nov. 25 and then three more between Dec. 19 and 30.