Boston Bruins: Matt Beleskey Reportedly Returning Against Blackhawks
Boston Bruins: Matt Beleskey Reportedly Returning Against Blackhawks on Friday Night
According to Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe, Matt Beleskey is likely to return Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Beleskey was ruled out of the Boston Bruins’ lineup for six weeks on Dec. 5 with a right knee injury, and it now appears that he’s healthy enough to return. The team confirmed this report shortly thereafter.
Per Dupont, Beleskey practiced on the Bruins fourth line Friday morning alongside Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik. The Bruins are likely easing Beleskey back into the thick of things, and he’ll certainly have a tough matchup in his first game back against the powerhouse Blackhawks.
Line in prax: Beleskey-Moore-Czarnik.
— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) January 20, 2017
There’s no denying that Beleskey has struggled this season. In 24 games, he’s only scored two goals and five points and carries a minus-6 rating. He’s been less physical than he’s typically known for, which has been the most noticeable missing factor from his game. Still, Beleskey looks to turn his season around starting with Friday’s game against Chicago.
Last season, Beleskey did exactly what was expected of him in the Bruins lineup. He scored 15 goals – second only to his career-high 22 goals a season prior, he played in 80 games, recorded a career-high 37 points, and above all, was a physical entity. Beleskey plays with a snarl to his game, and he could be exactly what the Bruins need this year to re-inject some energy into a team that desperately needs it. Before the Bruins make any drastic changes, they’d be wise to see what they have with Beleskey first. He’s shown that he can shine in their system – it’s just a matter of doing it again.
The Bruins currently sit in a playoff spot, but that has been widely attributed to the number of games they’ve played. The Bruins lead the league with 48 games played, and given the current trajectory of teams below them in the standings like the Toronto Maple Leafs, a third-consecutive missed playoff berth is possible. This has led to panic about whether Claude Julien should be fired, or remain as the coach in a time of panic. Beleskey could play a role in a turn around for the Bruins should he be able to turn his own season around first.