Zach Senyshyn has been gearing up for this moment for a while.
The Boston Bruins winger prospect, a 2015 first-round pick, has a mere six games on his NHL resume. Senyshyn’s last call-up looked good, but an injury in mid-November of 2019 shortened his time with the big club, and he never managed to get called back up — until now.
When the B’s host the New York Rangers on Thursday, Senyshyn will be in the lineup, skating on the fourth line right wing with Sean Kuraly opposite him and Jack Studnicka between them.
Senyshyn over the last few years has worked on rounding out his game and becoming a more complete two-way player, which is a big part of the reason he’s up right now.
“He’s certainly played a good two-way game down there,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after Thursday’s morning skate. “He’s killed some penalties, been on the power play. He’s scored, so he’s playing in all situations, which is good for his confidence. He’s probably at the stage of his career where he should be doing that, and that’s one of the reasons he’s here. He’s doing well down there.
“So the message to him is basically do what you do best and do what you’ve been doing, which is being assertive. I understand he’s been taking pucks to the net and he’s getting his shot to the net. Be effective if you’re F1 on the puck, creating some uncomfortableness for the D and play good hockey away from the puck. I don’t want to get too much in his head. They play fairly similar to us, there’s a few differences. We’ll sort of sort through those and give him his opportunity from there.”
The other side of things is Senyshyn’s attitude.
Providence head coach Jay Leach has raved about how good of a disposition Senyshyn has had, even as he’s seen his AHL teammates called up instead of him. Instead of griping, he put his head down and went to work, in turn becoming one of Providence’s most impactful forwards early on this season.
The benefit of that is not lost on Cassidy, a former Providence coach himself.
“It doesn’t help yourself to worry about things you can’t control,” Cassidy said. “Obviously, you leave here you’re probably going through different emotions. You’re disappointed, you could be angry. But if you let it affect your game, you’re probably not the guy coming back, right? I mean, there’s other players down there that have been here. But he outperformed those guys, that’s why he’s here and there’s an opportunity here.
“We are looking for better play out of our forward group, so he’s going to get his opportunity and we’ll see where it goes. But good on him. It shows the maturity level when you’re able to do that, and it’s good on the staff down there to get him to buy in that he will get an opportunity if he plays well, and both of those things have happened.”
Puck drop for Bruins-Rangers is set for 7 p.m. ET on NESN.