Mike Reilly was such a steady, reliable player for the Bruins last season after arriving in Boston at the trade deadline.
But some of those things that he did so well have too often disappeared this season, and for that reason he has played himself out of the lineup — for now.
Reilly was a healthy scratch Saturday for the Bruins’ win over the New Jersey Devils. Jakub Zboril will stay in for Sunday night’s meeting with the Montreal Canadiens, meaning Reilly will be a mere spectator for the second straight game.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy fairly clearly laid out where things had gone wrong with Reilly.
“He has to work to get back on pucks and be clean on the breakout,” Cassidy told reporters after Sunday’s morning skate. “He has to be more north, he’s had a tendency this year to circle back and circle back and now the forwards are basically so far ahead we lose any attack. One of his strengths of his game last year, the two big things I noticed when he got here was his neutral zone transition and first pass. He got the puck out in a hurry and all of the sudden we’re going. So, we appear faster because the puck is moving quicker. This year, he’s having a tendency to drag it back way too often.
“He has to get back on his fair share of pucks, as well. He’s leaving some of that dirty work to his partner too often when it’s his turn. And then I think his O-zone blue line has been OK. … His execution up there when he plays up there, is not happening as much as last year, and that’s part of the offensive side that we want from him. That was relayed to him (Saturday).”
Reilly is a good player, it just seems he lost his way a little bit in recent games. With time, he’ll get back on track, but sometimes players just need the wake-up call.