Bruins Notes: Brad Marchand Has Sound Advice For Pavel Zacha

Zacha likely will be on Boston's top line to start the season

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September 16, 2022

Brad Marchand won’t be ready to start the 2022-23 Boston Bruins season, but he’s making sure his newest teammate is as prepared as possible.

Pavel Zacha, who the Bruins traded for this summer just before NHL free agency, likely will slot on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk when the season starts next month. Zacha has yet to hit his ceiling, and it’s fair to wonder if playing alongside someone like Bergeron will elevate his game the way it did for DeBrusk when he was moved to the top line last season.

Marchand knows what it’s like to have Bergeron as his linemate. The two have incredible chemistry and always seem to know where the other is at all times. So, Marchand was more than happy to offer up some advice to Zacha.

“Just get open and you don’t have to back check. He’ll do that for you,” Marchand told reporters at Pine Hills Golf Course on Thursday, per the Bruins. “He’s gonna get so many pucks back, that’s one thing Bergy is so good at is creating opportunities from his position. Pucks always bounce off his stick or his skates.

“You have to be ready all the time when your team doesn’t have it because he creates so many turnovers. Zacha’s gonna be fine. He’s a great player, very smart. Just from playing against him positionally, similar to Bergy the way that he can read the ice, he’s gonna fit in great with that group.”

Zacha has been drawing high praise from his teammates throughout captains’ practice and it should give Bruins fans plenty of reasons to be optimistic. And if playing with Bergeron is what Zacha needs to take his game to the next level, that will spell bad news for Boston’s opponents.

Here are some other notes from captains’ practice and rookie camp:

— Fabian Lysell has been impressive ever since he was drafted by the Bruins in the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. The 19-year-old just wrapped up a successful World Juniors that saw Sweden win the bronze medal, and he was more than ready to get right back to work at Warrior Ice Arena this week.

“I think he’s already ahead of the curve in that department,” Providence Bruins head coach Ryan Mougenel told reporters on Lysell’s maturity, per the Bruins. “I asked him the other day, saw him in the hotel, and he was like, ‘I’m so excited to get to training camp.’ I was like, ‘You just stopped playing at World Juniors three weeks ago.’ That’s refreshing, to see guys love the game as much as he does. I’m excited for him.”

Lysell probably will start the season in the AHL, but new Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery didn’t rule out the possibility of him being on the top line if the young prospect can have a strong training camp.

— Jake DeBrusk was on the ice this week and spoke to reporters for the first time since rescinding his trade request. While he didn’t directly say if the move was related to the Bruins relieving Bruce Cassidy of his head-coaching duties, DeBrusk did mention it was an easy decision to make.

DeBrusk figures to rejoin Bergeron on the top line when the season starts — a place where he found success during the second half of 2021-22.

— David Pastrnak joined the Bruins for his first practice Friday. A big storyline facing the forward is his contract and whether an extension will get done sooner rather than later. Pastrnak is in the final year of his deal and can become a free agent after this season. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said over the summer that negotiations were “ongoing,” but nothing has been finalized.

His teammates all feel the same when it comes to keeping Pastrnak in Boston long-term.

“The team wants to get it done and has been very vocal about that. It’s something that we obviously want to happen, but we don’t need to add pressure. If he wants to bring it up, that’s kind of how you leave it,” Marchand told reporters. “If he wants to bring it up, then happy to talk about it. If not, give him the space. We all have to go through it. They’re stressful times. You don’t need guys adding to that stress level. We just need him to score goals for us, we don’t need to throw him off.”

— Matt Grzelcyk was on the ice Tuesday prior to captains’ practice. The defenseman underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason and won’t be ready to start the season, but getting back on the ice is a big step in his recovery.

— Speaking of big steps, Marchand told reporters Thursday he would begin skating for the first time since his double hip surgery on Friday. He did just that at Warrior Ice Arena. He’s hopeful to return in late November.

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Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images
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