Back on July 1st when the Bruins locked up then free agent Matt Beleskey I championed the signing. The money was fair for a guy showing all the signs of being a ideal “Bruins” player. He came to Boston from beautiful Southern California to cash huge checks and fill the left wing slot on the Bruins top line. He is Milan Lucic’s replacement no matter how people want to phrase it. That makes tonight a big opportunity for Beleskey.
The red flags are there. He’s only scored 20+ goals once. He’s only stayed healthy enough to play at least 70 games in a season once. And he’s already 27. Also, Beleskey didn’t have the best preseason statistically. In fact he didn’t score a single goal. But I wouldn’t go as far as to say he had a pedestrian showing. He was skating hard, establishing a good forecheck, and throwing the body around nicely. All while adjusting to new linemates David Krejci and David Pastrnak. But that’s not enough. He has to score.
Starting tonight the games count. Now all the people who were sad to see Lucic go will be fixated on Beleskey and critical of his every move. But the Garden will be full of energy and being part of the new look Bruins should put the extra jump in his step. I think we’ll be pleased with what we see out of him tonight. If he can block out thoughts of criticism waiting to be thrown upon him should he falter in a huge hockey market, he’ll be fine. Krejci likes to dish and sauce it everywhere, Pasta loves to shoot, leaving plenty of rebounds in the dirty depths for Beleskey to pound home. And oh boy, what it would do for him if he pounded one in tonight.
Nothing would be better for Beleskey than having a strong performance tonight right out of the gate to keep those doubters from ever speaking up.