Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk has been fined $5K for spearing Capitals winger Max Pacioretty late in the first period of Saturday’s game, the NHL Department of Player Safety announced Sunday. The fine is the maximum allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and comes after Grzelcyk was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct on the play, sidelining him for the last two periods of the game.
The incident occurring in the first period is likely why DoPS opted for a fine rather than a one-game suspension, given that Grzelcyk missed just over two full periods as part of the penalties assessed at the time. This is the first time Grzlecyk has received supplemental discipline of any kind in his eight-year, 420-game NHL career.
It’s been a trying season for Grzelcyk, whose 0.18 points-per-game pace is the lowest of his NHL career (excluding his two-game showing in 2016-17). The 30-year-old is still logging top-pairing minutes at even strength alongside Charlie McAvoy, controlling 55.3% of expected goals when on the ice together, per MoneyPuck. A lack of any notable special teams time has kept his average ice time below 19 minutes per game for the third straight season.
Other updates from the Eastern Conference:
- Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk will remain sidelined due to illness Sunday against the Canucks, head coach Spencer Carbery said (via Tarik El-Bashir of Monumental Sports Network). The 32-year-old also missed yesterday’s win over Boston and has only appeared in four out of Washington’s last nine games due to illness and a handful of healthy scratches. Now in the first year of a hefty three-year, $9MM extension that makes him a UFA in 2026, van Riemsdyk has eight assists and a -11 rating in 40 games and has seen his possession metrics nosedive from last season’s strong two-way performance. His average ice time (18:30) is also down from last season’s 19:04, and although he should have a more regular role in the lineup if the Capitals move out Joel Edmundson by the deadline as rumored, this year hasn’t been a strong indication that van Riemsdyk will provide much value for his $3MM cap hit as he enters his mid-30s.
- The Canadiens moved winger Rafaël Harvey-Pinard to injured reserve Sunday, according to the NHL’s media portal. The 25-year-old left Saturday’s game against the Stars with a lower-body injury and will now miss a minimum of seven days, ruling him out of Montreal’s next four games. The diminutive winger has seen his ice time dip to exclusively bottom-six minutes since the middle of January and has missed a combined 27 games this season with previous lower-body injuries. A seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft, Harvey-Pinard has one goal and seven points in his 24 showings this season.