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Saved from the bus, defenseman Mason Lohrei reports for duty with Bruins

After being one of the last preseason cuts to the roster, defenseman Mason Lohrei has returned to Boston and will be put right into the lineup to face Toronto Thursday night at TD Garden.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Mason Lohrei was about to hit the road for a five-hour trek to northeast Pennsylvania when he was saved by the bell.

The budding Bruins defenseman was scheduled to board a bus Tuesday to play for Providence when the varsity club called.

“We were packing the bus to go to Wilkes-Barre, and I filled up a cooler and was carrying it outside, and our equipment guy grabbed the cooler from me,” Lohrei said Wednesday. “He was like, ‘Hey, go into the coach’s office.’ ‘’

The phone call came just in time, too.

“So, it was 12:27 and the bus left at 12:30,” said Lohrei.


Lohrei was one of three defensemen called up from Providence, along with Ian Mitchell and Parker Wotherspoon.

The Bruins are shorthanded on the back end with Charlie McAvoy suspended for four games and Matt Grzelcyk out with an upper-body injury. In addition, Derek Forbort (lower body) is questionable for Thursday night’s home game against the Maple Leafs.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 195-pound Lohrei, who was one of the final summer cuts after a strong training camp, said the message from the coaching staff was pretty straightforward.

“Play simple, play fast, play within the system, you don’t need to force anything,” said Lohrei, who will play alongside Brandon Carlo.

Mason Lohrei (right) was a standout during Bruins training camp and just missed out on making the initial roster.Ken McGagh for The Boston Globe

Coach Jim Montgomery said there will be no easing Lohrei in; he’s going to have to jump right into the fire.

“I think you’re going to see him out there a lot,” Montgomery said. “We think he’s ready for this league and we think that he’s going to play well in this league. So I don’t know what the minutes are going to be, but he’s playing top-four minutes, so it should be anywhere from 18 depending on special teams.”

Lohrei is excited for the chance to reunite with Carlo, whom he played with at times during the exhibition season.


“He’s just so solid and simple,” said Lohrei. “Just how hard he plays, and he’s got such a great stick and I think that’s something I can really watch him and learn from him. Obviously kind of the same size, and if I can take anything defensively from him, that’d be awesome.”

Carlo remembers being in the same position as Lohrei, with Zdeno Chara acted as a guiding force for him. Communication is the key.

“As long as we’re doing that, we’re going to sort things out in the defensive zone through the neutral zone and whatnot,” said Carlo. “When we get back to the bench, just if he sees something that he wants me to do differently, that’s the way you build chemistry between a pairing.

“So I think, for both of us, just continuing to communicate as much as possible. He’s a smooth skater, a great player, and he’s going to do just fine.”

Onto the injured list

Grzelcyk was officially put on long-term injured reserve and won’t be eligible to return until Nov. 25, a matinee date with the Rangers at Madison Square Garden … Despite the suspension, McAvoy is allowed to practice with the team. “The league does an extensive review,” said Montgomery. “All I know is I would not want their job. I don’t think you can win, either if [the suspension is] too long or too short. We respect the job that they do and we’re going to respect their decision. I’d like to have him back sooner, but I coach him.” McAvoy can return to game action Nov. 11 in Montreal … Mitchell has played two games with the Bruins this season and had an assist on Matt Poitras’s first career goal in Anaheim … Wotherspoon has 12 NHL games under his belt, all coming last season with the Islanders … The club also placed winger Jakub Lauko, who suffered a facial fracture when he was inadvertently kicked Oct. 24 in Chicago, on injured reserve … Along with Forbort, Brad Marchand didn’t skate Wednesday but it was just a maintenance day … David Pastrnak (8 goals, 14 points, plus-9 rating) was named the NHL’s third star for October. Pastrnak entered November leading the NHL in even-strength goals (7) and points (10).


Jim McBride can be reached at Follow him @globejimmcbride.