Bruins ‘baby blueliners’ looking to make a mark in 2013-14 season


October 18, 2011; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski (43) tries to keep the puck from Carolina Hurricanes forward Anthony Stewart (13) during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins have always relied on their defense to help set the tone ever since Claude Julien brought his style of hockey to Boston. Once again the two way, defensive minded hockey will be on show as the Bruins attempt to go to their third Stanley Cup Final in four years. Now, the Bruins look to a whole new youth movement on the blueline following the departure of seasoned veteran Andrew Ference to Edmonton.  Are the new recruits worried about their performance?

Matt Bartkowski doesn’t think so.  Bartkowski, along with Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton had to earn their NHL postseason expierence on the fly. The young trio rose to the challenge in early matches against the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New York Rangers after injuries gave Julien no choice but to give them their shot. So, will the Bruins being playing a lot of young talen this year?

“It’s shaping up that way and looking that way,” offered Bartkowski when asked.  “I think Kruger, Dougie and me have gained a lot of experience the past year. Especially during the playoffs, Kruger and me gained so much experience, and you saw what he did. And then Dougie played a lot in the regular season. I think we gained their trust in the playoffs and they’re able to play us in more situations now. Their confidence in us rose, and because of that our confidence skyrocketed. So hopefully this season shakes out where we can play a whole season.”

Bartkowski is grateful for the NHL experience even though the series against the Blackhawks didn’t end the way we were all hoping for. “Being able to play playoff hockey anywhere is great.” continued the 25 yr old call up from the AHL. ” I got that at Providence and that was good experience because guys were playing to win, and then at the NHL level it’s even better and just so much more faster. As we saw a lot [of] winning and losing, a game can change in 30 seconds or so and it’s such a thin margin. It’s a great learning experience and while I didn’t necessarily want to learn how to lose a game in 17 seconds, it will be a valuable lesson in the future that you can’t let up at all in the playoffs. You have to play the full 60 minutes. But it was a great experience.”

The new guys are filled with confidence for next year. The Bruins will get to see how the baby blueliners have worked during the off season. The Bruins will all back on the ice within a month, and opening night is just two months away.

April 11, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski (43) shoots the puck on goal during the second period against the New York Islanders at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports