Boston Bruins: Will Matt Bartkowski play tomorrow?


Oct 21, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski (43) shoots during their game against the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

In the last six weeks, the Boston Bruins(9-6-0) have gone from having an overwhelming amount of quality defensemen to having to scrape the bottom of the barrel. The Bruins lost Johnny Boychuk to a trade, and then watched Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, and Kevan Millar all go down with injuries. The Bruins then dug into their AHL team to compensate.  Now one of the Providence Bruins, David Warsofsky is hurt.  With Torey Krug still listed as a game time decision against the New Jersey Devils, the Bruins have to play their last card in the deck.

That card is Matt Bartkowski.

Matt Bartkowski has certainly not done himself in any favors this season in Boston. He has missed coverage, been easily skated past, and has just made a series of mental mistakes that have cost the B’s. His mistakes have not only cost the team dearly, but they have cost Bartkowski the confidence of the coaching staff.  In the last game he played, he was on the ice for less than nine minutes (8:56 against the Minnesota Wild).

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Zach Trotman was playing his third ever NHL game against Minnesota and put in over eleven minutes of ice time.

“I’m about fed up with it,” said Bartkowski of his playing after the Wild game. “but it’s not something where I can really play like that because if I start doing too much, then it’s going to be another problem. It’s just working through it, and it’s at a time where I need to be better. The team needs me to be better, especially with these guys out.”

Bartkowski has only played in five of the fifteen games for the Black and Gold. He has watched AHL players with no NHL experience eclipse him in ice time. The Bruins have gone 2-3-0 with him on the ice, and he could be considered a factor in goals against the Bruins in two of those games. He’s only generated six shots for Boston in that time, and is the lowest ranked player for plus/minus (-4). It’s clear that Claude Julien has little to no faith left in him.

“He’s[Bartkowski] struggling right now. I think everybody knows that. Somehow he’s got to find his game and he’s got to find his confidence. Those are things that players have to go through sometimes. We can’t play for them, so it’s important for them to find their game.”- Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien

The fact the Matt Bartkowski is still in a Bruins uniform has been a source of tension and annoyance in the fan base. Bartkowski was a virtual no-show in the playoffs last season. He took the team to arbitration and was awarded money($1,250,000) a lot of people didn’t think he earned. The few chances to trade him away fell through, and left the B’s in an unfortunate situation.

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  • Now, ‘Bad Luck Bart’ has found himself in the position to either save his career in Boston, or be ‘Caroned’ back to the AHL. Bartkowski was a perfectly acceptable replacement for Dennis Seidenberg in the regular season last year. He was competent. He didn’t make flashy plays that led to mistakes, he played dependable three zone hockey and earned eighteen assists.  If last year’s Bartkowski can make a return to the ice against the Devils, then it might be the start of something good for the twenty-six year old defenseman.  Then again, it could be the final straw as well.