Boston Bruins Fortunate To Have Matt Irwin

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If it wasn’t apparent before last night’s preseason game against the New Jersey Devils, it is now. Signing Matt Irwin to a one year $800,000 contract was a steal. The Boston Bruins have needed an extra helping hand on the back end, offensively, since losing Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton within the last year. Matt Irwin should be able to at least partially fill this void.

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Irwin wore one of the A’s for the Bruins last night and rightfully so. He was a true force on the ice, leading Boston to their first preseason win. “It was good.” said Irwin, when speaking of the game, “Obviously the goals are good, you can’t deny that, but as the game went on I think as a group we got better. They kind of jumped on us early.”

As Irwin points out in his interview, this first game of the preseason should have featured a few rusty performances.”A game like this, two days of practice and you get fired in to a competitive game with guys you haven’t played with before.” However, for the most part, Irwin seemed fairly comfortable on the ice and showed confidence with handling the puck during the power play which led to him scoring the only two Bruins goals of the night.

“I think last year when he scored goals it’s not about the power of his shot. I think he’s really good at finding the lanes to the net. When there’s a good screen there, he finds the places to put the puck.” – Claude Julien

“The biggest thing coach was emphasizing was just have an effort. It’s going to be rusty at times. As long as you’re committed to doing the right things and playing the right way good things will happen for us.” When seeing Irwin finish off a nice cross ice pass from Ryan Spooner and to see Jimmy Hayes standing in front of the net during both goals as well, Irwin looked like he was fitting right in with the Boston Bruins roster.

Coach Claude Julien spoke about the offensive upside of Irwin after the game. “He’s been known for that. I think last year when he scored goals it’s not about the power of his shot. I think he’s really good at finding the lanes to the net. When there’s a good screen there, he finds the places to put the puck.”

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  • As said before, with some of the Bruins offensive defenseman on different teams now, the Bruins are fortunate to have Matt Irwin on their side. Torey Krug will most likely take his usual place on Boston’s first power play unit. However, outside of Zdeno Chara, who could also be placed in front of the net as opposed to the point, there aren’t many defenseman in the Bruins starting six that can man a power play like Irwin.

    Seeing that Dennis Seidenberg is already day-to-day, and that last year we rarely saw all top six defenseman playing healthy together, it is likely that Matt Irwin will be playing on a regular basis with the big club. Being a left handed offensive defenseman could have him paired up with any of the right handed shut down defenseman projected to make the team (Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid and Zach Trotman).

    Wherever the coaching staff decides to put Matt Irwin, I believe that he will impress. With 19 points in two of his last seasons with the San Jose Sharks, it is only a matter of time before Irwin gets the comfort and confidence he needs to have a break out season. For his sake, and the Boston Bruins’ sake, I hope that this is the season.

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