Boston Bruins: Minus Veterans, Young Defense Has Tough Opener


Consider these numbers: going into last nights’ game, the six defensemen the Boston Bruins skated had a combined total of 728 games played in the NHL.  That’s just 31 games more than Dennis Seidenberg‘s career total, but also 467 less than what Zdeno Chara has played.

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The inexperience proved glaring at some points last night, and with the Montreal Canadiens in town tomorrow, followed by the Tampa Bay Lighting on Monday, these miscues will prove even more costly. Perhaps the most glaring was midway through the first period when Matt Irwin casually skated behind his goalie, then coughed the puck up behind his own net to Andrew Ladd, who then dished it to former Bruin Blake Wheeler for an easy goal. (Wheeler, buy the way, has averaged over 20 goals a season since being traded on 2011.)

Things didn’t get easier for the young defense squad after that.  The original pairings for the night were Torey Krug-Andrew McQuaid, Joe Morrow-Kevan Miller, and Matt Irwin-Zach Trotman.  Those duos were eventually scuttled by Claude Julien later in the game when it was apparent that none would be considered a shut-down pour by any means.

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  • It doesn’t seem all that long ago that the top four defensemen in Boston consisted of Zeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, and Dougie Hamilton. The latter two are long gone, and hopefully the captain is back soon.

    Hall of Famer defenseman Denis Potvin once opined that it takes defensemen 300 games to truly learn the position. If that is true, the Bruins had better hope their injured veterans heal quickly.  Of the six who skated last night, only McQuaid (285 games played) has over two hundred…and he gave the puck away three times to Winnipeg. In terms of experience, the other defensemen have the following in terms of games played: Krug-162, Irwin-155, Kevan Miller-90, Trotman-31, and Morrow-17.  This group doesn’t have the time required to grow into the position, they need to perform now.