Throughout the month of May, I will be providing you all with a four-part Boston Bruins’ postseason review, grading the performances of each and every player that donned the eight-spoked “B” during the 2011-’12 campaign. The schedule looks like this:
Part III –> Defense Group
Part IV –> Extra Skaters/Call-Ups
Each day over the next week, I will update this blog with the addition of one player (in numerical order). For the defense corps, I will start with Joe Corvo.
#14 Joe Corvo
Contract Status: $2.250 MIL Cap Hit/ Unrestricted Free Agent On July 1, 2012
Regular Season Stats: 75 GP, 4 Goals, 21 Assists, 25 Points, +10 Rating
Playoff Stats: 5 GP, 0 Goals, 0 Assists, 0 Points, +3 Rating
– Following in the footsteps of 2011 trade deadline acquisition and alleged power-play savior Tomas Kaberle, Joe Corvo unquestionably failed to live up to his reputation as a “puck-moving defenseman” in his time spent with the Bruins. While his four goal/25-point output was good for second on the team in scoring amongst defensemen, his performance on the power-play was certainly nothing to write home about (1G/8A). In the defensive end, Corvo never seemed to be able to reach the confidence level necessary to succeed in the Hub. Often times, questionable decisions with the puck would lead to the type of atrocious turnovers Bruins’ fans hadn’t seen since Dennis Wideman was patrolling the Boston blueline. After admitting to his desire to test the free agent market on July 1, it’s likely that we’ve seen the last of Joe Corvo in a Bruins’ uniform.
Final Grade: D
#21 Andrew Ference
Contract Status: $2.250 MIL Cap Hit/ Unrestricted Free Agent On July 1, 2013
Regular Season Stats: 72 GP, 6 Goals, 18 Assists, 24 Points, +9 Rating
Playoff Stats: 7 GP, 1 Goals, 3 Assists, 4 Points, -2 Rating
– Perhaps the most underrated player on the entire Bruins’ roster, 33-year-old Andrew Ference continues to quietly perform at an increasingly high level on the Boston blueline. Ference’s 24 points (6G/18A) in 2011-’12 was good for his highest total in six seasons with the Black and Gold, falling short of his 16-point (1G/15A) 2008-’09 campaign by just eight. Despite increased production on the offensive end, Ference did not see a drop off in his traditionally strong defensive zone performance. Since coming to the Hub in a February 2007 trade — that sent Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart to the Calgary Flames — Ference has adopted the tough, rugged style that Boston fans come to expect out of their players, whilst evolving into a genuine leader in the Bruins’ locker room. If you need any evidence of No. 21′s leadership presence, look no further than the “A” emblazoned on his game-day sweater for half the 2011-’12 season.
Final Grade: A-
#33 Zdeno Chara
Contract Status: $6.917 MIL Cap Hit/ Unrestricted Free Agent On July 1, 2018
Regular Season Stats: 79 GP, 12 Goals, 40 Assists, 52 Points, +33 Rating
Playoff Stats: 7 GP, 1 Goal, 2 Assists, 3 Points, -1 Rating
– It was business as usual for the 6’9″ 255-pound machine known as Zdeno Chara in 2011-’12. The Boston captain once again proved himself one of the team’s most reliable and durable players, seeing action in 79 of the team’s 82 regular season games and in all seven playoff contests. Despite being consistently matched up against the opposing team’s top line, Chara posted the league’s third highest plus/minus rating at a +33. A 52-point (12G/40A) campaign in 2011-’12 proved once again that Chara is without a doubt the best two-way defenseman in the entire NHL and earned no. 33 his fifth career Norris trophy nomination. Chara’s physicality, heart and determination truly epitomize what it means to be a Boston Bruin. The best news for Bruins fans? After playing in his 1,000th career game at the ripe age of 35, Big Z hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in the near future. Even after playing in an excruciatingly long stretch of 192 games in eighteen months (October 2010–April 2011), the Trencin, Slovakia native opted to pack his bags and head to Europe for yet another month of hockey at the annual IIHF World Championship tournament. One word, folks: Monster.
Final Grade: A
#44 Dennis Seidenberg
Contract Status: $3.250 MIL Cap Hit/ Unrestricted Free Agent On July 1, 2014
Regular Season Stats: 80 GP, 5 Goals, 18 Assists, 23 Points, +15 Rating
Playoff Stats: 7 GP, 1 Goal, 2 Assists, 3 Points, +1 Rating
– The German-born tank known as Dennis Seidenberg continues to be one of the most underrated players in the entire National Hockey League. Skating in the enormous shadow of team captain Zdeno Chara, Seidenberg’s spectacular play over his first two and a half seasons in Boston has often gone overlooked across the league. No. 44 set a new career high in the plus/minus department with a +15 while contributing 23 points (5G/18A) of offense in the 2011-’12 regular season. In the playoffs, Seidenberg was arguably the best Bruin on the ice in all seven postseason contests against the Capitals. His three point output (1G/2A) and plus-1 rating while shutting down Washington’s top offensive units was nothing short of phenomenal. As anyone who watched the riveting seven game series in it’s entirety would know, Seidenberg’s nightly battles with Capitals’ star Alexander Ovechkin were truly something to behold; hockey theater at it’s finest. After back-to-back exceptional postseason performances, Seidenberg has emerged as true superstar in the Hub, easily ranking amongst the NHL’s top ten defensive defensemen.
Final Grade: A+
#54 Adam McQuaid
Contract Status: $1.567 MIL Cap Hit/ Unrestricted Free Agent On July 1, 2015
Regular Season Stats: 72 GP, 2 Goals, 8 Assists, 10 Points, +16 Rating
Playoff Stats: Missed Postseason Due To Upper Body Injury
– For the second consecutive season, Adam McQuaid quietly had a solid season season in Black and Gold. His two goals and eight assists don’t exactly exhibit eye-popping offensive skill, but No. 54′s value to the B’s runs much deeper than just stats. NBC’s Pierre McGuire said it best when dubbing McQuaid as “one tough hombre” during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The Cornwall, PEI native’s tough and rugged playing style perfectly epitomizes what it means to be a Boston Bruins’ defenseman. The B’s rough-and-tumble rearguard has also shown his commitment to the Black and Gold through his willingness to drop the gloves whenever the situation calls for it. McQuaid’s solid shut-down defensive play has made him a staple on the Boston blueline over the past two seasons and will likely keep him there for the foreseeable future.
Final Grade: B+
#55 Johnny Boychuk
Contract Status: $3.667 MIL Cap Hit/ Unrestricted Free Agent On July 1, 2015
Regular Season Stats: 77 GP, 5 Goals, 10 Assists, 15 Points, +27 Rating
Playoff Stats: 7 GP, 1 Goal, 2 Assists, 3 Points, +1 Rating
– Skating alongside captain Zdeno Chara for the better part of this year’s regular season, Johnny Boychuk once again posted respectable splits (5G/10A) while achieving a career high in the plus/minus department (+27). Boychuk’s contributions over the past three seasons were enough to earn a new three year, $11 million dollar contract extension (signed on February 14) that will keep No. 55 in Black and Gold until the conclusion of the 2014-’15 season. Boychuk’s physical play and tendency to deliver a bone-jarring hit or two over the course of the season have made him a fan favorite in the Hub, while his strong two-way game has made him a perfect fit for head coach Claude Julien‘s system.
Final Grade: B
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.