There’s no denying that Boston Bruins rookie Matt Hunwick personifies the “anything for the team” attitude most athletes preach but only a few practice.
When Bruins head coach Claude Julien told Hunwick Tuesday he’d be skating at forward against Washington, the natural defenseman didn’t blink.
“Any role that they put me in is an opportunity to help contribute to the success of the team,” he said today after practice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass. “I’m glad to do so. So I think it’s just another opportunity to go out and I think it’s fun to play another position and get a different perspective on the game.”
Hunwick made the most of his opportunity in limited time. He skated just eight shifts spanning 6:56 of time but fired a shot on net and threw a hit — not looking one bit out of place.
“I thought he handled himself well. And maybe he didn’t get the same amount of ice time he normally would’ve, but I liked the way he battled along the boards and how he was forechecking,” Julien said. “And definitely his speed was a good asset out there. He kind of helped us out in that area and gave our fourth line some pretty good shifts.”
Getting the chance to forecheck was a perk Hunwick enjoyed about his new position.
“I wish there’d been more opportunities to do that. That’s the mindset of a lot of D’s. You’d love to be able to forecheck sometimes and kind of return what’s always coming at you,” he said.
With Michael Ryder and Phil Kessel set to return but Petteri Nokelainen going out, there may or may not be a chance for Hunwick to again aid the Bruins with his versatility in the near future. But at least Julien now knows that in a pinch he can count on Hunwick to help up front.