There might not be anyone quieter off the ice than Chuck Kobasew. He lets his hard work on the rink and in the workout room do his talking, and that makes him a perfect fit for a Boston Bruins team that prides itself on outworking opponents and always bringing grit to its games.
Once Mark Recchi landed in Boston, Kobasew turned out to be a perfect right-wing complement to a line with the future Hall-of-Famer and Patrice Bergeron. The trio stuck together for two months-plus and set the tone for Boston with its tenacious forechecking. More often than not, when Kobasew was a physical presence, his production was bumped up and the Bruins’ rate of success in the ‘W’ column increased.
Stats: 68 GP, 21-21-42, 56 PIM, plus-5 regular season; 11 GP, 3-3-6, 14 PIM, plus-3 playoffs.
Contract status: Signed through the end of 2010-11 at a $2.33 million cap hit.
Season highlight: No one knew just how special the Bruins’ season was going to be when Buffalo landed at TD Banknorth Garden and jumped out to leads of 3-1 and 4-2 in a wild first period. Kobasew had scored the Bruins’ first goal of the night, but the Black and Gold was going to need more. After Marc Savard and Zdeno Chara scored second-period goals to tie the game, Kobasew came through with a little trickery — as his shot from behind the net banked off Ryan Miller’s back and into the net to give Boston a lead with 7:29 remaining in the middle stanza en route to a 7-4 win.
Season low light: Kobasew had missed the final six games of the 2007-08 regular season, plus playoffs, with a leg injury suffered when he was hit by an errant shot. After a healthy training camp, Kobasew battled his way through opening night in Minnesota — despite blocking another shot and suffering another injury. Kobasew’s solid season was put on hold after that, as he missed the next 12 games.
In summation … Kobasew proved to be the reliable two-way forward the Bruins thought they were getting when they re-signed him last summer.
Grade: B. As a physical presence, Kobasew was dominant. But he has to find a way to bring that force even more consistently.
The crystal ball says … as a reasonably compensated top-nine forwards, Kobasew could be coveted by teams in trade talk, but assuming Boston keeps him he’ll again be a member of one of their top three lines and could challenge the 30-goal mark in the right role.