Boychuk/By S. Bradley

WILMINGTON, Mass. — Johnny Boychuk is one of the Bruins’ most physical players.

His open-ice hits can turn the momentum of a game, and he’s seemingly mastered the hip check so well that no opposing puck-carrier can take his eyes off Boychuk when approaching Boston’s blue line.

Yet Boychuk doesn’t ever run afoul of the NHL disciplinarians. He’s as clean as they come although he always plays hard. Boychuk’s sportsmanship is just one of the things that contributed to his earning the Bruins’ Masterton Trophy nomination from the Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

“If you see a guy in a vulnerable position, you don’t really want to go in there and try to hurt him,” said Boychuk about his ability to avoid crossing the line between clean and dirty. “But if there’s a clean check that you can make, and you can make it, by all means you’re going to try to hit a guy hard.”

After five years in the AHL with the Colorado organization, Boychuk was traded to Boston. And after one more full season of minor-league seasoning he established himself as a Bruins regular. For more on Boychuk’s journey that now includes that Masterton nomination, please read my story at