Corvo/By D. Hickling

The dreaded “Curse of the Puck-Moving Defenseman” struck the Bruins again this season, as Joe Corvo didn’t live up to expectations and became a favorite whipping boy of the discerning fan base.

Thankfully, Corvo was never treated to a barrage of boos like some of his predecessors, but some of the criticisms of him were unfair, and some were quite warranted.

That he never fully grasped the Bruins’ defensive-zone concepts was disappointing. More of a letdown, however, was that he dropped from 11 goals to four and 40 points to 25. While his overall ice time was down from his days with a playoff-less Carolina team, he could’ve made up some of the point differential on the power play, but he was a non-factor in man-advantage situations. If he’d produced offensively, Corvo would’ve been mostly forgiven for his defensive struggles.

Stats

Regular season: 75GP, 4-21-25, plus-10

Playoffs: 5GP, 0-0-0, plus-3

Contract status: UFA 2012

Regular season recap

Highlight: It took Corvo until Dec. 10 to finally score his first goal with the Bruins. That night in Columbus, he actually scored twice, including the game-winner, in a 5-3 victory. He logged 14:51 of ice time, was a plus-1 and fired five shots on net total against the Blue Jackets.

Lowlight: By January, Corvo started to see his minutes cut because of his ineffectiveness. He was minus-1 with no points in 16:18 of ice time in a 5-3 win over Winnipeg Jan. 10. The Bruins won Jan. 16 in Florida, but Corvo was minus-2 in 15:39. The next night in Tampa, he was just minus-1 but impacted two Tampa Bay goals with misplays and misreads. From there on, Corvo pretty much never recovered.

Playoff recap: Tim Thomas saved Corvo’s bacon in Game 1 by making a huge save on Marcus Johansson breakaway after an inexplicable Corvo pinch in overtime in the offensive zone. Corvo then started the Boston breakout on Chris Kelly’s game-winning goal. However, Corvo was a non-factor the rest of the way and he didn’t get back into the lineup after he suffered a lower-body injury on a blocked Alexander Semin shot in Game 5.

Grade: D. Although he was able to right shotgun next to Dennis Seidenberg most of the season and not turn that pair into a detriment to the team, Corvo’s lack of the offensive upside the Bruins were promised he’d bring proved general manager Peter Chiarelli had again failed to land the offensive defenseman his team needs to thrive.

Carnac predicts … Corvo was the least enthusiastic about a possible return of all Boston’s UFAs after the season. He’ll land somewhere the pressure’s not as intense and the playing time is more available – probably on a team that’s not in contention but looking to fill out its defense corps with a veteran.