The Boston Bruins have been boasting about their depth since Day One of their 2008 training camp.
And they’ve proven to have tons of talent at their disposal during their 19-5-4 start, as they’ve overcome lengthy injury absences by star winger Marco Sturm and defensemen Andrew Ference and Aaron Ward.
But not all the depth has had to make its way up I-95 from Providence of the AHL. No, some of it was already on the active roster awaiting an expanded role.
Among that group of players is Shane Hnidy, who for all intents and purposes started the season as the Bruins’ sixth or seventh defensemen. While he still spends the bulk of his ice time forming the Bruins’ third-pair with second-year backliner Mark Stuart, the 33-year-old Hnidy has had to do a little more (witness his 24:14 or ice time during Dennis Wideman’s absence at Tampa Bay) at times and he’s also made sure that head coach Claude Julien doesn’t have to fret when it comes time to spell his top four blueliners at pivotal points of games. (more…)