Any worries that the length of the 2011 Stanley Cup championship run and the massive amount of minutes Zdeno Chara logged during the title drive would render the star defenseman any less effective in the season after were rubbed out with more force than Chara nailing a puck-pursuing forward in the corner.
Bruins 2009 first-round draft pick Jordan Caron got exactly what he wanted in 2011-12, his second full professional season – a mostly full year spent living and Boston and skating with the NHL club.
Caron played in just 17 games for the Providence (AHL) farm club, while he appeared in 48 games for Boston in the regular season and then was thrown into the fire of two playoff games against Washington.
It took the Bruins several years (with no offense to Stephane Yelle and Steve Begin) to find a reliable fourth-line center that could do all the things they wanted.
For two straight seasons, Gregory Campbell has fit that bill – killing penalties, taking care of his own end, and making sure the majority of fourth-line shifts are spent in the opposing team’s zone. Ironically, Campbell has played his role so well he probably has priced himself out of Boston, especially if the Bruins re-sign Chris Kelly.
There are benefits and risks to playing with Zdeno Chara, as Johnny Boychuk did for most of the 2011-12 regular season (as he did the prior season too).
On the one hand, you’re playing with the best defenseman in the NHL and you know you always have someone to cover up your mistakes. But on the other hand, if you play poorly and force Chara to have to do too much, that can have ramifications throughout the entire Bruins lineup.
It’s appropriate that by virtue of alphabetical order Patrice Bergeron is the first of my 2011-12 season recaps for Bruins players because, in all seriousness, he is the Bruins’ No. 1 player on and off the ice.
Other guys might speak more, but no Bruins player speaks more effectively than Bergeron. And his off-ice discipline is unmatched.
BOSTON — Nothing is imminent, and the Bruins still have one year left on their deal with Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, but it sounds like they might be looking for something a little closer and a little more modern for a future practice facility.
Bruins principal Charlie Jacobs addressed that issue during a season-ending press conference at TD Garden Thursday.
BOSTON — Cam Neely scored 142 regular-season power-play goals in his Hall-of-Fame NHL career.
So he knows a thing or two about what it takes to make the man-advantage successful. However, don’t expect the Bruins president to lace up his skates and show his underperforming players the right way to play when up a man.
BOSTON — As reports come out of Arizona that a group led by Greg Jamison is on track to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and keep them in Glendale trickle out, there will still be plenty of debate about whether that metro region deserves to have an NHL team and can succeed.
You count Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs in the pro-Phoenix group.
BOSTON — No one was expected Bruins president Cam Neely to bring out his hatchet during his end-of-year media conference at TD Garden Thursday and chop away everyone involved in Boston’s first-round flameout a week ago against Washington.
And in fact, Neely expressed confidence and approval when it came to the performance of his head coach and general manager.
With a team-leading 67 points and a plus-34 rating, Bruins forward Tyler Seguin clearly improved from his rookie season to his second year in 2011-12.
And the 20-year-old doesn’t sound like he’s satisfied with just a 45-point improvement and enough defensive strides to earn a spot on Patrice Bergeron’s line for most of the season.
The Bruins drafted Dougie Hamilton ninth overall last June with designs on him developing into a franchise defenseman.
His rise to elite status continued this season with the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL, and today he was rewarded for his efforts. Hamilton was revealed as the winner of the Max Kaminsky Trophy, which goes to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman of the Year. Hamilton was third in the voting for the award last season.
It’s a topic that’s sure to heat up as the Bruins’ offseason continues to unfold, despite what general manager Peter Chiarelli said at breakup day about his goaltending.
Fresh off a disappointing three-point performance in the Bruins’ seven-game first-round loss to Washington, center David Krejci is going to try to do a better job for his homeland, the Czech Republic.
As per rosters published on NHL.com, Krejci will be skating for his native country in the upcoming 2012 IIHF World Championship in Finland and Sweden.
BOSTON — The Bruins held their breakup day at TD Garden today, at least a month earlier than they thought they would have to go through that process.
Among the big stories was Patrice Bergeron’s revelation that he injured his oblique in Game 3 of Boston’s seven-game loss in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs to Washington. Bergeron said he either strained or pulled the muscle and reaggravated the injury in Game 5, so that’s why he wasn’t able to take faceoffs in Game 6 and 7.
It surely isn’t making him feel any better today after the Bruins lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to Washington last night, but today Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara was revealed as one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.
The members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association cast their ballots at the conclusion of the regular season. The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas June 20.