The defense for the Boston Bruins is a fickle mistress. The type of mistress that looks really good with clothes on, but once she undresses you realize that the whole is much better than the sum of the parts. The trouble is by that point, this is all you have, so you close your eyes and dive right in. Luckily in this case the ride ends up being so good, you can look past the saggy tits (Ference), the flat ass (Hunwick) and the lazy eye (Wideman). After time, you being to accept all of these things and spend a whole year with her..err..them. Moving on, here is our review of the Bruins Defense
Another favorite of the Days of Y'Orr staff. Few members of the team (other than Shawn Thornton) have worked harder and been more deserving of play time than this guy here. Poor Boychuk was stuck riding the press box for the first part of the year and didn't complain once. Once he finally got his chance, he led by example and played his ass off. After being paired with Chara on both the power play and even strength, we saw one of the more formidable defensive pairings we've seen all year. Alas, our hearts are filled with dread and woe. Boychuk is a free agent, and with wildcard Chiarelli handing out buckets of money to Ference, we're left with no clue of what Johnny B's fate may be. For now though, at least we still have some sweet sweet highlights to keep up warm on these cold, lonely nights until next season, Like this one:
Final Regular Season Grade: A-
Final Playoff Season Grade: A
Chara definitely had a down year this year. Thing is though, it's hard to be tough on the big lug since he was stuck carrying Wideman's dead weight (we'll get to him later...) and went through the majority of the season with a broken finger. Our biggest complaint with Chara is that we really were expecting more out of him from a motivational standpoint since he's the captain of the team. Naturally we can't see what happens behind closed doors in the locker room, but it just didn't feel like he had that much of an impact this year, particularly during the toughest times of the season. Now that we're done griping, Chara did lead the team in average time on ice, assists, +/-, and shots on goal. He's a solid, well above average defenseman and we definitely look forward to seeing what he does next season (assuming he remains healthy).
Final Regular Season Grade: B+
Final Playoff Season Grade: B
What. The. Fuck. Ference must give just outstanding BJ's, because that's the only reason I could see why Chiarelli would keep him around, let alone give him 6.75 million over 3 years. Either that, or Chiarelli must also love the environment. He managed just 0 goals and 8 assists this season. Sure enough, he had yet another season with under 60 games played. The hell with him, I'm going to move on and leave you with this:
Final Regular Season Grade: F
Final Playoff Season Grade: F
Who? As yes, the defenseman with even a worse plus/minus than Wideman, he must be so proud. I have to admit, I was a little excited to see how Hunwick played this year. I wasn't expecting much, but last year he was at least a threat offensively and even played winger when injuries were a factor. I figured that with another year under his belt, we'd see some improvement. This year though, well I don't want to call him a major disappointment because I don't think anyone was expecting much, but it was certainly a lacking performance. He had just 6 goals, which actually ties his total from last year, however also played in 23 more games this year. Hunwick did up his game slightly for the playoffs, but it was still nothing close to impressive. I can come to two conclusions. Either his spleen was the source of all his skill, or he fell victim to the problem that many players do when they sign a new contract and just didn't try.
Final Regular Season Grade: C-
Final Playoff Season Grade: C-
We didn't have much to grade him on as he only played 17 games with the Bruins before getting injured, but he played well. Defensively he was solid and he was a reliable special teams player as well. He would have been a big help during the playoffs. I wish I had more to say about the guy, but in all honesty, we really didn't follow him when he was in Florida. Apparently he's close to signing a deal with the Bruins, so it'll be interesting to see him play more next year. Final Regular Season Grade: B+
Mark Stuart- He hits things and he hits them well. While he may not contribute much offensively (he only had 7 points in 56 games) it's hard to fault him for it. What he lacks in offensive skill, he more than makes up for in his defensive presence and physical game. Sadly his finger infection took him out for the end of the regular season, and when he came back during the playoffs, there was visibly some rust. Unfortunately, he's another player whose contract is up and fate is uncertain. However, we would like to congratulate Stuart on his new endorsement:
We kid, we kid Stuart, but you do look like a caveman and seem like you'd be good at hitting things with clubs. Hope to see you back next year.
Final Regular Season Grade: B
Final Playoff Season Grade: C
Oh Wideman...where to begin. Originally, I had wanted to do a "Wheeler-esque " rant, however seeing as how Wideman was a little useful, I'll resist. Lets not sugar coat anything, he was downright awful for a good portion of the regular season. He couldn't keep a puck in the attacking zone, he couldn't hit the net, but the one thing he could do was watch puck carrier's numbers as they skated uncontested to his net. Most of us were willing to forgive his transgressions earlier on in the season, making up excuses, telling ourselves that it was still early, etc. Eventually though, the fans had enough and Wideman was getting booed more than some of the opposing teams. Julien publicly called him out and that didn't work either (but he also didn't lose any playing time, so why change?). It took a verbal hug from Mike Milbury, who had finally had enough, to turn his game around...just in time for the end of the season. If you ask us though, we just think Milbury threatened to beat him with a shoe. I'd be lying if I told you that we weren't surprised to see Wideman greatly improve his game for the playoffs. He was the team leader in points, which was probably his way of giving a giant "fuck you!" to everyone who had booed him. Maybe, just maybe, that was a sign of things to come next year.
Final Regular Season Grade: D+
Final Playoff Season Grade: B+
And there you have it. You take the good, you take the bad, you take it all and there you have...the Bruins Defense.