It’s no secret. The Boston Bruins’ power play was one of the worst in NHL postseason history. Yes, they won the Stanley Cup, but it was in spite of the lacking man advantage. The loss of Marc Savard was too much to sustain, and a unit of David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and several others could not get it done. Though there are some good offensive names on the power play, the issue went deeper than that, and it seems the Boston Bruins have shored that up.
The need for a puck-moving defenseman has been apparent since the departure of Ray Bourque. Dennis Wideman was an attempt that worked out poorly, and the Bruins went into last season without a true puck mover. Matt Hunwick was expected to be a part of that makeshift role, but he was soon traded away to the Colorado Avalanche. Johnny Boychuk, also expected to be more of an offensive defenseman, was viewed as a disappointment.
The power play was not acceptable early on, and it stayed that way throughout the season. Boston acquired Tomas Kaberle from the Toronto Maple Leafs at the NHL trade deadline, and he was expected to be that guy. He was going to improve the power play. Surprisingly, the power play was even more anemic with Kaberle on the ice. The Bruins were to head into the post season as the owner of the league’s worst power play.
And it did not get better. Inserting young sniper Tyler Seguin couldn’t even do the trick. Boston was able to win the Stanley Cup with the power play as a disadvantage, but going into the 2011-12 season, the obvious gap was still a concern. Kaberle as signed by the Carolina Hurricanes. Not that he was the answer in Boston, but the puck moving defenseman hole still remained. That was when the Bruins said goodbye to their fourth round pick this season, and fixed their power play problem.
No, Bobby Orr is not walking through that door. There is no magical solution to the power play conundrum, but the journey to the solution has taken a turn for the better. Hurricanes defenseman Joe Corvo will be joining the Bruins, and while he is not the savior, he is likelt better than anyone they have had. Corvo has a rocket shot and will be playing on the point, at the opposite side of Zdeno Chara. When Kaberle was on the power platy, the opposing defenses knew he would not shoot, and could cheat on defending Chara. Now that Corvo is in the mix, teams will have to respect the shots from the blueline and defend the forwards on the ice.
Is Corvo alone a reason to expect the power play to be, well, a power play? No, they will need a team effort, but now at least they have a pure shooting puck moving defenseman to help.