Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli certainly likes the direction his team is going in, especially on the blue line.
And that’s without the services of the steady Dennis Seidenberg, out since Dec. 27 and done for the season with a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee. It’s also with a relatively inexperience group of young defensemen, including the likes of Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton.
But even with Boston’s improving and strong play on the back end, Chiarelli hasn’t ruled out adding another defenseman when the roster freeze ends at the conclusion of the Sochi Olympics and the NHL stretch drive begins.
“There are really not that many players available, so beggars can’t be choosers really at this point,” Chiarelli told CSNNE.com.
“With each passing game, I see our D maturing, I see them making fewer mistakes, and it makes it a little easier on me. But I always feel that we need eight good NHL defenders going in to the playoffs.
“While I’m certainly not going to replace [Dennis Seidenberg], he’s too good and those players aren’t available, you’d like to think that there is a player with a little bit of Seids’ [Dennis Seidenberg] defending that we could find, and [that could] help us. But this year’s been a story about our depth, and I’ve been happy with it.”
The Bruins, Stanley Cup champs in 2011 and finalists in 2013, along with the Pittsburgh Penguins are the easy favorites to emerge from the Eastern Conference later this spring.
The Bruins have opened up a seven-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division and are five points back of the Penguins in the East.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: