Today, the news broke that the B’s will be without Johnny Boychuk tonight vs. the Wild and maybe for a game or two after. This should be a big deal. The best team in the Eastern Conference, whose only real weakness is defensively, just lost a guy who is by far its no. 2 blueliner. This could not only hurt their 8 game winning streak, but also their current seeding atop Pittsburgh in the East.
But I think that most Bruins fans who follow the team closely will not be all that concerned, and they shouldn’t be. In fact, I would not at all be shocked if Boychuk would be able to play tonight if this was a more important game, but Julien and Chiarelli told him, “That’s ok. We’ll make do without you. Rest up, and we could benefit from giving other guys ice time, anyway.”
This means that, tonight, there’s no controversy on who should be benched, Krug, Hamilton, or Meszaros. (IT SHOULD BE MILLER. HE ISN’T THAT GOOD AT HOCKEY.) Tonight, we get to see Meszaros with Chara, where he has played his best in limited time with the Bruins. I know, Zdeno Chara would make me look like a competent NHL defenseman, but it’s pairing that we’d like to see again. Bartkowski gets the minutes that he needs to get, and Krug and Hamilton get to be a pair and hopefully get a lot of minutes. I wouldn’t hate it this was a combination in the playoffs if Claude decides to put Chara with Boychuk for a shutdown pair, or Chara with Meszaros and have Boychuk with Bartkowski (If Meszaros shows that he’s up to the task, I like this combo better).
Besides McQuaid and obviously Seidenberg, no one else on the Bruins is injured. Tuukka is playing tonight, so the B’s still have a good chance of winning without Johnny and his Rockets. (Did I force that one? Yeah, I did. My bad.) Paille came back against the Canes, so he’ll be in the lineup tonight, and the forwards and goalie should be clicking at top notch. Losing Boychuk and allocating his minutes to other guys for up to a few games is not much of a loss at all. They play the Devils tomorrow night, so Boychuk shouldn’t suit up then, either.
Rest up, Johnny. Take your time, and don’t push it. The B’s will be just fine for 2-4 games in your absence.