How impressive have the Bruins been through injuries?... VERY (Depth, Depth, Depth)
Photo via WEEI.com
When you look at a team like the Boston Bruins, you can see a lot of different things. Great goaltending, a consistently outstanding defense, a very impressive offense, chemistry, physicality, and of course, depth. Depth, depth, depth. I talk about depth a lot, but when it comes down to it....What is depth? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary says that depth is "the quality or state of being complete or thorough". The example cited below is: "<a study will be made in depth>". But I've got a better example of depth: The Boston Bruins.
Depth has been a huge part of the Bruins recent success (recent being in the past few years). One can easily argue that the Bruins have the best organizational depth in the National Hockey League. In these past few weeks in particular, the B's have proven that to be true. The Bruins have been plagued by injuries of late... and I'm not talking "flu" plagued (although that has made it's way around the locker room), I'm talking "black plagued.'
I mean, take a look at the Bruins injury list right now (Paille, Eriksson*, Hamilton, Kelly*, and McQuaid*)... it makes you want to cry. Five of the Bruins key players are injured, three of whom (those starred) have been placed on the Injured Reserve list. But that's not where it ends! It has gotten to the point that our replacement players are getting hurt! Plus, with sickness spreading, and Thorty's suspension, things were beginning to look a bit scary. Not to mention, some other cases where players have healed rather quickly from their injuries to return to action (cough cough, Johnny Boychuk).
Photo via ctpost.com
On most other teams, their spot in the standings would be plummeting toward the Earth faster than a ball of lead shot down from a cannon. Yes, that fast. But the Bruins depth has provided not only console, but confidence, which has kept them in the king's throne. Guys like Reilly Smith, Ryan Spooner, Nick Johnson, Kevan Miller (who was briefly injured), and Matt Fraser have stepped up to help the B's stay atop the Conference, despite their injuries.
The Bruins minor league system has had their back. Providence is the home of plenty of players are more than able to step in and fill a hole. Part of this is due to the Bruins locker room atmosphere, where guys have been welcomed in by their new teammates. The Bruins have been a team that treats their newcomers very well, as we've seen since the beginning of the season, when guys like Jarome Iginla and Loui Eriksson were welcomed with opened arms. After all, this backup has been a big part of the Bruins current three game win streak, despite the surplus of injuries.
After Johnny Boychuk was injured against Montreal, Iginla commented on the Bruins depth:
"That's a big strength of the organization, is the amount of depth," Iginla said. "The guys who can step into the lineup, but also the guys who are already in the lineup that can handle more minutes. We have a lot of young guys that are very good, very poised. Whether Torey Krug or Dougie Hamilton have to play a lot more tonight, or Bart, they can handle that. Millsey's come up and played for us, and defense is usually a position that the older you get and being a veteran is definitely a plus.
It is something, just being here a few months, being able to see all the depth is definitely a big strength."
Tuukka Rask also had his word:
"Well, you need that if you consider yourself an elite team," Tuukka said. "When guys go down, you need guys to step up. So far it's been good. We've had some good guys step in for injured guys and it's a lot of credit for Peter and his staff to keep it going that way."
The Bruins depth has been put to the test lately, and it's become very obvious that both the team, and the Bruins coaching staff has had plenty of confidence in the players stepping up to aid the team. While sitting atop the Eastern Conference, they've found a good reason to have that confidence.