The Case of Joe Corvo: Does He Fit with the Bruins?

The trade deadline is nearing (February 27!) and Bruins fans may be starting to wonder, maybe with a touch of dread or positivity (or, at times, both), if the team brass will make any personnel changes. While only time will tell what could happen before March, there is one player who sometimes seems like a good candidate for being shipped out of Boston: Joe Corvo.

Corvo, a defenseman, came to the Bruins last July in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes for a fourth-round 2012 draft pick. Since then, he’s been most commonly paired with Dennis Seidenberg. While no defenseman is perfect, and Seidenberg has certainly made his share of mistakes this season (most recently in Sunday’s game against Washington, when it looked like he helped Marcus Johansson put the puck behind Tim Thomas), Corvo can be downright frustrating.

First, let’s focus on the positives.

  • Corvo’s rating to date this season is +14. (He finished last season with the Hurricanes at a -14.)
  • He’s put up 20 points in 51 games–17 of them assists.
  • There was even a game, Dec. 10 at Columbus, where he scored the game-winning goal.
  • He also had a good night on Nov. 10 vs. Edmonton.
  • There are times where he does give it the old college try, especially on the power play.

Having said those things, now let’s look at the other side of the coin.

There are those nights where Corvo has a rating of, say, -2 and no points contributed at all. Part of it may be those times when he’s right there on the doorstep but his attempts to clear the zone completely fail. This is indicative of a larger defensive slump as of late, though, and is not solely Corvo’s fault, like I said above. There have been some frustrating times recently where it seems the blueliners have been content to just stand there and watch, and hang their goalie out to dry, but Corvo is the more egregious violator. He has certainly made some mistakes.

Some nights, it feels like he’s a perfect fit with his fellow Bruins; other nights, it’s the exact opposite. This stands in contrast to how the other defensemen feel like they fit better with the others no matter what. In fact, sometimes I even forget he’s part of the team.

Part of it might be a personality thing. According to this Boston Globe piece, he’s quite introverted and has a hard time coming out of his shell to even make small talk with his teammates. On such a close-knit team as the Bruins, where it really does feel like they are all family sometimes, this makes him seem like the odd man out. Reportedly he also has a tendency to be so hard on himself that the coaches in Ottawa didn’t allow him to watch game video. I understand being hard on yourself–I am too sometimes–but then we also have to look at ourselves and try to improve.

Corvo’s inaction can be an endless frustration to the fans of the Black and Gold and there is a sense of vindication in having the media express their agreement. In that case, this tweet from CSNNE Bruins reporter Joe Haggerty is pretty telling: “Joe Corvo…I have no words for the level of disinterest you sometimes show in the world of playing defense.”

I don’t know if the team can wait much longer for him to find solid consistency, especially as they attempt to come out of the late January not-so-good-times. I would not be surprised if Peter Chiarelli and company consider a blueliner trade and Corvo might not be a Bruin anymore come March.

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