The Real Reason for the Bruins Success

When people look at the Boston Bruins, they see the defending Stanley Cup champions.  They see a team with the second best record in the league.  They see a team with the best goal differential in the league this year.  A quick look at the lineup and they can see a balanced scoring attack, solid defenseman and two world class goalies.  All pieces to the greater puzzle.  But what has made that puzzle so easy to put together?  That’s easy, and any fan watching the Bruins over the last two years may not have realized it, or they have and didn’t think anything of it: it’s their health.

Many people like to factor the Bruins recent successes to balanced scoring. Their first line center, David Krejci, is just 4th on the team in points. Their leading goal scorer, Tyler Seguin, is on the second line.  Other people say that having two great goaltenders, Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, playing behind a fundamentally sound defense doesn’t hurt, either.  This is true as well.  But the reason the lines can stay balanced and the reason the defense plays so well is because they are generally not injured and do not miss extended time.

OK OK, I know what you’re thinking.  Well Marc Savard hasn’t played in a year and has barely played since being concussed by Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins two years ago.  Well, for the purposes of this article, I’m leaving him out.

So lets look at everyone else.  Out of all the players that played for the Bruins last year and this year, I am leaving out players that left the team after last year, or joined the team this year.  I am including Rich Peverly and Chris Kelly because even though they were picked up in the middle of last year, they still had a chance to play a full season with another team and the playoffs with the Bruins.  Also left off the list were players that were consistently a healthy scratch at one point.  The following stats are out of a possible 158 games, including playoffs.

PLAYER………………………..GP                 NON INJURY REASON FOR MISSING

Dennis Seidenberg………….. 157

Chris Kelly……………………. 157                 lost a game in the trade

Zdeno Chara…………………. 154                illness in playoffs/rest

Patrice Bergeron…………….. 154

Milan Lucic………………….. 154

Gregory Campbell…………… 153

Rich Peverly…………………. 152

David Krejci…………………. 148

Shawn Thornton……………. 148                   scratched a lot during playoffs

Brad Marchand……………… 147                    suspension

Nathan Horton………………. 147                   currently injured

Johhny Boychuk……………. 144                    scratched several times last year

Andrew Ference……………. 141                     suspension

Tyler Seguin…………………. 137                   scratched several times last year

Adam McQuaid…………….. 136                   scratched several times last year

Missing fron the list are Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi, Tomas Kaberle, Joe Corvo, Benoit Poulliot, and Daniel Paille.  Paille spent an extended amount of time as a healthy scratch.  Add it all together and this core group has played an average of 95% of their possible games, an average of 77 games per season.  This does include the healthy scratches which are not injury related.

Many of the games that were missed due to injury, or flu like symptoms were not a serious issue.  A game here.  Two games there.  Besides Savard, winger Nathan Horton has dealt with the most serious injury.  He suffered a concussion in last years Stanley Cup, missed the last four games of that series and has missed the last 5 games this season due to post concussion symptons after a hard hit from Philadelphia Flyer Tom Sestito.

In previous years, the injury bug has plagued the Bruins a bit.  Patrice Bergeron has suffered a major concussion.  Lucic has had ankle problems.  And although it pains me to bring it up, all Bruins fans remember the injury that occurred to David Krejci during the third game of the 2010 playoff series against Philadelphia.  The Bruins succinctly lost four games in a row after that, losing the series 4-3.  I know, I was at game 7.

One thing is for sure, the Bruins have been fortunate and we as fans have been fortunate to watch them.  Lets hope I don’t jinx them.

 

 

 

 

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  • Troy Pfaff

    Very interesting stuff. I hadn’t realized the Bruins were so lucky injury-wise. There’s no denying the depth of talent they have, but all the talent in the world doesn’t matter if your players aren’t healthy (see 2011 Penguins). Good information.

    • Mark Abraham

      Thanks…. it was something that I was realizing late in the season last year. Some key players missed some time early in the playoffs (Chara in game 2 of the first round and Bergeron missed two games against Tampa in the ECF) but they managed through it. They were deep. They had Seguin as a scratch for a good part of the playoffs.

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