Jan. 19 isn’t just a sort of second Christmas Day because the NHL season is preparing to start. It’s also the 29th birthday of Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Here’s a look at his career so far and some of his biggest moments on the ice.
Boychuk, who is of Ukrainian Canadian descent, was born in Edmonton, Alberta. He was drafted 61st overall in 2002 by the Colorado Avalanche, though he didn’t make his pro debut until 2004-05 and cut his teeth in juniors with two teams of the WHL. He continued to do work in the minors with the Avalanche’s AHL farm teams, though when he did finally put on the Avs sweater for the first time in 2008, it was as a left winger instead of a d-man.
He became part of the Bruins in June 2008, was sent to Providence and was named AHL Player of the Week in his first week as a P-Bruin. After a short December 2008 stint with Boston, he spent the rest of the 2008-09 campaign in Providence and won the Eddie Shore Award, the AHL version of the Norris Trophy, for his 20 goals and 45 assists.
That was a good enough performance to cement him on the big Bruins’ defensive corps starting in 2009. Since then, he’s generally had about five goals and 15 points total every season. He’s also often paired on defense with Zdeno Chara, creating a one-two punch of physical presence combined with finesse.
During the lockout, Boychuk had a brief tenure with Austria’s EC Red Bull Salzburg, where rumor has it the only drink available in the locker rooms is none other than Red Bull. So, ‘Boych’ has probably been enjoying his ability to drink good old-fashioned Boston dirty water again.
Here are some clips of Boychuk:
Boychuk scores with a ‘Johnny Rocket’ so hard that the water bottle above Jhonas Enroth blasts out of it holder.
Ouch! After taking a puck to the, uh, gentlemen’s area (which is signified with an extra sound effect in the video), Boychuk takes a moment to get his wind back and then stays in the play until he can finally clear the puck and go off to the bench.
Another Johnny Rocket, this one fired from the blue line, becomes a Bruins power play goal.
Boychuk and Daniel Paille joined a Boston-area youth team for some skating during the lockout, where the two Bruins playfully checked one another.
Possibly my favorite Boychuk check, he hip checks Evander Kane so hard that, in the words of Jack Edwards, it shakes the foundations of the MTS Centre.
Boychuk and Brad Marchand read one another’s “diaries” at a Harvard Lampoon event in October 2011.