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Who Are the 2011 Bruins?

Source: CNN

Defensemen

#33 Zdeno Chara – Tallest man in hockey history and probably using the longest stick and wearing the largest skates as well.  With his monstrous wingspan he can easily cover his half of the ice.  Very nice guy off the ice, but a big (and tall) bogeyman on it.

#44 Dennis Seidenberg – Rugged German-born defenseman.  Blocks a ton of shot.  Possesses outstanding balance and is very strong on his skates.  You do not want to get caught in the corner with him, chances are you won’t be coming out.

#55 Johnny Boychuk – Owns the best open-ice hit as well as hip check on the team. Best hip checker since a former Bruins also with initials JPB and from Edmonton—John Bucyk.  His booming slapshot is second only to Chara’s.

#21 Andy Ference – Another tenacious defenseman, small in stature but not in heart.  He will not back down against anybody. Best remembered in this playoffs for flipping the finger to Canadiens fans after scoring a goal in Game 4.  Also known as the opponent in Sidney Crosby’s first fight.

#54 Adam McQuaid – Quiet but tough defenseman from Prince Edward Island, a perfect Bruin.  More than capable with his fists.

#12 Tomas Kaberle – Came over from Toronto in a mid-season trade as the much sought-after “puck-moving defenseman” meant to provide a boost to the Bruins’ anemic power play.  Great puck-handler but not overly physical. Solid but not as spectacular as hoped.

Forwards

#22 Shawn Thorton – Rugged and fearless fighter who sticks up for any teammate. Brings a ton of energy.  Hits anything that moves and can surprise opposing goalies with a bad-angle shot.  Tremendously popular with the Bs’ fan base for toughness and blue-collar work ethics (no surprise because he did work in the factories before hockey). Also known for his sense of humor.

#19 Tyler Seguin – The youngest Bruins.  Oodles of skills with some jaw-dropping moves.  Scored a couple of highlight-reel goals in the Tampa Bay series.  A Bruins star for years to come.

#91 Marc Savard – The Bs’ best play-making center, apt to making amazing passes that nobody expects.  Out since suffering a repeat concussion against Colorado but returned for the Stanley Cup parade.  Hopefully he’ll make a comeback.

#73 Michael Ryder – Probably the Bs’ best sniper with his deadly toe-drag snap shot.  Streaky player during the regular season but always outstanding in the playoffs. He notched the OT goal against the Canadiens in Game 3.

#28 Mark Recchi – He began his NHL career a few years before Seguin was born. He’s at or near the top of the league in several statistical categories. With great hands for deflection and close shots, he made his living within a few feet of the crease while taking a ton of punishment in the process.  Even more valuable as a leader on the ice and in the dressing room with his unmatched experience.  Announced his retirement after the Bs won the Cup; there was no better way to leave.  I shook his hands when I saw him at the Prudential Center last Christmas.

#49 Rich Peverley – Small but highly skilled player who was acquired from Atlanta in a mid-season trade.  Versatile—he’s a natural center but can play either wing and can kill penalties.  He scored the a brilliant first goal against the Canucks in Game 4 which ignited the rout.

#23 Chris Kelly – Another of the Bs’ deep line-up of two-way centers.  Acquired mid-season from Ottawa.  Great defensive player with outstanding speed.  Scored key goals in the Canadiens series, without which the Bs wouldn’t have made it past their toughest opponent in the 2011 playoffs.

#20 Daniel Paille – The fastest Bruin.  He almost singlehandedly transformed their penalty kill when he arrived a few years ago. Not a great finisher but his quickness creates a lot of opportunities for himself and his teammates.

#11 Gregory Campbell – A key pre-season acquisition from Florida and another unsung hero.  Well-known as the son of the NHL’s former head disciplinarian, he’s a solid anchor for the energetic fourth line, often the Bs’ best line during the regular season and playoffs.

#17 Milan Lucic – The fan favorite with his snarly demeanor and penchant for fighting, as evident from the number of “Lucic Fight Club” t-shirts and bumper stickers. Most fans remember being brought out of their seats by his famous beat-down of then-Canadien Mike Komisarek.  Very tough pugilist known for drawing blood from his opponents. Also capable of delivering a devastating hit.  He’s toned down this season after discovering his scoring touch.

#18 Nathan Horton – Speed, toughness and competitiveness in abundance.  Always smiling, a great addition to the dressing room since his acquisition from Florida along with Campbell.  Became playoffs hero after scoring 3 game-winning goals against Montréal and Tampa Bay,  2 of which in Game 7.  Also indirectly helped when the team rallied after he was knocked out of the playoffs by an Aaron Rome hit.

#63 Brad Marchand – Rambunctious little guy who went from nobody to one of the best performers in the regular season and playoffs.  Very fast player who’s extremely mobile in tight spaces.  Also shifty which lets him shake off defenders.  Not afraid to land a hit and capable of flattening much bigger players.  Will drop the gloves if challenged.  He’s fast becoming a very popular Bruin, rightly so, judging by the amount of cheers for him during the parade.

#37 Patrice Bergeron – One of the best defensive forwards in the game. Consistently the Bs’ best player on most nights. Amazingly mature for someone who’s only 25. Scored the first and third goal against the Canucks in Game 7, sending the Bs to the Cup.

#46 David Krejčí – The top center after Savard was lost for the season.  Very shifty with subtle shoulder and head fakes which make defenders look foolish.  Excellent vision. Uncanny ability to find open spaces and thread a perfect pass to an open teammate. Time seems to slow when he has the puck.  When the Bs run around in their zone, they usually get out of trouble when the puck comes to Krejčí.

Goalies

#40 Tuukka Rask – Very athletic young goalie.  Excellent positionally and seldom gets caught in a bad spot. His calm demeanor in net helps settle the team down.  A pillar of the team for years to come.

#30 Tim Thomas – In many ways the opposite of Rask.  Relies heavily on reaction and athleticism to make saves.  Limitless desire to compete. Doesn’t ever give up even if the situation appears hopeless.  Probably owns the most highlights for a goalie. Unconventional but undeniably effective, to the tune of the record for regular season save percentage, two Vézinas, one Conn Smythe, and one Stanley Cup.

Other memorable former Bs  include Matt Hunwick, Blake Wheeler, Marco Sturm and Mark Stuart.  Their names won’t be on the Cup but their contributions aren’t forgotten.