ATLANTA GA - FEBRUARY 13: Evander Kane #9 of the Atlanta Thrashers battles for the puck against Joe Corvo #77 of the Carolina Hurricanes at Philips Arena on February 13 2011 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
After the Bruins acquired Joe Corvo for a very friendly 4th round pick, I immediately purchased his jersey and decided to name my first child after him. While Boston’s love affair with Joe Corvo hasn’t reached the level of mine, yet, here are ten reasons it will at least be better than the previous romance with Tomas Kaberle.
10) Born in the USA - While this team was filled with Canada’s most valuable export, Bruins players, Tim Thomas remained the only American born player, until now. He’s not an Irishman, but we’ll take it.
9) Take the Money and Run - He commands a $2.25 million cap hit this year. That’s $2 million dollars less than Tomas Kaberle. Saving money for Steven Stamkos, perhaps? In all sincerity, considering his production, the current free agent market and its rate of inflation, it’s a bargain.
Tomas Kaberle, Carolina, 3 years, $12.75 million
Joni Pitkanen, Carolina, 3 years, $13.5 million
Jonathan Ericsson, Detroit, 3 years, $9.75 million
Andy Greene, New Jersey, 4 years, $12 million
Ed Jovanowski, Florida, 4 years, $16.5 million
8) Hair of the Dog - If I wasn’t the only one cringing every time I saw Tomas Kaberle’s facial hair during the playoffs, then there’s something seriously wrong here. While slightly better looking than a female Flyers fan, he still looks like he should be planting TNT and waiting for the Road Runner. He certainly did play the dastardly villain to the power play. Joe Corvo definitely gets the points for his bleach blonde Mohawk, and the ability to grow a full beard.
7) Risky business - He may be 34, however, there’s more evidence pointing to Kaberle’s decline than Corvo’s. In the end it’s only a one-year deal. There’s no risk of being tied up with a declining player. Steven Kampfer can now come on as the team’s 7th defensemen and fight the curve that is playing defense in the NHL without much liability to the Bruins. Easily room is made for Kampfer or other young blood in two seasons. Teach me how to Dougie? Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
6) Pinball Wizard - For the Bruins, Corvo can be used a variety of different ways. In Carolina, he was a top pair defenseman. Night after night he faced the opponent’s best competition. He logged close to 25 minutes per game. He can ease the burden on our top pair with his fitness and experience, especially, if any injury woes were to plague the team. In Boston, barring the latter, he’ll likely be a 2nd or 3rd pairing guy. Julien could reunite Andrew Ference and Adam McQuaid who played together for much of the regular season with great success. No matter his partner, Boychuk or McQuaid, Corvo is no stranger to playing on his off hand as he did in his time with the Kings and Senators. Corvo also adds an element of leadership to the locker room, a role he assumed with the very young Hurricanes, and will likely carry on with his new team.
5) Shoot for Thrill - I’m certain I wasn’t the only one screaming "SHOOT!" at the television every time Tomas Kaberle had an open lane. Then, repeatedly, we were mystified as he pump faked the shot and slid over a pass, a move that wouldn’t even fool George Costanza. Forgive me for sounding like John Madden, but you have to shoot to score. Putting pucks on the net creates countless opportunities. Corvo shoots often and owns a pretty nasty shot in his own right, with all due respect to Mr. Chara. He has tallied 14 goals per season twice and 13 once. Let’s go for twenty Joe.
4) Under Pressure - There’s such a disparity between the two players short-handed ability that it deserves its own category. Corvo averaged 2:42 minutes of short-handed time per game last year, posting rather good numbers. On the other hand Kaberle averaged 25 seconds per game as we all held our collective breaths. Having a reliable shorthanded defensemen who can easily transition defense into offense is extremely valuable to any team. The Bruins were 3rd in short-handed goals last year and first in the playoffs. His addition makes the special teams unit even more dangerous.
3) The Hand that Feeds - The addition of Corvo to the Bruins creates perfect symmetry on the blue line. There are now three left-handers and three right-handers. Meaning all players can go hard to the boards on their forehands. However, it would be surprising if Julien ever splits up Seidenberg and Chara again, ever. His dexterity will be most valuable on the power play where he is now a natural partner for Zdeno Chara. A right-handed shot at the left point paired with a lefty at the right point will open up any man-advantage, creating the most dangerous one-time threat in hockey. We all saw how Vancouver’s placement of Christian Ehrhoff at the left point was to their own disadvantage. As the Bruins never honored his threat with their penalty kill.
2) Another Brick in the Wall – It’s no secret that Boston loves to play hockey along the boards. That requires a certain type of player, a gritty, hardworking, and physical one. All traits are synonymous with being a "Bruin". Just as it was during the 70s and 80s, it is now. There’s a reason Terry O’ Reilly’s number is up there with the likes of Orr, Bourque, and company. Joe Corvo, realistically, could play strong safety for the New England Patriots. While slightly smaller than Kaberle, he’s a tremendous physical specimen. He’s not afraid to be the first man in for a puck. Nor is he going to get pushed off the puck as we saw via Tomas Doughberle many times throughout the playoffs. Corvo hits more and also blocks a considerable number of shots per game. He uses his physical ability to strip the opponent of the puck. He was third overall in takeaways last season. Corvo maintains an extremely low penalty minutes total while doing all this (fewer than 20 each of the past three seasons).
1) Rebel Yell – Check out those tattoos, the guy is a rock star. Coupled with the hair, I see a potential fashion showdown between him and Ference in the future. A couple of Bruins received Stanley Cup ink recently, Joe would’ve been right there with them. Considering his reputation to party, perhaps it’s a good thing he wasn’t at Foxwoods with the kids. Although, here’s to hoping he gets to do it next year.
As a side for all the stat junkies out there: Corvo produced a half a point better on the power play than Kaberle did last year. He has done so in 2 of the past 4 seasons and posted better Relative CORSI numbers the past 3 of 4 seasons. Relative CORSI numbers measure a team’s performance when a player is on the ice as opposed to when he is off.
Did I really just write that much about Joe Corvo?