The 2010-11 NHL season was one of many things for the Boston Bruins. One of them being a top defensive team.
Not only were they able to shut down their opponents number one scoring lines, but they were also able to carry their team all the way to a Stanley Cup Championship.
The Boston Bruins will have the same defenders this season as they did last season, with the exception of one: Tomas Kaberle.
Which Boston only improved with bringing in Joe Corvo. I can only speculate at this time whether Corvo will actually be better for the team, but I can't see myself being wrong.
I believe that the Bruins will once again have a defense that every other team will dread facing, and here are five reasons why:
Zdeno Chara & Dennis Seidenberg
Zdeno Chara tied his career high plus/minus this past season with a plus-33, which was also good for the league lead.
He also took more shots than he ever has in his career with 264, leading all Bruins players and was second in the league for defensemen.
With the hardest slapshot in the history of the NHL, Chara finished third among all defensemen for power-play goals.
Chara won the James Norris Trophy in 2009 with the Bruins as the best defenseman in the league, but was only a finalist in 2010-11. He did, however, win the Mark Messier Leadership Award for leading his team to a championship.
Dennis Seidenberg finished second, only to Milan Lucic, in hits for the Bruins with 161, (Chara finished third with 153) only six behind Lucic.
Seidenberg also finished first on the team in blocked shots with 174, a full 43 more than the second place finisher.
When the defensive duo of Chara and Seidenberg are on the ice, you can be guaranteed at least one thing: the other team isn't going to get too much accomplished.
Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk are another one of Boston's defensive dynamic duo's.
Ference was a plus-22 and Boychuk was a plus-15, with Boychuk being the third most hitting defenseman for the Bruins with 117 hits.
Ference also helped a little on special teams, contributing one short-handed assist, while Boychuk had a game-winning goal to his credit and two points on the power-play with one goal and one assist.
Both defensemen also helped out with enforcing, combing for nearly 200 penalty minutes.
Ference and Boychuk are smart positionally. They force their opponents into the right spots where they don’t have much to work with, leaving them with only bad-angle shots.
With things like that, it makes it hard to play against. They are aggressive with the fore-check and interrupting break-aways.
Boychuk may not have led the Bruins in blocked shots, but the 115 he did block, I'd say 65 percent of them were goal saving blocks.
He's not afraid to take a shot for his team, an attribute that is vital for any franchise to have.
Enough can't be said about Adam McQuaid, the 24-year-old sophomore defenseman.
The way he performed in the 2010-11 season, you would never be able to tell he only played in 19 games the previous season.
With a plus-30 rating, McQuaid finished second on the team in plus/minus behind Zdeno Chara, which had a plus/minus rating of only three more points than McQuaid.
McQuaid finished third in penalty minutes with 96 and second in blocked shots with 131.
He is a solid contributor with his size, toughness and range. There is just something about a defender that is not afraid to fight that I really like.
His stock only increased in the Stanley Cup Finals. As the series began to turn around in Game 3, McQuaid logged 24 shifts and 17:49 of time on the ice, the most action he saw in any non-overtime game.
Over the final five games of the Stanley Cup Finals, he accrued a plus-3 rating and never shied away from any fights with the Canucks.
According to the associated press and WEEI's Big Bad Blog, McQuaid called the decision to take a three-year extension with the B’s a no-brainer, also saying he couldn’t picture being with any other team or being anything but a Bruin.
That kind of loyalty can only bring good things to come.
The Bruins were third in short-handed goals for the 2010-11 NHL regular season and first in the playoffs.
A right-handed shot, Corvo has 36 power play goals for his career. Bringing him in can only be seen as an upgrade to the blue-line.
I might be taking a huge leap in saying this, but I think Corvo is like a mini-Chara. If you look at just the numbers, they are quite comparable.
Corvo led all Carolina defensemen in goals (11), was second in assists (29), only being beat out for first with one assist by fellow blue-liner Joni Pitkanen.
He also led all team defenseman in points (40) and power-play goals (5), was third in blocked shots (119), led the team in power-play assists (18) and was second on the team in short-handed goals.
Tim Thomas is easily one of the best goaltenders, if not the best, in the NHL today.
Thomas won the Vezina for his performance during the 2008-09 season. The next year, his season was cut short due to a hip surgery.
He came right back for the 2010-11 season better than ever, winning the Stanley Cup while being the MVP of the finals, receiving the Conn Smythe. He also took home another Vezina Trophy for his efforts.
Thomas set a single-season record with a .938 save percentage. He also set records with most saves in a playoff run with 798 and most saves in a Stanley Cup Final with 238 saves.
Tuukka Rask was the top ranked European goaltender in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
For the 2009-10 regular season, Rask was the only goalie with a goals against average less than 2.00 and the only goalie with a save percentage over .930.
Rask was the only qualifying rookie in NHL history to lead the league with a goals against average lower than 2.00, as well as lead the league in save percentage.
By winning the Stanley Cup with Boston, he became only the second Finnish goaltender to do so.
At 24 years of age, Rask will be the Bruins goaltender of the future and will be a damn good one at that.