Mar. 31, 2012; Uniondale, NY, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Mike Mottau (27) controls the puck during the first period against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
Looking back on Mike Mottau’s (short) season with the Boston Bruins was a bit tricky, as he only played eight total games for the Bruins. Mottau was picked up by Peter Chiarelli’s at the trade deadline as a secondary piece in the Brian Rolston deal. At the time, it seemed like Mottau was little more than an insurance plan having just returned to action after missing 26 games due to a concussion.
The deadline deals that brought Mottau and Greg Zanon provided the Bruins with much-needed depth, as the team saw Adam McQuaid and Joe Corvo go down with injuries late in the season. I’m not one to say I have an inside source into the team’s thinking, but I’m guessing they acquired Mottau with the idea of him watching the playoffs in warm-ups from a luxury box, not logging nearly 12 minutes of ice time in a season-ending game seven.
Mottau only played a total of eight games for the Bruins leaving a very limited amount to hockey to look at for a report card, so we'll really look at the two games that mattered the most – Games 6 and 7 of the first round series against the Washington Capitals.
By simply looking at the stat sheet, one could assume that Mottau was a detriment to the team, as he played about 10 minutes in each game and registered nothing except a -1 in each game. But looking back on the goals that resulted in of the minus ratings, Mottau was just appears to be unlucky. In Game 6, Mottau was on the ice for Mike Green’s goal in the first period that tied the game at 1-1. Mottau did a good job of steering his mark out of Thomas’s line of sight and well clear of any potential rebound – the shot from Green just happened to find the net.
In Game 7, Mottau was part of the line coming on the ice when Benoit Pouliot’s dump-in attempt hit a shin pad and resulted in the two-on-one break that produced the series-winning goal. Like the goal from Green, there was almost nothing Mottau could have done to alter the course of events, as he was coming on to the ice just as the puck was pushed across the red line.
I focused mainly on Games 6 and 7 because, when you have a reserve pressed into service in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a great result is that he does no harm – Mottau achieved this and, if not for one unlucky play, we could be writing about Mottau serving as cheerleader from a luxury box for rounds two, three, etc.
With Corvo and Zanon headed elsewhere (no complaints here), it’s quite possible that Mottau will be brought back on short-term, low-money deal to serve as an end-of-the-rotation defenseman while the team evaluates Dougie Hamilton ahead of next season. For a Massachusetts native and Boston College grad, Mottau could do worse than returning home for play for Boston next season.