It hasn’t been a good time to be one of the Bruins starting defenseman.
In each of the past four games, a defenseman has gone down to injury in the first period. After today’s game, here's where the Bruins D men were in terms of regular season ice time (all situations, via stats.hockeyanalysis) and their status. Three of those four injuries were to top four defenseman, and the fourth was to their sixth defenseman.
Let's start with a quick rundown of the potential plays that injured the Bruins defensemen, and the dates
Game 81 vs Ottawa Senators, April 6
Torey Krug - Lower body
Game 82 vs Washington Capitals, April 8
Brandon Carlo - Upper body
Playoff Game 1 vs Ottawa Senators, April 12
Colin Miller - Lower body
Playoff Game 2 vs Ottawa Senators, April 15
Adam McQuaid - Upper Body
Over these past four games, the Bruins have been down to five defensemen for just under 80% of the time, with 179:29 out of a possible 257 minutes spend down a defenseman. The least amount of time in a game spent like this? The 45 minutes after Colin Miller’s knee injury in game 1. He returned to the bench in the second period, but didn’t take a shift past 15 minutes into the game. Which defensemen are eating up those minutes lost? Looking at the difference in their ice time the past four games compared to their regular season averages can give us a clue. Since Charlie McAvoy didn’t play in any regular season games, we have nothing to compare him to, so whatever minutes he gives the Bruins is just found money.
Some quick takeaways:
- Charlie McAvoy has gotten the trust of Cassidy, and fast. Although it's not like he’s had any choice given his options on the right side
- Kevan Miller has seen his ice time rise considerably, rising to Chara levels in the regular season
- Chara has had a more measured increase in ice time, mainly because there's only so many more minutes he can play
- Looking back at the game two defensemen ice time, there was a clear top three that Cassidy leaned on, the two non injured top six defensemen from the regular season, and the fresh faced rookie, all over 27 minutes, with the fourth D man 7 minutes away, and the fifth defenseman at about half the ice time of the big three
- Pretty obvious: They can't keep losing a defenseman every game, and they EVENTUALLY have to get one or two (Colin Miller and/or Brandon Carlo seem like the likely candidates, with Torey Krug the outside shot)
I’ll take the blame for McQuaid getting hurt. And I really hope I didn't jinx Kevan Miller as well, he's been solid.
Two of the Bruins 4 RHD get hurt.— Chris Abraham (@CrzyCanucklehed) April 13, 2017
Of course, neither of them are the ones who always get hurt, because life makes sense