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An ode to the guys who got us here; the replacements

A quick shoutout to the guys who came in on short notice to help the Bruins ice a complete roster, and what a list of guys it is.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

If you told your December self that you’d be watching hockey in May, I’m pretty sure they’d either be excited, or they’d gesture to the Bruins roster at the time and say “How, moron?”

This season was a roller-coaster for a lot of reasons, but cheif among them was the injury bug being more like a recurring injury guest star that everyone waited with bated breath to see pop up once again to see it’s ugly face over and over again, clapping and cheering. And the Boston Bruins just had to handle it for 82 games and change. They dealt with it, as all teams do, by calling guys up and by signing league-minimum contracts and allowing these youngsters and depth guys take a cup of coffee in the big time’s worth of games while the stars got healthy.

So for this, I’m giving a quick shoutout to every player who played less than 25 regular season games for the Boston Bruins, usually in an emergency.

Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle have been disqualified from this because getting traded for doesn’t count towards being “emergency relief”. Mostly because that’d be punishing them for being deadline acquisitions and...well...getting injured. And that’s not fair.

So give it up for...

Colby Cave: Caveman was a player who rounded out the center depth on the heels of Patrice Bergeron’s injury, and was one of many depth players who rotated out in the upcoming weeks. Finally placed on waivers, he ended up condemned going to Edmonton by the end, which is a fate he, nor, anyone else, deserves. But he got a hell of a first NHL goal against Montreal while here. And that’s what matters.

Peter Cehlarik: Who, in spite of Bruce Cassidy’s hangups, and they were fair hangups, was one of three players on the roster this entire year to consecutively give David Backes dangerous scoring chances. Sometimes even in the same game. That absolutely counts for something.

Karson Kuhlman: Who usually did everything right, played a game that complimented the kind of players that ended up being the third line by the end, and looked kind of like your cousin! All in all, a very likeable player who will likely compete for an open depth spot in the fall.

Connor Clifton: Who may or may not be just trying out for “Kevan Miller 2.0” at this point, Cliffy Hockey’s first couple of games as a callup seemed to be completely non-indicative of the kind of player he actually was, and a much later callup showed us we had in fact missed something. And what a wonderful something it’s been.

Jeremy Lauzon: Who was gifted a fantastic first NHL goal, and whose smooth skating allowed him to hang around for 16 games.

Trent Frederic: Who was one of many players this year to be 3rd line center, and fought a dude with his family in-house!

Zach Senyshyn: who may be eternally under a spotlight, but at least we got his first NHL goal out of the way in a brief stint.

Gemel Smith: A player who showed up for three games, waived, and tore it up in Providence. I’m glad he found his footing.

Lee Stempniak: Who I swear was on an PTO for like 90% of the season. He showed up for a pair of games, and then disappeared forever.

Jakub Zboril: Another two gamer who was hard at work being a two-game player, and then moving on to being part of the near-neverending cavalcade of injured bodies in the AHL. Someone should probably have a word with their team doctor, for what it’s worth...

Paul Carey: Another dude who only showed up for a pair of games as a warm body. Then went down to Providence.

Urho Vaakanainen: Who I swear on this green earth would’ve played longer had it not been for the goddamn Sens. Utter crime he didn’t get to play longer than he did at the NHL level.

Anton Blidh: Your one game wonder. Called up, played against Tampa in April, went back down. doesn’t get more depth guy than that.

And for all their faults, and their eccentricities, and their temporary stays, they all had one thing in common:

They held the line.

They managed to (and in some cases, continue to) prop up the Boston Bruins when their best were on the mend, when their stars needed surgery, and holes in the lineup needed filling. Some managed to stick around for longer, and some didn’t. But all of them held the line. Some even contributed to wins. Or at least to better/more liked players’ totals.

25 points across all of these guys isn’t nothing. 11 goals, 14 assists across 13 players isn’t nothing. These guys mattered.

Because if not for them, who knows where Boston might be?