WILMINGTON -- It had to have been a difficult circumstance for Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski to be scratched for the first two regular season games after leading the team in points during the preseason. But the young defenseman has handled it well while practicing hard, and supporting fellow young blueliners Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton while the team has jumped out to a 2-0-0 start to the season.
Hamilton has been good in the first two games while skating with Dennis Seidenberg, and Krug was the best player on the ice while scoring a power play goal in Saturday night’s win over the Detroit Red Wings.
Meanwhile Bartkowski’s play started to tail off a little bit at the end of the preseason, and a few defensive breakdowns opened the door for Hamilton to jump back into the top-six.
Now Bartkowski is simply biding his team and using the lessons he learned while serving as a healthy scratch for the Bruins last spring after getting bumped up to the NHL level.
“We’re all professionals, so you just need to handle it. You always want to be out there playing, but whatever the team goes with is how you have to handle it,” said Bartkowski, who had two assists in 11 regular season games and another two points in seven playoff games for Boston while playing 20 plus minutes per game last spring.
“I can only assume [any playing time] won’t be coming until we stop winning, but hopefully we don’t stop winning. We all want to play, but it makes it easier when the team is winning."
The Bruins might have been in a spot in years past to send Bartkowski down to Providence for some playing time if he was out of the lineup for a long enough stretch. But with the 25-year-old Pennsylvania native off his entry level contract, he would now need to pass through waivers in order to log some minutes in the AHL. Clearly the young defenseman has shown enough that he’d be scooped up in a second by another NHL organization so that won’t be happening anytime soon.
“I’m sure it will be here [at the NHL level] eventually [when I do play], so I’ll just be ready for that time,” said Bartkowski.
With the grueling nature of an 82-game regular season and Boston’s desire to build in some resting time for some of their veteran defensemen over the course of a long season, Bartkowski probably won’t have to wait long for it to be his time.