By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Its pretty easy to gloss over the newcomers to this years Bruins team when there are so few of them.
Nearly an entire roster of Bs players are returning this year after winning the Stanley Cup last season, and there has been a great deal of stress placed on the rare continuity enjoyed by the Black and Gold heading into this year.
But there are some new guys, and they are potential difference-makers.
There are plenty of Boston wise guys who would argue anybody with a strong pulse and the ability to breathe without medical assistance would be an upgrade over Tomas Kaberle, but Joe Corvo truly looks like hes going to be quite an improvement over the status quo.
Corvo arrives in Boston with the reputation as a willing shooter with a heavy, dangerous howitzer from the point, and is expected to help make a difference on a Bs power play that bounced between moribund and impotent last season. The 16.2 percent success rate for the power play during the regular season landed them in the bottom third of the league, and it only got worse during the postseason.
In many ways Corvo is actually the polar opposite of Kaberle: A frequent and dangerous shooter with a quick skating stride and the willingness to speed the puck into the offensive zone with his quick bursts of speed.
Hes a good heads up player, said coach Claude Julien. When he does shoot, he doesnt always just aim for the net. He aims for sticks and hes got pretty good vision on the power play. When he gets an opportunity to shoot he doesnt hesitate at all, and I think he will certainly help our power play.
Corvo also has a willingness to mix things up a bit physically in the defensive end a quality that the doughy Kaberle was also a little short on during his time in Boston last season. Julien and general manager Peter Chiarelli were quick to point that Corvo isnt a power play savior and the defensemen himself admits that Juliens zone defense system will take some getting used to this season but watching the newest Bs defenseman zip around with the puck has been a welcomed sight during training camp.
Hes got good skating and a right-handed shot, said Chiarelli. Hes had significant experience on the power play. I preface this by the same comment I used before Kaberle arrived . . . the positives and the negatives of the power play dont rest with one player. That applies here to Joe. It gives us different options with his right shot, and hes got a big shot and there might be a little more speed there. Thats going to help our entries and its a different look.
The Bruins GM thinks team speed has picked up this preseason from where it was last year, and some of that is certainly trading out Kaberle for a nifty skater like Corvo. The retirement of Mark Recchi, who had endless amounts of guts, courage and experience while lacking in the skating speed department, and replacement with Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley on a permanent basis has also certainly upgraded Boston in the speed department.
"I generally think this year that our team is faster," Chiarelli said. "Ive just seen that from the start to the finish of camp. It may be because of Joe and how he plays the game, it may be more of a contribution from Seguin or it just may be a collective mindset that is carried over. I think youll see that in the power play also.
The proof will be in the pudding, of course. But theres every change that Corvos arrival, Seguins emergence and Peverleys presence will make the Bruins both a more dangerous power play squad and a faster attack.
As we all know speed kills in the NHL, and Corvo and the Bruins seem to have a lot more of it.