In recent weeks, the Boston Bruins have begun finding their chemistry and returning to the full-60 minute effort they displayed at the beginning of the season. Much of their success has been a result of utilizing all four lines for offensive pressure, as well as a heavy transition game from the three defensive units.
Although rumors have circulated that the Bruins are interested in acquiring additional scoring, one area that they’re competent in is defensive depth. With NHL-caliber defenseman in Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, John Moore, Kevan Miller, and arguably Steven Kampfer, the Bruins retain the depth necessary to replace anyone who goes down with an injury – in this case, that’s Connor Clifton, who has proven himself as a solid defenseman with refreshing youthful energy on the blue line.
Clifton, 24, shocked the Bruins and fans when his 5′ 11′ frame featured an aggressive and gritty style of play – something the team has missed in recent games. Unfortunately, it appears the Bruins will be missing “Cliffy Hockey” a little longer, as Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy indicated that he will be sidelined until “at least” February.
Clifton has been injured since December 29th, after playing a little over 5 minutes in the first period against the Buffalo Sabres. His injury is considered “upper body”, but the exact ailment is unknown at this time.
For the time being, you have to imagine that John Moore will be the Bruins sixth defenseman until Kevan Miller is healthy. At that point, Moore and Miller will likely switch-off until Clifton is ready. That being said, when Clifton, Miller, and Moore are all healthy (which hasn’t been a reality since last season), you have to question who be cemented into the sixth-man slot on defense.
Having a surplus of defenseman is a benefit, especially come playoff time – that being said, it also raises a lot of questions, and the Bruins will have to answer those questions soon.