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Bruins’ Julien proud of his young defensemen

May 1, 2014, 9:31 AM EDT

Kevan Miller, Torey Krug Getty Images

We know the Boston Bruins are tough on defense and that captain Zdeno Chara is the face of that group, but the host of young players that have stepped up on the blue line this season are part of what impresses coach Claude Julien the most.

As Joe Haggerty of shares, guys like Kevan Miller, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski, and Dougie Hamilton have all played major roles in Boston this season and the coach has more than taken notice.

There are times when they did get caught, and I’ve got a lot of clips of that if you want,” said Julien. “But that’s how they learn; you have to teach along the way. Because they were allowed to do that, sometimes you learn from your mistakes and get better. … They’re young players who are getting better all the time, and they have learned. That is to their credit.”

Krug has been the player that’s gotten noticed the most this season because of his point production, but Hamilton has been paired with Chara and seen his game improve. Miller’s physical presence and Bartkowski’s all-around game have earned Julien’s trust.

Say what you want about the Bruins, but one area they’re not lacking is on defense and they could be about to get a lot better with Dennis Seidenberg returning to practice recently.

  1. titansbro - May 1, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I’ve been most impressed with Miller. He’s no Seidenberg (yet), but he has filled that physical presence that Seids provided nicely.

    But really all these kids have been very impressive.

    • dropthepuckeh - May 1, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      I agree, the way they have been able to step in with all the veteran injuries is very impressive and speaks highly of the coaches and the system.

      At the risk of opening up the Seguin trade drama, I wonder if part of the reason they shipped him out was to prevent him from being a negative influence on the younger guys, especially Hamilton. I remember seeing them all at a Celtics game together and Seguin was clearly the “star” of the group and his off ice stuff is well documented. Regardless of how Seguin wanted to conduct himself, I’ll bet the Bruins didn’t want him rubbing off on the younger more impressionable players. Hamilton is the future of the Bruins D and I’d much rather him emulate Chara/ Seidenberg off ice than Seguin.

    • drewsylvania - May 1, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      Agree with both of you. I’m floored at how Miller arrived and became an excellent system guy immediately. And, as Ovechkin has shown, one guy who is allowed to play outside the system can poison a franchise.

  2. dboldave - May 1, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    Hamilton has really impressed me. I was wondering about him most of the season but towards the end he’s really turned a corner and been a different player. They’ll all be tested starting tonight though so hopefully they are ready!

    • titansbro - May 1, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Agreed, Hamilton was awesome in the Detroit series. And what I’ve really been noticing about him as of late is that he isn’t afraid to get in the middle of those post-whistle scrums & mix it up a bit. Which is tough to do for a young player.

  3. pastabelly - May 1, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Bartkowski was also making so many mistakes before the trade deadline. He’s cleaned up his game too. I agree on Hamilton and don’t understand why his ice time is still lower than the others. I suppose Krug’s five on five time is lower and he gets extra minutes on the PP.

    • jcmeyer10 - May 1, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      Young buck might have been thrown off by trade deadline. Sure turned it around.

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