When the Boston Bruins acquired Chris Kelly
in a trade that sent a 2011 second round pick to the Ottawa Senators, the B’s were looking to add a physical forward as well as a center to fill a void that was left when veteran center Marc Savard
was forced to end his season with concussion related symptoms.
|Kelly, left, gets set to shoot the puck past Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price, right, during the third period in Game 7 of a first-round NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff series in Boston, Wednesday, April 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) |
Boston has gotten that out of Kelly and then some.
Sixth on the team with 4-7-11 totals in the playoffs, Kelly has teamed with Michael Ryder and Tyler Seguin
to form one of the Bruins most dangerous offensive threats.
“When you come to a new team you want to contribute, you want to fit in, you want to be the difference right off the bat,” said Kelly after Sunday's practice.
“Points don’t define me as a player, they never have. I don’t think they ever will. I think if I had points and we lost in the first round, no one would care about how I was doing.
“So obviously, the bigger picture is how the team is doing,” he said.
Obviously, the team is doing just fine and Kelly was able to contribute right away as the Black & Gold went on a seven game win streak almost immediately after the trade. He averaged over 15 minutes per game in that stretch.
“When I came here I just tried to fit in and do what I could,” he said. “The team was winning and that was the most important thing.”
That “team first” mindset is what has helped him earn seven assists during the postseason. It is also part of the reason why number-23’s work with the B’s might get overlooked at times as Kelly brings simple, strong and physical two-way play.
But he also does his part at wing, center and in the faceoff circle as the ultimate team player.
“I think we play well together," said the 94th overall pick in the 1999 NHL Draft of the team’s success in even-strength situations. " I think we play as five men units out there and we work well together.”
This 30-year old NHL veteran may not make headlines every game, but he does the essential, little things for the Bruins that helped make them the Eastern Conference champs. Added to the B's other trade deadline acquisitions, Kelly, along with Rich Peverley
and Tomas Kaberle, have helped the B's reach the precipice of the ultimate hockey goal.
"I mean, these three guys that we got, obviously they are special players," said right wing Nathan Horton
. "And you know when they came you could just see the difference and see how good they really are.
"We’re definitely lucky to have them, and there’s pieces that we needed and you know they have helped us out a lot."
"I think they’ve been great assets to our hockey club," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "They fit into the areas where we needed some help.'---John Smith