Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk is keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com this season. In his most recent diary he talks about Christmas shopping, his fighting talents and more. (As told to Louise K. Cornetta)
First things first, how awesome is the Red Sox getting Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford?! I'm actually excited to start up a Fantasy League again. I'm going to be picking those guys, that's for sure.
As for us, this three game homestand we are playing now came at a good time [Editor’s note: The homestand started with a 3-2 win over the Capitals]. We lost two games on the road. We've been playing fairly well at home. It's always nice to be back at home and have our crowd behind us. For me, Bruins hockey means never giving up. From what I see, we never give up. When we do get off to a good start, which we want to do every night, we usually take control of the game. If we don't get off to a good start, we battle back and make it a game no matter what. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. But if we come out with a good start we're probably going to win 90 percent of the games. The first five, first ten minutes of a game is what sets the tone for the whole game. It really helps out when we come out and we play that first period well and come in with the lead. With this team, when we're up a goal or two after the first period, we've established we're a tough team to beat.
People have been asking about what's wrong with our penalty kill lately. It just seems like that there have been bounces that have gone the other team's way, which wasn't happening before. Our game against Montreal, there were a couple of goals that went off our players and went in the net. The other one was against Buffalo where the puck hits Timmy [Thomas] and goes right to the guy's stick. Maybe it's just that we've been unlucky.
Having Savy [Marc Savard] back has been awesome. I get to drive with him to the rink sometimes. Usually we ride together once or twice a week. Whichever one of us is driving is the one that gets to control the radio. It's nice that we get to hear him talking in the dressing room again. Our games against Montreal and Buffalo he played really well. It's just good to have him back because he adds that little extra fire power and nice passes.
But we get Savy back and lose Stewie [Marc Stuart] with a busted hand which means we lost a good strong defenseman. It's too bad but we have Adam [McQuaid] stepping up and playing more minutes. We also have Kam [Steve Kampfer] called up and he's been taking a lot of minutes as well. It's good to see that the guys are stepping up. It will be nice to see Stew come back though that's for sure.
I was worried that I was hurt when we played the Sabres last week. I blocked a shot and it hit me right on the bone of my right wrist. It was really sore. I woke up the next day and was like, "Oh my God," because I couldn't move my wrist. But then the training staff put a little magical touch to my wrist and for some reason it doesn't even hurt anymore. It's maybe just like a bruise or something like that. I was going to snap if I broke another wrist.
About two weeks ago against Buffalo I got in a fight (Dec. 7). The Sabres guy [Steve Montador] came after me, so I had to drop the gloves. I used to fight a lot in the AHL but no one really knows that. I also have a visor now because I took that puck in the face last year. I kind of stuck with the visor because I don't want to lose my eyes or anything like that. Usually guys don't want to fight guys with visors because they don't think they can fight, but I can. What do you think? Of course I think I did okay. All my teammates told me good job but they all knew I could fight, just maybe the fans don't know.
The team's been making some moves. Matt Hunwick got traded to the Avalanche then Marco Sturm got traded to the Kings. Both guys are good guys. Huny was a good skating defenseman. Sturmy has been out for a while and was just trying to get back into our line up. He's just about back then we see him leave. He's been here for a while. He's kind of been like a role model for the younger guys- Just to be a pro and see what it takes. It's just sad to see a guy like that leave Boston.
What else can I tell you? How about what coach is like. I'll tell you Coach Claude Julien is not a rah-rah guy. I mean sometimes he does, but not often. He usually come in and prepares us well. He makes sure we have all the tools that we need to get to the game to do it for ourselves. He gives us guidance on what to do. My relationship with him hasn't changed now that I'm playing full time compared to the start of last year.
Guess what? I'm all done with my Christmas shopping. I sent all my presents back home for the family. Yup, all done. I haven't been with family on Christmas for the last six years. Maybe once or twice, but usually I'm with friends. Here is my advice for all those guys out there looking to get that perfect gift for their significant other: Jewelry. You can't go wrong buying jewelry. Girls love jewelry. Next up after Christmas is New Year's. One thing I like is resolutions. I make them and then try to keep them. I'll make one but I'm not revealing it yet. I'll reveal it after it's broken.
Some answers to these questions you guys sent in after my last diary: From chrisrotary12, he wants to know if I ever suggested to Z [Zdeno Chara] to use a shorter stick so that he might be able to control the puck better. My answer is no. You need that reach. He's got that reach down that he can poke away pucks and it gives him an extra little whip to his slap shot.
Another question from ejallis1 who asked if I feel Chara and I have the hardest two shots in the League. I say yeah probably close to it because his is a hundred and five and mine is a hundred and two miles per hour.