Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Don Sweeney has practically remade the “Big, Bad Bruins.”

The deepest, most complete team in the National Hockey League was already residing in Boston, but now the Bruins GM has added yet another couple of weapons to the arsenal, and these weapons go hard. Of course, I’m talking about defenseman Dmitry Orlov and winger Garnet Hathaway, who on Thursday night instantly went from Bruins villains to hometown heroes after coming over in a trade with the Capitals.

Memories may not need refreshing for Bruins fans, who tend to remember the worst offenders when it comes to on-ice villainy. Hathaway became something of an infamous figure in Boston during the Capitals’ 2021 playoff series against the Bruins. He was active, scoring two goals and three points, dishing out 18 hits, and serving four penalty minutes in a series that the Caps ultimately lost to the B’s in five games.

Hathaway most notably was something of a nemesis for Charlie McAvoy during the series. He leveled the Bruins defenseman with multiple big hits, and even hit him with the ol’ reverse-check on a hit attempt. It happens.

  • Now? McAvoy is probably happy to have Hathaway on his side now. As are the Bruins as a team, who now have more than enough snarl in their forward group to complement their high-end scoring. Hathaway isn’t afraid to hit anyone, and now he can imprint a huge ‘B’ on guys’ chests.

    Hathaway’s hitting is generally more of the “hard-but-clean” variety, rather than “dirty.” But earlier in that 2020-21 season, he did have whatever you call this on Jarred Tinordi that earned him a game misconduct:

  • Bottom line is, as long as Hathaway stays out of trouble with Player Safety – he’s only been suspended once in his career and it was for spitting on a player – he’s going to give the Bruins a bruising physical presence that few players in the league can match.

    Orlov, meanwhile, had a dirty moment against the Bruins in that same 2021 playoff series. Here he is leaving his feet to deliver a high hit to Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller:

  • Orlov hit Miller shoulder-to-shoulder with little-to-no head contact, but he obviously launched, so he earned a double-minor on that play. Orlov stands at just 5-foot-11, but he’s heavy¬†at 214 pounds. He isn’t afraid to throw his weight around, and capable of out-muscling bigger opponents. Another guy that the Bruins are happy to have on their team, as opposed to prowling the blue line in another sweater.

    The Bruins already had excellent scoring talent, a dynamic defense, and the best goaltending in the league. They already had some of that red-ass, between Brad Marchand, McAvoy, Trent Frederic, Nick Foligno, Connor Clifton, A.J. Greer. But in Hathaway, they added that dimension of elevated power and agitation that they’ve lacked in recent years, and Orlov can help in that department, too. They are the Bruins’ equivalent of the moves Tampa Bay made to bring in Pat Maroon and Barclay Goodrow, which helped stamp them as Stanley Cup champions in 2020 and 2021.

    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: Garnet Hathaway #21 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his goal with teammate Dmitry Orlov #9 of the Washington Capitals in the third period against the Boston Bruins in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on May 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 17: Garnet Hathaway #21 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his goal with teammate Dmitry Orlov #9 of the Washington Capitals in the third period against the Boston Bruins in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Capital One Arena on May 17, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

  • In actuality, the Bruins have needed to make that move since 2019. But they needed upgrades at the top of the roster, first. Now that Don Sweeney has shaped the deepest and most taltented Bruins roster he’s had as GM, he could afford to sprinkle in a little more toughness.

    He’s done that, and this is now a team that can win in literally any fashion. They may have already been there, but now they can truly become the Big, Bad B’s if they have to. All playoff opponents will need to have their heads on swivels at all times.

    For Sweeney, the hope is this goes down as his Peverley-Kelly trade. If the Bruins end up hoisting the Stanley Cup this summer, it’s likely Hathaway and Orlov made legitimate contributions along the way. Better here than Carolina.

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