The Boston Bruins 7th Player Award is one of those awards that is so hard to judge. If you look at any given to week span of the marathon you could award it to a good dozen players in a deep team. Other years you wonder if anyone deserves it. This year is another hard year to judge. Many players have been what they are expected to be. Some have been better for parts of the year, and at or below expectations the rest. Some of been good but not way over expectations.

My criteria:

  • Player has to consistently do what they are expected to do.
  • What they do outside that role has to be positive and fairly consistent.
  • Must play Bruins hockey.
  • Exceed at least a third of the other players at that position, minimum.

Off the top of the list we have the positively eliminated:

  • Patrice Bergeron he’s the team MVP, which isn’t what the 7th player award is.
  • Zdeno Chara, has been up and down this year, but still worth every bit of his pay.
  • Brad Marchand, he came in and has handily exceeded last years numbers, not hugely but done slightly more than expected.

The negatively eliminated:

  • Tyler Seguin, hot and cold, hot and cold, hot and cold…
  • David Krejci, see above.
  • Joe Corvo, ah no. No ones expectations were that low.
  • Benoit Pouliot, his numbers are worse than last year when he was with the Habs.

If we toss out the goalies who most Bruins fans seem to think are guilty of something north of murder and not quite as bad a child molestation or not liking hockey if they let in two goals in a night we are left with a small pool of guys who have performed about to expectations or above.

  • Chris Kelly is playing 30 seconds less shorthanded time than last year, but has had an uptick in offense and faceoffs, but he’s been quite hot and cold offensively.
  • Dennis Seidenberg is an interesting choice too, he’s playing more ice time than last year, has tripled his +/- despite not playing much of the year with Chara.
  • Shawn Thornton would be all sorts of fun to give the award to, he’s having his second best career offensive season, had that truly filthy shorthanded goal, and has earned his PIMS with 19 fighting majors and better kept his peace when getting egregiously bad calls against him.

In truth either of those three would be a more than acceptable winner. At one point it looked like Chris Kelly was going to run away with the award. He leveled off a bit when Rich Peverley went out, but has picked up lately with the addition of Brian Rolston. If you ignore October and the first week or so of November Lucic has been stellar this season, playing as a one man line more nights than are fair to him but it is unlikely he hits 30 goals again this season. Which leaves just one man clearly worthy of the 7th Player Award.

Andrew Ference. Despite missing ten games with an injury he’s exceeded his best offensive year as a member of the Boston Bruins by 25%, with games left to play. He’s been as solid as we could hope for defensively. He’s increased his shorthanded time on ice, over last year and has brought the fast, physical game we’ve always expected of him. On and off the ice he’s a contributor.

About Puck Sage is a hockey site focusing on the NHL, the playing style of teams and players with analysis and the occasional predictions. If it doesn't involve what happens on ice, I won't be writing about it. About Me: Writer! Here. write hockey. I can be found on Twitter @PuckSage on Google+ and my Facebook Page is handily listed on the main page here. Radio Personality: Guest Hockey expert on WATD 95.9FM Hockey lover, cognac drinker, lover of good steak, good music, and things that make me laugh. I hate cats, cat people, sloppy hockey and vegans.

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