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Bruins adjusting to life without Matt Hunwick 11.30.10 at 2:18 pm ET
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WILMINGTON — Johnny Boychuk doesn’t find it polite to talk on the phone during dinner, so when he was out to dinner with Milan Lucic on Monday, he stood a good chance of being out of the loop when the team traded defenseman Matt Hunwick.

Yet thanks to text messaging, and his mother, the blueliner found out right after the trade broke.

“She messaged me or something like that. She’s always on that stuff,” Boyhcuk said. “It was before [we] even knew, so it was right away. Kind of weird.

When Lucic found out, it meant losing a teammate he’s known since he entered the organization as a second-round draft pick in 2006.

“I’ve known him from the very first development camp back then, and I’ve been able to kind of grow with him in this organization. He’s done well for himself. He’s a good player and I wish him all the best in Colorado.”

With Hunwick the defensive core will see some shaking up, as Adam McQuaid, who has been a healthy scratch since the return of Boychuk from his forearm injury, will return to the lineup. It also means the team will have to respond to the ugly stretch (5-6-2) they find themselves in without a guy who’s been there for them.

“It’s always tough to see one of your teammates go, especially a guy like Matt. He was such a great teammate, such a great guy in the locker room. We all wish him the best, but it’s part of the business. We realize the importance of this coming week. We haven’t performed as well as we should, so it’s going to be a big week. We have to respond somehow and get better results. ”

The coach, meanwhile, isn’t happy to see his top skating blueliner go, but like the rest of the team, understands that it was something that had to be done for the sake of being able to activate Marc Savard.

“It was hard to let a guy go like that because he was our best skater back there, probably the guy that you leaned on the most to bring the puck up the ice,” Julien said. “… We had to make some room. Those are things that are done for the situation of liberating some cap space.”

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Former Boston University defenseman Colby Cohen welcomes trade to Bruins 11.29.10 at 8:20 pm ET
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Bostonians, meet your not-so-new defenseman. After three years of playing under Jack Parker at Boston University, Colby Cohen was just a couple of months into his first season of professional hockey in the Avalanche organization before he was traded to the Bruins on Monday in exchange for Matt Hunwick.

AP

Cohen has one assist in 14 games in the AHL this season and didn’t register a point in his three-game stint with the Avalanche. After playing for the Lake Erie Monsters will now suit up as a Providence Bruin. Though he’ll be an hour south of Boston for the time being, the Pennsylvania native is glad to return the region in which he played his college puck.

“I’m sort of lost for words right now because there’s not a better place that it’s going to happen,” Cohen told a pool reporter upon hearing of the move. “I loved BU. I never realized how much I loved it before I left, and I miss Boston in the worst way. If there was a city to be back in, that’s the city. So hopefully I’m hoping to be in Providence and play well and help the team win there and hopefully just wait for a call up to the Bruins. But I’ve seen quite a few Bruins games and I’ve played in the Garden quite a few times, and I mean, I miss Boston in the worst way.”

Cohen said he spoke to Terriers associate coach Mike Bavis after the trade and that Bavis was “pumped.” As for what the Bruins are getting in Cohen — the second BU defenseman they’ve traded for since the summer (David Warsofsky) — the 21-year-old hopes he can eventually provide the B’s with what they lost in Hunwick.

“I think that I’m like a two-way guy. I think that I’ve had a lot of success in my career as an offensive defenseman,” he said. “Obviously, I haven’t put up any points this year in Lake Erie or when I was in Colorado for a few games, but I just try to be a puck moving defenseman and make it easy on the forwards to get up the ice, and I try to join the play when I can and I try to use my shot as much as I can.”

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Peter Chiarelli says Bruins have salary cap room to activate Marc Savard when he’s ready at 7:20 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Monday night that in moving the contract of Matt Hunwick, which they did in trading the blueliner to the Avalanche, will allow the Bruins to eventually activate center Marc Savard without going over the leagues $59.4 million salary cap.

“This was one of the steps that we had to take as an organization to take care of the cap situation,” Chiarelli said of the trade, which landed them former Boston University defenseman Colby Cohen.

“This will be enough to activate Savard when he’s ready to play,” Chiarelli added.

Savard said that he would not be playing on Wednesday and was unsure of whether he’d be able to play on Thursday.

As for how much more money the team will need to clear or how many moves it will take to put the team in position to eventually take on Marco Sturm (less than $3.5 million given how far into the season it is) when he returns, Chiarelli didn’t tip his hand. Instead, he trusted the “capologists” of the media to come up with their own theories.

“We have another move to make, and we’ll leave it at that,” he said.

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Bruins trade Matt Hunwick to Avalanche for former BU defenseman Colby Cohen at 6:24 pm ET
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The Bruins have traded Matt Hunwick to the Avalanche in exchange for Boston University product Colby Cohen. The move gets Hunwick’s $1.45 million salary off the books, as Cohen will report to Providence. Here is the press release:

BOSTON, MA – Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today that Boston has acquired defenseman Colby Cohen from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defenseman Matt Hunwick. Cohen will report to
Boston’s minor league affiliate in Providence (American Hockey League).

The 21-year-old Cohen made his NHL debut earlier this season for the Avalanche on November 6 and has skated in three games for the Avs this year. He also registered one goal and 12 penalty minutes in 14 games for Colorado’s minor league affiliate in Lake Erie this season. 2010-11 marks Cohen’s first full professional season after playing three games for Lake Erie at the end of last year.

Cohen skated at Boston University for three seasons from 2007-10 and helped lead the Terriers to the NCAA National Championship in 2009. For his career at BU, the 6’2’’, 200-pound blueliner recorded 25-53=78 totals in 118 games.

A native of Villanova, Pennsylvania, Cohen was originally drafted by the Avalanche in the second round (45th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Hunwick has appeared in 164 career NHL games (all with the Bruins) and tallied 13-32=45 totals. This season, Hunwick skated in 22 games and registered one goal, two assists and nine penalty minutes. The Warren, Michigan native played 163 games over four seasons at the University of Michigan from 2003-07 with 24-73=97 totals. Hunwick was drafted by the Bruins in the seventh round (224th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

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UPDATE: Bruins scratch Johnny Boychuk vs. Rangers 11.17.10 at 1:44 pm ET
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Johnny Boychuk hopes to play vs. the Rangers. (AP)

NEW YORK –[UPDATED, 6:50 pm] Claude Julien and his coaching staff took the day to think about it, and ultimately decided to hold off on rushing Johnny Boychuk (forearm) back to the lineup on Wednesday night in York.

Earlier in the day, Julien described Boychuk as being a game-time decision after the 26-year-old blueliner participated in the morning skate at Madison Square Garden, going through all the motions without any pain.

Boychuk has been sporting a playing cast on his left forearm, something he’ll continue to use as he eases his way back into the lineup. He saw that as a possibility on Wednesday.

“If they want me to go,” Boychuk said, “I’m ready to go.”

Julien was a little more careful with his words, noting that the idea of having to sit one of his healthy and productive defensemen isn’t so appetizing, especially if Boychuk isn’t totally ready.

“In order for him to be able to get back in, he’s got to be able to help us,” Julien said. “He’s got to be closer to 100 percent than not, because we’re going to be taking out a player who’s healthy and 100 percent. You’ve got to make that decision, and we’re going to give ourselves the opportunity to think about it more today. I know his situation is that he may not be 100 percent.

“We’ve got back-to-back games, so we may put him in,” Julien added. “…We’ve got to make the right decision, not just for the team, but for him as well.”

The Bruins play the Panthers on Thursday at the Garden. Should Boychuk dress back in Boston, it is assumed that Adam McQuaid, or perhaps Matt Hunwick, would be a healthy scratch.

In six games this season, Boychuk has three points, all assists, and a plus-three rating.

THOMAS OFF FIRST

Tim Thomas was the first Bruins’ goaltender off the ice on Wednesday, an indication he will start vs. Henrik Lundqvist. The 36-year-old Bruins’ netminder did not play in the last meeting between the two teams, a 3-2 Rangers’ victory in which Tuukka Rask took the loss.

Thomas is coming off a shutout of the Devils on Monday and is now 9-1-0 on the season with a 1.32 goals against average and .960 save percentage. Should he blank the Rangers, he’d post back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season and tie his career high with five.

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Matt Hunwick hopes to build on a solid Sunday 10.15.10 at 4:02 pm ET
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hunwic

AP Photo

WILMINGTON — The differences between the Bruins’ first two games were telling enough without having to dive into the box score. The shots on Sunday were there as they had been the night before (37 after a 42 shot effort in Saturday’s 5-2 loss), but the team was more consistent offensively in addition to recovering from a very sloppy defensive night. The turnovers that doomed the team in the season-opener disappeared on Sunday while poor individual performances were made a thing of the past by stronger efforts.

One of the players who experienced a night-and-day weekend was defenseman Matt Hunwick. After posting a team-worst minus-3 plus/minus on Sunday and having his pairing with Dennis Seidenberg separated mid-game, Hunwick was one of the better ice in the team’s second game. Hunwick had three shots on goal and tied for a team-high plus-two.

Yet while many of the players who saw improved performances from one day to the next in Prague, it was Hunwick’s effort that could end up meaning more to the Bruins as the season goes on. To the casual observer, you couldn’t notice him in his own end — a good sign — while he also showed strong signs of being the puck-moving defenseman the team lost in the Dennis Wideman trade.

“I think it’s funny. You look at the stat sheet after, and you don’t really think you did too much different from game to game, but sometimes you get the bounces and you get the pucks, and the assists. Sometimes you don’t,” Hunwick told WEEI.com recently. “That’s kind of how the game works, but collectively we obviously played a lot better in the third period on Saturday and carried that right into Sunday and played three good periods. That’s the idea of where we want to be.”

Hunwick displayed impressive vision on the ice and was one of the players who stood out on the power play. While he figures to continue to see time on the man advantage, the hope with the 26-year-old is that his contributions aren’t limited to how he can help the team offensively.

“First of all, I have to be good in my own end, that’s where it starts,” Hunwick said when asked about what he expects from himself in his fourth season. “Especially for a team like this. I think my role is expanding a little bit.

“I’ve been playing on the power play, and I feel like I have to be a facilitator on that unit and also learn to shoot the puck and create opportunities for the other guys that are out there. That’s a lot bigger role than I had last year. I think I started doing that in the playoffs, and now this year that will hopefully be a role that I have all season long.”

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First period summary: Bruins vs. Hurricanes 04.10.10 at 1:43 pm ET
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It was pretty obvious from the start that the Bruins want to wrap up their playoff spot against the Hurricanes on Saturday and not leave anything to fate.
The puck lived in the Carolina zone so long in the first half of the first period that it had time to build its own system of igloo villages in front of Canes’ goaltender Cam Ward. The Bruins put up 10 shots before the six-minute mark and went on two early power plays (Drayson Bowman, slashing 1:39, Chad LaRose, tripping 6:16) as a result of their aggressive play. As has become the common theme the last month-and-a-half, neither of those man-advantage opportunities resulted in an actual goal, but they did serve to keep momentum on the side of the Boston.
The Bruins did serve a little bit of that momentum back later in the period starting when rookie defenseman Adam McQuaid went to the box for hooking at 8:51 and the Canes started turning the pace of play into a more even affair by the end of the period but overall Boston held the advantage over their foes from Tabacco Road  with an 18-14 shot advantage.
The Hurricanes will start the second period on the power play as defenseman Matt Hunwick took a hooking penalty at 19:42.
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