Matt Hunwick relishes the opportunity to return to the B's blueline.
Thursday, 12.17.2009 / 10:11 PM ET / Features
By Dyan LeBourdais - Intern | BostonBruins.com
But this season has started off slow for the 24-year old blueliner and Hunwick has found himself watching from the pressbox over the last few games.
“I think you hope the little bit he’s missed has done him some good [and] that he’s going to come back hungry,” said Head Coach Claude Julien of Hunwick on Wednesday. “Watching the games from the top, he’s probably -- hopefully -- seen some things that will help his game get better too.
“We were really looking seriously at sliding him in there somewhere, because he is a good player anyways and it’s not like he was horrible.
“But he still hadn’t played up to his potential,” he said.
In 53 games played during the 2008-09 season, Hunwick tallied 6 goals and 21 assists for 27 points. He finished the season with a +15 ranking. This season, Hunwick has played in 29 games, earning 4-3-7 totals and a -3.
“We needed to somehow get his attention,” continued Julien. “[We] know what he can bring when he plays well, so to have him back I think is going to be good for him.
"I’m quite confident he’s going to respond well.”
Hunwick is looking forward to proving himself and making the plays he remembered from last season.
“I’m happy that [the coaches] expect so much out of me,” said Hunwick. “I obviously expect [a lot] out of myself and now I know where [my game] need[s] to get. It’s just a matter of bearing down a little bit at times and just going back out and having fun.”
“I’ll have a chance to play,” said the defenseman. “I’m just looking forward to getting back in there and showing them some of the stuff they saw last year.”
As for his possibly losing confidence in himself, Hunwick said, “At the time I didn’t feel it. I think obviously the Montreal game was tough, but before then I didn’t really feel like I had lost my confidence.
“Now sometimes it’s wavering when you’re sitting in the press box and you don’t really know when you’re getting in next.”
But Hunwick isn’t planning on giving up.
“I think there’s obviously times when you have to bear down,” he said. “I know we use the words ‘tough to play against,’ but I have to win my battles and I have to do the little things to be successful.
“But once that area of the game is taken care of then it’s time to have a little fun, make good plays with the puck, make smart plays and, like I said before, make simple plays. And I think you can really build off of that,” he continued.
“So there’s time to have fun and there’s a time to really bear down and be strong and I need to get back to doing that as well.”
Hunwick sees a chance to create some personal momentum.
“You just have to go out there and need to find a little bit of a rhythm,” he explained. “Especially in that first game that I get back, in the first period, as long as I can keep the game simple I can build [my] confidence slowly.
“And then [my game] will come back and hopefully be better than ever.”