Hunwick had 22 shifts for 14:40 of ice time in the Bruins' 5-0 win over Calgary on Saturday in his first game action since March 18. He has six goals and eight assists in 68 games played this season, the first season on a two-year extension he signed last summer.
Hunwick showed plenty of promise and the potential to be a solid puck-moving defenseman last season, when he had 27 points and was a plus-15 in 53 games before rupturing his spleen in Game 1 of the first round sweep over Montreal. But his play in the defensive zone has declined this season and he is a minus-15.
Claude Julien said Hunwick and the coaching staff have been working hard to get back to where he was last season, and the head coach credited the Michigan native for his willingness to learn and correct his game.
"He's done some really good things and some other things that we've wanted him to get better at," Julien said. "And he's a very willing individual, wanting to get better. His attitude's been great and he's showing signs of a guy that wants to improve in the areas we've asked him to."
During one of his recent games spent up in the press box as a healthy scratch, Hunwick told NESN.com that he will do whatever is needed to become a mainstay on the Bruins' blue line.
"Yeah, I understand there's stuff I need to work on and I'm doing that because you can always improve, and I want to show them that I belong," Hunwick said.
Hunwick has been working hard with assistant coaches Doug Houda and Craig Ramsey after practices and game-day skates, but he admitted he's also tried to squeeze in time to follow his brother Shawn Hunwick, a goaltender for the University of Michigan, which is Matt's alma mater.
The Wolverines lost a heartbreaker in the Midwest Regional final of the NCAA tournament, falling 3-2 to Miami of Ohio, but they would've never been in that game if not for Shawn. A junior goaltender, Shawn served as the backup all season, but he came in and reeled off seven straight wins down the stretch and through the CCHA tournament before losing to Miami.
Michigan has the longest NCAA tournament appearances streak in NCAA history at 20 straight seasons, but that was only preserved this season by winning the automatic bid via the CCHA championship, and Shawn backboned the Wolverines to the win.
His older brother was extremely proud and happy for the undrafted goaltender.
"That was great that he made the best of that chance and played so well," Hunwick said. "I'm really happy for him. He's not drafted, but maybe this opened some eyes."
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