The Bruins traded Hunwick and his $1.45 million salary cap hit to Colorado for former BU defenseman Colby Cohen late Monday. That move alone opens space for Marc Savard’s return from concussion more than a quarter of the way through the 2011 season.
You can look up the numbers, but here’s what we’ll remember about Hunwick in the day-to-day life of the NHL — he has terrific speed; he always tried to make himself better within the system; and he always was willing to talk about what happened on the ice, good or bad. A stand-up guy.
Hunwick’s progress ultimately priced him off the Bruins. After a solid season in which he helped the power play, Hunwick suffered a ruptured spleen in his first playoff game in 2009. He earned a multiyear deal that summer. That money, combined with what the Avs liked about him, gave Colorado its player and gave the Bruins their cap move. Joe Sacco will plug in Hunwick with his mile-high-flying attack team, and he’ll be a good fit. Hunwick may even turn into something we didn’t see in Boston in a more free-wheeling environment.
Although not the perfect fit with the Bruins, Hunwick was professional and carried an excellent attitude even when his performance and ice time would get cut back. He was willing to try whatever was necessary in order to help the team.
And now what helps the team most is to unload some salary, albeit tied to a promising player, to allow Marc Savard to get back in the lineup. Savard won’t come back Wednesday against Philadelphia, says Peter Chiarelli, but soon.
Funny, isn’t it, that those watching NESN will have this to remember in what was Hunwick’s final dramatic video sequence in a Bruins’ uniform: Shortly after producer Brian Zechello called for the replay of Thrasher wing Evander Kane’s one-punch knockout of Matt Cooke last April, look who’s squaring off with, gulp, the very same killer in Kane.
Matt Hunwick’s game sweater got torn to shreds. The equipment men got out the sewing kit, and so did the doctors. Hunwick came back with his patched-up No. 48 and a few stitches next to his left eye. And he played as hard as he could for the rest of the game.
Hunwick is smart, polite, and he has always worked hard. And he could take a punch and stay in his boots to try to rally his team. He was a good Bruin. We’ll miss you, Matt. Good luck with Colorado.
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