Could the Boston Bruins’ newly formed third line of Nick Ritchie, Charlie Coyle, and Sean Kuraly turn out to be one of those Bruce Cassidy hunches that have led to him being nominated for the Jack Adams award twice in his first three full seasons as head coach of the Bruins?
One of the greatest assets of a head coach is having hunches that tend to pay off. Sometimes they’re random but most of the time they do have some rhyme and reason to them. Clearly, one of the main reasons Cassidy put together this trio that has looked great in the first week of training camp, is their size. With the skill, size, and speed that Ritchie (6-foot-3, 220 pounds), Coyle (6-foot-2, 230 pounds) and Kuraly (6-foot-2, 213 pounds) can bring, this line could become the ‘Wrecking Ball’ line for a Bruins team that sorely missed that combo in its bottom six when they lost to the St. Louis Blues in seven games in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs.
“It’s a big line that can protect pucks down low, that can be responsible, gives you a bit of everything,” Cassidy said of his newly constructed third line. “The size factor, for that line, is intriguing.”
Coyle concurred and likes the versatility and skill that each of the new linemates can bring. Thankfully, through what has been a tumultuous week off the ice that has resulted in some line shuffling by Cassidy, he and his new linemates have remained intact.
“We’ve had a few days now to finally get acclimated,” Coyle said. “We’re getting used to each other. We had a little scrimmage [Thursday] and kind of five-on-five play to try and get back in there and feel each other out. I’ve played with them a few times each but I don’t know about together with the both of them but I don’t know. …lefty over to the right?
You just gotta remember that pretty much; making a pass over there it’s going to be on his backhand most likely. If there’s a way I can kind of gain the zone and give it to him on his forehand, things like that. He’s going to be breaking out and he’s going to be given his – I guess depending on the play – forehand, backhand. So, we gotta have good support over on his side, especially but they work hard.”
Coyle’s hoping that if that chemistry forms that, like the Bruins’ third lines have done in past runs to the Stanley Cup Final and in winning the Cup in 2011, with Chris Kelly centering Rich Peverley and Michael Ryder, that this big threesome can seize and maintain puck possession and spell relief for the top two lines.
“You know what Sean can bring, a lot of energy plus speed and Ritchie’s a big guy, he’s skilled and he’ll get in there as well,” Coyle said. “Three big bodies; we should be all over that puck, protecting it, making it hard for most teams to take it from us and go the other way. And yeah, It would be ideal to know who you’re playing with … get that chemistry, get the reps in practice, start to really get down each other’s tendencies so we can just read off each other.”