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Orlov, Hathaway Trade Sends ‘Good Message’ To Boston Bruins




The Boston Bruins were clearly a bit melancholic when it came to losing popular winger Craig Smith in this week’s trade that netted the Black and Gold Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals. Smith was a gamer and a hardnosed competitor that earned his stripes in his nearly three seasons with the Boston Bruins, but there’s also no denying that the B’s are a better hockey team today than they were on Thursday prior to the blockbuster deal.

That sentiment was echoed by the veteran Boston Bruins players that have locked horns with Orlov and Hathaway over the years, both in the regular season and in the playoffs, and know just how physical and gritty they both are at the defenseman and forward positions respectively. Acquiring a sturdy, versatile top-4 defenseman like Orlov and a hard-hitting bottom-6 forward like Hathaway makes the Boston Bruins that much tougher to play against when it comes to playoff time.

The 31-year-old Orlov is actually averaging more ice time per game (22:43) than even Charlie McAvoy this season, and Hathaway’s 198 hits would lead the Boston Bruins by almost 40 hits over Boston’s top body checker in Connor Clifton (159 hits) this season.

“With Hathaway, it’s his grit and the way that he plays the game,” said Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. “He’s just like a dog on a bone every shift, finishing checks and he’s really hard to play against. He’s one of those guys that’s a perfect playoff type of player and he’s really going to fit in well with us. Orlov, I can’t say enough about his skill and the way he defends, and his overall game.

“He’s really shifty making plays, and I think he’s going to fit in really well with our system and the transition game as far as the D is concerned.”

The Boston Bruins were obviously pretty darn good even before the deal while posting a 44-8-5 record in the first 57 games, and it’s been about their overall talent, depth and players like Jake DeBrusk taking their games to a higher, different level. He has scored goals in each of the last three games since returning from his Winter Classic injuries and admitted that acquiring Orlov and Hathaway sends a “good message” to the rest of the team about their high hopes for this season.

“It’s exciting. You’re getting guys that can help you win in different areas. It’s one of those things where it can really set the tone for the rest of the team with the understanding that this is what we’re going for,” said DeBrusk. “We already knew that, but it kind of sends a good message to the group. It’s always a tough day. I think we’ve made a deal every deadline in the six years that I’ve been here and it never gets easy.”

Obviously, the Boston Bruins coaching staff will need to figure out how to fit both players into the B’s lineup amidst a crowded field of qualified personnel, but that’s a great problem to have before injuries and attrition inevitably hit a hockey team with plays to be playing hockey for another four months beyond right now. The Boston Bruins management and ownership are “all in” for what might end up being the last ride for guys like Bergeron and David Krejci, and the players in the dressing room have received that message loud and clear after a seismic multi-player swap with the Capitals.

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