Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Reliving Chuck Kobasew’s Top 5 Goals as a Boston Bruin

Bruins buffs will remember the peak of Chuck Kobasew’s hockey career better than any other market. The 32-year-old right wing’s two most productive NHL campaigns were his two full seasons with Boston in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

Kobasew came to the Bruins with Andrew Ference in a four-player swap with the Flames on Feb. 10, 2007. He proceeded to charge up a career-high 22 goals and 39 points, helping the long-suffering franchise restore its playoff presence in 2008. As the black and gold made additional strides, he tallied a personal best 42 points, including 21 goals, in 2008-09.

He would not stick around for the rest of the resurgence. An Oct. 18, 2009 deal saw him transfer to the Minnesota Wild for the rights to Craig Weller, Alexander Fallstrom and a second-round pick in the 2011 draft.

He has since donned Colorado and Pittsburgh crests and now the Penguins’ constraints have him lending a veteran presence to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Through one postseason round, he tops the AHL club’s chart with a 3-3-6 scoring log in a four-game dismissal of Binghamton.

With the Providence Bruins raring for a conference semifinal rematch with the Baby Pens, Kobasew will see Calder Cup playoff action in the range of his old rooters.

As it happens, he will thus face two of the players Boston’s organization collected with his export. Fallstrom, a Harvard freshman at the time of the deal, and Alexander Khokhlachev, taken with the pick the Wild relinquished, are each rookies with the P-Bruins.

But before five-and-a-half-year-old paths collide, here is a glance at the seasoned striker’s top highlights with Boston, based on a combination of visual appeal and impact.

Honorable Mention: April 20, 2009 at Montreal

There was nothing spectacular about the play, per the general nature of empty netters. But when Kobasew caught up with a clear and finalized a 4-2 victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, he prompted a viral Jack Edwards call.

It was Kobasew’s third point in as many career playoff games as a Bruin. He had missed the previous year’s shortcoming seven-game epic with the Canadiens due to a season-ending fractured left tibia.

Boston raised the upper hand in the series to 3-0 and finished its sweep of the Habs on the same Bell Centre pond two nights later. It was the franchise’s first playoff series win under head coach Claude Julien and first overall in a decade.

5. March 28, 2009 at Toronto

The Bruins set up their role-reversal rematch with the Canadiens by barnstorming to first place in the Eastern Conference. In the week between their division- and conference-clinching games, they edged the host Maple Leafs in a 7-5 seesaw barnburner.

Kobasew supplied Boston’s first of three equalizers at the 5:40 mark of the first period, 99 seconds after Toronto’s icebreaker. He absorbed defenseman Matt Hunwick’s pass, embedded himself in a box of blue jerseys and chopped home a backhander.

That secured the fourth installment of his six-game point streak and sparked the second installment of the team’s six-game win streak. A week later, that sixth win came against the Rangers to secure first place in the conference, where Montreal had finished the year prior.

4. Nov. 10, 2007 vs. Buffalo
Fast-forward to the 3:32 mark of the video (linked here) for Kobasew’s no-look, mid-air connection on a decisive Boston power play. A mere 32 seconds after current Bruins fourth-liner Daniel Paille drew a 1-1 knot shorthanded, Kobasew broke that draw.

Upon entering Buffalo territory on the next sequence, Kobasew dished a lateral feed to Zdeno Chara and cut to a congested porch. Chara dished to fellow point patroller Dennis Wideman, whose straightaway slapper generated an airborne rebound. That rebound found the net with Kobasew’s sharp read and simple stick work, spelling the difference in a 2-1 victory.

3. April 18, 2009 vs. Montreal

In Game 2 of the opening playoff round, Kobasaw shuffled the biscuit behind the goal line on two occasions, briefly handing it over to Patrice Bergeron in between. With or without the puck, he kept moving his feet and ultimately positioned himself at the backdoor to backhand the remnants of Mark Recchi’s distant slot shot home.

That augmented Boston’s lead to 2-0 in the contest and kept the Bruins on pace to raising a 2-0 upper hand in the series. Kobasew would earn credit for the clincher on his first Stanley Cup strike with the Spoked-Bs in a 4-1 final that night.

2. March 8, 2009 at NY Rangers

This was all but a thorough hodgepodge of the aforementioned and one highlight still to come.

On a rolling forward shipment from Chara, Kobasew bolted down the center alley to beat Henrik Lundqvist. And he did it on yet another backhand bid.

The only drawbacks for this play’s ranking purposes are the fact that no Rangers pestered him and he maintained a conventional stature while shooting. Then again, it is hard to beat a pure breakaway, which only one goal in Kobasew’s Bruins vault can do.

On that note…

1. Jan. 19, 2008 vs. NY Rangers

The sequence starts to unfold at the 2:34 mark of the highlight package.

On a Boston power play in the 16th minute of the second period, Kobasew absorbed Chara’s blue-line-to-blue-line pass up the Broadway lane. With Blueshirts blueliner Michal Roszival on his tail, he involuntarily genuflected in the slot, but still scorched Lundqvist with an ice-kisser. 

That goal, which spotted the Bruins a 2-1 lead, did not absolve Roszival from a hooking penalty because it converted an active man advantage with Brandon Dubinsky in the bin for the Rangers. Later, with 10:30 to spare in regulation, Kobasew buried another power-play tally for a 3-3 draw en route to a 4-3 shootout victory.

Videos from the gwyshynski, theorynatural and NHL YouTube channels