Joe Corvo Sits, the Boston Bruins Look Stanley Cup Bound: All Hail Claude Julien

Christopher O'BrienContributor IMarch 26, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 04:  Joe Corvo #14 of the Boston Bruins keeps Brian Boyle #22 of the New York Rangers from the puck during the game at Madison Square Garden on March 4, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

At this rate, maybe Joe Corvo should sit for the rest of the season.

It's hard not to feel bad for the guy. In interviews he seems like a smart player with a team-first attitude and his issues on defense were never for any clear lack of effort.

However, the in the offense-minded defenseman's absence, the Boston Bruins are suddenly 4-1 in their last five games and both Tim Thomas and Marty Turco look suddenly like NHL caliber goaltenders again.

The numbers don't lie. In the 2011-2012 season, Corvo's only respectable stat is assists (21).

He is a disappointing plus-7, good for only sixth among Bruin's defensemen. Worse, Corvo only has 4 goals, putting him 16th on the team, with fewer goals than Andrew Ference (5 goals), the same number as Shawn Thornton, and only one more than Dennis Seidenberg (3 goals).

Like the kid you paid last summer to cut your grass every week but he stopped showing up sometime in July, Joe Corvo hasn't held up his end of the bargain.

Not to labor the point, but he was brought to Boston to fill the hole left by a departing Thomas Kaberle and provide offense five-on-five as well as on the power play. It is absolutely unacceptable that he is scoring on pace with an energy line winger and two stay-at-home defenders.

Ference, Thornton, and Seidenberg are indispensable--better yet, invaluable to the Boston Bruins. Each proved his worth last spring and each provides both leadership and the intelligent, responsible, physical play that defines Claude Julien's system.

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Head coach Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins talks with Shawn Thornton #22 during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on December 28, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Bruins defeated the Coyotes 2-1 in
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Joe Corvo is not Andrew Ference's subtle leader, Shawn Thornton's physical force, or Dennis Seidenberg's defensive beast.

In fact, he's the opposite in all three cases. If he's not producing offensively, he's only hurting the Bruins. Until recently, only injuries allowed him to linger in the Boston lineup, but no more.

If nothing else, the 13 shot shutout Tim Thomas and the Bruins' team-defense posted against the Toronto Maple Leafs is proof of the advantages of sitting Corvo.

Just his second game out of the line-up, that game was perhaps at once the Bruins' best offensive and defensive game of the entire season.

Equally telling, in the five games Corvo has been watching from the press box, the Bruins have given up only 7 goals while scoring 19. In the previous five they had given up 22 while scoring only 12. That's a swing from a -10 goal differential to a +12.  

Certainly Joe Corvo can't take all the blame for the Bruins' poor defensive play leading up to his benching. One player rarely changes the complexion of a team so drastically. Yet that doesn't change the fact that sitting him was and continues to be the right move.

At first, I thought sitting Joe Corvo was a good temporary solution. Now, I'm not so sure about the word "temporary."

For the foreseeable future, the Claude Julien should continue to sit Joe Corvo. And, for the foreseeable future, the Boston Bruins' should continue winning.