Johnny Boychuk walked through the Bruins dressing room on Wednesday afternoon asking teammates and media to “get me my cane” as he stalked off from a post-practice shower. It wasn’t in reference to any general body soreness or pain after throwing his weight around against the Canucks on Tuesday night, but instead about his role as the veteran leader of the B’s defensemen corps for the next couple of games. With Dennis Seidenberg out for the season with a blown-out right knee and Zdeno Chara off to Russia for the Winter Olympics, the 30-year-old Boychuk is the old man of the group. The numbers don’t lie: the Bruins are 7-6-3 in the past eight years without Chara in the lineup, and 320-197-62 with him since he signed with the Bruins as a free agent prior to the 2006-07 season. That’s a big difference, of course. Boychuk will be the biggest, strongest and most experienced ‘D’ patrolling the blue line without the 6-foot-9 captain, and that means he’s the veteran calming influence for an important part of Boston’s team. “I just realized that. These guys that we have back here, they don’t play like rookies…that’s for sure,” said Boychuk. “I am pretty sure that they will do a great job. “I think everyone will be [playing more minutes]. They are going to expect a lot out of me. As a defense core we have to step up and not try to replace what he [Chara] brings to the table, but just step your game up individually, and just try and keep it simple out there.” He’ll be surrounded by five defensemen with an average age of 23 years old, and all of them in their first full NHL season with the Bruins. Dougie Hamilton played a half-season last year in the lockout-shortened campaign, and Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski gained valuable experience in the playoff run last season.
B's young defensemen on display in Chara's absence
NBC Sports Boston | Feb 6