The Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks played a tight contest on November 17. The second period ended 5-3 in favor of the Sharks, but Patrice Bergeron scored at the 6:28 mark of the third period to make it a one-goal game. With the B’s in need of only a single tally, head coach Claude Julien made the choice to bench forward Ryan Spooner during five-on-five situations.
He finished with just 12:03 of ice time, but understood why he was kept glued to the bench with the game within reach. He spoke about that with Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe, saying:
“The only thing I can control is the way I play, and it’s in my hands. When that happens, I need to make sure that my compete level is there, and sometimes you’re not going to get the bounces you want. When that doesn’t happen, I still need to make sure I’m being hard on pucks and all that kind of stuff.”
To his credit, Julien avoided directly calling out Spooner in front of reporters. Instead, he used the opportunity to praise Joonas Kemppainen for his work in all three zones. The coach did go on to say that Spooner needed to produce some offense to be considered a productive part of the team, noting that ““(i)t’s not just defensively, it’s offensively as well, five-on-five. He’s got to be able to try and produce.”
The 23-year-old was Boston’s 45th-overall draft pick in 2010 and has 11 points (4 goals) through 17 games so far this season.
It’s your turn to weigh in Bruins fans. Do you think it makes sense to bench an offensive player like Spooner when a goal is needed? Or in this instance, did Julien do the right thing? Sound off in the comments and let us know.