BOSTON (CBS) – Joe Corvo knew this moment would come sooner or later once he pulled on the black-and-gold sweater and became part of the Boston Bruins’ family.
“I figured, yeah, after the first game when I was driving out of the parking lot and I was signing some autographs and somebody came up to the window and they’re like ‘just fight one time and they’ll love you here,’ so I figured that it was going to happen at some point,” said the Bruins defenseman after the team’s 4-1 win over Toronto Saturday night.
It took 24 games but Corvo finally took that bloodthirsty fan’s advice against the Leafs. With the game in hand for Boston in the third period at the TD Garden, Leafs forward Joey Crabb might’ve been looking to unleash some aggravation, and Corvo aided his cause.
“Well I dumped it in,” explained Corvo, who can claim to have at least earned a draw in the bout. “It was 4-1 and he hit me late and kind of blindsided me and I just felt like I had to stand up for myself there.”
The fighting major was Corvo’s first in the NHL. He said he got into a couple of scraps in the American Hockey League, and even during his five-game stint in the East Coast Hockey League more than a decade ago. All you need to know is that it’s been a long time since Corvo dropped the gloves in the midst of a hockey game.
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“Yeah, I mean I’m not scoring goals so I’ve got to do something to try to stand out or something positive so I’ll just fight my way out of this I guess,” he replied when asked if the fight in the Bruins’ fourth win of the year against Toronto was his “Bruins” moment.
So maybe it wasn’t just Crabb who was trying to blow off some steam. While the Bruins have reeled off a 13-0-1 stretch of games to climb to the top of the Northeast Division, Corvo has struggled to produce what the Bruins brought him to town to provide. He has just 10 assists, and a goose egg in the goals column, in 24 games. Corvo is proof that even a defenseman who’s plus-8 and is a mainstay on one of the stingiest teams in the league can get frustrated over not lighting the lamp.
“I’m getting chances I’m just, for some reason either missing the passes and shooting wide or … I mean, I’m getting a lot of shots but I don’t know. It is what it is,” he said while searching for answers.
Corvo can take solace that he not only wasn’t on the ice for Toronto’s goal against, he was one sixth of the unit that produced one of the best shifts of the season for the Bruins. Protecting a 3-1 lead in the third, Corvo, Andrew Ference, David Krejci (who changed out for Patrice Bergeron mid-shift), Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton kept the Leafs hemmed in their own end for more than two minutes. That shift ended with a Toronto icing and timeout.
“Yeah, it kind of seemed like a moment where we were kind of silently saying ‘try and hang with us,’ kind of like a challenge and we were out there,” he said, “you notice they’re tired and it’s kind of like a shark seeing blood in the water and we tried to take advantage of it and try and help keep them pinned in the zone. And those are fun moments for me, it’s fun to be involved in that stuff and be involved in offense.”
As Corvo found out, there are other fun things – two-minute attack-zone shifts, fights – than goal scoring. He might not be completely satisfied until he finally finds the back of the net, but for now Corvo should just enjoy the ride his team is on – especially now that his fists made him an official “Bruin.”
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for CBSBoston.com. He operatesTheBruinsBlog.net and also contributes coverage to NHL.com and several other media outlets. Follow him on twitter @TheBruinsBlog.