As the Stanley Cup Playoffs roll on, it seems like every NHL team has at least one player in their top-four circles who can play a vital role.
But what if one of those players is a “dancing” bear?
The Boston Bruins have been a fan favorite for years now, and it looks like that popularity may have started before the NHL’s first game was played in 2003.
The team was in town for the 2002 Winter Classic and had a chance to get a glimpse of what the Stanley.
Playoffs was like when the Penguins played their first playoff game.
There was a lot of emotion on the ice, the atmosphere was wild and the Bruins got the win.
Boston was one of the few teams that showed up in the Stanley in the early years of the modern NHL, and the atmosphere is still quite similar today.
But it’s not as much of a draw for hockey fans these days, as the Stanley has been moved from Boston to New York, and hockey fans have been relegated to the dark, deserted corners of arenas across the country.
But what if there were a hockey player in the Boston area who could play the “dance” bear role?
What if that hockey player could play a key role in the Bruins Stanley Cup run?
And what if he could even make the playoffs?
The answer is…no.
So what would you want to see from a “Dancing Bear” in Boston?
There are a few players in the NHL who could definitely play a role in “Dance” Bear hockey.
First of all, there are a lot who would be great at the “Dishing” Bear role.
That is to say, they are great at skating, passing and scoring, but not so great at playing defense.
There are also a few who could also be considered “dancers,” in that they have a knack for dancing, or at least a good enough sense of how to do it that they can be a force in the “tapping” or “docking” or other “bouncing” style of hockey.
So how would a hockey team get a player who could make that leap?
There’s a very good chance that the Bruins could use a player like the New York Rangers’ Ryan Callahan or the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews, who both have tremendous offensive talent and great defensive abilities.
Callahan and Toews have both been very successful in their careers in New York and have shown that they could do both.
Callahans best offensive season came in 2011-12, when he had a career year in which he scored 47 goals in just 53 games, including 19 in his last 25.
Toews was a top-five scorer for the Rangers in 2013-14, and was one point away from a Norris Trophy as the Rangers’ MVP.
Both players are talented and skilled players who could help the Bruins in the dance bear role.
And that’s just the top-end of the “stars.”
It could also include players who can skate, pass and score like Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Adam McQuaid, who can both be great in the checking and fighting roles.
And that’s where it gets tricky.
While both Bergeron (who played in Boston) and McQuais’ NHL careers were derailed by injuries, there’s one other player who has had a good amount of success in the dancing bear role, and that player is defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
Hamilton played in the AHL for five years, but made a brief stint in the ECHL with the Providence Bruins in 2013.
He made his NHL debut in 2016-17 and scored three goals in 14 games, before going down with a concussion.
Hamilton has played in six of the Bruins’ eight Stanley Cup Playoff games this season and has seven points.
Hamilton could make an impact on the Bruins dance bear team, especially in the playoffs.
And it doesn’t stop there.
With players like Hamilton, Callahan, McQuays and Hamilton in the mix, the Bruins have plenty of potential to be a very dangerous team in the future.
The best “danced” player in Boston would be Ryan Spooner, who is a defenseman who plays a strong physical game and has a strong wrist shot.
Spooner could be the Bruins best “bounced” player, or he could be a “tapper” who plays defense and has the physicality to play on the wing.
Spoonor also has a knack of making quick decisions and can also play in all three zones.
He is a great defender, but he is also one of hockey’s top offensive talents, and would be a tremendous fit for a Bruins team that desperately needs that offensive talent.
The Boston “Dancers” could also use another defenseman like the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Artem Anisimov.
Anisiv has played the past few seasons in the KHL and has some of the best hockey skills in the league.
But he is an extremely low-risk