By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @nathandrsn
The 2000s were a bit of a mixed bag for the Bruins. They had some tough seasons, finishing low in the now-defunct Northeast Division. They also made a couple of short playoff runs that left something to be desired. Towards the end of the decade, they started to turn things around and began to be a competitive team in the Eastern Conference, coming up one win short of a conference final appearance two years in a row.
So, if there were to be an “All-2000s Team” for the Bruins, who would make that roster? For the purposes of this article, I will be picking one center, two wingers, two defensemen, and a goalie. I will do my best to pick a left and right-winger and a left and right-defenseman, but I am not going to obsess over that qualification. Also, for the purposes of this article, the 2000s will be defined as the seasons starting in the range of 2000-2009. So, to be clear, that means I am looking at the 2000/2001 season to the 2009/2010 season.
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Center, Joe Thornton
This was by far the toughest position to choose, which is why I want to tackle it first. Ultimately, I had to bring it down to the very basics. When you really break it down, of all the centers that played for the Bruins between 2000 and 2010, Joe Thornton has 50 more points than the next center. Of course, it does not all come down to just points, but when it is that big of a difference, I feel like it cannot be ignored.
Jumbo Joe was also the start of an organizational turnaround for the Bruins. He joined the team as a first-overall draft pick because the Bruins had finished dead last in the league the previous year. Thornton then went to the playoffs five times with the Bruins but was never able to make a threatening run. He was the captain of the Bruins and their best player for many years. Yes, there are a few people that could have claimed this position, but I think it is very fair to go with Joe Thornton here.
(Honorable mentions: Patrice Bergeron, Marc Savard)
Left Wing, Marco Sturm
Marco Sturm seemed like the obvious choice to me for this position. He is not the top point-scorer for left wings in this period, but he is the top goal-scorer among Bruins left-wingers from 2000-2010. More importantly, though, I think he really was crucial to the Bruins becoming a real contender in the Eastern Conference.
To me, that took place around 2008, and Marco Sturm was a key figure on the team at that time. He scored huge goals in the playoffs, the winning goal in overtime at the 2010 Winter Classic, and he was a linemate of Patrice Bergeron before Brad Marchand arrived. There are higher-scoring left-wingers than Marco Sturm, but I do not think there are more influential left-wingers in the 2000s than Marco Sturm.
(Honorable mentions: Sergei Samsonov, P.J. Axelsson)
Right Wing, Glen Murray
I have become a strong proponent of the fact that Glen Murray is a very underrated player. I feel as though we really do not talk about him much at all anymore despite him being a fantastic player for the Bruins in the 2000s. Playing in the 2000s for the Bruins were Murray’s best years. In three consecutive seasons with the Bruins, he scored 30 goals, even scoring 40 in 2002/2003.
He was a prolific scorer and again, as with the previous two players in this team, he was a key piece on the Bruins teams that started to institute a more winning culture in the Bruins’ dressing room. He also is the Bruins’ second-highest scoring player from 2000/2001 to 2009/2010, only behind Joe Thornton. I think this one was a pretty easy choice to make.
(Honorable mentions: Brian Rolston, Mike Knuble, Bill Guerin, Phil Kessel)
Defensemen, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman
Okay, so I had some trouble with this selection. Ultimately, I decided to think of this as a pairing rather than just the two best individuals. Had I gone that route, I probably would have picked Chara and Hal Gill. Imagine the two giants on the blue line together. It is not a pairing I would want to go into the corners against.
When I think of the 2000s, though, I think of Dennis Wideman. Maybe that is because he gets less relevant after the turn of the decade, but that is who I think of. If I think about this as one left defenseman and one right defenseman, it makes the choice a lot simpler. Chara is obviously the choice for the left defenseman. He was the captain at the end of the 2000s and arguably in his prime in terms of being an intimidating force on the ice. Surprisingly, he also had the most points of any Bruins defenseman in that period.
On the right side, the choice comes down to Dennis Wideman and Nick Boynton. While I have fond memories of Boynton, I think Wideman is associated with much more success. He was a very serviceable offensive-minded defenseman who provided a spark to the backend that the Bruins lacked elsewhere. The second defensive spot on this team could certainly have gone to Gill, Boynton, or Wideman, but I think this is a situation where thinking of the defensemen as a tandem makes this choice a lot easier.
(Honorable mentions: Hal Gill, Nick Boynton, Sean O’Donnell)
Goaltender, Tim Thomas
I really thought this would be a tough choice, but it turned out not to be. When I totaled up the numbers, I found that Tim Thomas played and won more than double the number of games than any other goaltender was able to in the 2000s. I think most people will remember him for his Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup Championship in 2011, but in this article, he is the goalie of the 2000s for the Boston Bruins.
(Honorable mentions: Byron Dafoe, Andrew Raycroft)
*Stats in this article are from NHL.com*