By: Gayle Troiani | Follow me on Twitter @LadyBruinsFan
To say that Boston Bruins forward Nick Foligno has many of the black and gold fandom eating crow with his play this year is like saying Patrice Bergeron won’t be in contention for the Selke at the end of the 2022-2023 NH Season; shocking and unbelievable.
Foligno has always been known as a locker room guy, but that wasn’t good enough for the fans due to his performance on the ice last season. It wasn’t good enough for the players to like him. The fans didn’t care that Foligno picked Boston because of Bergeron’s courting abilities. The fans wanted and needed results on the ice, especially given his contract of $3.8 million.
But that has all changed this season. Foligno has brought his energy to the fourth line to the dismay of most fans who thought he was overpaid and not deserving of wearing the spoked-B, begging for him to be traded out of the organization, and I was one of them. Foligno had other ideas, and so far, it’s been more than working; he’s been fun to watch and root for. The fourth line is not only becoming a headache for the opposing teams by collapsing down passing lanes and clogging up the neutral zone. In addition, they have added the scoring depth the Bruins have needed out of the bottom six over the past few years.
The 35-year-old left wing has not only potted three goals in 14 games on the fourth line but has also added four helpers, none more exciting than the assist on linemate Jakub Lauko’s first NHL goal. During an intermission interview with ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, Lauko explained he calls Foligno “Uncle Nick,” a nickname that the Bruins fandom willingly adopted. He has earned minutes on the second power play unit, and when Jim Montgomery has had to change up his lines due to penalty kills or just for momentum, Foligno has found himself skating on the top line with Bergeron on more than one occasion.
“I think Nick Foligno is having a great year,” Montgomery said after the 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames last night. “He’s helping us win in so many different ways. I can’t find him enough ice time.”
His play is not just creating offensive chances; he’s also willing to defend his teammates. For example, Foligno took exception to a hit Kevin Rooney landed on Tomas Nosek and went toe-to-toe with the Flames forward. Rooney appeared to land one solid punch, but Uncle Nick easily won that fight.
Undoubtedly, this team has been fun to watch, and Foligno has been a massive part of that. When he’s on the ice, fans are not left rolling their eyes into the back of their heads because they no longer believe he is taking a roster spot from a player more deserving or that he is a liability on the ice. Instead, he’s earning his ice time and praises not just from the coaches and players but also from the black and gold faithful. So, I’ll take my crow with a bit of salt and pepper, how about you?