TAMPA, Fla. – Past Boston College teams have often relied on one or two bellwether stars to shoulder the heavy lifting at crunch time. Players like Brian Gionta and Nathan Gerbe.
This year’s squad, however, features no such bellwether but exceptional depth that results in a different star every night.
“Our top nine forwards have someone different contributing every night,” said captain Tommy Cross. “It’s not one guy producing every night.
“I think that a complement to the depth that we have. It’s good for our team that it’s not all on one person’s shoulders. Last night Paul Carey had two; tomorrow night it could be anybody else.”
Even the role of top defensive line has become shared.
“In years past, we’ve had one shutdown line that shut down the other team’s best,” said Parker Milner. “This year we’ve had four lines that can do that. Everyone’s reliable defensively.
“And the [offensive] numbers that the top three lines have put up are incredible. The freshman [fourth] line has done a great job possessing the puck and being strong defensively.
“As far as the defense goes, I think we have six of the best defensemen in the country. They’re all veteran guys. They’ve all played a ton of games and I think that shows each night.”
BC coach Jerry York brought in Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers to emphasize the need for just those kinds of contributions from the top of the roster to the bottom. The Celtics, of course, feature a lineup led by the “Big Three” superstars — Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen — but can’t succeed without the contributions of the other players.
York recalled Rivers’ words. “With this hockey team, you have your star players, you have your players that play maybe a few minutes a game and players that don’t dress at all.
“Our goal with the Celtics as your goal with BC should be: Be a star in your role.”
York has driven that point home ever since.
“Whether you’re Johnny Gaudreau, probably the best freshman in college hockey, or you’re Michael Sit, playing seven to eight minutes in his first year at BC,” said York, “we want [both] to be a star in his role.”