You want to put Boston Bruins radio color commentator Bob Beers on the defensive?
Talk about the Stanley Cup champion Bruins. Heck, just talk about winning hockey.
And for good reason.
The former Bruin always has been a life-long defenseman.
Next week Beers will be in Tewksbury at Breakaway Ice Center teaching the finer aspects of defensive hockey.
Doesn't sound like an exciting week of hockey for the kiddies? Well, you haven't talked to Beers.
"The game has changed a lot in a short amount of time and one of the big changes has been the emphasis on defense," said Beers, a Pittsburgh native who spent 11 years in pro hockey and parts of nine seasons in the NHL.
"It use to be 'Stand in front of net and crush that guy,'" said Beers, a 1989 Maine graduate. "But there's so much more involved, with positioning and angles. It used to be where you could just bury your stick in the other's gut along the boards and hold him there. You can't do that any more."
Beers, who is going on five years at the Superskills Defense Camp, says he likes to also emphasize skating .... lots and lots on skating.
"That's the postion. You are going backward, then foward, then backward, and then forward again," said Beers. "Playing defense is about having the ability to making a change of pace with quick movements. There's a lot that goes into being a defensmen nowadays. And I love teaching."
Beers also loves talking about the Bruins, which he got paid to do about 120 times last season on 98.5 FM the Sports Hub when you add up the exhibition, regular season and playoff games.
What he saw was extra special.
"The more you go over what they accomplished the more impressed you get," said Beers. " Look at the path they took. It wasn't an easy one. The won three Game 7s. In two series they trailed 2-0 after two games. They won in overtime."
Beers admits while there were some high points during the regular season when it appeared the Bruins could compete with any team in the league, there always seemed to be a hurdle. Always.
Maybe, that helped their cause when a lot of those same hurdles popped up in April, May and June.
"They were not the type of team the did things easily," said Beers. "I really believe that some of the disappointments they endured, like losing Game 7 to Carolina in Boston, losing that series last year to Philly the way they did after being up 3-0. Looking back on it, I believe this team drew on those experiences."
Getting technical, there were a few particular places to look when it came to successes duing the playoffs. And most of that was in the defensive end.
"I really believe, especially in the finals, that Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara were the strongest defensemen in the league," said Beers. "They neutralized the Sedins. You look back at the Monteal series and those quick forwards gave them a little trouble. But once they figured that out, these two guys were immense. I can't say enough good things about them."
Of course, there is a big but ...
"We also had a pretty good performance in goal," said Beers of Tim Thomas. "He was incredible the entire playoffs. The Bruins don't win without Timmy playing like he did, but you have to credit the Bruins emphasis on defense, and I'm talking the forwards, too. The way they shut down Vancouver was special. (Coach) Claude Julien deserves a lot of credit there."
The Superskills Defense Camp begins on Monday, July 18 and run through Friday, July 22.
There will be 10 hours of on-ice training and 10 hours of speed, quickness and agility training off the ice.
Beers is particularly excited about being on the ice with the kids.
"I'm not into the administration part of this," said Beers. "I love the hockey part. I have a lot of fun teaching the fundamentals, particularly on defense. The position has come a long way and it's exciting to be part of it."
Superskills Defense Camp
When: Mon., July 18 to 22, 9 a.m. to 1:10 p.m.
Where: Breakaway Ice Center, Tewksbury