Danton Heinen snaps 12-game slump, Bruins hope ‘it'll start clicking with him'


BOSTON – Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy showed faith in young winger Danton Heinen by keeping with him in the Bruins lineup even when it had been 12 games without even a single point. Heinen finally rewarded the faith of his head coach on Saturday night with a goal and two points in Boston’s 6-3 win over a full strength Maple Leafs team at TD Garden.

“It’s probably a number of things,” said Bruce Cassidy, when asked why he kept going to Heinen when other young players like Anders Bjork and Ryan Donato have been shipped back to the AHL to get their game together. “First of all, he can always help you defensively. In that regard, as a coach, you always feel that if he’s on the ice and you have the lead you can trust him to do the right thing. Where we lost a bit with Danton this year is that when we’re behind in the past he was able to generate more [offense].

“Maybe it’ll start clicking with him. That’s probably the biggest reason, and then sometimes you just look at who’s coming in. How does it affect the rest of the lineup? That’s part of it as well. The fact is that we want to help these younger guys get through these tougher spots. He was a good player for us last year, so we want to make sure we give him every opportunity. Will there come a time [for a change], would there have, or will there be down the road? Yeah, we’ll look at it, but right now we’re trying to stick with it.”

For a player in Heinen so good as a rookie with 16 goals and 47 points in 77 games as a good two-way winger, it was fair to expect that the 23-year-old might even make the jump to 20 goals and 50 points as a second-year player. Clearly that hasn’t happened with three goals and seven points in 27 games and no points at all in 12 games prior to last night’s third period outburst on a sweet rush after Ryan Donato caught him in stride with nifty feed at the offensive blue line.

It was clear watching him play that his offensive confidence was on the wane, and that he wasn't really getting to the danger areas where offense can be constructed. 

Clearly Heinen is hoping to build on Saturday night’s offensive showing, and maybe build back that confidence a little bit.

I’d be lying if I didn’t think that,” said Heinen of getting down after he hit a post earlier in the game. “As long as you’re getting looks and you’re going to the net, I kind of knew it would eventually come. So it was nice.

“It was nice. You know, Donny [Ryan Donato] made a good play on the wall there and I was lucky enough to get through [the defense]. It was nice to see that.”

It was more luck than skill as Heinen had a head of steam and made a nice move to split a couple of defenders, and it was a reminder of the promise that the winger showed for most of last season. The two-point game probably bought him a bit more time in the Bruins lineup, but they sure could use a hot stretch from a player that they were relying on to bring his ‘A’ game this season. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.


Contact Us