BOSTON — For Bruins center Chris Kelly, tonight’s game against the Islanders is going to be a special occasion. It’s game No. 500 for the veteran forward, but that’s not an accomplishment he was keeping track of leading up to the game.
“My Dad actually reminded me yesterday,” Kelly said. “I didn’t know it was 500. It’s always nice to hit a milestone.”
Most of those 500 career appearances occurred in a Sens’ sweater, but Kelly has quickly asserted himself as a dependable presence for the Black and Gold.
“Well real big leadership,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said when asked what Kelly brings to the table. “Not just on the ice but off the ice. He’s really vocal in the locker room. On the ice, I think he’s a really strong two-way player and it’s always really good to have guy like that on your team. He works hard in both ends of the ice.”
Coach Claude Julien echoed Seidenberg’s sentiments.
“Well consistency is one of them. Leadership is another one,” said Julien. “I think his hockey sense is great. Reads plays well. Adapts well as far as whether you want him to play a really solid defensive role or you need him to give you a little more offense.
“He’s capable to do both so he’s a versatile player who can play center or wing. And again I said that before he’s wearing an ‘A’ because he’s a good leader and also a very well respected teammate. So he’s got a lot of qualities that when we got him we knew about so all he did was reinforce all those things we heard about.”
Through 12 games this season, Kelly has three goals and a total of seven points to go along with a plus-3 rating.