WILMINGTON, MA -- Daniel Paille was happy to answer all of the texts, emails and phone calls that poured in from his Bruins teammates during the 113 days the NHL players were locked out by the NHL owners.
The fourth line winger is the NHLPA player rep for the Black and Gold and he was in Boston for nearly the entire run of the lockout minus the month he hopped over to Finland to get himself ready for the abbreviated schedule everybody thoughthoped was coming. But Paille is also glad the flood of electronic transmissions has slowed to a trickle this week as the entire Bruins roster is once again in one place, and the NHL labor impasse is a thing of the past.
Though Andrew Ference was the Bruins representative in New York City when the NHLPA and NHL closed the deal early Sunday morning, Paille had been the point person throughout the four months of lockout hell.
Its going to be a lot easier to go through more NHLPANHL situations throughout the years, said Paille, who had 15 points and a minus-5 rating in 69 games last season. It was a busy six months with all of the calls and keeping guys informed. Guys here did a good job of asking good questions and I did everything I could to keep them informed. Even when I was in Finland I was constantly on the updates and in on all of the calls.
I definitely wont miss all those calls and guys asking certain questions, but guys were definitely curious and have all the right in the world to ask those questions. It wasnt the best situation, but it was good to see guys fight through it and understand a lot more than last time.
Paille managed to get into nine games with Ives Tampere in Finland and tallied six points (2 goals, 4 assists) along with a plus-7 overseas, and said the trip to Europe came at the perfect time for him. The fourth line winger was starting to feel weighed down by the rhetoric and vitriol flying back and forth in the CBA debate, and he felt it from his front row seat manning every NHLPA conference call.
So after skating in Boston with Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Mike Mottau among others, Paille got a nice little mental health break in Finland.
I cant speak for everyone, but we have a routine every day during the season. We didnt have that routine for so long. I was involved with the NHLPA calls and questions from anybody here, said Paille. But at one point I didnt want to read all the articles anymore and read into too much that was going on. Going to Europe meant I didnt have to focus on it and helped. It was much better when I had something else to focus on.
Now its back to NHL hockey and reuniting with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell as one of the most effective fourth lines in hockey. Like so much of the team the trio has a little something to prove after a down season in terms of timely offensive output, defensive responsibility (Campbell, Paille and Thornton were a combined minus-15 during the regular season) and consistent energy.
But thats not necessarily a bad thing. Paille also needs to be ready as hes one of the bottom-six forwards that could be pushed into an expanded role if the compacted season produces more nagging injuries.
With the short schedule its going to get tight and guys are going to get tweaked groins. Id like to play in a bigger role, but I dont have a problem playing where I am now, said Paille. I just need to make sure that if Im needed to step up then Im ready for that opportunity.
Whether its a dependable, gritty fourth line role, a chance to play up the lineup or serving his teammates well as the NHLPA rep, Paille will be ready in any of those facets as the season gets going this weekend.