SUNRISE, Fl. Daniel Paille has never been the kind of player thats going to rack up heavy penalty minutes despite his role as an energetic attacker on the Bruins fourth line.
But the 27-year-old forward has quietly and efficiently taken things to a different level this season in terms of discipline and control. Paille is the only regular member of Bostons lineup yet to take any kind of penalty this season, and isnt sure he wants to delve too deeply into the why behind it.But it also makes him something of a rare breed: the cleanest player on a Bruins team that prides themselves on getting into the face of opponents and working off an intimidating air about them.
Its not something Im trying to do. There were a couple of questionable plays where I thought I was going to take a penalty and didnt surprisingly, said Paille. I try to play the game a clean way, and I havent crossed over that line to deserve a penalty. Its not something I normally talk about, but Im there right now. Its kinda odd.
Some of it is pure happen stance, of course, as Paille admitted hes probably gotten away with a few things here or threthrough his first 37 games of the season. But the low PIM total is still impressive given that Paille ranks in the middle of the Bs team pack with 28 registered hits and nine takeaways on the season. Bringing a physical presence built around his speed and tenacity is the first order of business for a forward line expected to bring a little thump to the game along with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell.
Its the same hustling, intelligent, gritty game that Paille has brought to the table over the last three years since arriving in a very underrated trade pulled off by Peter Chiarelli, but hes simply doing his job even better than before.
Paille has already scored more goals this year (seven) than he did last season (six) and is only three points off last years total for the entire year. Of course the forward only played 43 games in something of a lost year after getting lost in the shuffle early in the season.
This season Paille has missed minimal time while battling through a shattered nose and a mild concussion, and has managed to steer off bad luck with some very good performances. Its been a good overall season and a big step up from the aforementioned challenging campaign when Paille battled with consistency and confidence before hitting his stride late in the season just prior to the playoffs.
Both Campbell and Thornton have racked up high PIM counts this season, but nearly all of their penalty calls are matching fighting majors or matching minor penalties. Part of the Bs fourth line mantra is to avoid putting their team down a man with lazy or careless plays on the ice, and theyre good at keeping things in check. In terms of a Lady Byng candidate Paille is the best that the rough and tumble Bruins have to offer, but thats something hes not reading too much into.
Its surprising I dont have any penalties because there are questionable hits and questionable everything especially with our lines role, said Paille. Ive been in plenty of scrums but havent made my way to the box with the whole line and our team getting into physical confrontations. Ive typically never had too many penalties in my career, but to get halfway through the season is a little shocking.
Im not trying to get a penalty, but in the same sense Im trying my best to take the puck off somebody elses stick the right way. If I happen to get a penalty when it happens then so be it.
One other piece to Pailles penchant for staying out of the sin bin: his important role on the teams penalty kill unit. Paille averages 1:28 of ice time while shorthanded, and hes paired up with Campbell to give the Bruins a dynamic forward pairing put together on the PK unit. Put the whole package together and the Bruins have a player in Paille thats figured out that a little extra hustle and some poise in tight situations is helping the individual and team put their best foot forward.
Paille may take a couple of minor penalties before the season is over, but that wont change the very heady, hustling season hes putting up in Boston.