Bruins feel Paille's suspension too harsh


Bruins feel Paille's suspension too harsh

By Danny Picard

WILMINGTON -- Daniel Paille thought it was a clean hit. Coach Claude Julienthinks Raymond Sawada should have had his head up coming over the blueline. And general manager Peter Chiarelli believes Paille's four-game suspension, handed down by theNHL for Thursday's hit on Sawada, was alittle too harsh.

"I thought it was a little stiff," Chiarelli said after Friday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "Wefelt that Paille tried to square up, and circle around Sawada. Infact, if you look at the footage, Sawada was at one point, two orthree feet ahead of Paille and circled back . . .

"I thought it was alittle stiff. I thought maybe one or two games.

"There shouldhave been punishment, don't get me wrong," added Chiarelli, pointingout that the hit did take place in a blind spot on the ice, around thesame area that Marc Savard was hit last winter in Pittsburgh. "There shouldhave been punishment on this. I thought it should have been less thanfour games."

As Sawada took the puck over the blue line from theleft wing, he cut into the middle of the ice and Paille came streakingfrom the right side, Paille came up high on the Stars' forward, causingthe officials to eject him from the game.

Chiarelli sat in Friday morning's league hearing with Paille, and each side gave their view of the hit.

Having Savard out of the lineup once again, mainly because of a brutalhit he took to the head from Matt Cooke last winter, Chiarelli andJulien both made it known on Friday that they fully support theleague's stance on cutting down head shots.

"They're sendingstrong messages, and I'm not opposed to that," said Chiarelli. "Thisthing is a hot issue, and rightfully so. Part of me, deep down, thoughtthat something like this might come down, and it did."

Bothbelieve that there's no place in the game for "blind-sided hits," butboth also believe that this one could have possibly been prevented, onSawada's end.

"There's a lot of responsibility that's taken offthe player that's getting hit now," Julien said after Friday'spractice, reiterating his stance on Thursday night that Sawada had hishead down. "So until the players themselves, in their minds, startthinking about stop putting themselves in vulnerable positions, whetherit's playing with your head down, whether it's being by the boards andseeing that you're going to get hit and turning your back, or whateverthe case may be, I think if the players start taking thatresponsibility, I think it's going to minimize a lot of these things.

"Tome, I think that, until the players really take that upon themselves,you're still going to get those things happening. We can minimize that,if they do their part. That's my opinion.

"Once you're in thepros, you've been told for many, many years, not to play with your headdown," said Julien. "So if he hasn't learned by now, he shouldn't be inthe pros. Again, I'm stating my opinion."

Paille knows howsensitive the league's head-shot rule is, and he said he feels likehe's being made an example of, because he thought his hit was clean.

"Obviouslyit was a fast-paced play, and I just recognized that Sawada was goingon a breakaway, and I just went over there to backcheck and get thepuck, but he cut back through the middle," said Paille, who said he wasexpecting a two-game suspension, not four games. "If you look at theplay, I'm ahead of him. When I hit him, I felt that I hit his shoulderat that moment. And looking at the replay, I felt that he kind ofturned towards me, so I finished my check. I felt that I hit him in theshoulder.

Sawada suffered a broken nose and a sore shoulder on the hit, and Paille has yet to get in touch with him.

Ifhe does get in touch with Sawada, Paille's message will be clear: therewas no intent to injure, because he still feels it was a clean hit.

"Iknow that a lot of the guys on the team here know me and understand me,and agree with me," said Paille, even though Bruins defenseman AndrewFerence was quick to call it a "bad hit" after Thursday's game. "Justlooking at the replay over and over, I feel that I see the shoulderhitting the shoulder."

Danny Picard is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on hisstreaming radio show I'm Just Sayin'Monday-Friday from9-10 a.m. on

Don Sweeney: Bruins 'lost a good player' in Colin Miller

Don Sweeney: Bruins 'lost a good player' in Colin Miller

CHICAGO – Don Sweeney said the Bruins knew and expected they were going to lose one of three players in the NHL expansion draft, and it’s pretty clear it was going to be Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller or Colin Miller leaving the team. The B’s took Kevan Miller out of the equation by leaving him on the protection list after a strong season while also playing some of his best hockey in the playoffs.

That left McQuaid and Miller with each of the two D-men standing an equal chance of getting selected by the Vegas Golden Knights, and the 24-year-old puck-moving Miller going to Vegas for the time being. It remains to be seen if Miller sticks with the Golden Knights, or if there is an eventual plan to flip him elsewhere like perhaps an interested party in Toronto.

Sweeney said the Bruins didn’t want to lose a player with potential like Miller, but it’s also true that he would have been stuck behind younger, better D-men on the depth chart with Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo as better right-handed options.

“It was an interesting process to go through. It was hard at times because you felt like other teams were able to find deals to keep their team together while you felt vulnerable in that regard,” said Sweeney at the B’s team hotel in Chicago during a Thursday availability with the media. “You knew you were going to lose a good player. You knew they had targeted three players on our team that we felt they would target, and unfortunately we’re losing a good, young player.

“We thought highly of Colin. He was part of a big trade for us and we wish him well moving forward. We thank for him doing his part with the organization. We lost a good player.”

Clearly, the Bruins lost a defenseman with skills and youth on his side, but it’s also a young guy that hasn’t put it all together yet while never posting more than 16 points in each of his two seasons with the Black and Gold. Perhaps he will put together the offensive package at his next landing spot after showing flashes in Boston over the last two years, but that unknown factor while no longer being considered a prospect is the reason he didn’t find himself on the protected D list along with Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.  

Bruins' 2017-18 schedule has three Habs games in eight days

Bruins' 2017-18 schedule has three Habs games in eight days

The Bruins released their schedule for the 2017-18 season Thursday, with their campaign beginning at TD Garden on Oct. 5 against the Predators. 

Two things stand out in Boston’s schedule. Eleven of their final 15 games are on the road, and they don’t play the Canadiens until mid-January.  

Then, when the B’s and Habs do finally meet, they play three times in an eight-day span. The rivals face each other Jan. 13 in Montreal, Jan. 17 in Boston and Jan. 20 in Montreal. The Bruins’ final regular-season meeting with the Habs is March 3. 

To see the full schedule, click here.