Paille wants this year's start to match last year's end

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Paille wants this year's start to match last year's end

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
WILMINGTON Daniel Paille has no qualms about the way last season ended for him. The winger was getting steady reps on the Bs fourth line with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell, cemented his role in the lineup for the playoffs with some strong play down the stretch, and then ended up winning the Stanley Cup for his efforts.

Paille finished with 43 games played and 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) as a bottom-six forward after getting in the lineup, but got out of the gate extremely slowly before solidifying his spot. He seems to have learned his lesson this season after that experience, though, and has flashed plenty of gritty capabilities with penalty-kill proficiency and the ability to break games open with his speed.

Unfortunately the hands dont normally catch up with the skating legs, and that happened Thursday night when Paille couldnt handle a long stretch pass from Chris Clark in the third period. Paille never got off a solid chance during the breakaway, but the mere ability to utilize his speed to throw opponents off was a skill to be utilized.

I think the one thing that Dan realizes is that he got off to a slow start last year and it hurt him, said coach Claude Julien. So he was determined to come back this year and really have a good start. Hes skating well, hes competing hard and hes trying to make plays -- and hes capable.

I think hes had a break-away almost every game hes played so far. Hes got that speed that allows you that, so hes definitely off to a better start and hes like everybody else.

"Our message is clear to him that if you want to be here, you make sure you keep your spot. For the guys that have it, youve got to keep it; for the guys that want one, theyve got to go out there and earn it.

There are plenty of young skaters, like Benoit Pouliot and Max Sauve, skating around in Bruins camp as potential replacements for Paille should he be lost to an injury or traded away for salary cap purposes over the first half of the season. But for now Paille is ready to skate on the penalty kill and prove his flexibility up and down the Senators lineup.

Theres a competition going on and he wants to make sure hes in that line-up on opening night, said Julien.

Paille knows theres a competition going on, and its more difficult to trade a winger thats contributing to special teams and providing occasional offense no matter what the price tag.

Then it would be back to the business as usual for Paille after this most unusual of months for almost all parties involved.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

Coyotes hire Craig Cunningham as scout

The Coyotes have hired former player Craig Cunningham as a pro scout, keeping the 26-year-old in hockey after a cardiac episode ended his playing career this season. 

Drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cunningham played 34 games for Boston over parts of two seasons before he was waived and claimed by Arizona. He totaled 19 games for the Coyotes, but served as captain of the Tucson Roadrunners, the team’s AHL affiliate. 

Cunningham was hospitalized after he collapsed during pregame warmups on Nov. 19. He was kept alive by continual CPR, but had his lower left leg amputated the next months due to an infection from the episode. 

Known as a high-character player who was popular with his teammates, Cunningham’s transition to scouting lets him further his career after a scary break. 

"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my life with the Coyotes," Cunningham said in a statement released by the team. "I'm very grateful to John Chayka, Dave Tippett, the Coyotes and Roadrunners organizations, and all of the great fans across Arizona for the incredible support I've received over the past year. I'm looking forward to helping the Coyotes and I can't wait to get started in my new role."

Said Chayka, the team’s general manager: ”We're thrilled to have Craig join our hockey operations department as a pro scout. Craig was a smart, hard-working player with an incredible passion for the game. We're confident that he will bring those same qualities to the Coyotes in his new role and that he will be an invaluable asset to our organization. We look forward to Craig helping us in several areas and are excited that he is staying with the club."
 

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Morning Skate: Overreacting to the Oilers' window

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while really enjoying what the CW does season in and season out with the Flash.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Don Brennan says that the Senators fans not showing up for Game 6 is their way of sticking it to Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

*The talk is turning to the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres, and what they can do to help open up communication up and down the roster.  

*A guy that wore a Habs toque on his twitter avatar writes a glowing, praise-filled article about the performance of PK Subban during these Stanley Cup playoffs. He’s undoubtedly been good, but he just might have been wearing his Montreal Canadiens footie pajamas when he wrote this one, and rattling his fist at Habs management all the while.

*Interesting piece by Jason Gregor about the “window to win” for the Edmonton Oilers, and an odd notion that the window will close when Connor McDavid has moved out of his entry level contract. I’d say that’s kind of ludicrous.

*The Colorado Avalanche coaching staff has been let go after last year’s dreadful season, and that’s too bad for a really good guy in former Providence College head coach Tim Army. I’m sure he won’t be out of work long.

*Colin White made his Stanley Cup playoff and NHL debut for the Ottawa Senators in Game 6, and helped push Ottawa to a Game 7. It will be interesting to watch the Massachusetts native and former Boston College standout develop with the Senators as White was one of the players that the Bruins skipped over to instead draft Jake DeBrusk and Zach Senyshyn in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft. The others, Mathew Barzal, Travis Konecny and Kyle Connor, are all either in the NHL or knocking on the door as well, and it’s going to be a challenging road for both of Boston’s forward prospects to live up the justification of the B’s drafting them first. Granted DeBrusk and Senyshyn are also both doing their thing for the P-Bruins as they push into the conference finals of the Calder Cup playoffs, and they’re both bright prospects in their own right. It’s going to take years to determine the rights and wrongs of that first round, but White getting into the lineup for the Senators is proof of just how high that organization is on him.

*Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan says that Sidney Crosby handled the targeted abuse well from the Senators in a Game 6 loss that will push to a Game 7 between the Penguins and the Senators.

*For something completely different: A great message from Brookline homey and former Sox GM wonder boy Theo Epstein in his commencement address to Yale University.