Bruins disagree with length of Paille suspension

Bruins disagree with length of Paille suspension

By Danny Picard

WILMINGTON -- Daniel Paille thought it was a clean hit. Claude Julien thinks Raymond Sawada should have had his head up coming over the blue line. And Peter Chiarelli believes the four-game suspension that the NHL hit Paille with on Friday for Thursday's hit on Sawada, was a little too harsh.

"I thought it was a little stiff," said the Bruins' general manager after Friday's practice at Ristuccia Arena. "We felt that Paille tried to square up, and circle around Sawada. In fact, if you look at the footage, Sawada was at one point, two or three feet ahead of Paille, and circled back . . . thought it was a little stiff. I thought maybe one or two games.

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

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

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

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

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

Both believe that there's no place in the game for "blind-sided hits," but both also believe that this one could have possibly been prevented, on Sawada's end.

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

"To me, 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 the pros, you've been told for many, many years, not to play with your head down," said Julien. "So if he hasn't learned by now, he shouldn't be in the pros. Again, I'm stating my opinion."

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

"Obviously it was a fast-paced play, and I just recognized that Sawada was going on a breakaway, and I just went over there to back-check and get the puck, but he cut back through the middle," said Paille, who said he was expecting a two-game suspension, not a four-game. "If you look at the play, I'm ahead of him. When I hit him, I felt that I hit his shoulder at that moment. And looking at the replay, I felt that he kind of turned towards me, so I finished my check. I felt that I hit him in the shoulder.

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

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

"I know 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 Andrew Ference was quick to call it a "bad hit" after Thursday's game. "Just looking at the replay over and over, I feel that I see the shoulder hitting the shoulder."

--Marc Savard was scheduled to meet with team doctors on Friday. Chiarelli said there wouldn't be an update for a few days, as he is also scheduled to meet with Savard and his agent over the weekend.

--Call-up Zach Hamill will get a look on Saturday in the Bruins lineup against the San Jose Sharks. During Friday's practice, he centered a line with Blake Wheeler and Michael Ryder, while Tyler Seguin moved down to the wing with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton.

Chiarelli said that as of right now, Hamill is just "getting a look" and that it could possibly end up being more than that.

--Thornton left practice early on Friday, but Julien said he'll be playing on Saturday against the Sharks.

"Let's put it this way, he wasn't 100 percent, and I told him to get off," said Julien. "There are banged up players at this time of year, but not banged up enough to miss a game, but certainly want to give him the best opportunity to be ready for Saturday."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Saturday, Dec. 10: Vegas, scoring on NHL governors' minds

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing some early Christmas shopping ahead of the late rush. 

*Mike Zeisberger sits down with a quartet of NHL governors and discusses a number of hot topics including the Vegas franchise and scoring around the league. 

*Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos has been removed from the NHL Board of Governor’s Executive Committee amid rumors that the Canes might be a prime candidate for relocation. 

*Pierre McGuire weighs in on Connor McDavid’s war of words on the ice and Carey Price losing his mind in the crease against the New Jersey Devils. To that end, Wayne Gretzky liked seeing McDavid get a little combative at such a young age. 

*The New York Islanders signed Cal Clutterbuck to a five year contract extension, and some are skeptical it will turn out well for the Isles.

*David Pastrnak is a premier scoring threat in the league, and Scott Cullen has some details behind that. I will say this: his stock falling in the draft had less to do with his size or heaviness, and more to do with him being concussed for a long stretch of time during the year leading up to the draft. 

*The Florida Panthers are really struggling to stay positive with a 1-5-0 record since the ownership group and management decided to fire Gerard Gallant. 

*For something completely different: Baywatch stars then and now.