No bad blood between Paille and the Isles

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No bad blood between Paille and the Isles

UNIONDALE, N.Y. Daniel Paille didnt place a lot of significance in it.
But it was hard to miss the team hes playing in his second game back from a busted nose that required surgery.

The fourth-line grinder returned against the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night in a nondescript effort, and now hell be suiting up against the very same New York Islanders team that marked his bloody exit from the TD Garden frozen sheet.

If anybody has forgotten it was a Steve Staios slap shot that zoomed off the New York defensemans stick and caught Paille hard in the protective visor and nose before transforming his face into a bloody mess.

The scene looked pretty gruesome at the time, and its pretty hard to believe that Paille only missed three games. Paille looked every bit the hockey player with bruises, bloodshot eyes and stitches on his face Thursday night while skating with a cage for the first time in his career.

The energy winger admitted it took him a couple of periods to get comfortable with the new equipment and sight lines provided by the bars in the white cage, but he felt like his energetic, gritty self by the final 20 minutes. Breathing through his nose wasnt an issue at all, and that was the single biggest concern.

Paille totaled 11:53 of ice time in the shootout victory and didnt factor into the scoresheet. But in terms of getting Paille back into the flow of hockey after a week on the sidelines, it was the perfect opportunity to mix back in with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell.

Theres a big difference for me. It was a little awkward at first, but by the second half of the game I felt like myself, said Paille. The breathing was fine and the comfort got better. I got used to the cage and the white on the inside after the first couple of shifts.

The Isles hold no particular significance for Paille, either when it comes to the incident.
Staios sought out Paille following the game at the Garden to check on the fallen winger, and expressed sincere regret about the shot that busted up his face. That quick conversation closed the book on the Isles involvement, and at the end of the day Paille feels extremely fortunate things didnt come out worse.

There are always cautionary tales in hockey, and one of them happened tragically in Edmonton last week.

Paille was thanking his lucky stars after reading an article printed out by his wife about the horrific story of a teen-aged hockey player that died after taking a puck to the face around the same time of Pailles injury. Edmonton 16-year-old Kyle Fundytus died from the injuries sustained after blocking a shot with his neck, and it forced Paille to think about how much worse things really could have been.

Thats such a tragedy and your heart goes out to his family, said Paille. At the same it makes you realize how dangerous that situation is, and how lucky you are to come out of it with just some facial injuries. It was uncomfortable and wasnt fun, but it also was just a temporary injury.

The Paille family also sounded like the typical hockey couple once they both realized his injuries amounted to an extra bloody fractured nose with a little facial surgery thrown in for good measure.

I still havent seen a great replay that shows the impact with my face. It happened so fast that you cant even see what happened, said Paille. My wife was pretty scared after seeing the aftermath on the ice.

How long did that fear last for?

Until she found out it amounted to a broken nose. Then she was like oh, thats no so bad.
Thats easy for her to say, said a smiling Paille.

So when Staios winds up for a slap shot during a big moment in Saturday nights game, Paille said he wont be shying away from blocking the shot as hed done 1,000 times before without ever breaking his nose. Thats his lot in life of a fourth line, energy guy, and its something Paille has made peace with even when the inevitable injuries of hockey arrive at his front door.

Its something I deal with every day. When that happened a couple of weeks ago it was the first time its happened in my career, so hopefully its the last time. You never know, said Paille. Its water under the bridge. I know it wasnt intentional. It was a fluke play and its totally in the past now.

With the visual evidence of the injuries fading into the rear view, its again thankfully about hockey and performance for Paille with the protective cage as the one reminder of what can happen when things go wrong on the ice.

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

Bruins don't poll well in latest New England Sports survey

It’s no secret Bruins fans are getting fed up with a hockey team in decline, one that’s missed the playoffs each of the last two years. Now there are numbers to prove it.

Channel Media and Market Research, Inc. came out with its annual New England Sports survey,  tabulating responses from over 14,600 polled, and, according to the numbers, the Bruins are dropping in popularity, fan support and faith in the current management group.

The B’s are holding somewhat steady with 16 percent of voters listing them as their “favorite sports team” behind the Patriots (46 percent) and Red Sox (29 percent) while ahead of the Celtics and Revolution. Claude Julien also ranked ahead of John Farrell among the big four teams in the “coaches/manages most admired” category.

But after sitting at a relative high of ranking at 27 percent for “ownership performance” in 2014 -- they year after their trip to the Cup Finals against the Blackhawks -- the Bruins now rank dead last in that category at 2 percent, behind the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics and even the Revolution. Ouch, babe.

Also sitting at a lowly 2 percent is Bruins president Cam Neely in the “leadership performance” category. In "management performance," Neely has dropped from a solid 49 percent in 2014 to just 16 percent in this summer’s survey.

So B’s fans are clearly upset with a team that traded away Tyler Seguin, Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton, and has featured a decimated defense corps for each of the last two seasons. But do the B’s fans think that things are getting any better with prospects coming down the pipeline?

Not really.

In the “which team has done the best job making its product better.” category, the Patriots (35 percent) and Red Sox (31 percent) were resting at the top, with the Celtics (27 percent) a respectable third. The Bruins limped in at just 4 percent with a fan base that very clearly sees that, on paper, this upcoming season’s club doesn’t appear to be much better than last year's.

On top of that, only 13 percent of those surveyed believe the Bruins have gotten better over the last year, and 52 percent believe they’ve just gotten worse. A lowly 3 percent of those surveyed think the Bruins have the best chance of the five teams to bring a world championship back to Boston; the Patriots (79 percent), Red Sox (11 percent) and Celtics (5 percent) all ranked higher.

Finally, Zdeno Chara, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes were at the top of the list of the Boston athletes “who did not meet expectations” last season. None of that is a surprise, given the state of Boston’s defense along with Hayes’ subpar season.

The good news for the Bruins: They still have a passionate fan base. But they need to start reversing course immediately before they do lasting damage to the B’s brand.

Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

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Wednesday, August 24: B's dealing with post-Vesey aftermath

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading with the Olympics coming to a close . . .
 
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kirk Luedeke sorts through the aftermath for the Bruins after losing out on Jimmy Vesey

-- Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave an interview where he said the Red Wings aren’t Stanley Cup contenders this season. 

-- Related to Holland’s comments, some of the media in Detroit aren’t taking the dose of reality all that well

-- It’s a big season for New Jersey Devils forward Kyle Palmieri, who will be starring for Team USA on the World Cup team. 

 -- PHT writer Cam Tucker says the Buffalo Sabres still have a strong group of forwards even without Jimmy Vesey.

-- Jamie Benn is giving everything to his Dallas Stars team, and that means that the World Cup of Hockey is taking a backseat
 
-- The Colorado Avalanche are nearing the end of their head coaching search as they look for their replacement for Patrick Roy.
 
-- For something completely different: NBC is making the argument that millenials watched the Olympics, but just not on the traditional formats