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


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

By Joe Haggerty 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 Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.