'Tough call' for Bruins to cut Chris Clark

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'Tough call' for Bruins to cut Chris Clark

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Things didnt work out for Chris Clark with the Bruins, but that doesnt mean the 35-year-old veterans NHL career is kaput.

Quite the contrary, in fact, it would appear the former captain of the Washington Capitals impressed his short-term teammates with his straightforward approach to the game of hockey, his no-nonsense work ethic and the commitment it took to break his nose in a fight with Michael Haley during the Bs final preseason game against the New York Islanders.

The fight and busted-up nose showed just how tough a customer Clarkstill is a fact that longtime puckacquaintances like Andrew Ference and Shawn Thornton already knew to be true and he also made plenty of offensive plays in his handful of exhibition games, including a game-winning goal against the Canadiens in Bell Centre.

Despite all that and despite the Bruins inviting him to their two-day team-bonding trip in Maine Clark was released from his training camp tryout by the Bruins organization. The transaction was lost in the shuffle of everything else going on over the last couple of days, but it's clear the Bruins felt that the future is now with 2008 first round pickJordan Caron.

It seemed like it might have been a tough choice, but Bostons organizational depth didnt really allow for an outside veteran influence given a series of Bs prospects ready to break through from the AHL level.

It was a tough call," said coach Claude Julien. "I was one of the guys standing up here saying hes got good experience and good leadership qualities, and at the end of the day -- as a whole group -- a tough decision was made. It was a decision not so much for the present, but maybe for the future with what we feel we have as depth.

Anybody can ask me the question right now and Ill answer without hesitation: Chris Clark can still play in the NHL. Thats not a question. We just had too much depth. I think it would have been tough for him to fit in our top 12, and its a lot easier to show the leadership qualities when youre in the mix of regular players. Its hard to go in there and try to be a leader when youre not really fitting into the top 12. There are a lot of things that went into our thoughts, but the one thing I do hope is that he hooks up with some NHL team . . . because hes still an NHL caliber player.

Its difficult timing for Clark right at the start of the regular season, but anything can happen once injuries start popping up and NHL teams comes searching for a veteran bottom-six forward capable of providing a little grit and offense. Thats the kind of job Clark could still master at his advanced NHL age, and proved he was ready for during training camp.

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

Thursday, Jan. 19: Torts doesn't think LeBron could play hockey

Thursday, Jan. 19: Torts doesn't think LeBron could play hockey

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering if the Bruins are ever going to poop, or get off the pot.
 
*John Tortorella wants everybody to know that he thinks there isn’t a chance that Lebron James could play hockey.
 
*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my radio hit with Toucher and Rich this morning about whether or not Claude Julien should be fired after back-to-back bad losses against the Islanders and Red Wings.
 
*How did Shane Doan arrive at an unhappy place with the Arizona Coyotes where he now is open to moving elsewhere ahead of the trade deadline?
 
*Henrik Lundqvist’s season is entering a crisis level based on what he’s done, and the diminished performance level he’s showing as a more mature goaltender.
 
*A nice piece with a Canadian hockey hero, Hayley Wickenheiser, who recounts some of the legendary moments of her career through a series of pictures.
 
*I totally respect the work that Travis Yost does, but stating the Bruins should stick with Claude Julien because their shooting percentage is bound to turn around isn’t good enough grounds to keep a floundering situation intact, in my opinion. You need to check where the shots are coming from and how many of those shot attempts are completely missing the net to get a better grasp on some of the reasons behind Boston’s dreadful 10-year low shooting percentage. That would also explain some of the reason why Julien needs to be replaced coaching a team that’s largely content on perimeter shots to do it for them while also only sporadically showing the effort required from a middle class talent type of team.

*The Lightning are struggling at Joe Namath levels right now without Steve Stamkos in their lineup, and they need that to change.
 
*For something completely different: congrats to the Boston boys in New Edition for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.