Colorado controversy could make players available for Bruins

The Bruins have already made one trade with the Colorado Avalanche this season.

If Peter Chiarelli is keeping a close eye on the doings in the Rocky Mountains, he might have a chance to swing another swap with the Avs. Although there have been no trade demands or declarations by the club that it wants to move someone, John-Michael Liles can’t be a happy camper in Denver right now.

As Adrian Dater of All Things Avs reported today, the veteran defenseman was pinned to the bench for the entire first period by head coach Joe Sacco in the Avs’ loss to Nashville last night. Even worse, the coach offered no explanation for the benching.

Dater writes:

Just that, for whatever reason, Sacco decided to put him in uniform, announce him as in the game on the lineup sheet, then keep him sitting there for the entire 20 minutes. Players like Liles will say all the right things after situations like that, but, boy, that was a humiliating thing for him to have to endure. That’s every player’s worse nightmare, to be singled out as the one guy on the bench who doesn’t get a shift. Then, the TV cameras start focusing in on them on the bench, doing a slow burn while teammates hop on and off the bench around him.

Yeah, Liles wasn’t good in Friday’s loss in Columbus. But what about all the excellent games he’s played earlier this season? One bad game and you get embarrassed like that? Why not just make him a healthy scratch for the full game then? Incidentally, I asked Sacco directly about Liles not playing at all in the period, and he said, “I think you guys can figure it out.” No, not really.

If those two paragraphs aren’t enough to make Chiarelli dial up his Colorado counterpart Greg Sherman again, nothing will. Chiarelli and Sherman, of course, made the Matt Hunwick/Colby Cohen trade earlier this season.

Liles’s production has slowed down after a fast but he is still having a bounce-back year and is exactly the type of player the Bruins want. In addition to his puck-moving ability, he’s only 30 years old and is signed through next season. His cap hit of $4.2 million can squeeze under Boston’s cap pretty well, considering the Avs might even be interested in a young roster player like Mark Stuart as part of the deal.

In 56 games this season, Liles has posted 6-29-35 totals and an even rating. The better news is Colorado is just about on the verge of becoming a seller, as the Avs are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. I wouldn’t overpay Colorado for him.

While he’s batting around trade ideas with Sherman, Chiarelli should bring up winger Milan Hedjuk’s name too. But considering the way they treated Liles last night, the Avs might be quicker to move him than another player on their roster. With two weeks until the trade deadline, it’d be wise for the Bruins to direct their sights a mile high for a potential upgrade to their team.

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