A season dominated by 35 healthy scratches might be enough for some players to quit, or at least ask for a trade somewhere there might be more playing time.
But Daniel Paille took head coach Claude Julien’s decision to sit him for the bulk of the first two thirds of the season as motivation to work harder and then prove he belonged in the lineup once the coach gave him the go-ahead.
Paille did just that with some masterful penalty-killing and even some offensive contributions down the stretch and in the playoffs for the Stanley Cup champion Bruins. Paille believed he was going to be part of something special, whether he was playing or not, and he was right.
Regular-season: 43 GP, 6-7-13, plus-3
Playoffs: 25 GP, 3-3-6, plus-2
Contract status: Signed through 2011-12 at a cap hit of $1.075 million
Best regular-season moment: The Bruins needed a win April 2 against Atlanta to clinch the Northeast Division title. Paille’s unassisted shorthanded goal tied the game, which they later won on Michael Ryder’s penalty shot. Paille was also plus-1 that night.
Best playoff moment: Although he was great without recording a point in 11:10 of ice time in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, Paille was at his best in Game 3 while logging 14:59 of ice time. Paille recorded a shorthanded goal and an assist to go with a plus-2 rating. He registered five hits and spearheaded a perfect 8-for-8 night for the Bruins’ penalty kill.
Worst moment: Paille’s late hit to the head of Dallas’ Raymond Sawada Feb. 3 cost Paille a four-game suspension and set a poor example, considering the Bruins have been at the forefront as far as trying to get headshots out of the sport in the aftermath of injuries to the likes of Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron. Paille wasn’t very apologetic at first, but over the course of the season he came to realize there were better ways he could’ve approached that play.
Regular-season grade: B-minus
Playoff grade: A-minus. The penalty kill went through some tough stretches and Paille could’ve cashed in a little more on his offensive chances.
Carnac predicts … Paille will continue to play a key role for the Bruins on the penalty kill and fourth line until he’s pushed out of the lineup by a prospect or two.