|The Ducks celebrate a first-period goal by Brandon McMillan, which turned out to be all they would need. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)|
Paille takes spot on fourth line
Marchand injury creates opening
The Bruins’ original offseason plan had Daniel Paille riding on the fourth line alongside Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. Paille would kill penalties with Campbell. Brad Marchand would be the spare forward.
Last night, 32 games into 2010-11, that plan finally debuted.
From the start of training camp, Marchand had performed so efficiently that he had swiped Paille’s spot on the fourth line. In the regular-season opener, Marchand was the No. 4 left wing while Paille skated on the third line.
But with Marchand unavailable because of stiffness resulting from a hit on Saturday — it probably didn’t help that the rookie was flattened by Montreal’s P.K. Subban last Thursday — Paille made his season debut with Campbell and Thornton against the Ducks. He skated 12 shifts for 7:25 of ice time in the 3-0 loss.
“I’ve got to make the best out of every opportunity,’’ said Paille. “Right now, that’s the only way I can get in until I can prove them wrong.’’
The Bruins acquired Paille from Buffalo last year to serve as an all-purpose wing. Paille is best suited in an energy role during even-strength situations and as a penalty-killing specialist.
But the coaching staff also used Paille as a fill-in forward on skilled lines because of his speed and ability to back up opposing defensemen. In 74 games, Paille had 10 goals and nine assists while averaging 13:48 of ice time per appearance. Were it not for Paille’s hands, the left wing could have converted even more of his chances into goals.
This season, Paille has been limited to a spare-part role, primarily because of Marchand’s play and compounded by Jordan Caron’s early contributions as a two-way wing. Before last night, Paille had a 0-1—1 line in 11 games, averaging only 11:17 of ice time in each outing.
Because of his extended time in the press box, other teams have inquired about Paille, in the first season of a two-year, $2.15 million deal. The Bruins have been wary of trading Paille because of his versatility, experience, and relatively light cap hit. The Bruins also like that Paille has been a good teammate despite being out of the lineup.
“He’s done a tremendous job,’’ said coach Claude Julien when asked about Paille’s approach. “He’s one of those guys that’s team first. He wants to play, but he also understands his situation. He’s certainly not going to disrupt the dressing room, because he wants to be part of this team and his teammates respect him a lot for that.
“He’s worked hard in practices. He’s done everything he can to stay sharp as can be. Right now, we’re really encouraging him to play with a lot of confidence. Because when his confidence is there, he’s a really good player. He forechecks well, he skates well, he gets on top of players really quickly. Even last year, he had some pretty nice goals just from the effort he put into the forecheck and jumping on that loose puck. You really want him to see him find that part of his game.’’
Kampfer sore, but OK Steven Kampfer took a nasty tumble into the end boards at 9:02 of the second period when he tangled with Teemu Selanne. Selanne was called for boarding, while Kampfer, who slammed his left shoulder into the wall at full speed, tried to catch his breath.
After spending several minutes on the ice, Kampfer skated back to the bench with trainer Don DelNegro at his side. Kampfer retreated to the runway but returned to the bench later during the following power play.
“I just wanted to keep moving,’’ Kampfer said. “I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t want to have anything stiffen up, so it was more of my call of wanting to go back in.’’
Marc Savard saw the play and absolved Selanne of any blame.
“I was right behind them both,’’ said Savard. “I know Teemu’s not a guy like that. Kampfer went in tough. You hate to see that, but I watched their feet. Selanne didn’t try to hit him.’’
In a giving mood The Bruins will hold their annual toy delivery this afternoon. Last week, they bought $22,500 worth of presents they will distribute to seven Boston hospitals . . . Dennis Seidenberg was on the ice for all three Anaheim goals . . . With Kampfer unavailable for the first power play, Andrew Ference replaced the rookie alongside Zdeno Chara at the point. Johnny Boychuk didn’t see any power-play time . . . Campbell and Kyle Chipchura locked up at 1:52 of the second for the night’s only bout . . . Toni Lydman left early in the first after a Chara blast deflected off Milan Lucic and caught him in the face. Lydman returned in the second and finished the game . . . Michael Ryder led all players with seven shots . . . Condolences to the family of former WEEI.com writer Graig Woodburn, who died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. He was 50. Woodburn, an Ipswich native, also had covered hockey for the Riverside Press Enterprise, Associated Press, and Sporting News.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.