We'll get to the Leafs, but the big news going this morning is last night's trade, Bruins sending Joe Thornton to San Jose for D-man Brad Stuart and forwards Marco Sturm and Wayne Primeau.
|DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STAR|
|Say it ain't so: Taking his all-round game to California.|
"They had flown in for the Ottawa game. I knew absolutely nothing. I was totally blindsided. Obviously (the Bruins) believed in their coach and GM and I'm next in line."
So why trade away a No. 1 centre, a captain, a cornerstone just signed to a three-year, $20 mil' extension (which was, in retrospect, perhaps a signal that Big Joe wasn't regarded as quite the franchise centre he was supposed to be, as Thornton's agent and TSN's Bob MacKenzie suggest)? Jackie McMullan puts it this way in the Boston Globe (reg. req'd, sorry):
Like it or not, Thornton's tainted legacy as he heads out West in exchange for defenseman Brad Stuart, winger Marco Sturm, and center Wayne Primeau is that in his final playoff series in a Boston Bruins uniform, he skated in seven games and came up with zero points.
Best tidbit of all might come from the Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont, who says that if Thornton was going to be traded, it had to happen this year (again, reg. req'd). And he suggests, contrary to just about everyone else I've read, that the Bruins worked on trading him for some time (my italics added):
Consider: Thornton over the summer signed a three-year guaranteed deal worth $20 million. Everyone immediately labeled it a no-trade contract. Truth is, as evidenced by this deal, the no-trade did not apply to this season. It begins with the 2006-07 season. All of which means the Bruins had only this season -- the two-thirds that remain of it -- to get out from under the deal if they felt he wasn't worth the money. They watched him play. They looked at the books, as well as the decline in the standings, and for the last two weeks O'Connell worked the phones feverishly to get him gone. They felt he wasn't worth the money.
Not much in the San Jose papers here, but the blogs have been all over this, with JP's Sharkspage delivering some good perspective from the west coast, including a roundup of the deficiencies on a team that has tanked this season. On the B's side of the glass, Brooke Coleman says "I thought it was way too warm for hell to freeze over" and Heather Creegan is just plain depressed.
As for Leafs, 2-1 losers in Tampa:
Paul Hunter notes that the Bolts have won six of seven, and are now "rounding back into the form befitting a defending Stanley Cup champion."
Rosie DiManno checks in on former Leafs coach Pat Burns, battling cancer, but liking what he sees of this new, more obstruction-free NHL.
In the Sun, Steve Simmons has been on the Frost-Danton case for some time, and after the latest CBC report Simmons looks at Frost's continuing influence and notes in another piece that, shockingly, other agents want him decertified by the NHLPA.