Column: much hockey news coming out of Boston
As has been the case throughout the past few weeks, the NHL once again has news coming out of Boston.
However, the latest does not include Marty McSorley, but rather a player who exemplifies all that is right about the sport of hockey. Longtime Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in what looks to be his last attempt at winning the Stanley Cup.
Bourque, who in his 19-year career has won the Norris Trophy five times as the league’s top defenseman, is the career scoring leader for Boston as well as the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer for defensemen with 395.
Bourque had said that he would have preferred to finish his career in Boston, but contending for a Stanley Cup is what drives him to continue playing. The Colorado Avalanche will bring him that opportunity.
The Philadelphia Flyers looked to be a lock in picking up Bourque, but Colorado managed to offer a better package of young players to Boston. The Avs are filled with young talent and have Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg to provide the offense that may help bring Bourque his championship he so richly deserves.
Ray Bourque is the Dan Marino of the NHL, with the exception that Bourque is still productive while Marino stinks.
Colorado has struggled all season with injuries, especially on defense, but with the acquisition of Bourque and Dave Andreychuk, the Avs have solidified their chances as a true contender. Colorado wasted no time, as it was able to demolish division rival Calgary 8-3 in Bourque’s first game.
Bourque recorded an assist while providing a much needed shot in the arm to a team that had been lacking any kind of fire during the month of February.
Boston G.M. Harry Sinden had a true dilemma with Bourque. Do you trade Bourque and get something for him, all the while taking a chance that the whole city of Boston would haze you with clam chowder? Do you hold on to him knowing full well that he may retire and get no return value for him?
A very tough situation for a man who, in his 25 years in Boston, has been more concerned with making a profit than winning the Stanley Cup. The two years that the Bruins went to the finals with Bourque were lucky at best, and they were beaten by a much more talented Edmonton Oilers team in 1988 and 1990.
In a time when hockey is receiving mostly bad news, Ray Bourque provides excitement, as well as optimism, about hockey.
The Marty McSorley incident and the Ed Belfour arrest have damaged hockey because the black eye that these players have created.
Bourque is all what is right about hockey. His class, his elegance, and his citizenship are what make people respect players like him. His career may be over at the end of this season, but the fact remains – Ray Bourque is pure class.
There is one month left in the regular season, and much is to be decided as far as the playoffs are concerned. The New York Rangers are hanging by a thread, occupying the seventh spot in the Eastern Confernce, but the big story has to be the Montreal Canadiens.
The Canadiens, who were 15 points out of the playoff picture just over a month ago, have come alive and set themselves up for a legitimate run at making the postseason.
The Washington Capitals were the same amount of points behind Florida, yet somehow have overtaken the Panthers for the lead in the Southeast Division. The last time the Capitals saw first place was 11 years ago.
In the West, the Dallas Stars have been playing great despite numerous injuries and now the arrest of goaltender Ed Belfour. Belfour was arrested and charged with both assault and resisting arrest Tuesday after allegedly putting a Dallas hotel security guard in a headlock. Since Dennis Rodman was waived by the Mavericks, maybe he should ask Belfour if he wants to be his tag-team partner at WrestleMania. It will interesting to see if Dallas has good enough goaltending with Manny Fernandez to hold on and win the Pacific.
St. Louis will have to completely collapse to lose the Central to Detroit. They’re too good and have dominate goaltending.
Colorado has new life with the Bourque deal and is getting all its injured players back in game form. Adam Foote, Adam Deadmarsh and Aaron Miller have all been beat up, but they are now recovered and have the drive to make it to the Stanley Cup finals. Many of the young players on the Avalanche will realize that playing with a legend like Ray Bourque doesn’t happen all the time, and that alone should propel Colorado to the Conference finals.
The West may pit the Avalanche against the Stars and the Blues against the Red Wings in the semifinals. Can you honestly tell me that you would rather be watching baseball?
Trevor Smith is the Nevada Appeal hockey columnist.