Volume 93, Issue 85

Friday, March 10, 2000


Western's fate rides on finals

Sinden's move falls short

CIAU dreams end out West

Sinden's move falls short

Trading Ray Bourque to a contending team is the most noble thing Harry Sinden has ever done in his long dictatorship as the head of the Boston Bruins franchise – but he's still a snake.

Earlier this week, after a 21 year career in which the defenceman donned the hallowed "B" of Beantown on his chest, Bourque was traded to the Colorado Avalanche. With him, the Bruins also sent along another seasoned veteran, Dave Andreychuk, in return for a bunch of young prospects – forward Brian Rolston, defenceman Martin Grenier, centre Sami Pahlsson and a first round draft pick.

During the 1999-2000 season, Bourque addressed the media and said he would like to finish his career in the gold, white and black of the Bruins. However, as Boston's position began to slip in the standings and it became apparent they would not be appearing in the post-season festivities, his stance quickly swayed.

So the 18-time all-star made a small list of teams to which he would agree to be traded to and waited, as the team's brass shopped the defensive pillar around the league.

The buzz around the league is that the Avs have become legitimate contenders, but for a team who is teetering on the edge of a playoff position, can Colorado really be classified as a contender?

The Avalanche are currently holding the seventh playoff spot in the Western conference. Although they are only two points out of the (albeit weak) Northwest division's top spot, they are by no means the Stanley Cup hopefuls of the West.

Although Colorado appeared on Bourque's list, the three other teams included were the cream of the crop in the National Hockey League – Philadelphia, Detroit and St. Louis.

Now why wouldn't Sinden try to deal the NHL's all-time leader in defence goals to one of those premiere teams if the sole purpose for the general manager's actions was to get the most deserving player in the NHL a ring?

I wonder.

Well for starters, the Flyers make their home in the East and are currently fourth respectively in the division. Boston is also in the East and there is no way Sinden would trade two big guns in the conference to a potential post-season threat.

In the West, the Blues and Red Wings sit a respective first and fourth with a commanding lead over the rest of the competition. Why would Sinden want to make these powerhouses even better?

Colorado is extremely non-threatening in comparison to the other three teams on Bourque's list and while it was one of his choices, is it the best case scenario to give the veteran a chance to finally drink from the game's holy grail?

Philadelphia had some legitimate talent on the block – 18 year-old goalie Maxime Ouellet and 21 year-old defenceman Mark Eaton. Detroit was also rumoured to offer defenceman Mathieu Dandenault and forward Jesse Wallin a former first round draft pick. Still, Sinden did not flinch.

All I'm saying is that everyone in the Boston area and I think, league-wide, wants one of the greatest defenceman ever to have the opportunity to be a champion. By trading him to Colorado, a team who at best, has an outside chance to make it to the final, Sinden did not have that goal in mind.

To Contact The Sports Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000