Fans of the Boston Bruins have come to love the Merlot Men over these last few years. Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, and Daniel Paille have brought their own combination of skill, speed, and surliness to the B’s fourth line. They were the spark that re-invigorated the Black and Gold in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, and were regarded as the best fourth line in the NHL.
Shawn Thornton’s departure changed all that. The Bruins, in an attempt to move away from having an in-house enforcer, chose not to re-sign Thornton at the end of the last season. Thornton was picked up July 1st by the Florida Panthers in a two year deal. With Thornton gone, the spirit of the Merlot Men has gone, and now it’s time for the organization to move forward.
Paille and Campbell are entering the final year of their current contracts with Boston.
There have been discussions on who will be coming into the organization, and who will be making the team. It is pretty much gospel that Loui Eriksson will be taking over the wing on the Bruins top line (to replace the departed Jarome Iginla). With so much young talent on the verge of making the Boston roster, it’s time to have another in-house promotion among the Bruins.
Daniel Paille should be moved up to the third line. He would bring speed to aid center Carl Soderberg. He’s got great instincts on the penalty kill, and we’re always pleased to hear “Paille with a breakaway!”. He brings experience to match alternate captain Chris Kelly. The Bruins third line has been the team’s weakest line for the last few seasons, and his addition would properly address that deficiency.
The Merlot Era in Boston is over. It’s time to work with what we have and see some new traditions for the Bruins. Paille would be a key contributor in keeping Boston’s high penalty kill percentage. It’s time to move him up to where he can be of the greatest help to the team.