Daniel Paille, The Unknown MVP

Tim Thomas was the one who slammed the door on the Vancouver offense, and carried the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup. At times it just seemed like no matter what the Canucks did, they would not score.

On top of that, the best power play in the league could not do anything. Vancouver ended up with only two power play goals. This is the same Vancouver that led the NHL in scoring and the playoffs with 19 man advantage goals.

The Sedins were shut down, while Alexandre Burrows and Ryan Kesler were rarely a factor on the ice, and this includes their suddenly-anemic power play. What was it that stopped the most electric 5-on-4 in the National Hockey League?

Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg did a tremendous job covering Henrik and Daniel, but when it came to the penalty kill there was more to it than that. The defensive pair has become legend in Boston, and we also hear of the work from Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. But it was one hero whose name is not known in households, instead it is a player who goes about his business quietly and gets the job done.

Daniel Paille finished his season strong, but I recall writing that Tyler Seguin should play over him. It made sense and it still does, to have the more skilled offensive player in that situation. When it comes down to it though, I owe Paille an apology. I have bashed him all season, not seeing his true value. It is clear to me now.

So sorry, Daniel, that I couldn’t see what you brought to this team. Your speed and quick stick on the penalty kill was invaluable, and it could be said he was one of the three stars in this series. While players like David Krejci and Tim Thomas did show off their skill, Paille was just as valuable stopping the terrific power play of the Canucks.

Without Paille, the Bruins just do not win the Cup, and I have to admit that I was wrong about him. Sure, his breakaways never end well, he cannot pass or catch one on his stick, but the work he did deflecting passes was too important for the Bruins. Think for a second. The Canucks scored eight goals in the Cup, and only two of them were on the power play. Think of the countless other chances they had to take leads or just get back into the game. And Paille, along with the rest of the penalty kill, was invincible.

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3 Responses to “Daniel Paille, The Unknown MVP”

  1. Jan
    June 17, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Here – here! I found myself watching Paille and saying, “wow, are we ever lucky to have him on this team!”.

    Enjoy, Daniel, you deserve it.

  2. johnnyhockey
    June 25, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Hi Marisa

    Its easy for people to under estimate players that get less ice time and have smaller contracts since there is alot of politics in hockey and im sure other professional sports. Its good that Paille was finally able to play and not have to constantly be worried about being benched. So much of the game is mental and Paille has shown time and time again that he is mentally strong and can still produce and play, I highly doubt that some of the top line players could endure that and still produce ( Don’t you recall Lucic last year being put on the 4th line and not doing a thing?). I have to say that Paille can indeed pass, he is actually one of the better passers on the team, hence why Savard would request to play with Paille before he was injuired by Cooke. If you look at Thortons 10 goals this season, 5 of the goals were assisted by Paille who only played half of the regular season games. He has offensive skill, he showed it his first year with the Sabres with 35 points and no power play and then again at the end of this season before the playoffs.

  3. Letterer
    June 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Nice article. It’s too bad that some, like Lucic, get so much undeserved credit and others like Paille and Krejci get so much less, yet are pivotal to the team. This year’s group of fellas was a true “team.”

    It just goes to show that our B’s were deeper, had more heart, and more more skill than anyone gave them credit for.