Posts Tagged ‘Nathan Horton’

Statement Game

March 25, 2011

habs suck

With all the anticipation, hype and hyperbole leading up to last night’s epic season finale between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins at TD Garden, there was the nagging thought in a lot of folks’ minds that the actual game could never live up to it. The pregame buzz was electric, there were players making incendiary comments in the media from both sides. Journalists and talk show hosts were warring with each other on the airwaves and in print. The monsterous (and absurd) shadow of what happened between Zdeno Chara and Max Pacioretty was looming over everything. How could a regular season game in March ever live up to that sort of billing?

Well, in the minds of the Bruins and their fans, it did and then some.

In the minds of the Montreal Canadiens and their fans, limping meekly back north of the border with their wee little tails between their legs, it was just flat out embarrassing. Let’s be honest. The Habs were boarding the team plane halfway through the thrid period. Standing around with not an ounce of compete left in them, allowing the Bruins to make plays and score at will. The shame had sunk in deeply at that point and they did not handle it well.

That’s really the essense of it. You can’t help comparing the differences between the Bruins’ loss in Montreal when they actually came out and competed in the third period even when the game was out of reach and the Habs’ pathetic performance last night as it seemed like they were dreaming about their post-game manicures before eight minutes had gone by in the final period. Embarrassing.

Meanwhile, Bruins, their fans and the city of Boston had a lot to be proud of. How about the fact that we cheered the Canadian national anthem? Right from the start we showed how much classier we are than the hissy fit gang in Montreal. Then the players on the ice took the game into their hands and, without any of that horrible, bullying Boston goonery that makes the Habs have sweaty bad dreams, beat them so utterly and cleanly it was a revelation.

How about Nathan Horton taking a nasty slash to the face. He didn’t hit the ice and wriggle about with a Mike Ribiero epileptic seizure, even though he was bleeding profusely from a cut above his eye. He got treatment and, on the ensuing power play, he was out there to score a goal. Now that’s revenge.

How about Gregory Campbell scoring a 5 on 3 short handed goal. How in-your-face is that? Was there a better Men Against Boys moment in the game? How about a team with a 7-0 lead laying out, blocking shots with mere minutes left trying to protect the shut-out for their goaltender, who was excellent in net? The Bruins did it all last night.

While the Canadiens, who had all the motivation in the world to show up and play, did nothing. It wasn’t just the score that was embarrassing. Here was a team who should have been ready to defend their fallen teammate against the Big Bully who rammed him into the stanchion. Here was their chance to show Max Pacioretty that they had his back and that Zdeno Chara would have to answer for his horrible crimes.

Nothing.

The Habs tried to throw a few hits on him but they just bounced off. No one challenged him. No one even gave him a dirty look from what I could see. Likely in fear that they would have to back it up. Just an amazing display of cowardice, really. They couldn’t even take him off his game. He had three assists.

Actually, I give full credit to Paul Mara, only part of the team for a few weeks, as the only guy to show up and show a little sack. Apparently he’s dropped the gloves a lot lately for the gutless Habs and we all know that’s not his game. He did it again last night but instead of inspiring his team I think he shamed them. Your late season rent-a-player non-fighter was the only guy to represent the logo on your jersey in this one, Montreal.

Feel shame.

In the end, the taunting sounds of the Ole-Ole song came cascading down from the stands to fall upon the beaten Canadiens like a shroud of disgrace. They had, to a man, quit. Failed to show up to the most important regular season game of the year for them. The Division now likely lost to their most hated rival thanks to a pathetic, gutless performance that embarrassed an entire Province.

The Bleu Blanc et Rouge showed their true colors once again.

Yellow.

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Toronto Trash

March 20, 2011

horton phaneuf

Welcome back to the lineup, Andrew Ference. Here’s your reward. A big, fat Minus 3.

Not that that makes you a whole lot different from the rest of your teammates. You might be the leader in the clubhouse with that stat but there’s no one who skated in black and gold in Toronto last night that should hold their heads especially high. Certainly, Claude Julien agrees and he is, as we speak, holding a rare Sunday practice to try and shake his team out of some concerning doldrums.

Last night’s 5-2 loss to the Leafs seemed like a pretty clear case of a team hungry for points and desperate to win versus a team feeling a little too comfortable with themselves and their position in the standings. In this last stretch of games, it seems like every time the B’s go up against a team in a serious race for a playoff spot, they are found wanting.

The Leafs badly outplayed the Bruins. The entire evening was a delightful romp for the locals, fans enjoying great opportunities for booing and cheering alike. It was also another great example of a team with smaller, faster forwards than the Bruins skating circles around them. You made Joey Crabb look like an All-Star. That’s not easy to do.

I just don’t like it. The Bruins were supposedly, after the trade deadline, a powerhouse team on the rise. Depth at forward, size and strength, goal scoring, superior defense and stellar goaltending. That’s not the kind of team that’s supposed to go into Toronto and get blown out. To lose to the Nashville Predators and Buffalo Sabres. To go into overtime with the Columbus Blue Jackets. A team sitting at number one in the Power Rankings (ahead of Detroit and Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington) is not supposed to look like a weak sister to the Playoff Bubble Crew.

Again, it seems there is a missing component to what the team does on a regular basis and, again, I find myself questioning Claude Julien’s approach.

This team should be better. Bottom line, it should. If he can’t be the one to get them to play up to potential, then it’s time to consider looking elsewhere.

Pussy of the Night Award: Dion Phaneuf for not removing his helmet and shield when challenged by Nathan Horton. Yeah, it’s a 5-1 game and you don’t have to go but there’s a history there and Horton wants it settled, man to man. Either you oblige or you don’t. Horton did the right thing, doffing his helmet. Phaneuf kept the shield in place. Weak.

That’s The Spirit

December 24, 2010

Two seconds into the game the tone was set. Shawn Thornton, who would end up with two goals and earn 1st Star of the game for his scoring and his emotional lift, went toe to toe with Eric Boulton in a great, epic bout right on the spoked B at center ice. Everybody in the building knew it was going to happen. Boulton sure did. He had his helmet strap on so tight he’s lucky he wasn’t asphyxiated.

Much later would come the real highlight of the game. After the B’s had built a solid 4-1 lead and, with under 5 minutes to go in the game, Freddy Meyer came up high on a hit on Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference jumped in to defend his teammate. All hell broke loose and and old time line brawl ensued.

Lucic is going to be in trouble for what he did there, no doubt. Meyer’s hit was questionable and Lucic was looking for blood but there’s little doubt the NHL will take a harsh view of his actions there. He explains, however, that there’s a history behind it and that his retribution against Meyer were not a result of this one high hit. Regardless of his punishment, he’s hopeful the fire the team showed will carry over.

“It was a high hit for sure. I was bleeding from the lip and after a hit like that…I mean that was the second time he has done that. He’s hit me late. He’s hit me cheap. Now that’s the second time. I mean, you can’t give a guy a free pass too many times, but I’m happy that we stuck together as a group and as a team.

“You say you haven’t seen it in a while. The last time it happened here was against Dallas two years ago. We kind of took off and won twenty-two of our next twenty-four games. So hopefully the guys feel pretty good about the big win tonight. For me personally it’s a match penalty, so I will do whatever I can to face the consequences.”

There will be consequences, no doubt. The league might attempt to ensure Lucic doesn’t play next week when these two teams meet again by giving him a multiple game suspension. In the minds of many, however, it will all be worth it. Let’s be honest, the B’s needed a game like this badly. People who don’t understand hockey might think it all a bit brutal but this kind of thing can be great medicine for a slumping team. If they take it to heart.

It was good to see Nathan Horton swinging away with Evander Kane. Marc Savard has to be insane for engaging like that with no helmet on. Ference seemed unfazed by the blood.

All in a day’s work.

Can’t wait to see next Thursday’s rematch.

Slow Days

December 16, 2010

Pardon the reduced pace of HGW lately. Seems the Holiday Crunch is affecting my energy and attention a bit (lovely time of year – stress, insanity, traffic, mobs of mouth-breathing jerks in your way everywhere you go – Merry Effin’ Christmas, as I always say). I’m watching as much hockey as I can, I just can’t seem to find the extra time to write too much about it at the moment.

A few catch-up thoughts, however.

  • Last night in Buffalo was a bit frustrating. Not just because of the bad calls, and there were many. I never want to be someone who goes all knee-jerk and blames a loss on the refs unless it’s horrific and blatant. It was more the B’s lack of urgency, especially on the power-play. For the second straight game they were given a game-changing man advatage opportunity and went flat (see the 5-minute major against the Flyers). I promise a more in-depth diatribe on the B’s power play woes which, I believe, are dragging the team down of late. I’ve talked about it forever , it seems, but a full blown rant is due. Suffice to say Claude Julien will be mentioned extensively in that.
  • Then there’s the ongoing questions about the Bruins’ “fire”. Michael Felger on The Sports Hub questioned Cam Neely about it directly on his weekly radio appearance a few days ago and, while choosing his words carefully, certainly seemed to suggest more would be better in the intensity department. He deflected suggestions that some of the team’s conservatism is a reflection of the coach’s personality but you can’t help wondering if he’s looking for higher levels of testosterone. I’ve always said they play better when ornery.

    Case in point, in Buffalo, they waited until the final buzzer had sounded to show some righteous hatred and, by then, it was too late. And here’s a tip for 6′-2″ 230 lb. Nathan Horton. When a potential line brawl erupts and a guy like Cody McCormick goes after your star center recently returned from a devastating concussion? When said star is laying on the ice trying to protect his fragile skull with both hands while an out of control gorilla is attemting to rip it off of his neck?

    Go ahead and drop the stick and gloves.

    I mean, why not? The buzzer sounded and you don’t really need them anymore, right? Might as well have those hands free to protect a vulnerable teammate from an all-out goon attack.

    Sheesh.

  • Went to that game Saturday against Philly, by the way, and, as pointed out by my Columbus Blue Jackets watching compadre Gonz who is quite familiar with Jody Shelley, the man is not a dirty player. I don’t know exactly what happened on that icing even though I was about 12 feet away from where Adam McQuaid hit the boards but I think Shelley’s reaction was immediate and genuine. He wasn’t trying to hurt McQuaid. Might have made a poor decision to go in so hard on a play where he had no chance but so be it. He even went so far as to wait for Adam off the ice and apologize. As far as I’m concerned, that and the 2-game suspension are enough.

    The real fun of the evening was taking my 6-year old daughter in to the game and visiting Faneuil Hall to see all the lights and festivities before hand. A glittering, frosty wonderland it was and the little lady had wide eyes and a rosy cheeked smile plastered on her face. After the game, as we’re walking back to our car she stops me and says, “Dad, I love going to the Big B’s games. I was too embarassed to say it during the game with everyone around but – I love you, Dad.”

    Cue my heart melting. Pan slowly backward from a scene atop some granite steps in a wind-swept, empty Boston Government Center and a man with slightly damp eyes bending down to give his little girl the biggest goddamned hug ever.

  • There’s all the Holiday Spirit I need right there, folks.

    Good Times Garden

    November 19, 2010

    Things are going well when a guy scores a hat trick and is the second star of the game.

    The party atmosphere at TD Garden was thanks to a phenomanal game by Tuukka Rask who made 41 saves to earn his first win of the year via a 4-0 shutout of the visiting Florida Panthers. The Bruins were a bit on their heels all night with Panther forwards buzzing around Rask’s goal but the young Finnish netminder rescued everyone’s bacon with save after save.

    In the end, it allowed Milan Lucic to slam home three goals for his second career hat trick. Cue the music and dancing. Fun times at the Beantown Rink.

    Lucic is blossoming in a big way this season. He’s becoming the sort of Power Forward that NHL scouts have wet dreams about. Big, nasty and talented. The puck is going in for him like never before in his career. One thing is certain, the man is finally healthy. I don’t think we can discount just how badly that high ankle sprain hampered his game last season. We all said it at the time. He wasn’t the same player.

    So welcome back, Looch. You have arrived in style, for sure.

    Nathan Horton had three assists on all three Lucic goals. The Bruins’ number one line, even without pivot David Krejci, is becoming one of the killer lines in the entire NHL. Something to keep other teams’ coaches awake at night before they play Boston.

    The fun part is that we all know the team can play better, too. With Krejci back and a guy like Boychuk shaking off the rust, the team’s performance will only improve. You now have what might be the best goaltending tandem in the entire League. Think about it. A recent Vezina winner currently leading the league in all goaltending statistical categories in Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask, the guy who finished the year as the leader in those same categories last season.

    It’s all going pretty well. Hell, Shawn Thornton has 4 goals. Talk about a gentleman who deserves a little success. Go toe-to-toe with the nastiest pugilists the NHL has to offer (last night it was Darcy Hordichuk) then go out an pop one in the net in the third period. How valuable is a guy who can do that and also play a solid defensive game on your grinding line? The Bruins seem to have all the puzzle pieces falling into place this season and last night was a great example of how excellent things can be when that happens.

    Good times, indeed.

    Homeward Bound

    October 12, 2010

    The Bruins wrapped up their Griswold family European Vacation Sunday with a 3-0 shutout of the Phoenix Coyotes in O2 Arena in Prague. It was an interesting, impressive performance for many reasons, not the least of which was to make up for the poor effort shown on Saturday in the 5-2 loss.

  • Tyler Seguin’s first NHL goal, a thing of beauty. He takes a Michael Ryder aerial lob pass out of the air for a clear breakaway, couple little dekes and flips it past Ilya Bryzgalov on the back hand. Clear goalscorer’s move and the joyous celebration of an 18 year old getting his first in the big show.
  • Tim Thomas, the underdog in the B’s goaltending tandem to Tuukka Rask, pitching a shutout and clearly saying to Bruins coaching, management and fans: “I’m still here, guys.” Look for the Tank to challenge for the No. 1 spot all the way. Just two years removed from the Vezina and now fully healthy, there’s no reason he couldn’t win it back.
  • The line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic looks killer. Horton seems like a natural goal scorer and his release from his Floridian prison might very well do wonders for his game. Paired with a high level playmaker like Krejci and another big, skilled forward in Lucic, it seems like the best 3-man line combination the Bruins have had in ages. Until they have an off period and Claude Julien breaks them up, that is.
  • Seems like Zdeno Chara has been given the green light to get more involved with the offense. The team lacks a true offensive defenseman and I’m not sure that Big Z really has the hands to play that role on the team, to be honest. My feeling is that he can be the best defensive defenseman in the league with his size and reach and why push him to spend too much time up ice and take away from his responsibilities in his own end just because there’s no one else. It remains the team’s biggest need going forward. An offensive, puck moving defenseman of high calibre to compliment Chara. Find that and this team could be pretty near complete.
  • Some other bookkeeping notes. You all know about Chara’s new 7-year extension by now. The Bruins have also signed Brian McGrattan to a 1-year, two way deal to give the team some depth and added toughness.

    The B’s next game is this Saturday in New Jersey. Early reports have the Devils suiting up 5 forwards, 2 d-men and Ilya Kovalchuk in goal that night thanks to injuries, suspensions and waiver rules.

    2010-11 Season Preview

    October 6, 2010

    tyler seguin boston bruins

    It’s been an odd day already today in Boston sports. The Patriots seemingly shooting themselves in the foot by trading Randy Moss. The Red Sox ownership getting into the EPL by spending $500 Million on Liverpool FC. There’s a weird buzz in the air an on the local sports talk airwaves, I tell you.

    Seems like a great day to talk hockey, if you ask me.

    The Boston Bruins finished off their preseason schedule yesterday with a sound drubbing of Liberec of the Czech Elite league thanks to a 5-point effort from Patrice Bergeron and a goal each from youngsters Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron. Feel free to pencil in each of them to the opening night roster because they will undoubtedly be there.

    In my mind, much of the story in the early going might very well be about these two impressive rookies. Not since the team debuted Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov in 1997 has there been an infusion of youthful talent as exciting as what we’ll be seeing here this season. Granted, there are no guarantees of success for either of them but the outlook is good and they have shown in the preseason that they belong. With Marc Savard out and a clear dearth of scoring from the wing last season, it’s obvious that both are needed.

    Here’s how I see the roster that will start the season. Line combinations based less on what’s happened in the preseason and more on how I configure them in NHL 11. What? 16 years of playing EA Sports hockey games doesn’t qualify me to be an NHL head coach? Whatever.

    Forwards

    Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
    Blake Wheeler-Tyler Seguin-Mark Recchi
    Daniel Paille-Patrice Bergeron-Jordan Caron
    Shawn-Thornton-Gregory Campbell-Michael Ryder

    Extra: Brad Marchand or Brian McGrattan

    Defense

    Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
    Mark Stuart-Johnny Boychuk
    Andrew Ference-Matt Hunwick

    Extra: Adam McQuaid

    Goaltenders

    Tuukka Rask
    Tim Thomas

    Not much in the way of surprises there. Not much in the way of controversy, either. The only real debate I can see is whether or not McGrattan sticks around as a spare forward, sending Marchand to Providence, or vice versa. Adam McQuaid seems the logical choice to be the bubble d-man but it’s possible Matt Bartkowski could leap over him on the depth chart with a strong preseason.

    Actually, the defense is my one area of concern going into the season. At the top, it would seem like an area of real strengh with Zdeno Chara as the anchor but I have to admit to not being sold on the supporting cast. There remain a lot of questions concerning health, depth and ability. Andrew Ference and Mark Stuart have had some serious injury problems over the past few seasons, to the extent that I seriously question the sanity of the contract extension the latter received this past season from Peter Chiarelli, a three year deal for $2.25 each. Especially considering the Bruins’ current salary dilemmas. If either goes down, there are going to be some fresh faced youths having to be called into action because the defensive depth chart now, including McQuaid, consists of youngsters like Bartkowski, Steve Kampfer or someone like Nathan McIver. Yuri Alexandrov and many of the other prospects training in Providence just don’t have enough elite professional experience in their pockets to be totally NHL ready.

    I could be wrong, though. We’ll certainly get the chance to see.

    Salary Caps are a bitch, aren’t they, Pete? Pain in the ass.

    It’s not an issue you can ignore when discussion the 2010-2011 Boston Bruins. We saw what the Chicago Blackhawks had to do in the offseason. Trade away half your team. No easy task but they managed to do it.

    The Bruins, however, did not. Marc Savard was not traded. Tim Thomas was not traded. Michael Ryder (what? a guy can dream, can’t he?) was not traded. Silly contracts like Ference’s were added. It became a tight squeeze to fit under the cap and I ask, as a hardcore Be A GM Mode player on NHL 11, how can you not be prepared for that? Gotta think ahead. Avoid and get rid of bad deals that hamstring your ability to make moves. Add depth.

    Wait. Did I say earlier there was no controversy or debate surrounding this year’s version of the team? What was I smoking?

    Here are just some of the other issues the team will face this season.

  • Marc Savard. Will he ever be healthy again and if he is, how will they make salary room for him on the team. The elephant in the room is the idea that the star center’s absence might be a bit of a relief for the team because it puts them under the cap temporarily. Before he fell ill, Marc Savard was on the trading block because the Bruins needed salary space. Now they have it. Plus the chance to see what it will be like to play without him, if he ever gets traded which seems unlikely right now, doesn’t it? Makes you think about the seven year deal that he just signed, as well.
  • Tim Thomas. Sitting there as a clear back-up but making $5 million for the next three. I hope he plays well this season, for his own sake. If it means he can be traded then it’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned. My bet is he dying to show folks that he’s still one hell of a competitor no matter his age or what not. The Tank is nothing if not a battler. Meanwhile, Rask remains entrenched as the number one, a potential goaltending star on the rise.
  • Then, of course, there’s the sting of, oh, I don’t know, something we refer to around here as just THE WORST FUCKING LOSS IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. EVER. Up 3-0 in the series. Up 3-0 in game fucking seven at home in your own building. Jesusfuckingchristalmighty. How to live that down when many of the core members of that monumental choke are still on this team. I mean, Dennis Wideman wasn’t to blame for it all, folks.
  • Which leads me to one last controversy. Let’s talk about the so-called Hot Seat.

  • Claude Julien. Should he be on it for what happened in the playoffs last season and in previous campaigns? I’ve heard him making the injury excuse but the truth is his team had a tendency to fall flat and let teams walk all over them at other times during the season, too. Remember Pittsburgh? It was a theme last year. Let us not forget how bad they were at times. Will there be a return of the sort of commitment the team needs to be successful including a commitment to team toughness? Is that a fault of the coaching?
  • peter chiarelli claude julien

    I don’t know. Some might think Chiarelli more deserves the hot seat for his salary cap bumbling and his recent failures in the trade market. Nathan Horton was a nice move and the Phil Kessel deal was inspired but there has been little else for the GM to hang his hat on. Cam Neely is now looking down on him and the Sword of Damocles might very well be raised if his vision of the team does not begin to materialize this season. I’d feel more comfortable leading the charge for Chiarelli than Julien right now but there may come a time when they both go if things get bad again.

    Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen, eh? Let’s watch Seguin and Charon and Rask and see if they can become real players. Same thing goes for Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic, for that matter. Can they be consistent producers on the wing? Goals, physical play, everything. That’s what the team needs from them, of that I am certain.

    Starting this Saturday in Prague, we’ll get see what happens.

    It won’t be boring I don’t think.

    Lucic Steps Up

    September 26, 2010

    Alright, I have to be honest, I wasn’t planning on posting as many fights this year as last year. I mean, we all know where to find hockeyfights.com, the true masters of the art, so my small assortment was always a bit redundant.

    However.

    I like this one too much an want to share. From last night’s pre-season tilt at the TD Garden between the Panthers and Bruins, Triston Grant vs. Milan Lucic. Grant starts whacking away at Nathan Horton on a face off and Looch takes note, comes over and challenges the boy to go with an actual fighter and Number 17 schools the sorry lad with a number of direct rights to the jaw.

    Don not pass go, do not collect $200. Five for fighting and a ticket back to Rochester, son.

    Have a nice day.

    The game also featured Tyler Seguin’s first goal of the preseason, captured quite nicely in the photo below.

    tyler seguin goal

    Horton Wears A ‘B’

    June 22, 2010

    It has now been confirmed that RW Nathan Horton, along with F Gregory Campbell, have been traded from the Florida Pathers to the Boston Bruins for D Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick in Friday’s Draft and a 3rd round pick in 2011.

    Wait.

    Did I just type that the Bruins traded Dennis Wideman? And got some serious, genuine NHL talent in return that will fill their most glaring need, size and scoring at right wing, in return?

    Someone pinch me. Someone not named Chippy, that is. She uses vice grips.

    Seriously, this looks like one hell of a deal for the Boston Bruins at first glance. Horton’s contract status might be the only thing that could take the shine off of it and I’ll do my homework on that as soon as I have some free time but, for now, a confident thumbs up on Chiarelli’s first big move of the 2010 off-season. And that’s just the beginning, likely.

    The juicy bonus to all of this, of course, is the Bruins now have Colin Campbell’s son on the team, too.

    Tell me we can’t have a little fun with that, eh?

    UPDATE: Apparently, Horton has three years left on his current deal at an even $4 million per. After that, he would be an unrestricted free agent. You might as well call the Bruins the $4 Million Dollar Club because that money is nearly identical to the pay of a number of other top forwards. Marc Savard, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Michael Ryder and now Horton all fall right around that same exact number. Marco Sturm at $3.5 and Patrice Bergeron at $4.75 are the exceptions amongst that group but even those numbers are pretty close.

    Elsewhere, in a busy day around the NHL:

  • The NHL announces the Class of 2010 Hall of Fame inductees and, for the first time, the list includes women. Cammi Granato and Angela James will both be inducted along with Dino Ciccarelli, as players. Unfortunately, the campaign to get Pat Burns in failed to produce results, which is a crying shame, really.
  • Pat Quinn moves down to an advisory role with the Oilers as the coaching reins get handed over to Tom Renney, his assistant. Taylor Hall, meet your new coach.
  • Some re-signings. Tomas Plekanec gets 6 years, $30 million out of the Canadiens. Mat Cooke, dirty fucker, gets 3 more years in Pittsburgh.
  • Scott Niedermayer retires.
  • Sharks say goodbye to Evgeni Nabokov.

    Hello Tim Thomas?

  • Nathan Horton To Bruins? Maybe

    June 18, 2010
    nathan horton boston bruins

    Nathan Horton: Soon To Be A Bruin?

    The Bruins might finally have that big right wing they’ve been searching for.

    James Murphy at NESN is reporting that Peter Chiarelli might be on the verge of acquiring RW Nathan Horton from the Florida Panthers for an as yet to be determined price in return.

    While the parameters of the trade are unclear at this point, a very reliable source told NESN.com on Friday that the Bruins are closing in on a trade with the Florida Panthers that would see them acquire winger Nathan Horton, who was drafted third overall by the Panthers in 2003, but in six NHL seasons, has cracked the 30-goal plateau only once and — in the eyes of fans and media — failed to reach his potential and use his 6-foot-2, 229-pound frame properly.

    There were no specifics on what else may come to Boston in the deal or what the return would be to Florida, but it has been well documented that Chiarelli would love to move into the top 5-7 picks overall to get one of the top defensive prospects available, so this could be a package deal involving roster players and picks.

    According to this source, who stressed the Panthers were talking to numerous teams about Horton and could still accept another offer, “the parameters” of the possible trade were still being worked out as of late Friday afternoon, but “Horton believed he could be very close to being a Bruin.”

    Unlike the Savard/Wheeler deal to Columbus, this one might pass the sniff test. A reliable source, a willing trade partner, a player that’s probably in need of a change of scenery and a team (the B’s) very much committed to improving the team, and making a splash, via the trade market. It just feels more realistic. Don’t be surprised, though, if Blake Wheeler is still one of the names from the Boston side. Or, if there are high picks involved, as rumored, I wonder if if Patrice Bergeron might be in the mix. The B’s are going to need to move a center if they do indeed end up with Tyler Seguin as it currently seems will be the case and Bergeron might get the job done.

    I have to say I like this one. Horton is big at 6′-2″, 229 lbs. and plays a fairly rugged style. He scored 20 goals and 57 points last season playing for a miserable team and one wonders what he might do with a world class center like Marc Savard, David Krejci or Seguin playing pivot for him. He has totaled as many as 31 in a season and was drafted 3rd overall in 2003, so the man has some skill for sure, and only just turned 25 a few weeks ago. His career totals are as follows.

  • 422 games, 142 goals, 153 assists, 295 points, + 27 and 382 pims.
  • Sounds like a Bruin to me.

    Little taste of Horton in one of his HGW moments, just for fun:

    Stay tuned because, if multiple picks and players are involved and this thing grows, we could be seeing a blockbuster of sorts here.