The only thing falling faster than the Dow Jones Industrial Average is the attendance level at the Fleet Center; home of the Boston Bruins. Owner Jeremy Jacobs is not pleased that attendance has fallen over 10% since last season, and has submitted his approval for management to make necessary changes to put people back in the seats.
A top on the agenda is the search for a superstar to draw attention. While it’s impossible for Mario Lemieux to trade himself, there has been a rekindled rumor of a possible trade involving the Bruins and the Phoenix Coyotes. Allegedly, the Bruins would receive Massachusetts natives Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk, winger Shane Doan and hold out goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. In exchange, the Coyotes receive center Joe Thornton, winger Sergei Samsonov, goalie Byron Dafoe, and a conditional first round draft pick should Roenick and Tkachuk agree on contract extensions.
The Bruins are fighting for a playoff spot, something they have missed twice in the last four years. It’s evident to the organization that fans are not supporting the team in this rebuilding period, and changes are imminent. The primary focus is to bring in a mix of size, skill, and experience; key ingredients the Bruins are lacking.
“We have some areas of concern,” said Bruins GM Mike O’Connell. “It looks like we need to do something, we‘re looking for help. We have to be more consistent. I don’t know if we have that in our organization.”
This is not the first time Khabibulin and Roenick have been mentioned in trade rumors involving the Bruins this season. Earlier, during the Anson Carter fiasco, there was a proposal that included Carter and Dafoe. With the changing of ownership taking place in Phoenix at the time, no deal was finalized.
Wayne Gretzky, soon to be the official owner of the Phoenix Coyotes, has indicated that he does not want to strike a deal with the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, or the Detroit Redwings whom have all expressed great interest in both Tkachuk and Khabibulin. Gretzky has his eyes set on acquiring the services of Joe Thornton, whom he has mentioned as an early candidate to play for team Canada at the Winter Olympics.
With the payroll constraints implemented in Phoenix, Gretzky has been unable to fulfill his promise to Khabibulin to get a contract done. Khabibulin has sat out for a year and a half and is fed up negotiating with the Coyotes franchise. Should the Bruins pull the trigger on this blockbuster deal, imagine the contract disasters with Bill Guerin, Jason Allison, Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk, Kyle McLaren and Nikolai Khabibulin all being free agents at the end of the season.