by Derek Cheng
Boston Bruins defenseman Hal Gill stands 6 feet 7 inches tall and weighs in at 240 pounds. Penguins superstar Jaromir Jagr once proclaimed him to be the toughest one-on-one rearguard in the National Hockey League.
Martin Grenier stands 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs in at 245 pounds. He has yet to make his first appearance in a Bruins’ uniform, but fans and management can already feel the impact he could make.
Now imagine these two young giants (Gill, 25 and Grenier 20) standing across Boston’s blueline. It is enough to make every Bruins fan smile and any opponents fearful.
Martin Grenier was orginally drafted by the Colorado Avalanche (45th overall) in the ’99 Entry Draft. He was acquired by the Bruins along with Swedish prospect Samuel Pahlsson and veteran forward Brian Rolston on March 6, 2000. Grenier has some big skates to fill, as he was the only defenseman acquired for Bruins legend Ray Bourque. Grenier had been pegged as a first round pick in ’99, but some scouts felt he lacked discipline and that his skating was sub-par. He improved his game considerably in ’99-’00, but many feel that he is still a wildcard in the trade for the future Hall of Fame defenseman.
There are few benefits to a losing season, but one of them happens to be a high draft position. Clearly, Boston’s strong teams hurt many of the Bruins’ drafts in the 1980s and early 1990s. Other than Glen Wesley (#3 in 1987), Joe Thornton, and the Hartford trifecta
of choices(Kyle McLaren 9/95, John Aitken 8/96, Sergei Samsonov 8/97) acquired for,ironically enough, Wesley, Boston has not had many opportunities to select a player in the top 10 of any given draft year. As a result, bombs such as Dave Pasin, Rob Cimetta,
Shayne Stevenson, Kevyn Adams and Evgeni Ryabchikov hurt Boston’s chances of developing an outstanding crop of younger players to augment its aging superstars. As for this season, don’t be fooled. Despite the Bruins’ no-show in the 1999-2000, they have some excellent prospects in the system and with the 7th overall pick in this year’s draft , they could land a superb player. This year promises to be intriguing because of the large amount of European influence predicted. What does this mean? Well, for starters the field could be wide open with some big surprises in the early going come draft day. Of course, with this season’s pool being labeled as weak by many in the scouting business, a top 10 selection is never a guarantee of landing an impact player, but the Bruins will gladly take their chances. Read more»
For some hockey players, the postseason brings out the best in them. John Grahame is one of those guys.
The Providence Bruins, defending American Hockey League Champs, suffered their share of adversity this season and barely squeezed into the playoffs after injuries and call-ups took their toll forcing coach Peter Laviolette to play an AHL-record 70 players throughout the course of the year. But this is where the story gets interesting. Enter Grahame.
He is already the answer to several great trivia questions, but “JG” as he likes to be called, has been keeping the puck out of the net all year whether playing for the moribund Boston Bruins, or the in-over-their-heads P-Bruins of the AHL regular season. John has made no bones about the fact that he would rather play in the NHL than on the farm any day of the week and twice on Sunday. After all, who wouldn’t? But when the ’99-’00 Boston Bruins season ended without a postseason berth for the second time in four years
(at no fault of Grahame’s by the way,) the parent club sent him and a large portion of the cast that brought you the 1999 Calder Cup, back down to Rhode Island’s capital city.
You see, John Grahame is rapidly proving that he is one of those rare athletes who actually thrives when the competition is toughest. Last year, he went 15-4 with a 2.38 GAA and .912 save percentage. He out-performed other netminders who were supposedly much Read more»
Lee Goren was once a forgotten man. No longer. Goren, the 2000 NCAA Tournament MVP, is also the 3rd round draft pick Washington traded to Boston in the infamous Adam Oates deal way back in March of 1997. Until now, that part of the trade has garnered little attention, but with the year Goren had with the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, there is reason to be optimistic in Boston about the sturdy winger’s future with the Bruins. With 60 goals in his last 82 games, many of those coming at crucial moments, his teammates and fans have affectionately taken to calling the Winnipeg native “Scorin’ Goren.”
In the 1997 draft, the Bruins called Lee Goren’s name 63rd overall(their 5th choice)even though he had not played in the entire 1996-97 college season after spending the previous year with the Minot Top Guns of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and seeing action in two games as well with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. In the SJHL, Goren demonstrated a nose for the net and the type of toughness that every team looks for in a player. Until recently, Goren had been playing in relative anonymity on the talented and well-coached University of North Dakota teams under Dean Blais. In 1998-99, Lee led the Fighting Sioux in goal scoring with 26 tallies in 38 games. This year, Goren eclipsed his scoring totals from all of last season with 34 goals and 63 points in 44 games. Goren found his scoring touch at the right moment, posting 6-3-9 totals in three WCHA playoff games and making a name for himself as a b Read more»
Despite the Boston Bruins’ lousy showing in 1999-2000, the organization has some bright young talent waiting in the wings. Boston’s regular season collapse was baffling, but when your top center and your best goal-scorer are both lost for the season, and your 1999 2nd-Team All-Star in net struggles mightily, this was all bound to happen. Add questionable coaching and the fact that the captain and future Hall-of-Famer Raymond Bourque was summarily dealt to Colorado 1 week prior to the trade deadline and a non-playoff finish was the end result. Before you sink too deep into the depths of despair, fear not. The state of the Boston Bruins is better than things appear, and the team is due to rebound next season. Here is a look at the Bruins’ top prospects according to the Hockey’s Future Bruins Staff…
1. Nick Boynton, D.