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Bruins by the Numbers: 20

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins -- There is a pattern in these numbers stories and if you haven't been following along it goes something like this:

  • Bruins players aren't especially fond of thinking about the end of last season.
  • Their summers at home were fun.
  • And they can't wait until the season begins.
For sure, Daniel Paille did not buck the trend, but the former Buffalo Sabre did seem particularly happy (almost giddy) to be back in Black & Gold and on the precipice of an entire season (or more) in a Bruins uniform.

Paille. (AP Photo/ David Duprey)
Late last week, Paille talked about the process of re-signing with the Bruins. He said that he was thrilled that the B's wanted him to return as much as he wanted to stay.

"Even at the half year we were negotiating and they still wanted to talk about it," said Dan, who explained that his "game felt more complete in Boston" than it had in Buffalo.

"I felt that I was starting to become the player that I once was when I was a little bit younger," explained Paille. "I really felt great there with coaching staff and obviously the general manager with Peter [Chiarelli] and with Cam [Neely] there all the time.

"With all the guys there I felt comfortable and I’m just excited to be in that organization and that city.

"It’s just, for me and my family, a great atmosphere."

Judging by blog traffic and the comments coming out of the Hub of Hockey, Paille -- a speedster who skates like he's listening to a classic Joe Perry Aerosmith riff -- has captured the imagination of Bruins fans. And all of that is music to Paille's ears, but the forward thinks he can do more to earn the fan's faith.

"Last season I created more chances last year then I did my first four years in Buffalo. Yet, for some reason, my point production was way down compared to the years before," said Paille with an audible shake-of-the-head in his tone.

"So, you know, I think my confidence is back where I can try and get to that level...and I just try to go out there and do my best and try to create chances to get those offensive opportunities as well."

Paille's ability to play up-and-down the lineup had some fans suggesting the forward for the annual Seventh Player Award. But don't kid yourself. As much as he enjoys the grinder role, Dan would surely like to get another shot on one of the B's top lines in 2010-11.

"Oh definitely," said Dan. "You know, I’m working in the summer on working on staying in shape.

"If I get the opportunity to take [a shot at] those lines again you know I just have to seize the moment."

New Bruin Nathan Horton can be penciled in on one of those top lines and perhaps Paille had that in mind as he talked about his possible place in the new B's lineup.

"I mean if by chance I happen to play with Nathan that would be great," said Paille, who played with and against Horton during their youth hockey careers.

"We’ll see how the season starts first and then we’ll go from there.

1st ever trade between Sabres and Bruins brought Paille to Boston
3 seasons with the Rochester Americans of the (AHL)
4 campaigns with the Guelph Storm of the (OHL) and the Sabres (NHL).
6'0 height
+16 in his NHL career

20 jersey number
26 years old
200 lbs.
269 NHL games with a 45-51-96 line
2002  1st round draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres (20th overall)
2003-04 World Juniors for Canada." Paille by the Numbers
"Nathan grew up as younger skilled player then I was when we were kids," added Paille. "He always played a couple years up and you know I played against him when we were in junior B and played summer hockey with him a couple summers when we were younger.

"So that’s how we’ve known each other throughout our careers."

Paille explained that it really didn't matter where he plays and, according to Daniel, the B's locker room remains a very tight nit environment and the B's #20 expects that Horton and Gregory Campbell will simply enhance that synergy.

"I’ve known Nathan since we were kids," said Paille. "I’ve been talking to him for a few years back home. I know he’s a wonderful guy

"The same with Campbell. I’ve known him through training for Juniors and All-star games when we were younger."

"I think it’s just the fact that everyone has the same type of attitude. I mean it’s all around the league where you kind of joke around. I think everyone is on the same page where they like to tease and just have fun with the situation and everything we have." 

Paille did touch on the B's departure from last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs, too.

Like Lucic, Wheeler, Chara et al, Paille said that the B's four game skid to end the B's bid for banner six has stuck with him througout the summer. Echoing the thoughts of his teammates, Paille said that the loss would certainly motivate the Black & Gold throughout the 2010-11 season, and implified their sentiments.

"Oh I think so," began Paille. "I know they lost game seven the [two] years before, as well. But I don’t think it was as heartbreaking as this one was.

"I know for myself I took it pretty hard. You always want to do more especially when you’re up three games to nothing. It just happened to be where how the game went.

"Three out of the four games they won could have gone either way  -- especially the last game could of went our way.

"It’s something we’ve had to deal with over the summer and obviously try to build up the momentum for next year and not put ourselves in that position again," he said.

Paille said that there was no fingure pointing following the series loss to Philadelphia.

"Yeah it was all about 'us' – it was not one player or the veteran players," he said. "It was all about us from the first line down to the fourth line.

"We were playing great against Buffalo and obviously great against the first part of the series with Philly, but then we woke them up a little bit and kind of, it looked like we took it a little too lightly in that fourth game and gave them a little life.

"Then we lost a couple more players. It’s obviously frustrating when that happens so in the fourth game it went into overtime and it could of gone either way."

Paille plans to take that frustration to heart and when the B's convene training camp, he hopes that the other Bruins are just as angry and ready to come together as a team.

"I’m looking forward to going over there to Europe and seeing the atmosphere with the fan base over there in Czech and in Belfast so it’ll be something exciting that I think we’re all looking forward to," said Danille. "It’s easier to get that done with and over with that first week of the season that way we can just focus on the rest of the year and focusing on making the playoffs."

Paille has often talked about his love for his newly adopted hometown and this day was no different.

The forward actually sounded a little "homesick" as he described Boston.

"Well when I lived in Boston last year I just loved how on a beautiful sunny day whether it’s winter or summer I’d just walk outside and I could walk anywhere," he said. "I could go see something new, just to get something fresh into the city.

"It’s something I’ve always liked.

"And I’m looking forward to going there to do it for...[at] least two more years."
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