Wilmington, MA –
There was a sense of resignation in the building when, after he left the ice mid practice, it was announced that Andrew “Albe” Alberts had been traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for forward Ned Lukacevic and a fourth round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.*
“It’s not as easy thing to do,” said head coach Claude Julien when he spoke to the media after practice. “Obviously, we had to make some moves, and we know that we’re a little tight with the cap as well.”
Alberts played in 181 games for the Bruins during his three-plus years with the club, notching one goal, 18 assists and 231 penalty minutes. Drafted by the Bruins out of Boston College, Alberts was selected in the sixth round (179th overall) in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Last season, the defenseman saw action in 32 regular season and 2 postseason contests and contributed two assists.
The former Eagle was a healthy scratch in the Bruins first two games of the 2008-09 season.
“I think it’s going to be good for him to play,” added Julien. “But at the same time, we (also) feel that we’ve got some prospects coming up, and they’ll eventually get a chance to play.”
Coach Julien talked about the progress Alberts had made as a player and the unfortunate injury that kept him out the lineup last season.
“He’s a guy that’s been pretty good for us,” said the coach. “He’s had a great attitude, he’s had some tough luck along the way with some injuries, and just when we thought he was really coming along last year, he had that concussion that just kind of pushed him out the rest of the year.”
Julien said that Albert’s tenacity was a definite asset for the blueliner.
“There was a time when he made a few mistakes and it would kind of push him out the rest of the game,” he said. “(Recently) I thought he was doing a great job at bouncing back and…finishing strong, and that was obviously a positive.”
Julien said that questions about the trade being a “hockey trade” or a “cap trade” were better left to be answered by the Bruins general manager.
“I coach, and I do that job, and when it comes time for those kind of answers, you’ve got to ask the right person,” said Julien.
Manny Fernandez, who has experienced trades in the past, talked about moving from Minnesota to Boston.
“Well, in my case…it’s something that I wanted,” he said. “I think that’s what I needed.
“I needed a fresh start and I needed to go somewhere else…to just clear my mind of stuff that was lingering over (me) and start from zero.”Marc Savard
had two different experiences, trade-wise.
“I got traded from the Rangers to Calgary during the summer one year, and that was kind of a shocker to me,” said the all-star. “Especially when management calls you (after) Gretzky had retired that year (and said) you are going to get a great chance to play next year, so be ready.
“Then, at the draft, you get traded.
“That was kind of an eye opener, but in the same sentence, when I went there, I was welcomed, they wanted me and they made me aware of that. Then after Calgary, I went to Atlanta.”
Savard had success at all three stops and agreed with Fernandez that a trade can often be a positive for both sides.
“It can work out for the better (because) you get a chance to play and play some more minutes and get a fresh start, so hopefully it is good for him,” said Savard. ““Albe is a great person and it is always tough when you lose a good guy…and we are going to miss him.
“But he can play in this league and, you know, it’s probably a tough thing for him, but it’s a good thing, too (because) It shows that someone else wants him and he’s going to get a chance to play again and that’s a plus for him.”
Boston returns to practice on tomorrow morning and will fly to Montreal Tuesday afternoon. The Black & Gold play the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday evening.
---* The 2009 fourth round pick becomes a 2009 third round pick if the Flyers resign Alberts at the end of his contract which expires on June 30, 2009.