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Stock is swapped for Savage

WILMINGTON -- P.J. Stock remains a member of the Bruins organization, but as of yesterday the pint-sized pugilist had his spoked-P in Providence swapped for the flying-P of the Philadelphia Phantoms.

"We had too many guys filling the same role," explained Bruins assistant general manager Jeff Gorton. "We're trying to upgrade our [AHL] team, and we needed help down the middle."

Stock essentially was traded for 28-year-old pivot Andre Savage, who turned pro out of Michigan Tech with the Bruins in 1998. According to Gorton, the sides remain able to swap the players back, but not for the purpose of playing in the minors. If Stock ever pulls on the Black and Gold again, it will be to play in Boston, but that doesn't appear to be likely.

He's not officially gone, but he's going. Technically, both players are considered "on loan" to their respective AHL clubs.

Savage played 50 games over three seasons with the Bruins prior to signing as a free agent with Vancouver in the summer of 2001. He spent the entire 2001-02 season with the Manitoba Moose (AHL), picking up 61 points in 76 games, and then signed again as a free agent with the Flyers in 2002-03.

A fan favorite in his two seasons with the Bruins, the 28-year-old Stock was often willing to scrap with the opposition's biggest, toughest, meanest forwards, typically ending his battles with a well-crafted conqueror's wave (hail, Caesar) to an adoring FleetCenter crowd. He logged 282 penalty minutes in 129 games over two seasons, but collected only one goal and a dozen assists.

But when the Bruins picked up true heavyweight Sandy McCarthy over the summer, Stock's job security all but vanished. Boston management encouraged him to fill out his game, hoping that he could become an energy forward (read: belligerent party crasher) like Tyson Nash [Phoenix] or Sean Avery [Los Angeles], but he didn't flash those tenacious traits in training camp and got himself a 60-mile demotion to Rhode Island.

Savage relies more on skill than pugnaciousness. For the latter, the Baby B's have Colton Orr, Brendan Walsh, and Doug Doull as prime candidates to grow into action figures.

"Orr's been pretty good, in the lineup almost every game," said Gorton. "He's handled that role pretty well, and that's not something you expect of a rookie. He's proven to us that he can do it at the AHL level."

Stock spent half a season in the Philly organization in 2000-01.

Line carries weight

Following the Bruins' impressive 2-0 win in Montreal Tuesday night, Canadiens coach Claude Julien labeled Boston's No. 1 trio -- Joe Thornton between Mike Knuble and Glen Murray -- the "700 Pound Line."

"Is that right?" an amused Thornton said following the morning practice here, when informed that the line's listed weight is actually a slightly trimmer 675 pounds. "Well, on a good day we might be 675 pounds."

For the record, Thornton is listed at 220 pounds in the NHL Guide and Record Book, Murray at 225, and Knuble at 228. Tale of the scale: 673 pounds.

"As a line, it just opens things up," said Thornton, asked what impact size and weight have on the trio's game. "When you have big bodies to move around like we do, it makes us tougher to handle out there -- I think it makes it harder to hold on to us."

Knuble also chuckled at Julien's heavyweight words.

"Yeah, I think most people would take that as an insult," he said. "A line our size is not something you usually see. You might see two big wingers and a smaller, skilled center. It just so happens, on our team, our center is the biggest guy on the team -- and the most talented.

"Teams look at us, I think, and they're not really sure how to match up. Do they put their small and quick forwards out there to try to keep the puck from us, or do they take the muscle-for-muscle approach, making sure they get their two biggest defensemen out there each time for that beef-on-beef matchup? Probably the biggest difference, though, is Joe, because there aren't many centers in the league who can match him just for size -- I mean, who are we talking, maybe Jason Arnott [in Dallas] and Bobby Holik [Rangers]? That's about it.

"I'll tell you this, it's sure fun to be a part of it. To be out there with those guys, having success, and for the team to have success, too, it's just great. It's nice to have it go hand-in-hand like that."

Special guests

Colin Campbell, the NHL's chief disciplinarian, addressed the Bruins prior to practice. He was joined by Bill Daly, the league's chief legal officer."Most of it was just [Campbell] going over league rules and regulations," said Thornton . . . Rob Zamuner, hindered thus far this season by a groin/hamstring injury, skated the full workout and is expected to be in the lineup tonight against the Canadiens. If so, he likely will work a fourth line with Travis Green and McCarthy . . . Coach Mike Sullivan won't make public his goaltender choice for any given game, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Felix Potvin, fresh off of his 29th career shutout Tuesday night, back in the crosshairs tonight.

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