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Kevin Paul Dupont's Bruins chat transcript

December 2, 2005
Jimmy:Q: Why wouldn't the Bruins assign Colton Orr to Providence instead of releasing him via waivers?
Kevin_Dupont:One reason, and one reason only -- they didn't feel that he had much usefulness in today's game...Much, much, much to my chagrin, the fight game is all but dead. The only remaining question: might it be revived in the playoffs?...Frankly, I doubt it--but if it did, then Orr might have some usefulness. For now, though, players like Orr serve little purpose. Good guy, but his game is dated.
The_Stinger:Q: Hey Kevin have you ever thought of questioning Jacobs commitment to the team he owns in a one on one interview ??
Kevin_Dupont:I've done it, and I think you know the answer. I know fans would like to see the guy gone, but I think that is wasted energy...Frankly, I think there could be worse situations. I also think, with the cap in place, the ownership issue will be less important...The biggest issue, going forward, for all 30 teams--how competent/adequate is the management team, including GM, et al. If they make the right personnel decisions, then everyone is happy. If they make the wrong decisions--as we'd seen this past summer--then THAT's something to be concerned about.
tk:Q: Do you think the Bruins can move someone like Zhamnov.....it appears that Chicago could use a little offense would they consider a salary match up of Zhamnov for Aucoin?
Kevin_Dupont:Well, he's got another two years at $4 million per. Not a lot of clubs would take that kind of money on, willingly...One possibility: Zhamnov for Michael Peca (now in Edmonton); Another could be Zhamnov for Tom Poti (Rangers)...Or, if we want to get really creative here, a Samsonov-Zhamnov package to the highest bidder. Samsonov, an unrestricted free agent as of July 1, would entice many teams. If they wanted him that badly, the Bruins could force Zhamnov on the acquiring team.
notanoconnellfan_:Q: Kevin, do you think Toivonven has a good shot at replacing Raycroft as numero uno in net if he has one or two more consecutive solid performances?
Kevin_Dupont:Not sure of that. I like them both very much, and I find Toivonen's lightning-quick reflexes to be intriguing...In the end, I would not be flabbergasted to see Toivonen win the job. But, let's not be too fast to chuck Raycroft under the bus. He was Rookie of the Year for a reason...Truth is, I think it is ideal to have them both fighting each other for the job. Nothing like true competition to rise the level of play--in EVERY industry.
dillhole:Q: Why can't the management identify the real problem, the play or lack thereof, Hal Gill and Nick Boynton
Kevin_Dupont:Well, I think they did ID it, which is precisely why Stuart had to be part of the package in the Thornton swap with San Jose...The back line was Boston's open wound. It was poorly engineered via off-season acquisitions...Ergo, Gill was getting more minutes than he deserved. Boynton, out of playing shape, is coming around a bit of late. The lower Gill is on the Time On Ice totem pole, the better...All is all, if the new plan works, I think you'll see Gill and Boynton be OK--but within a different definition. It sure looked a lot better Thurs. night--and the consequence was that the Bruins played much more in the offensive zone.
markjoe16:Q: Do you think the Joe Thornton trade will help the Bruins long-term?
Kevin_Dupont:I'd put it this way--it won't be a step backward. They weren't going anywhere with Thornton as the franchise centerpiece...So, I have no problem jettisoning Thornton. His play was soft, often shapeless. There was no team definition.
Jmicro:Q: Was Joe Thornton a problem in the locker room?
Kevin_Dupont:No, I think he was OK in the locker room. And that's important. But far more important: he wasn't OK on the ice...Thornton, as I mentioned before here, provided no definition in his play--and therefore, I believe, the rest of the team showed no definition, or purpose, either. That's not his fault, but is a consequence of how he played...Decent guy, Thornton, and liked by his teammates. But, to use a grammar school analogy here for a second--in many ways he was the substitute teacher on the job. We all know how we reacted when we saw the sub standing in front of the class: RECESS!
macfact:Q: Boston is now divided by this trade. Those who loved Joe and Those who love the Bruins. Will this team be able to manage reuniting the fan base?
Kevin_Dupont:It all comes down to one letter: W...If these guys win, everyone is happy. Will they win? That all depends if the new guys can provide enough energy--not necessarily talent, but energy--to get everyone moving their legs and thinking straight...Energy alone won't win games. But energy can be a catalyst to a lot of things--including better, smarter, more physical play. Prior to the trade, these guys were DOD--dead on doublerunners.
JT:Q: Will the 2 forwards bring the same level of speed that Joe (didn't bring) or do they some intensity that is missing for all 3 periods?
Kevin_Dupont:Not sure of your question here, but I will take a stab. Sturm is very fast, and can keep his hands in synch with his legs (rare talent). Primeau is more of a plodder, a big checking center...So, Sturm wins on speed, and Primeau on attitude--two things lacking in Thornton's game. Individually, they are both lesser talents. Collectively, if they can impact two lines, and recharge the team, they will far exceed Thornton's impact (which this season was almost nil).
steve-o:Q: Do you expect Samsonov and Murray to struggle without Joe dishing the puck to them?
Kevin_Dupont:I think Samsonov will be fine with whomever they designate as his pivot. Murray? I have to wonder...I asked Murray yesterday, hours after the trade, if he still wanted to be here. He said yes. If so, then it's up to him to get the job done, and he acknowledged that in our conversation...I must admit, I have my doubts that he'll adjust. He and Jumbo were very close. If he flatlines, look for the Bruins to ring up the Sharks again, and find out if they can accommodate ...each other's needs.
Bob:Q: Kevin, all summer long we heard O'Connell talk about how this team was going to contend for the Cup this year. Now, three months later, its all of a sudden a re-building year. How is management getting a free pass for this mess?
Kevin_Dupont:I don't think it's a free pass. Not from me. They messed up in their strategy, and O'Connell admitted that yesterday...They're embarrassed. They should be embarrassed. But let's not forget, it all emanates from the biz strategy--put in place by the owner--that had them burn the roster down during the summer of '04...The strategy forced them to try to build a winner, once the Lockout ended, in a matter of about one month. Ridiculous. It takes years to build a contender. The plan was folly from the start...That said, they still should have done a better job acquiring playrs during the summer. Or, they should have told everyone that they were going a different route--kids, kids, kids. The problem there: Thornton likely would have walked (demanding a trade). All in all, their biz plan left them between a rock and a hard place, and they are now desperately attempting to recover.
Rawhide:Q: Why not shop Joe around for the best deal instead of dealing exclusively with San Jose?
Kevin_Dupont:They shopped. At least four other GMs went on record yesterday as saying they discussed a trade for Thornton with O'Connell. Trust me: if 4 GMs knew, then at least 20 others knew, too... Now, could they have done better for Thornton? Not sure. He makes almost $7M a year, and next year, the second of his three-year deal, it becomes a no-trade contract...Easy for all of us armchair GMs to say they could have done better. But, talk is cheap, and he was a very, very expensive player--especially in a salary cap system.
Wensink18:Q: Do you think last night's game will be the norm, or was it likely an aberration?
Kevin_Dupont:I see last night as a starting point . That's all. I don't expect the three players to be much better than they were, as individual talents... But this was not a deal about individual talents. It was about swapping a very talented player for three players who could provide an ``attitude'' transplant... Something had to be done in attempt to provide the team with a soul. Will these guys do that? Well, that's management's hope/calculation. For one night, I liked what I saw. Long-term, it will depend on how 17 guys in the room respond to the three new guys.
Wonder_Boy:Q: Dupes - Has there been any surprise reactions from the Bruins dressing room regarding the trade?
Kevin_Dupont:Plenty of surprise, in terms of players saying they were shocked. But no one demanding a trade, or ripping the organization up and down, if that's what you are wondering... Now, if the club had won 9 of 10, I suspect the reaction would have been vastly different. Many players are hurt. They liked Thornton... But hockey players typically are realists (part and parcel of playing a humbling sport). They knew it had to change. They didn't want Thornton gone. Some understand it. Some still are trying to understand it. I bet one or two won't get it, and will ask out.
jmac:Q: In your opinion, will this trade see the Bruins revert to the "Lunch Pail Gang" approach? Can that work in the new NHL?
Kevin_Dupont:Well, Lunch Pail brings back fond memories--for me--of lots of hard work and accompanying fights. Work is still permitted, but the fight game is dead (editor: insert big tears here!)...I don't think we will see Lunch Pail work ethic. If this thing begins to fly, I think we will see speed and eagerness in the product. Not sure what to call that, as compared to Lunch Pail. But give me some time, I'll come up with something.
Gaffer97:Q: Any thoughts on where Joe's "C" should go now?
Kevin_Dupont:A few thoughts, yes. No. 1: I bet no one gets it for the rest of the season. Perhaps they'll make it the Velcro C this year, and let one guy wear it for a month, and hand it over to a new guy the following month...Leetch would be great for the C, but at age 37, on a one-year deal, that makes no sense, really...A sleeper here could be Stuart. He is young enough, and he has enough game. If he really made a statement this season on the ice, I could see him taking it. Boynton, in my mind is perfectly suited for the C. But, he has held out twice now in contract talks, and that would definitely hurt his cause.
Bob:Q: If Thornton was such a problem why sign him to the max just a few short months ago?
Kevin_Dupont:Great question, and a complex answer. But to be concise: they felt pressure and squeezed, in a number of ways. The fan based loved Thornton, and when the CBA smoke cleared, he stood only 49 weeks from unrestricted free agency... Had they not signed him, he could have forced a trade. So, they asked what he wanted, and he said he first wanted Murray re-signed. They did that (at $4M) a year. Then they gave him the money he wanted. Truth was, given the market, and the fan base demand, they had few alternatives... But all in all, they made what was nearly an $11M commitment to the two. And yesterday, there was Thornton, saying he never felt a commitment... Yikes! No commitment? May I remind everyone that the Bruins, upon drafting Thornton in '97, blew apart the league's entry level salary system just to sign him, as an 18-year-old. League officials have since acknowledged that his sign contributed to the fiscal crisis that led to last year's Lockout... The Bruins committed to Thornton, financially, like no other player in their history. He was here longer than Phil Esposito. In the end, it just didn't work--for reasons more on Thornton's side than management's side.
BsFanInHanoverNh:Q: What level of success will be required for this trade to NOT spell the end of the Sinden/O'Connell era?
Kevin_Dupont:Sinden is here until he decides to surrender the desk keys. I believe he will do that within the next 24-36 months, no matter what level of success the team achieves...As for O'Connell, I believe the club has to get back in a serious hunt for a playoff spot, in the next 2-3 weeks. If it remains at flat line, I believe he'll be sent packing.
cash:Q: Stuart looked excellent on D last night and seemed to play a lot of minutes, do you foresee any of the three rookie defensemen getting much playing time the rest of the year?
Kevin_Dupont:Prior to going on line here, I heard Alberts was begin sent down, and Jurcina recalled. Not sure about Dallman...Overall, I think you'll see the rookies fade into the background for a while, and get their confidence back at the AHL level, or used sparingly in Boston...However, I would not rule out a trade that would deal Gill away, and Slegr could quickly be expendable. But, the rookies will have to impress before moves like those were made.
il:Q: Kevin- what ever happened to the Bruins fans? The place is half empty every night.
Kevin_Dupont:Oh, let's see -- 33 years without a Cup, a dozen years of real futility, a Lockout and....oh, yeah, negative media. That do it for you?
bosox8275:Q: Do you think Bergeron will now have the room to grow and become a star?
Kevin_Dupont:Could happen. He will get more minutes at center, his true position, rather than wing. A star? That will depend on his talent and his attitude. If he keeps working hard, and builds on his toughness level, I think he could reach star status.
Mark_c:Q: Hey Kevin. Great job bye the way......Are the bruins setting Ray Bourque up for the next GM job.
Kevin_Dupont:I don't get that sense. I could see Ray staying with the on-ice gig for a few more years, and transitioning into a player development/appraisal position. But I can't see him aspiring to a 60-70 hour a week desk job, surrounded by a universe of second guessers.
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