19 Boston Bruins

Oct. 16, 2000
Oct. 16, 2000

Table of Contents
Oct. 16, 2000

NHL 2000-01 Hockey Preview
Inside The NBA

19 Boston Bruins

A few days before the start of training camp, Bruins defenseman
Don Sweeney and his old friend Raymond Bourque went for a casual
skate at a neighborhood rink north of Boston. "Afterward we shook
hands, said good luck and that was it," says Sweeney. "It's
strange not having him around. When I broke in 12 years ago, he
was a fixture, and then every year he was the guy we all looked

This is an article from the Oct. 16, 2000 issue Original Layout

For the first September since 1979 (to put the date in
perspective, consider that Gerry Cheevers manned the Bruins' net
and Jimmy Carter the White House), Bourque did not break camp
with Boston. The Bruins honored his trade request by sending him
to the Cup-contending Avalanche last March, and ever since
they've been frantically trying to remake the defense that
Bourque anchored for so long. The off-season signings of
offensive-minded veteran Paul Coffey, 39, and defensive- minded
journeyman Peter Popovic, 32, and the drafting of 27-year-old
Finn Jarno Kultanen leave Boston with a lot of back-end
blueliners but without a true No. 1 defenseman; no one in the
group appears ready to log the nearly 30 minutes a game that
Bourque provided. "We'll miss the way Ray played and also the
example he set," says assistant general manager Mike O'Connell.
"You hope that some part of him is still here. Guys who played
with Ray saw the effort he gave and demanded each day."

Even with big, young body bumpers Kyle McLaren (he's 23 and 6'4",
230 pounds) and Hal Gill (25, 6'7", 235), the Boston blue line
doesn't intimidate. That means the club desperately needs
goaltender Byron Dafoe, who had a lousy .889 save percentage last
season while battling ligament damage in his knee, to return to
the form that made him a Vezina Trophy finalist two seasons ago.
To reach the playoffs, the team also needs consistent production
from its trio of talented but unpolished forwards--centers Jason
Allison, 25, and Joe Thornton, 21, and left wing Sergei Samsonov,
21. "Consistency comes from taking pride in what you're doing,"
says Sweeney, the longest-tenured Bruin. "As veterans, we have to
help instill that pride. We need to make sure the young guys
remember the kind of players who wore the Bruins' jersey before


COLOR PHOTO: DAVE SANDFORD/HHOF The Bourque-less Bruins will be iced if Dafoe can't save a weak back line.

Fast Fact
Last season was the first since 1960-61 in which the Bruins
didn't have a player who was assessed 100 or more penalty minutes.



FORWARDS 17 Rolston may have breakout season

DEFENSE 18 Still hasn't recovered from Bourque

GOALTENDING 10 Dafoe should bounce back from subpar

SPECIAL TEAMS 21 Addition of Coffey will get power play

MANAGEMENT 19 Burns needs quick start by team to keep
his job