Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while welcoming the month of December into the books.
*Twelve years ago this week, the Bruins traded Jumbo Joe Thornton to the San Jose Sharks for Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau. It feels like a lifetime ago, and truly it was for the best for a Bruins franchise that was able to rebuild their team around Patrice Bergeron, sign a key, big-money free agent in Zdeno Chara with the cap room and then start building toward their eventual Stanley Cup championship in 2011.
Much like the Tyler Seguin trade of four years ago, the return for Jumbo Joe was pitiful and a huge mistake that ultimately led to the ushering out of Mike O’Connell. The Bruins should have shopped Jumbo to additional suitors and should have stocked up on first round picks and young players rather than pieces that would be gone within a couple of years. The Bruins did turn Stuart into Andrew Ference, and eventually Daniel Paille, and Sturm had his great moments (Game 6 in 2008 vs. the Habs and the OT game-winner in the Winter Classic at Fenway Park), but one thing the Bruins need to get better at is nailing their returns when/if they deal off a Big Fish like Jumbo or Seguin.
That seems to be something Don Sweeney was paying attention to when he essentially got a couple of first-round picks in exchange for Milan Lucic a few years ago. Anyway, the Bruins don’t win a Cup without deciding to ship off Jumbo 12 years ago, and San Jose has never won a Cup despite a Hall of Fame-level career from the Bearded One. Sometimes it’s that simple when evaluating a trade 12 years down the road.
*A stick salute to the “Spoked B podcast” covering all range of Bruins topics, and giving credit to yours truly for first recognizing that the Bruins were playing a different brand of hockey behind Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask earlier this season. You could see this goalie issue coming even in the very first few games of the season?
*Erik Condra has battled injuries and roster disappointments the past few season but isn’t let it take away from his big-picture view of his hockey world.
*Nobody thought much of the New Jersey Devils at the beginning of the season, but Ray Shero has made all the right moves to push them into a contending position.
*A couple of players with Bruins ties, Max Talbot and Teddy Purcell, will be pulled from the KHL to play for Team Canada in the coming weeks.
*The embattled Edmonton Oilers have now lost Cam Talbot to injury, and really, really seem like they’re in trouble and in a desperation situation to make a deal that can keep them afloat this season. Pro Hockey Talk has the details.
*The amount of complaining about Auston Matthews vs. Connor McDavid not being a nationally televised game in the U.S. is astounding. Should it be? Maybe if the two of them were actually playing 1-on-1 against each other. But methinks this is much more about the remote controls that would go “click” when casual hockey viewers saw that two Canadian NHL teams were playing each other on national TV in the United States. The interest just isn’t there in the US markets to make it appointment viewing, in my humble opinion.
*For something completely different: Is the world really clamoring for a reboot of a “Masters of the Universe” movie, especially now that Dolph Lundgren has aged out of the He-Man role?