Morning Skate: Happy 12th birthday, Jumbo Joe trade


Morning Skate: Happy 12th birthday, Jumbo Joe trade

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?



Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

File Photo

Erik Karlsson and wife Melinda mourn death of their son

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda lost their son one month before his due date.


"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.

We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."

The couple announced via Instagram in November that they were expecting, and the CBC reports the baby was due in April.

Sens head coach Guy Boucher spoke about the tragedy after Ottawa's game vs the Panthers on Tuesday (1:36 mark in video below).

Karlsson, a rumored Bruins target before the trade deadline, received heartfelt condolences from the hockey world on Twitter:

Our thoughts too go out to Erik and Melinda during this incredibly difficult time.


Morning Skate: Best all-time college hockey lineups

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Best all-time college hockey lineups

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while welcoming in spring with open arms.


*Interesting exercise from ESPN putting together the best all-time lineups for a number of college hockey programs. We know about a lot of the powerhouse programs, but UVM could put together a pretty damn good lineup based on the players that have come out of the Catamounts program, including former and current Bruins Tim Thomas and Kevan Miller.


*Jack Eichel scoffs at the notion that his ankle injury should have caused the Sabres star to shut it down for the rest of the season.


*Nice work by Star Wars Rebels showrunner Dave Filoni to put together a Star Wars jersey again this season for the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins.


*Rob Rossi has got some major issues with ESPN the Magazine omitting Sidney Crosby from their Most Dominant Athletes of the last 20 years list. Yeah, I’d say that doesn’t make any sense. Not that anybody really cares about ESPN the Magazine or anything.


*Strange times with the CWHL as Cassie Campbell Pascal has resigned from her role as a CWHL Governor ahead of the league’s marquee weekend.


*The Golden Knights and Marc-Andre Fleury are both tied together in their rise toward the top of the NHL this season.


*For something completely different: Never before has a mustache been talked about as much as the CGI mustache for Henry Cavill in Justice League, and now it’s gone forever.