BOSTON (CBS) – Voters that go to the Bruins’ flagship television station’s web site to pick a winner for the popular Seventh Player Award tend to go for the big names.
But all you needed to know about this year’s botched election was that before the Bruins’ 2-0 win against Tampa Bay at TD Garden, Dougie Hamilton had to skate out from the runway where he was waiting to accept the award because he was a healthy scratch for the fourth time in the last seven games.
Maybe an hour or so later, Daniel Paille one-timed a Gregory Campbell cross-ice feed into the back of the goal at 13:31 of the second period to put Boston ahead 2-0. It was Paille’s 10th goal of the season in just 44 games. He scored only nine goals in 69 games last season and just six goals in 43 games in 2010-11.
When it comes to exceeding expectations, which is what the Seventh Player Award rewards, Paille should’ve been the leader in the clubhouse. Nonetheless, Paille was pleased for his rookie teammate.
“He’s been solid. He’s 19 years old and he’s got almost 20 points [actually 16] with 40 games,” Paille said of Hamilton. “So it’s been a solid season for him and he’s one of the guys that deserves it too.”
Paille once scored 19 goals in a season for the Buffalo Sabres before he was traded to Boston. So maybe voters are still holding him to that standard. That he’s also a plus-4 on the season and has continually been a key performer on the penalty kill and has provided energy to several different lines this season should’ve pushed him over the top against a defenseman that seems destined for the press box come playoff time.
If it’s any consolation, Paille says he hasn’t exceeded his own expectations because he knew he could put up points if he put the work in.
“The puck’s going in. I think my first year here I had a ton of chances, it just wasn’t going in. I’m trying to be a bit more patient around certain plays and watching a lot of video and trying to work on a lot of things,” he said. “And it’s paying off at the moment right now, and I just don’t want to stop. I’ve got to keep working on that and fixing certain aspects of my game that still need to be worked on. But overall, I’m just glad I’m helping out as much as I can.”