EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 8, 2009

Deadline day proves a flop for Bruins

On Hockey

That was it?

No offense to Steve Montador and Mark Recchi, the two players the Bruins acquired at the NHL trading deadline on Wednesday, but that's it?

Really?

The Bruins, in the midst of one of the most successful seasons the franchise has enjoyed since the Bobby Orr days, had two glaring holes. They filled the need for a left shot forward by acquiring the 41-year-old Recchi. The rugged winger netted 42 points with a terrible Tampa Bay club this season, and has the experience of two Stanley Cups on his resume. Don't let the age fool you.

No knock on Montador; he's a good pickup, too. A tough defenseman who can add depth, he brings some grit and toughness.

But what about all the Chris Pronger talk? What about that need for a puck-moving defenseman? What about the big move?

"We were happy with the two acquisitions," said general manager Peter Chiarelli. "I'm satisfied and happy with what we accomplished."

Chiarelli admitted he was involved with talks on a bigger deal, but declined to comment on specifics.

"I was pretty close," he said. "With us, cap wise, we needed to get some housekeeping done in advance and make some space. We had a deal done midway through the way that was waiting in case we needed to make space."

Pronger stayed in Anaheim. Jay Bouwmeester, a young puck-moving blue liner, was rumored to be on the block (he's an impending free agent), but he stayed in Florida. Tomas Kaberle stayed in Toronto despite numerous rumors he'd be dealt.

"The larger deals, at the end of the day it takes two to tango," said Chiarelli. "We were working on two. Three if you include the housekeeping deal to make space, and it just didn't happen. At some point, I had to pull the plug on it. You have to fish or cut bait at some point."

After Thursday's 2-1 loss to Phoenix at the TD Banknorth Garden, the one weakness on the club still glares brightly. For the B's sake, they had better hope something dulls it as they inch closer to the playoffs.

"I know we've been in a bit of a lull, but it's a long year and I've seen these guys play all year," said Chiarelli.

Strange times at Penn State

A strange situation out of State College, Pa., last week.

Penn State boasts one of the best club hockey teams in the country, winning seven national titles. Rumors have swirled for years about moving up to varsity status. Last week, a firm in Kansas City released a press release announcing that PSU had hired it to draft plans for a 6,000-seat arena so the Nittany Lions could go Division 1.

Suddenly, though, the release was taken down from the firm's Web site, and no one at Penn State claims to know what is going on.

Collegehockeynews.com's Adam Wodon did some research. He called the Penn State athletic department, and they never heard of it. They sent him to Amy Mann, a facilities employee for the college, and she had never heard of it either. He attempted to contact the coach, Salem, N.H., native Scott Balboni, but no response.

He contacted the architectural firm, but got no response.

According to Wodon, hours after these calls, the release was offline.

According to the Centre Daily, a local paper, PSU has admitted to doing "what if" studies, but that's as far as it has gone.

Where there is smoke, there is usually fire.

Mike McMahon is an Eagle-Tribune sportswriter. E-Mail him at mmcmahon@eagletribune.com.