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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Revisiting one of the worst trades in sports history

With all the success the Boston Bruins have experienced this season, its easy to forget (especially for recent bandwagon jumpers) how much former GM Mike O'Connell screwed the B's on November 30, 2005.

The former No. 1 overall pick and face of the franchise, center Joe Thornton, was traded to the San Jose Sharks for essentially some sticks and a bag of pucks: Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart.

Boston wasn't going anywhere with Thornton but that wasn't his fault since his supporting cast was usually terrible to mediocre at best. Since he's switched coasts, he's won an MVP trophy but still hasn't found much success in the playoffs.

With all these storylines floating around and hopefully O'Connell getting a break from flipping burgers last night to watch, the Sharks-the top team in the Western Conference-came to Boston last night to skate at the TD Banknorth Garden.

San Jose (37-7-7) scored four unanswered goals in the third to take a convincing 5-2 win over Boston (39-9-7).

A pass-first offensive player, Thornton scored a goal in the third period barrage. it wasn't exactly a thing of beauty as it deflected off his skate (but he didn't kick it) into the net.

Things looked good for the B's in the first when Milan Lucic potted a pair of goals (from Marc Savard and Dennis Wideman and Petteri Nokelainen respectively), sandwiched around a power-play goal from Sharks defenseman Rob Blake (Marc Edouard-Vlasic and Ryane Clowe assisted).

Neither team could find the net in the second period as each has top-notch goaltenders. San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov improved to 28-6-6 with 28 saves while Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (24-6-5) made 26 saves in the loss.

Patrick Marleau started the Sharks' run in the third, tying it at two with helpers from Christian Ehrhoff and Clowe.

Milan Michalek put San Jose up 3-2 from Dan Boyle and Clowe. Thornton's strike put it in the win column at 4-2 and finally, former BU star Mike Grier scored an empty-netter for the 5-2 final.

It was a disappointing result and to make matters worse, the walking wounded continue to pile up for the Bruins. Michael Ryder had surgery to fix his orbital bone and he's expected to miss 3-4 weeks. During last night's contest, Nokelainen was poke in the eye with an errant stick and was forced to leave the game while Chuck Kobasew wrenched his knee.

Boston will hit the road to face New Jersey on Friday night; many people would probably be surprised to know that the Devils are currently No. 2 in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the more hyped Capitals.

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