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Chris Clark and his Bruins tryout: Why it means nothing

September 26, 2011


Chris Clark charges for the puck in preseason action.

I want to talk about Chris Clark for a moment. He’s been brought to Bruins training camp on a professional tryout. That’s al fine and good: happens all the time. Hey, the Canucks just invited and today dismissed Owen Nolan from their own. Proven vets show up to exert pressure on guys, and also to circumvent the CBA when it comes to playing in preseason, as Puck Daddy aptly noted last week.

Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe suggested that Clark could be out Jordan Caron for a spot. I have to respectfully disagree. It’s purely a posited hypothetical, and it’s not as if Shinzawa has declared it the right move. But a veteran like Clark doesn’t bring a heck of a lot more than “veteran presence” and leadership.

Suffice to say, even with Recchi gone, the Bruins aren’t lacking in that department. Under the guidance of Chara, Bergeron, Ference and Thornton, the Bruins are rife with character players. And these aren’t “character players” like “role players” I am speaking of, these are players of immense skills and talent and ability, but with integrity and the ability to set a tone. Clark just doesn’t fit into that picture, and, he’s simply redundant, unnecessary. The Bruins have ample cap room, but they also have ample internal, homegrown, hungry, talent.

They don’t need to sign Chris Clark. Frankly, it could be a mistake. Is he playing well so far? Sure, absolutely. But will he be able to play like that through a full season? That we don’t know. He may have hockey left in him, but how much? And why should Jordan Caron, who may still be a raw talent, be denied? Or Zach Hamill? Or Tyler Seguin?

If the purpose of inviting Clark to camp was to light a fire under everyone and remove that post-Cup fatigue, then I’m all for it. If the purpose was to evaluate and potentially sign him, then I’m given pause. He could turn out to be a savvy signing, a la Recchi (but without being Recchi) for all I know. But I do doubt it.

He’s exciting and new, and some ink is being spilled on him because he’s not Pouliot or Caron. But I have to stop and wonder. Bringing in Clark spells “repeat” when it comes to the Cup, and that’s a sort of desperation and desire that I appreciate. But I’d rather it not endanger players on the farm in the long-term. On a lot of other teams Caron, Hamill and Sauve would be seeing frequent NHL minutes. For the Bruins, that’s not the case (and that’s for the best). But signing Clark doesn’t add up–give the kids a shot.


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