Former Bruins winger Daniel Paille’s hockey career is likely over, according to Brynäs sports director Stefan Bengtzén.
“I’m extremely doubtful about him,” Bengtzén told a Swedish outlet (via a rough Google translation) when asked about Paille, who left the North American pro ranks following a 2015-16 season with the Rangers organization and spent the last two seasons with Brynäs of the Swedish Hockey League. “It does not look bright and [there] is no change ever before.”
The 34-year-old Paille has not played since November, when he was smashed up high on a dangerous and illegal hit by Thomas Larkin, which earned Larkin a four-game ban. Paille, who suffered three confirmed concussions during his time in Boston, said that the hit was the most damaging of his professional career, and was critical of Larkin’s mild suspension.
“It is obvious that players’ safety and the integrity of sports are not something they prioritize,” Paille said. “I want this player to be held liable and punished for his actions so that he does not do this again and exposes other players to risks.”
Acquired from the Sabres in 2009, Paille spent six seasons with the Bruins as one of Claude Julien’s most versatile wings, with 50 goals and 95 points in 375 games in a Boston sweater. A postseason skater in every season besides his final one in town, Paille also ranks 29th on the franchise’s all-time playoff games played list, with 74 postseason tilts.
And if this is indeed the end for Paille, it would mean that all three members of the beloved “Merlot Line” from the Black and Gold’s 2011 run would be off the ice and officially retired from the game of hockey. Boston enforcer Shawn Thornton was the first to go, as he retired in April 2017 and joined the Panthers in a business management role. Gregory Campbell followed, officially hanging them in June 2017 before joining the Columbus Blue Jackets staff as a development coach.
Overall, just 10 players from the 2011 Stanley Cup team are currently playing in the National Hockey League today.