A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


On Wednesday, the Canes did something I wish they hadn't. The re-signed Jesse Boulerice to a one year two-way contract. Boulerice spent a few seasons in Carolina before being shipped off to St. Louis as part of the Doug Weight trade.
In the days of yore, when Carolina was awful, Jesse was a good guy to have around because he likes to mix it up. He never had much offensive upside, and they pretty much used him exclusively as an enforcer.

I was happy to see him go because the "new" NHL has no place for enforcers. That, and I thought that his very limited skills had in fact atrophied. He only played a few games with the Blues before being cut outright. The word on the street is that he couldn't get along with the guys in the room. Some accounts suggest that he physically fought with his new teammates during practice. I'm guessing that it all got started over a disagreement about his favorite movie -- The Garfield Christmas Movie.

I haven't talked to the Acid Queen yet, and she hasn't posted yet, but I'm sure she's livid.

The only good thing is that this is a two-way contract. He'll be playing in Albany. Peter Karmanos had the following overly kind words:
"Jesse has been working hard to prepare himself for the upcoming season. We know what he is capable of, and he understands his role in our organization."

I hope that by "he understands his role", Karmanos means "His role will be to protect our investments who are down in the minors. If there is a really bad rash of injuries, and he ends up in Raleigh, his role will be to stay out of everyone's way."

Credit where credit is due, though. On October 24, 2005 the Canes were hosting the undefeated Ottawa Senators. The Sens had jumped out to a very early 2-0 lead, and the Canes looked flat. Boulerice fought Brian McGratton for no reason other than to spark the team and the crowd. It worked. The Canes rallied for a win, and they moved into first place in the SE division that night. They would never look back.

Other than that, Jesse is, frankly, a terrible player by NHL standards.

Here's my favorite Jesse Boulerice moment, from back in 2003, when he got simply destroyed by Aaron Downey of the Dallas Stars.

"Down goes Boulerice". I don't care who you are. That's funny.


Josh Crockett said...

Loyalty from the Canes organization to a guy who played to the best of his very limited skillset when he was needed. That's what this amounts to.

Note that his AHL salary is half of Shane Willis's guaranteed amount, and Rutherford didn't include the "guaranteed minimum" clause with Boulerice like he did with Willis and one of the other FA forwards. That clause means, essentially, that they can promote each of those guys for up to three weeks without an additional budgetary hit (one of the guys on the Scout.com board did the math on their weekly AHL salaries versus the NHL minimum, which is what they all got).

They've gotta stock Lowell one way or another, and he was a loyal soldier for this club through the rough times. If he can improve his game and earn his way back up, great, but I'm not gonna worry much about it either way. The only times I think Jesse should be wearing the sightless eye are (1) opening night as a courtesy for the Cup ring presentation (which he should get), and (2) the first Pittsburgh game, if they need someone expendable to take Orpik to the box before Colesy's first shift, just to keep #26 from doing something dumb.

Bill Purdy said...

I don't think they're worried about stocking Lowell so much as they are about Albany.

And it IS funny to see Jesse go down with one punch.

Josh Crockett said...

Dammit. Albany. Point stands, though, and furthermore, giving a fighter to the minor-league club has to make their owner happy.

That is quite the clip, though I prefer his November go with McGrattan for a more positive result.

d-lee said...

Josh.... I'm not so sure that I see eye to eye with you vis-a-vis "The Bull". I see no reason for the Canes to waste a roster spot for him on opening night as a "courtesy". I think the "courtesy" ends with the contract itself. They could just as easily have made it a one way contract to Albany.
Nor do I think that he should get a Stanley Cup ring. He only played in 26 games for the Canes. I hope I'm misreading your comment with respect to that. When you said "he should get" did you mean the courtesy, or the ring?

Where I do agree with you is that someone needs to prevent Colesy from doing something stupid. Hopefully, as you suggest, someone else will get to Orpik first.

The Acid Queen said...

Jesse get a Cup ring? What? Josh, tell me you're kidding or drunk or stoned or something, please.

Drew said...

I've heard there are specific guidelines based on games played during regular season and/or playoffs regarding getting your name on the Cup, but I don't know about a ring.

I suppose that's probably a team decision.

Josh Crockett said...

Note to self: don't comment with a caffeine withdrawal headache. What I meant by "courtesy" is that since he's with the organization, if he gets a ring, he should be present and wearing a jersey over street clothes as long as Albany has the night off. I don't want him on the roster unless many unfortunate things happen to other NHL-caliber players.

And why not give him a ring? He was with the club for over half the season, though healthy-scratched more often than not as CAdams/LaRose took over his place on the ice. (Drew, you're correct on the Cup guidelines: 41 games and still with the club, or one game in the Cup Finals.) If all the black aces from the Cup run get one, including a goaltender who split his season between Lowell and the ECHL Florida Everblades, I don't see a reason not to give rings to guys who actually contributed to the regular season on the ice and helped the two defining Game 7s (BUF/EDM) happen at home: Boulerice, Zigomanis and Nordgren.

It doesn't hurt anything, the cost is minimal by pro sports owner standards (a few K$ per), and it reinforces the reputation the Canes have within the league as an organization that takes care of their players (even if they're clueless-to-incompetent with their customers at times). That rep had value when Weight and Recchi waived their no-trade clauses to come to Carolina, and it will continue to have value down the line in the FA market.

d-lee said...

If all the black aces from the Cup run get one, including a goaltender who split his season between Lowell and the ECHL Florida Everblades, I don't see a reason not to give rings to guys who actually contributed to the regular season on the ice and helped the two defining Game 7s (BUF/EDM) happen at home: Boulerice, Zigomanis and Nordgren.
Josh, what are you talking about? Kowalski? He's not getting a ring either. And PLEASE tell me how Boulerice, Zigomanis and Nordgren "helped the two defining game 7s happen". Because they were trade fodder? That makes no sense. Why not give one to Keith Primeau, then? Danii Markov? Without those two guys, we wouldn't have Rod Brind'Amour or Justin Williams.

Yes, I'm trying to be funny, but using your logic, I honestly don't see the difference between your example and mine.

Josh Crockett said...

You're missing the "AT HOME" part of that sentence -- contributing to the regular season record that gave us home-ice advantage.

My understanding was that Aucoin, Gove and Kowalski will get rings and a day with the Cup even though they weren't eligible for name inscription. (The other non-playoff guys, Babchuk and Hutchinson do as well, but they shouldn't be in the same discussion -- significantly higher contribution.) If they don't, that could change my opinion on the castoffs.

The Acid Queen said...

They aren't getting a thing, TTBOMK.

And I'm sorry, but if this team gave a Cup ring to Nicky Nordgren and Jesse Boulerice, they'd be the laughingstock of the NHL--so no thanks.

d-lee said...

Josh... I'm still not buying. The Bull played 93 shifts for the Hurricanes, and I don't think his role was instrumental in the Canes having home ice. His contribution was minor, at best.

Moreover, the fact that our game 7s were at home had more to do with the fact that Buffalo (#4 seed) beat Ottawa (#1 seed) and that Detroit (#1 west) was knocked out. Don't give credit to Jesse for that.
I guess we should give rings to the Sabres for knocking out the Senators, thereby giving us home ice in the ECF and to Edmonton for eliminating the #1 seed in the West, giving us home ice in the SCF.

I realize Jesse is a sentimental favorite of yours, but he won't be getting his day with the Cup, and he doesn't deserve a ring. Sorry.

d-lee said...

I don't know what the criteria for getting a ring is, but it just occurred to me that it makes sense for Gove, Aucoin and Kowalski. Even though they weren't on the roster, they were traveling with and practicing with the team all throughout the playoffs.
Sucks for Anton Babchuk and Andrew Hutchinson, both of whom fall just short of the 41 games requisite for having their name on the Cup. Babs had 39 games and Hutch had 36. Neither played in the SCF.
Boulerice? He was sitting on his couch eating cheetos and watching the Garfield Christmas movie over and over again.
Zigomanis is a hell of a guy, but he wasn't with the team when it counted. Ditto Nicky Nordgren.

Chris said...

Everyone is making this more complex than it needs to be. Was Boulerice a member of the organization in any way shape or form when the Canes won the Cup?

No, he was with the Blues. No ring for you. We signed him as a UFA. We don't owe him shit.

d-lee said...

Technically, Chris, Boulerice wasn't anywhere. After his little temper tantrum, he was outright released by the Blues.

Your point stands, though.

I've moved down, by the way. I'll still be in section 112, but I'll be in row C now. Sweet! Are you keeping your same seats?

Josh Crockett said...

Hey, don't mistake me for a mouthbreather-- er, Boulerice/goon hockey fanboy. We completed the stretch run and playoffs without that; the game's past that. I've always thought that the guys who get traded partway through the season, no matter what the sport, deserve some recognition, and I don't have my hate on for Boulerice, that's all. I liked that Nomar got a Series ring from the '04 Red Sox, and I think it's a worthwhile precedent to follow. (Of course, he was a star, and our castoffs were bit players.)

I think we all agree that we're in trouble if we see #36 skating in a Carolina sweater after October 1st.

Chris said...

Yeah, I'll still be in 113C. We'll practically be neighbors.


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