And, with just a quick glance at ESPN’s Bruins blog, Tuesday became my own Super Tuesday, all thanks to this note:
The Boston Bruins acquired Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell from the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, a team source confirmed to ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun. TSN first reported the trade.
In return, the Bruins sent Dennis Wideman, Boston’s first-round pick (15th overall) in this year’s draft and the Bruins own third-round pick in 2011.
I mean… God, it’s just so beautiful, I’ll post the last sentence again, only how I read it initially:
In return, the Bruins sent Dennis Wideman, also known as The Worst Bruin I’ve Ever Seen , Boston’s first-round pick (15th overall) in this year’s draft and the Bruins own third-round pick in 2011.
Yeah, that’s the stuff.
Alright, now to explain my juvenile giddiness on the exile of no. 6.
In 2008-09, the Bruins had a stellar year, finishing first in the Eastern Conference, and Wideman, who came back in a deal that sent winger Brad Boyes to St. Louis in 2007, was a key part of that. He established himself as a legitimate no. 2 defenseman playing alongside Zdeno Chara, and probably should have been an All-Star with his 50 points and +32 mark. He was solid and focused in the first year of a four-year deal, and made General Manager Peter Chiarelli’s investment look like a wise one.
Then came 2009-10. He dipped to a -14, 24 points, and night after night was the worst player on the ice. He had to be the worst regular the Bruins have had since I started paying attention (the late 80s/early 90s, give or take). And it wasn’t just that he was bad, he looked like a buffoon. He was at least partially responsible for Tim Thomas’ goals against average jumping up this season. He was routinely scoring for the other team (his two goals for Buffalo late in the season stand out). His passes were all destined for the other team’s sticks. Worst of all, he didn’t seem to care — at all — about the fact that he was playing like someone who was only more than happy to pick up his $4 million check at the end of the year. And when Claude Julien called him out to the media for his terrible play, did his play improve? No. He pouted. And he continued to play like garbage.
I went to four Bruins games this past season, and during those games, Wideman became the first, and likely last, sitting Bruin I’ve ever booed. He was the opposite of everything the Bruins were supposed to be about. He wasn’t tough, he wasn’t gritty, and if he was trying, he was doing his damnedest to make it look like he wasn’t. He was absolutely infuriating. He looked like a guy who didn’t care, because … well, maybe he didn’t care.
In the playoffs, his play, almost inexplicably, picked up, and he wasn’t the severe liability that he had been all season long. But thankfully, Chiarelli could see the damage that Wideman was capable of inflicting on a team when he tries to coast on his now-undeserved salary.
Tuesday night, after work, I went out for a celebratory drink with friends. A dick move? Absolutely. And the trouble with a post like this is that I’m trying to channel two seasons worth of frustrations into a single piece, attempting to illustrate why I’m so happy with his exit. I pride myself on being a rational, empathetic sports fan, always trying to seek out the joy and beauty of the game, and I can’t even be rational about this guy. So, here it is: The Worst Bruin I’ve Ever Seen is gone, and glasses were raised for the other two guys. Whatever their names are.
Horton? Campbell? Yeah. As long as it’s not Wideman.