September 3, 2001
Camp set to begin without last year's top player
By JEFF GOODMAN
With training camp rapidly approaching, the Boston Bruins have been
able to make sure every player on the club will be in attendance
except for one: Jason Allison.
Boston general manager Mike OÂ'Connell re-signed defenseman Jarno
Kultanen and forward Mikko Eloranta this past week, leaving Allison,
the teamÂ's captain and leading scorer, as the only player unhappy
with his current deal.
Eloranta signed a one-year deal after a fairly disappointing season
in which he spent much of it in former Bruins coach Mike KeenanÂ's
doghouse. The Finland native scored 12 goals and added 11 assists in
62 games last season, his second in the NHL. The 29-year-old will
offer depth and speed up front.
Kultanen, 28, was the Bruins eighth pick in the 2000 draft after
playing five seasons in the Finnish Elite League. He signed a two-
year deal after scoring two goals and adding eight assists in 62
games last year.
"We are pleased to have both of these players returning to our team,"
said O'Connell. "Jarno proved to be a steady defenseman in just his
first year in this league and we feel he will continue to improve.
Mikko has been a solid contributor who has made the most of his ice
time and he brings a valuable versatility to the club."
Now that OÂ'Connell has been able to tie up nearly every loose end
contract-wise, he can turn nearly all of his focus to the Allison
matter. The center seems primed to wait the situation out, and
OÂ'Connell may end up doing the same if he canÂ't get a quality trade
Allison is coming off a career-year and seemed to click on the number
one line with Bill Guerin and Sergei Samsonov. If Allison holds out,
it could force new coach Robbie Ftorek to move Joe Thornton up to
center the top line, which would hurt the depth on the second and
There has been little to no progress on the Allison front of late.
The 26-year-old is coming off a 36-goal campaign in which he led the
Bs with 59 assists and 95 points.
Â"IÂ'd like to (get it done before the season starts), because I think
we have a good team, and with Jason Â or whatever players we might
get in return (in a trade) Â weÂ'd be a better team,Â" OÂ'Connell told
the Boston Herald. Â"But IÂ'm not going to give him away just for the
sake of getting a deal. IÂ'm going to take my team and see whatÂ's
Whatever ends up happening, the Allison situation could end up being
a major distraction in the clubÂ's quest to get back into the post-
OÂ'Connell has done a good job in bringing all the key players back Â
except for veteran defenseman Eric Weinrich and fellow blue-liner
Darren Van Impe Â and has added hard-nosed veterans Martin Lapointe,
Rob Zamuner and Scott Pellerin up front Â and Sean OÂ'Donnell on the
If the Bruins can somehow manage to get Allison in the fold or get a
quality playmaker in return, they should be much better than a year
ago, when they were just squeezed out of making the playoffs by
virtue of a tiebreaker with Carolina.
Notes: Training camp will open on Sept. 11 at the Ristuccia Memorial
Arena in Wilmington, Mass. New faces that have the best shot at
making this yearÂ's club include former Michigan sniper Andy Hilbert
and former Boston College blue-liner Bobby Allen. Â
defenseman Al Iafrate, who retired in 1998 because of knee injuries,
may be making a comeback with the Carolina Hurricanes.