First, it was Patrick Roy and then Theo Fleury. Add Ray Bourque to the growing list of marquee players brought to Colorado through the shrewd maneuvering of Pierre Lacroix.
Lacroix, a former agent in his sixth season as Colorado's general manager, took many by surprise Monday. He completed a trade that sent Bourque and forward Dave Andreychuk from Boston to Denver for Brian Rolston, two minor league prospects and a draft pick.
It had seemed Detroit and Philadelphia were the only serious contenders to acquire Bourque, a 39-year-old defensemen and one of the best players at his position.
"I have a philosophy that when you do business, it's nobody's business," Lacroix said. "Why expose whatever you're trying to accomplish until it's done? It's easy to talk after the fact. Why spend energy talking about it when you don't even know if you're going to be able to do it?"
Anonymity is Lacroix's preference, but it is not his only formula for success.
Bruins' defenseman Ray Bourque
was traded to the Colorado Avalanche.(SportsLine) Real Audio
Bourque, however, was considered a long shot to land in Denver because it takes him from his family roots on the East Coast. Bourque acknowledged on Tuesday that Philadelphia was his first choice. But he is excited about a chance to win his first championship in 21 seasons.
"I think they're a very talented team that has struggled somewhat at times this year because of injuries," Bourque said. "They've got everybody back now, they're healthy. They've got a world class goalie, world class players, and I think we will be competing for a Stanley Cup in Colorado."
Roy, Fleury and Bourque spent their entire careers n one city before moving to Colorado. Fleury later bolted for the New York Rangers, but Roy remains a key player for the Avalanche as they pursue a second Stanley Cup.
"To bring in a guy like Bourque is pretty amazing, I think it's a little different than the Theo thing," Colorado defenseman Adam Foote said. "It's a lift."
Bourque, honored as the NHL's top defenseman five times, will join Foote in front of Roy and add experience to an already dangerous power play. He and Andreychuk joined the Avalanche on Tuesday for their game at Calgary.
"Hopefully, we can pick our game up and bring Ray what he's looking for," said Colorado forward Dave Reid, who spent 10 seasons in Boston.
The price for Bourque and Andreychuk was youth.
Colorado sent forward Brian Rolston, 27, and prospects Martin Grenier, 19, and Samual Pahlsson, 22, to Boston. The Bruins also will get the Avalanche's first-round draft pick in 2000 or 2001.
"When you do what we did, you have to admit that you're going to give something very important away," Lacroix said. "We know that we gave good future for the Boston Bruins. On the other hand, we have enough talent in our system to face the future."
As for Bourque's future? Lacroix said he will worry about that after the season because Bourque has not committed himself to another year in the NHL. The next four months could play a major role in his decision.
"I haven't been satisfied by how I've been playing this year and I think a challenge like a Stanley Cup run will bring the best out of me and I sure hope it does," Bourque said. "That will answer a lot of my questions with regards to whether I'm going to play next year."
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