The Edmonton Oilers won’t be as tough with Steve MacIntyre out of the line-up with a fractured orbital bone, but they just got a whole lot nastier with the acquisition of Jesse Boulerice.
With MacIntyre out of action for as long as two months after taking a beating from Eric Godard in Pittsburgh, the Oilers claimed Boulerice, a tough guy and noted stick man, off waivers from the Colorado Avalanche today.
Boulerice, 30, a six-foot-two, 215-pound right winger, had been playing with the Lake Erie Monsters, Colorado’s AHL affiliate. He had scored 2-2-4 with 46 penalty minutes in 12 games.
Simply put, with MacIntyre placed on injured reserve today and possibly facing surgery to repair the damage around his left eye, the Oilers felt they needed somebody to pick up the slack in the toughness department.
Boulerice is their man.
“MacIntytre will be out for awhile and we felt we needed another body to protect us a bit,” assistant GM Kevin Prendergast said. “He’s proved he can play in this league. He can give us some minutes.”
Looking at Boulerice’s resume, there’s no doubt about that. The native of Plattsburgh, New York is in his 11th pro season and has played 170 NHL games with the Philadelphia Flyers, who drafted Boulerice 133rd overall in 1996, the Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues.
With 16 fights in 2002–03 and 15 more in 2003–04 with Carolina, it’s obvious Boulerice doesn’t need a written invitation to drop the gloves. But it’s his rap sheet, not his resume, that’s garnered the most attention.
As a member of the Flyers, Boulerice was suspended for 25 games in October of 2007 for cross-checking Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks in the face with Philadelphia up 7–2.
In April 1998, Boulerice, a member of the Plymouth Whalers, took a baseball swing at Andrew Long of the Guelph Storm, hitting him in the face and injuring him badly. Boulerice pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated assault and was suspended for a year by the OHL.
The Oilers are well-aware Boulerice has trampled the line between tough hockey and out-and-out thuggery more than once, but they don’t seem worried by his past transgressions.
“We talked about it, but it’s not a concern,” Prendergast said. “We felt we needed the depth.”
Prendergast says the Oilers did their homework on Boulerice, who played with Erik Cole in Carolina.
“He said he’s a great guy,” Prendergast said of Cole’s take on Boulerice. “We checked with a few people about him.”
Boulerice, who’d just signed a two-way deal with Colorado, is expected to join the Oilers in the next day or so and will likely be available to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs Thursday.
—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on Team 1260.