Last week’s events in Boston hit hard not just for Boston residents, but everyone who was paying any attention. Hockey players were no different.
The NHL, NHLPA and You Can Play Project shared fantastic news today of their “historic partnership” that will bring the You Can Play Project’s message and resources to all 30 teams across the league.
In establishing an inclusive work environment by partnering with You Can Play Project, the NHL and the NHLPA now stands as the first of the major sports leagues in North America to embrace the message of judging players based on “talent, heart, desire and work ethic — and not on the basis of sexual orientation or other discriminatory factors.” (youcanplay.com)
This past week brought us a first of this short season – a hockey game canceled due to weather. And while the Boston blizzard also brought us some great player tweets, we can’t help but thank the LA Kings for the hockey lesson they tweeted yesterday.
Because of the lockout, Andrew Ference of the Boston Bruins is heading over to the Czech Republic to play until this unholy mess is over. Before heading over there, Ference saw these… “back massagers” at the airport and decided to tweet a picture of them. Whether or not he actually knew what they were is up for you to decide.
Ah, Andrew Ference. Defenseman for the Boston Bruins, 2011 Stanley Cup Champion, and a heavily tattooed environmentalist. As if that weren’t enough, he’s the first NHLer to punch Sidney Crosby in the face.
Now that’s hawt.
Tonight the Bruins took to the ice to prevent a series sweep against the Carolina Hurricanes. Though the teams are on completely opposite ends of the Eastern conference, you wouldn’t know that from the games that have been played. The Hurricanes are in a time to rebuild and what better way to do that than to say you swept the reigning Stanley Cup champs?
Like I said in my Practice Predictions, tonight was TUUKKAAA TIME at the TD Garden against the Canes Cam Ward. The only good thing that came from this game was that I could yell TUUUUK…yeah it was that bad.
Right off of the opening face off, it was made pretty clear that both teams were going to play strong. Early on I was very impressed with the Marchand-Bergeron-Seguin line as they had a few early shots on net and a few that I really thought had a good chance of getting past Ward. The other thing I was happy about was seeing the million dollar mullet back on the ice. Adam McQuaid was a game time decision literally switching up drills with Steven Kampfer until the start of the game but it was him who got the start with fresh from suspension Andrew Ference.
Eric Staal and the Canes got the first goal of the evening with 8.50 to go in the first but it was quickly overshadowed by Johnny Boychuk hitting the boards hard and leaving the ice. Anytime a player gets injured in previous seasons and then goes down hard, I swear my heart stops beating for a second. The Canes also got the first power play opportunity of the night as David Krejci was sent to the box for boarding, or love tapping as I call it. Fortunately the Bruins are ranked 7th in the NHL for penalty kills and they do just that.
The good that I got out of the first; the Bruins got 22 shots on goal, and won 13 out of 16 face offs. The bad that I got out of the first; we’re losing and the Hurricanes only had 8 shots. The Bruins are 13-10-2 when the opposing team scores first.
Second period starts up and fortunately Boychuk is back on the ice! The period for the most part gets off to a slow start and then Jaroslav Spacek takes a Boychuk shot and needs to be looked after but he does make his way to the Carolina bench on his own. That hit for some reason seemed to be the fire igniting under both teams skates because from then on the period was a back and forth of shots on net. Unfortunately Tuomo Ruutu took that fire and went with it scoring on an open net goal with 3.20 to go in the second. Rask is playing hard but unfortunately the B’s defense just isn’t stepping up.And with 34.2 seconds to go, Dennis Seidenberg gives the Canes their second power play chance and makes me sit with my fingers crossed waiting for this period to end.
Well…at least we killed that power play. But three minutes later,Brandon Sutter scores making it 3-0. When the Bruins are down by this much, the idea of writing any recap hurts and this one hurts a lot. 12.06 to go and Bruins get their first power play, and because they are 7th in the league when it comes to power play goals, I had a lot of expectations. Their losing furthers the need to have those expectations. Well that power play was a bust and to further the hurt Milan Lucic gets a roughing call before the pp even ends.
This is the 5th consecutive game that the Bruins have given up 3 or more goals and the 5th consecutive game to put this fan in a funk. The only good thing that is coming from any of this is that Carolina can’t score a power play goal. Thank you hockey gods for that one. Six minutes to go and the Canes take a slashing call and I cross my fingers because losing is one thing thing but being shut out to a team at the bottom of the conference, well that’s unacceptable. Frustration = Brad Marchand to the box for slashing 8 seconds into our power play.
In the end, fourth time was in fact not a charm and the Hurricanes sweep the Bruins and Cam Ward gets a well fought shut out. Moving forward the Bruins return to the ice Saturday in a matinee game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Hopefully by then they’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t. Claude will be having a nice chat with them tonight I’m sure.