43 dead after hockey team plane crash

533286.jpg

43 dead after hockey team plane crash

From Comcast SportsNet Wednesday, September 7, 2011
TUNOSHNA, Russia (AP)A Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashedwhile taking off Wednesday in western Russia, killing at least 43 people andleaving two critically injured, officials said.The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashedimmediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the VolgaRiver about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow. It was carrying 45people, including 37 passengers and eight crew, and the ministry said all buttwo people were killed in the crash. The weather was sunny and clear at the time.Prime Minister Vladimir Putin immediately sent the nations transportminister to the site, 10 miles (15 kilometers) east of Yaroslavl.The ministry said the plane was carrying the Lokomotiv ice hockey team fromYaroslavl to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, where it was to play Thursdayagainst Dinamo Minsk in the opening game of the season in the Kontinental HockeyLeague.The KHL is an international club league that pits together teams fromRussia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Latvia and Slovakia.Lokomotiv Yaroslavl is a leading force in Russian hockey and came third inthe KHL last year. Its coached by Canadian Brad McCrimmon and includes severalinternational stars in its ranks, such as Stefan Liv of Sweden and CzechRepublic players Josef Vaicek and Jan Marek. Lokomotiv was a three-time RussianLeague champion in 1997, 2002 and 2003 and took the bronze last season.It wasnt immediately clear which players were on board the Yak-42 onWednesday.We will do our best to ensure that hockey in Yaroslavl does not die, andthat it continues to live for the people that were on that plane, said RussianIce Hockey Federation President Vladislav Tretyak.The short- and medium-range Yak-42 has been in service since 1980 and dozensare still in service with Russian and other airlines.President Dmitry Medvedev has announced plans to take aging Soviet-builtplanes out of service starting next year.In June, another Russian passenger jet crashed in the northwestern city ofPetrozavodsk, killing 47 people. The crash of that Tu-134 plane has been blamedon pilot error.

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.
 
Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."