Agent tweets Horton should 'stay out of the way' next time

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Agent tweets Horton should 'stay out of the way' next time

Congrats to hockey agent Scott Norton for the lunk head hockey tweet of the weekend, and it had nothing to do with the NHL lockout.

On its face all seemed well when the Chicago-based player agent retweeted an ESPNBoston.com story reporting that Bruins winger Nathan Horton was healthy and ready to resume his career once the lockout is over. Thats encouraging news given that the Bruins forward suffered a pair of serious concussions over a seven month period.

Horton missed the final three months of the regular season and the playoffs after getting blindsided by a Tom Sestito hit in a January game against the Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Sestito has been suspended for delivering vicious head shots at the AHL level, and is represented by Norton.

The fringe Flyers forward wasnt suspended or punished by the NHL for the hit on Horton last season, but it raised more than a few eyebrows in Boston given video evidence that Sestito attacked Horton from behind and was clearly targeting the Bs forwards head.

The lack of punishment emboldened Sestitos defenders to claim it was a clean hit, which leads us to Norton's tweet from over the weekend:

Good news! Stay out of @tomsestito23 way next time @murphyslaw74: Agent: Nathan Horton healthy, ready to play espn.go.comblogbostonbr

Scott Norton (@NortonSports) November 10, 2012

Seriously?

Nothing like blaming the victim of a blindside hit and making light of a player battling through major concussion problems in a sport plagued by them in recent years.

When challenged for his comment, Norton bravely tweeted:

@hackswithhaggs PREFACE - I don't want ANYONE to ever get hurt, but once upon a time in land called NHL, guys had to keep their head up

Scott Norton (@NortonSports) November 10, 2012
The only problem with Nortons once upon a time in a land called the NHL scenario? Anybody that saw the actual hit or watched the video -- which admittedly wasnt the greatest angle of the hit and might have played into the lack of punishment from the league -- saw that Horton had his head up the entire time. Sestito clipped him above the neck after charging in from way behind the play while Horton was watching the puck behind the net.

It wasnt as severe as the Matt Cooke hit on Marc Savard, but it was eerily similar to the way that collision took place far behind the play after the puck had been flipped toward the net.

Norton went on to make his case to Bruins fans haranguing him on Twitter after his series of offensive tweets. The agent started with a welcoming tweet to his new admirers in Boston:

Good to see @nhl fans are still excitable...hope this CBA gets resolved soon and we get em back on the ice! HelloToFollowersInBoston

Scott Norton (@NortonSports) November 10, 2012

Then he tried to divert attention away from his tweet by shifting the blame to a common hockey villain in Boston circles, Jeremy Jacobs:

If Bruins fans vented this much on their owner, maybe lockout would come to an end! Jacobs 1 of owners leading their charge. @nhlpa

Scott Norton (@NortonSports) November 10, 2012

Then when all else failed he attempted to gain Boston sympathy by stating that deep, down inside he really likes the Bruins style of play. But then he couldnt help himself by taking another shot on Twitter:

Gonna go do some work. Wanna thx Bruins fans remember - Lucic, Chara, Cashman, O'Reilly, Jonathon, etc have never hurt anyone in a game

Scott Norton (@NortonSports) November 10, 2012

Heres a memo for the agent after his regrettable Twitter exchanges: Remember the cavalier approach to somebody elses head injury the next time one of your clients is tragically suffering the same fate. Then envision the agent of the player that delivered the head shot crowing about it on Twitter. Its an action that takes poor form to a new level.

Rule 48 was put into place because there are too many hockey people that talk a good game about head shots and concussions, but want a different interpretation when it comes to their own clients or players.

Norton later apologized if he had offended anybody with the tweet, and thats probably a good thing. But the once upon a time in the NHL you had to keep your head up mindset is exactly what is wrong in a league where players are retiring prematurely and their lives are being ruined by brain injuries that dont go away after their careers are over.

Norton should know better than to be so callous about it. Hopefully hell "stay out of the way" next time. That would probably be best for everybody involved.

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

Sources: Bulls asking for picks, young veterans in trade for Jimmy Butler

NEW ORLEANS – All-star weekend is winding down and the Boston Celtics once again are seemingly at the epicenter of most trade discussions.

That’s in part because they have the pieces to help pull off a blockbuster deal for themselves, or become the third team to help facilitate a trade coming to fruition. 

But in talking with league executives and scouts this weekend in New Orleans, all agree that the Celtics are focused more on making a blockbuster-type move, rather than a deal that could make them slightly better than they are now. 

“Anything is possible as you know,” said one Eastern Conference executive. “But they’re not Toronto which is basically 'all in' this year to try and get past Cleveland. Boston’s in the thick of it all, but not pressed to do anything unless it makes them a lot better and to be frank, there aren’t a lot of those potential deals out there for them.”

That’s because the Celtics (37-20) have the second-best record in the East despite their preferred starting five (Isaiah Thomas; Avery Bradley; Jae Crowder; Al Horford and Amir Johnson) having played a very limited number of games (21) together thus far this season.

Even when everyone’s healthy, Boston understands that they still may not be enough to get past the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. So the addition of a likely role player at the cost of one or more of their major assets (this year’s right to swap picks with Brooklyn or next year’s Brooklyn pick outright), is reason enough for Boston to pause and assess whether the benefit outweighs the cost of what they will have to give up. 

Boston can make a push for Denver’s Danilo Gallinari or his teammate Kenneth Faried who are both available and would help Boston’s overall talent base. They could also revisit Jahlil Okafor discussions or Nerlens Noel with Philadelphia, too.

But for what they need to significantly improve upon where they are now, they have to add a game-changing difference-maker to the mix. 

Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Indiana’s Paul George and Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins are three players who on paper at least, would meet that criteria. 

Multiple league sources this weekend confirmed that each of their respective teams isn’t making a push to trade them. But like every team in the league, they will certainly listen to any and all offers. Only Indiana and Sacramento have come out publicly to say they are not planning to trade their players, with the Pacers indicating they’re willing to give up their first-round pick in order to add a stable, proven talent to the mix in order to help George going forward. 

Meanwhile, the Bulls have been somewhat indifferent to potentially moving Butler, who is playing his third all-star game tonight. 

That’s why several teams, the Celtics included, have inquired about Butler’s availability. While the Bulls haven’t set any specific parameters, league executives believe they are seeking some combination of high draft picks and young veterans (players with experience who are either near the end of their rookie deals or have team-friendly contracts) just to consider moving Butler.

Boston has exactly what the Bulls are looking for if they decide they are going to move on from Butler and rebuild, but how much are the Celtics willing to give up?

That more than anything else, is what will ultimately determine if a deal between the Bulls and the Celtics comes to pass. Boston loves Butler, and believes he could be part of their continued surge towards becoming an elite team that can bring home Banner 18. But the Celtics are not convinced that the addition of Butler would necessarily catapult Boston to the same level of Cleveland or ahead of them. 

Even if the Celtics decide to stand pat with its team as they are now and let the Feb. 23 trade deadline pass without making a move, the Celtics are still working from a vantage point that few teams in the NBA can work from – a team near the top of their conference with relatively young players all with good team-friendly contracts, and draft picks in the next two years that are each likely to be high lottery (top-14) picks.

"They’re well positioned for the future,” said Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors and the West all-star team. “Because of the young talent, because of the coach (Brad Stevens) and because of the draft picks that they have coming up. They could end up with the number one pick in the draft which is remarkable.”

Kerr added, “That doesn’t happen often when you’re talking about a team that’s one of the best in the league already. Boston’s in a great place.”

Morning Skate: Brian Boyle embroiled in trade rumors

Morning Skate: Brian Boyle embroiled in trade rumors

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while enjoying Hockey Day in America. 

*Brian Boyle is the subject of trade rumors with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he wants to stay a member of the Bolts. 

*Watch out for the Florida Panthers, who swept the road trip through California and are now back in playoff position for the first time in a long time. 

*It’s great to see play-by-play man Dave Strader back in the broadcast booth doing what he does best after his cancer diagnosis. 

*Hats off to the Bruins ECHL affiliate, the Atlanta Gladiators, for the sweet-looking Boba Fett sweaters worn during this weekend’s Star Wars night. 

*It’s pretty amazing when you’re an NHL player and a former first round pick, and you’re the one most known for being somebody else’s brother. That’s life for Dallas Stars D-man Jamie Oleksiak. 

*Interesting piece about sportswriting, politics and a couple of worlds that were destined to collide at some point. 

*For something completely different: For the 40h anniversary of Star Wars, the toys are being used to recreate classic movie scenes.