From Comcast SportsNetGREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Still seething about a controversial , decisive call that went against the Green Bay Packers in Seattle, Aaron Rodgers used his weekly radio show on Tuesday to dismiss the NFL's explanation for the replacement officials' decision.The MVP also questioned the league's priorities in an ongoing labor dispute with its regular officials.Speaking on Milwaukee's ESPN 540 AM, Rodgers said the NFL's willingness to use replacement officials who aren't up to the task is a sign that the league cares more about money than it does about tarnishing the game.Rodgers apologized to the fans, saying the NFL apparently isn't willing to do so itself."I just feel bad for the fans," Rodgers said on the show. "They pay good money and the game is being tarnished by an NFL who obviously cares more about saving a little money then having the integrity of the game diminish a little bit."Replacement officials ruled that a last-second scrum in the end zone resulted in a touchdown to Seahawks receiver Golden Tate -- when Rodgers, his teammates, Packers fans and much of the football-watching public saw a clear-cut interception by the Packers' M.D. Jennings in Seattle's 14-12 win on Monday night.Rodgers said fans deserve better."Our sport is generated, the multi-billion dollar machine is generated, by people coming to watch us play," Rodgers said. "And the product that is on the field is not being complemented by an appropriate set of officials. The games are getting out of control."Rodgers spent part of Tuesday's show reading an NFL-issued statement on the air, poking holes in the league's official explanation.Rodgers dismissed the statement's assertion that "officials" determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball.And the quarterback also scoffed at the notion that replacement referee Wayne Elliott determined that there was no indisputable visual evidence to overturn the call on the field through instant replay."I mean, come on, Wayne, that's embarrassing," Rodgers said. "This is the NFL here saying they should have called pass interference and saying that the refs got it right in the end zone. Unbelievable."Packers coach Mike McCarthy continued to take the high road Tuesday evening, but did acknowledge that he thought the play "clearly" was an interception. And his colleagues around the NFL apparently thought the same thing."I received more text messages and e-mail s than I did after the Super Bowl," McCarthy said. "I can tell the impact this made."But McCarthy said the team needs to move past the incident and focus on Sunday's game against New Orleans at Lambeau Field."We're not going to get any help," McCarthy said. "I know this is going to be a story that everybody wants to continue to talk about. And frankly, I'm not going to act like it's not there. This is a play that I'm sure we'll see on TV as we move on in our lives. That's the facts of our business."
Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night.
*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list.
*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.
*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody.
*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star.
*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag.
*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars.
*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!
*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good.
BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak.
The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them.
Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals.
The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period.
It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss.
“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that.
“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”
The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort.
“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”
The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.