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.

Felger: Bruins have no choice but to overpay for defenseman

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Felger: Bruins have no choice but to overpay for defenseman

Yes, four first-round picks for Jacob Trouba is crazy.

Yes, two firsts and David Pastrnak for Kevin Shattenkirk is stupid.

And, of course, Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson is ridiculous. (Remember Bruins fans: As bad as it's been, it could be worse. Peter Chiarelli could still be here.)

No one is disputing that the asking price for good, young defensemen across the NHL has gone haywire. If you're acquiring one of those players, you are likely going to lose the deal, and that's no way to run a franchise.

But here's the question for the Bruins: What's the alternative? Do the Bruins want to try and win in the Patrice Bergeron window or not?

That's what it comes down to for the B's. Bergeron will turn 31 in three weeks, and while he may have plenty of seasons left, his time as one of the best two-way players in the NHL is certainly more finite. He will likely be out of that elite status by the time anyone currently in the B's system develops into the type of No. 1 defenseman the team so desperately needs -- if there's even anyone who fits that description in the first place.

In other words, if the B's want a top-pairing defenseman anytime soon, they're going to have to pay for it. Or overpay for it. Draft picks. Players. Offer sheets. Whatever. Something unappealing is going to have to go out the door.

If there's another way, I'd like to know what it is. There's virtually nothing to choose from in the unrestricted pool. And everyone on the current depth chart is either too old, too young or too crappy.

So four first-rounders and a $7 million annual cap hit for Trouba? That's an impossible price to wrap your head around, until you consider the alternatives.

Ideally, the B's are using that Jets offer sheet threat as a leverage play, an attempt to create options in hopes the Blues lower their ask on Shattenkirk, or the Ducks lower their price on Cam Fowler. Maybe the B's have been trying to work a trade with the Jets for Trouba himself and are just bringing a hammer to the table. Lower your demands or we'll offer sheet him. Perhaps that offer sheet isn't even a realistic consideration and is nothing more than noise.

I have no idea. The only thing I know is that the B's still stink on D.

The players they have drafted the last few years may not be any good, and if they are it will be a half-decade before they're capable of playing the kind of playoff minutes necessary to contend for a Cup. The Bruins keep saying they want to contend now, which is pretty much impossible given the personnel on the blue line.

So what do they want? To wait for the kids and blow the rest of Bergeron's prime? Or give up an exorbitant price in a deal they'll very likely lose?

I'd probably lean towards the later, but there's really no right answer. It's called Bruins.

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz daily from 2-6 p.m. The simulcast runs on CSN.

OFFSEASON

Report: Durant will be meeting with Celtics on Saturday

Report: Durant will be meeting with Celtics on Saturday

Kevin Durant’s weekend of free agent visits has come into focus on the final day of June.

According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, the Boston Celtics will be meeting with the free agent superstar on Saturday.

After meeting with Durant on Saturday, the Celtics should have a better idea if they will need to waive Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko before Sunday's July 3 deadline. Waiving the duo would create additional salary cap space to potentially sign Durant and another near max-salaried player.