BC coach York humbled by milestone win


BC coach York humbled by milestone win

True to his genuine, humble character, Boston College hockey coach Jerry York got a little embarrassed when the postgame questioning turned to the record.

York won the 924th game of his collegiate coaching career on Saturday night as his Boston College Eagles dispatched arch-rival Boston University in a 5-2 game at Kelley Rink. The victory was as significant as any in the storied BCBU rivalry, but it also pushed York into a tie with former Michigan State coach Ron Mason for the all-time NCAA coaching wins record.

York was clearly touched by the Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! chants once the game had ended, and the warm congratulatory handshake from friendrival Jack Parker after the record was securely tied. But the Eagles coach was hoping to simply break down the big Hockey East win and keep his eye trained on the task ahead.

He deserves all of the accolades. Its hard for people to believe this because hes been so successful and because hes won so many games, but I still dont think he gets the credit he deserves, said BU coach Jack Parker, who has nearly 900 coaching wins himself. Hes a coach that has run great programs in three different places, and hes done an unbelievable job taking BC to places theyve never been before.

Theyve had two other coaches that have had over 500 wins, so that means theres been a lot of great hockey played here for a long, long time. Hes the best theyve ever had here and I dont think Jerry gets the credit he deserves. Theyve had good coaches. They get good players. Well, a lot of teams get good players. But this team at BC is well-coached in every phase of the game.

It would be criminal to underrate a hockey coach that's made a career out of doing it "the right way." So it's time to give a coaching legend his due -- one thats become synonymous with Boston College and the local hockey scene since taking over the programs reigns in 1994. Its about the four national championships since 2001 and Yorks automatic inclusion into a rare club known as the greatest coaches in the history of college hockey even before Saturday night's historic triumph was secured.

His current players understood that and were trying to get York the record-tying AND record-breaking win this weekend, but instead settled for netting the record-tying 924th victory Saturday night on home ice.

Its an honor to be able to be a part of this experience and to be able to play for Coach York at Boston College, said Boston College junior center Bill Arnold, who potted a pair of goals in the 924th win for York. He wont talk about it, but hes obviously changed everybody on the teams lives. So to be able to give something back to him and get this all-time record for him is something that we wanted to do.

Theres no such thing as selfishness or a me-first attitude here at BC. Its everything for the people and the university.

Even more impressive than the record is the graceful, gentlemanly way that York achieved it. The dean of Boston College hockey has never needed to stoop to self-promotion or making empty promises to players hes hoping to recruit. Instead York has set a standard for elite college hockey players on and off the ice, and consistently produces intelligent, worldly leaders in the hockey world that can also play the game at the highest level.

Hes also had some pretty good guys lace em up to get to 924 wins, of course. The steady stream of excellent talent dates back to Dave Taylors time in Clarkson and defenseman Rob Blake with Bowling Green. That was before his time at the Heights when he had Brian Gionta leading a new wave of undersized, super-skilled forwards that have ushered in a generation of dominance for the Eagles.

It always impressed this hockey writer that an accomplished college hockey coach like University of Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves would send both of his hockey-playing sons -- Ben and Patrick -- to the Heights to play for York. That says more than words ever could about York's integrity and his ability to help shape hockey-playing boys into responsible, team-oriented men.

But thats exactly what happens when you teach the game of hockey with love for the sport and respect for your opponents. Perhaps there have been times when others have underestimated York because of his friendly, folksy manner or because of the talented players consistently shuffling in and out of Chestnut Hill.

But, as Parker has said about his oldest friend and rival, anybody can get a few good players as recruits. Its York that knows how to shape teams once he has all the players in place, and gets the absolute most production out of the oodles of talent on his Boston College roster. He's come a long way from the young man that started off as a young, hungry coach at Clarkson University.

I try to block everything out because its so important to stay in the moment. But sometimes when I get a chance to reflect I started pretty slow at Clarkson, and I wasnt sure if Id even be able to stay in this profession, said York. Then Dave Taylor came to Clarkson and really helped change things around for me. I really think about the players when I think of 924 wins..

Rob Blake joined us at Bowling Green and then Brian Gionta here at Boston College with some really top end guys like Nathan Gerbe afterward. It always goes back to the players, and really good players that want to be a part of a team.

Even just in the last 10 years the list of BC players that have gone on to NHL careers is healthy: The Gionta brothers, Gerbe, Brian Boyle, Mike Mottau, Cory Schneider, Rob Scuderi, Andrew Alberts, Peter Harrold and Patrick Eaves among others.

Some years are better than others, but there are a few things that always ring true about Yorks Eagles teams: they will almost always possess the puck and outshoot their opponent, they will always represent their coach in the most honorable way on the ice and theyll very rarely beat themselves with bad penalties or careless puck-handling.

Sounds like a pretty good formula for long term success, but then again thats exactly why York is moving into the top of the all-time coaching wins list.

And hes doing it all modesty aside, of course.

Kusnierek: Lack of NFL discipline on Josh Brown disgraceful

Kusnierek: Lack of NFL discipline on Josh Brown disgraceful

Trenni Kusnierek is outraged, and rightfully so, by the actions - or lack thereof - by the NFL regarding domestic violence by Giants kicker Josh Brown.

Tom E. Curran details the NFL's botched investigation here.


Haggerty: Early returns good for Bruins, but still plenty to prove

Haggerty: Early returns good for Bruins, but still plenty to prove

BOSTON – There’s little question that the Bruins are, at least partially, hanging 10 on a giant World Cup of Hockey wave right now.

Zdeno Chara is playing much tighter and stronger hockey than he did a year ago at this time and some of that is probably carryover from his Team Europe stint as well as enjoying the benefits of impressive rookie Brandon Carlo as his defensive partner.

Tuukka Rask has played very well in two of his three games thus far after starring for Team Finland and is 3-0-0 with a .947 save percentage in a stunning turnaround from the embattled goaltender under siege a year ago. Rask is also doing all of this while very clearly dealing with some kind of lower body issue, or as he called it, “something” that’s causing him discomfort when he extends for certain saves in the butterfly position. Brad Marchand shares the NHL scoring lead with nine points (three goals, six assists) in four games, and has been carrying the B’s offense in the early going every time they require an important shift to get the team going.

David Pastrnak has a four-game point streak to start the season after his time playing for the Czech Republic and has four goals in those four games while generating a team-leading 18 shots on net and blossoming into an offensive star at 20 years old. David Backes has two goals and a plus-7 in four games, and was a shooting (team-high six shots on net) and hitting (team-high seven hits) machine in his first home game as a member of the Bruins.

Even Patrice Bergeron got into the act on Thursday night with the winning goal after missing the first three games of the season with a lower body injury that may, or may not, have been caused by the wear and tear of starring in the high-intensity World Cup tournament during the preseason.

That doesn’t even count the impressive contributions of young players Brandon Carlo and Danton Heinen, or new faces Dominic Moore, Riley Nash and Tim Schaller, who have contributed right out of the starting gate as mere hockey mortals that had to endure the full NHL training camp.

So, with all that going for them it was the proper way to start the season on the TD Garden ice with a win after so many home-game stinkbombs thrown last season and that’s exactly what they did coming-from-behind in a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

“I think that we are all disappointed with our record here last year and it was important to get off to a good start,” said Claude Julien. “You know you want the fans to come and watch. Well, you have to give them a reason to do that and you’ve got to pay the price and play some exciting hockey and show that you are competing hard. This is a fan base that loves players to compete hard and get their nose to the grind and that’s what we needed to do tonight.”

With nearly all of the B’s key players off to strong starts, it’s really no wonder the Bruins are off to a 3-1 start in contrast with the Black and Gold dumpster fire of a three-game homestand to open last season. It’s plain to see there’s a much better feeling around this group and that’s been obvious from the first moments of the preseason.

“I think we’re growing as a team, but I think right off the bat when everybody showed up, we looked like we were ready to go and everybody seemed to have that right mindset,” said Rask. “So, that’s a good thing to have. I think guys should show up to work and we get a game plan and we go out there and execute it and it pays off. It’s a clich√© but that’s how it isand now we have the guys to do it.”

More important, they showed it on Thursday night while leaving the home fans happy after bitterly disappointing everybody on home ice so many times last season. There was no big-game anxiety or home jitters in the opener. Instead, it was a solid, focused effort against a Devils team that was going to make them earn everything they received.

“It’s good to get that one at home, especially your home opener. Feeling good about yourselves and get the fans excited. We don’t always want to play from behind,” said Marchand, who scored the tying goal in the third period on a sensational individual play and shot through the legs of Jersey D-man Andy Greene. “But coming from behind tonight and getting the win, it just shows that the guys have a lot of character this year. We’re going to bear down when things aren’t going well.”

It’s impossible to argue Marchand’s point because there’s been only one stinker in the first four games and there are plenty of things happening on Causeway Street that should inspire encouragement.

There are also still Bruins things to be worked on, of course.

The second and third lines still aren’t kicking in offensively like they need to, even if David Krejci looked much more like himself with Backes on his right side on Thursday night. The Bruins are 1-for-14 on the power play to start the season and really looked lost on the man-advantage without No. 37 around. The Bruins have allowed their opponents to score the first goal in each of the four games and that's the kind of over-the-top largesse that prevents sustained success if it’s not addressed.

More than anything, it’s about the competition. The Bruins have played four teams that didn’t qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs last season and Boston has taken care of business in three of those four games. Granted, three of those games were also played with the B’s missing their best player in Bergeron, but the point stands that the Bruins still haven’t been tested by anything approaching the top players in the league.

Maybe, just maybe, the Bruins are exhibiting encouraging signs that they’re going to be better than the unfortunate editions that collapsed the past two seasons while failing to make the playoffs. Certainly it looks like this year’s group plays with a more exciting, emotional and inspired brand of hockey, buoyed by enthusiastic young players and core veterans riding the momentum after their World Cup experiences.

That might just be the magic formula to get the Black and Gold off to the strong start they absolutely needed with so much stuff swirling around them after two disappointing seasons.

Six of their next seven opponents are playoff teams from last season. That should show just how improved the B’s truly are at this early point, with the only exception being the new-look Canadiens, who should recharge the rivalry atmosphere with Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw now in the Montreal mix.

Once the dust has settled on the next few weeks, we’ll know a lot more about these Bruins, but the straight truth is this: The B’s buzz has been good thus far with only the early precincts reporting in this arduous, 82-game election cycle.