The ever elusive goalie fight


The ever elusive goalie fight

By Jon Fucile

There are some events in hockey that dont happen every day. Rare events that fans talk about for months. A single player scoring five goals in a game. A good, thunderous open ice hit that sends an opposing player flying. Blake Wheeler staying onsides.

But the rarest of them all . . . is the goalie fight.

Yes, every time there is a brawl everyones eyes immediately go to the goalies. Hearts race if the goalie even moves. Is he going to sprint down the ice and attack the other goalie? Is he going to pummel the other goalie with his blocker?

Bruins fans may fondly remember Lord Byron Dafoes willingness to drop the gloves . . . er, glove and blocker and throw some haymakers.

Generally we go home disappointed as the goalies just watch the action unfold. On Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh crowd was treated to one of these rare events and Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro is still searching the Pittsburgh ice for his manhood.

With less than a minute left in the game, the Penguins dumped the puck into the Islanders zone and Matt Cooke chased after it. DiPietro waited for Cooke to skate by and then he took Cooke down WWF style.

Were sure Bruins fans love that, but take the fact that it was Matt Cooke out of the equation for a second. Basically, an opposing player just happened to be skating near the crease and Rick DiPietro closelined the guy. There are so many reasons why that was stupid.

First, why did Ricky boy think he was going to get away with that? Could not have been more blatant.

Second, did he think there would be no retaliation? His team was getting beat on the scoreboard and apparently he wanted his team to get beat down in their faces and DiPietro doesnt exactly have a reputation for being tough. His teammates saved him from the wrath of the Penguins . . . temporarily.

Third, the guy is injured every other week. Seriously. Look up DiPietros history. There was a 90 percent chance he would shatter his elbow throwing that hit. Big risk he was taking.

While a scrum developed in the corner and DiPietro watched on, a wondrous sound came through the TV. The crowd was erupting and it wasnt because of the fights in the corner. Pittsburgh goalie Brent Johnson had left his crease and was making his entrance WWE style!

Then Rick compounded his stupidity by engaging the approaching Johnson. Huge mistake. The two circled each other briefly and then locked.

What DiPietro didnt know is that Brent Johnson throws a punch like Mike Tyson in his prime.

What was going through Rick DiPietros mind during all of this?
1) Brent Johnsons fist.
2) Wow, its been a week since Ive been on the IR. I should get my face punched.
3) I hope he didnt mess my hair up. Gotta look pretty in the press box.
4) I have to call my mom . . . Im going to be on SportsCenter!
5) Playing for the Islanders has some positives . . . Im already used to losing!

The best part of this clip is DiPietros face the second he realizes Johnsons fist is a centimeter away from his face. Fantastic.

Picture courtesy of The Pensblog

On the plus side for DiPietro, instead of being known as that overpaid goalie with the ridiculously long contract that is always hurt hell now be known as that overpaid goalie with the ridiculously long contract that went down like a punk after one punch.

Solid decision Rick. If you can remember what just happened to you, maybe youll make better life choices next time.

Talking Points: Young Bruins 'took advantage' of opportunities


Talking Points: Young Bruins 'took advantage' of opportunities

GOLD STAR: Danton Heinen got off to a slow start in his first NHL preseason game, but was operating at full efficiency when he redirected a Brandon Carlo point shot early in the third period for the game-tying goal that eventually pushed the game into the shootout. Heinen finished second on the B’s with 22:10 of ice time, had four shot attempts and blocked a shot along with the goal, and had another power play chance robbed on the doorstep with a sweeping glove save from Curtis McElhinny. It’s clear from the large amount of ice time that the Bruins want to get a good look at Heinen, and that he’s got a solid chance at an NHL job based on his added development in a big time Denver college program for the last couple of seasons.

BLACK EYE: Peter Mueller wasn’t bad, but zero shots on net along with a penalty in 13:49 of ice time isn’t the kind of performance that’s going to force you to notice him. The Bruins coaching staff then put him out as the final shooter in the shootout with another chance to make a play, and the former Coyotes star forward couldn’t do anything with it before the Columbus game-winner. He clearly has skill, good size and looks like he can make things happen with the puck on his stick, but Mueller needs to make more plays leading to tangible results if he wants to earn a roster spot with so many talented young wingers around him. Both Heinen and Jake DeBrusk cracked the score sheet tonight, and Mueller did not.

HONORABLE MENTION:  Give Jimmy Hayes credit, he showed up and played well in what he hopes is going to be a giant rebound season with the Bruins. He scored the game’s first goal on a great give-and-go with Jake DeBrusk, and he was active and strong paying the price in front of the net while engaged in battles that left him with a giant fat lip after the game was over. It was from a Dalton Prout shot at the end of the second period, and it was Hayes paying the price in a game that really doesn’t matter to a veteran player like him. That’s a good sign if he’s willing to keep doing it, as was his decision to stick up for his smaller teammates when big Blue Jackets D-man Oleg Yevenko started pushing people around in the second period. Hayes finished with the goal, four shots on net and put in an honest night’s work for a team that needs it from him on a nightly basis.

TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it was a 5-on-3 at the end of the second period that didn’t get them a goal, but pulled the momentum of the game in their direction while getting Danton Heinen and Seth Griffith into the flow of things. Both players were robbed on the doorstep by diving saves from Curtis McElhinney, but bolstered their determination to make something happen in the third period down a goal. Only a few minutes of ice time later, Heinen was redirecting a Brandon Carlo shot past the Columbus goaltender for the game-tying goal and the B’s were on equal footing with the Blue Jackets. The power play was 0-for-5 on the night, but most of their PP possessions were actually decent considering how little they’ve practiced it this early in camp.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 – the number of shot attempts for Jakub Zboril, who was more good than bad for the Bruins in the first preseason game for the Black and Gold. He set up the first initial transition pass that led to Jimmy Hayes’ goal, and was active while aggressively playing the position and showing off his skills that were very clearly worthy of a first round pick.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “There were a lot of young players in the lineup. I won’t go through all of them, but I thought quite a few of them acquitted themselves quite well. They were given opportunities to do that and some of them certainly took advantage of that.” – Bruins assistant coach Bruce Cassidy after the 3-2 shootout loss. 

Yankees beat Blue Jays, Red Sox have chance to clinch AL East on Tuesday


Yankees beat Blue Jays, Red Sox have chance to clinch AL East on Tuesday

For tonight, the Boston Red Sox can say "thank you" to the New York Yankees.

Despite the Toronto Blue Jays loading the bases with no out in the ninth, the Yankees hold on to beat the Blue Jays, 7-5. The result moves the Red Sox' magic number in the AL East to just one game. 

David Price will take the mound for the Red Sox on Tuesday night against those very Yankees with a chance to clinch the division. 

They can also clinch the AL East with a Toronto loss to the Baltimore Orioles.