LSU starting QB, other players to meet with police

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LSU starting QB, other players to meet with police

From Comcast SportsNet Tuesday, August 23, 2011
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three of his teammates have decided to meet with police at an undisclosed time and location Tuesday. Police Sgt. Don Stone announced Monday night that the meeting would take place and said authorities are keeping the details secret to ensure "the integrity of the investigation is not hampered or disturbed." Police have asked Jefferson, along with offensive lineman Chris Davenport, defensive lineman Josh Johns and receiver Jarvis Landry, to offer their recollection of last Thursday night's fight. Four people were injured in the scuffle, none of them players, and one person's injuries were serious enough that two players could face felony battery charges, Stone said. He said two other players could be charged with misdemeanor simple battery. He declined to say which two players could face the more serious charges. Earlier Monday, defense attorney Nathan Fisher, who is representing the four LSU players, had said he was not aware of an impending meeting between his clients and police. However, that changed after authorities agreed to a new meeting location. Investigators initially asked the players to come to police headquarters on Monday morning, but that was delayed after the players hired Fisher, who is known for representing LSU players in the past. Stone said such delays are standard when people of interest in investigations hire attorneys. Stone also stressed that Police Chief Dewayne White is not giving LSU players any special treatment and the investigation of the fight will continue with or without players' cooperation. "These guys aren't going anywhere, they're not a flight risk. It's not like we don't know where they're at," Stone said. "It's not like we're sitting around waiting for them. We still have witnesses to interview. ... And if it reaches the point to where the evidence supports the allegations, we'll obtain arrest warrants for the persons responsible. And if it's these four football players, they'll be arrested and booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail." Witnesses have described one of the victims being kicked in the head while lying on the ground, Stone said. He declined to specify who did the kicking or who got kicked. LSU practiced Monday evening, but university officials said none of the players who have been named in the investigation would be made available to the media. Players who did talk to reporters were instructed not to answer any questions about their memories of what happened at the bar not far from campus. The players were out after a curfew imposed by the coaching staff when the fight took place. However, LSU athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said players traditionally conclude fall camp, which this year ended last Thursday, by socializing together after curfew. Bonnette said that tradition has spanned the tenures of a number of coaches. Nonetheless, coach Les Miles has said the allegations surrounding the fight have made him "miserable," and the entire team has been punished with additional conditioning during practice, such as running. Miles also said more punishment would be forthcoming as more details of the investigation were revealed. As of Monday night, though, no players had been suspended. The fourth-ranked Tigers open the season against No. 3 Oregon on Sept. 3 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Jefferson was expected to be the starting quarterback, but if he cannot play, fellow senior Jarrett Lee would be the likely starter behind center, with junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger next in line. Lee, who has been taking some snaps with the first team since before the alleged fracas, said there were not any substantial changes to the practice routine on Monday and Jefferson continued to also receive his regular work with the starters. "Nothing changed. Practice was the same. We had a great practice today," Lee said. "All of us quarterbacks, we know to be good you have to prepare each and every day to be the starter, whether your opportunity comes or not, so we're going to continue to work hard." "It's an unfortunate situation," Lee added. "You never want something like this to happen to your football team. We're family. We're a close-knit group. Things like this happen. ... All the great teams have their ups and downs. It's about how you bounce back and we're going to stay positive and keep working hard." Lee has been teammates with Jefferson for the past three seasons, and said he did not see any noticeable difference in Jefferson's demeanor. "He's a great guy, great friend," Lee said. "He's still working hard, still practicing hard, still laughing in the film room." Stone said Jefferson, Davenport, Johns and Landry are currently the only people of interest in the case, but added that investigators are still interviewing witnesses and that more players could have been involved. Authorities have obtained security video from a business neighboring the bar, which is in a strip mall just south of campus. Stone declined to talk about what the video shows. Fisher, meanwhile, said he did not want to discuss the facts of the case in the media. Fisher did say he believes Stone has made several inaccurate statements, but declined to specify. Currently, police are aware of only four alleged victims whose names they have not released. The four were treated at a hospital and released. Three had minor injuries and a fourth had the more serious injury that would warrant the second-degree battery charges, Stone said. The victims have hired an attorney, Michael Bienvenue, and have indicated they want to press charges, Stone said. Bienvenue did not return a phone message left at his office.

Acciari glad to be back with B's after missing a month

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Acciari glad to be back with B's after missing a month

BOSTON -- Noel Acciari missed a month of game action with a lower body injury, so it would have been perfectly acceptable to show plenty of rust in his game upon returning to the Boston lineup.

But the former Providence College standout didn’t look rusty, a step behind or out of place in any way as he played the fourth line energy forward role to a perfect fit after missing the last 13 games. Acciari did get in one game with the Providence Bruins prior to suiting back up for the Black and Gold on Saturday, and perhaps that helped him manufacture a couple of shots on net to go along with three thumping hits against the Maple Leafs.

The 25-year-old Acciari didn’t factor into the scoring at all for the Bruins, but that’s just as well given that his focus should be on killing penalties, being hard to play against and taking the body whenever the chance presents itself. Claude Julien reformed the B’s energy line that had so much success earlier in the season with Acciari, Dominic Moore and Tim Schaller, and didn’t hesitate tossing them back into the mix together while looking for energy and a spark for an offensively stunted team.

“It’s good to be back with my linemates, and you know, I think we kind of picked up where we left off, but there’s definitely things we need to work on. That’ll come with a couple more practices and games together,” said Acciari, who finished theSaturday loss with three registered hits packed into 11:35 of ice time. “Kind of getting back to our familiarity and kind of get back to where we were before I got injured.

“It was a good start tonight, but we definitely just weren’t clicking like we used to, but that’ll come. I think that will come. Like I said, a couple practices and just kind of getting some games in [are good things]. I thought we were pretty good tonight, but, you know, should get more pucks to score [goals].”

Clearly there is room for improvement for everybody including Acciari, but it was encouraging to see the fearless competitor again flying around on the TD Garden ice playing high intensity hockey for a fourth line that could use every little bit of that. 

Backes: "Offensive frustration is warranted at this point"

Backes: "Offensive frustration is warranted at this point"

BOSTON -- This may not come as a surprise, but the Boston Bruins are having some trouble putting the puck in the net.

Despite outshooting the Maple Leafs by an 11-2 margin in the first period and outshooting them by a 32-21 margin over the balance of the 60 minute game, the Bruins scratched for just a single goal in a frustrating, constipated 4-1 loss to Toronto at TD Garden. Clearly some of the offensive difficulty was caused by a solid Frederik Andersen, who improved to 6-0-0 in a career against Boston that’s beginning to take on Bruins Killer proportions.

But a great deal of the B’s struggles to finish scoring chances on Saturday night is a malady that’s dogged the Bruins all season, and marked the 20th time in 29 games this year that Boston has scored two goals or less. In most of these games the Bruins have dominated puck possession and outshot their opponents, but still have come away mostly empty handed in the goals scored department while dropping deep in the bottom third of NHL offenses this season.

“It seems like every game we’re out-chancing teams, but we don’t outscore teams. That’s where the biggest issue is right now. Our scoring is not there and if you don’t score goals you don’t win hockey games,” said Claude Julien. “Because of that we criticize everything else in our game, but our game isn’t that bad.

“If we were scoring goals people would love our game right now, but that’s the biggest part. There’s not much more I can say here except for the fact that if we don’t score goals it’s going to be hard to win hockey games.”

But the Bruins aren’t scoring goals consistently, their power play is below average while trending in the wrong direction and the team has been forced to watch steady offensive players like Patrice Bergeron suddenly slump in a concerning way. Clearly David Pastrnak is doing his part with 18 goals scored this season in 24 games, and others like Brad Marchand and Dominic Moore have also performed above, or beyond, their acceptable level of play.

But there are other players failing with the chance to make an offensive dent: Austin Czarnik has been on the roster for nearly two months, and has zero goals and two points in his last 15 games as the offense is again dried up on the third line. He missed wide on a shorthanded chance in the third period after a Moore centering pass set up him all alone in front, and was critiquing himself for fanning on a perfect dish to him in the slot.

Moments later the Leafs had an insurance score from James van Riemsdyk to make it a 3-1 game, and it was all over for the Black and Gold at that point.

Czarnik is an easy target because he’s young and inexperienced, but there is more than enough struggle and frustration to go around with a bunch of offensive players that can’t seem to get out of their own way. David Backes admitted it’s reached a point where the Bruins are frustrated when they can’t score enough to beat a team like Toronto, and that it falls squarely on the lead guys in the Black and Gold dressing room that are underperforming.

“I think offensive frustration is warranted at this point; we just haven’t done a good enough job scoring goals. We played a heck of a first period. We limited them to two shots and we had an opportunity to have a team that’s coming in here that’s a younger team, to really put them behind the eight ball,” said Backes. “Instead, they think they got a second lease on life and they were able to capitalize. All of the sudden, they were up 2-0 and we’re fighting an uphill battle again rather than -- we have that opportunity to play a heck of a first period and we don’t find a way – it’s easy to talk about, but it’s going out there and doing the job and putting it past or through the goalie, or however it needs to happen. “You’ve seen our goals; you want to do a study on it unless you’re Pasta [David Pastrnak] with the one-timer on the side, it’s been ugly, it’s been rebounds, it’s been greasy goals and that’s our equation and we need more of it, and we didn’t do it. They did a good job of being in front of their net and boxing out, eliminating those second chances. But, we’ve got good players in here that need to create more and find those second chances and win those battles, find those loose pucks, and throw them in the net.”

The Bruins have been talking seemingly all season about the need to get to the “dirty areas in the offensive zone”, and for players to jump all over the second and third chance opportunities currently going by the board unchallenged on goalie rebounds.

Now it’s about speaking with action for the B’s, and more specifically speaking volumes with goals and offensive finish instead of “chances” that aren’t doing much of anything if they’re not being snapped into the back of the net.