Austin Rivers officially turning pro

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Austin Rivers officially turning pro

CHARLOTTE, N.C. As Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers was explaining how his son, Duke freshman Austin Rivers, would make a decision about turning pro "soon," Rivers probably had no idea how right he would be.

Within minutes after Rivers' press conference prior to tonight's game against Charlotte, word quickly spread that his son Austin was in fact leaving Duke after one season and enter the NBA draft.

In a statement released by Duke, Austin Rivers indicated that he would be leaving the university and planned to sign with an agent.

"Duke has prepared me for the challenges that are ahead both on and off the court," Rivers said in the statement issued by the school. "I have learned so much from the coaching staff and my teammates that will help me succeed at the next level."

With Austin's decision, Doc Rivers has to feel even better about the NBA lockout which allowed him to watch Austin play in what as it turned out, would be his only season in college.

"The lockout was great (for me)," Doc Rivers said. "I advised the commissioner (David Stern) that Christmas day should be the first day of every year as far as I'm concerned. For me, the fact that I could go to Hawaii and watch the Maui (Classic) it was perfect. As a parent, I was just lucky."

Video: Chara hits practice goalie in groin

Video: Chara hits practice goalie in groin

BRIGHTON, Mass -- Life as an emergency practice goalie can be pretty rough.

Take, for instance, Mass State Trooper Keith Segee, who has suited up a couple of times for the Boston Bruins this season during times of need, and did exactly that during Wednesday’s optional practice for the Black and Gold.

Segee got caught with a Zdeno Chara cranked slap shot right in the family jewels, and then had to walk…er, crawl it off like any normal human being would after getting bombed by a guy that can shoot it 108-mph.

“He’s got the hardest shot of anybody I’ve ever seen,” said Segee, with a smile. “I had to take two or three laps around the rink after that one and skate it off.”

Give Chara credit for moving right over to Segee and giving him a tap on the backside for skating it off, and risking life, limb and perhaps a lot more to stop a few pucks for the Black and Gold.

Segee played at Revere High and Salem State College before joining the Mass State Police, and got the emergency gig through Bruins goalie coach Bob Essensa when Boston needed a practice goalie at the end of last week in Tuukka Rask’s absence.

Let’s hope Segee is okay at this point, or the Bruins captain could be looking at a few more moving violations in his future. 

Wednesday, March 29: Oilers back in the playoffs

Wednesday, March 29: Oilers back in the playoffs

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while gearing up for the last couple of weeks.

*The Edmonton Oilers will return to the Stanley Cup playoffs this season as it looks like Canada will be well-represented once again after last year’s absence.

*Let’s meet the man behind the push to bring the NHL to China, and introduce the game to billions of people.

*Eric Staal is enjoying his second act with the Minnesota Wild, and even better he’s totally flourishing there as well.

*Let’s hear it for the US Women’s team that stuck to their guns and got an unprecedented deal with USA Hockey that will allow them to focus on winning for the next four years.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has Steve Stamkos “really close” to a return for the Tampa Bay Lightning, in a concerning development for the Boston Bruins’ playoff hopes.

*Apparently things are getting a little heightened with the Los Angeles Kings as some of their prominent players skipped a media session in Calgary.

*For something completely different: Let’s hear it for the best news of the day, the Cash Cab is coming back.