Boston Bruins

BC and BU advance to Beanpot finals


BC and BU advance to Beanpot finals

By Mary Paoletti

BOSTON -- The first Monday in February has only one meaning for college hockey fans in Boston.

The Beanpot.

2010 marks the 58th year of the Hub hockey tournament and both of the first night's games did well in adding to the events storied past.

The opener featured a face off between Boston College (14-8-2) and Harvard (5-12-3). That the score would favor the Eagles was a popular guess that proved true with the 6-0 final. The Crimson simply had no answer for BC's trademark quick-tempo style.

The scoring onslaught started when senior Ben Smith put the Eagles out front at 5:54 with a tip-in from the right post. The goal came on the man-advantage after Crimson defenseman Chris Huxley was tagged for interference. It was the first of three BC power play goals. It was also just the first of 16 Harvard penalties. By the time the third period started, the Eagles were up 3-0 and Harvard backstop Kyle Richter looked more than a little rattled. His team's frustration translated into a staggering 34 PIM in the third period.

Crimson coach Ted Donato did not defend his team's miscues.

"I thought BC was clearly the better team tonight," he said. "They beat us to all of the loose pucks and used their speed to force us into taking penalties. I don't think we gave ourselves a chance to win."

The Crimson did show signs of life in the second period. Harvard's defense put some solid pressure on BC, at times taking the puck possession game away from the Eagles and turning up the heat on goalie John Muse.

But Muse was up to the task. His 33-save performance was good for the first Boston College Beanpot shutout since 2002.

"I wasn't looking for a shutout," Muse said, "I was looking for a win. Luckily we scored a bunch of goals, that always helps."

A bunch of goals from a bunch of players.

Six different Eagles got the better of Richter. From the first line to the fourth, each Boston College grouping was able to find the back of the net in its impressive scoring spread. Head coach Jerry York gave specific commendation to the play of seniors Matt Price (1g), Ben Smith (1g, 1a), Carl Sneep (1g, 2a) and Matt Lombardi. But later York returned to the importance of everybody getting involved.

"We have much more balanced scoring this season and that's critical," he said. "Sometimes your top lines aren't going to score so I think whether it's Chris Kreider (1g) scoring or scoring from Ben Smith, it's going to help."

Northeastern coach Greg Cronin would have enjoyed even half of BC's offensive output.

Though not completely besieged between the pipes as Harvard was, the Huskies could not score when it mattered and fell to Boston University in the nightcap, 2-1.

It was a game that differed from the first in nearly every capacity. There were only 12 total penalties and three goals, yet the contest between NU and BU was gritty and action-packed. The scarcity of scoring actually created a tension that threatened to blow the roof off the TD Garden when the lamps finally lit.

After a scoreless first period, Colby Cohen was the first to release some pressure.

The Terriers found themselves with a power play at 11:30 when NU right winger Chris Donovan was whistled for holding. Goalie Chris Rawlings did a solid job fending off BU's attacks on net, but was overwhelmed when Nick Bonino fed a cross-box pass to Chris Connolly who got the puck to Cohen for a short angle score.

Northeastern returned the favor in the final frame on a power play of its own. At 12:10 BU's David Warsofsky was sent to the box for a monster open-ice hit that leveled Wade MacLeod. Kyle Kraemer used the man-advantage to fired a wrister past Terrier netminder Kieran Millan. An intense back-and-forth battle for the lead followed. Both squads had scoring chances, but Rawlings and Millan protected the pipes as well as their teammates could ask for.

One team would have to make a big play. Monday night, that team was Boston University.

Those up to snuff on their Beanpot history were probably not surprised when a BU forward broke the 1-1 tie with 5:47 remaining in regulation. The win advances the Terriers to the championship for the 42nd time in the last 48 years. As for the Huskies, theyve failed to beat BU in the Beanpot since 1985.

But Cronin doesnt care about the burden of Beanpots past. After all, Alex Chiasson, the Canadien-born freshman who stifled NUs hopes, didnt even know the tournament existed until he was in prep school.

Cronin instead sees the dropped contest as all too explainable.

"We had six chances with the puck on our stick right in front of BU's net and we refused to shoot, he stated. "In a game like this with a playoff type of atmosphere, when you get scoring chances in the slot you better shoot the puck.

If the first round was predictable, it was nonetheless entertaining. The outcome of next Mondays final showdown between BU and BC is harder to forecast. The Eagles lost a tight one to the Terriers in front of 38,472 people at Frozen Fenway on Jan. 8. They dropped the rematch, too, in a 5-4 overtime game. Boston College is consequently out for blood. History, however, is once again on the side of Boston Universitys tourney-best 27 titles. Perhaps it was in the safety of this advantage that coach Jack Parker surprised the post-game crowd with this statement:

"The Beanpot is losing its luster a little bit if its constantly going to be BC and BU winning this tournament.

There is probably some truth in Parkers sentiment. But when either team is crowned with the Hub's highest college hockey honor next Monday, don't look for it in the attendance. In the end, even Parker can admit.

"Nothing compares to a Beanpot final."

Morning Skate: Star players must get more involved in CBA negotiations to make Olympics a reality


Morning Skate: Star players must get more involved in CBA negotiations to make Olympics a reality

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling that we’re just now learning about the massive rap skills of the brotherly duo of Andrew and Pete Frates. 


*Ken Campbell from the Hockey News says that if influential players, like Connor McDavid, want to go to the Olympics then they need to get more involved in the CBA negotiations


*Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang shows what a class act he is by taking the Stanley Cup to a children’s hospital in Montreal.


*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Minnesota Wild looking to find long term deals for both restricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. That was pretty clear when they chose to deal off Marco Scandella in order to clear up some cap space to afford both of them. 


*The Edmonton Oilers are going to face higher expectations for next season, and are willing to embrace that kind of pressure.


*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance wonders aloud whether there will be any offer sheets coming for restricted free agents. I appreciate Craig wanting to add a little more intrigue to the NHL’s offseason, but it isn’t going to happen as long as GMs are treated like they have small pox once they go that route with an offer sheet. Take a look at the future job prospects for general managers that went with offer sheets in the past, and you’ll see why GMs simply don’t do them. This is why the Bruins are uncomfortable with David Pastrnak sitting unsigned as a restricted free agent, but not overly concerned that he’s going to sign a mega-offer sheet elsewhere.  


*The CCM hockey brand is apparently changing hands from its former home at Adidas


*For something completely different: Speaking of Pete Frates, MLB has announced a fundraising drive for ALS research in his name. 

Postcard From Camp, Day One: Gronk puts on a show


Postcard From Camp, Day One: Gronk puts on a show

FOXBORO -- Day 1 of Patriots training camp practice featured a little bit of Rob Gronkowski news before the session. During the session, Gronkowski put on a show.

In shells and shorts, the Patriots tight end put his trademark style on display by catching touchdown passes during 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 work and then hamming it up -- perhaps practicing for the regular season when the restrictions on celebrations have been pulled back a bit by the NFL.

Before the session, Bill Belichick said that Gronkowski had "no limits" in practice. The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder certainly seemed to be feeling just fine.

* Rob Ninkovich, Kony Ealy and Joe Cardona were not spotted at practice. Dont'a Hightower and Alan Branch began camp on the PUP list and did not participate Thursday.

* With two of the roster's perceived top defensive ends not present, the representatives for that edge group on Day 1 were Trey Flowers, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise, Geneo Grissom and Shea McClellin.

* During 3-on-4 drills at the goal line, Gronkowski put on a show. The drill may have been only semi-competitive at times but when Gronk caught a touchdown, he celebrated with gusto and the crowd ate it up.

* Jimmy Garoppolo took off for an early lap alongside backup center Ted Karras after a fumbled quarterback-center exchange. Working out the kinks. It's early yet.
* Austin Carr had a good release and then caught the "period-winner" to make defensive backs do pushups at the end of a 2-on-2 drill at the goal line. The undrafted rookie receiver from Northwestern earned plaudits from Jimmy Garoppolo and the rest of his offensive teammates for his performance. Even receivers coach Chad O'Shea was fired up, telling the rookie to celebrate after the fact. Carr's in the running for more reps with Andrew Hawkins now out of the mix.

* Justin Coleman made a nice pick with his hands to start things in a positive direction for the defensive backs during 2-on-2 work. Undrafted rookie Kenny Moore also made an impressive pass breakup while in coverage of Malcolm Mitchell.

* Cyrus Jones dropped a kickoff very early in the practice. He looked more smooth during punt-return work. He worked alongside undrafted rookie Will Likely during a punt-return drill.

* During kickoff work later in the session, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola were the first two returners taking reps. Matthew Slater was also back there in his traffic-cop role. Rex Burkhead, James White, Jones and Likely also took part.

* Cooks ran one around the edge off of motion during 11-on-11 work. It'll be interesting if the Patriots try to implement him in that fashion during the season. He took occasional sweep handoffs while with the Saints with varying levels of success.

* Following the first 11-on-11 period of the day, Tom Brady and Garoppolo worked a side-session with Josh McDaniels and Dion Lewis. Brandin Cooks and Julian Edelman also had a quick conversation with Brady.

* Another side session came later that featured Edelman, Cooks, Dwayne Allen, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan and Devin Lucien.

* Grissom appears to be one of the primary beneficiaries when it comes to playing time with Ninkovich and Ealy out. Rookie Derek Rivers also saw work with regulars. At the linebacker level, Jonathan Freeny appear to be one of the first off-the-ball options, along with Shea McClellin.

* Late in the practice, Brady and Garoppolo worked with a group of centers that included Karras, David Andrews, Joe Thuney and Jamil Douglas. Douglas spent much of last season on the Patriots practice squad.

* Brady incomplete for Cooks down the middle. 0-for-1.
* Brady complete for Gronkowski short. 1-for-2.
* Brady incomplete for Cooks. Broken up by Butler. 1-for-3.
* Brady complete to Gronkowski in the back of the end zone with Freeny on him. 2-for-4.

* Garoppolo complete to Gillislee short. 1-for-1.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Edelman. Broken up by Rowe. Thrown behind a bit. 1-for-2.
* Garoppolo complete to Edelman with Cyrus Jones in coverage. 2-for-3.
* Garoppolo complete to Mitchell. 3-for-4.

* Brissett complete to Foster. 1-for-1.
* Brissett complete to Cody Hollister. 2-for-2.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 3-for-3.
* Brissett complete to LeShun Daniels. 4-for-4.

* Garoppolo complete to Allen down the seam. 4-for-5.
* Garoppolo complete to Allen with Harris in coverage. 5-for-6.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Edelman with Butler in coverage. 5-for-7.
* Garoppolo complete to White with McClellin in coverage. 6-for-8.

* Brady complete to Cooks deep with C. Jones in coverage. 3-for-5.
* Brady complete to Burkhead with Van Noy in coverage. 4-for-6.
* Brady complete to White. 5-for-7.
* Brady complete to Edelman with C. Jones in coverage. 6-for-8.

* Brissett complete to Foster deep with Thompson in coverage. 5-for-5.
* Brissett incomplete to Lucien. Pass breakup by Kenny Moore. 5-for-6.
* Brissett incomplete. 5-for-7.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 6-for-8.

11-on-11 HURRY
* Brady complete to Cooks. 6-for-9.
* Brady complete to Cooks. 7-for-10.
* Brady complete to Cooks. 8-for-11.
* Brady complete to Burkhead. 9-for-12.
* Brady complete to Burkhead. 10-for-13.
* Brady complete to Hogan. 11-for-14.
* Brady complete to Hogan. 12-for-15.

7-on-7 HURRY-UP
* Brady complete to Cooks on low throw. 1-for-1.
* Brady incomplete for Gronkowski. Broken up by Van Noy. 1-for-2.
* Brady complete for Gronkowski. 2-for-3.
* Brady complete for Edelman. 3-for-4.
* Brady incomplete for Hogan in back of the end zone. Broken up by J. Jones. 3-for-5.
* Brady incomplete for Edelman. 3-for-6.

* Garoppolo complete to Mitchell. 1-for-1.
* Garoppolo complete to Carr. 2-for-2.
* Garoppolo complete to Lewis. 3-for-3.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Mitchell. Broken up by Ebner. 3-for-4.
* Garoppolo intercepted by Richards. Intended for Develin on scramble drill. 3-for-5.
* Garoppolo intercepted by Rowe. 3-for-6.

* Brissett incomplete for Slater. 0-for-1.
* Brissett complete for Slater. 1-for-2.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 2-for-3.
* Brissett incomplete. Broken up by...the paddle guy. Defense loves it. 2-for-4.

LATE 11-on-11
* Brissett complete to Foster.
* Brissett incomplete to Washington.
* Brissett complete to Jacob Hollister.
* Brissett incomplete out of the back of the end zone.
* Brissett incomplete. Batted down by Wise . . . and Wise wasn't trying.