B's players pay surprise visits to youth hockey teams


B's players pay surprise visits to youth hockey teams

SOUTH BOSTON The Boston Bruins should have been skating in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center doing battle with Scott Hartnell and the hated Flyers on Thursday night.
Instead they were players without a game thanks to the NHL lockout.
That didnt stop a group of Bruins players, however, that took it upon themselves to make surprise visits to a pair of PeeWee hockey practices in the Boston area. Johnny Boychuk, Daniel Paille, Gregory Campbell and Brad Marchand used the two hours they should have been playing a game against Philly, and instead filled it by skating for a few hours with the young hockey fans that adore them so much. It was part of a number of rink visits over the last few days organized by the NHL players through the NHLPA, and it was an unmitigated success.
It was only an hours time for each of the players, but they created memories with the young fans, parents and coaches that will last a lifetime.
This is the second-best day to Christmas for a lot of these kids, said one of the Cambridge dads on the ice as his son posed for a picture with Marchand. Theyll all remember this forever.
It was important for each of the four Bs players to send a message to their fans both big and small: they havent forgotten about their loyal Black and Gold fans and wish there was no work stoppage with the same passionate fervor.
It was a blast. Its been a while since Ive been out on the ice with a big group of kids, said Marchand, who is back in Boston after spending a little extra time with his family in Nova Scotia. They really enjoyed it, and to see how happy and excited they were made our day too.
We love playing the game; were still at that point in our career. It would be great to be out in game situations right now. When youre in a city like Boston and you get the fan support like we do, its tough to walk around and see how disappointed they are that were not playing.We want to be in front of them and we want to play for them. It would be nice to be out there making them happy.
Boychuk and Paille skated with a South Boston PeeWee team during their practice at the Francis Murray rink in South Boston, and Marchand and Campbell scrimmaged with a Cambridge PeeWee youth hockey team at Simoni Memorial Arena. Boychuk and Paille were jokingly cut from the youth squad as they went through the drills with the rest of the team, and then signed autographs for every last child in the neighborhood rink.
Marchand and Campbell scrimmaged with the Cambridge kids, and Marchand even found himself gang-tackled on the ice by a group of exuberant youngsters when the session was over.
Both forwards also spent a half-hour signing autographs for all of the Cambridge players after skating with them. The wide-eyed looks and glowing smiles from all the young hockey players made it all worth it for the Bs players, and they hoped they were able to give something back while things have been taken away from them on the ice. NHLPA player rep Daniel Paille helped hatch the original idea with the players union to make the surprise visits to the practice sessions, and didnt have to go far to find a few of his teammates to accompany him.
His teammates loved the message behind the visit, and Paille hoped to do it again soon while they wait for the NHL and NHLPA to find a fair deal that will put the NHL back in business.
We didnt want to be in this position. We wanted to be in Philly right now, said Paille. Obviously we all want to play. But on the bright side there were a lot of kids here that showed a lot of excitement and had a lot of joy.
Weve got no games to play right now, so we need to get out among the community. Obviously theyve always been great to us, and we need to do whatever we can to help fans understand where were coming from and know that were always trying to help out.
Spontaneous, surprise visits to youth hockey practices like the ones undertaken by the quartet of Bs players on Thursday night can go a long way toward healing the wounds of the NHL lockout. Its also the best that NHL role players like Paille can do while they wait for union chiefs and league commissioners to finish haggling over hundreds of millions of dollars and decide its finally okay to play again.

Wednesday, Oct. 26: Crosby scores in season debut


Wednesday, Oct. 26: Crosby scores in season debut

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while having a deep thought while watching commercials: how lost in your own quirkiness do you have to be to name your kid Beowulf?

*The Predators had a nasty case of food poisoning hit their team, and Adam Vingan has all the gory details.

*A great chat with FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jimmy Murphy and the legendary Russ Conway about the legendary Bobby Orr.

*Martin Biron says that Frederik Andersen looks like a much different player now with Toronto than he did with the Anaheim Ducks last season.

*An observation from a Tuesday with 1,000 decisions is that Dallas Stars head coach Lindy Ruff has a really tough job.

*As mentioned above, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen is having a tough time in his new locale, and there may be several reasons why.

*An early Christmas present for Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop would be his two front teeth.

*Pro Hockey Talk has Sidney Crosby returning on Tuesday night, and immediately leading the Penguins in a balanced attack.  

*For something completely different: A. Sherrod Blakely has his Celtics preview, and says it’s a new year with tons of new expectations for the Men in Green.

Backes out at least two more games (and likely longer) after elbow procedure


Backes out at least two more games (and likely longer) after elbow procedure

The Bruins look like they’ll be without gritty veteran forward David Backes for at least the next couple of games, and probably more like the next couple of weeks.

It was announced that the gritty Bruins forward underwent a procedure on Monday remove the olecranon bursa from his elbow, and that “his condition will be updated after the weekend.” The procedure is commonly performed when bursitis in the elbow becomes an untenable, and seems more like an injury that worsens over time rather than anything that happened in a particular game this season.

Backes’ effectiveness did seem to be impacted after he got into a fight with Nazem Kadri in the second game of the season in Toronto, but it’s unknown if there’s any connection between that sequence and the forward’s elbow issues. According to the AAOS (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) website, it may take “10-14 days” for the skin to heal following the procedure, and three-to-four weeks before a doctor would clear the average person to resume normal activity.

The 32-year-old Backes is off to a good start for the Bruins with two goals and four points in five games prior to missing Tuesday night’s loss to the Minnesota Wild, and his absence makes an already-thin Bruins forward group smaller, softer and much less dangerous. With Backes on the shelf for at least the next two games against the Rangers and Detroit Red Wings, the Bruins have recalled young center Austin Czarnik after his short stint with the Providence Bruins.