B's players pay surprise visits to youth hockey teams

671984.jpg

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.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.