Haggerty: Ward's attackers unfairly sully Boston's reputation

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Haggerty: Ward's attackers unfairly sully Boston's reputation

Theres no underestimating the anonymous mob mentality of the Internet.

It comes right along with the unseemly phenomenon of message board commenting, and the keyboard courage people with hate in their hearts routinely display when hiding behind faceless social media accounts.

As a famous Jedi master once said, its a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

The hateful, ignorant masses reared their classless heads again in the early morning hours on Thursday when some loosely classified Bruins "fans" attacked Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward via his Twitter account.

The Caps forward had the audacity to score the game-winning overtime goal in Washingtons 2-1 win in Game 7 to end Bostons season. And, on top of that, he was African-American.

So the dumbest faction of Bruins Nation attacked Ward with all manner of vitriolic, classless tweets and racially motivated messages.

Theres little doubt every last one of those responsible for the ugly words sent to Ward should be publicly embarrassed and swiftly forced to answer for their misdeeds. Bruins followers should be ashamed for the way this distinct minority sullied the image of the proud Boston Bruins franchise by dragging the teams good name into a head-shaking cesspool of intolerance.

It actually prompted the Bruins to release a statement on Thursday: The Bruins are very disappointed by the racist comments that were made following the game last night. These classless, ignorant views are in now way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization.

The NHL chimed in with its own statement a little later on Thursday, as well: "The racially charged comments distributed via digital media following last night's game were ignorant and unacceptable. The people responsible for these comments have no place associating themselves with our game."

Clearly the Bruins have nothing to apologize for. In some ways its similar to the riots in Vancouver after the Canucks dropped Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to the Bruins. People rioted, burned cars and created a public nuisance in the downtown following defeat, and the entire city took on the bad reputation caused by a few anarchists.

Not everyone in Vancouver wearing a Canucks jersey was an arsonist or an anarchist hell bent on destroying their beautiful city and giving Canucks fans a bad name.

In the same vein, the insensitive remarks thrown at Ward have reopened past accusations that Boston is a stodgy city forever unfriendly to those who look, act or believe differently than the Irish-American majority. NBC Hockey Talk dug up 30-year-old quotes from Celtics great Bill Russell as he discussed an area that -- during his playing days -- never adopted him as an African-American sporting superstar.

The city of Bostons past reputation for troubling race relations is nothing new, and it cant be denied that Russell was wronged in virtually every way possible when he lived in the Boston area in the 1950s and '60s.

But times have changed. Russell is now treated as a hero whenever he returns, and the city in recent years has embraced stars like Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Vince Wilfork, David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez . . . among many others. And theres also this little inalienable truth: There are idiots with Twitter accounts in every major North American city who will send out hate-filled, reprehensible tweets to any player in Wards situation. Its not something unique to Boston, and unfortunately it's becoming more commonplace with each passing day.

The city of Boston, though, will be forced to answer for this particular handful of anonymous morons, who would cower from real confrontation much the same way they'd cower from a Zdeno Chara elbow to the head.

You know, a Chara elbow might be the best solution for this group of cyber-tough guys, no matter where they hail from.

Perhaps then, the easy, hackneyed racial history wont be a part of the narrative based on the actions of a few chuckleheads who cant stand losing a kid's game.

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. 

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

Khudobin simply ‘has got to be better’ for Bruins

BOSTON – There wasn’t much for Anton Khudobin to say after it was all over on Thursday night. 

The B’s backup netminder allowed four goals on 22 shots while looking like he was fighting the puck all night. It was one of the big reasons behind a tired-looking 4-2 loss to the lowly Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

The loss dropped Khudobin to 1-4-0 on the season and puts him at a 3.02 goals-against average and .888 save percentage this season. Three of the four goals beat Khudobin despite him getting a pretty good look at them. The ultimate game-winner in the second period from John Mitchell just beat him cleanly on the short side. 

Matt Duchene beat Khudobin from the slot on a play that was a bad defense/bad goaltending combo platter to start the game and MacKinnon ripped a shorthanded bid past the Bruins netminder to put Boston in a hole against a woeful Colorado team. 

Afterward, Khudobin didn’t have much to say, with just one good performance among five games played for the Black and Gold this season. 

“Four goals is too much. That’s it,” said a to-the-point Khudobin, who was then asked how he felt headed into the game. “I don’t know; too much energy…yeah, too much. I don’t know. I just had a lot of energy and I think it just didn’t work out my way.”

Khudobin didn’t really expand on why he had too much energy, but perhaps it’s because the compacted schedule has really curtailed the team’s ability to hold team practices on a regular basis. Or maybe he was just disappointed it took him a week to get back between the pipes after playing his best game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

Either way Claude Julien said that the Bruins needed better goaltending on a night where they weren’t at their sharpest physically or mentally, and Khudobin clearly wasn’t up to the challenge this time around. 

“We needed some saves tonight and we didn’t get them. He’s got to be better. A lot of things here that we can be better at and take responsibility [for],” said Julien. “But at the same time, you got to move on here. To me it’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, and we would have had a chance. Now we’ve got to move forward.”

Clearly, the Bruins have no choice but to move on with a busy schedule that doesn’t let up anytime soon, but one of the lessons learned from Thursday night is that the Bruins need to get better backup goaltending from a collective crew (Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban included) that’s won just once in eight games behind Tuukka Rask this season.