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.

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

Marchand: 'No place I'd rather play' than Boston

The Bruins made it official on Monday -- mere minutes after the news had broken -- as they clearly couldn’t wait to announce an eight year, $49 million contract extension for Brad Marchand. who is finishing up his Team Canada gig at the World Cup of Hockey.

PROFILE: Joe Haggerty's preseason look at Brad Marchand

The deal averages $6.125 million per season, broken up between actual salary and signing bonus money. The Bruins were most definitely given a hometown discount by an elite player who snapped home a career-high 37 goals and 60 points last season, the most goals scored by a Bruins player since Glenn Murray in 2002-03. And everybody knows goal scorers get paid in the NHL, even if Marchand won’t be expected to score quite that many every year.

Marchand, 28, has also been the second-leading scorer in the entire World Cup of Hockey tournament, behind only Sidney Crosby, and continues to raise his profile in the NHL world beyond his customary agitator role. The “Nose Face Killah” could have waited for until free agency if he'd wanted to pick up every last nickel on the table, but it’s very clear he’s invested in the team that drafted and developed him, and with which he won a Cup five years ago.

"This is an extremely exciting day for me and my family," said Marchand, who now has a full no-move clause for the first five years of his next contract. "I would like to thank the Jacobs family, [president] Cam Neely, [general manager] Don Sweeney, [coach] Claude Julien, the coaching staff, my teammates and our fans for their continued support and belief in me. I have been a Bruin since the start of my pro career and there is no place I would rather play. I look forward to doing everything I can to help our team achieve success and bring the Stanley Cup back to Boston."

Marchand has been among the team’s leading scorers since joining the league in 2010-11, has been the NHL’s most dangerous penalty killer over the last five years, and pairs with Patrice Bergeron to anchor the top line. He’s also become much more of a leader in the last few seasons as other character veterans have been peeled away from the core group, and a hometown discount proves it one of the most meaningful ways possible.

It was clear Marchand was invested in the Bruins when he helped recruit free agent David Backes with phone calls this summer, and he was also present for the recruiting pitch to Jimmy Vesey at Warrior Ice Arena last month.

The Bruins players at training camp were happy to hear No. 63 was going to be in Boston for the long haul.

“Marchy is Marchy. I think everybody kind of knows what that means,” said Kevan Miller. “He’s been great for our organization and great for the fans and for this city. He’s been all in since Day One, and he’s been a guy that I looked up to.”

While the Bruins have confirmed the contract, Sweeney won't weigh in until later today. But one would expect there will be an appreciation for the skill of the player, and Marchand’s commitment to the organization after accepting less than he could have gotten on the open market.

Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

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Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while finding it hard to believe that it’s game day for the Boston Bruins. Summer is officially O-V-A.
 
-- The Montreal media is starting to get on board with this tougher, grittier version of the Habs, along with a healthy Carey Price.
 
-- Pierre McGuire sits in with Ottawa’s TSN sports radio station and talks Team Europe in the World Cup, as well as a number of other things.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Zeisberger is already openly wondering what would happen in Canada if they lose to Team Europe in the best-of-three final to the World Cup.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski asks Brad Marchand if a part of him has thought about playing with Sidney Crosby on the Penguins if he hits free agency. Bells, alarms and whistles should be going off on Causeway Street to give No. 63 whatever he wants at this point. In case you missed it, I talked about the danger of Crosby trying to woo his Nova Scotian buddy to Pittsburgh last week.
 
-- PHT writer James O’Brien says it sounds like the St. Louis Blues are going to play a more aggressive brand of hockey this season.
 
-- For something completely different: Forbes Magazine says Pete Carroll, not Bill Belichick, should be considered the NFL’s foremost cheater.