Horton (concussion) ruled out for 2012 playoffs

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Horton (concussion) ruled out for 2012 playoffs

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- While there was a hubbub of excitement over the news that Nathan Horton skated for more than 30 minutes on his own Wednesday, he was no closer to a return than he was in the two months prior to that.

The Boston Bruins officially announced on Wednesday that Horton will miss the entire Stanley Cup playoffs after suffering a what was called a "mild concussion" on Jan. 22 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Horton missed the final 36 games of the regular season and seven weeks of action after suffering the head injury. Those close to the power forward tell CSNNE.com he was never close to a return.

Here are a couple of reasons why: Horton was still weeks away from potentially practicing with his teammates entering the playoffs and even if he didnt have a single setback wouldnt have been ready to go until the final few rounds of the playoffs.

It was unrealistic to think that a tentative, healthy Horton would be a better option than battle-hardened Bruins wingers that had already passed through the first few postseason rounds.

To put it in further perspective, in 2007-08 when Patrice Bergeron suffered his serious concussion and harbored hopes of returning for the playoffs, he had been skating hard since the beginning of March. He might have been ready for the second round but says in retrospect he was glad that he wasnt tossed into playoff action before he was ready.

Theres also this startling fact: If Horton had returned to this springs playoffs for the Bruins and suffered another concussion, it would have been his third major head injury for the 26-year-old in less than a full year.

Thats the kind of risk that can put a players entire future at risk. Its also the kind of mistake the Bruins made in rushing Marc Savard along for the postseason two years ago against the Flyers. Savard was never the same again after playing in the playoffs against Philadelphia.

The Bruins would be making the same kind of error in rushing Horton back just because hed had a few good weeks.

Hortons biggest priority is not returning for this year's postseason. It's returning to full health next season, scoring goals, and giving Boston a power forward to complement Milan Lucic and David Krejci.

Eric Mangini’s Spygate regret still haunts him

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Eric Mangini’s Spygate regret still haunts him

One of the few positives that emerged from the NFL trumping up charges on the Patriots for deflating footballs?

It allowed Bill Belichick to, for a brief moment in January 2015, do a drive-by on the last time the NFL trumped-up charges on the franchise, back in 2007, when it pinched the team for brazenly ignoring repeated requests to cut the crap with the sideline filming of opposing coaches.

“Look, that’s a whole ‘nother discussion,” Belichick said during the “Mona Lisa Vito” press conference after AP’s Jimmy Golen asked whether the team stopped “pushing the envelope” on the rules after Spygate. “The guy’s giving signals in front of 80,000 people, OK? So we filmed him making signals out in front of 80,000 people like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time, too. Forget about that. If we were wrong, then we’ve been disciplined for that.

“The guy is in front of 80,000 people, 80,000 people saw it. Everybody on the sideline saw it,” Belichick said. “Everybody sees our guy in front of 80,000 people. There he is. So, it was wrong and we were disciplined for it. That’s it. Again, we are never going to do it again and anything that’s close, we aren’t going to do it, either.”

That brief but telling detour revealed that, while the Patriots acknowledged what they did and owned it, the absurdity of the league prosecuting the Patriots at the level they did – a first-round pick, $750,000 in fines – only served to cement the franchise’s belief they were being singled out and scapegoated.

This week, Eric Mangini – the former Jets coach who put the league onto the Patriots that day – said he’s still bothered that the request for sideline vigilance turned into a permanent stain on Belichick’s record.

“Spygate is a big regret,” Mangini told Brian Costello of the New York Post . “It wasn’t supposed to go down the way it went down.”

Mangini was as close with Belichick as any of his coterie of Cleveland coaches. After graduating Wesleyan – Belichick’s alma mater – Mangini became a Browns’ ballboy and PR intern in 1994. 

He was with Belichick from there, through the time with the Jets in the late ‘90s and then in New England where he became Patriots defensive coordinator in 2005 before leaving to coach the Jets in 2006.

"He was my mentor. He taught me everything, and I respect him tremendously. That's not [BS],” Mangini told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio in 2010. “That's how I feel. I hope at some point, we'll be able to sit down and talk about things and get back to a better relationship."

Judging by the context of Mangini’s comments to Costello, things haven’t been smoothed over.

“There was no great value in what they were doing,” Mangini said. “It wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it to me personally. It wasn’t worth it to the relationship. … I cared about him. I didn’t want to hurt him. I didn’t want to hurt the Patriots. They were a huge part of my life, too, and the Kraft family. The Krafts were always great to me. It wasn’t like I was thinking I really want to get these guys. My thought was I don’t want to put my team at a competitive disadvantage, no matter how small.”

Mangini was let go by the 49ers in the offseason with two years left on his defensive coordinator’s contract. He’s currently doing some analysis for FOX and is living with his family in Cleveland. I reached out to Mangini on Wednesday but he said he didn’t want to continue to rehash the events of 2007. 

 

Bruins center Acciari’s status uncertain after leaving with apparent leg injury

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Bruins center Acciari’s status uncertain after leaving with apparent leg injury

BOSTON – There were no updates following the preseason loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night, but fourth-line center candidate Noel Acciari had to leave in the third period with what appeared to be a leg injury. 

The Rhode Island native appeared to be favoring his right leg after getting tangled up in front of the benches just a couple of minutes into the third period, crawled toward the bench and then headed back to the B’s dressing room for repairs.

Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco didn’t have any update in the moments directly after the 5-1 preseason loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

“Noel did leave the game. I’m not sure what his status is, or what the injury was. I haven’t been told,” Sacco said. Acciari finished with five hits and a blocked shot in 10:35 of ice time vs. Detroit. “I’ll have to check with medical and see where we’re at.”

The hope is that the injury isn’t a serious one after Acciari looked strong and heavy playing an energy role down the middle last season for the Bruins in the final weeks of the regular season. He teamed with Justin Hickman and Anton Blidh to play a gritty, energy line on Wednesday night, and they were largely effective for the Black and Gold while some of the other bigger name players struggled.

A potential injury to Acciari, however, does leave the door open for Dominic Moore to really put an iron-fisted grip on the fourth-line center spot after it appeared there would be a big surplus of centers at the start of camp.