BruinsKings: 5 from the first

BruinsKings: 5 from the first

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comLOS ANGELES Here are five thoughts from the first period of Bruins and Kings at the Staples Center with the Bs trailing Los Angeles by a 1-0 score after 20 minutes of play.1)The Bruins left the Staples Center angry about several calls the last time the Bruins traveled here for a game, and its starting out that way again for the Black and Gold. The Kings were given two power plays in the first on a Zdeno Chara penalty and a questionable holding the stick call on Blake Wheeler at the end of the period. The Chara call led to LAs only goal.2)Three shots on goal for Michael Ryder, who was very active in the first period for Boston and looks to be having one of his good nights.3)A good scrap between Shawn Thornton and Kyle Clifford designed to wake the Bruins up a little bit at the end of a sleepy first period. Well see if theres a response in the second period after things were slow to get going in the first 20 minutes for Boston at the tail end of a deceptively long two-game road trip.4)Interesting to watch the Bruins struggle to clear the front of the net with Mark Stuart standing as a healthy scratch and Zdeno Chara in the penalty box. Ryan Smyth simply crashed the net with both body-bangers out of the lineup and potted home a rebound after fighting through Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg to get there.5)The Bruins could be getting accustomed to their new lines in the first period, so well see what happens in the middle 20 minutes. Anze Kopitar gave Tyler Seguin a pretty hard body check in the opening minutes of the first period to set a bit of a tone, and the Bruins have yet to really answer.6) Celeb sighting at the Staples Center: Harvey the semi-crazed drill sgt. from VH1's Celebrity Fit Camp milling around outside the rink prior to the game tonight. Not a big one, but still notable.

Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

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Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend

It’s only a coincidence that it will air the same week that the Boston Bruins went Hollywood with their annual three-game road trip through California, but David Backes and his wife Kelly are going to get some solid TV time this weekend. The animal-loving couple are going to be featured Saturday night in the all-new Animal Planet special "Stars to the Rescue," which highlights the Backes family’s excellent work to ensure every animal has a ‘furever’ home.

The lifelong animal lovers have adopted five rescue pets that all made the move from St. Louis to Boston this summer, and launched Athletes for Animals in 2013, a non-profit organization supporting professional athletes and animal advocacy efforts. The 32-year-old Backes chose a Boston animal shelter as his first setting to meet with the Boston media this summer after signing with the Bruins in free agency, and spoke glowingly about his inspiration for marrying two of his passions: helping animals and sports.

“The full story is that in college we wanted an animal or two, but it just wasn’t responsible because we were renting and the landlords didn’t approve," said Backes, the proud owner of four dogs (Maverick, Rosey, Marty and Bebe) and two cats (Sunny, Poly). "We just didn’t really have the time or resources to support them, so we volunteered at the local shelter for the three years I was in school.

“When my wife [Kelly] and I moved to St. Louis, we wanted to connect with the community, be a part and use our voice to influence social change to do our part making the world a little bit of a better place. So we said, ‘Why not connect with the animal welfare rescue community?’

“We absolutely love doing it: Walking dogs, scooping litter boxes and cleaning kennels. Let’s use our voice to kick this off and see what we can do, and it really just snowballed from that to then trying to tie other guys into it. It’s not limited to the animal stuff, but the animals that don’t have a voice, and the kids that don’t have a voice, really tug at our heart strings. We want to help them with this blessing of a great voice we’ve been given as professional athletes, and to really use that to give them some help.”

The “Stars to the Rescue” special premieres on Saturday night at 8 pm on Animal Planet where there will be a full segment on the Backes family, but here’s a clip where Backes talks about his well-publicized involvement with a number of stray dog rescues during his 2014 Olympic Hockey stint with Team USA in Sochi, Russia.

Backes isn’t the only Boston athlete featured during the Animal Planet special as it also chronicles the stories of other well-known athletes and celebrities and the dogs they can't live without: Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley, Selma Blair, ESPN Correspondent Michelle Beadle, WNBA star Elena Delle Donne, former Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and more. From training buddies to comforting companions, “Stars to the Rescue” shows first-hand how these celebrities first met their cute rescued canines and how their dogs have impacted and transformed their lives for the better.

What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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