Haggerty: Boychuk a class act

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Haggerty: Boychuk a class act

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON -- Johnny Boychuk is as good as they come, and as honest to boot.

The hard-hitting Bruins defenseman threw a body check at Mason Raymond in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals that fractured bones in the Vancouver forwards vertebrae and left one of Vancouvers key defensive forwards in a body cast as the Finals concluded with Game 7 in Vancouver.

The hit correctly wasnt penalized by game referees or eyed by the NHL disciplinarians, and it instead spoke to the violent contact sport nature of hockey and the damage done when big bodies collide in an encased rink. Giant human beings moving at rapid rates of speed on an icy surface are going to collide, and there will be collateral damage when thrown into the highest competitive situations.

Raymond doesnt have a timetable on returning to hockey, but he did tell Vancouver reporters on Thursday that he received a text message from Boychuk at the end of July. Boychuk admitted he was thinking about Raymond all summer and wanted to make sure he expressed his sorrow that the Vancouver forward had been injured so badly on the play.

Just as much as Boychuk celebrated his Cup victory with the Bruins or planned for his wedding day over the summer, he hoped that Raymond was progressing well in his recovery.

Nathan Horton expressed some discontentment when Aaron Rome similarly sent a conciliatory text message to him after Romes head shot knocked Horton out of the Finals and indicated Rome might have done more if he were truly sorry for a hit that warranted a four-game suspension.

But Boychuk explained that he purposefully waited until July to send the text to Raymond after retrieving the Canucks phone number during the Finals in Vancouver and was glad to hear that the Canucks forward had received the message. Raymond never responded to Boychuks text, but it was pretty clear the Bs defenseman had some heartfelt emotions behind the phone message.

I didnt get a response, but I just wanted to make sure I sent him a message that I didnt mean to hurt him and I hope that he gets better, said Boychuk. You never want to see anybody get hurt like that at all. Its one thing if its a broken finger or a minor injury like that.

But to see a guy break his back, even in the Stanley Cup Finals, I would never, ever want to see that. It does mean a lot to me. Because if somebody did that to me it would crush me. You never want to do that to somebody. It was unintentional and I just wanted to send him a message saying sorry, I hope he gets better and I didnt mean to. I was thinking about him more or less all summer, but I wanted to make sure it was the right time.

Boychuk is preparing for his third season in Boston, but hes seen plenty of things go down during his five years playing in the Western Hockey League and six more seasons at the AHL level. He knows the unspoken code within the game of hockey and respects the safety of his fellow players.

Boychuk knows the right thing to do, and did just that when he sent out an unreturned text message to Raymond at the end of July.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: NHL passes on participating in 2018 Olympics

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Morning Skate: NHL passes on participating in 2018 Olympics

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while still digesting all of the awesome trailers and tidbits released at Comic Con in San Diego. 

*The NHL says there is no alternative regular season schedule for next season, and that any hope of participating in the Olympics is dead

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Predators just one Ryan Johansen deal away from a piece of salary cap artwork, and being able to keep everything together.  

*Clark Booth is either upset or mystified that the Bruins haven’t done anything this offseason. My good man Clark, they need to re-sign David Pastrnak and let some of their young prospects continue to grow and develop. Better that than sign another premium-priced contract to a player like David Backes or Matt Beleskey. They don’t need that at this point. And they shouldn’t panic and trade one of their good, young players either. 

*Former UMass-Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has agreed to a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Jets. 

*It’s a wonderful time to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh as the Penguins have been dominant, and it looks like the Steelers are in position to finish in second place behind the New England Patriots in the AFC. Well, that’s something to write home about. 

*Minnesota native Kyle Okposo opens up for the first time about a scary season-ender with the Buffalo Sabres where Illness forced him to the hospital. 

*Larry Brooks explains why the New York Rangers have short-changed Mika Zibanejad in their salary arbitration exercise. 

*For something completely different: Are you kidding me with this Stranger Things 2 trailer to Michael Jackson’s Thriller? This looks awesome. 

Morning Skate: Tempered expectations for Bolts' rookie Sergachev

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Morning Skate: Tempered expectations for Bolts' rookie Sergachev

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply shaking my head at David Price. What a typically soft, boorish ballplayer not meant for a big market where more is expected of those wearing the Red Sox uniform.

*There are tempered expectations for rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev as he gets things going with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

*Keith Yandle believes that Dale Tallon being back in charge of the Florida Panthers is going to bring unity and solidarity to the Panthers once again.

*Kevin Shattenkirk believes that the New York Rangers are right on the cusp of challenging for a Stanley Cup title.

*Here 20 thoughts from the just-concluded Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp, where there’s some pretty strong, young talent.

*Even as the highest-paid player in the NHL, Connor McDavid is underpaid for what he brings to the table, says Ron MacLean.

*Interesting look at the Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog situation in Colorado, where both players have watched their performance fall off a bit. This is why I’d be very nervous about giving up the farm to trade for either of these players if I’m the Bruins. The jury is out on whether they’re in decline as players, or if it’s simply the mess in Colorado getting them down.  

*For something completely different: What a sweet interaction between "Wonder Woman" Gal Gadot and a young, emotional fan all decked out in WW gear.