Haggerty: Kaberle deserves cheers in Garden return

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Haggerty: Kaberle deserves cheers in Garden return

BOSTON -- If anything should make things all forgiven for the most recent chapters in Bruins history, it should be winning a Stanley Cup in dramatic fashion.

Sports Tonight Question of the Day: Will you cheer or boo Tomas Kaberle tonight? Let us know!

Who cares about the Joe Thornton trade anymore, aside from the fact it paved the way for signing Marc SavardZdeno Chara, and moving on to the next chapter in Bs history?
Do the past Bs ownership transgressions specifically those in not going after enough quality players with big price tags really matter with a league salary cap in effect, and a Stanley Cup in tow?

Who remembers anything from the Mike Sullivan era coaching the Bruins, with only Tim Thomas and Patrice Bergeron to show for that epoch in Black and Gold history?

Whats the point of all these scatter-brained Bruins questions from their long and sometimes distinguished history?

The point is everything thats past in recent Bruins history was prologue to them winning the Cup last season, and there are more than a few things that should be forgiven and forgotten.

The Bruins fan punching bags formerly known as Hal Gill and Dennis Wideman are two pretty good examples, but perhaps the best one is suiting up for the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at TD Garden.

Tomas Kaberle was presented his Stanley Cup championship ring as hand-delivered by Peter Chiarelli on Tuesday morning, but hes also set for what should be an interesting reception from the Bs faithful tonight at puck drop.

Kaberle has his ring, hes got his name etched on the Cup, he had his bizarre medieval Cup celebration in the Czech Republic this summer, and he should be embraced with an appreciative round of applause from Bruins fans during his return to TD Garden as a visiting player.

As was the case with Jeremy Jacobs on banner-raising night against the Flyers, there really is no need for booing in the wake of winning the Cup when it comes to last years team.

While Kaberle wasnt as good as advertised upon arrival and he certainly didnt do a thing for the power play in his Boston stint he was also a contributing member of a Boston club that captured the Cup. An argument could be made that the Bruins dont win without Kaberle if Shane Hnidy was forced into regular action, and thats not even counting what might have happened when both Zdeno Chara and Adam McQuaid missed games during the run.

It was Kaberles stretch pass in Game 3 to a streaking Michael Ryder at the Bell Centre that helped wake up the Bruins, and proved to be a difference-maker in the series. Not only that, but the Bs power play is 1-for-21 to start this season as well so perhaps it wasnt all Kaberles fault that the Bs man advantage sucked swamp water throughout the postseason.

For better or worse Kaberle was a contributing member to a Bs team that brought the hockey holy grail back to Boston for the first time in 39 years, and that should be worth at least one congratulatory pat on the back in his return to the Hub.

To boil it down to simplest terms on Kaberle: dont hate, but appreciate.

There will be plenty of time for the vitriol to build back up and the hate reservoir to be filled for opponents after all the piping hot Phil Kessel and his Leafs will be here Thursday night but Tuesday night is a chance for Bs fans to rise above and accept another undeniable part of the Bs unfailingly entertaining Cup run.

Nobody is ever asking anyone to claim that Kaberle is the All-Star defenseman that he once was or was the best defensemen on the ice for the Bs during his time here, but a little applause for helping bring the Cup back to Boston isnt too much to ask for.

Its just the right thing to do if only once, and then go back to the regularly scheduled booing thats expected to take place for a hockey crowd thats now had a taste of greatness.

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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