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.

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.

*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.

*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.

*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.

*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.

*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.

*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.

*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.

*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?

*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.