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.

Thursday, Feb. 23: Eaves and Chewbacca? Now that's hair-raising

Thursday, Feb. 23: Eaves and Chewbacca? Now that's hair-raising

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while amazed, and alarmed, at any politician that would ever duck a town hall-style meeting with their constituents.

*Patrick Eaves had a close encounter of the hairy kind with the mighty Chewbacca during a recent visit to Disney. Let’s just say Eaves, Brent Burns and Chewie could all be from the same family tree.

*Good, long read on junior hockey scoring star Alex Debrincat, who Bruins fans will remember that Boston passed over to draft Trent Frederic at the end of the first round last summer. He’s scoring at the kind of levels that say he might be something special at the next level. Just saying.

*Wayne Gretzky jumps on the Florida Panthers telecast to chat about Jaromir Jagr, and jokes about what he’ll do if Jagr ever gets close to his NHL all-time scoring title.

*Pierre Lebrun has a list of NHL defensemen that are in demand ahead of the trade deadline, and it’s a fairly underwhelming list aside from Kevin Shattenkirk.

*If you’re looking for some good Blackhawks talk then you should check out the Blackhawks Talk podcast over at CSN Chicago.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob McKenzie dropped into the NBCSN studios again this past week to chat about the NHL tweaking the bye weeks moving forward after watching them play out this season.

*People getting concerned about turning budding personal NHL rivalries into another “Ovechkin vs. Crosby” is perhaps the dumbest NHL hot take I’ve ever heard. The Ovechkin/Crosby rivalry was perfectly good and anything to draw attention to the NHL and its players is also good. This is the kind of thing said by somebody that I’m sure gets more super-excited by a bar graph showing a player’s effectiveness rather than watching what they’re actually doing on the ice.

*For something completely different: A really interesting look from a random date that Carrie Fisher took to the 1978 Oscars while palling around with the young, new stars of Hollywood.

 

 

What we learned in Bruins' 5-3 loss to Ducks: Back to earth for Cassidy's crew

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What we learned in Bruins' 5-3 loss to Ducks: Back to earth for Cassidy's crew

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