Hockey Santa leaves the Bruins presents


Hockey Santa leaves the Bruins presents

It was a very merry Christmas for so many over the last couple of days, and that includes the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. Heres what we here at envision hockey Santa leaving the Bruins players, coaches and staff under their collective Christmas trees before they hopped on a plane for Phoenix on Tuesday.

On with the list:

Zdeno Chara a copy of an X-Men comic book with the character Wolverine playing a starring role. One of Wolverines attributes is his ability heal at a superhuman pace, and thats something he seems to share in common with Chara. That knee injury in Columbus looked serious and might have sidelined a lesser-conditioned athlete for longer, but it only took the Bruins captain out for two games.

Tim Thomas For the goaltender that has everything, an autographed Welcome to the Club Bernie Parent picture when Thomas has another season just like last year. Hes the only goalie aside from Parent to win the Stanley Cup, Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy, and the former Flyers netminder did it two years in a row.

Patrice Bergeron A guaranteed full season with Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand alongside him, as its doing wonders for his offense. Bergeron is on pace for a 70 point season for the first time since prior to suffering a horrendous concussion in the 2007-08 season.

Milan Lucic A thank you note from Buffalo for speeding up the process of getting highly overrated goaltender Ryan Miller off the Sabres, and out of a Northeast Division thats clearly too rough and tough for him.

Brad Marchand A full Nose Face Killah clothing line for all those that have a nose for the net.

Tyler Seguin A Justin Bieber alarm clock? Too easy and it looks like Seguin has taken things to heart after missing the pancake social in Winnipeg.

Nathan Horton The full day with the Stanley Cup that he never received when it arrived in Weiland, Ontario several hours late this summer.

David Krejci A louder speaking voice or a megaphone. Krejci is among the funniest and most intelligent Bruins players when he has his dry wit going, but hes also one of the softest talkers.

Rich Peverley A full bottle of Ibuprofen, as he plays through a nagging injury that may need surgery in the off-season.

Chris Kelly The contract extension he richly deserves to stay in Boston as the perfect third line centeralternate captain for a playoff caliber Bruins team.

Andrew Ference A replica Stanley Cup made of recycled materials for the environmentally conscious NHL player.

Joe Corvo A few more body checks in the post-Christmas schedule so he can pull away from Seguin for the fewest on the Bruins team.

Benoit Pouliot A 247 channel devoted to playing his filthy between his legs goal on a loop after making everybodys highlight reel during the win against the Panthers Friday night.

Gregory Campbell A fully healed left foot after he played through the pain of a fracture to finish out the last few games before the Christmas break. Campbells pain tolerance is fully appreciated by hockey Santa.

Dennis Seidenberg The German defenseman got his first goal of the season in the final game before Christmas, so he got his present early.

Daniel Paille Good fortune and good health for Paille after he fractured his face and suffered a concussion within a month of each other. The Steve Staios shot to the face was a bloody mess that is enough injury to last an entire season.

Johnny Boychuk The thing Boychuk most wanted to see under his tree was a contract extension with the Bruins, but hell have to wait until the summer for that.

Shawn Thornton His own reality show where hes mic'd up for each and every hockey game he plays. The stuff that comes out of his mouth on the ice is HBO 247 gold.

Adam McQuaid McQuaid said hell grow out the mullet again if the Bruins are in the playoffs come this spring, so the only natural gift for McQuaid is another flowing, curly mullet to match last years model.

Jordan Caron A new road roommate after Caron was forced to answer questions in the wake of Tyler Seguin sleeping through morning meetings in Winnipeg.

Zach Hamill A new NHL destination where Hamill will get a chance to play every night and fully develop his game because its not likely to come with the Bruins this season. Who knows what the future holds for the former first round pick?

Tuukka Rask A whole lot of playing time in the second half of the season something hell get plenty of with road-heavy portions of the schedule in January and March for the Bruins.

Claude Julien A collection of his greatest Christmas hits after releasing the single Kevin Walsh Got Run Over by a Reindeer just before the holiday. Its a feel-good Christmas ditty.

Peter Chiarelli A box of LA Kings golf balls to complete the deal for Marco Sturm last season for future considerations (and needed salary cap relief).

Cam Neely Whatever he wants because nobody messes with Seabass. Not even hockey Santa.

Saturday, Feb. 25: Shea Theodore waits for his time with Ducks

Saturday, Feb. 25: Shea Theodore waits for his time with Ducks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while giving two thumbs up to The Lego Batman Movie after a screening with my 3 1/2 year old.

*Alex Prewitt has a profile on Anaheim defenseman prospect Shea Theodore as he waits for his time with the Ducks.

*The Vancouver Canucks have a mumps problem this season, and we continue to wonder why this is becoming an issue again in a first-world society.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has Patrick Eaves dealt to the Ducks for what could be first round pick if Anaheim advances far enough through the playoffs.

*Flyers GM Ron Hextall says that Philly’s young team won’t be buying ahead of next week’s NHL trade deadline.

*Along with his “Sutter-isms”, diversity is a family value for the Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter.

*Dave Strader gets back into the broadcast booth with the Dallas Stars, and will be a welcomed addition to the national NBC broadcast of Bruins/Stars on Sunday afternoon.

*As cold as he was earlier in the season, New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is heating up now for the Blueshirts.

*For something completely different: Brie Larson is already prepping for her role as Captain Marvel by stepping up her game as an influence for positive change among her Hollywood peers.


Backes set to star in Animal Planet special this weekend


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.