Boston Bruins

Whoa, Canada!

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Whoa, Canada!

By Michael Felger

Oh, Canada!

To: Felger and MazSubj: STUPID AMERICANListen, you two (expletive) idiots, I am from Montreal. I just listened to the interviewbush job, you did with Tony Marinaro -- you stupid cowards. You don't know (expletive) about hockey . . . Stick to baseball.Attacking poor country with oil, remaining rednecks and enjoying the death penalty . . . You people are so backwards, its an embarrassment to the humanity.Your Bruins are the Buffalo Bills of Hockey. CHOKERS . . . Scoreboard last night, BITCHES . . . WE OWN YOU LITTLE SISSY ASS . . . Almost forgot . . . GO (expletive) YOURSELVES, (expletive)HOLESSerge Grandchamps

Buffalo Bills? I wish!

To: Felger and MazHello,I heard your little conversation on the radio with Team990s Tony Marinaro. I don't know which one of you was conducting the interview, but i gotta say whomever it was, you are the most ignorant journalist I've ever heard. First and foremost, when you mention something (like Habs being divers), pull out stats before running your mouth without any facts to prove your point. Although Habs are not divers, I'd rather have a team of divers than CHEAPSHOTS (from Kyle McLaren to Joe Thornton to Zdeno Chara to Milan Lucic). Second of all, don't turn this into a U.S.-Canada issue cause most of the Bruins players are CANADIAN!!!! Obviously you have no idea what you're talking about, don't have clue about hockey at all and most probably never skated in you life either. Anyways, just stick to football cause your Bruins suck -- but not as bad as YOU.Peter Kana

Ive got more of these, but you get the idea. On to some local hateration . . .

FelgyDB,You pathetic, mouth-breathing, toothless, goober of a Fraud!!! If thats Paul Pierce or KG snapping the guys neck into the boards, you would be ripping them up and down! But because its the Bruins, your woobie, you say, "Yeah, he checked him into the turnbuckle, BUT he didnt mean it! FRAUD!!!!! It was a cheap shot! He had a history with the guy, and he cheap-shotted him. End of story. "Oh, but hes a Bruin. A hockey player. They are the nicest guys in sports!" Gimme a break!!!! Did you and JJ decide that if you should come out and say he knew what he was doing but that he didnt mean to hurt him so you could maintain a measure of your journalistic integrity???? You B-n-G Teamers make me sick. Dont try and pretend you arent in JJs back pocket. We get it. JJ pays your bills, so you are JJs man. But dont try and pretend youre anything else. Fraud!!!SOBWestwood

I think you might have me confused with someone else? JJs man? Dont you mean Joe Haggs?

I think Chara absolutely meant to do what he did. I think he couldshould have been suspended. I think the NHL doesnt do enough to protect its players, and this is just the latest example. Unfortunately, its also a play that happens routinely in hockey. It should be illegal.

I guess my one reservation is that this story, once we get past the first priority, the health of Pacioretty, involves the Canadiens, their media and their fans. And those people, I just cant abide. Do you know that the Montreal police were getting so many calls from fans asking them to arrest Chara that they publicly had to ask them to stop on Wednesday? Seriously.

Felger, You DB!The following is the maximum required discipline for Zdeno Chara: two minutes, interference. Anything more is just another clear attempt to pacify the Montreal Canadiens and their emo fans. If that same exact play happens the same exact way anywhere else on the ice, nothing else happens. It's a pretty simple case of bad luck for Max Pacioretty. But of course, because Pacioretty got hurt it became an issue. The refs even admitted after the game that it wasn't a dirty hit and that he was given a penalty because of the injury. And lets face it, Chara was also sent off because it diffused the situation, which is somewhat questionable in itself because everyone knows Montreal wasn't going to respond even if Chara went "Neener Neener Neener" in front of their bench after the hit. Now I'm sure Montreal management has petitioned the United Nations to classify Chara as a war criminal because, just like the Kyle McLaren hit on Richard Zednik, Les Habitant's outcry far oversteps the crimes committed. Until the Bruins receive reparations and a state apology for Chris Nilan's butt end ophthalmology of Rick Middleton, I'll dismiss everything they say sight unseen. Look, Mike, I have been asking, begging, pleading for Chara to add some real menace and a dash of evil into his game for a while now. Scott Stevens and Chris Pronger are never going to be 700 Club guests or showing up at your front door peddling subscriptions to the Pilot, but you would take them on your team in a second and both of them would have rubbed out an irritant like Pacioretty in either the same fashion or with a little more mustard. Z will probably never match either of them in willful mayhem and, much to my chagrin, hes a player who is feared and loathed for his size only. I didn't see anything different to change that opinion last night. Anyway, here's Max destroying the Islanders' Mark Eaton after seeing nothing but his numbers from the blueline to the end boards in December. Here is Max's take afterwards:"I remember going in on the forecheck and I thought he was going to turn into me but it didnt end up that way, Pacioretty said. Its a fast game and sometimes you make mistakes and I definitely made a mistake there and hurt our team. I obviously hurt that player. Im disappointed with what happened and I wish I could take that back.The game misconduct triggers an automatic review by the National Hockey League and Jacques Martin was asked whether he thought Pacioretty would be suspended."I would hope not," he said. "Hes not that kind of player. He went in with good speed to finish his check and their player turned at the last minute."Only he never turned once.Read more. Here's Pat Hickey's column, and I must have missed the section where he demands Pacioretty get drawn and Quartered. Just Saying,
MikeAttleboro

Even though I disagree with the crux of your email (again, I believe the NHL should do more to get ahead of dangerous hits to their players and therefore should have suspended Chara), I thank you deeply for the material.

I know in my heart there is no more fraudulent or hypocritical fan base or media in all of sports than those attached to the Canadiens -- but I dont have all the evidence at my finger tips to prove it. Its just a gut thing. Youve provided a great service here.

Coming soon to a TV and radio near you . . .

You guys are insane if you think that was a dirty hit. Is it illegal to ride guys out along the boards?? Was it a hit from behind or a deliberate blow to the head? No. It was a LEGAL hit in the heat of the moment. Do you really expect Chara in that millisecond to say, "Oh, wait, this is a bad place, I better not hit him? Thats just stupid, hindsight BS. If Chara had let Pacioretty sneak by without finishing his check and the Habs had scored we would have four hours of "Charas a wussnot a leader talk from you.Ricky

Signed, Matt Cooke.

I do think its unfortunate for Chara. Weve been begging for Chara to get meaner and nastier, and here he does it and it blows up in his face.

Mike,I think I have the answer on the enigma that is Claude Julien. I think he is the perfect coach for a bad team. His defensive system prevents blowouts. Thats why he was great four years ago, when the Bs werent all that good. His system allowed the Bs to stay in games and win some tight ones. The problem is he cant coach a talented team. As this team gets better and more talented, his system works less and less. His defense-first system hinders the offensive opportunities.Claudes system is to protect the front of the net, so the forwards collapse to the front of the net, which is why they give up very few second chances. However, this allows the defenseman to be wide open at the point and thats why they get bogged down in their own zone and cant get out.Until Claude is gone, this team is a second-round loser.Thanks,John

I feel you, John. I thought he should have gotten the gate after last year. But since then what has he done to deserve getting canned? Theyve had a very good regular season. So heres the deal: check back at the end of the second round. If the Bs are still standing, Claudes done his job. If they arent, lets see if Cam agrees with you.

Okay, Felger, I think it's safe to say you finally won your fight with the Bergeron people that Krejci is the best player on the team. Well, at least that's according to Claude."David, as you know in the past, has always been the KEY to our teams success, said Julien. "Whether its been Patrice Bergeron or whether its been Marc Savard thats gone down, hes picked up his game. Hes made a world of a difference for this hockey club. And he knows that. The better he plays, the better the team is, because hes that good of a player." Which I agree with. I'll take Krejci, especially when the games get more and more important! Second, I do not want Lucic fighting more than a few times a year. His better asset is goal scoring and, maybe even more importantly, being a physical presence. I think he was at his best back two years ago when the Bruins swept the Canadiens. Lucic was the best player on the ice and EVERYONE was scared of him. Let's hope he brings it come the playoffs, because I think he has another level.Third, the Celtics biggest flaw over the last two years has been their inability to close games and score in the fourth quarter in the half-court offense. I think it is because it's easier to defend the C's when both Rondo and Perk were on the floor, since neither can shoot. So in that light, do you think Danny made this trade because having Krstic gives them that fourth offensive option and help the fourth-quarter stall? I don't know if I like the trade. I didn't at first, but I guess we will see!DaveWoburn

Agreed on your Bruins points. And, yes, I think the Cs made the Perkins trade with offense in mind. Sure, Green will be another guy to defend wing players, but no one can make the argument the Cs are better defensively without Perk. But they should be better on the other end. I dont think its the right approach, but well see.

Felgy,I agree with your assessment that the Bs lack of a dynamic forward (or two) canwill hurt them in the late rounds of the playoffs. So whats the solution? They dont have enough cap space to sign Brad Richards this summer. Even if they did, theres no guarantee hed sign here. In my eyes theres only one way the Bruins could bring in that type of superstar player. Offer up Tyler Seguin AND David Krejci AND Torontos pick to the highest bidder this summer. The Penguins would make that deal for Malkin in a heartbeat. L.A. would consider it for Kopitar. Chicago might pull that trigger for Patrick Kane given his lifestyle issues and their lack of depth. Calgary would definitely send Iginla to Boston for that package. Maybe Carolina decides an overhaul is needed and theyd be willing to part with Eric Staal.So here is my question to you, Felgy. Let's assume, for the sake of this exercise, the Bs lose in the conference Finals to Philly. Come June, would you have the stones to move Seguin, Krejci and that pick (somewhere between 6-10 overall) for any of the players I mentioned?? Would you trade that package for any player NOT named Crosby, Ovechkin, Sedin, Zetterberg or Datsyuk?? If your answer is NO, then I wonder what Plan B would be.High Life Mike

I wouldnt do that, Mike. Too much. Iginla is way too old. Malkin is now an injury risk. I LOVE Kane, but youre right about his off-ice stuff. Kopitar and Staal, not quite. Did you mention Nash? Thats a maybe. But, overall, Id rather wait on Seguin.

Felgy,I believe the media's coverage of the NFL labor story has been one-sided, predictable and ideologically driven. While I'm not necessarily pro-owners, I find their case compelling for one reason: I always knew the NFL success was real, but a little exaggerated. When Forbes, for example, announced that the Kansas City Chiefs were more valuable than the Red Sox, I knew something didn't make sense. Revenue sharing has distorted a lot of peoples' perceptions of the NFL.And here's the fundamental point: The NFL has peaked. The idea that, under the current model, growth will forever continue is based upon falsehoods. For roughly three or four years now, there's been a dramatic decrease in tax, ticket and broadcasting revenues -- while players' salaries have spiked by roughly 50 percent since 1999. Because the NFL is slowly declining and most markets are tapped, new ventures by the owners are necessary to generate more revenue. In addition to overhead, that's what the additional 1 billion would be devoted to.Another key point is the struggle between the owners. This labor dispute, I would argue, is equally owners v. owners as it is owners v. players with respect to revenue sharing. The misperception is that under the NFL's current model, everyone wins -- that sharing earnings has leveled off inequalities between both markets, big and small. However, the more you listen to the more prominent owners, the more you begin to realize that the small-market problem nags pro football like it does every other sport. Nobody, including the NFL, has figured it out. While I'm not necessarily pro-owners, I think they do have a point in the end: This league has peaked. These current players wouldn't want to remain status quo if the CBA didn't favor them. Thanks,GregManchester NH

Signed, Jonathan Kraft.

Seriously, its an interesting opinion. I disagree with it, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

So what if the current deal is a good one for the players? So youre saying the only way the league can work is if the NFLPA takes a bad one? Ridiculous. And you lose me when you say theres been a dramatic decrease in broadcast revenue. Where do you get that from? Every TV deal the league signs is bigger than the last.

But you are absolutely right about big market-vs.-small market thing. In my mind, it only furthers the case of the players. Robert Kraft and Ralph Wilson cant figure out how to split the money, so instead of hammering it out among themselves, theyre trying to take it from the players and cover the problem.

Now we have this latest garbage where the owners will only show the players their alleged profits, not a detailed accounting. If Im the players I just get it over with and sue. Its obvious the owners arent interested in doing a deal.

Hey, Felger,So the NBA trade deadline came and the C's went against everything they've been saying the last two years. ("This starting five has never lost in the playoffs.") I believe it was a stupid move. The Green Teamers talked to us, the fans, like we're idiots, saying they like the trade for this year. That's ridiculous. The trade might work out in the end, because as much as I liked Perkins, he was a disaster offensively. But I believe Danny looked at the future and got scared. Miami, New York and Chicago will pass the Celtics by next year, and maybe this year. So he's already starting to get together what he needs to make a play for the big man in Orlando. So as big a Green Teamer as I am, tell your coworkers to try and keep it real. That crap they fed us all week was moronic.JuanFitchburg

Signed, Felger.

Mr. Basketball,First of all, I never thought I'd hear you talk basketball for three straight days, never mind be absolutely 100 percent correct on the Celtics. The Green Teamers have made a certain television sitcom star seem sane this past week. This Celts team has this year and maybe next year left to be legitimate title contenders, with this year certainly being their best chance. Why not load up for this year and make the best run you can? There's no way trading away your starting center for a backup wing makes you better this year, never mind the locker room love for Perk. And if I have to hear about Jermaine O'Neal coming back one more time I'm going to snap. To quote the Green Teamers: "watch the games!" Jermaine has been luggage for the past two years.Keep it up with the hot basketball takes!MikeMalden

The only part of that I reject is the "locker room love" thing. Their chemistry will be fine. The issue will be their interior defense. Check back in the playoffs.

Hey, Felger,I am married to a fine Brazilian woman and have been to Rio. You need to lay off Brady because he was just trying to assimilate. I am sure you dance worse than him and do not have a NFL MVP. Viva Brasil!!!!ErikHyannis

Sorry, but I think Tommy is past the point of "trying" to assimilate. Hes a full-fledged Latin-loverEuro-weenie.

HEY, FELGER,You're lookin' a little "Charlie Sheen-nish." You okay, bud?StephenFall River

Not sure. After watching the Bruins this week I could certainly use some of his drugs.

Hey, Felger,Will you please stop with the BORING HOCKEY talk on the radio. It sucks, the team is irrelevant, and hockey talk isn't interesting. Just a bunch of fat women and fake tough men talking about boring hockey.MikeBoston

Signed, the province of Quebec.

Read Felgers weekly column on Mondays. E-mail him HERE and read the mailbag on Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Morning Skate: Star players must get more involved in CBA negotiations to make Olympics a reality

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Morning Skate: Star players must get more involved in CBA negotiations to make Olympics a reality

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling that we’re just now learning about the massive rap skills of the brotherly duo of Andrew and Pete Frates. 

 

*Ken Campbell from the Hockey News says that if influential players, like Connor McDavid, want to go to the Olympics then they need to get more involved in the CBA negotiations

 

*Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang shows what a class act he is by taking the Stanley Cup to a children’s hospital in Montreal.

 

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Minnesota Wild looking to find long term deals for both restricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. That was pretty clear when they chose to deal off Marco Scandella in order to clear up some cap space to afford both of them. 

 

*The Edmonton Oilers are going to face higher expectations for next season, and are willing to embrace that kind of pressure.

 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance wonders aloud whether there will be any offer sheets coming for restricted free agents. I appreciate Craig wanting to add a little more intrigue to the NHL’s offseason, but it isn’t going to happen as long as GMs are treated like they have small pox once they go that route with an offer sheet. Take a look at the future job prospects for general managers that went with offer sheets in the past, and you’ll see why GMs simply don’t do them. This is why the Bruins are uncomfortable with David Pastrnak sitting unsigned as a restricted free agent, but not overly concerned that he’s going to sign a mega-offer sheet elsewhere.  

 

*The CCM hockey brand is apparently changing hands from its former home at Adidas

 

*For something completely different: Speaking of Pete Frates, MLB has announced a fundraising drive for ALS research in his name. 

Haggerty: Spooner deal represents his last chance with Bruins

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Haggerty: Spooner deal represents his last chance with Bruins

The Bruins and Ryan Spooner wisely came to a contract agreement on a one-year, $2.825 million deal just prior to the start of Wednesday’s arbitration hearing. Don Sweeney hasn’t yet taken a B’s player to arbitration during his three years running the Black and Gold, and it could have grown unnecessarily contentious with a player like Spooner if they’d been forced to point out his flaws as a player in the uncomfortable setting of an arbitration hearing.

“It’s a fair deal for both sides in our opinion,” said Spooner’s agent Murray Kuntz to CSN after the one-year contract had been agreed upon. 

Now that Spooner has been signed to the one-year deal, it represents the last chance for the 25-year-old to show some growth as a player if he wants to be a member of the Bruins for much. Spooner has averaged 12 goals and 44 points over the last two seasons as Boston’s third line center, and has amassed 35 PP points while serving as the trigger man on Boston’s power play from the right-side half-wall. 

But he dropped from 49 points two seasons ago to 39 points last year, and didn’t exactly flourish under the more offensive-minded coaching of Bruce Cassidy. 

Spooner is an excellent special teams player and has been one of the key ingredients in Boston finishing with the NHL’s 7th ranked power play in each of the last two seasons. But he tailed off badly late last season after suffering a concussion, and showed so much tentativeness in his overall game that he became a healthy scratch by the end of Boston’s first round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators. Spooner also continues to sit under a 40 percent success rate in the face-off circle, and shows little consistent interest in winning one-on-one battles anywhere along the ice.

The work on the draws is something, in particular, that comes down to hard work and diligence at practice, and should be an area Spooner can become at least average while practicing every day against a face-off maestro like Patrice Bergeron.  

All of this might be easier to overlook if he consistently utilized his excellent skating speed and considerable skill level to create offense during 5-on-5 play, but that hasn’t been the case enough over the last couple of seasons. A one-year deal for $2.85 gives Spooner one last opportunity to show some growth in those areas with the Bruins, and if he doesn’t then it should be fully expected the Bruins will rekindle trade discussions around Spooner. 

His situation is unmistakable: Spooner isn't going to be a top-6 center with the B's because Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are firmly entrenched at this spots, and Spooner really doesn't have the right skill set to be a fourth line center. So it's third line center or bust for Spooner as the internal competition grows around him. 

Spooner is now 25 years old and should no longer be viewed as a young player that’s still in the development phase. He should be close to a finished NHL product, and may not get demonstrably better in any area of his game if he doesn’t show it this upcoming season. He was one of the main pieces discussed when the Bruins talked trade with the Minnesota Wild prior to them dealing Marco Scandella to Buffalo, and there is clearly trade value for the former second round pick. 

But the Bruins also have a potential third line center replacement in Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson after signing him out of Boston University at the end of last season. Forsbacka Karlsson may need some AHL time to start this season after looking overmatched in his only NHL appearance late last season, but he’s the eventual two-way center replacement for Spooner in the long term. 

Forsbacka Karlsson may not be as fast or as flashy as Spooner, but he projects to be better on draws, better at winning battles and puck possession and better at being more difficult to play against while boasting his own set of offensive skills. 

It’s now up to Spooner to win that training camp competition with Forsbacka Karlsson for his current third line center position, and protect his own spot on the B’s roster by playing like his very job security depends on it. If he doesn’t show that kind of urgency and hop to his game right from the start of training camp, then it’s only a matter of time before he becomes trade fodder at a salary cap number ($2.825 million) that should be easy to move.

It’s no hyperbole to say that Spooner is entering his final chance with the Black and Gold after avoiding arbitration, and it’s wholly up to him to dictate exactly how long it lasts for.