Boxing referee expelled from Olympics

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Boxing referee expelled from Olympics

From Comcast SportsNet
LONDON (AP) -- A boxing referee from Turkmenistan was expelled from the London Olympics on Thursday for his handling of a bout in which the result was overturned on appeal. Boxing's governing federation, known as AIBA, released a statement saying referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov "is on his way back home." The federation also suspended German referee Frank Scharmach five days for his decision to disqualify an Iranian heavyweight, and expelled technical official Aghajan Abiyev of Azerbaijan. "I deeply regret that we had to take these decisions," AIBA President C.K. Wu said. "However, our main concern has been and will always be the protection of the integrity and fair play of our competitions. I will take all possible steps to reinforce this." Both sanctioned referees made unusual decisions during Wednesday night's card. In a bantamweight bout, Magomed Abdulhamidov of Azerbaijan fell to the canvas six times in the third round against Satoshi Shimizu of Japan, yet still won a 22-17 decision. Meretnyyazov allowed the fight to continue after each tumble, and he enraged the Japanese team by fixing the headgear worn by Abdulhamidov, who had to be helped from the ring after winning. AIBA overturned the result late Wednesday night, saying Meretnyyazov should have counted at least three knockdowns and stopped the bout. Iranian heavyweight Ali Mazaheri was disqualified in his bout with Cuba's Jose Larduet after several warnings for holding from Scharmach, who finally waved off the fight midway through the second round. The stoppage seemed quick to the booing crowd, and Mazaheri, who stood with his arms outstretched and eventually left the ring without shaking hands with Larduet or Scharmach. Mazaheri claimed the result was "a fix" and "a setup." Scharmach is suspended through Tuesday's Olympic fights, but the disqualification stands. The federation did not specify what Abiyev had done to earn expulsion, saying only that he had committed "a number of breaches" of its code of conduct. International technical officials aren't referees or judges, but perform numerous duties around the ring during competition regarding everything from the draw to medical rulings and equipment management.

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

Bruce Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity' in times of adversity

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.