Boychuk energized by stint with Red Bulls in Austria

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Boychuk energized by stint with Red Bulls in Austria

If you see Johnny Boychuk around town, please dont buy him a Red Bull.

The Bruins defenseman returned last weekend from Austria after a two-month stint playing for the EC Salzburg Red Bulls, and said that the teams facilities lived up to their team name.

In other words the only thing to drink in the locker room and practice facilities was Red Bull energy drinks. Now thats certainly something most players would love to get fully pumped before a hockey game, sometimes the situation calls for a Gatorade or a bottled water. Nowhere to be found, said Boychuk, but at least the tap water was delicious in Austria.

So it goes without saying that the 28-year-old Boychuk is happy to be back in Boston where his favorite flavor of Gatorade is always fully stocked -- and where hes signed on for the next three years to continue his role as a hard-hitting, big-shooting guardian of the blue line. But he also appreciated the chance to be one of the NHL-high 12 Bruins players that skated over in Europe, and get into the kind of game shape that will help jump right into the fray.

It was kind of like I wanted to go and play somewhere and get into actual game shape, and work hard while I was there, said Boychuk. I heard you have to work really hard, so it was good. We rode the bike a lot and you got in shape really quick there. That was a key part of going there, was getting into competitive hockey, too.

Boychuk said simply in words that will put Bs fans at ease: Im ready.

The hard-working defenseman finished with eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) in 15 games in Salzburg, and clearly enjoyed more of an offensive role with the Red Bulls. Energy drinks might have been at the heart of some of the greater offensive output, but it was also a matter of a more aggressive offensive philosophy for the Austrian defensemen.

It was a little bit different, he said. The coach wanted us to jump up in the play more and it helped up a lot.

Now I just want to step my game up a little bit more every year and play well defensively and when theres a chance to jump up there offensively I will.

That leaves Boychuk as one of five projected Bruins defensemen that played regularly throughout the lockout, and gives Boston a serious leg up on some of the competition.

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”