Morning Skate 52: Ference proud of US Armed Forces

191545.jpg

Morning Skate 52: Ference proud of US Armed Forces

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

PHILADELPHIA Sometimes even in the insulated, self-obsessed world of professional sports there are appropriate times to take a break for a dose of reality.One of those rare nights took place on Sunday night into Monday morning as news practically shot out of a cannonball that a team of CIA and Navy SEAL operatives took out Osama bin Laden in his hideaway compound in Pakistan. The media was talking about it, players were talking about, it and the coaches were talking about it as bits of information mounted. People began to wonder what it will be like when Lauren Hart sings God Bless America along with the late Kate Smith prior to tonights Game 2 at the Wells Fargo Center, and spontaneous USA chants erupted at Sunday night sporting events.Obviously most of the Bruins players are Canadian-born and prefaced any statements with that little bit of info, but many guys like Andrew Ference have planted roots in the Boston area and have become friends with many Bs fans actively serving their country and joining in the hunt for bin Laden over the last 10 years.Ference said his mind was on those people Monday morning, and on others who wouldnt be at rest until justice was served with the terrorist leader that set the 911 tragedy in motion.I texted my friend Lucas right away and said did you guys get him because theyve all been watching Bruins games over there, said Ference, referencing a US Army Ranger hes befriended from Massachusetts. Weve been keeping tabs with them, and I know hed been out for a couple of days because he told me they were going to go out hunting for bad guys.
I texted him right away. He was excited because he said there were a lot of sleepless nights searching for Bin Laden. Im really proud of those guys, you know? I didnt feel it myself, but knowing them and how they put their butts on the line for us. To get a victory like that is pretty cool.With that in mind in these historic last couple of days, on to the links: ESPN.coms Scott Burnside with an excellent column depicting the mixed emotions of Ace Baileys family members after hearing that Osama bin Laden had been killed and Baileys death on one of the doomed flights to Los Angeles had finally been met with some level of justice. Did you know that goaltenders are superstitious? Yeah, not a surprise but these stories are always a lot of fun. Interesting story about Zdeno Chara getting a memo from the NHL after he was spotted sipping a Coca Cola to get a little sugar and caffeine rush during Game 7 against the Montreal Canadiens. A Wayne Gretzky rookie card gets almost 100,000 at an auction held for collectors with a whole lotta dough. Youve heard of the Colin Campbell Wheel of Justice? Well, heres the game of Peter Laviolette goalie roulette in Philadelphia from the Stanley Cup of Chowder. Where it stops nobody knows. The NHL is cracking down the antics of the Green Men. For shame, Gary Bettman. One of the best things about the NHL is that they very rarely get into the Fun Police zone normally inhabited by the NFL. Retired Bruins great Bob Sweeney speaks with WEEI about his familys feelings after hearing bin Laden was killed a relevant subject given that Sweeneys sister-in-law was a flight attendant on one of the doomed flights. Retired FDNY member Steve Boehm also goes onto WEEI and gives a moving account of his feelings on a historically significant day around the United States and specifically for the New York City area that was impacted so brutally by the World Trade Center disaster.TSN reporter Darren Dreger has the account of the San Jose Sharks trying to get into Jimmy Howards head by continuing to spray him with ice chips during their playoff series. A nice piece by RLD Hockeys Ryan Porth on Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne dominating in the Preds series against the Vancouver Canucks.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

bruins_austin_czarnik_082916.jpg

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

cp-morning-skate.jpg

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.