Chara plays to win, even in an All-Star Game


Chara plays to win, even in an All-Star Game

KANATA, Ont. Zdeno Chara said he didnt have to say a thing to anyone on his team in the third period before they turned on the after-burners and scored six goals en route to the 12-9 victory over Team Alfredsson at the NHL All-Star Game Sunday at Scotiabank Place.
Well, maybe the Bs captain was stretching the truth just a little bit.
Just ask Jarome Iginla about Charas intensity when the exhibition game was still in question during the third period. Thats when the 6-foot-9 defenseman turned more winning machine than man, and perhaps thats a little something Iginla hasnt had enough of in Calgary lately.
I gave that one away near the end and Chara asked me if I was playing on their team for that one shift, said Iginla with a smile on his face. Once you get out there, you dont really like to be scored on.
Chara wanted to win. Hes competitive. He thought I gave that pass up on purpose instead of sending our guys 2-on-1 . . . I gave them a 3-on-2 at our blue line. I assured him it wasnt on purpose.
Once Chara had that assurance, the rest was up to him to finish off the perfect All-Star weekend in an NHL setting where he had four wonderful seasons at the beginning of his NHL career. Chara popped the game-winning goal in the third period from the right faceoff circle after stepping into the play, and made it a storybook weekend all-around. Everything on Sunday was supported by Charas 108.8-mph slapshot that electrified the Skills Competition crowd, and left him with a smile on his face knowing an All-Star weekend cant be much better for him.
That was my first shot, I think, of the game, said Chara. Its nice to score in the All-Star game. I was surprised I was open and put it in the net. I was more focused on staying back and not being something Im not. I enjoyed myself. The city of Ottawa and the organization did a really great job.
We had great teams, lots of fun with the draft and with the guys inside the locker room. You cant ask for anything better, right? Its a break so we treated it that way. We wanted to enjoy ourselves and have fun . . . most of all, we wanted to put on a good show. We wanted to play and show the skills when theres a time to show them, and when theres a time to relax and take a break then do that.
Bruins coach Claude Julien watched up close and personal as Chara assisted in directing the entire weekend of All-Star events, and showed the kind of intelligence, strength and surprising charm that everyone in Boston already know the Bs captain possesses. Hes become one of the NHLs most recognizable stars in terms of stature and presence, and All-Star weekend simply helped hammer that point home.
Youre always proud of your guys. Zee was a great ambassador just like the Senators' Daniel Alfredsson was, said Julien. For both teams I dont think you could have picked better individuals for people that could have been ambassadors. They took their jobs seriously and really did their homework well.
Chara and Alfredsson are both modest. They have the kind of athletic ability where they could make more of it, but they always put others in front of them. Even when he was picking other guys for competitions he would always put himself last after the others. Thats what makes Zee pretty special. Hes a great guy team and a guy that really cares. Not just as a person, but even as a player. With a guy thats strong like that and big like that, if he didnt respect the players he played against there would be a lot of injuries. Hes tapered his game to the point where hes still effective, but hes not dangerous.
The All-Star weekend was supposed to all about Alfredsson, and the classy Senators captain got his due. But the once-favored son of Ottawa that eventually defected to Boston certainly made the weekend his as well.

Webber, Massimino among the Hall of Fame finalists


Webber, Massimino among the Hall of Fame finalists

NEW ORLEANS - Chris Webber and Rollie Massimino are one step from the Hall of Fame.

The career 20-point-per-game NBA scorer and the coach who led Villanova to a stunning upset of Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA championship game were among the 14 finalists unveiled Saturday for this year's Basketball Hall of Fame induction class.

Webber played 15 seasons with five franchises, plus was part of Michigan's famed "Fab Five" group that headlined college basketball in the early 1990s.

"I don't know what I'm most proud of," said Webber, who averaged 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds in his career and was a five-time NBA All-Star. "I'm proud to be in the room with all these great individuals."

Other first-time Hall of Fame finalists include longtime NBA referee Hugh Evans, Connecticut women's star Rebecca Lobo, two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady, five-time All-Star Sidney Moncrief, Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey, Kansas coach Bill Self, and two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich.

"I still can't believe I'm here," McGrady said. "This is not even a dream come true."

Previous finalists returning to the ballot include star point guard and Olympic gold medalist Tim Hardaway, winningest all-time boys high school coach Robert Hughes, Notre Dame women's coach Muffet McGraw, former Wisconsin coach and four-time Division III national champion Bo Ryan and 10-time AAU women's national champion team Wayland Baptist University.

"We are grateful to the 14 finalists in the Class of 2017 for the impact they have had on the game we cherish," Basketball Hall of Fame Chairman Jerry Colangelo said. "To be named a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame is an incredible accomplishment."

Inductees will be announced at the Final Four on April 3. Enshrinement ceremonies in Springfield, Massachusetts are scheduled for Sept. 7-9.

Massimino, now an 82-year-old cancer survivor who is still coaching at NAIA school Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Florida, is a finalist for the first time. His Hall of Fame hopes have been backed by plenty of current and former coaches in recent months - including current Villanova coach Jay Wright, who presented Massimino with a championship ring from the Wildcats' 2016 NCAA title.

"Some days, we do take him for granted," Keiser guard Andrija Sarenac said. "But then you see him on TV so much, you see all these videos made about him, the movies about Villanova and everything, and it just hits you. You realize that he's a legend. I mean, your coach is a walking legend. With the energy and everything he comes in with, it's inspiring."

Finalists need 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee to be enshrined. Among this year's candidates who did not make the finalist group: Muggsy Bogues, Ben Wallace, Kevin Johnson, Maurice Cheeks, Mark Price, Lefty Driesell and Eddie Sutton.

Former New York Times sports writer Harvey Araton and former Turner Sports broadcaster Craig Sager will be recognized during Hall of Fame weekend as this year's Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients.

"A tremendous honor," said Sager's wife Stacy.

This year's lifetime achievement award recipients are former UConn coach Donald "Dee" Rowe and Michael Goldberg, who spent nearly four decades as executive director of the NBA Coaches Association. Goldberg died earlier this year.

"He bridged the gap between ownership and coaches," said New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry, who spoke about Goldberg on Saturday while wearing a bow tie - one of the signature wardrobe accessories that Goldberg donned for years. "He was just such a great guy."

Dombrowski: There's a lot of talent on this Red Sox team

Dombrowski: There's a lot of talent on this Red Sox team

Trenni Kusnierek talks with Dave Dombrowski about the Red Sox clubhouse and their expectations for the 2017 season.