The ever elusive goalie fight

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The ever elusive goalie fight

By Jon Fucile
WickedGoodSports.com

There are some events in hockey that dont happen every day. Rare events that fans talk about for months. A single player scoring five goals in a game. A good, thunderous open ice hit that sends an opposing player flying. Blake Wheeler staying onsides.

But the rarest of them all . . . is the goalie fight.

Yes, every time there is a brawl everyones eyes immediately go to the goalies. Hearts race if the goalie even moves. Is he going to sprint down the ice and attack the other goalie? Is he going to pummel the other goalie with his blocker?

Bruins fans may fondly remember Lord Byron Dafoes willingness to drop the gloves . . . er, glove and blocker and throw some haymakers.

Generally we go home disappointed as the goalies just watch the action unfold. On Wednesday night, the Pittsburgh crowd was treated to one of these rare events and Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro is still searching the Pittsburgh ice for his manhood.

With less than a minute left in the game, the Penguins dumped the puck into the Islanders zone and Matt Cooke chased after it. DiPietro waited for Cooke to skate by and then he took Cooke down WWF style.

Were sure Bruins fans love that, but take the fact that it was Matt Cooke out of the equation for a second. Basically, an opposing player just happened to be skating near the crease and Rick DiPietro closelined the guy. There are so many reasons why that was stupid.

First, why did Ricky boy think he was going to get away with that? Could not have been more blatant.

Second, did he think there would be no retaliation? His team was getting beat on the scoreboard and apparently he wanted his team to get beat down in their faces and DiPietro doesnt exactly have a reputation for being tough. His teammates saved him from the wrath of the Penguins . . . temporarily.

Third, the guy is injured every other week. Seriously. Look up DiPietros history. There was a 90 percent chance he would shatter his elbow throwing that hit. Big risk he was taking.

While a scrum developed in the corner and DiPietro watched on, a wondrous sound came through the TV. The crowd was erupting and it wasnt because of the fights in the corner. Pittsburgh goalie Brent Johnson had left his crease and was making his entrance WWE style!

Then Rick compounded his stupidity by engaging the approaching Johnson. Huge mistake. The two circled each other briefly and then locked.

What DiPietro didnt know is that Brent Johnson throws a punch like Mike Tyson in his prime.

What was going through Rick DiPietros mind during all of this?
1) Brent Johnsons fist.
2) Wow, its been a week since Ive been on the IR. I should get my face punched.
3) I hope he didnt mess my hair up. Gotta look pretty in the press box.
4) I have to call my mom . . . Im going to be on SportsCenter!
5) Playing for the Islanders has some positives . . . Im already used to losing!

The best part of this clip is DiPietros face the second he realizes Johnsons fist is a centimeter away from his face. Fantastic.

Picture courtesy of The Pensblog

On the plus side for DiPietro, instead of being known as that overpaid goalie with the ridiculously long contract that is always hurt hell now be known as that overpaid goalie with the ridiculously long contract that went down like a punk after one punch.

Solid decision Rick. If you can remember what just happened to you, maybe youll make better life choices next time.

Isaiah Thomas still unsure whether hip will require surgery

Isaiah Thomas still unsure whether hip will require surgery

WALTHAM, Mass. –  Isaiah Thomas said it will be at least another month before he and the Boston Celtics will know for sure if he’ll need surgery on his right hip or an alternative means of treatment.

“Take it day by day and whatever happens in the next four to six weeks, then go from there and attack that as is,” Thomas said on Friday.

Thomas took a hard spill on his right hip against Minnesota on March 15, and re-aggravated the injury during Boston’s second-round series against Washington. The Celtics’ medical staff treated the injury for several weeks, but the pain began to increase and the potential risk of it becoming a long-term problem only grew.

In the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to Cleveland in the conference finals, the hip began to severely limit his play which was evident by him scoring two points in the first half of that game while missing all six of his shots from the field.

The Celtics medical team examined him at halftime and determined that in the best interest of his long-term health, he had to be shut down for the rest of the playoffs.

Needless to say, that did not go over well with Thomas.

“They had multiple people come in and talk to me about what’s more important,” Thomas recalled. “I definitely wasn’t trying to hear that at that point in time.”

Not only because of his competitive nature, but also because the Celtics were in the Conference finals for the first time since 2012.

“Conference finals, that’s the biggest stage I’ve ever been on,” Thomas said. “To not be able to go back out there in the second half … was painful; it hurt me.”

Now Thomas finds himself having to be patient and allow his body to heal up, realizing the big picture – his future – has to take precedence over what he’s accustomed to this time of year which is to take a couple weeks off and get right back in the gym to start working on his game and prepping for next season.

Not only is this a big summer in terms of him getting his body right, but he’s also eligible for a contract extension.

When asked about an extension, Thomas quipped, “That means more money? I’d love that.”

He added, “if it don’t happen, I'm the last person to be bothered by that. I know everything happens for a reason. So when my time comes, I know … God will bless me.”

The two-time all-star will earn just $6.26 million in the final year of the four-year, $27 million deal he signed in 2014 with Phoenix.

While being hurt isn’t ideal when talks center around an extension, Thomas isn’t overly concerned about his contract status and whether or not it changes this summer.

“That time will come. Whatever happens, happens,” Thomas said. “I’ve proved myself. The world knows what I bring to the table. I can’t do anything to control anything else. Whatever happens this summer with contracts, it happens. If not, we’ll wait until next summer and see where we go.”

While his contract status may be unclear, there’s no mistaking that Thomas wants to stay in Boston long-term.

“Boston has changed my career, changed my life,” said Thomas who came to Boston via trade in February of 2015. “I’d love to be here long-term and win championships here. As you guys know it’s a business; anything can happen. And I know that, I understand that. I would love to be here. This has been everything to me.”

BYU's Harvey Langi ready to prove why Patriots showed him the money

BYU's Harvey Langi ready to prove why Patriots showed him the money

FOXBORO -- Harvey Langi played multiple positions across multiple colleges. Bill Belichick made sure the undrafted linebacker’s next move was to New England. 

After the Patriots made just four draft picks, they gave the BYU product a contract that guaranteed $100,000 of his base salary along with a $15,000 signing bonus; by comparison, most of the Patriots’ undrafted free agent signings this offseason have gotten guarantees of around $20,000 or less. 

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Since the Patriots paid Langi like a draft pick -- basically like a fifth-rounder -- why didn’t they just draft him? They had the opportunity, as they entered the final two rounds with a sixth-round pick and a seventh remaining. They packaged both to move up in the sixth and take UCLA tackle Conor McDermott, ending their draft.

Seeing the Patriots finish picking early must have been disheartening for Langi, as New England had shown ample interest in him ahead of the draft. Then again, there’s more than one way to guarantee you get the player, and the Pats did that with Langi’s contract. 

“With all that, it’s in the past now,” Langi said this week. “They showed interest. I was, of course, interested in anyone and everyone, but when the Patriots were looking at me, I was super pumped because of the program that is run here. It was awesome.”

A native of South Jordan, Utah, Langi landed at BYU after beginning his college career as a running back for the University of Utah. While at Utah, Langi ran for 70 yards on 13 careers. Following his transfer to BYU, Langi moved around positionally, but was primarily a linebacker and defensive end. He continued to see reps as a running back, rushing for two touchdowns last season as a senior. 

As far as his candidacy for the NFL goes, the 6-foot-2, 251-pounder looks to be best cut-out for linebacker. Specifically, an NFC West scout said that BYU did him a “real disservice” by playing him on the edge and that he should be used at middle linebacker. As a senior, he had 57 tackles, five for a loss and two sacks.  

Langi will have company in the middle, but that’s where being an undrafted player comes in. There is no immediate pressure for him to be any sort of game-breaker, but if he can use his athleticism to make the 53-man roster as a special-teamer and one of Dont’a Hightower’s backups, he’ll have the opportunity to try to develop into someone worthy of defensive snaps. 

For now, it’s a new start for Langi, but one he feels could be the start of something promising. 

“Those first steps are just steps,” Langi said. “That’s what I’m trying to do, is just keep taking more steps. When I did take a step in the building, the feeling was just like, ‘Gosh.’ Ever since you’ve been a kid, this program and how coach runs his program and how everything is done here in New England, it was an amazing feeling walking through those doors, for sure. Surreal.”