Zanon ready to bring his 'warrior' game to the Bruins


Zanon ready to bring his 'warrior' game to the Bruins

Greg Zanon doesnt have the kind of skill set thats going to jump out and take your breath away.

The former Minnesota Wild defenseman isnt the swiftest skater and hes not a gifted playmaker from the blue line, but he brings a warrior mentality and attributes that help hockey teams win games. All anybody has to know is that New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi is the only player in the NHL that blocked more than Zanons 212 blocked shots last year.

Its the hard hits and blocked shots that fit the 31-year-old Zanon right into the hard to play against mold and make him the biggest difference-maker that the Bruins acquired at the trade deadline. For a team that values the things that dont show up on the scoresheet and covet toughness over just about anything else, Zanon will right in with a banged up Bruins team.

Obviously the Bruins are a good defensive team. They play that physical style. Watching last year when they were making the run to the Cup, they beat up on teams just with their physical play and being able to get up and down the ice the way they do, said Zanon. I just hope I can fit in with my physical aspect of the game. Obviously Ill do anything to try to prevent a goal and just do anything that the team needs me to do.

Theyll let me know what somewhat of what my role is going to be when I get there, but the only thing I can do is come and just play the way Ive played my whole career. Hopefully it takes care of itself.

Many of the things that Zanon does well defensively sound eerily similar to Dennis Seidenberg: he blocks shots, creates a physical presence in the defensive end and can seemingly play through any level of physical pounding from attackers and fore-checkers.Zanons career-highs offensively are four goals scored, 13 assists and 15 points, so he wont be a power play factor or an attack zone force other teams will have to account for.

But with Zanon and Mike Mottau added to the Bruins defensemen mix, the Bs have eight available blueliners when Johnny Boychuk gets healthy from his mild concussion. Zanon wont be in Boston in time for Tuesdays morning skate prior to tonights game against the Senators, but it will be interesting to see how the defensive pairings change once he fully gets into the fold.

Were going to have eight defensemen with Johnny Boychuk healthy, so theres going to be two that are out there. Well figure that out over time, said Chiarelli, who has tracked Zanons career since he was drafted by the Ottawa Senators while playing at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. I dont know who will be in to start. Maybe the two guys we added wont be in to start when Johnnys healthy. Im not sure yet.

Weve had discussions with our coach leading up to this: that if we were to acquire should he play. We talked about these players prior to making the deal, so its a work in progress.It appears that adding some left-handed shot defensemen allows the Bruins to slide Dennis Seidenberg back up with Zdeno Chara as a top shutdown D pairing a la last years playoff run. It also provides a competitive message to a struggling defenseman like Joe Corvo that the Bruins have other answers if he cant consistently step up his game, and that a spot in the playoff lineup is not a given.

Theres a very real possibility that Corvos short-comings in the defensive zone will be exploited heavily by opponents once the Bruins get into the thick of the playoffs, and both Mottau and Zanon provided defensively sounder alternatives. Even better the Bruins now have plenty of defensemen as the war of attrition begins in the postseason as blueliners can begin to take a pounding.

Last year the Bruins only had a fading veteran with great leadership (Shane Hnidy) and a wide-eyed rookie (Steve Kampfer) behind their top-six defensemen, and there will not be a repeat of that situation this year.

I just want to come and do what Ive been doing in the league now for six years: just being myself, playing physical, trying to move the puck as quick as I can, solid on the PK, doing whatever I can to prevent the puck from going in our net, said Zanon. Maybe once in a while chipping in on offense at the other end.

Zanon doesnt need to do much at the offensive end to fulfill what the Bruins envisioned in giving up Steve Kampfer for him. Hes meat-and-potatoes all the way at the defenseman position, and thats exactly what the Bruins are looking for at this time of year.

MLB ump saves woman attempting to jump from Pittsburgh bridge


MLB ump saves woman attempting to jump from Pittsburgh bridge

PITTSBURGH -- John Tumpane can't explain why he approached the woman as she hopped over the railing of the Roberto Clemente Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.

The woman told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below. The look on her face and the tone of her voice suggested otherwise to Tumpane, a major league baseball umpire in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays.

So the 34-year-old Tumpane reached for the woman even as she urged him to let her go.

"It was just pure instinct," Tumpane said . "You hear kind of stories of this all the time, different scenarios, people aiding and situation where I was lucky enough to be there to help and try to think of everything I could do, hanging on to her. At times she wanted to go the other way. I was like, 'not on my watch, please.' We were just hanging on."

And saving a life.

Tumpane secured one of her arms. A bystander walked up and grabbed the other while another -- Mike Weinman, an employee for the Rays -- clutched her legs and pinned them to the railing while Tumpane mouthed to someone in the crowd to call 911.

What followed were chaotic moments of panic, fear and ultimately, grace.

"I couldn't tell you how long we were waiting for everyone else to get in place," Tumpane said. 'Obviously another power comes into be when you're hanging on and you know what the alternative is of you letting go and not having other people to help you."

Tumpane, Weinman and the third volunteer clung to the unidentified woman until emergency responders arrived. A police boat raced up the river to the iconic yellow bridge named for the Pirates Hall of Famer who died on Dec. 31, 1972, when a plane making humanitarian deliveries to earthquake victims in Nicaragua crashed. Now, 45 years later a crowd thrust together by fate brought a complete stranger back from the brink. Together.

"Once they were able to secure her, we were able to talk her back to help us out and we got her back on this side," Tumpane said. "After that I went up to her, she said, 'You'll just forget me after this' and I said, 'No, I'll never forget you.' This was an unbelievable day and I'm glad to say she can have another day with us and I'm glad I was in the right place at the right time."

Tumpane, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, got into umpiring as a teenager, made his major-league debut in 2012 and received his full-time MLB commission in 2016, stressed he's no hero.

"I just happened to be there," he said. "I think I've been a caring person in my life. I saw somebody in need, and it looked like a situation to obviously insert myself and help out."

The aftermath was a bit surreal. After the woman was taken away, Tumpane called his wife, his arms still shaking.

"Not too many times you call your wife and say you helped save somebody's life," he said. "A really special moment."

One that stayed with him even as he prepared to call balls and strikes behind home plate Wednesday night. During breaks in the action his eyes would drift to the bridge just a few hundred feet behind the center field wall at PNC Park.

"It's also hard when you stand back behind home plate and look and you see the bridge in the distance, In between innings and whatnot, just thinking of how things could have maybe been," he said. "Glad it was this way."

Tumpane has no experience in crisis management or suicide prevention. He's spent 16 years living the nomadic life of an umpire. Asked what was going through his head while he tried to coax the woman back to safety, Tumpane just shrugged his shoulders. How do you explain the unexplainable?

"I happened to be in the right spot at the right time," he said. "Tried to be as comforting as I could and talk her through it. Thankfully that was the outcome."

Tatum easing into new challenge with Celtics

Tatum easing into new challenge with Celtics

BOSTON -- While the newest Boston Celtics were scattered about while at a community service event, 19-year-old Jayson Tatum was sitting in a really comfortable-looking chair, resting. 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind unlike any he had ever experienced, beginning with the pre-draft process, to workouts, to the draft itself and all the appearances and media engagements that have followed. 

“It’s a lot,” Tatum, grinning, told “But I’m taking it one day at a time.”

That steady-as-she-goes approach served him well during his lone season at Duke. 

Keeping an even-keeled approach will bode well for him as he gears up for his first taste of NBA basketball beginning with summer league practice this week in preparation for next week’s summer league action which begins in Salt Lake City. 

Boston’s summer league opener will be July 3 against Philadelphia and the top overall pick Markelle Fultz, at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Tatum, who has not played in a five-on-five game since Duke’s loss to South Carolina in the NCAA tournament, is admittedly excited to get back on the floor this week. 

“I can’t wait,” he said. 

Celtics Nation feels the same way about Tatum, selected with the third overall pick in last week’s NBA draft. 

Although it’s only a preseason game, there will be expectations and with that, possibly some added pressure for Tatum to show he was such a coveted player by the Celtics. 

“That’s why Duke helped me a lot,” he told “Duke, the best program in college basketball, we were always on the national spotlight good or bad, whether we were winning or losing. That will help me a lot preparing for the Boston Celtics.”

And like Duke, Tatum will have to fight his way on to the court although he readily admits the challenge is much greater in the NBA. 

“Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder . . . we didn’t have those guys at Duke,” Tatum said. “It’s gonna be tough; just try my best and get in where I fit in.”

Tatum said he will at times lean on his more experienced teammates, one of which was a former teammate of his – sort of – in Jaylen Brown. 

“I’ve known Jaylen for a while,” Tatum said. “We played with and against each other in high school at AAU camps. 

Tatum added, “at the AAU camps, sometimes we were on the same team and sometimes we were not.”

While much has been made about how the two are similar, Tatum sees both having strengths that complement, rather than compete, with each other. 

“He’s further along than Jaylen was skill-wise and he’s not as far along as Jaylen physically,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “Again, he’s 19 years old. I don’t want to put any expectations … I want to give him time to grow. We’ll see. He’ll definitely have a role, get a chance to play. And how well he performs is up to him.”

Tatum’s assessment of his game and Brown’s goes as follows:

“He’s a lot stronger, bigger than me,” Tatum, who is 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, acknowledged. “He’s much more athletic. Offensively, I think that’s what I excel in, being smooth and my ability to score. I can just learn from him, the things that he went through last year.”

One of the things he has already picked up on, is that Brown is a pretty smart – and at times clever – dude. 

Not long after Tatum picked jersey number 11, Brown, who wears number 7, took to social media and came up with a 7-11 theme that has already lead to some pretty snazzy t-shirt designs. 

“I thought it was funny,” Tatum said. “It’s catchy; I like it.”

And the Celtics really like Tatum’s game which has been compared at times to former Celtic great Paul Pierce. 

“I hate to make those comparisons when kids are 19 and let his game evolve into whatever it is,” Ainge said. “The similarity is they have good footwork. They both have really good ways to create space for shots. But the similarity … they’re both very good defensive rebounders. Those are two things that stand out to me with Jayson that are Paul characteristics.”

Tatum knows he’s a long way from being in the same company as Celtic royalty such as Pierce. 

Before then he must first earn minutes on the floor which will not be an easy task. 

But Tatum’s demeanor, much like his game, has seemingly always been a bit more mature than most of his fellow basketball brethren. 

Tatum credits his parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole.

“They raised me to be different, be more mature and stand out above the crowd and be my own person and be comfortable in my skin,” Tatum said. “That’s how I’ve always been.”