Wednesday, August 17: Leafs pull out the stops for Vesey


Wednesday, August 17: Leafs pull out the stops for Vesey

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading after watching the spectacle that was Toucher and Rich's 10th Anniversary Special last night at the Wilbur Theater.

(Speaking of the anniversary: They packed the place, and it was a great show for the hardcore fans. Scott Zolak, Dan Roche, Brian Scalabrine, Mike Gorman, Shawn Thornton and others took part along with Fred, Rich and Jon Wallach. It speaks to the amazing following Toucher and Rich have built in Boston over the last decade, and to how many people truly enjoy being a part of the raucous rock & roll-style show they put on. We should all expect the next 10 years will be just as great for Fred, Rich, Wallach, Dan O’Brien, Mike Lockhart and the cast of thousands that make that show possible. Some great work by guys like VP of Sports for CBS Radio Mike Thomas getting it done behind-the-scenes to make sure the show went off without a hitch last night, which it did.)

-- Some tweets from the 10th Anniversary Party give you an idea of the craziness.

-- Many New York Islanders are finding inspiration for their upcoming NHL season in their owner’s niece, Olympian Katie Ledecky. -- Congrats to FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jimmy Murphy, who has joined Pete Shepherd for a new shot Monday-Friday on the airwaves in New Hampshire. Yesterday they talked to Harvard coach Ted Donato about Jimmy Vesey. -- Good luck to one of our own in the PHWA world as one New York Rangers writer moves over to the New Jersey Devils beat. -- Brendan Shanahan was pulling out all the stops to land Jimmy Vesey during their Tuesday meeting with him in Boston. My question: What exactly can Auston Matthews do to sell Vesey on the Leafs, or playing in Toronto? -- A Swedish referee loses a finger after getting his hand caught in the boards during a preseason game in Europe. That is just nasty. -- The Pride of Chelmsford, Keith Aucoin, is still going strong over in Europe at age 37 after a solid NHL career. -- A wide-ranging Q&A with John Tavares in anticipation of the World Cup of Hockey, and a number of topics involving the Islanders. -- For something completely different: Sit down-and-eat movie theatres like the Alamo Draft House are becoming all the rage across the USA.

Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

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Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while the Bruins are finally back in Boston.  

*Larry Brooks says that the NHL playoff system is broken as it continues to “pass off mediocrity as parity.” I don’t really agree that there’s a big problem, but it will be too bad that one of the Eastern Conference’s two best teams (Boston and Tampa Bay) will be done after the second round of the playoffs.

*A pretty cool gesture from the Montreal Canadiens as a group of them wore turtlenecks during warm-ups on Saturday night prior to playing Tomas Plekanec for the first timer as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*Congrats to the Team USA Paralympics squad for capturing another Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue. What a great story they are.   

*Evander Kane opens up about Winnipeg, his past on social media and hockey culture as he seems to have found a place where he’s comfortable in San Jose.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are suspending their GM search until the group of available candidates can widen in the offseason. That was probably always for the best.

*The New York Islanders are getting a little weird with things here late in the season as they’re taking a look at John Tavares on the wing. Hmmm. Seems like an odd move.

*For something completely different: A great return for Bill Hader to Saturday Night Live where he revisited a number of his best characters.


Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

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Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

TAMPA – David Backes certainly didn’t escape the scary situation with an errant skate blade unscathed, of course. 

The 33-year-old limped his way to the Bruins team bus out of Amalie Arena after Boston’s 3-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and needed approximately 18 stitches to close up the gash on his right thigh. But Backes was still able to joke about it as he exited the dressing room while knowing that it could have been much, much worse with that kind of freak accident on the ice. 

"I'll play a second period one of these days,” said a smiling Backes, who was forced out of Saturday night’s loss with the skate blade cut in the last minute of the first period and exited the Florida loss as well after catching a match penalty in the first period as well. Luckily for him, there was no structural damage to Backes’ right leg after Yanni Gourde caught him in the thigh area as both players were down on the ice around the Tampa net.

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There was a lot of blood, however, as he quickly exited the ice, sped past the bench and headed right to the Bruins dressing room with Bruins trainer Donnie DelNegro trailing right behind. 

“I went in and saw him between periods. He’s okay. There’s no structural damage. There will be concern going forward about swelling or infection, but it looks like he’ll be okay. We’ll classify him as day-to-day, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready to play on Monday,” said Bruce Cassidy of Backes, who actually scored the second goal of the game for the Bruins as a power play strike. “You see a guy coming off like that and you see the blood pooling up, and you’re always worried they could hit an artery somewhere. He was able to get up. That was the first good sign and he was able to be tended to quickly. 

“It is scary. But we were told it would be a deep cut that would require some stitches, and it wasn’t too dangerous.”

For now it just becomes an eventful month for Backes where he’s been suspended, tossed out of a game with a match penalty and now forced out of a game after a freak skate blade incident, but there’s no doubt he’ll return better and stronger than ever in rapid fashion as he’s done through the last two seasons with the Bruins.