Bruins

Morning Skate: Dream come true for 10-year-old Babson 'rookie'

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Morning Skate: Dream come true for 10-year-old Babson 'rookie'

Here are all the links from around the hockey world while passing along all the happiness at the great start for the Vegas Golden Knights to start the season.

*Congrats to the Babson College hockey team and 10-year-old Coleman Walsh after Coleman was made an honorary member of the Division III team on Tuesday in an “inspirational draft day” organized by the non-profit Team IMPACT. Coleman has endured a pair of open-heart surgeries after he was born with Williams Syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects numerous parts of the body. Doctors now constantly monitor his cardiac condition.

He also developed a deep love of hockey in those sometimes difficult times and even spends time in the summer watching hockey highlights on YouTube and has memorized all 31 of the goal horns in arenas across the NHL.

“I can’t wait to be involved in the practices and the games,” said Coleman, a fourth-grader who lives in Walpole, Mass., with his parents Nanci and Matt and his older brother Andrew. “I love all the excitement [of hockey] and lots of stuff. I love the hitting and the fast-skating, and I really like the Jumbotron too.”

Coleman’s favorite hockey player is Zdeno Chara (“I like how strong and smart he is”), and he said he faithfully goes to one Bruins game a season with his family. 

Now, he’ll be seeing a lot more hockey as the connection with the Babson team means he’ll be spending practice and game time with the young men at least a few times a month. In a cool touch, Anaheim Ducks forward and Wellesley native Chris Wagner made a video for Coleman and his family welcoming them to a Babson team that includes his younger brother, Paul.

“We’re so excited to be able to do this as a family,” said Nanci Walsh. “Things that are important to Coleman are being a part of the community and doing the things that he’s interested in, and it’s not as simple for us as signing him up for something considering his disabilities and health. 

“For him to be able to be on a team, see what teammates do for one another and be around these young men that are so giving and generous with their time, it’s really exciting for him and for us. Hockey is his real passion, and it’s the one sport that he thinks about all the time and talks about all the time. It’s the one thing that carries through as a big part of him.”

To hear Team IMPACT Executive Director Seth Rosenzweig tell it, while Coleman becomes a member of the team, his whole family gets drafted by the program and will become part of that unique, bonding that only sports can provide.

“The ultimate goal is for [Coleman] to not only come out of with some good stories but also to develop his goals around confidence, coping mechanisms and the tools that will allow him to have his most successful life possible,” said Rosenzweig. “We also know this will have a huge impact on the family that will all be actively involved in the program and that it will have a big impact on these college athletes around character, integrity, empathy and perspective while also hopefully getting them thinking about philanthropy and civic-mindedness. It’s kind of a win, win, win.

“We’ve had a lot of success with hockey. It’s the right-sized team where everybody that’s on the team can develop a relationship with the family. It’s not too big and not too small. [The hockey players] have that fight and grit in them which is a common characteristic, and I think we’ve found that the hockey teams will go a little above and beyond what’s required in the partnership with the kids.”

According to Rosenzweig, Team IMPACT has almost 1,300 kids like Coleman in the program and more than 500 colleges and universities in 47 states partnering with them. Rosenzweig said the challenge at this point is getting the word out to families with children battling life-threatening or chronic illnesses to let them know that these opportunities with college teams and college athletes are there if the timing is right. For more information about Team Impact, people can go to www.goteamimpact.org if they’d like to get involved.  

*Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Claude Julien is saying the Canadiens are having a hard time putting the puck in the net after another loss to start the season. And the power play is dreadful too. Man, it doesn’t sound good in Montreal right now.

*Elliotte Friedman has his thoughts from around the NHL after the first week, including the future arena hopes for the New York Islanders.

*Here’s a philosophical question for you: Did a hockey team really visit the White House if their team Twitter account basically ignored the whole thing? It was such a weird approach to this whole thing by the Penguins.

*Alex Burrows got a nice hand from the Canucks crowd in his first trip back to Vancouver since becoming a member of the Ottawa Senators. I wonder if he bit anybody in celebration of the big moment.

*The Edmonton Oilers are finding that things are a little difficult this time around after last season’s success.

*For something completely different: Here’s another hilarious episode of “The Camera Guys” with Moose’s beard playing an inspirational role.

 


 

Overtime heroics a reminder of what Bruins gave up in Seguin

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Overtime heroics a reminder of what Bruins gave up in Seguin

BOSTON – The Tyler Seguin trade from the Bruins is pretty much ancient history at this point.

It was almost five years ago, all of the good-but-not-great players Boston received in the deal from Dallas are long gone. The Bruins general manager that engineered the big trade is now dealing with totally different brush fires while running a star-crossed Edmonton Oilers group.

But the one Stars visit per season to Boston usually serves as a reminder of what the B’s dealt away in the Fourth of July trade, and for perhaps the first time ever Seguin looked like a legit, all-around No. 1 center in the Stars 3-2 overtime win over the B’s at TD Garden. Seguin made the highlight reel with an overtime game-winner after dangling through the entire Bruins group on the ice, and watching bemusement as Bruins kept diving at him trying to stop him.

The gassed trio of Ryan Spooner, David Pastrnak and Matt Grzelcyk were on the ice hemmed into the D-zone for a long time, and simply couldn’t get the puck away from the Stars once a delayed penalty was called on Grzelcyk.

“I felt like everyone was just sliding at me, and the whole time I wanted to pass, so I was just kind of looking for the right play and just kept holding it,” said Seguin, who is on pace for 39 goals and 75 points this season with the Stars. “I just kind of shot it and luckily it went in.”

It was more than luck as Anton Khudobin had already dropped into a crazed double-pad stacked save attempt while Seguin was still holding patiently onto the puck.

“That’s really tough, to be honest. He has the puck there, and all the way, all the way, going, going, going, going and I mean, guys were laying down and trying to block the shot,” said Khudobin. “He had a lot of patience and I think it went between my legs or something like that and it’s just tough. Good goal by him.'

“Nothing is impossible. You know, [Seguin] is a good player and he scored a pretty good goal. But at the same time I can stop that. But I didn’t this time and overtime is not really easy because it’s 3-on-3.”

But all the overtime heroics aside, Seguin was solid throughout the game. It was almost enough to make Bruins fans go through the entire gamut of emotions again at one of a number of trades where the organization cut bait on a talented player at a very young juncture of their career.

“I think he’s through testing. I think he has made himself to be a very good player, and he’s accountable in every situation. He’s really matured. I think he’s a guy that we don’t even worry about anymore,” said Dallas head coach Ken Hitchcock. “Everyone talked about, ‘Can you make him a one?’ Well, quite frankly, he’s a [No. 1 center], and he’s playing like a one. He’s played six games in a row like this, and this is what you want in a number one center. He’s doing the job.

“He’s killing penalties, he’s out there taking key face-offs, he’s quarterbacking the power play, and he’s playing against the other team’s best player. To me, that’s what a [No. 1 center] does, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”

Mostly matched up against the Perfection Line that he used to be a part of, Seguin managed a 12-for-21 performance in the face-off circle while holding Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak off the board offensively. Even better for Seguin and Dallas, he was on the ice for the second Stars goal against the Bergeron trio for only the second even strength goal they’ve given up all season.

Seguin killed penalties, he finished with four shot attempts, had a couple of takeaways and played the kind of mature, 200-foot game that most wondered if he’d ever be capable of in his NHL career.

So credit where it’s due for Seguin showing all of that while clearly still in a headspace where coming to Boston is special for him.

“It’s special and it’s weird playing here still. You know, I enjoy the anthem, and looking up and seeing the banner for the team that I was a part of. It’s always going to be special, you know, playing here and having old teammates on the team,” said Seguin. “I’ve been thinking a lot more of defense, a lot more of face-offs, and a lot more of, you know, the little things. I’ve been judging my performances based on those things more than goals and assists. That’s been the biggest change for me, trying to put the work in, and [against the Bruins] it worked out for me.”

The Bruins have long since chalked up dealing a horse (Seguin) for ponies (Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow) as a big fat loss considering it never got them any closer to another Stanley Cup, and it didn’t give them any players still of use to the organization less than five years later.

But Monday afternoon’s overtime loss to Seguin and the Stars was a different kind of frustrating while watching a more mature, seemingly changed Seguin that would have fit in very nicely with the direction that the Bruins are headed these days.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

Seguin, slow start come back to bite Bruins in overtime

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Seguin, slow start come back to bite Bruins in overtime

GOLD STAR: Zdeno Chara did everything he was asked to do and then some in the overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. Chara was on the ice for Alex Radulov’s goal that made it a 2-0 game in the second period, but that was his only blemish in an otherwise strong day. It was Chara that wound up and blasted home his fourth goal of the season toward the end of the second period to get the Bruins on the board and give them some life. Chara finished with a goal and four shot attempts in a team-high 24:46 of ice time and finished with four blocked shots as well in a solid game for the B’s captain. It’s a credit to Chara’s veteran poise that he didn’t hesitate when given the open lane to wind up and slap away in the second period just one game removed from putting Phillip Danault in the hospital after the shot him in the head. 

BLACK EYE: It turned out to be a tough day for David Pastrnak, who finished a minus-2 and was part of a trio of gassed Bruins players that got hemmed into their own zone for another eventual defeat in the overtime session. Pastrnak finished with more shots on net (three) than giveaways (two) in his 23:18 of ice time, but really wasn’t much of a factor for the Bruins in a game where Dallas stepped up their defensive acumen and physicality to discourage the Bruins. Pastrnak, Ryan Spooner and Matt Grzelcyk all breaking down and getting tired out in overtime was just the final bit of bad play in an afternoon that wasn’t great overall for No. 88. Overall it was a pretty quiet afternoon for both Pastrnak and Brad Marchand while Patrice Bergeron was his brilliant self in the middle. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins simply didn’t show up for the first 30 minutes of the game, and that’s why they ended up on the losing end of things. They were outshot by a 9-1 margin to start the game in sleepy fashion, and then allowed the Stars to score the game’s first two goals in the second period before they got things out of neutral. Eventually they gained some energy from watching Zdeno Chara make a play to score a goal toward the end of the second period, and they did enough in the third period to earn a point in overtime. But the Bruins proved once again on Monday afternoon that really getting going midway through a game isn’t a good formula for success. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Got to give it to Tyler Seguin after finally stinging the Bruins in the overtime session. Seguin dangled through a clearly gassed Ryan Spooner, Matt Grzelcyk and David Pastrnak before flipping a puck past Anton Khudobin after he prematurely dropped into a double-stacked pad save while Seguin outwaited him with the puck. In all Seguin finished with a goal, a plus-1 rating, four shot attempts, two takeaways and a 12-for-21 in the face-off circle while getting the last laugh against the Bruins. Seguin clearly still does most of his damage in certain moments (3-on-3 OT and on the power play, for instance) but he can certainly be effective when paired with a coach like Ken Hitchcock that will pull more out of him. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 1-6 – the Bruins record in the overtime session after dropping another one on Monday afternoon with a mid-December win over the Red Wings as their only OT victory this season. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I like to save the pucks and that was one of them." – Anton Khudobin, channeling Yogi Berra as he talked about a second period stop, one of his 29 saves in the game, on a shorthanded breakaway from Radek Faksa that helped keep the B’s in the game. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE