Brian Boyle

Morning Skate: All-Stars lament lack of Olympic participation


Morning Skate: All-Stars lament lack of Olympic participation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while NHL All-Star weekend and Tampa certainly seem like a good fit.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details of the NHL All-Stars seeing the lack of Olympic participation this winger as a missed opportunity for the league.

*Speaking of Pro Hockey Talk, they also have the best, funniest and most heart-warming moments from the NHL All-Star skills competition including Brad Marchand embracing being the bad guy at the party.

*Speaking of the skills competition, what a show put on by Hilary Knight in the shooting accuracy as she wasted no time hitting all the targets.

*Brian Boyle has the best story of NHL All-Star weekend as he returns to his former NHL home in Tampa Bay for his first career NHL All-Star experience after battling cancer, and some scary health moments with his oldest child.

*Interesting piece on how Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill has turned the center position from an area of need into an asset over the last couple of years.

*Alex Ovechkin has become the first forward since 2002 to win the NHL’s Hardest Shot Competition. I still wish they had invited Zdeno Chara as an All-Star to defend his title. It really ups the interest level in the event when you have the best taking part in it rather than players that can’t even crack 100-mph with their shots.

*San Jose season ticket holders are voicing their frustration with the Sharks organization as attendance slowly ticks downward. Perhaps that’s why they’ve been selected as the host city for next year’s NHL All-Star game.

*For something completely different: Who couldn’t deny an oral history of the Homestar Runner cartoon that featured the legendary “Strong Bad” character.


Morning Skate: NHL players turning to medical marijuana?


Morning Skate: NHL players turning to medical marijuana?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while doing that hockey, as Chance the Rapper would say.

*Interesting piece centered around former NHLer Riley Cote and his efforts to get hockey players to embrace cannabis over dangerous opioid painkillers. It’s interesting to hear about more hockey players using alternative methods for injuries and chronic problems given how addictive some of the painkillers can be over time.

*Interesting piece from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mark Divver on Evan Gold, the Bruins' salary cap guru.

*A storybook ending for Brian Boyle continues as he scored again on Hockey Fights Cancer Night for the New Jersey Devils.

*Former Boston College standout Mike Matheson is finding his game with the Florida Panthers at just the right time for a hockey club that needs him.

*It looks like Carey Price is going to return for the Canadiens after a lengthy stay out of the lineup.

*The sad, downward spiral story continues for Mike Ribeiro continues as he was arrested for trespassing in Miami Beach this week.

*For something completely different: A woman died from a two-story fall after apparently trying to take a selfie. What is this world coming to?


Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise


Morning Skate: Sorry, Shaughnessy but young B's are on the rise

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while appreciating that Brad Marchand is willing to say something is “an absolute joke.” There are not enough candid players in the NHL like good, ol' No. 63.

*So FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dan Shaughnessy writes that the Bruins are “a lowly number four nowadays” in the power rankings of the big four Boston sports teams. Certainly, Danny is technically correct in saying that the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics are ahead of the Bruins in terms of the Boston pro sports zeitgeist and that they dominate the sports conversation.

But Shaughnessy points to the Bruins doing nothing to improve themselves last summer as some kind of reason behind their low position among the other Boston sports franchises, and that’s not really a factor. The problem right now is that the Bruins are extremely young and still a couple of years away from returning to true Stanley Cup contention as a result. 
Once Charlie McAvoy is a few years into his career, some of the other Bruins prospects are in the NHL for good and Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask are still at the back end of their prime, the Bruins will once again be a Cup contender that’s pushing their way back into the championship conversation that commands the attention of the Boston fan.

Would Shaughnessy have been more satisfied with the Bruins if they spent bad money on a big free-agent contract as they did with Matt Beleskey and David Backes in back-to-back years, or if they traded premium prospect Brandon Carlo for hired gun Matt Duchene? That would be the kind of “big splash” move that a bad management group would make to appease the casual fans that don’t truly understand what the B’s are going with their draft-and-development plan.

This Bruins outfit is still a playoff team while they’re building back to that Cup-worthy level. They were playing a much more exciting, entertaining brand of hockey once Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien last winter. This isn’t a lowly team unworthy of the fans’ attention, or more importantly their sports dollar. This is much more about the all-time greatness of the New England Patriots, the deserved excitement for a Celtics team that is truly going for it after being in the Bruins current “building it back up” phase for the past few years and a playoff-level Red Sox team that really has no competition in the summertime.

This isn’t about what the Bruins aren’t doing right now. This is about what the Patriots and Celtics, and to a lesser degree the Red Sox, are doing right now. It's as simple as that in a local sports landscape that’s cyclical and constantly in motion.  

*What a great Facetime hit here from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro with Jay and Dan now that they’re thankfully back to their rightful home in Canada. The technical difficulties really make the whole thing come together.  

*Congrats to Jonathan Drouin for making a commitment to the city of Montreal that goes well beyond being a player for the Canadiens.

*Lots of prayers and well-wishes to Hingham, Mass., native and New Jersey Devils forward Brian Boyle after his stunning cancer diagnosis. Anybody that knows the Boyle family knows how courageous they are, and how much love and support that Brian will have at a time when he’s going to need every bit of it. I also included a link to a New York Post Q&A with Boyle where he talks a bit about his father’s miraculous battle with cancer as well.   

 *John Chayka is trying to bring with him a new chapter to the history of the Arizona Coyotes, but it’s seemingly always an uphill battle there.

*Nobody should have any problems with the contract extension handed out to Mikko Koivu by the Minnesota Wild.

*For something completely different: Are we seriously living in a world where the Juggalos are marching for their rights?