Thursday, Sept. 8: Standing up for the anthem


Thursday, Sept. 8: Standing up for the anthem

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting for the rest of the Bruins fan base to get to see the impressive Warrior Ice Arena as it makes its public debut on Thursday.

*Good stuff here from FOH (Friend of Haggs) Nick Cotsonika about John Tortorella, his feelings about respecting the anthem and Team USA at the World Cup. Torts can be a lightning rod for criticism at certain times, but he’s 100 percent totally right when he’s talking about the anthem, the flag and our country’s symbols when it concerns a group of athletes representing the USA in competition. Everybody from Colin Kaepernick to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf has a right to express themselves any way they want in the land of the free and the home of the brave. But there are also some unwritten rules of conduct I think you agree to take on when you’re playing for your country in international events. Above and beyond that, you would never see me use the national anthem as a platform to send a message social or other-wise. I had a friend named Joe Lusk that passed away while serving overseas in the Army back in 2005, and I think of him, and the ultimate sacrifice both he and his family made, every time I hear the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Purposefully sitting down, or kneeling, during the anthem feels to me like something he’d be very much against. I don’t know if Kaepernick has lost anybody close to him serving in the armed forces, but one wonders if he might feel a little differently about his actions if he had. Clearly, Tortorella understands the sacrifice, and the mentality, of a military family with his son currently serving in the Army. So, good on you for sticking to your guns, Torts.  

*On the other side of the perspective, J.T. Brown from the Tampa Bay Lightning takes some issue with censoring an individual’s right to protest.

*Speaking of this, Brett Hull and Chris Chelios talk about what it means to play for your country as they did for Team USA several times.

*Speaking of the World Cup of Hockey, here are the 15 types of people that you will come across at an international tournament.

*Patrick Kane talks about motivation and inspiration as he moves first to the World Cup to Team USA, and then on to the Blackhawks afterward.

*For something completely different: it’s so hard to say for the Boston Herald to say goodbye to Donnie Orsillo.



Phil Esposito set impressive Bruins goal scoring record on this day in 1971

Phil Esposito set impressive Bruins goal scoring record on this day in 1971

March 31 is a special day in the history books of the Boston Bruins franchise.

Hall of Fame forward Phil Esposito scored his 70th goal (an NHL record at the time) of the 1970-71 season on this day, becoming the first Bruins player to hit that goal-scoring milestone.

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Check out the graphic below for more information:

Esposito's 76 goals in the 1970-71 season still stand as a Bruins record for a single campaign.

Bruins right winger David Pastrnak was making a run at 60 goals earlier this season. The 23-year-old star currently sits at 48 goals with the season suspended due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Pastrnak is tied for the league lead with Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

If the 2019-20 season doesn't resume or the league decides to go straight to the Stanley Cup Playoffs upon returning, Pastrnak would be the first Bruins player to win or share the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as the league's leading goal scorer since Esposito in 1974-75.

Tuukka Rask 'hasn't made any decisions' on his long-term Bruins future

Tuukka Rask 'hasn't made any decisions' on his long-term Bruins future

Tuukka Rask finally addressed an interview he gave weeks ago where he mused about retiring at the end of his current contract following next season, and brought a little more clarity to the situation.

The 33-year-old Bruins goaltender was on the Greg Hill Show on WEEI on Tuesday morning and made it clear no decisions have been about his future beyond the 2020-21 season that he’s still signed for in Boston. Rask was on track for a Vezina Trophy-level season this year when things were put on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak and was leading the NHL with a 2.12 goals against average while ranking second in the league with a .929 save percentage.

So it’s clear that Rask has still got more than one or two good years left if he wanted to keep on playing in Boston beyond his current deal.

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“Listen, I remember the interview if you can even call it an interview. This [Boston Globe] reporter asked me some questions right after practice when I was packing my bag, and all I said was my contract’s up (in 2021) so every option is on the table,” said Rask. “I haven’t made any decisions on any direction yet, obviously we’re not even playing hockey right now, so that’ll be in the future. But it’s definitely not in my mind right now, just trying to take care of the family now and go back to hockey whenever that happens and then go from there.

“I’m sure we’re going to have good conversations with (Don Sweeney) after this season and go from there. But I’m only 34, so it’s not too old, might play another year or two and go from there. I don’t want to promise anything either way because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Given the high level that Rask is currently playing at, his current $7 million per season contract wouldn’t be an outrageous ask without knowing how the current coronavirus work stoppage is going to impact the overall salary cap picture.

Clearly nothing is set in stone and perhaps the retirement talk is as much about contract leverage the next time around as anything else. But it still puts the Bruins in a tough position following this season if they don’t have any certainty when it comes to the future with Rask. They could re-sign Jaroslav Halak to an extension following this season and continue to hope to ride things out with a great goaltending duo while shelling out nearly $10 million for both goalies.

But the Bruins may also need to quickly groom a new No. 1 goalie if Rask is a question mark for the long-term future in Boston. Halak certainly doesn’t feel that guy at this point in his NHL career while in his mid-30s as well.

That may push the Bruins to install Dan Vladar, Jeremy Swayman or Kyle Keyser as Rask’s backup for next season to evaluate exactly what they currently have inside the organization should things change drastically.

Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to Rask’s future in Boston. But even with his mild assurances that nothing is set in stone, the Bruins will have to be prepared that it’s not a lock the No. 1 goalie will remain with the Bruins beyond his current contract.