Friday, June 1, 2012

Chris Bourque Fired Up To Join Bs

The Bruins began their off-season roster tinkering by signing penalty-killing fourth-liner Dan Paille to a three-year/$3.9M deal and newly acquired pending UFA Chris Bourque to a two year deal (the first of which will be a two-year deal).

The speedy and versatile Paille blossomed into one of the team’s best penalty killers during last year’s championship season and his re-up ensures that at least two thirds of the team’s beloved fourth line will be back for the ’12-’13 campaign. The contract gives the former Sabre first-rounder a modest salary bump but, more importantly, locks him up for the next three seasons.

Bourque, the son of the Bruins icon, told the me that he “was pretty pumped” to learn that he’ll be pulling on the same Black and Gold that his old man wore with distinction for two decades. “It’s going to be unbelievable”, he said. “I put the jersey on before (as a kid) but it won’t compare to pulling on the spoked-B (as an official member of the Bs organization”.

The 26-year-old former Hershey Bear is capable of playing all three forward positions. “I’m most comfortable on right wing but I’ll play wherever they need me”, Bourque said. “I’m definitely excited and will have a hard work of summer ahead of me”.

The acquisition and subsequent signing of Bourque is hardly some Kent Dorfman legacy situation where the Bs “need the dues”. It’s quite the opposite, in fact, because the 26-year-old led the AHL last season with 27-66—93 totals in 73 games and, depending on how negotiations go with guys like Chris Kelley and Benoit Pouliot, the Massachusetts native could end up on the Opening Night roster.

“I have no expectations yet but I want to play in the NHL, that’s all”, he said. “I’m going into my eighth season and I’m not 19 anymore.” Bourque stated that he’s cracked only one Opening Night roster (with the Penguins in 2009) but feels that his many training camp experiences will only help him this September. “I’ll know what to expect”.

As for the geographical aspect, the new father said that playing locally, whether in Providence or Boston, would make things “so much easier” for his family and said it would be a “luxury for us” to be so close to home. His father, along with the rest of the family, was very excited about the move. If Bourque was still unsigned on 7/1 (first day of free agency), the Bruins were “definitely at the top of my list and it would’ve been an easy decision.”

Given that’s it’s only June, he said that he has “no idea” what number he’ll be sporting in the fall. But we can rule out 7 and 77.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kelly's OT Bomb Stakes Bs To 1-0 Series Lead

After 60 minutes of scoreless hockey at last night's Game 1 of the Easten
Conference Quarterfinals, 17,565 Garden denizens were feeling a bit skittish
that their Bruins weren't able to knock off the talented but underdog
Capitals despite vastly outshooting them. Rookie goalie Braden Holtby wasn't
fazed in the least. Despite the superb team D, the Bs were still just one
shot from being down 0-1. And now, given that this is the NHL Playoffs, it
looked like the Garden might be having the same closing time as the many
bars in the Bulfinch Triangle.

That is until Chris Kelly essentially yelled "You don't have to go home but
you can't stay here!" by whistling an absolute bomb past Holtby's far side
just 3:12 into the first and only extra session to put the Bs up 1-0 in the
series. Benoit Pouliot sent a sweet feed to a streaking Kelly on the left
wing who got behind, who else?, Dennis Wideman. Even though Holtby came way
to out to challenge Kelly, the laser found a seam and blew right by him. If
nothing else, the young netminder and his teammates served notice to the
defending champs: you're going to have to earn everything.

Conversely, the Caps are going to have to earn everything against a much
tougher D. It took them more than five minutes to get their first shot and
were outshot 26-7 after two periods. The Bs did a phenomenal job of keeping
the Caps to the outside and limiting their chances. Alexander Ovechkin was
held to just one shot on net, though it was nearly the eventual game-winner.
But Thomas looked like the Thomas of last year and made the save of the
night to keep it scoreless. Additionally, Thomas made several big saves in
the third when the Caps finally started to get some quality chances.

Also looking like something from last year? The power play, which went 0/4
and really didn't generate too many chances (unless they're just saving it
for the SCF again). Yeah, it's only one game but this team has too much
talent to not have an effective PP. If things aren't working, change them
up. And maybe have Tyler Seguin on PP1 by the left half-wall. More than once
last night, the kid made something out of nothing even if it didn't result
in a goal.

But overall, it was a great night at the barn. The score doesn't matter this
time of year---just the win. And the Bs grabbed the often-important Game 1.
They'll look to double up tomorrow at 3.

As noted by El Pres earlier, the Bs have a new post-win tradition in the
playoffs. After having retired the ugly Chalk Line jacket of last season
(can we please stop calling it a Starter jacket? Thing didn't even look like
a Starter jacket), the team is now issuing the Jam Master Jay Houdini bling
to the team-voted player of the game. It's a 20 link chain (one for each
player, no weak link) with an old-fashioned lock serving as the charm.

David Krejci missed practice today after hurting his neck as a result of the fluky accident where the glass fell on him during the post-game celebration. However, I've been told he'll definitely playing tomorrow.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bs Can't Snap Out Of It; Ottawa Now Just A Point Back

The last several weeks have been nothing short of a perfect storm of shit for the Boston Bruins. And I don’t think even Marky Mark can pull them out of this nagging funk that may or may not have reached its nadir last night in Sunrise, Florida. (We’ll sure get an answer soon enough when the red-hot Flyers come in for what should be a raucous Garden matinee crowd in full St. Patrick’s Day revelry—thank the fucking maker it’s not a 7:05 start).

The Panthers strip-mined what confidence (or remnants thereof) is still lingering among these ursine pucksters by slapping an 6-2 embarrassment on them to push the outta gas Bruins even closer to opening any and all playoff series in their road whites. What was looking like a nice little cruise into the 2nd seed what seemed like yesterday morphed into a slow-motion, two month car wreck that could torpedo a season that held so much promise as the new year began. There’s no one thing you can pin it on but rather several factors that have added up to the Bruins’ latest misery.

—The injuries. Losing Nathan Horton was huge and has given the Bs a hole they weren’t able to fill at the trade deadline or from within. Last year’s playoff OT hero was felled by a dirty hit and has yet to skate since suffering yet another concussion. Bruins fans know this road all too well and never get used to it. Frankly, I’d be shocked to see him suit up again this season, regardless of how far the team goes in the playoffs. Rich Peverley going down with a wrenched knee a month ago has also proven to be a costly loss. The versatile forward is a valuable weapon in Claude’s arsenal because he can be plugged into any line or situation and get results, thanks primarily to his speed. He just started skating on Wednesday and is likely still a few weeks away from re-joining the team. Even then, it’ll take him some time to get back up to NHL game speed. Losing two of their top nine forwards has forced Claude to juggle his lines, looking for the right combos and it’s proven to be quite the task. Valuable defenseman Andy Ference also missed time with the dreaded LBI (lower-body injury) that put the team’s back-end depth to the test. Patrice Bergeron has been hobbled the last few games due to blocking a pair of painful shots. Benoit Pouliot has been battling a few issues. Johnny Boychuk got his bell rung hard. But the biggest injury since Horton’s is the post-trade deadline loss of Tuukka Rask for several weeks due to an abdominal/groin strain—an injury he’ll need to be fully healed from when he returns. Instead of filling in for the overworked Tim Thomas down the stretch to make sure he’ll be ready to rock and roll come playoff time, the lanky Finn is watching The Marty Turco Experience from the ninth floor. So while the Bs won’t sit there and make excuses, I’ll make this particular one for them: the injuries have been a killer and it’s not something they can be faulted for.

— Fatigue/exhaustion has also been a killer for this team and the reason for the team’s plethora of mental and performance errors lately. Yeah, everybody plays the same amount of games. But the Bruins March has been the month from hell so far. They’ll play 17 games in just 31 days when all is said and done. So far, they’ve won just three of nine games and have seen their once-lengthy lead over Ottawa evaporate. Another Cup hangover? Nah, not buying it. They had their hangover in October with their shitty start. They then played out of this world hockey for two months to (temporarily) run away with the division and put to bed any talk of a hangover. The reason these guys are struggling again is because of events this season. But perhaps the worst part is that there’s no relief in sight: the banged-up Bs finish the month with six games in just 10 nights and after their two day break next week, they basically play every other day until the season mercifully ends with a Saturday matinee with the Sabres that could very well determine whether or not Buffalo gets into the postseason. The Bruins have absolutely no choice but to fight through it and just play, tough as it may be.

—Deterrence from the game plan/lack of hustle. The Bs aren’t blameless here. Whether it’s a lack of execution, not skating, or some guys just not doing what is required of them (like picking up their man), the Bs also haven’t been playing their dogged ‘tough defense leads to offense’ style that had made them one of the harder teams in the league to play against. Tyler Seguin needs to show more fight. Brad Marchand needs to go back to being an imp. Simply put, if the Bs aren’t adhering to Claude’s system, they’re not going to win playing wide-open, fire wagon hockey. Especially if the goaltending is sub-par.

—Goalie play. Tim Thomas started to finally run out of gas in early January. Still, it didn’t prevent him from getting the majority of the starts, further taxing him in the process. Then disaster struck when Rask went down. Rather than give the #4 goalie in the organization (Michael Hutchinson) at least a shot at proving what he can do at the NHL level, the Bs went out and pulled Turco off the scrap heap. After a respectable performance in relief of Thomas on Sunday, Turco was awful in Tampa on Tuesday and instilled absolutely no confidence in his coach that he’s capable of carrying the workload. But he is who Claude is stuck with until Anton Khudobin returns from injury and, presumably, usurps the back-up role from Turco. However the coach handles his netminders from here on out, he should do it with an eye toward having Thomas as rested as he can be headed into the playoffs—no easy feat when you balance that against attempting to hang onto the division in order to get home ice.

If the Bruins had their full complement of horses, then fans would have confidence that their team will be right back in this after a lull in play. Unfortunately, that’s not the case here. The team is really struggling and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight to the misery. Maybe the team just needs to change up the horses a bit—it can’t hurt any worse. If Turco hands in another dud, then throw Hutchinson out there for a game (I doubt he can have a worse first period than Turco did on Tuesday). Instead of calling up a 34-year-old journeyman with limited skill at the NHL level in Trent Whitfield, give a talented, hungry kid like Carter Camper an extended look in a consistent role. Rather than automatically plugging Brian Rolston into the line-up every night, maybe give Max Sauve and his youthful legs a look. It’s clear that Rolston is at the end of the rope (playing at Garth Snow’s Home for Aging American Olympians is the #1 sign) so the team might be better served with some rejuvenating youth. But the Bs seem content to just use their minor leaguers as temporary stop-gaps rather than trying to incorporate them into contributors to the team.

“We’re coaches and it can’t always be smooth. We have to step up as a coaching staff and find solutions”, said Julien (quote via Joe Haggerty). The problem is the solutions just might not be in that room. Whatever they are, the Bs need to find them and find them fast. Or their title defense won’t last one round.

A few more buds for your St. Patrick’s Day bowl…

*Enough with the Red Sox comparisons. The Sox were training for the redneck Olympics during the stretch run. I can promise you none of these guys (the Bruins) are housing grub ‘n grog in a clubhouse that looks like the big high school party in a John Hughes film because the captain and the manager are pulling their puds. And the biggest difference? The Bruins are actually going to the playoffs.

*Any thoughts of a new coach are terribly misguided. Even though he is the coach, very little of this current situation falls strictly on Claude’s shoulders and bringing in a new guy would solve nothing. I’m not so sure how he’s supposed to motivate dead legs.

*If you’re of the belief that the Bruins haven’t been the same since Tim Thomas exercised his right to not take a White House tour, well, you’ll need to do more than show handpicked stats to prove your point. There were chinks in the armor (see ESPN, this is when you can use that cliché) before Thomas left his “Lost” ending-like Facebook message to explain his actions. The Dallas game on New Year’s Eve was a sloppy, somewhat passive game that essentially became the team’s template for the next two months. As one player noted to me, the situation did cause some minor locker room tension. But it was nothing that threatened to overtake the room.

*Patrice, I implore you to please keep your gloves on. I understand you wanted to stick up for your teammate after he took a hard, legal hit last night (because, well, that’s the way it goes in this league now). But one solid crack to your melon could put a bow on your career. Let 22 or 54 or anybody else fill that role.

*Why Twitter Is Great, Vol. 5873: Being able to directly ask former NHL players questions you otherwise wouldn’t get to and being able to squash 15-year-old rumors. Like the one about straight-shooter Rick Tocchet supposedly calling out Ray Bourque in the locker room about not being more of vocal leader on a particular matter involving team brass. It was a bit of a shock to hear (and, thus, believe) that this nut would come into Boston and call out a living legend. But because it was Tocchet (and possibly Bourque’s laid-back demeanor), it was hardly out of the realm of possibility. When asked if the story was true, the short-time Bruin immediately threw water on it “Ray Bourque?? Never”. I thanked him for replying and he wrote back “anytime bud”. Anytime? How about right now? So I asked him if it was true that he dropped Eric Lindros in the Flyers locker room right around the time of the Rod Brind’Amour trade. The reply can be open to your own interpretation: “Lol … …”. It was a shame Bs fans only got the feisty and fiery Rocket for just 72 games (inc. playoffs). He tallied an impressive and very Bruin-like 36 goals, 22 assists, and 152 PIM in his time here. But he and Adam Oates saw the writing on the wall and essentially shot their way out of town by saying what every Bruins fan was saying (“Be a GM! Spend some fucking money!”).

*Speaking of St. Paddy’s day, it’s incredible how much of a tourist spot Boston has become for the day everyone is Irish except for gays and Italians. A good part is because the parade has become more welcoming to outsiders than, say, 20-25 years ago. Sure, some joker will catch the literal “beer and a beating” (-220 it’s a New York jake) and there will be a clownshow somewhere but for the most part, the parade really is a family event that brings together friends old and new for a great time. But it’s no doubt that Hollywood and its bevy of really good-to-great Boston movies is to thank (blame?) for the influx of tens of thousands of tourists into our fair city each March.  The ultimate payoff to the Commonwealth is really inestimable. The city gains additional cinematic and tourist clout when a state allows Hollywood ample tax breaks to come make their movies here (give them a deal to make it here…or offer no deal and watch Toronto fill in for Boston)—the payoff is in perpetuity. But lately, it’s apparent to anybody in the city that this particular weekend has become the go-to for those who make Boston a vacation destination. Hell, I’d do it if I wasn’t from here. For my money though, Savannah provides the best, public-drinking-friendly (i.e. common sense shown by civic leaders) St. Patrick’s Day parade around. If you ever get a chance or offer, take it and enjoy the River St. experience.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Battler of Bunker Hill: Brewster Captain Aaron Titcomb Looks Toward Future

His face jumps out at me right away, producing a muted ‘wow’.  Then I realize I’m looking up at this hulking youngster, not always common when you’re 6’2”. Clad in a Bruins hoodie and carrying the manners that have seemingly dwindled to a rarity among his peers, 18-year-old Aaron Titcomb politely orders the turkey tips at the Nines and readies himself for what could be painful topics.

Titcomb, a 6’4”, 200 lb. defenseman from Charlestown and senior captain on the Brewster Academy hockey team, has an easygoing, happy-go-lucky demeanor. Hoping to finish up his pre-college career with a flourish, Titcomb is aiming to catch the eyes of a few more scouts in his quest to put a hat on some unfinished family business. He wants to do what his father was derailed from doing. That consisted of taking advantage of natural skills, parlaying those into a hockey scholarship, and playing professionally somewhere some day. Oh, and he’s also taking on this task after suffering a broken neck  (broken C-3 and fractured C-4 verterbrae as well as a concussion) just two years ago.

Born in May of 1993, Titcomb, in true Townie fashion, was taught by his grandmother how to skate in the place that Hollywood would later morph into Ben Affleck’s post-score meeting spot. Like pretty much every tyke thrown to the wolves that is a sheet of frozen water, Titcomb got his verdict right away---that boy can skate. He proudly donned the fabled, if not the original, Monument of Charlestown Youth Hockey until squirts. From there, the talented, swift-skating D-man joined a series of traveling teams and invite squads over the next few years so he could play up to the level of his skills until high school came calling.

Titcomb settled on Austin Prep, a perennially solid contender and launching pad for another son of Charlestown, Tommy Fitzgerald, who had a lengthy, successful career as an NHL checking line extraordinaire. He jumped right into a big role for a freshman---#3 on the defenseman chart.

After an impressive rookie campaign, Titcomb played himself up to the #1 backliner for a ranked squad. He played in all situations because of his talent and reliability. He was poised be the team’s best player in his junior year, infrequent for a D-man in MA HS hockey, and also be in a good spot to perhaps be the last man standing at the Garden.

This is where the trajectory of Titcomb’s hockey future was forever altered, from a rising star to burning comet to, hopefully, a skyward rocket once again. Instead of returning to AP, he opted to join the then-Bridgewater Bandits of the burgeoning Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL). With its competitive environment and the success of flyover country’s junior USHL, Titcomb and his family decided to leave AP. It wasn’t an easy decision. “But we thought it was the best decision”, said Titcomb.

Through no fault of his own, things started off rough and only got rougher. In Titcomb’s first game, he broke his collarbone, an injury that would shelve him for three months. Incredibly, he finished the game after suffering what is often described as one of the most painful bone breaks you can take without passing out from pain. Not only did it reveal Titcomb’s heart and desire for the game, it showed he had an incredible pain tolerance. But even pain tolerance can’t outrun a broken neck.

In just his seventh game back after the collapsed clavicle, Titcomb suffered the unthinkable. While finishing a play behind his net, he was crushed from behind and immediately fell into a heap (the kid who hit him was tossed from the league for the hit). After being down for several minutes, Titcomb somehow managed to skate to the bench under his own power. With a broken neck. And, oh yeah, he was expecting to go back out for his next shift. But fortunately, the ambulance personnel, fire fighter in attendance, and coach recognized just how hurt he was and immediately stabilized his neck before he was taken off by ambulance. For the next seven months, Aaron had to wear a neck brace and could not skate for seven months.

“Adversity is similar to proving people wrong”, said Titcomb. And this was just his latest bit of adversity. The first time adversity hit Titcomb’s life, even if he was unaware it had, was when his father, Albert (Albie to those who knew him), was murdered in cowardly cold blood by a lifelong alleged chum. In the interest of full disclosure, I knew Albie on a better-than-casual but not quite “we boys” level. We played quite a bit of street/ball/gym hockey against each other and always were very cordial to each other. In the confines of our one square mile, he was a hell of player with a bomb of a shot, whether on parquet or ice. He certainly had the skill to play, at minimum, a D2 school. But, like so many of our peers, he fell victim to foreign substances that robbed him of his potential. That was bad enough. Sickeningly, it was one of his own peers, in a truly delusional power trip, which robbed him of his life over nothing, really.

But Aaron is determined to fulfill the void that his dad unintentionally left for him. In fact, he feels like that’s his destiny right now. “Yeah, I definitely want to fill those footsteps my dad wasn’t able to. Everybody tells me he was a great player and I want to finish what he started.” So far, his career at Brewster has put him on the path to success after such a debilitating injury. Last season, as a junior, he led the team in points while manning the role of #1 defenseman. This year, he was unanimously voted team captain of the Bobcats and his teammates haven’t regretted their choice one bit, as Titcomb’s durable two-way play helps his team immensely. “Shea Weber and Keith Yandle [another descendant of C’town] are the two players I model myself after”. Pretty good role models.

In addition to his skills on the ice, Titcomb also is on track to be a Magna Cum Laude graduate. Furthering his hockey career and being a top-notch student aren’t the only things he wants to do. “I want to inspire other kids who had similar situations, I hope to give back”, he said.

But, he wants to make sure that I know none of this happens without the guidance and stewardship of his mother Mary (Johnson) Gillen. It’s pretty clear that she is his main inspiration. “Look at her”, he’d often tell himself. A teenaged single mother that lost any lingering hope of growing up as a family after Albie’s death, Mary soldiered on and, in the process, set an excellent example for her son that he still follows to this day. He also credits his grandparents and his step-father Jimmy Gillen (again, full disclosure, I’ve known Jimmy for almost 30 years) for instilling in him the strength and confidence to fight through adversity. “He (Jimmy) has really made work hard and pushed me toward making a name for myself and that’s the only thing I want to do.”

Right now, the future is in Titcomb’s hands. And there’s no other way he’d rather have it. Rather than regrets about past events or despair about his upbringing, this kid is just happy to look ahead to what’s around the bend. Still, that doesn’t mean he forgets about what has happened. Hardly. Instead, Titcomb has a constant reminder that he wears around his neck. It’s a picture of his dad; the dad he never got to know yet the one whose dreams he can still complete.

“I’m not going to be satisfied until I play on a professional level,” he tells me.

I won’t be surprised if he’s satisfied, at all.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Farrellys Are Back As "Hall Pass" Kicks Ass

Welcome back, Farrelly Brothers.

After a bit of a creative funk that bottomed out with the atrocious “Fever Pitch” (though it was followed by the underrated “The Heartbreak Kid”), the Rhode Island siblings of scat are back at a level not seen in well over a decade with their latest flick, “Hall Pass”, a return to their sweet-but-hysterically raunchy roots that had the Common theater missing jokes from laughing too hard at the previous one (or they missed them because of the 4-year-old that some shithead parents decided to bring to a sexually graphic R-rated flick at bedtime). And though the flick is right in the approaching-middle-aged-married-guy’s wheelhouse (you married pricks will find yourself nodding along more than once), this doozy will easily play to the ADHD, born-with-a-smartphone set as well. It’s an “Is the grass always greener?” tale that crosses all demos.

I was lucky enough to see a pre-release screening of “There’s Some About Mary” back when I still had hair and if that crowd was a 10 on the laughter scale, Tuesday night’s screening was a 9.5. You’ll need to make room on your DVD shelf (or iPod) for this flick right alongside “Kingpin”, “Dumb and Dumber”, and “Mary”. It deserves the space.

Though the premise is unlikely for so-called “normal” couples and a potential deal-breaker for plausibility, two wives giving their hubbies a week of free reign to do as they please and scratch any itches they may have to get them out of their system, it’s set up in such a funny way that you buy in from the get-go (and who’d a thunk Joy Behar would be the one to convince you?). Maggie (Jenna Fischer) and Grace (Christine Applegate) are married to Rick (Owen Wilson) and Fred (Jason Sudeikis), a pair of hornball dorks who just might be the slightly wiser, pussified spiritual older brothers of Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne.

With all due respect to Wilson’s prior funny endeavors (and he’s very good here, finally laying off the whole stoner bit save for one riotous scene), Sudeikis absolutely shines in a star-making role and steals the movie. He and the Farrellys are a match made in comedy heaven. The SNL vet’s take on Rick is pitch-perfect and he fucking nails it—no two ways about it. I’d be shocked if he’s still working for Lorne Michaels in the ’12-’13 season.

The wives head off to the Cape with the kids (keep an eye out for a Sox legend) and Rick and Fred head out with their buddies…to Applebee’s on Day One (duhn-duhn). The hilarity starts in the shitty chain and just amps up each day. Meanwhile, on the Cape, the wives essentially give themselves a ‘hall pass’ at the same time to provide a little bit of balance to the movie. Fischer and Applegate have more than token roles and are able to show their comedic chops as well. But make no mistake; this movie is about the two leads and the adventures with their buddies, including a nearly unrecognizable, scene-stealing Richard Jenkins as the confirmed bachelor we all dreamed of being one day (right?). Stephen Merchant of the original “The Office” and J.B. Smoove from “Curb Your Enthusiam” also chip in with great turns.

I won’t play spoiler here and give away all the good parts. And there are many. Gross, “holy shit”, no-fucking-way parts. One-liners galore. Bodily discharges. The obligatory stoned scene. Trust me, the previews spoil very little if only because the really good shit won’t fly on TV. Let’s just say Jason Segel’s dick-wiggling turn in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” may move a notch or two down the cinematic, um, totem pole after the gym scene.

The ‘Gansett is prominently featured throughout the many boozing scenes in the flick. As for the filmmakers’ penchant for ex-NHLers, one of the derisively-named “Massachusetts Highway Patrol” officers (in MA Statie doppelganger vehicles) is billed as Jeff Norton. I didn’t recognize him without his helmet on but I can only guess it was the former San Jose Shark who is a Massachusetts native.

It’s a safe bet that the Farrellys launched some new vocabulary with this crisp script that may have people looking down next time they’re getting down. It will undoubtedly approach the quotability of its predecessors. More importantly, the two guys who made Hollywood comedies take a delightfully decrepit turn in the ‘90s have gotten their sick swagger back. And fans of filthily funny flicks everywhere will rejoice this weekend and in the coming months. The Farrellys are back and in vintage form. If you need some belly laughs to chase away the winter blues, see this fucking movie. You’ll genuinely feel better leaving the theater. A-

“Hall Pass” opens nationwide today.!/RearAdBsBlog

Friday, November 19, 2010

Farwell, Pat Burns

Pat Burns, one of the more popular coaches in Bruins history and the only man to win the Jack Adams Award (best coach) with three separate teams, passed away today at the too-young age of 58 after losing his third battle with our modern plague.

After two previous battles with cancer, Burns opted to skip further treatment and live out the remainder of his days. The fiery former cop went from Canadian Jrs. to the Stanley Cup Finals in just two years and his blunt style made him a favorite among fans, if not always his players.

He did 3+ memorable seasons in this city, winning the Adams in his first season here. But like 99% of hockey coaches, he was canned before resurfacing in the swamplands of North Jersey two years later.

Ironically, Burns won his only Stanley Cup with the one team, the New Jersey Devils, that he didn’t win coach of the year with.

Burns was twice eligible for Hockey Hall of Fame induction but was inexplicably denied both times by the HHOF’s ridiculous process (like most HOFs). Prior to the last induction, there was a heavy campaign to vote Burns because of his terminal condition and people rightly figured that it’s better to elect a living man and allow him to enjoy it rather than years down the road when the man is gone (and that’s exactly what going to happen). It unfortunately fell short.

But being the straight-shooter Burns was, it’s likely he knew for a long while his place in the history of the game and that he will eventually join the others in hockey’s ultimate club.

Farewell, Burnsy. We’ll see you in Toronto soon enough.