Showing posts with label Boston Globe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boston Globe. Show all posts

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the Wild?

Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe had this little news nugget in Saturday's Boston Globe. While it sounds interesting, what would the Wild have to give up in return?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins might be a player of interest for Bruce Boudreau and the Wild.

The Wild were already in the market for a center. Their search will amplify following the arrival of Bruce Boudreau. The ex-Anaheim coach got results with the Ducks, partly because of his team’s 1-2 center punch of Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler. Boudreau would like a similar setup in Minnesota, where Mikko Koivu is becoming more suited for matchup play than offensive production. The Wild have depth on defense. The Oilers do not. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins might be a player of interest for Boudreau and Wild GM Chuck Fletcher. In turn, with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in place, Edmonton is in a position of strength at center. This may be the time for the Oilers to deploy Nugent-Hopkins as trade collateral to improve their defense.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Is B.U.’s hockey team an isolated incident or the norm?

This morning the popular discussion on twitter this morning – other than the President Obama’s speech – was the BU Hockey Task Force report that the Boston Globe had gotten their hands on. Let’s just put it this way – there were some interesting, chilling and puzzling revelations to come out of the that report. Some of the stuff that is in this Boston Globe newspaper isn’t very flattering and kind of sheds what I would call a negative light on the Boston University Hockey team.

After watching Penn State have the book thrown at them this summer for what the NCAA referred to as a lack of institutional control – I am beginning to see – albeit on a much smaller scale – what appears to be yet another big time high profile university, lacking some degree of institutional control.

What’s different this is that this sex scandal – if you want to call it that – was perpetrated by the hockey players instead of the coach and the victims were college co-eds instead of innocent minor children, under the age of 18. Neither of these types of incidents are excusable and or acceptable

On the keg party that took place at Agganis Arena – it appears that the head coach Jack Parker was aware of the arena party incident after initially denying that he knew about the incidents. Again, these kind of incidents don’t shed a very positive light on the Boston University hockey program. I could see how this appears to outsiders that Coach Parker has losing control of his hockey team and he has turned a blind eye to this behavior.

I also just don’t buy that argument that it’s happening everywhere and the other programs just haven’t been caught yet. There is no reason we have to excuse or pooh-pooh this bad behavior – or try to deflect the blame. It’s one thing to have student athletes partying – I get that – they’re in college and I would be willing to bet that 70 to 85 percent of college athletes probably have a drink at least once in a while.

It’s another thing to have an out of control raging party right on the campus in the locker room – I don't have a problem with a house party if you're of age, again, I get it, college kids drink alcohol both legally and illegally – a keg party at hockey arena with players and their dates having sex in a penalty box – that's unacceptable. I am not sure how anyone can excuse that either. That's right out of the penthouse form or a late night movie on Cinemax. I am going to say that some lines have been crossed in that instance.

What appears to be difference in this instance is  – instead of covering this up scandal and sweeping this under the rug – Boston University instead decided to address the issues that emerged. The difference in this case was that BU was more proactive and the University wants to right the ship before this gets anymore out of control, hence, having the NCAA getting involved and throwing the book at BU like they did against PSU.
Mary Carmichael, Boston Globe --- When Boston University released its report Wednesday on hockey players’ “culture of sexual entitlement,” it kept most of the investigation details — including accounts of sexual debauchery and wide-ranging allegations of academic trouble — confined to confidential subcommittee reports.

In the documents, which were obtained by the Globe on Thursday, were tales of a late-night 2009 NCAA championship party at Agganis Arena where dozens of guests drank from kegs in the locker room showers and took to the ice naked to shoot pucks.

“It was insane,” one former student who attended told the BU task force. “People were having sex in the penalty box.”

Campus police did not find out about the party, nor did BU administrators — until this year, when the task force started asking questions. During interviews with the task force, hockey coach Jack Parker also professed ignorance, at first saying he had never heard about the bash, but later acknowledging he knew of “a few guys drinking in the locker room.”
I am also wondering if BU and other colleges and University sports programs around the country have become an insular place where the athletes and coaching staffed become convinced of its own righteousness?

Boston University’s president Dr. Robert A. Brown has posted on his schools web page the hockey task force report and it’s available to people to peruse and study. This paragraph caught my eye and I wonder if this same thing is happening at other colleges and universities around the USA?
Of primary concern was the question of whether inherent aspects of the program’s culture and climate could have helped to foster the actions that led to the criminal charges. For those unfamiliar with Boston University athletic programs, the men’s hockey team, which has won a total of five national championships, has garnered substantial national recognition and is often among the top university ice hockey programs in the nation. Its visibility both on and off campus exceeds that of any other BU athletic program.
While I am concerned about the criminal behavior such as sexual assault that was addressed in this report – I am also concerned about athletes being given preferential treatment academically. I am also disappointed, that a University with the academic record of Boston University, would lower expectations and academic standards for BU hockey players and have another set of standards for regular students. If I was a student at BU that wasn't a hockey player, I would be disappointed with this revelation.
Academic performance data show that with some exceptions, the academic performance of the men’s ice hockey team falls below that of the undergraduate student body as a whole. Information provided by faculty regarding their classroom experiences with team members was highly variable. Some had very positive interactions with players and some had much less positive experiences. Historically, the players’ NCAA graduation rates have been high. The data and information, taken together, are interpreted to indicate that while there are not clear systemic problems, the academic performance of the men’s ice hockey team members should continue to be monitored to ensure that they meet university standards. The admissions data we examined indicates that a number of team members matriculated despite test scores and grade point averages that are considerably lower than the mean for students admitted to Boston University. [BU Hockey Task Force Report]
Again, kudos for Boston University addressing the problem before it got too far out of hand and ended up in the NCAA’s crosshairs, that speaks volumes for Boston University as opposed to one school I can think of out in Missoula, Montana who is now is in the middle of a major scandal on their campus because  school authorities and local law enforcement officials have been accused of doing too little to respond to claims of sexual assaults.

The NCAA, Department of Justice and Federal Law Enforcement agencies are now investigating this scandal. Nothing good can come out of this situation when you have this many agencies looking into scandal.

Lastly, I don’t think the BU Hockey situation is a norm for college hockey programs – that’s not to say that there isn’t issue that arises from time to time.
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Monday, June 04, 2012

More on Thomas' decision to not play next season

Goalie Tim Thomas, NHL Hockey player for the B...
Goalie Tim Thomas, NHL Hockey player for the Boston Bruins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So much for my bold prediction of Tim Thomas coming back to the Bruins for a final season to lead the Boston Bruins to another Stanley Cup. For more information on this subject you can check out the Daily Bruins from my friend Rosie.

I am sure there are a lot of fans and certain media members that are licking their lips about the fact that Thomas won't be with the Bruins last season but the fact remains that Thomas was a major reason the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Zito declined to discuss any other specifics of Thomas’s decision not to play next season. On Sunday, Thomas confirmed that he will not play in 2012-13 via a posting on his Facebook page. Thomas has one season remaining on his four-year, $20 million contract. Thomas’s no-movement clause expires on July 1.

The chatter around the league is that Thomas does not want to play for the Bruins next season, thus prompting his decision. The Bruins, who would be responsible for his cap hit next year, would be eager to rid themselves of Thomas’s $5 million number.[Fluto Shinzawa, Boston Globe]

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Zdeno Chara vs. Chris Neil

This fight was a direct result of Chris Neils hit on the Boston Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk earlier in the game. From reviewing the video, I think the play was a "borderline" charging call. [click to view video of hit].

It was not a good day for Boston Bruins defensemen as Johnny Boychuk and Joe Corvo were both left the game and didn't return.
Both Boychuk and Corvo made the bus and were on the flight’s manifest. Julien figures both will be OK. Boychuck, he said, got caught with his head down, and was held out for the rest of the game per standard protocol. [Boston Globe]
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Monday, August 08, 2011

Can we all get along?

I have been at home today not feeling well and have been reading some of the blog posts as they respond to this comments from College Hockey Inc. executive director Paul Kelly apparently Kelly started the proverbial crap storm with this zinger that appeared in the Boston Globe.
Fluto Shinzawa; Boston Globe --- There isn't an overriding reason why future collegians are opting out of the classroom. It could be academics. It might be heat from NHL personnel who believe junior is the preferred route over college. Money could also be a factor.

"As much as the CHL denies it, there are still instances where money is being paid to the family to lure kids away and de-commit from colleges," Kelly said. "It's off the books, under the table, whatever you want to call it. If your dad is a fisherman, an out-of-work machinist, or a farmer, and a CHL program comes along and offers you $300,000 in cash, it's tough for these families not to accept that type of proposal."

One solution might be a first-year grace period. For example, a collegian would be off limits from NHL or CHL contact for his freshman year. If he believes that college isn't for him after one year, then he'd be free to consider other options. (Boston Globe)
Jess Rubenstein from Prospect Park countered with this zinger of his own... Seriously, you have to give Jess credit, historically there has been a lot of issues with Division I college sports, as we have seen this year, some sports are ripe with corruption, cough, cough, cough Ohio State University football... So maybe the NCAA needs to be careful and to not throw stones while living in the proverbial glass house.
See we hear this accusation on almost every single occasion when Paul Kelly speaks but we are still waiting to see some actual proof. In the meantime, it is rather funny to hear someone representing NCAA hockey crying about under the table money when in NCAA basketball as well as NCAA football have a couple of highly ranked programs (like the school right down the road from us Oregon) find themselves under investigation for possibly paying for football recruits.
Here is what Buzzing the Net had to say in response to Paul Kelly's comments. Obviously Neate Sager is pro CHL/junior hockey but he does bring up some good points as well, in a nut shell he is right, bad mouthing the CHL does nothing for Division I Hockey's cause.
No doubt this has been said before on BTN, but the endless blame game doesn't really serve College Hockey, Inc.'s cause. That's not meant to let anyone in junior hockey off the hook, but let's be realistic and admit recruiting is cutthroat. My understanding of Kelly's organization, though, is that its main aims are to advise NCAA Division I schools interested in icing a hockey program and promote college hockey as a viable option for potential recruits. Both are worth fighting for; more major colleges competing in hockey would increase opportunities for both male and female players. As far as talking up the NCAA to young players, some in the CHL do not like the incursions on to their turf, but younger players and their families should have all the information before choosing which track...
Those are each nobler goals than fulminating about not having a few NHL first-round picks in school for a year or two. It's just a lot less sexier for the media
The Wisconsin Badgers' Beat writer Andy Baggot from had this interesting quote from Badgers head hockey coach Mike Eaves, in reading that quote one can make the inference/argument that the NCAA route is just as successful for developing NHL hockey players as the CHL, especially if you're not a first round draft choice and end up being a late bloomer.
CHL teams work the same talent pools as colleges, billing themselves as the fastest route to the NHL. In some cases that's true, in part because Major Junior clubs play longer, pro-style schedules and are the preferred developmental sites for some NHL organizations.

Yet, as Eaves and his college peers are quick to point out, NHL rosters currently have the same percentage of talent from colleges, Major Junior and European leagues.

"The difference between Major Junior and college is that 66 percent of kids that play Major Junior don't make (the NHL)," Eaves said. "What do they have left?
Probably one point that some people might be missing is maybe Division I hockey needs to have the right people promoting the game of college hockey. Maybe the messenger needs to change, it's something that Division I hockey might want to look at, maybe we need to have more people Mike Eaves promoting the college game.

Where do we go from here?

I have to admit that I don't like to see potential college hockey players defecting to the CHL, no one does, but it's been happening for a very long time and there is really no way to stopping it from happening. The coaches can't be with their recruits during the off season. Let's be real, the CHL has no incentive to stop recruiting players that are already committed to Division I programs, why should they? Some of these kids are going to change their mind and go the Major Junior route no matter what, maybe in retrospect Division I hockey should concentrate more on the players that are staying in college and worry less about the players that are leaving.

Don't let the door hit you in the...

Take J.T. Miller for example, my favorite team the UND Fighting Sioux while it hurts losing Miller, the Fighting Sioux are going to be fine without him, like some Sioux fans including myself said, screw him!!! Miller is one player and the Fighting Sioux still have a great class of committed incoming freshman, no one player is above the program.  UND head coach Dave Hakstol is a team orientated coach and is not afraid to sit a player if his attitude needs adjusting, no matter what his press clipping read. 

I believe that NCAA Division I college hockey just has to do a better job of promoting the game to potential hockey recruits. I also can't fault J.T. Miller from signing and cashing in on a 92,000 signing bonus as well, that's a lot of money and I might sign if I was standing in his shoes as well. With the news of NBC showing Division I hockey on television, that could possibly sway some kids from staying in college, or maybe not but it's a start.

I am a realist and know that Division I college hockey is not for every hockey player, every situation is different. It's hard to go to college and be a student athlete, some of the schools in Division I hockey are very hard to get into and their class work is also very difficult. One side of the argument is; If a player knows that he could be in the NHL in a season or two why would he potentially want to go to school and do a bunch of studying and home work? As a former Division II football player I know that balancing school work and athletics is very difficult and time consuming and doesn't leave you a lot of time for socializing if your serious about your schooling and are taking a bunch of difficult classes.

I also don't know if NCAA hockey can compete mano a mano with the CHL, NCAA Division I hockey is going to lose some of the battles because the CHL is going to serve as a faster pathway than the NCAA for some players... Also, do we want to see a bunch of one and or two and done players in Division I hockey?
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Sunday, June 05, 2011

KDP; it’s time to give up the fight

If anything KPD article gives us reason not to take fighting out of hockey, and yeah Mr. Dupon you’re nuts. All you have to do is witness some of the antics that happen when you take fighting out of hockey, the Stanley Cup playoffs are a perfect example of this, you have players bitting each other and running over the other teams goalies.

Let's break it down further, if you take fighting out of hockey you’ll have buffoons like Alex Burrows, Steve Ott, Dan Carcillo, Raffi Torres, Matt Cooke and Steve Downie (I am sorry if I missed anyone there are many others that I could have included in my post) getting away with all kinds of egregious and questionable acts, the Boston Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton is right. You’ll have these gutless pukes performing all kinds of random acts of thuggery without ever having to answer the bell; this would actually make the game of hockey more dangerous that it is already.
Kevin Paul Dupont; Boston Globe ---- Too much of today’s game is about hitting to hurt, literally to break the opponent, and that’s not just a danger to players but also to the game’s image, its marketability, and I think its sustainability. To abolish fighting won’t be a cure-all, but I believe it can be key in unraveling a complicated, dangerous, and ultimately losing environment.

So I made that very case the other day to Bruins career tough guy Shawn Thornton, whom I respect as a person, a player, and a fighter (my kind of hat trick). He looked at me in dismay, and then in all sincerity, and with a good amount of animation and invective, told me I was nuts. He made his points in support of the sweet science (all in line with my lifetime position) and really couldn’t be swayed with my “culture change’’ postulate.

“I think if you take fighting out,’’ said Thornton, “you’ll see the game go to places where you’ll want it back just to stop the nonsense — more stick work, more cheap shots, just all the junk. Maybe that’s my old-school thinking, but . ..
I mean seriously, If you took fighting out of the game of hockey, it would be open season on the skilled players in the NHL. This would give players like Kevin Bieksas and Dan Carcillos a green light to perform their bag of tricks. I would not be an understatement to say that players of this ilk would be licking their lips in anticipation because they can skate up and down the ice taking liberties on the skilled players in the NHL without ever having to answer the bell. In the past, there has been little if any consequences for their questionable actions, why would they now all of a sudden behave, you can’t count on the NHL front office to discipline them.

I can see players like Sidney Crosby becoming victims of more random acts of violence. Let's not be confused, just because Colin Campbell has stepped down as the head disciplinarian in the NHL don’t expect the newly anointed Brendan Shanahan to change the culture in the NHL. This is a bad idea and its’ ill conceived… I suggest taking the instigator rule out of NHL Hockey and it would clean the game up tomorrow.

If you think that I am over exaggerating this point just watch a game in the WCHA of the NCAA, there is no fighting in college hockey, the players wear full cages and almost weekly there are all kinds of random acts of violence, these egregious hits by the players are rarely punished and the players never have to worry because they know they won’t have to answer for their acts of thuggery. As we have seen in the past that players can take out a team’s skilled player and know that there will be no repercussion and they will only probably get suspended for one game anyways. What do you think? Lets start the debate.