#DigSportsDesk - The Lede
NHL STANLEY CUP FINAL:
Bruins Take G3 with Strong Effort; Shutout BHawks 2-0
(Wire Service Report)
BOSTON, June 18, 2013 – The Bruins are two wins away from their second Stanley Cup in the past three years. And just as they had done to the potent Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference final (two goals against in four games), Claude Julien's team is locking down the opposition offense.
Tuukka Rask pitched his third shutout in the past seven games and Game 2 overtime hero Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron scored second-period goals to power Boston to a 2-0 Game 3 win over Chicago for a 2-1 series lead over the stifled Blackhawks. Rask and his buddies have yielded only one goal in the last two games and held onto home-ice advantage with the series resuming at TD Garden Wednesday night. If you're into history, consider this: Teams winning Game 3 of a 1-1 finals have gone on to win 21 of the 25 times it has happened.
With the Hawks, the Presidents' Trophy winner as the top team in the league in the regular season, missing an injured Marian Hossa, Rask stopped 28 shots as the Bruins scored their seventh straight home playoff victory. He was beaten by Bryan Bickell with 45 seconds left but the puck struck the inside of the post.
Remember, that streak started when Boston came from three goals down in the third period and eliminated Toronto in overtime in Game 7 of the first round. The Bruins are 11-2 starting with that comeback. Paille scored his fourth goal of the playoffs, while Bergeron beat Corey Crawford on the power with his seventh. Chicago's Dave Bolland failed to control a puck leading to the first goal and also took three penalties, one leading to the second.
Boston killed all five Chicago power plays (the last one just the final 11.9 seconds of the game) and have now killed 27 straight. Hossa, who has 15 points -- tied for the team lead coming in to Monday's game -- was injured during warmups and replaced by Ben Smith, who played at Boston College. While the Hossa news was a surprise, as expected, Viktor Stalberg was back in the Chicago lineup. Brandon Bollig, whose giveaway led to the Game 2 winner, was scratched. The Bruins killed off the only two penalties of the scoreless first period before taking the lead 2:13 into the second. Again, it was the new line coach Claude Julien put together in Game 2 that got the job done. Tyler Seguin was robbed by a Crawford glove save, the puck going into the corner, where Chris Kelly tried to center. Bolland was there to intercept but Paille disrupted him, grabbed the puck, wheeled and fired.
Soon after, TD Garden chants of "Craw-ford, Craw-ford" began, reminiscent of what the local fans did to Roberto Luongo in the 2011 final.
The Bruins wasted most of their first power play, but Niklas Hjalmarsson tripped Paille and the home team had an 11-second two-man advantage. Bolland was in the box for the first one and was still getting back into the 5-on-4 when Jaromir Jagr hit Bergeron with a precision pass across the goalmouth at 14:05. That got the fans into a "We Want The Cup" chant.
NOTES: Hockey Night in Canada personality (and former Bruins coach) Don Cherry, asked if he thought Boston's Brad Marchand is a "pest" said, "The funny thing is, they call him a 'pest' but he's not a pest. He's a hockey player that's a little dirty. Maybe [a lot] dirty, but he's good. But he's not, for sure, he's not a pest. A pest is a guy who maybe gets four or five goals and gets on the fourth line and stuff like that. He's my type of guy. He reminds me of Kenny Linseman, the Rat. Let's start calling him 'Rat Junior.'" Marchand replied after hearing Cherry. "Yeah, it's definitely a big compliment." ... Cherry on being back in Boston: "I just love coming back here. I love hearing the guys with their Boston accent. The security guy let me in my room last night after a few beers and he said, 'Thanks for coming back, Don. We enjoy it when you're here.' I get a good feeling when I come here." ... Boston's Gregory Campbell, out with a broken leg, rejoined his teammates, complete with a black (team color) cast. "He's such a big part of our team and we wouldn't be where we are right now if he wasn't here, so it's great to be around him again," Marchand said. ... Keeping with their postseason honoring victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Bruins welcomed Rob Rogers, Jenn Rogers and Jennifer Lemmerman, siblings of Sean Collier, the MIT police officer killed by terrorists, as the pregame Banner captains.
Manu-United for the Spurs
(From Staff and Wire Service Reports)
SAN ANTONIO -- Manu Ginobili still has some greatness left. The 35-year-old guard, a missing piece for the Spurs throughout the NBA Finals, started for the first time in the regular season or postseason Sunday night and looked as if he should have been in the lineup all along. He had 24 points and 10 assists to help San Antonio defeat the Miami Heat 114-104 and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals. The point total was his highest this season, regular season or playoffs.
"I needed to make a couple of shots," he said. "I just had a better overall offensive game. I needed to feel like that."
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich's move to replace center Tiago Splitter with Ginobili paid off quickly. Ginobili had seven points and three assists in the first five minutes of the game and never cooled off. The Spurs weren't pleased with the criticism Ginobili had been receiving.
"We're not a team or organization that points fingers in that respect, so we're confident in him," San Antonio forward Tim Duncan said. "We know he has it in him. We're hoping he can bring it for one more win."
Ginobili had help from his backcourt mates. Tony Parker had 26 points for San Antonio, and Danny Green scored 24 points while making six 3-pointers to break the NBA record for 3-pointers in a Finals series.
"Danny's been playing great," Parker said. "I can't believe he's still open. If you leave Danny wide open, he's going to shoot 3s."
Duncan added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Kawhi Leonard scored 16 points. The Spurs need just one win to claim their fifth NBA title since the start of the 1998-99 season. Game 6 is Tuesday in Miami, which would be the site of Game 7 on Thursday if necessary.
"You just go play Game 6," Popovich said. "There's no magic. It's basketball. The best team will win."
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each scored 25 points for Miami, with Wade contributing 10 assists and James adding eight rebounds. Ray Allen came off the bench to score 21 points, 15 of them in the fourth quarter.
"The small things we need to do to win games, we didn't do them this night," Allen said.
Miami opened the second half with a 7-0 run that included a 3-pointer by James, pulling the Heat within two. San Antonio quickly responded, and a 3-pointer by Green increased the Spurs' lead to 66-59. The basket gave him the Finals record with his 23rd 3-pointer in the series, and he ended the night with 25. Allen set the previous mark with the Boston Celtics in 2008.
Green then came up with a huge defensive play, stuffing a driving James to thwart a Miami fast break. San Antonio then pushed it down the floor, and Parker's floater on the other end bumped San Antonio's lead back up to 73-67 with six minutes left in the third quarter. Miami went on another run, cutting San Antonio's lead to one, but the Spurs responded with a 12-1 run to take an 87-75 lead into the fourth quarter. San Antonio scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, and the Spurs weren't threatened from there. San Antonio's offense sizzled in the first half. The Spurs hit 61.8 percent from the field and made five of 11 3-point attempts to take a 61-52 lead at the break. Green continued his hot shooting from beyond the arc, knocking down three first-half 3-pointers, the last coming at 7:30 of the second quarter and giving San Antonio a 17-point lead.
Miami came back to cut the deficit to 52-47 on two free throws by James with two minutes left but Parker scored the final four points of the half, the last a layup at the buzzer to push the lead back up to nine. Green and Duncan each had 13 first-half points to lead the Spurs. San Antonio's Big Three -- Ginobili, Parker and Duncan -- combined for 35 points in the first half. James topped the Heat with 16 first-half points, but he struggled in the second half, a big part of why the Heat face elimination heading into Game 6. The league MVP hit eight of 22 shots, and the Heat made 43 percent overall. San Antonio wound up hitting 60 percent of its shots.
"We can't worry about a Game 7," James said. "We have a Game 6. It is what it is. We have a Game 6 on our home floor. I have to come up big for sure in Game 6. I believe we all have to play at a high level to keep this series going.
"I always just focus on the present. The next challenge is on Tuesday night. We have an opportunity."
Allen added, "Everything that we've done all year has come to this point right here. We have to win. Over the course of this year, we've found ourselves in so many different situations. We've thrived in tough moments."
NOTES: The Spurs announced that G Patty Mills, who had surgery Saturday to remove an abscess on his right foot, would miss the remainder of the Finals. The 24-year-old appeared in 22 postseason games, averaging 1.5 points and 3.3. minutes. ... Thursday's combined 85-point performance by James (33), Wade (32) and Bosh (20) was the highest single-game scoring trio in Heat postseason history. The last team trio to have at least two 30-point scorers and a 20-point scorer in the Finals was the 1995 Houston Rockets with Hakeem Olajuwon (34), Sam Cassell (31) and Clyde Drexler (23) in Game 2.
STANLEY CUP: ALL SQUARE
Bruins pull even with OT win
(Staff and Wire Service Report)
CHICAGO -- Tuukka Rask called it survival mode, the way the Boston Bruins overcame an awful first period on Saturday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. That mentality helped the Bruins shake off the early one-goal deficit and rally for a 2-1 overtime victory, evening the Stanley Cup Finals at one game each. Game 3 is Monday in Boston.
Daniel Paille scored 13:48 into overtime, three days after the Bruins lost 4-3 in a draining three-overtime opener. In Game 2, the Bruins trailed 1-0 after being outshot 19-4 in the first period. But the Blackhawks managed only 15 shots the rest of the way as Rask finished with 33 saves. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 26 saves, including seven in OT.
"Not much needed to be said after that first period," said Boston center Chris Kelly, who scored the Bruins' first goal. "It was a pretty terrible period by our team. If it wasn't for Tuukka, it would have been worse. To a guy, we all knew we had to go out and play better."
The Blackhawks had their six-game home winning streak snapped and the Bruins improved to 6-3 on the road. The first eight minutes of overtime offered more action than the entire third period and most of the second as both teams tried to avoid another lengthy night. It was the third straight OT game for the Blackhawks, who beat Los Angeles 4-3 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals before Wednesday night's marathon.
"Both sides carried a pretty fast pace out there considering what happened a couple days ago in Game 1," Chicago left winger Patrick Sharp said. "I don't think fatigue was an issue on either side."
Jaromir Jagr nearly ended it 90 seconds into overtime, but his wrist shot that beat Corey Crawford to the glove side ricocheted off the post and out of play. The 41-year-old Jagr had a team-high five shots on goal. Crawford again stymied the Bruins four minutes later with a point-blank stop on Chris Kelly and then covering the puck in the crease on a deflection. The Bruins kept the pressure up as a shot by Nathan Horton trickled wide of the left post, and Milan Lucic backhanded a shot wide from the top of the crease.
"We got better as the game went on," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Overtime, that was the best. (We) had a lot of scoring chances there. Like I told our guys, we got to show up on time for these kind of games. It could have cost us tonight."
Chicago missed its best chance to end it about seven minutes into the extra session when a blast from Sharp sailed just high of the net over Rask's glove. This marked the second consecutive year the first two games of the Finals went to overtime. Before that, it hadn't happened in 61 years.
A scoreless third period provided few chances on either side. Crawford, who had 18 saves through regulation, stopped a charging Brad Marchand early in the period. Crawford also turned aside a low shot from David Krejci a short time later as the Bruins continued to build after being outshot 19-4 in the first period. That was Krejci's first shot, which didn't come until nearly 45 minutes into the game.
Rask made 27 saves through regulation but only nine of those came after the first period.
"We had the perfect start to the game, then we stopped doing what made us successful," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we slowed ourselves down. I don't think we got the puck behind them. I think we were in front of them too much. I think that played into their hands."
Neither team was able to take advantage of their power plays through regulation. The Bruins killed off all three Chicago opportunities, remaining perfect on their past 22 consecutive penalties. Chicago, which had allowed a power-play goal in its past two games, killed off both Boston man-advantages. The Blackhawks did everything right in the first period and got on the scoreboard first. Sharp scored from inside the right faceoff circle after a scramble in front of the Bruins goal. With Rask down in the crease, Sharp lifted a high shot into the net at 11:22 for his ninth goal of the playoffs.
About a minute later, Chicago thought it had added to the lead on a wraparound attempt by Jonathan Toews. But it was ruled no goal on the ice and the call stood upon video review. The Bruins were outshot 19-4 in the first period but almost scored about nine minutes in. However, a Jagr shot from the slot was gloved by Crawford.
Rask stopped 18 shots in the first period, after making a career-high 59 saves in the opener. His most impressive save came six minutes in when he robbed Nick Leddy with a quick glove.
Despite their limited scoring chances, the Bruins were able to tie it 1-1 in the second period on a Kelly goal at 14:58. A turnover behind the Chicago net was grabbed by Paille, who skated to the front and fed Kelly for his first goal of the playoffs.
"On my goal, it was a great five-guy effort," said Kelly, who hadn't scored since April 17 against Buffalo. "Andrew (Ference) made a pinch, Tyler (Seguin) was in on the play and got it to Daniel, and Daniel took it to the net. I just happened to be there, tapped it in."
Marchand nearly gave the Bruins the lead late in the second period on a short-handed chance. He beat Brent Seabrook to a loose puck in the Blackhawks' zone, but his shot hit the post to Crawford's left.
NOTES: Horton was back in the Bruins' lineup despite leaving Game 1 on Wednesday night in the first overtime and not returning with a reported shoulder injury. ... Sharp (6) and Marian Hossa (5) had more first-period shots than the Bruins (4). ... Teams that have taken a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals are 32-3 all time, but two of those losses came in the past four seasons. The Bruins lost the first two games to Vancouver before rallying to win the 2011 Stanley Cup. ... There hasn't been a split of the first two games in the Finals since 2004.
When Men were Men and the NHL had Six Teams
By TERRY LYONS, Editor-in-Chief of DigitalSportsDesk
The Boston Bruins will play the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals and it will be the first time since 1979 that the NHL championship will be decided between two "Original Six" clubs. That's right, the last time a finals pitted "Original Six" teams as in 1979 when the New York Rangers faced the Montreal Canadiens in the Cup finale, with Montreal winning in five games.
The Rangers "never" should've been there, as the New York Islanders were a far superior team but NY goalkeeper John Davidson played the series of his lifetime and it shut down Mike Bossy, the Islanders sharpshooting sniper and advanced the Blue Shirts to the Stanley Cup. if it hadn't been for Davidson's stellar performance, we'd be looking back to 1972 when the Boston Bruins defeated the New York Rangers and Bobby Orr hoisted his final Cup.
So, now in 2013, this occasion calls for sentimental softies, such as yours truly, to reminisce a bit to the days of the Original Six, way before the New York Islanders were born - no, not Bob Bourne! I mean born, "launched," "expanded" or just plain put into business as the North American professional ice hockey league attempted to go, well, North American and expand to places like Atlanta, Georgia, and Uniondale, Long Island.
They had already created franchises in places like Los Angeles and Oakland, California, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, St. Louis, Missouri, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, for god-sakes. The outer-reaches of ice hockey civilization for anyone who laced up skates in 1942.
So I long for the days of the Original Six and I note that when the Original Six played, men were men.
When the Original six played, there was only one Zamboni and a fan never got near the machine.
When the Original Six played, there were two-line passes and it was a good thing.
When the Original Six played, there was one referee and two linesmen and they were called - the refs.
When the Original Six played, ties were like 'kissin' your sister.'
When the Original Six played, Bobby Russeau and Bruce MacGregor wore hockey helmets, and everyone knew the former was really named Joseph Jean-Paul Robert.
When the Original Six played, Gump Worsley was holding out as the last goalkeeper without a mask.
When the Original Six played, Derek Sanderson was the toughest Bruins player and Keith Magnuson was the toughest Blackhawks player, but you feared Bobby Hull.
When the Original Six played, the only Tweets were from birds. Twits were a whole other story.
When the Original Six played, you were allowed to "sneak in" an "Air Horn" and blast it after goals.
When the Original Six played, "Old time hockey" wasn't Eddie Shore, because Eddie Shore was playing.
When the Original Six played, you were allowed to walk around The Garden and jump on empty soda cups and listen to the echo of sound reverberate in the Blues.
When the Original Six played and you missed your train and had to wait a whole hour for the next one, you took those squished-up cups, folded them up and played a mean game of floor hockey in the basement of Penn Station, only stopping for some Nedicks to get a sip of cold refreshment but, really, to make a new puck.
When the Original Six played, Madison Square Garden was "new" in 1968 but the "old" Garden, Boston Garden and Maple Leaf Garden were the jewels.
When the Original Six played, they renovated buildings and didn't pretend to "transform" them.
When the Original Six played, phones had wires and rotary dials and everyone had one phone number and one address and that was it.
When the Original Six played, we had 13 channels and the game was on Channel 9.
When the Original Six played, there was no "Peter Puck" and "FoxTrax" were hunted by the hounds.
When the Original Six played, you did not "Tebow," you knelt and prayed and you didn't dare touch the consecrated host for fear of going to hell or getting yelled at by The "Monsignor."
When the Original Six played, the only Neilsen ratings you worried about were the stats of Roger Neilson.
When the Original Six played, Phil and Tony Esposito were household names, and Tony's autograph was on our street hockey sticks and "Jesus Saved" but Phil "scored on the rebound."
When the Original Six played ...
Bs CAUSE IT's the CUP!
(From Staff and wire service Report)
BOSTON -- The Boston stunning run against the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins is complete and the Bruins are on their way to the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals.
Adam McQuaid scored the lone goal 5:01 into the third period and Tuukka Rask turned in another stellar effort, stopping 26 shots for his second shutout of the series as the Bruins beat the top-seeded Penguins 1-0 on Friday night to complete a four-game sweep of the Eastern Conference finals. Boston will be playing for its second Stanley Cup championship in two years against either Chicago or defending-champion Los Angeles. The game ended with a flurry of Penguins shots at Rask, who frustrated Pittsburgh throughout. He grabbed the last one at the horn with his glove and batted it into the air with his stick after it was over.
"That last shot I saw at the last second and I saved it," he said before breaking into a smile. "I realized it was over -- relief." With the building rocking, bodies flying and the Penguins' hopes fading, the Bruins -- and mainly Rask -- did what they did nearly the entire series -- kept the puck out of the net. "It was just pure desperation," Boston winger Chris Kelly said. "Guys were just willing to sacrifice anything. You see Z (Zdeno Chara) on the ice. Jags (Jaromir Jagr) is on the ice trying to block shots. Everyone's doing whatever it takes to not let that puck cross the line." It was a symbol of what the Bruins are this series. "I think we took that approach of trying to be a desperate team,'' Kelly said. "We know how good they are and how many offensive tools they have." Boston dominated the Penguins, outscoring them 12-2 in the series and holding down a team that averaged more than four goals per game through the opening two rounds. "I didn't expect to go out four straight," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who was held pointless in the sweep.
"But the last couple of games, I thought we deserved better. Unfortunately, we didn't find a way to regroup after dropping those two at home." Boston won the opening two games in Pittsburgh, 3-0 and 6-1, before pulling out a 2-1 double-overtime thriller on Wednesday night at TD Garden. "This series here against Pittsburgh was not a four-nothing series," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "The breaks went our way. ... I think Pittsburgh was a little snake-bit that way. But that's not saying we didn't play well. When you hold a team like Pittsburgh to two goals, that's a good series.
" On the winning goal, Brad Marchand made a perfect drop pass to McQuaid, who unloaded a shot from the point that tipped off Pittsburgh winger Jarome Iginla and sailed over the glove of goalie Tomas Vokoun. About a minute after McQuaid's goal, the crowd broke into brief chants of: 'We want the Cup!' The same cheer was heard ringing through TD Garden during Boston's run to the 2011 title. "To sweep a team like Pittsburgh, the highest scoring team in league, is not easy to do," Bruins center David Krejci said. "We played good defensively and no one was cheating on the ice." The Bruins nearly increased their lead with just under eight minutes to play when Jagr clanged a shot off the crossbar on the power play. Less than two minutes later, Daniel Paille had a clean breakaway but missed wide left. But that was all Boston needed with the red-hot Rask and a team that relied on tough defense. The Bruins found a way to shut down the game's most potent offense. "There's no question that the performance (Rask) put in this series was elite,"
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "He was the difference in the series. It's not like we didn't have good scoring opportunities and good scoring chances." The Penguins now have a summer to think about what happened. "Our team is a team that considered itself capable of winning a Stanley Cup, and those were the expectations." Bylsma said. "Coming up short is disappointing. No question we'll look at this as a missed opportunity." Iginla, who vetoed a proposed trade-deadline deal to Boston because he wanted a chance to win the Cup with Sidney Crosby and company, will now have to live with a summer of what ifs. What if he came to Boston? What if he left McQuaid's shot alone? Boston nearly broke the scoreless tie early in the second period when winger Kaspars Daugavins took a pass from linemate Rich Peverley in the left circle, cut in front and had Vokoun beaten, but he slipped a wrist shot off the left post.
After the Bruins killed off Marchand's interference penalty midway into the period, the Bruins had a power play when Brenden Morrow tripped Marchand. Boston had two decent chances, but its best came about a minute after the power play when Tyler Seguin was robbed by Vokoun's glove stop at the end of a two-on-one break. For about six minutes, play was nearly non-stop with each team getting a few decent scoring chances. Pittsburgh's best was when Rask made a right pad stop on Crosby's shot from the bottom of the left circle. The Penguins had one final good chance late in the period when defenseman Paul Martin had an open lane on a shot from the right point, but Rask dropped to make a pad save. And the teams entered the third like they did the second -- tied 0-0.
NOTES: Bruins winger Gregory Campbell, who suffered a broken leg blocking a shot in Game 3, was on the press-box level and got a loud ovation when they showed highlights of his block, his continued effort on the ice during a short-handed situation while he was injured and then upstairs. ... The Bruins had the parents of Krystle Campbell, who died after injuries suffered during the Boston Marathon bombings, as the banner captains on the ice before the game. ... Krejci entered the game leading the playoffs in points (21 goals, nine assists). ... Tyler Kennedy, a healthy scratch for the last two games, was back in the lineup and C Joe Vitale was scratched. ... Daugavins took Campbell's spot in the lineup and on the fourth line. ... The Penguins' notes had an interesting highlight of an item called 'Past Precedent,' mentioning the last team to hold a 3-0 lead and not advance -- the 2010 Bruins against the Philadelphia Flyers. ... Red Sox DH David Ortiz was in a luxury box waving a yellow towel. Boston's game against the Angels was rained out earlier in the day.
TOO COOL RASK
Bruins' Tuukka Stopped 53 of 54 Pittsburgh Shots
Staff and Wire Service Report
BOSTON -- It looks like Jarome Iginla was wrong. Back at the trade deadline, the future Hall of Famer decided he wanted to go to Pittsburgh rather than Boston because the Penguins had a better chance to win the Stanley Cup. But early Thursday morning, Patrice Bergeron tipped a Brad Marchand pass past Tomas Vokoun with 4:41 left in the second overtime, giving the Bruins a 2-1 Game 3 victory and a commanding 3-0 lead over Iginla's Penguins in the Eastern Conference final. The Bruins, going for their second Stanley Cup in the past three years, can advance to the finals with a win Friday night.
Only three teams have come back from 0-3 deficits to win a playoff series; the Bruins on the wrong end of the most-recent one, to the Flyers in 2010.
Former Penguin Jaromir Jagr started the winning rush at center ice and got the puck to Marchand, who found Bergeron for the center's second OT goal of these playoffs -- after the clock had gone past midnight. The goal made a winner of goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 53 saves on a night the Penguins showed they indeed had some heart left. Vokoun, who continued to start over Marc-Andre Fleury, also played well, stopping 38 shots. Some 90 seconds before the winner, Pittsburgh's Craig Adams hit the post behind Rask. David Krejci, the playoff scoring leader, scored his ninth just 1:42 into the game and Chris Kunitz answered with his fifth in the second period.
"It was, first of all, a great play by Jags to take that puck on the wall and just fight to get the loose puck to Marsh (Brad Marchand)," said Bergeron in his post game press conference. "We do that chemistry where we know where we're going on the ice, and I knew he was going to try to find me if I was driving to the net. I went to the net and tried to have my stick on the ice and he found me."
The Bruins lost center Gregory Campbell in the second period after he blocked an Evgeni Malkin shot with his right leg. There was no update but he didn't return. After killing four power plays in the first two periods, the Bruins had the first 42 seconds of the third on the power play and then had two more chances later in the period. But they totaled one shot in the four minutes and were outshot 14-4 in the period. That doesn't count posts hit by Sidney Crosby and Malkin (eight shots in regulation). Through three, the Penguins, clearly fighting for their lives, had gone 37-19 on faceoffs and were credited with 31 hits to 22 for Boston. They also led in shots, 39-25. The Pens then got a power play on a shaky tripping call on Chris Kelly 8:27 into overtime -- this just after Nathan Horton hit the post to Vokoun's left. Nothing came of the power play, or the one called on Brooks Orpik at 11:26, for high sticking Marchand. The Bruins, in fact, had three power plays in the first overtime.
Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma, asked after the morning skate about his decision to go with Vokoun, said, "Looking for a solid game from our goaltender. We've gotten that from Tomas in virtually every game he's played, a real solid performance, and he's done that for us; and that's what we need tonight." Vokoun then allowed a goal on the first shot of the game, even though it really wasn't his fault. Big plays by Milan Lucic at both ends of the ice ended with Lucic picking off Matt Niskanen's clearing attempt along the boards and getting the puck to Krejci. The center then walked out from behind the net and threw it goal-ward from a bad angle. It appeared to hit Niskanen's stick and get by Vokoun; Krejci's 68th point in 74 career playoff games.
"I think, unfortunately, there, the first shot was a play off the skate and got by him," said Pittsburgh coach Bylsma. "It's unfortunate, because that looked like the only way he was going to let one in. He played really, really well. Really solid and I think there were a number - four or five really good chances there in the first overtime where he made some great saves and played really solid for us."
The Penguins were playing much better than they played in Game 2, which really isn't saying much. But still they couldn't score. The visitors had back-to-back power plays early in the second period and James Neal had four shots on goal in the first six-and-a-half minutes, five already in the game. But the sides were even when Crosby beat Bergeron on a faceoff, defenseman Paul Martin setting Kunitz up for the tying goal 8:51 into the period. The Bruins then killed a too-many men penalty and ended the period on their first power play of the night.
NOTES: Both coaches were asked earlier Wednesday to comment on the competition committee's recommendation that visors become mandatory for players entering the league next season. "I thought it was inevitable, and I'm glad to see them put that in there," said Bylsma. Counterpart Claude Julien said, "I think it's as good thing that they're encouraging that visor, and that it's going to be grandfathered in. I believe in it." ... Neither coach thought there's as much of a stigma attached to players wearing visors than there once was. ... Continuing the playoff run of honoring those injured in the Boston Marathon bombings and its aftermath, Wednesday night's Fan Banner Captain was transit police officer Richard Donohue, who was wounded in a firefight with the suspects. "After being in hospitals for the better part of almost two months now, just being able to get outside, have some fun, be at a Bruins playoff game, it's awesome," Donohue said. "I'm excited. I'm happy to be out, even if it's only for one night." ... The Bruins came in 11-10 in all-time playoff games against the Penguins, outscoring Pittsburgh 71-68. ... Rask was OK after taking a Shawn Thornton shot near the collarbone at the morning skate. He angrily left his crease but Julien seemed to get a kick out of the whole thing. ... Spotted in the crowd: Patriots coach Bill Belichick and former Bruin P.J. Axelsson, both waving yellow towels.
Coach K is Back for the USA
(From Staff and Official Press Release)
The USA Basketball Men's National Team currently enjoys a 50-game winning streak that dates back to the semifinals of the 2006 World Championship and is back-to-back Olympic gold medalists along with the victory at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, Throughout that time, USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo and Hall of Fame basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University have led every minute of the incredible journey. Today, that continued when Colangelo announced that Krzyzewski will return as head coach of the USA Basketball Men's National Team for the 2013-16 quadrennium.
Colangelo's announcement means that Krzyzewski will be back on the bench as head coach of the USA Basketball Men's National Team program and a journey that began in 2005. Over the course of this four-year span, USA Men's National Teams will conduct a team mini-camp in Las Vegas, Nev., July 22-25, 2013; compete in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly the FIBA World Championship) Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain; if necessary, participate in the 2015 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD); and if the USA qualifies, compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games (Aug. 5-21) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"About four years ago I was asked about Coach K's return and what I said then is still true now - when you have a good thing going you don't mess with it," said Colangelo, who has served as the Managing Director of USA Basketball Men's National Team program since 2005 and seen those teams compile a 62-1 record. "I'm delighted to announce that Coach K has agreed to return as head coach of the USA Basketball Men's National Team for 2013-16, and I really can't be more pleased and excited. He was and still is the right man to coach the USA National Team.
"We've seen the value of continuity and Coach K's return gives our national team program another four years of continuity. Together we have been able to build on the program's successes of each year and again establish the United States as the world's number one basketball country. Repeating our performances from the previous four years, which included winning gold at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 London Olympics, will be quite a challenge, but it is one we look forward to undertaking."
"It is tough to give up something you've absolutely loved doing for seven years, the people you're doing it with, and most importantly, the country you're doing it for," said Krzyzewski. "As a result of my ongoing desire to coach, I've decided I'd like to continue as head coach of the Men's National Team especially since USA Basketball wanted me to do so. It just seems like the right thing to do.
"There is no greater honor than to coach your country's team and to be afforded the unique opportunity to be the National Team coach three times is incredible," Coach K continued. "I do not take that responsibility lightly. Working with the people at USA Basketball, particularly Jerry Colangelo, has been remarkable. All of those people are still in place and I would have been the only person who wouldn't have been back. So, we should go forward with that same team since we have done well and hopefully we will continue to do well."
I think Jerry had a vision for these next four years, that he wanted as much continuity as possible,"said Coach K. "That's his decision. Jerry and I discussed the situation and I discussed it with my wife, my family and the people at Duke. I'm honored to have this decision process and for Jerry to give me time and the effort to see what was for the best. Hopefully, this will turn out to be the best."
USA Basketball initiated its historic men's national team program in 2005 and capped the 2005-2008 quad competitions with a magnificent gold medal run at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Under Krzyzewski's coaching, the USA Basketball National Team program during the three-year period between 2006 and 2008 compiled a striking 36-1 overall win-loss record, and just as importantly reestablished the USA National Team and its members as positive ambassadors for the United States and the sport.
The USA squad culminated the 2005-08 quadrennium by finishing 8-0 to reclaim the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the USA's first gold in a major international competition since 2000. The USA National Team also won gold at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship with a 10-0 record to qualify the U.S. men for the 2008 Olympic Games. In the program's first year, the U.S. captured the bronze medal with an 8-1 record at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.
With Colangelo and Krzyzewski returning to lead the USA Basketball National Team for 2009-12, the national program compiled a perfect 26-0 win-loss record and won gold medals at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2012 London Olympics.
All together, since Colangelo and Krzyzewski teamed up in 2006, USA National Teams have compiled a spectacular 62-1 record over the seven years, and claimed top honors in four of five FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions.
Since first fielding in 1992 a team of legendary NBA stars, USA Basketball National Teams comprised of NBA players have claimed gold medals in 12 of 15 major international basketball competitions, while compiling an impressive 117-7 overall record (.944 winning percentage) in those competitions, and posting a record of 42-1 (.977 winning percentage) in exhibition games.
Earl "The Pearl" Monroe: "My Story"
By Terry Lyons (Special to Digital Sports Desk)
The rivalry was intense and it grew from yearly meetings in the NBA Playoffs when only eight teams qualified for postseason play. It made Chicago (Michel Jordan) vs. New York (Patrick Ewing), or New York (Spike Lee et al) vs. Indiana (Reggie Miller) look like a day at Saratoga Raceway.
In 1969, it was a 4-game sweep by New York over Baltimore. In 1970, the New Yorkers won a tough seven game series. In 1971, Baltimore reversed the decision and triumphed in the seventh game. In 1972, the Knickerbockers were back on top, 4-games-to-2 winners.
The match-ups were so good, many an NBA fan can recite them without the need to look up the rosters or the archived boxscores.
At center - two under-sized behemoths - Baltimore's Wes Unseld against New York's Willis Reed.
At power forward - the two best power forwards of the time - Baltimore's Gus Johnson against New York's Dave DeBusschere.
At small forward - two of the best scorers/shooters of the day, both relentless - Baltimore's Jack Marin against New York's Bill Bradley.
At the guard positions - in that era, there was no clear distinction of point guard or shooting guard, as most good backcourts had skilled ballhandlers and shooters, all the same. For Baltimore, the "one" slot had some interchangeable parts whether it was Kevin Loughery, Fred Carter or reserve Eddie Miles. Fred "Mad Dog" Carter stands out in my mind as the man who teamed-up with one of the greatest ballhandlers, shooters and scorers of all-time - and that was Earl "The Pearl" Monroe.
In New York, Dick Barnett, a jump-shooting marvel who double-kicked both legs when he popped off the dribble, played the shooting guard role alongside Walt "Clyde" Frazier, one of the best combo point-defensive-scoring guards in the history of the game. The Frazier vs. Monroe match-up was the key factor and one of the all-time best with Frazier's "best defensive player" status versus Monroe's "Earl the Pearl reverse spin" and "one-on-one" barrage of offense.
Monroe was reared in Philadelphia and schooled in Winston-Salem while Frazier's road to fame started in Atlanta, then traveled via Southern Illinois collegiate roots to New York City via a trip to the National Invitational Tournament when that postseason tilt mattered greatly. Monroe was "Black Magic and Black Jesus" while Frazier was the ultra cool, Clyde of "Bonnie and Clyde" silver screen fame.
Somehow, in 1973, they became teammates.
The backbone of the NY Knicks and one of the best two-way guards in history in Frazier, was now attached to his arch rival, the master of the spin and fall-away, the artist of NBA one-on-one, in Earl :The Pearl" Monroe. And, it was mainly Monroe who needed to adapt his game to the "hit the open man philosophy" instilled in all of the Knicks by Coach Red Holzman. To do so, he first met with the legendary Knicks coach in a meeting to formally sign his contract, a two year deal worth $300,000 which, at the time, seemed like livin' large. The figure was a surprise to Monroe, even as he stepped to the table to sign a contract that had been negotiated by the late Larry Fleischer, the first executive director of the NBA Players Association.
"I told Red that I didn't want to start," said Monroe to his biographer, Quincy Troupe. "Instead, I wanted to earn my way into the lineup. Besides, Dick Barnett was the starter and was a very good player, even at this part of his career," noted Monroe. "Coach told me that was okay with him, that he just wanted me to feel comfortable."
Monroe then spoke with the Knicks about what uniform number to wear, being that his Baltimore Bullets #10 was already designated for all-time New York greatness on Frazier's back. Monroe settled for #15, which would later go the rafters of Madison Square Garden in both "The Pearl's" and Dickie McGuire's honor. Then, the interesting side plot was explained by Monroe to Holzman.
"I think I need an operation to fix bone spurs because they've been hurting real bad. They're on the top of my left foot, so when I run or jump, the spurs hit each other and it's very painful."
Damaged goods? Not with Holzman's workmanlike manner as head coach.
"Red said," retold Monroe, "we just made this trade for you because we need you and want you with us. Willis (Reed) is out and we need to have you on the floor. Plus, we don;t want to have any letdown at the guard position. That's why we brought you in. So, you might have to just play through the pain this season," concluded Holzman.
"Well coach," said Monroe, "I'm cool with that."
Monroe and his new coach then went down to the official press conference to announce the trade (Dave Stallworth, Mike Riordan and $450,000 went from New York to Baltimore - the team who would soon become the "Capitol" Bullets, then the Washington Bullets and now are the Washington Wizards. The second question of the press conference was the one you would expect, namely "Can you play with Walt Frazier?"
"I can play with anybody," said Monroe, "but especially someone as good as Clyde."
Then, "how many balls will the Knicks need to keep you two satisfied?"
"One," smiled Earl, "I don't think they play the game with two."
"Who is going to start?"
"The same five players that have been starting (Frazier, Barnett, Reed, DeBusschere and Bradley). I'll be coming off the bench."
With that, Monroe joined the New York Knickerbockers, setting the tone for a complementary role to Frazier and establishing himself with both his new coach and the tough-minded New York media contingent that he was ready to play team basketball and accept the role as a reserve, albeit one of the greatest guards in history.
Monroe's biography, "Earl the Pearl - My Story," plays the rest out, although it often grinds to a halt with tedious play-by-play or game-by-game description and a tone of court-reported transcripts, rather than prose coming from Troupe, an award-winning biographer of Myles David, among others. To that end, Troupe cracked Monroe with a back-court foul and hurt the effort for The Pearl to unearth many a story that would be best read in the context of the bio, not in one man's look into the life and times of one of the most compelling hardcourt entertainers who brought a generation of spinning, palming, travelling guards into the forefront of pro basketball for all-time to come.
Boston: Another End of Innocence
By TERRY LYONS (Editor-in-Chief, Digital Sports Desk)
BOSTON, April 16, 2013 -- I am sick of giving my thoughts and prayers. I am sick of standing for a moment of silence. I am sick of it all. Whether it was the catastrophic events of September 11, 2011 or the lone-wolf criminal acts of Oklahoma City in April of 1995 or bombing of Centennial Park in Atlanta at the 1996 Olympics, or so many, many others, I'm just sick and tired of it all.
When I feel like this, my writing always comes up empty, because I just can't reach for my feelings. It hurts too much.
It hurt too much this past December 14th, as a senseless act took the lives of 20 young children and six brave adults at the Sandy Hook elementary school in nearby Newtown, Connecticut, a town I literally drove through that very morning when returning from my native New York to my new hometown of Boston. That crime hurt so much because of the little children robbed of their lives and taken from this earth in the years of their absolute innocence.
Now, here in Boston, we mourn again. We were enjoying a wonderful holiday in the Commonwealth and we were all celebrating in a day where the Boston Marathon weaves its way from Hopkinton through Wellesley and up the hills of Newton right on through Brookline and into Boston. The day was aptly described by weathermen everywhere as "perfect."
The elites ran off at 9am for the women, leading some 11,000 fellow females on to one of the most challenging marathon courses a runner will ever see. The elite men ran off at 10:00am and they chased the women and the physically challenged runners all the way toward Copley Square, some 26.2 miles away on a glorious spring day when the very best of Boston was on display under a clear blue sky.
Out in Lexington and Concord, tributes were paid to the men and women who fought for the American Revolution. They are the Patriots we hold forth and celebrate each year on Patriots' Day in Massachusetts and even though I'm only a newfound Bostonian, Patriots' Day is in my blood. I wake and I feel it every year. It is part of the fabric of the Boston community and we feel it.
And talk about fabric, like non-other, the Boston Red Sox are this community and the Red Sox toss the ball out at 11:00am on Patriots' Day every year and it is the toughest ticket in town, especially on a glorious spring day when the temperature pushes 55-degrees fahrenheit and the Sox are off to a great start. To be at Fenway on Patriots' Day is as good as it gets, unless you have a front row seat for the Boston Marathon.
And guess what?
We ALL have that!
Whether you make your way out to Hopkinton, as I like to do, or you take your lawn chairs up the block to Commonwealth, as I have done many a time, or you head downtown to take in the sights along Mass Ave or in Brookline, it just doesn't get any better than cheering on the runners. Runners like 66-year old Amby Burfoot who I had the pleasure of working with all this past week as he prepped for the 45th anniversary run of his 1968 Boston Marathon victory. Amby - nobody calls him Burfoot or Mr. Burfoot - was quite the story this year and he made the rounds on all the radio and TV circuits, he spent time with the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe and he was a gracious guest on all of the shows, inviting the average guy, the average runner to join him and his family as they ran the race with two things in mind - to have fun and to finish healthy.
Amby was stopped short of that goal on Mass Avenue in Boston because there was a terrible disturbance in the force, the force that guides all runners and marathoners. The force of sportsmanship, competitiveness and the force of reaching deep into the human spirit was ransacked by a cowardly criminal act. As some of the thousands of runners were crossing the finish line at Copley, two bombs detonated and the world changed again, sadly to the extreme far opposite side of righteousness and into the depths of hell where the cowards will exist in the afterworld.
The terror was extreme and the death toll rose from two to three souls overnight, and the police and authorities worked every waking hour to try their very best to restore order and to track down the criminals responsible for this act, but overnight the worst of the worst of the worst news surfaced.
The face of this criminal act is that of an innocent eight-year old boy and his family.
At this early point in the criminal investigation, we do not know why. We lash out against why, we try to figure out why, but we just don't know why.
Runners and fans, athletes and their families are as far away from political figures as you can get. They compete and they entertain us. They are sportsmen and, ever increasingly, sports women. They are global citizens, especially at a world class marathon where people from all over the world come to celebrate their sport and test their endurance in a race where they must qualify to do so. Boston is history, it's the Wimbledon of running. It is classy and it is beautiful, even on a 96-degree day like last year or a 32-degree day like so many before.
Hundreds of innocent people stood in Copley Square, many smiling and celebrating as their loved ones crossed the finish line. Then, like New York in 1993 and 2001, like Atlanta in 1996, like countless other cities and towns - in the USA and worldwide - we experienced the cowardice of crime and terrorism inserted, once again, into our daily lives.
That is the question my little girl looked up and asked of me yesterday afternoon when she didn't know an 8-year old was murdered. Now, with the (even more) terrible news of an 8-year olds fate, that is the question every parent is being asked again today, many by a youngster who will relate to the late Martin Richard.
None of us have an answer and unfortunately, there's a good chance we never will.