Thomas Junta finishes prison term for involuntary manslaughter

Parents can spiral out of control when it comes to their kids. One of the most common situations where this happens is during sporting events, particularly in full-contact events that include some serious impact blows.

Yet as heated as these situations can become, you never expect someone to die during the worst exchanges. That’s exactly what happened in July 2000 when Thomas Junta fought with hockey coach Michael Costin. Costin lost his life while Junta was sentenced for six-to-10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, a charge for which he served time until Thursday. Here’s more from the Associated Press.

A Massachusetts man who beat another man to death at their sons’ hockey scrimmage has been released from prison.

Thomas Junta (JUN’-tah) of Reading received a six- to 10-year sentence in January 2002 for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Costin. The case drew widespread attention to the problem of parental violence at youth sporting events.

A Massachusetts prisons spokeswoman says Junta was released Thursday from Northeastern Correctional Center in Concord.

It was a disturbing case, but Steve Krause of “The Item” writes that the story isn’t really about sports but rather the dangers of uncontrolled rage.

What is the difference between what Junta did and what happened two weeks ago at a Boston nightclub, where the participant in a bar brawl threw a heavy glass against the wall, impaling an innocent bystander in his jugular vein with a shard of glass and killing him? I say none.

In both cases, the root cause of the carnage is not necessarily the venue, but the rage … and the lack of control.

Junta’s story is certainly a cautionary tale about anger management, whether it be about sports or anything else. The difference between punching a hole in the wall/walking away from an argument/squeezing a stress ball vs. letting go and getting into a fight can be enormous. For Junta, it meant eight years in prison and a ruined reputation. For his victim Costin, it meant losing his life.

It’s easier said than done, but sometimes it’s better just to let it go.

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    Just about every relevant team in the East playoff races won tonight

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    After Eastern Conference teams deserved a “C” on Monday, they generally passed Tuesday’s tests with flying colors. Sometimes they carved out three-point games when relevant teams faced off, too.

    It’s almost bewildering trying to figure out where to start … so how about the top of the East?

    Metro’s rich get richer

    The Minnesota Wild deserve credit for fighting back from a considerable deficit, including overcoming an Alex Ovechkin hat trick (all on the power play). Ultimately, T.J. Oshie‘s overtime-winner gave Washington the 5-4 (OT) win.

    Elsewhere in the Metro’s top ranks, Sergei Bobrovsky grabbed his 41st win of the season (3-1 win against the Sabres) to put Columbus three points behind the Capitals and two ahead of the idle Penguins.

    Metro top three (all with 75 games played)

    1. Capitals – 108 points
    2. Blue Jackets – 105 points
    3. Penguins – 103 points

    Canadiens gain ground

    The Montreal Canadiens handled the Dallas Stars 4-1 in The Epic Battle of the Benns. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers beat the second-place Senators 3-2 via a shootout

    Both the Maple Leafs and Bruins won their games, leaving Toronto one point ahead of Boston for third in the Atlantic.

    Atlantic top five

    1. Canadiens – 95 points in 76 games played
    2. Senators – 91 points in 75 GP
    3. Maple Leafs – 87 points in 75 GP

    Bruins – 86 points in 76 GP
    Lightning – 83 points in 75 GP

    Finally, let’s look at the final spot in the East

    OK, so there’s some overlap here. Why don’t we check on the most wild-card-relevant teams?

    Third Atlantic spot: Leafs – 87 points in 75 GP

    Final spot: Bruins – 86 points in 76 GP

    Lightning – 83 points in 75 GP
    Islanders – 82 points in 75 GP
    Hurricanes – 82 points in 75 GP
    Flyers – 80 points in 76 GP
    Panthers – 77 points in 76 GP

    Again, the Bruins won, as did the Flyers. The Lightning were idle. The Panthers fell to the Maple Leafs. Buffalo lost while Detroit and New Jersey are out of the running.

    You know who deserves special mention outside of the top eight? The Carolina Hurricanes deserve such a distinction, as they are enjoying one of their hottest runs in franchise history after beating Detroit 4-1.

    The overall message: just about any truly relevant team at least grabbed a standings point, with most winning games outright on Tuesday.

    It doesn’t exactly thin the herd, but it keeps the door open for a fun race to the finish.

    It’s official: Red Wings’ playoff streak ends at 25 seasons

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    When we look back at the 2016-17 season for the Detroit Red Wings, it will be remembered for some said endings.

    It began without Pavel Datsyuk. We knew that their last game at Joe Louis Arena this season would be their last ever. And now we know that Joe Louis Arena won’t be home to another playoff run.

    After 25 straight seasons of making the playoffs – quite often managing deep runs – the Red Wings were officially eliminated on Tuesday night. In getting this far, they enjoyed one of the greatest runs of longevity in NHL history:

    Tonight revolves largely around East teams winning and teams clinching bids – the Edmonton Oilers could very well end the league’s longest playoff drought this evening – but this story is more solemn.

    EA Sports tweeted out a great infographic:

    “Right now it’s hard to talk about it, because you’re a big reason why it’s not continuing,” Henrik Zetterberg said in an NHL.com report absolutely worth your time.

    Mike “Doc” Emrick narrated a great look back at Joe Louis Arena here:

    Here’s what deal between women’s team, USA hockey is reportedly worth

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    It’s great news that the U.S. women’s national team and USA Hockey came together on a deal for the upcoming world championships.

    Still, all we really know is that the contract lasts four years, as the two sides decided to keep the dollar figures between each other.

    The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell laid out a lot of the possible numbers on his Twitter feed, giving us an idea of what reportedly sealed the deal.

    First things first, Campbell reports that the deal is worth $3.7-$4 million overall.

    That’s quite the impressive number on face value, but what does it mean for players over a four-year contract?

    Campbell reports that earnings will range between $850K and $950K, depending upon how they perform in the tournament:

    They’ll also receive the same travel and other miscellaneous amenities as the men’s team, but what about years that are more about training than competition?

    Interesting stuff. Definitely check out Campbell’s feed for additional details.

    This fight between Tom Wilson, Chris Stewart got downright gory (Video)

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    For those who decry the decline in fighting – in “blood and guts” hockey – Tuesday presented a bloody moment, one fairly high on this season’s Muta scale.

    Also, for some, seeing it happen to Tom Wilson specifically may provide additional pleasure.

    Anyway, as you can see in the video above, Minnesota Wild winger Chris Stewart bloodied the Washington Capitals pest in a fight. Whether you’re for, against or neutral toward Wilson, it’s quite the sight.

    Wilson may be hurt, by the way. He missed some time but returned later in the contest.