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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    The ‘style of play’ difference that Treliving cited ‘was news’ to Hartley

    Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley gives instructions during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, March 5, 2016. The Flames won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    When Bob Hartley was fired as head coach of the Calgary Flames, GM Brad Treliving left the impression that there was a difference between the “style of play” that Hartley coached and the style that Treliving wanted.

    Yesterday, on a conference call with reporters, Hartley called that “news to me.”

    “I felt that Brad and I always talked,” Hartley said, per the Calgary Sun, “and I always thought that we were on the same page.”

    Now, for the record, Treliving did not say that he and Hartley were constantly butting heads, or that their working relationship had gone completely off the rails. In fact, the GM made a point to say, “I don’t want to characterize this as I’m standing in one end of the corner and Bob’s at the other end, and one’s talking chess and the other’s talking checkers.”

    But that’s sort of how it came off — that Hartley had his philosophy, Treliving had his philosophy, and the two were incompatible.

    Hence, the coach’s surprise.

    “Brad Treliving was a great help to the coaching staff, was very supportive of us, so at no point was there a difference of opinion and everything,” said Hartley.

    “So yesterday that was news to me.”

    Related: Travis Green thinks he’s ready to coach in the NHL

    Perry to captain Canada at Worlds

    GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 11:  Ryan Getzlaf #15 and Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks watch from the bench during the first period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on April 11, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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    Corey Perry will spearhead the leadership group looking to guide Canada to its second straight gold medal at the World Hockey Championships.

    On Thursday, the Canadian contingent announced that Perry would captain the squad at this year’s tournament, to be held in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Joining him in the leadership group will be Colorado’s Matt Duchene, and Buffalo’s Ryan O'Reilly.

    “This is an energetic young team, and these three players bring a mixture of youth and experience in their leadership role on the ice and in the dressing room,” Canadian head coach Bill Peters said, per the Toronto Sun. “Their resumes speak for themselves — they know what it takes to compete at the highest level, and have all been part of pulling together Team Canada successes during these short-term events.”

    Unlike Duchene and O’Reilly, Perry wasn’t a part of last year’s championship team, but does have extensive international experience. He was part of the Canadian teams that captured gold at the ’10 Olympics in Vancouver at the ’14 games in Sochi.

    He’s also played in a pair of World Championships, but failed to medal both times.

    Trevor Daley is ‘in a good place’ now

    Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby (87) is congratulated by Trevor Daley (6) and Conor Sheary (43) after scoring a goal during the first period of Game 4 against the Washington Capitals in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    In just a few short months, Trevor Daley has gone from not being a fit in Chicago to being an indispensable part of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    The veteran defenseman played almost 30 minutes last night, by far the most of any Penguin. Despite the absence of Kris Letang and Olli Maatta, Pittsburgh was able to beat the Capitals in overtime and take a 3-1 series lead back to Washington.

    “It’s funny how this game works,” Daley said, per the Penguins’ website. “You stick with it and good things happen. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. I’m in a good place here. I’m enjoying it with a great group of guys. We just play. That’s been our motto since I got here, since (Mike Sullivan) got here – just play.”

    Traded to Pittsburgh in December, with Rob Scuderi going to the Blackhawks, Daley’s strengths were immediately utilized by Sullivan. The Penguins’ new head coach came in emphasizing the importance of breakouts, and that suited Daley just fine.

    “Over the years my game has been getting in the play, moving the puck,” Daley said after he was traded. “I’m not the biggest guy so I won’t push guys over. I get into areas quickly and try to be a good team guy.”

    It was simply a good match. And for that, GM Jim Rutherford should be applauded. The Penguins are one game away from the Eastern Conference Final, and Daley is a big reason why.

    Related: Penguins provided ‘fresh start’ for Daley

    Veteran d-man Volchenkov signs in KHL

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    After not playing anywhere this year, longtime NHL blueliner Anton Volchenkov is back in action, having signed a deal with KHL club Admiral Vladivostok.

    The deal, announced by Admiral on Thursday, puts Volchenkov back on a team for the first time since suiting up with Nashville during the ’14-15 campaign. He appeared in 46 games for the Preds, recording seven assists.

    Prior to his time in Nashville, Volchenkov in over 600 games with the Senators and Devils. He’d established a reputation as a physical, hard-hitting d-man, but struggled with injury and mobility in the later stages of his time in New Jersey, and was ultimately bought out of his contract.