Ah to be a sports fan in Boston. After having so much success with all of their pro (and college) teams in recent years, fans of the Bruins are salivating at the chance that the Bruins are next in line to win it all. After all, the B’s have been awfully good in recent years and with the team not having won the Stanley Cup since 1972 fans are anxious. Heck, the Bruins haven’t even made the Stanley Cup finals since 1990 when Mark Messier and Petr Klima broke their hearts in five games.
With those sorts of hopes, dreams, and expectations all built up into tonight’s Game 7 Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is hoping that regardless of the outcome tonight that cooler heads will prevail amongst the fan base. After sad incidents after the Celtics won the NBA title in 2008 and Patriots and Red Sox titles in 2004 that saw fans lose their lives amid euphoria, Mayor Menino is hoping that Bruins fans will play things a bit cooler.
“My message to fans who go to the game, enjoy the game and cheer on the Bruins to victory and after the game, behave,” Mayor Menino said.
“There’s always a few knuckleheads. Let’s face it there’s always a few folks who really don’t understand the sport, who come in there, and have a few drinks and try to mar it but 99 percent of the folks come there to watch a game and celebrate,” Mayor Menino said.
Hear, hear Mayor Menino. After all, we’re sure Bruins fans would hate to be compared to their rivals from Montreal who made a scene after beating the Penguins in the playoffs last year by tearing up downtown and even torching cars to celebrate getting past Sidney Crosby’s team in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Surely Boston fans wouldn’t want to be put into the same category as Montreal fans, would they?
The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.
Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.
The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).
“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”
Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.
Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.
The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.
The first day of the playoffs is April 13.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made
Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.
This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.
“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”
Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.
Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.
Vigneault felt the hit was late.
“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.
Beleskey was not suspended.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.
From the NHL:
Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.
Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.
Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.
Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse