Long-awaited hockey milestone happened suddenly for Jordan Greenway

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Be sure to visit NBCOlympics.com and NBC Olympic Talk for full hockey coverage from PyeongChang.

BOSTON (AP) — Jordan Greenway didn’t have much time to think about being a pioneer.

The Boston University forward was preparing for his junior year last summer when he heard that USA Hockey might be calling on collegians and minor-league pros to fill out its Olympic roster. It was only after NHL players were officially ruled out and Greenway made the team that a reporter told him he would be the first African-American man on the U.S. Olympic team.

”I’m happy I’m the first. I hope I’m the first of many,” he said last month after practicing with the Terriers on campus. ”Hopefully I inspire other kids to want to do the same thing, try something different.”

A 6-foot-6, 238-pound winger who has 25 points in 28 games for the Terriers this season, Greenway played in the 2017 world championships and was second in points on the U.S team that won the world junior championship last year. He could be the first American to win both world junior and Olympic gold.

USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher called Greenway ”one heck of a hockey player” who also has the potential to awaken an interest in hockey in communities that traditionally haven’t played it.

”I think a lot of kids saw him do it in the world juniors last year,” Kelleher said. ”Hopefully, more and more people and families that watch the Olympics will be drawn to our team and the success they had. And hopefully some kids or some families identify with Jordan and are inspired to get involved with our game.”

Raised by a white mother in Canton, New York, a village about 20 miles from the Canadian border, Greenway said he is used to being one of the only African-Americans on the ice – or at family gatherings.

”I’ve been able to fit in pretty well,” he said. ”I’ve grown up in a white population. So it really hasn’t been anything different, just a way of life for me growing up. It hasn’t been different at all.”

Greenway played for BU in the Beanpot on Monday night, assisting on the Terriers’ second goal in a 3-2, double-overtime victory over Harvard. But when BU plays in the championship game next week for Boston’s college hockey bragging rights, Greenway will be in South Korea. (Harvard’s Ryan Donato also is heading to the Olympics, on the same flight.)

Growing up about 2 hours from Lake Placid, Greenway said he dreamed about playing in the Olympics ”like every kid does.” But he wasn’t thinking about Pyeongchang or even Beijing in 2022; he had his sights set eight or 12 years down the line.

”I never thought it would come this soon, like before I graduate from college,” he said. ”But I’m excited it’s happening this year and I’m going to take full advantage of it.”

A 2015 second-round draft pick by the Minnesota Wild, Greenway is a big forward who said he likes to get in front of the net and ”wear a team down.” Growing up, he modeled his game after players like Kings and Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds – ”not really because he’s African-American,” he said, chuckling at the coincidence.

”It’s more just because I think him and I have a similar game style,” Greenway said, adding Joe Thornton to the list of role models. ”He’s a big body, in front of the net a lot.”

Also on the list: Willie O’Ree, who broke the NHL’s color barrier when he played for the Boston Bruins in 1958.

”He was definitely somebody I looked up to when I was a kid,” Greenway said. ”I just hope I can be the same inspiration for another kid, and hopefully a lot of kids can look up to me like I looked up to him.”

The respect is mutual.

Speaking at a Boston Bruins game last month to commemorate the 60th anniversary of his milestone debut, O’Ree said he was happy to see Greenway topple another barrier. And though he advised Greenway just to work hard and do his best, he also said that it might take some time for the importance of the moment to sink in.

”When I first stepped on the ice in the Montreal Forum and became the first black player to play in the NHL, it really didn’t register with me until after the game. None of the media came up and said, ‘Mr. O’Ree, do you realize you just broke the color barrier?’

”I read it in the paper the next morning,” he said. ”And said to myself, ‘I made things happen.”’

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

“That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

“It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

“It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

“We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

TAKE NOTE

The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

“We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.