Gone In 17 Seconds

And just like that, hockey season is over.

It was a gut punch to be sure, losing in such a fashion. I’m not sure about you, but when something bad happens in my life, I don’t immediately try and remember all the other bad things that have happened to me.

The Boston Globe however, operates under a different way of thinking. The charges of Joe Sullivan received their talking points last night, and the message came through loud and clear:

Kevin Paul Dupont:

As painful as the ball through Bill Buckner’s legs, Bucky Dent’s homer into the screen, and that one too many skaters on Forum ice in ’79, the Bruins botched Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in epic fashion Monday night, coughing up a pair of goals in only 17 seconds at the end of the third period.

Dan Shaughnessy:

Before you could say Grady Little or David Tyree, the Chicago Blackhawks had their own Miracle On Ice and captain Jonathan Toews was hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head.

Chris Gasper:

This time there was no reward for the Bruins, only a cruel twist of fate that will make Bolland as dirty a word in these parts as Dent, Boone, or Tyree.

Thanks, guys. I had totally forgotten all of those events. Wow!

Rich Levine of CSNNE joined in with the Globe brigade, even in an article praising the team for a fantastic postseason run.

 And Boston fans inducted another member into the club. A new memory to file away with Buckner’s, Dent’s and Tyree’s, with Welker’s drop against the Giants, and the Celtics’ blown second-half lead in Game 7 against the Lakers.

Thankfully, in looking around the Boston sports media scene this morning – written edition anyway – other writers found more original stories to write instead of the same old tired nonsense.

Stanley Cup Stunner – Leigh Montville captures the scene. Also check out this breakdown of how things went wrong at the end for the Bruins by Jack Dickey on the same site.

‘Hawks stun, Bruins done – Steve Conroy, Herald.

The better team won, but . . . – Joe Haggerty, CSNNE.

Bruins’ fortunes change in flash – Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston.

Pain does not tell Patrice Bergeron’s story –  Stephen Harris, Herald.

Bruins suffer the agony of a lost chance in Game 6, but were admirable to the end – Chad Finn, Boston.com

This says it well in Finn’s column:

Only the habitual self-defeatists among us require or desire a list of the most painful recent defeats in Boston sports lore. They will revel in parades that will never happen and banners never to be raised.

The Bruins brought us to the cusp of July, and did so in a fashion that fostered admiration, loyalty and respect. That doesn’t go away in 17 seconds. In 13 short weeks, they’ll be right back out there on the ice.

Meanwhile, Red Sox, the stage is yours alone.

Not The Best of Sports Weekends For Boston

It hasn’t been a good few days, either personally or for the Boston sports scene.

On the other hand, if you’re a sports radio host or TV reporter or newspaper, this has been a bonanza. Murder! Misery! Heartbreak! End of eras!

We’ve got:

  • The Hernandez case.
  • The Bruins losing two straight in the Stanley Cup Finals with the possibility of the series being over tonight.
  • The Red Sox losing 3 or 4 in Detroit, in ugly fashion.
  • The Celtics trading their coach to the Clippers, officially waving the white flag on their status as contenders.

I don’t know where to begin on all of this, so I’ll offer my ramblings.

The Aaron Hernandez case is equal parts disturbing, perplexing and disgusting. The reports being put out there in the media from various “law enforcement” sources certainly sound like they got the guy and his cronies dead to rights. Every day we’ve had (very definite) reports that Hernandez is about to be arrested. He hasn’t been. Yet.

The Globe has gleefully jumped on this story as a chance to take down the Krafts. Bob “the hit man” Holher has been put on the case. (His first effort was laughable.) Dan Shaughnessy is as happy as he’s been since 2003.

I do wish the Globe would disclose at some point that the Krafts snubbed them (Shaughnessy specifically) at a media breakfast back around 1997, and that since that time, the Kraft family has been in the crosshairs of Joe Sullivan’s charges. It might add some context to the coverage.

It’s become a referendum on the entire Patriots franchise and way of doing things, which many media view as revenge time.

Lost in all of this seems to be that a young man lost his life in a violent fashion. It’s an afterthought in the coverage.

If you have to read about the case, I recommend these two pieces from last week:

A Mystery That is Not Like the Movies – Mike Tanier from Sports on Earth.

The Stupid, Stupid Implications About Aaron Hernandez’s “Ominous” Past – Barry Petchesky from DeadSpin.

I did find the graphic in the Globe Sunday NFL notes yesterday amusing. They had all the Patriots players with Red Flags pictured over the years. Some of the crimes against humanity:

Brandon Lloyd: Work ethic. Attitude.

Chad Johnson: Unprofessionalism.

Randy Moss: Immaturity. Lack of hustle.

Brandon Meriweather: Immaturity. College issues.

Corey Dillon: Poor attitude.

Rodney Harrison: Dirty reputation.

Bryan Cox: Fights. Fines.

****

The Doc Rivers era in Boston came to an end when the Clippers finally coughed up an unprotected first round in 2015 for the rights to the Celtics coach. It was an ordeal that needed to come to end, especially with the draft this week, a decision required on Paul Pierce by the end of the week, and free agency and the future of Kevin Garnett in Boston needing to be decided quickly.

Some are calling for harsh criticism of Rivers because of his reluctance to be part of a rebuilding project here with the Celtics. They’ve contrasted his situation to that of Ray Allen, who became public enemy number one among Celtics fans following his decision to sign with the Miami Heat last offseason.

The situations are quite different. Rivers has not complained at all about his experience with Boston, and I don’t think he ever will. Allen griped about his role, his starting position, his relationship with Rajon Rondo, and said he didn’t feel wanted, even though Boston offered him more money than Miami. There is also the matter of Allen joining the team that had just eliminated the Celtics in an emotional, draining  seven game Eastern Conference Finals series.

Rivers, who has reportedly had his own clashes with Rondo, isn’t going to go public with those incidents, and allowed the Celtics to get something in return for his services. The contract signed by Rivers seems to have been done with that understanding, safeguarding the Celtics for five years, and allowing them to at least get an asset if he chose to leave. He is also going to the Los Angeles Clippers, a team that has no sort of rivalry with the Celtics. (and could implode at any time.) The blow is softened somewhat by those factors.

If Rivers was not going to be committed to a rebuilding of the Celtics, this was probably the best way to go. I’m disappointed he’s gone, and will miss his presence here, but he’s always got a positive place in Celtics lore.

******

I had to laugh out loud at Dan Shaughnessy’s duplicity over the Bruins. The guys at Dan Shaughnessy Watch do a great job breaking down his flipflop/throw the blame on the fans.

Bruins/Blackhawks Game Four Notes

While the Bruins and Red Sox continue to roll along, both the Patriots and Celtics have had pretty awful offseasons thus far.

The latest is of course the two incidents around Aaron Hernandez, who appears to be in some pretty deep trouble, if you believe some of the leaks coming from law enforcement.

And yes, there are many leaks.

While I have my fears, I’ll try to reserve judgement until the facts emerge.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox swept a double-header from the Rays yesterday, including a game winning home run from Jonny Gomes, and the Bruins are set to play game four of the Stanley Cup finals tonight.

Here are some pregame notes, courtesy of NHL Network:

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SNEAK PEEK AT TONIGHT’S ACTION
Chicago @ Boston, Game 4, BOS leads 2-1, 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT, NBC, CBC, RDS

DID YOU KNOW?
* Since going to the best-of-seven format in 1939, teams leading the Final 2-1 have gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 83.0% of the time (39-8). (Elias)

* The Bruins have a 2-0 all-time record when holding a 2-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks are 0-3 lifetime when trailing 2-1 in the Final.

* The Bruins are 11-2 in their last 13 games (since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals), with both losses coming in overtime. They have outscored opponents, 40-21, in that span.

* Since tying Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals with 51 seconds remaining in the third period, the Bruins have trailed for just 57:43 of the 850:54 they’ve played (6.8%) and have not trailed by more than one goal in that stretch.

* The Bruins have won seven straight games at home, outscoring opponents, 21-10. They haven’t allowed a goal in their last 186:28 of play at TD Garden.

* The Bruins have won each of their four Stanley Cup Final games contested at TD Garden, outscoring the opposition, 19-3 (17-3 vs. Vancouver in 2011, 2-0 vs. Chicago in 2013).

GAME 4 NOTES
* The Bruins and Blackhawks both are 2-1 in Game 4s this postseason.

* The referees for tonight’s game are Dan O’Halloran (#13) and Wes McCauley (#4). The linesmen are Jay Sharrers (#57) and Pierre Racicot (#65).

ALL ABOUT TUUKKA
Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask hasn’t allowed a goal in the last 122:26 of play dating to the first period of Game 2. He leads all netminders in wins (14), goals-against average (1.64) and save percentage (.946) this postseason.

Rask’s save percentage (.9463, 617 SV/652 SA) also is slightly higher than Jonathan Quick’s record-setting mark (.9461, 509 SV/538 SA) from last year’s playoffs (minimum, 15 games). He has stopped 282-of-290 shots (.972) over his last eight games, posting a 6-2 record and three shutouts in that span.

Series-by-Series Breakdown:
ECQ vs. TOR: 4-3, 2.49 GAA, .923 SV%, 0 SO
ECS vs. NYR: 4-1, 1.86 GAA, .936 SV%, 0 SO
ECF vs. PIT: 4-0, 0.44 GAA, .985 SV%, 2 SO
SCF vs. CHI: 2-1, 1.22 GAA, .960 SV%, 1 SO
TOTALS: 14-5, 1.64 GAA, .946 SV%, 3 SO

HOSSA IN?
After being a surprise scratch for Game 3, Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said forward Marian Hossa is “likely” to play in Game 4. Hossa is tied for the team lead in points (7-8—15) and game-winning goals (2) this postseason and also paces the club with three power-play scores.

PAI DAY
Boston forward Daniel Paille has scored the game-winning goal in consecutive games, becoming the first player since 2006 – and only the second in the last 17 years – to do so in the Stanley Cup Final (Edmonton’s Fernando Pisani, vs. Carolina in Games 5 and 6).

Paille has four goals, including three game-winners, in 19 games this postseason. He had four goals, none of which were game-winners, in 46 career playoff games entering 2013.

HOME DOMINANCE
Home teams have won a record 58 games this postseason (.699), surpassing the previous mark of 57 set in 92 games during the 1991 playoffs. The last time home teams had a winning percentage of .600 or higher during the Stanley Cup Playoffs was in 1993, when they went 52‑33 (.612).

SPECIAL TEAMS
Boston has killed off 27 consecutive penalties dating to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, including all 11 Chicago opportunities through the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins have an 88.9% penalty-kill rate during the 2013 playoffs (56-for-63), including an 88.6% mark at home (31-for-35).

Chicago has not scored a power-play goal in its last 20 chances dating to Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. The Blackhawks have an 11.3% power-play success rate this postseason (7-for-62), including a 3.7% mark on the road (1-for-27).

LIFE IN THE STANLEY CUP FINAL
Chicago forward Bryan Bickell and Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid are chronicling their Stanley Cup Final experiences with blogs on NHL.com.