Idle thoughts while enduring the endless wait for Game 1 on Saturday:
This interminable wait for the Bruins and Penguins to face off is driving me crazy. After a shortened hockey season with games played what seemed like every other night, now we wait, and wait, and wait.
I get that the league needed the “West” to play catch up – so both Conference Finals are played in the same time frame. When the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings on Wednesday to advance to play the Western Conference Finals, it felt like it should be “go time” for Boston and Pittsburgh. Alas, this is not about the poor fans itching for the series to start. This is about NBC lining up the best games for their weekend programming schedule.
It seems like forever since we saw the B’s manhandle the Rangers in Game 5 at the TD Garden. Is Torey Krug really that good, or did I dream it? The 5-foot-9-inch, 180 pound rookie plays a big game and has a lightning rocket of a shot. He also has four goals in five games. Krug played college hockey at Michigan State. Other notable Spartan stars are brothers Ryan and Drew Miller, both East Lansing natives. Ryan has played 10 seasons in goal for the Buffalo Sabres. He deserves a better team, and hopefully will get one soon. Little brother Drew is a forward for Detroit.
The Miller boys are the sons of my childhood best friend, Teresa Leece Miller. I will never forget the day Teresa called me in Boston on July 17, 1980. I had just graduated Boston College and she had just delivered her first baby, Ryan.
Teresa paid her own way to Innsbruck, Austria to see me compete at the Winter Olympic Games in 1976. After that she met her husband and went to become the “hockey mom of the universe.” Her husband Dean also played at Michigan State and his cousins Kip, Kelly, and Kevin all played in the NHL.
All this leads me to believe that hockey talent has to be an inherited gene. Think of sibling acts we have seen through the years- most notably the Howes, the Sutters (six of them!), and of course that obnoxious tandem in Vancouver, the Sedins.
On another hockey note, I am not surprised that New York Rangers coach John Tortorella was fired with one year left on his contract. Tortorella’s abrasive act was wearing thin. It doesn’t matter that he was tough and condescending with the media. Trust me, most of us love that kind of thing. Bold is always better than boring. When Tortorella repeatedly told the world that his player Carl Hagelin “stinks on the power play,” he took a chance. If the Rangers responded to the comment and won the series, Tortorella would still have a job.
Can you imagine Bill Belichick or Doc Rivers calling out a player like that? Good coaches save it for behind the closed doors of a locker room. Tortorella became too much of the show, alienating the people who mattered most- his players and his boss.
It’s 90 degrees and we are still talking hockey. The Bruins are the new Boys of Summer. Bring on the Penguins.
The weekend might be over, but that means it's time for the best and worst in sports last week. Per usual, we'll be highlighting our favorites in the "Standing O" section, and the things that made us shake our heads under "Heck No." If we missed anything you loved or hated, let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @ShesGameSports.
- Jason Collins deserves a big round of applause this week for his courage in coming out via a Sports Illustrated article last Monday. Collins became the first openly gay male athlete in any major professional league in the country, and has seriously become a trailblazer. He has ties to Boston, playing for the Celtics this season before he was traded to the Wizards, but we'd love him even if he was never a Celtic.
- The Bruins organization and Jeff Bauman made our hearts melt Saturday night. I don't know about you, but it got really dusty in my living room when I saw Bauman, who lost both of his legs on Marathon Monday in the bombings, raise a "Boston Strong" flag on the TD Garden ice before an absolutely rocking black and gold crowd. It was an amazing moment we won't soon forget, even if we're trying hard to erase the eventual 4-2 Bruins loss to Toronto that followed. Regardless, we're all rooting for Jeff.
- Dallas Cowboys' tight end Jason Witten showed some serious loyalty when he defended the work ethic of his quarterback, Tony Romo. Team owner Jerry Jones made some public comments insinuating Romo needs to improve his effort. Spending more time at work was part of Romo's new contract, but Witten told ESPN the quarterback has always been very involved in the preparation process. Regardless of whether Romo needs to step it up, it's always good to see teammates backing each other up, even if they are on the Cowboys.
- Oh, Don Cherry. He really should have quit after his first comments regarding female reporters in the locker room...but he didn't. Wednesday night, during Coach's Corner, Cherry continued the charade, saying he's seen things go on in the locker room with women present that are disgusting. "You would not want your daughter or sister in there, believe me," he said. I think, somewhere deep down, he means well. And while we appreciate the concern for our fragile and sensitive dispositions, Don, I think I'd like to decide whether or not locker room antics are too much for me to handle. Spoiler alert: they aren't.
- Justin Blackmon, wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars, nabbed his second substance abuse infraction and will be suspended for the first four games of the 2013 NFL season. Blackmon has been arrested for DUI more than once, and this substance abuse violation marks his third issue involving the police or facing discipline from the NFL. He was placed in the league's substance abuse program, but clearly that wasn't successful. Blackmon apologized via a statement, but we all know actions speak louder than words. Let's see if Blackmon can stay out of trouble this summer.
- I love Twitter as much as the next guy, but there is such a thing as TMI. Apparently, no one ever taught Kobe Bryant that lesson. The Laker is currently involved in a legal battle involving an auction house that got Bryant memorabilia from his mother, apparently without his knowledge. TMZ says all the drama started with the fact that Bryant's family thinks he's doing more for his wife Vanessa's family than his own, and Stiletto Jill pointed out that it seems like Bryant is vaguely tweeting about the matter over on her site. If Kobe really is taking to Twitter to whine about his family problems, it's certainly not a good look.