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Give it up

Posted by Charles P. Pierce  February 23, 2010 11:21 PM

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There is nobody in Boston sports more worthy of respect than Cam Neely, both as a player and as a human being. But he went far off the diving board yesterday when he took the opportunity on the radio to accuse both Joe Thornton and Phil Kessel of being less than iron in the clutch. This was not pretty, especially since the Hunt For Canadian Scapegoats is already in full cry.

To be fair, Neely was egged on a bit. The whole show in question consisted of a) defining hockey in terms of a testosterone count, and b) defining hockey players as manifestly more more dedicated both to their game and to their respective countries, which latter occasioned some sniping at Rajon Rondo for turning down a chance to play for USA Basketball. This was laughable. Speaking on behalf of my portion of the USA, I'm fine with it.

(Note to the hosts: why wouldn't hockey players play hard at the Olympics? They get a midseason break that really means something. Why wouldn't they rather play the Russians for a gold medal than go off on a two-game February swing to the NHL hotbeds of Nashville and Columbus? Put Olympic hockey in July, after a full season and two months of playoffs -- which is what happens with basketball -- and see how many players show up)

But what Neely said bordered on the graceless. We all know that both Thornton and Kessel ended badly here. We all know that the Bruins determined to shuffle them out of town, and they did. So why hang the epic loss on those two guys? If it is to deflect attention from the fact that the Bruins have had trouble shooting the puck into the harbor this season, Neely should know better.
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