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.
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