You've Got Mail !
Greetings everyone. I had a number of things to rant about this week, but Iíll save it. I promised a mailbag, so here it is. Itís in reverse chronological order, with some grouped by subject matter. The Bergeron hit was a popular subject, I received a lot about it, so I just published a couple which expressed the general feeling out there. Although not all notes/letters are printed here, keep Ďem coming. I appreciate your thoughts, ideas, and often kind words.
Fan #1 Ė Lover of the Gourd
Nice work on the Pumpkin episode--the funniest one yet.!
I won't be able to watch the show anymore, though; I'm near-blind now from the retina-searing flash created by the clash of California sun and Biscuit body.
Ha ha. Yes. Sadly I was tweener-tan, somewhere between late Africa and early Cali.
Fan #2 Ė The Man, the Myth, the Legend
Rob. What a beautiful article on Howard Dill.
It encourages us all to sit down and smell the roses (or should I say pumpkins.)
Fan #3 Ė Ditto
Nice piece about my cousin, Howard. He is an absolute delight and to visit him is akin to going to a Red Sox and Bruins museum. In addition to all of the characteristics you ascribed to him he is a very warm and friendly person.
Perhaps it was serendipity for the discovery of long Pond as the birthplace of hockey but the pumpkins came from skill and hard work. His and my grandfather held the record for the largest Hubbard squash at the time.
Thanks for a very nice article.
Lovely family, the Dills. I look forward to future visits to Nova Scotia and the farm will always be on the itinerary. And special thanks to them, especially Howardís son Andrew, for his help in making Biscuit episode-one possible.
Fans #4 Ė Disgusted A and B
A: Rob, I thought the NHL was serious about cracking down on these hits from behind? Clearly not since they only suspended Jones 2 games. I understand them saying this hit was not as severe as the other 2 by Flyer's players this year but as far as I'm concerned it's just as dangerous. As I hear Andy Brickley saying quite often how it upsets him when players are near the boards and turn just before they get hit to try to draw a hitting from behind penalty. The difference here is that this is a race to the puck which Patrice has clearly won and Jones knows he's beat and knows Patrice's back is to him the entire way into the boards. There was no turning of Patrice's back at the last second to try to draw a penalty. Jones got beat to the puck and Patrice pays the price for a great hockey play. Shame on the NHL and shame on Jones. Take getting beat on a good play by a good player like a man, coward!
B: Hi Rob, you have probably received tons of questions regarding Patrice's injury but I really need to get this off my chest. As a long time hockey fan I always defend the great sport of Hockey at every opportunity. Like many fans I struggle with phantom hooking calls that totally change the flow of a game and the inconsistency of the officials. That said I have to admit after seeing the hit to Patrice and the NHL's very minor discipline to the Flyer's player (I don't want to give him the satisfaction of listing his name) I am finding it difficult except. I guess my question is what can we do to send a message to the NHL to say enough is enough? These hits are completely out of line and do not need to be in the game. You want to bring back fans and draw in new ones, well do something about these cheap shots. Fighting is the least of the NHL's problem. It's watching it's superstars being taken out by cheap shots. Fortunate for us Patrice's injury wasn't any worse. For what it's worth when a player injures another player with a hit that is out of line how about this for punishment. O.K. fine your supended for 2 games however that suspension does not start until the player that you injured returns and you are not allowed to play during that players recovery time. Hey it's only fair, the Bruins are without a superstar top forward why can't the Flyers be without thier player??? Wishing you all the best and thanks for listening.
Well, the biblical eye-for-an-eye concept, suspend the guy for as long as the other guy is hurt, simply isnít realistic. I used to be a fan of the concept as well, but when there are varying degrees of intent, itís difficult to implement. When players get hurt on hits and such, itís the Leagueís subjective job to determine the cause, level of intent, and severity of injury. A blanket eye-for-an-eye policy, popular with many fans to this blog, doesnít take everything into consideration. Plus, a cynic would point out, a team could report a player not ready to return from injury on purpose, in an effort to keep the offending player out as well, to impact that teamís roster, and to potentially impact the playoff race and seeding. (Assuming the player is one whose absence would hurt the team).
Fan #5 - Concerned
My wife and I are very concerned about Patrice Bergeron. My question is, what is a "category 3" concussion and how does it compare to the other "categories" of concussions? What is the prognosis for a category 3?
Category three is more severe than catergory 1 or 2. Itís the most severe. In speaking with team medical trainer Don Del Negro, itís my understanding that it is virtually impossible to predict the recovery time, as each case is different. You canít take a picture of the brain, via an m.r.i. or x-ray, and say ďsee, thereís the problem there, and it should take this long.Ē The brain looks normal. Plus, each player is different. Some start with a quick initial recovery and then tail off with chronic symptoms. Others may start slow, and then suddenly feel great. Thereís really no time line. Thatís why speculation as to whether Patrice recovers in two months, one season, or in a year, is just that; speculation. Tim Connolly of the Sabres missed all of last season with lingering concussion symptoms, and came back to play the last two games. Some have had their careers ended. Right now itís just wait and see.
Fan #6 Ė Suggestion
Why donít you look and see what ACE Checkmate is teaching young players about body checking ???? www.acecheckmate.com teaching proper body checking no one else is doing it like the Ace program ????
A gratuitous plug, but what the heck, check it out (pun intended)?
Fan #7 Ė The Big Gun
Do you know why the B's insist on Chara at the point on the power play? I know he has a big shot but with the opposition expecting it all they have to do is shut that down and the power play fails. Not to mention the shorthanded chances they give up. Who would you like to see get more power play time? I'm hoping you say Kessel as one of the forwards. Thanks and keep up the great work.
I directly addressed this in a question to Claude about three weeks ago. At that time, they were in the process of mixing it up, and have done so since. The other night, Z had a goal down low, and one from the point, where he now has help on the other side. Thereís no doubt he shouldnít be alone on top of an umbrella.
Fan #8 Ė Too Much Hockey?
This may be less of a question than a comment but in a league trying to emphasize speed why do they have teams play back to back games and 3 games in 4 nights? This can hardly maximize a teamís performance or a fanís entertainment. And I donít mean a home and home series like this past one against Ottawa, I mean a game in Buffalo one night and than one at home the next night against Montreal who hasnít played since Monday. Is this really the best schedule they can come up with?
The owners, and now the players, with direct revenue sharing based on the players receiving a set percentage of league revenue, both have
a vested interest in playing the full 82 game schedule. Is this a lot of hockey, which pushes the playoff finish into June as usual? Absolutely, but as weíve just seen this week with the new scheduling matrix coming out for next season, no games are going away anytime soon. Thus, all teams will go through stretches where theyíre playing what seems like an unreasonable amount of hockey. But they all go through it and it all evens out. Iíd have preferred 80 games with two against everyone in the other Conference (1 home and 1 road) instead of just one, but that drives up inter-conference travel costs. That would have been 30 games, with two verse everyone else in your conference (30), and then 5 against the other Division rivals (20). The draw back of mine, not enough weight in conference games, outside the division.
Fan #9 Ė Donít Get Me Started
Rob, I couldn't agree more with you on the scheduling comment re: only having 80 games. I would prefer even less truthfully. We have to get the Cup Finals out of the month of June. Doesn't anybody else find it strange that our championship series is played during what could arguably be the worst month of the year for watching hockey? June is prime patio season, and I don't know of too many patios that have TV's. And please, no more expansion for now. I can't imagine that handing out NHL jerseys to another 50 or 60 minor leaguer's is really going to help the fanbase feel more connected to the players.
Among other things, thank you. Play under review ... my rant has gone to video replay.
Fan #10 Ė The Language Arts, Baby
Not so much a question, than a rant/ compliment...
the rant part : Why is it that BASEBALL (yeah, I know this is hockeyland, just wait) commentators feel the absurd need to use the PASSIVE voice (And in from third comes Lowell) on every flippin' play ? I'd understand it if it were a fast paced game, like hockey , and you needed to buy yourself two seconds of thinking / identifying the player. Lowell's been on third for the last three minutes, they KNEW who it was coming in from third, for crying out loud.
Now the compliment part: I was watching the third period against Ottawa and listening out for the use of the passive voice. I didn't pick it up by you, or anyone for that matter. and that was a fast moving period by any standards. THANK YOU ! Whoever said that hockey is a blue-collar sport should also mention that hockey commentators use much better English with a heck of a lot less thinking time.
Can you pass that long to Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo? I couldn't figure out how to share that rant with them.
And off to the next e-mail I go. (Ha ha. Sorry)
Fan #11 Ė How Swede it is
not much is said about p. j. can you talk about what he brings to the team and what is expected of him.
PJ has great hockey sense. Meaning he sees the ice well, anticipates well, and is rarely out of position. He creates havoc in passing lanes and fills gaps. Iím still not sold on him as a top-line wing, because heís simply so solid on a ďcheckingĒ line. But, with a lack of scoring talent up front, and a coach trying to find balance on all the lines (finding guys to play hard together in all three zones), I understand why this year heís with Savard and Murray again. In a perfect world heís not, but he is an Olympic Gold Medalist, whoís generally always calm, cool, and collected.
Fan #12 Ė Not So Swede
I am not hating, but P.J. Axelsson and Andrew Alberts seem at times as if they don't know what they are doing. Hesitant and cautious. I thought the Bruins were going to do away with play and players like this. You need to be creative and want your teammates to succeed even more than yourself, Cam Neely mentioned sacrificing yourself. How are the fans suppose to get into a game when the Bruins dump the puck in all the time? Then the offensive circling in the corners circles comes up the boards. Are they all scared to stay in the corner? If you played hockey you would know that circling up high plays into the other teamís hands. When will the play improve and some creative players get the call. Matt Hunwick, I don't know how he has confidence with and without the puck but he does. No more Andrew Alberts and PJís scared play. Where is the change?
Fan #13 Ė Not Walking Tall
I didn't think "Mary" Chara could "throw a body check until I actually saw him "hit" Hazel Mae.
He's a total waste.
I missed the Mae check. Was this on a promo?
Fan #14 Ė So You Want to be in Television, eh?
Great to see you answering everyone's questions here and I enjoy your HD Bruins coverage here in Idaho very much. My question has to do with camera work on your games, sometimes shots are nice and wide so I can see the whole zone and sometimes they are zoomed in too much like in last night's game against the Sabres and it's hard to tell what's going on. Do you have the same camerapeople every game and either way, please tell them to zoom out. Thanks from potatoland!
Our home crew is the same game in and game out. The road crew changes each and every game, and depending on the market, can be a little sketchy at times. I know shots, camera positions, and presentation is reviewed annually by our director and others, and also tweaked in-season.
Fan #15 Ė Itís a Numbers Game
At the beginning of the second period, Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley were discussing former Bruins who had worn #17 and included Derek Sanderson in that group. Sanderson wore #16, not 17.
Interestingly enough, although most recognized in sweater 16, Turk also wore 17, 27, and 23 as a Bruin.
Fan #16 Ė More Fashion
Why has the National Hockey League have vistors wearing white jerseys. I remember years ago looking forward to see the teams come to the garden wearing the team colors. Now it seem to me that the Bruins are Black, And the visitors are always white WHY. Flyers ORANGE, Canadiens RED, Maple Leafs Blue. Lets get back to the excitement
A question Iíve heard asked before and I wish I had an answer. Maybe itís to sell more jerseys at home, by wearing the dark/colorful version for the fans who are most likely to buy it. Thatís my guess. Now thatís marketing!! (tongue firmly in cheek) I too, would prefer to see the colors of the opponent. Iím pretty sure home fans have a good idea what the dark/white sweaters of their own franchises looks like.
Fan #17 - Intriguing
Hi Rob, I have tried for several years to get a copy of the poem written by a Ct. sportswriter to Bobby Orr when he was honored in Boston at a Jimmy Fund function. It was so nice and it keeps running through my mind all these years later but don't have it all. It as "hockey's million dollar player that had the 10 cent knees. It would mean the world to me to get a copy of it. There must be a video or something at this function.
Can anyone help us here? Please e-mail if you can. Iíll try to nose around.
Fan #18 Ė Pie, Anyone?
If there was a person that personified what being a Bruin, with his hard-nosed play, it would have to be Johnny McKenzie. Wouldn't it be a fitting idea to retire #19, considering the fact that this is the season of the hard hitting B's?
Duly noted and Iím sure youíd have many who agree. McKenzie: 7 seasons with Bruins, 453 GP, 169 G, 227 A, 700 PIM. 45 Pts in 50 playoff games. Of course, that might open the door to a discussion about others ...
Couple Notes: For three fans who wrote in over the last eight months. Doug Y. Ė thanks for your kind words and lengthy TV analysis last spring. Rich from Denver, need your e-mail address included in the body of your e-mail for me to get back to you about a Biscuit shirt. And the young broadcaster from Wisconsin, same story, canít help you if your e-mail address isnít readable in the body of text. By the way, no word yet if a new printing of Biscuit shirts will happen this year. Iím out of Ďem. Weíll keep you posted.
All the Best,