Thursday, April 26, 2012

One Tough Year

Hockey was for me this year both extremely fun and a huge disappointment all at the same time. It all started in late September (like it does every year) with the hopes of winning it all. In my case "It all" would have been the Mass High School Hockey Sate Championship. Of course there are other hopes and dreams with each new season: The chance BU wins the National Championship or the Bruins win the Cup being the main ones.

Last night's Bruins loss just poured salt into an already gaping wound of hockey pain this year. But before I get to that, lets rewind and start with my high school team. We (Medfield) had one of, if not the best seasons in program history. Winning the Try Valley League for the first time in six years and making it farther than any other Medfiled team ever had in the MIAA tournament. In the South Regional Semifinal (played in Bourne Ma) we lost 5-2 to Rockland, arguable the weakest team we played in the tournament. That loss started the streak of bad hockey (for the lack of a better word) luck that would soon fall upon me and whoever I would go to a game with.

Take BU for example. Following the dramatic Quarterfinal series with New Hampshire, nothing seemed to go right for any BU fan. BU would lose in the Hockey East Semifinals to Maine 5-3 and the next weekend their season would end in the NCAA tournament to West Regional host, Minnesota 7-3. The pain did not stop there. Oh no, that would have been too easy. In the West Regional final (which I happen to be at because I made the trip out to St. Paul to see the BU game) I was rooting for North Dakota, who is probably my second favorite college hockey team. Anyway, Minnesota waxed NoDak 5-2 leaving me with no team to root for in the NCAA's except for the one playing Boston College. 

Yeah. About Boston College. Every BU fan was clearly rooting against BC and of course BC wins the damn Tournament. Like there was and chance that they weren’t going to?
Ok, no more bitching about BC... On to the Bruins, my last hope for the year. Game One of their series with Washington was all but perfect. Chris Kelly's overtime winner immediately brought back my Stanley Cup Fever from a year ago. All was well in Bruins Nation, until Nickels Backstorm scored minutes into the second overtime of game Two at TD Garden, a game that I was at with my Dad. As the series shifted the Washington (home to some great BU moments i.e 2009 Frozen Four) and Zdeno Chara blasted the game winner past Braden Holtby with less than two minutes to play in Game Three, I really liked the B's chances in the series. Washington won Game Four, retying the series at two games apiece. Game five, another game in which I was at, ended in a familiar way for me: a loss. Tim Thomas gave up a goal to Alex Semin with less than two minutes to play that was eerily similar to the goal Kieran Millan allowed to Bill Arnold in the Beanpot Final back in February. 

As Tyler Seguin scored the game winner on a mini break a way in overtime of Game Six, it rebuilt my hope that the Bruins may in fact pull this series out. I guess it was not meant to be because three days later I found myself slumped in a plastic chair labeled "18" in section 302, row 13 of the Boston Garden, watching Joel Ward and the rest of his Washington Capitals teammates celebrate their Game Seven win. 

That slumped feeling, just sitting there, watching the opponent celebrate seems to be a reoccurring action that just keeps repeating it's self for me. The first time that it happened, was that night at the Beanpot, then the Maine game, then the Minnesota game, and then the three Bruins home playoff games I went to. It's a feeling that will undoubtedly come back, but for the mean time, I think a break from going to hockey games in my best interest. It seams that I'm incurably bad luck for whatever team I’m cheering for. 

My Stats for the year (Game that I saw a win-loss-tie)

30 games, 18-11-1 (616.7%)

3 games, 0-3-0 (0%)

Games at the Garden
6 Games, 1-5-0 (166.7%)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Terriers In The NHL Playoffs

Kevin Shattenkirk has been by
far the most predictive former
Terrier in these NHL playoffs
(photo by Matt Dresens) 

The NHL playoffs started about a week ago and we've all seen the goonerie in the Pittsburg-Philadelpha series and the closely contested Bruins-Capitals series, but what about BU alumni in the playoffs?

In that Cap's-Briuins series, there is one former Terrier. Tom Poti, a defenseman played three years at BU, has yet to play in the series, but is on the Washington active roster. Over in the Penguins-Flyers series, one former Terrier has seen action. Brian Strait played 12:01 in his first playoff game ever in the NHL for the Penguins, last night in a 10-3 win. In the Ottawa-New York series, Matt Gilroy has played in two of the four games, recording no point despite dumping 6 shots on goal.

Moving to the Western Conference, Kevin Shattenkirk has played some serious time in the San Jose-St. Louis series for the Blues. Currently, St. Louis has a 2 games to 1 lead in the series. Shattenkirk has picked one point and has registered one hit over three games. 

Moving to the Nashville-Detroit series. There are two Terriers in this series (kind of). Colin Wilson is on the active roster of the Predators, but has yet to see any action in the series. Brandon Yip, also on Nashville, has played in all for games, picking up an assist on the first Nashville goal in game one. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Best Team Never Had A Chance

Corey Trivino makes a play on a puck
in the neutral zone at BC in early
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Prior to losing Corey Trivino and Charlie Coyle in the span of less than a week, BU had what I (an several others) considered the best team Nation. 

BU had just gone up to Orono and smoked Maine 5-1 in their own building. As the team headed into the holiday break, BU was riding high, winning seven out eight games against some of the top programs in the country. No one new that, that Maine game would be the high point of the year.

Just days after the game in Orono, Trivino was arrested for sexual assault and breaking and entering. Although the court dropped the sexual assault charges a few weeks ago, Trivino was kicked off the team. Just days later, Coyle abandoned the team and headed to the St. John Seadogs of the QMJHL. BU lost (at the time) 33% of its offense in less than a week.

Fast-forward to last night (4/5/12). Boston College waxed Minnesota in the National Semi Finals at the Frozen Four. With Coyle and Trivino, BU beat BC at BC twice. The Terriers out scored the Eagles 10-3 in two games at Conte Forum. Yes, BC did pick up a 6-1 win at Agganis in early December with both of them still on the roster.  Later in the year, BU took BC two basically double overtime (BC won with 6.4 seconds left in the first OT) in the Beanpot final... without Coyle or Trivino. 

The point I'm trying to make is that BU played BC a hell of a lot tougher than any team the Eagles have faced in their post season run thus far. That run will more than likely result in them beating Ferris State in the National Championship game, tomorrow night. 

During the month of January, (again, without Coyle and Trivino) the Terriers were ranked number one in the country. So, if a team without arguably it's two best forwards is ranked #1 in the Nation, how good could have this team been? We just don't know, they never had the chance to prove it.

BU still made the NCAA's for the first time in two seasons, but the question still comes up, What If? What if we had all of our guys? How far could we have gone? I tell you, I think I'd be reporting from Tampa right now if Charlie Coyle, Corey Trivino and Max Nicastro are all still on the roster.