Mitch's Sports Report: Sloppy Bruins Lose Lead & Game To Ducks; Seattle's Weird Unis
The Boston Bruins played a tight, mostly mistake free game against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, losing in overtime but gaining one point for a regulation tie, then came home to Boston last night and played a sloppy, mistake-filled game against the Anaheim Ducks, getting nothing out of it but a 4-3 loss.
This was the kind of game that grows grey hairs on coach's heads and elicits groans from the hometown fans, but it didn't start out that way. The Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Zdeno Chara and Austin Czarnik just 13 seconds apart, and all looked well. But Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle wisely called a time out to calm down his team, and get his Ducks in a row (sorry), and it worked. The Ducks scored the next two goals to tie things up, taking advantage of back-up goalie Anton Khudobin, who has not been the solid number two guy behind Tuukka Rask the Bruins thought they'd get when they re-signed him this off-season. The Bruins also committed the sin of not paying attention to the end of a power play, when Kevin Bieksa stepped out of the box and received a pass at the Bruins blue line, breaking in all alone for an easy tying goal.
The two teams then played end to end pond-hockey for most of the second period, another thing that makes coaches wonder if they should have pursued a career in accounting instead of hockey, even if fans enjoy the go-go pace. The Ducks went ahead 3-2 and then David Krejci tied it up, but instead of clamping down on defense the Bruins got turned around in their own end and did a Keystone Cops routine before Rickard Rackell popped in the game winner after being left all alone at the side of the Bruins net, banging in a rebound with enough time and space to have made a sandwich and check his email. The Ducks have now won seven of his last nine and the Bruins are in one step forward, two steps back mode, picking up points on the road against Montreal and Pittsburgh, but this was a home game that should have netted two points after the 2-0 lead, and instead nets nada, and sows more seeds of doubt as to whether the Bruins can be a viable team without Tuukka Rask in net to bail out their myriad mistakes.
Elsewhere, the NY Rangers saw the return of two key players who've missed a number of games to injury amnd both were instrumental in the Rangers 2-0 win over the Stars in Dallas last night. Rick Nash scored a short-handed goal in his return to the line-up and netminder Henrik Lundqvist turned back 27 shots for his 60th career shut-out victory.
In the NFL the Seattle Seahawks needed a win last night to clinch the NFC West division for the third time in the past four years, and playing the L.A. Rams, that was not going to be too tough a task. The Seahawks pummeled Los Angeles 24-3 in a game of more interest to fashion watchers than any NFL fan outside of Seattle. I say that because the 'Hawks were wearing some kind of lime-green neon body-suit uniforms that made the field look like half of it was populated by characters from the movie Tron. Yes, I'm dating myself with that reference. The other curiosity was Seattle's Richard Sherman, never one to mask his thoughts or feelings, seen yelling at head coach Pete Carroll after calling a pass play with the ball on the one-yard line, which resulted in a touchdown pass, but was almost picked off. That immediately recalled memories of the Superbowl the Seahawks lost against the New England Patriots a couple years back when Carroll called a pass play, again with the ball on the one, and it was intercepted by Malcolm Butler to clinch the game for the Pats. Russell Wilson did throw one interception last night but also was 19 of 26 for 229 yards and got the win to clinch the division for Seattle. The Rams move to L.A. this season has been nothing to write home to St. Louis about. They're 4-10 on the season after the loss.
This note also about the passing of long-time NBA broadcaster and sideline reporter Craig Sager, who's died at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer. Sager was known for his boldly loud and festive suits, that could be anything from all-pink plaid to checkered green and beyond. Kind of the NBA version of how former NHL coach Don Cherry dresses for his Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts. Sager's career spanned more than 40 years, mostly with Turner broadcasting, and he was a well-respected and colorful presence on the floor before during and after NBA games. A moment of silence will be observed for his passing throughout the league according to NBA commissioner Adam Silver.