|09.21.16 at 1:19 pm ET|
Stanley Cup champion Phil Kessel was the coolest American hockey player on Tuesday night. After Team USA got eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey with a 4-2 loss to Canada, he went on Twitter and dogged management for not putting him on the team.
This was funny for a lot of reasons, one of which was because pretty much everyone agreed that his omission was a move that suggested Team USA wanted to be tough more than it wanted to be good. Plus people didn’t know that Kessel, whose social skills have been overanalyzed throughout his entire career, had such a zinger in him. It was a feel-good moment for humor, for social media and for America.
Well, David Backes was pissed about it.
David Backes said it’s disappointing that former USA players were critical on social media last night. “Distasteful and aggravating”
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) September 21, 2016
Backes said tweets “don’t get lost in the fray and those comments are there and have been read and I think will be remembered.”
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) September 21, 2016
You can understand why a player on Team USA wouldn’t appreciate jokes so soon after an embarrassing exit from the tournament. Nobody is of higher character than Backes, but of course he’s going to be offended when someone makes a joke like that.
Yet the joke obviously wasn’t about Backes, unless Backes felt that Kessel was suggesting he should have been on the roster instead of the former Blues captain. The joke was clearly more of a shot at Dean Lombardi and John Tortorella, and quite frankly Kessel has been the butt of so many jokes that should be able to make fun of everyone for the rest of time without getting any backlash.
|09.20.16 at 10:59 pm ET|
Phil Kessel was infamously left off Team USA’s roster for the World Cup of Hockey, as the team placed a higher emphasis on intangibles than skill.
The Penguins forward might not have ended up being able to participate in the tournament due to a hand injury anyway, but that didn’t stop him from getting a jab in after Team USA was eliminated from the World Cup in two games, the minimum possible for a team to get bounced.
Just sitting around the house tonight w my dog. Felt like I should be doing something important, but couldn't put my finger on it.
— Phil Kessel (@PKessel81) September 21, 2016
For what it’s worth, Kessel had two fewer goals than Team USA did in its decisive two games.
|09.20.16 at 10:53 pm ET|
Well, that didn’t work.
Team USA was eliminated from the World Cup of Hockey in the first round, a fate that was sealed with a 4-2 loss to Team Canada in the second game of the tournament Tuesday. The States were blanked by Team Europe in the tournament’s opening game Saturday.
The top two teams from each of the two groups after the three-game first round will advance, with Team Canada (2-0-0) and Team Europe (2-0-0) already locking in their spots in Group A through two games. The Czech Republic (0-1-1) will join Team USA in heading home early. The Czech Republic and Team USA will play each other Thursday to conclude their stays in tournament.
In Group B, Sweden’s 2-0-0 start is enough for them to advance, while North America (1-1-0), Russia (1-1-0) and Finland (0-2-0) are also still alive.
Team USA’s horrid performance in the tournament comes as something of a surprise, as the States were expected to be one of the tournament’s favorites behind the loaded Canada squad. The roster construction and coaching of Team USA was questioned from the start, however, with John Tortorella opting against dressing perhaps his best goalie (Cory Schneider) in both of Team USA’s first two games.
|09.20.16 at 12:51 pm ET|
BRIGHTON — Peter Mueller wants to resurrect his NHL career. He feels repairing his reputation is part of that.
A 28-year-old skilled forward whom the Coyotes chose eighth overall in 2008, Mueller has spent the last three seasons playing in Europe. After injuries derailed his NHL career, he planned to play the 2013-14 season in Switzerland before returning to the NHL for the 2014-15 season. A one-year deal with the Blues was the Minnesota native’s ticket back to North America, but he ended up going back to Switzerland after he and the team mutually agreed to terminate the deal at the end of the preseason. He’s been playing in Europe since, spending one more season with the Kloten Flyers in Switzerland and then last season with the Malmö Redhawks of the Swedish Elite League.
Mueller still harbors ill feelings over his brief St. Louis experience, but his disappointment is directed more at himself than the Blues. After management told him of their intentions to send him to the AHL, Mueller said he wanted out, a move he feels has left him with a reputation.
“It didn’t work out in my favor, and I could be a little immature, and a little, on my behalf, not fully committed to the organization, which was tough for me,” Mueller said Tuesday after captain’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
“A lot of things happened when that happened. [Two] years have gone past, and I’ve matured a lot more. I’ve got a family. It’s amazing what a child will do to your life and how committed you are. It was a tough situation for me at that point in time, but that’s all behind me and I’m hoping to prove to everyone in North America that this is no joke and this is for real this time.”
To that point, Mueller said Tuesday that he would sign in the AHL if he did not make an NHL team this season. He felt it was important to make that clarification to teams, as the St. Louis ordeal might have left clubs thinking bringing him to camp would be a waste of time.
“I think I have to prove to everyone that I’m here to stay and I want to stay here,” he said. “Whatever Boston has in store for me, I’m ready to accept.
“I think it’s always curious to a lot of people on what happened there. To be honest, I don’t blame them because it was a weird situation for everybody. I’ve talked to people that showed interest and told them whatever happened happened. People understood my situation, but also it’s a tough situation to walk away from. It’s unfortunate that I did, but I’m just trying to make up for it now.”
Drafted as a center back in the day, Mueller said that his recent years in Europe have been spent mostly at left and right wing. That’s good for his chances of making a B’s team that is overflowing with centers in David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Spooner, David Backes, Dominic Moore, Noel Acciari and Riley Nash.
Last season, Mueller had 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points in 43 games for Malmö. His best season overseas came in 2013-14, when he scored 24 goals and had 22 helpers for 46 points in 49 games with Kloten.
|09.20.16 at 11:19 am ET|
BRIGHTON — Zach Senyshyn was kept out of the Bruins’ rookie tournament in Buffalo due to an appendectomy performed in early September, but the team didn’t rule out the possibility of him taking the ice at some point during training camp. That now looks like a good bet, as the 19-year-old right wing joined a large group of Bruins at captain’s practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena.
Senyhsyn, who also missed the team’s development camp this summer due to mononucleosis, did not appear to be limited in Tuesday’s skate. He is a longshot to make the Bruins this season, as it’s expected the 15th overall pick in the 2015 draft will return to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for a third full season in the OHL. Last season, Senyshyn scored 45 goals in 66 games for the Greyhounds.
In other health news, Torey Krug took a good number of one-timers on Tuesday, something he couldn’t do earlier in the month due to his rehabbing shoulder. Krug is pushing to be ready in time for the team’s Oct. 13 season-opener.
|09.18.16 at 9:39 am ET|
The World Cup of Hockey isn’t going well for the United States, but local hockey fans have other players to follow in the tournament.
Hours after Team USA was upset in a shutout loss to Team Europe, tournament favorite Team Canada trounced the Czech Republic with a 6-0 victory. Two players had three-point nights for Canada. One of them was Sidney Crosby (as you might expect) and the other was his linemate, Brad Marchand. All three of Marchand’s points came in the first period.
Marchand got a helper on the game’s first goal (scored by Crosby), scored a goal of his own by tipping a Brent Burns point shot late in the period and then assisted linemate Patrice Bergeron’s last-second goa. Bergeron’s goal came when Marchand jumped on a puck off a Czech turnover by Crosby and then fed a trailing Bergeron.
Team Canada will play Team USA on Tuesday. The States won when the two teams played in a pre-tournament exhibition, but Saturday’s performances (including some questionable moves by USA coach John Tortorella) present the likelihood that Team USA could be a 3-and-out for the tournament. The top two teams from each group advance, and an 0-2 start would essentially seal the States’ fate.
|09.15.16 at 5:52 pm ET|
The Bruins announced a number of changes to their hockey operations staff, including adding Providence general manager to director of player personnel John Ferguson’s duties and parting with assistant athletic trainer Derek Repucci.
From Thursday’s press release:
Executive Director of Player Personnel John Ferguson will also serve as General Manager of the Providence Bruins, Sean Jordan has been hired as Head Physical Therapist, Ansel Garvey has been hired as Assistant Athletic Trainer, former Strength and Conditioning Coach John Whitesides has transitioned to a new role of Director of Health, Fitness and Wellness, Kenneth Pitts and Mike Macchioni have been hired as Sports Performance Coaches, Ryan Hardy has been hired as a U.S. Amateur Scout, Victor Nybladh has been hired as a European Amateur Scout, Matt Lindblad has been hired as a Professional Scout, and Brett Harkins has been hired as a Part-time Collegiate Scout. In addition, Assistant Athletic Trainer Derek Repucci has been relieved of his duties.
While Thursday’s announcements confirm what Cam Neely told WEEI.com last week about the training staff, it also indicates that Lindblad, a former B’s prospect, has retired from playing at age 26. The Bruins signed Lindblad as an undrafted free agent out of Dartmouth College in 2013, with the Illinois native playing two season. Injury limited Lindblad to just eight games in the New York organization, all of which came with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL.