|David Backes respects Colin Kaepernick’s decision, but wouldn’t sit during national anthem||09.07.16 at 8:38 am ET|
Colin Kaepernick is not playing in the World Cup of Hockey for a couple of reasons. For one, he doesn’t play hockey. For another, the World Cup of Hockey is a sporting event, and Kaepernick doesn’t participate in sporting events these days because Blaine freaking Gabbert took his job.
Still, Kaepernick was a popular topic at Team USA’s training camp, where both the coach and its players were asked about Kaepernick’s recent peaceful protests in which he sat and kneeled during the national anthem. While coach John Tortorella had a rather harsh response, saying he would bench any player who sat during the national anthem, Bruins forward David Backes was a bit more sensible.
“I think as athletes we have a great platform and to use it to influence social change is within our right,” Backes told USA Today. “Whether you should do that during the anthem, which stands for our country and salutes those who have given their lives for our country, allowing athletes to play, is a matter of debate. I have my opinions on that.”
Backes is a strong advocate of rescuing pets, something he displayed when he brought some of Sochi’s stray dogs back from the 2014 Winter Olympics. The veteran forward also heads up Athletes for Animals, a foundation that aims to control the pet population by finding homes for animals to getting them spayed and neutered.
On the subject of the anthem itself, the Minnesota native was respectful of Kaepernick but said that he personally would never sit.
“He is going to do his thing, but I salute those who have stood for our country, who have died and given limbs and lives for us,” Backes said. “I will salute that flag every time it is raised.”
|Roberto Luongo on loss to Bruins: ‘This one’s 100 percent on me’||02.04.14 at 11:38 pm ET|
Milan Lucic said Monday that “people point the finger too much” at Roberto Luongo, but on Tuesday it was Luongo who pointed the finger at himself.
The Vancouver netminder played at TD Garden Tuesday for the first time since Game 6 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, and just like in that game, he lost.
Luongo made 29 saves on 32 shots, allowing three goals in a 3-1 Bruins win. Even though one of the Bruins goals came on a breakaway, Luongo said the loss was his fault after the game.
“I think this one’s 100 percent on me,” Luongo told reporters. “I wasn’t too good out there tonight. Wasn’t tracking well, my reads were off. … I didn’t skate this morning and I just didn’t feel like myself out there, so disappointing performance for me here. I thought the guys deserved better.”
Canucks coach John Tortorella disagreed that Luongo lost the team the game, though he did see him as part of a sequence that lost the team the game.
With the B’s holding a 1-0 lead in the second period, Daniel Sedin had a shorthanded breakaway on which he was stopped by Tuukka Rask. The B’s took it the other way and Jarome Iginla scored to make it a two-goal game. As Tortorella saw it, the Canucks needed either Sedin or Luongo to step up in that instance, and they didn’t.
“To me, the game changes. We need another big offensive play,” Tortorella said. “Danny has a chance to make that. I think we need another save from Louie. I don’t think one person determines winning or losing a game, but that to me is the game tonight. I think both teams are pretty much even in chances, we don’t get one or two more big offensive plays and we don’t get one of two saves, they do and that’s where were that. So I appreciate Louie saying that, but this is a team thing here that we’re going through and we’ll go through it together.”
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|Video: Canucks coach John Tortorella wants to move past suspension, but auto-tuned song of him sure to live on||at 11:48 am ET|
Canucks coach John Tortorella leads his team against the Bruins on Tuesday night at TD Garden in his second game back on the bench following his 15-day suspension for his actions during last month’s game against the Flames.
Prior to Monday’s loss to the Red Wings, Tortorella told reporters that he acknowledges his mistake.
“I apologize first and foremost to the players for the situation I put them in, to the organization for my stupidity, to the league,” Tortorella said. “It’s been embarrassing and not just for me, but for everyone around me.”
Added Tortorella: “It’s been very embarrassing for my family and for myself and more importantly, everybody around me that I’m supposed to represent. As far as the nonsense I caused, I want to move by it. I think too much focus has been put on this. We need to worry about our hockey club right now.”
In the Jan. 18 game in Vancouver, Tortorella responded to Calgary starting its fourth line by sending out his fourth-liners, leading to a line brawl upon the drop of the puck. The fiery coach then attempted to get to the Calgary locker room between periods.
After the game, Tortorella explained the reasoning for his actions, and that press conference was auto-tuned to create this memorable video.
|Peter Gammons on D&C responds to Jack Edwards’ attack: ‘I actually love hockey’||01.24.14 at 10:55 am ET|
Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons, during a appearance with Dennis & Callahan on Friday, responded to an attack from NESN Bruins play-by-play voice Jack Edwards and defended his criticism of hockey.
The controversy started when Gammons sent out a tweet after watching highlights of the incident in Vancouver on Saturday in which the Canucks and Flames engaged in a line brawl immediately following the opening faceoff, and Canucks coach John Tortorella tried to get at the Flames locker room after the first period, leading to a 15-day suspension.
During a Wednesday appearance on Salk & Holley, Edwards went off on Gammons.
Said Edwards: “Peter Gammons commenting about hockey is like me commenting about women’s fashion. It’s just absolutely not his spectrum. He has no validity. He has no credibility. If the guy were at the rink all the time, maybe we’d consider his opinion.”
Gammons, who said he has no issues with Edwards and that they’ve “always been friends,” said he had not previously heard Edwards’ comments, although he had heard from other hockey supporters.
“You can’t believe some of the tweets I got back from people in Canada,” Gammons said, although he stood by his criticism. “I think television ratings and so forth do say something about the standings of sports. But they’re very offended by it. As you guys know, I actually love hockey. But I don’t think that reenacting ‘Slap Shot’ is that great an idea. I didn’t think [legendary minor league enforcer] Billy Goldthorpe was a great hockey player. But there are those who do.”
Edwards went on to say that Gammons should not criticize the sport without showing up in a locker room to address the participants.
“My friend Larry Brooks of the New York Post has many times experienced asking a question like, ‘Why did you pull the goalie’ or something, and being sworn at [by Tortorella when he coached the Rangers],” Gammons said. “I don’t really know why standing at the rink is a qualification as a viewer. But that’s neither here nor there.”
Added Gammons: “I appreciate his being very defensive of his sport. It’s a sport that he broadcasts and he obviously has always loved. Hockey and soccer have been two sports he’s been devoted to. ‘¦ Each one of those sports is always fighting uphill against the NFL, college football, Major League Baseball, college basketball, golf, auto racing — the big, major sports in this country. And I understand that.”
Gammons insists he is a fan of hockey, but not the way it was played Saturday in Vancouver.
“It may be the greatest sport in the world. I certainly enjoy it. I love it,” Gammons said. “But to me, watching a Bobby Orr or a [Wayne] Gretzky or someone who was great is one thing. And watching that Billy Goldthorpe mentality is another. Hey, I’m one who actually still has ‘Slap Shot’ on his iPod. I think it was very funny. It’s just that that’s theater, like the WWE.”
|Shawn Thornton on D&C: ‘I’m back to the way I was before’ suspension||01.22.14 at 3:28 pm ET|
Bruins forward Shawn Thornton talked with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday about Canucks coach John Tortorella and his suspension, his own suspension and more. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Tortorella was suspended 15 days for attempting to enter the Flames locker room after the first period of Saturday’s game, angry that Flames coach Bob Hartley started his fourth line. Tortorella responded with his fourth line, initiating a line brawl right after the opening puck drop.
While the former Rangers coach has come under criticism, Thornton said Tortorella deserves credit for standing up for his team.
“I love the that he always has his players’ back,” Thornton said. “This has happened a few times with him, and it’s happened a few times in the league. Obviously the instance with him going down to the locker room probably makes it a lot more blown out of proportion, but this stuff happens.”
That said, Thornton said he isn’t sure Hartley’s intent was to have his fourth-line players mix it up.
“I don’t think that — and I don’t know because I’m not in the room — but I’m assuming when Hartley started his fourth line he wasn’t planning on a line brawl, he was just trying to start a line to get, maybe create some forecheck and then dump pucks in, get some momentum going for his team,” Thornton said. “We do it sometimes, too.”
Added Thornton: “You can start whoever you want. We [the B’s fourth line] used to start all the time, probably two or three years ago. Our line started all the time. It was more to create momentum, not to drop the gloves.”
Thornton, who was suspended on Dec. 14 for 15 games after attacking Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik, says the suspension and league crackdown on violence hasn’t forced him to alter his style.
“I’m back to the way I was before. Nothing’s changed,” Thornton said. “If I need to stick up for a teammate, I’ll stick up for a teammate. That hasn’t changed.”
|Milan Lucic: Penguins are ‘almost like the Miami Heat of the NHL’||05.26.13 at 1:02 am ET|
Now the road gets a lot tougher.
The Bruins enter the Eastern Conference finals against the Penguins as decided underdogs. The Bruins might have the better goalie in Tuukka Rask and may have won the Cup more recently (2011) than the Penguins (2009). But the Penguins have their version of the Big Three in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla, reminding one player on the Bruins of a powerhouse in the NBA.
“Well, no doubt they’re a great hockey club,” Milan Lucic said after Saturday’s series-clinching 3-1 win over the Rangers at TD Garden. “In my mind, they’re almost like the Miami Heat of the NHL with all the star power they’ve got. Probably the two best players in the world and a 40-goal scorer and the former 50-goal scorer, a future Hall of Famer and a Norris Trophy candidate on their team.
“So, they definitely have a lot of weapons, and in saying all that, I think what makes them successful is they play real well as a team and I think that’s what you’re going to probably see going into this next series, is two well-rounded teams going at it, and for us we’ve got to be ready and excited for the challenge.”
“It was big for us,” Lucic said. “I think the mindset in this room was that we didn’t want to be denied and we knew that he was going to be the best player on their team, and he was in this series for them and he kept a couple of games closer. He stopped me four good times here tonight, but he’s a great goaltender for a reason and he played well and like I said we did whatever we could to try to get to him and we were able to do that.”
What will be the key to beating the Penguins?
“We just got to play a strong team game and play to our strengths,” Lucic said. “We’re a team that plays in-your-face-type of hockey and I think what worked for us this series was we were able to establish our forecheck, and we’ve got to keep doing that, and they’re a team that you don’t want to turn the puck over against because they have more than enough weapons to make you pay for it. So, puck management is going to be huge for us, and in saying all that, I think tonight and tomorrow we need to enjoy what we accomplished so far in the playoffs.”
“I’m not going to talk about the Penguins tonight, we just finished against the Rangers. I’ll stick to that, if you don’t mind,” Julien said.
John Tortorella has no such problems giving his opinion about Boston’s chances.
“I think Boston has a really good chance,” Tortorella said. “I think Claude and that staff has done a heck of a job with their club. I can’t believe some of the people, how they second-guess him, just being in the city for a few days, and the type of job he’s done here. That’s a good team. They’re very well-coached, and they’re seasoned. They’ve been through it before, and I give them a lot of credit, as far as what they’ve done with their club. They’re a good hockey team.”
|John Tortorella: Bruins ‘were the better team’||05.25.13 at 9:15 pm ET|
Following the Bruins’ Game 5 victory to advance to the Eastern Conference finals, Rangers coach John Tortorella said that the Bruins deserved the bid to advance more than the Rangers.
“They deserved to win,” Tortorella said. “They were the better team. They deserved to win.”
Tortorella, who has been something of a polarizing figure throughout the series and could be on the hot seat, praised Bruins coach Claude Julien, adding that he “can’t believe” that the coach is second-guessed by the local or national media.
Up next for the Bruins are the Penguins, with Tortorella saying “Boston has a really good chance.”
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