by Bob Morello
Bruins again show resiliency
Once again for the third time in three seasons, the Bruins are at the crossroads of a playoff spot, with a handful of games remaining. The upside is that five of the six games will be played on Garden ice, with the only road game in Chicago this weekend (Sunday). Bruce Cassidy realizes that Boston is in control of their own destiny, and that if the Bs can continue to play the style they have shown the past two games, victories versus the New York Islanders last Saturday, and their strong effort to beat the highly touted Nashville Predators on Tuesday, things will take care of themselves.
Tuukka Rask was back between the pipes, and the Bruins played with swagger the first two periods against a tough, physical Predators team to earn the 4-1 win. Despite a powerful Nashville attack in the third period, Boston managed to hold on and keep their position in the second wild card playoff spot of the Eastern Conference. Tuesday was certainly a night for surprises, and uncertainty, when goaltender Zane McIntyre was called up from Providence on an emergency basis. The rumors started flying… was Rask going to be unable to play as had been announced at the morning coaches press conference – or was it that backup goaltender Anton Khudobin’s condition the concern? As it played out, McIntyre did not dress for the game Tuesday, and was returned to Providence following the game.
In the pre-game announcements Rask was given a solid welcome and performed admirably. Another situation had been announced on Tuesday that David Krejci was not feeling well, and might not make the lineup for the Predators game. That question was answered quickly, as Krejci’s performance also included him scoring the game-winning goal in the first period. As of today (Thursday), the Bruins position in the wild card race has them three points up on the fast-closing Tampa Bay Lightning who are on a three-game win streak, four points up on both the Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes. Tampa tonight (Thursday) will host Detroit Red Wings,, the Islanders will take on the Flyers in Philadelphia, and Carolina will host the Columbus Blue Jackets, with each team holding a game-in-hand.
Tonight (Thursday), the Bruins host the Dallas Stars, led by former Bruin Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, each with 25 goals thus far, but a team that is on the verge of being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. In Saturday’s April Fool’s Day matinee the Bs will host the Florida Panthers (1:00pm). The final road game of the regular season will take place on Sunday, April 2nd, with Boston being hosted by the Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks with a 12:30 puck drop. As the final week (and three games) of 2016-17 plays out at home, the Bruins will have three crucial games with Tampa (Tuesday, 4/4 at 7:00pm), the Ottawa Senators (Thursday, 4/6 at 7:00pm), with the season finale taking place Saturday, 4/8 at 3:00pm with the Washington Capitals.
Members of the Bruins family were saddened to hear that former defenseman Gary Doak had lost his battle with cancer, succumbing Saturday, at the age of 71. Doak was on defense for the Stanley Cup-winning Bruins in 1970, and posted career totals that included 130 points (23 goals and 107 assists) to go along with 908 penalty minutes while appearing with the Bruins 1965-1970, two seasons with the Vancouver Canucks (1970-1972) stopping for a cup of coffee (single seasons) with New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings, before returning to Boston for nine seasons (1972-1981). Doak remained with the Bruins as an assistant coach with Gerry Cheevers for four seasons (1981-1985), followed by a pair of seasons (1985-1987) as head coach with UMass-Boston.
CHS baseball team opens season Monday
The Chelsea High baseball team is scheduled to open it 2017 season Monday when the Red Devils host St. Clement’s. The opening-day pitch is set for 3:45.
CHS head coach Alan Beausoleil greeted a large contingent of candidates for tryouts last week and once again the CHS program will field both varsity and junior varsity squads.
The 2017 Red Devil varsity diamondmen will be led by a quartet of senior captains: Luis Jimenez, who will pitch and play at shortstop; Manny Ortiz, who also will pitch and see duties at third and first bases; and Eduardo Nunez, who similarly will share the load on the pitching mound and otherwise play at second base; and John Acker, who will pitch, play at third, and roam the outfield.
Other members of the team whom Beausoleil expects will be major contributors this season are senior pitcher/infielder Rafael Otero , sophomore pitcher/infielder Andrew Falcon, and freshman pitcher/first baseman Ariz Rodriguez.
“We have done a lot of work inside so far this spring, but have made it outside onto the turf football field to practice when the weather has cooperated,” said Beausoleil.
“We have some arms that will allow us to be competitive this year, but some questions still remain in the outfield and behind the plate and those spots still are up for grabs,” added the coach. “Hopefully, whoever wins these positions can fill out our lineup and make us tough to face from the top to the bottom of the order.”
Chelsea is scheduled to entertain Georgetown in a scrimmage today (Thursday) prior to Monday’s season-opener. The Red Devils then will host Maimonides next Wednesay under the lights at 7:00.
Martineau is named Eastern Mass. indoor track Coach of the Year
Chelsea High girls track coach Mark Martineau has been named the MSTCA Eastern Mass Girls Indoor Track Coach of the Year. In addition to being the head indoor track coach, Martineau is also the assistant cross country coach and head outdoor track coach.
“I am proud and excited that our very own Mark Martineau was selected for this honor,” said CHS Athletic Director Amanda Alpert. “Mark has done an amazing job with our student-athletes, holding them to high standards both academically and on the track. This award was well-deserved and I am so happy that other people recognize the hard work Mark has put in.
“I know I speak for our entire school system in saying, ‘Thank you,’ to Mark for holding the coaches to as high a standard as the student-athletes. We are all better for having him with us,” added Alpert.
In true team spirit, when Martineau found out he had received the honor, he sent a message to all of the track coaches thanking them for all of their hard work.
“I am very excited and humbled by this award,” said Martineau. “To be recognized among all the coaches in Eastern Mass is truly amazing. Really, this speaks to the commitment and achievement of our girls. Three years ago we started a varsity indoor track program. Through the efforts of the girls we have been able to make an impact not just on the GBL level, but at the state level. Each year our performance improves and I think it is the improvements that gained this recognition.
“We have also been blessed with an amazing coaching staff including Adam Aronson, Kim Huffer, Don Fay, Nate Weaver, Cesar Hernandez, Matt McCormick and the full support of our Athletic Director, Amanda Alpert,” added Martineau. “These coaches are tremendously talented and great to work with. The girls now look defend their two-time CAC crown and shoot for a top 10 finish at the MIAA D2 Championship.”