Sports 04-14-2016

Bruins Beat

by Bob Morello

Bruins need to make a decision

The saying “Silence is golden” does not apply when it comes to the Boston Bruins and their fans. Despite the early and frustrating exit, Boston management has had nothing to say regarding the coaching staff, or player personnel, as we approach press time. Those who have been calling for Bruins Coach Claude Julien to be fired, started at the beginning of his tenure, on June 21, 2007. Now, nine years later, and following two consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, has sparked the call once again. Julien has gone on to become the Bruins’ all-time coaching wins leader,  passing the legendary Art Ross, and has advanced the team to the playoffs in seven of his nine years behind the Boston bench.

As a result, Julien is presently in the same uncomfortable position as he was at the end of last season when he was ‘put on hold’ for over a month, before he was told that he would be returning behind the Boston bench for another season. It was just three weeks ago that the Bruins honored Julien for his coaching achievement, and presenting him with a black/gold watch. Today we are on a ‘fire the coach’ watch, waiting for word from above as to whether he will be asked back for a tenth season.

With a Stanley Cup Championship in 2011, and his impressive coaching record, he has become a ‘wanted’ person by teams looking to make a coaching change. Talk has put the Ottawa Senators as the likely landing spot for Julien if he is dismissed locally, with still another year left on his Bruins contract. The Senators fired coach Dave Cameron and his staff, and the fact that Julien is from Ottawa, makes it sound like a perfect fit for him. There will be many issues to be resolved first, those by Bruins management first of all, and whether they decide to bring him back, and hopefully add some defensive personnel that has been so badly needed. The movement of quality players as Doug Hamilton and Johnny Boychuk on defense, has been damaging, and both were moves that the team still has not recovered from.

Perhaps this issue, or parts of it, will be adjusted by the time the Record hits the streets of Chelsea on Thursday, but in my opinion, the dismissal of Julien alone, will not resolve the problem. The man has done his job in the best way possible with the quality of personnel he has been given, and if he is shown the door, it will only be an attempt to take the shortest route by firing the coach, instead of changing players. The time to shore up the defense by adding quality on the blueline is immediate, instead of burning out your number one goaltender, give him some help – less shots and saves to make will preserve Tuukka Rask’s energy, and his sanity!

This year could very well see major roster changes, perhaps giving Boston’s maturing youth more playing time, developing them to play more of a major role on a team for the future. In any case, it’s time for Boston management to make some solid decisions and move on!

Eastern Conference pairings will have the Washington Capitals/Philadelphia Flyers with the Capitals expected to make quick work of beating the Flyers. The Florida Panthers/New York Islanders will fight it out in what will likely be a long series. The Pittsburgh Penguins/New York Rangers series will probably be quick and easy if Sidney Crosby continues his hot streak. Both teams have question marks in goal, with Marc-Andre Fleury having suffered concussion syndrome, and Henrik Lundqvist struggling with an assortment of injuries. The final pairing will pit the Tampa Bay Lightning/Detroit Red Wings in another possible lengthy series. The Lightning will likely go at least the first round without sniper Steven Stamkos suffering with a blood clot, and defenseman Anton Stralman recently suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left fibula, also likely to be a six or seven-game battle.

CHS Roundup

Red Devils drop season opener

After two postponements because of inclement weather last week, the Chelsea High baseball team finally took to the field for the start of the 2016 season this past Monday when the Red Devils took on Pope John of Everett.

Although Chelsea came out on the short end of a 5-0 decision, the Red Devils received a strong pitching effort from starter Manny Ortiz, who tossed the first five frames, allowing just two earned runs on four hits.

The contest was deadlocked at 0-0 through three innings before Pope John broke the ice with three runs in the fourth. The Tigers tacked on two more markers in the fifth to seal the victory.

 “We struggled at the plate,” said CHS head coach Alan Beausoleil. The lone bright spot for the CHS offense came from Ortiz, a junior, who drew two bases on balls.

Mother Nature continued to bedevil the Red Devils Tuesday, with the rain forcing yet another postponement of their contest with Mystic Valley. That encounter was scheduled to be made up yesterday (Wednesday). Chelsea then is set to host Northeast Regional today (Thursday).

Next week will be a busy one for Chelsea during the vacation. The Red Devils will entertain Notre Dame/Cristo Rey on Tuesday; travel to Minuteman on Thursday; and host Whittier on Friday. All of the vacation week games are set for 10:00 a.m.

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