Author Archive

Stanley Cup Final: For Boston fans, heartbreak softened by perspective

Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font
Boston Bruins

The Bruins nearly forced a Game 7, but succumbed to two late Blackhawks goals in Game 6. (David E. Klutho/SI)

By Adrian Dater

As a New England native, I’ll confess: Being a part of the woe-is-me, somebody-up-there-hates-us Boston sports fan lament isn’t fun. Babe Ruth, Johnny Pesky, Too-Many-Men-On-The-Ice, Desmond Howard, Bucky “Bleeping” Dent — it all got to be too much, even for me.

If not for that miracle Patriots Super Bowl win in 2001, that even more unbelievable Red Sox comeback over the Yankees in 2004 and the Celtics’ win over the Lakers in 2008, this column would likely be one long cry for sympathy — and that cry would be necessary after Monday night’s Beantown Meltdown by the Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago.

Pre-2001, when the tuck rule saved the Patriots, and pre-2004, when Tony Clark’s ground-rule double proved to be a lucky bounce for the Red Sox and Dave Roberts was safe by an inch, Monday’s Cup collapse would have ranked among the top Boston gag jobs of all time. A 2-1 lead, the opposing goaltender pulled, the crowd on its happy feet, less than two minutes left. Game over, let’s go to Chicago for Game 7.

Read More…


  • Published On Jun 25, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Chicago’s Patrick Kane deserving Conn Smythe winner

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane

    Patrick Kane was quiet in Game 6, but registered 19 points during Chicago’s Stanley Cup run. (David E. Klutho/SI)

    By Adrian Dater

    First, a note: The NHL’s media corps was forced to vote on the Conn Smythe Trophy winner with 10 minutes remaining in the third period of Monday’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Ask any regular NHL beat writer, and he or she will tell you that picking a game’s three stars is one of the most dreaded assignments in an NHL arena. Magnify that tenfold for picking the playoff MVP.

    Understandably, there were more than a few “What the…?” proclamations on Twitter and elsewhere after the Blackhawks staged a miraculous 3-2 comeback victory to claim the Cup, and Gary Bettman announced Patrick Kane’s name amid the usual thicket of boos from the stunned TD Garden crowd.

    Kane, after all, did not register a point in Game 6. He played only 19 minutes, nearly 10 fewer than Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith, the pick of many others in the media.

    Read More…


  • Published On Jun 25, 2013
  • Stanley Cup Final: Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron injuries loom large

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Hits like this one from Boston's Zdeno Chara probably did not help whatever is ailing Jonathan Toews

    Hits like this one from Boston’s Zdeno Chara probably did not help whatever is ailing Jonathan Toews. (Getty Images)

    By Adrian Dater

    Jonathan Toews was the last player to leave the ice on Saturday night, after slapping high gloves with Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford in celebration of their 3-1 win over Boston in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Wasn’t going high to the glove side supposed to be the one thing Chicago didn’t want anyone to do with Crawford?)

    That exchange was the only time Chicago’s captain put his skates to the ice after the second intermission at the United Center, and it begged a huge question: How could Toews sit on the bench, in uniform, but not play at all during the third period? Did he suffer another concussion after taking a Johnny Boychuk hit to the head while cutting across the slot in the second? If it was a suspected concussion, wouldn’t Toews have been required to spend the rest of the night in the “quiet room” as mandated by NHL protocol?

    Read More…


  • Published On Jun 23, 2013
  • NHL playoffs: Blackhawks open Western finals with 2-1 win over Kings

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    patrick-sharp

    A bearded Patrick Sharp (left) netted Chicago’s first goal in Game 1 against the Kings. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images).

    By Adrian Dater

    Chicago Blackhawks fans had every reason to feel down after the first period of Saturday’s Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at the United Center.

    The Hawks had a 17-2 edge in shots on goal, including the first nine of the game. Even so, Kings netminder Jonathan Quick had hung yet another zero on the scoreboard while the defending Stanley Cup champions managed to put one past Chicago counterpart Corey Crawford for a 1-0 lead. But there was one statistic that had to be of some comfort: 1-5, the road record of the Kings in these playoffs.

    Make it 1-6.

    Winners of 10 of 11 playoff road games last year, the Kings lost 2-1 to Chicago in the opening chapter of this best-of-seven series, with Game 2 on Sunday in Chicago. Here are some thoughts and observations from Saturday’s game:

    Read More…


  • Published On Jun 01, 2013
  • NHL playoffs: Sharks clip Kings 2-1 at home in Game 6, force seventh game

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    galiardi-and-thornton

    T.J. Galiardi (left) has raised his play after being put on a line with Sharks captain Joe Thornton. (Getty Images)

    By Adrian Dater

    You knew this was going seven.

    The home team had won every game in this Western Conference semifinal series, so it didn’t seem likely that the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings would win Game 6 on Sunday night in San Jose.

    The Sharks’ 2-1 victory was an impressive performance, but now all that home-ice mojo goes back with the Kings to the Staples Center for Game 7 on Tuesday night.

    T.J. Galiardi’s second-period goal, a wicked wrister from the slot, proved the game-winner, and continued his story of rejuvenation. The former Avalanche winger was nearly out of the league by the start of the year and he was sometimes a healthy scratch by Sharks’ coach Todd McLellan. But Galiardi started showing more fire late in the season, enough for McLellan to gamble on putting him on a line with star center Joe Thornton.

    Galiardi has not disappointed. He still doesn’t score a lot, but he has gotten under the Kings’ skin with sandpaper play in front of the net and in the corners. It’s the same kind of playoff performance he had in 2010 for the Avalanche in their first-round series against the Sharks. Galiardi was a big agitating presence against San Jose then, and he’s found that style of play again.

    The Sharks just looked like they wanted this game more than the Kings did. They probably did, in truth. The Kings just seem to let it slide a little too much in road games they don’t have to win. Now, the only thing that can save them is that precious home-ice advantage in a final game. But that’s why you play so hard during the regular season, to have that advantage.

    Here are some other observations from Game 6:

    Read More…


  • Published On May 26, 2013
  • NHL playoffs: Kings take 3-2 series lead with 3-0 win over Sharks in Game 5

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Jonathan Quick

    Jonathan Quick’s 28 saves blunted a surge by the Sharks, who had won the last two games. (Getty Images)

    By Adrian Dater

    The Los Angeles Kings are one win away from their second straight Western Conference finals appearance, which puts them in striking distance of doing what they say can’t be done in this age of NHL parity: win back-to-back Stanley Cups.

    Not since Detroit in 1997 and 1998 has a team repeated the feat, but the Kings are now nine wins away.

    In Game 5’s 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks at the Staples Center on Thursday night, goaltender Jonathan Quick kept alive his bid to accomplish something that has only been done twice in the history of the sport: win two straight Conn Smythe trophies (goalie Bernie Parent of the Flyers in 1974 and ’75, and Penguins great Mario Lemieux in 1991 and ’92 are the two repeat postseason MVPs).

    Quick saved his best for last: a glove-hand robbery of Joe Pavelski with 39.5 seconds left in regulation, a ridiculous stop that helped earn him an honor as the game’s No. 1 star.

    Anze Kopitar, who scored the game-winner, summed up the game to the NBC Sports Network as “Probably our best game of the playoffs so far. We all realize they have lots of players who can make good plays, but when you can limit their time and space it makes it hard for them.”

    Other observations from Game 5:

    Read More…


  • Published On May 24, 2013
  • NHL playoffs: Red Wings advance as Ducks falter at home in Game 7

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Temu Sellane

    Emerson Etem (left) and Teemu Selanne wave goodbye to fans after the Ducks’ Game 7 loss. (Getty Images)

    By Adrian Dater

    Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin had a tremendous season for the Anaheim Ducks. He was in the discussion among Norris Trophy voters, anchoring the defense for a team that finished second overall in the seriously tough Western Conference.

    But in Beachemin’s native French-Canadian tongue, he was the chevre of Sunday’s Game 7 between his Ducks and the Detroit Red Wings. That means goat. It’s true, he was credited with a lucky late power-play goal that accounted for the final score, but the damage from an earlier incident on the power play had already been done.

    Beauchemin tried to get fancy during a game in which keep-it-safe fundamental play was the bylaw, and for that he will be shown on every hockey highlight show around the globe for the next day.

    Beauchemin’s spin-o-rama blind backhand pass was intercepted and converted into a short-handed goal by Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader with 3:23 left in the first period, which broke a 1-1 tie, killed all of Anaheim’s building momentum and ultimately resulted in a 3-2 loss at the Honda Center.

    Read More…


  • Published On May 13, 2013
  • NHL playoffs: L.A. Kings eliminate St. Louis Blues with 2-1 victory in Game 6

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    Jonathan Quick made 21 saves in Game 6, and was tremendous throughout the entire series for the Kings. (Noah Graham/Getty Images)

    Jonathan Quick made 21 saves in Game 6, and was tremendous for the Kings. (Noah Graham/Getty Images)

    By Adrian Dater 

    I wasn’t the only one who asked the question after this year’s NHL trade deadline. Yeah, the St. Louis Blues did well to boost their defense with the acquisitions of veterans Jay Bouwmeester and Jordan Leopold, but what about the offense? Did the team’s management really think it had enough in that department for a long playoff run?

    If it did, the front office had to be thinking differently while watching the Blues pass through the handshake line after their 2-1 loss on Friday night.

    The Blues never needed as much help on their back end as they did up front, and management’s failure to realize it played a significant role in the team’s frustrating six-game, first-round exit at the hands of the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings.

    After jumping out to a 2-0 series lead against a team that many (hand raised here) thought looked too hungover to repeat as champs, the Blues’ inability to generate goals (they scored a total of 10 in the six games) proved fatal, especially with Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick rounding into his Conn Smythe form after gift-wrapping two wins in St. Louis.

    Some thoughts and observations from Game 6:

    Read More…


  • Published On May 11, 2013
  • NHL playoffs: Penguins rally, beat Islanders 5-4 in overtime in Game 3

    Decrease fontDecrease font
    Enlarge fontEnlarge font
    pens-isles-dater

    A crucial victory for the Penguins leaves the Islanders rueing a game they could have won. (Seth Wenig/AP)

    By Adrian Dater

    For starters, how great was it to see boisterous Islanders fans twirling orange towels in the air at Nassau Coliseum? For too long, their materials of no choice have been white flags.

    We can also safely assert that it was a fun game to watch between the heavyweight, top-ranked Penguins and the spunky Isles. Does that mean it was a particularly well-played contest? Does that mean there weren’t a few really boneheaded errors by both sides? No and no.

    The Islanders got incredibly sloppy and, well, stupid with their play after taking a quick 2-0 lead. Ditto for the Penguins in the third period after they took a two-goal lead of their own into the final 20 minutes of regulation. Ultimately, the Penguins prevailed in OT to claim Game 3 and a 2-1 lead in this opening-round series.

    Here are a few more observations from Game 3:

    Read More…


  • Published On May 05, 2013


  •