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This scene at Ducks game brought tears to coach Bruce Boudreau

- April 14th, 2014

selanne-giguere

The Anaheim Ducks wrapped up their season Sunday night at home against the Colorado Avalanche with a 3-2 overtime win.

It was also Teemu Selanne’s final regular-season game. The Finnish Flash will retire after the NHL playoffs, and Ducks fans chanted his name during the game and gave him a standing ovation as he was named all three stars.

Selanne was congratulated by every Avalanche player. He then grabbed Avs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere — a Stanley Cup winner in 2007 with the Ducks — before skating around the rink. Giguere is also planning to retire.

“I’m glad the cameras weren’t on me because I was crying,” Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “How can I not? That was as great a scene as you’re going to see in sports: two well-deserved heroes of hockey hugging each other after battle.”

Selanne, one of the true gentlemen of the NHL, will leave the game with an astounding 684 goals and 1,457 points in 1,451 regular-season games.

Scary scenes as Sabres, Bruins lose players to injury

- April 12th, 2014

What was supposed to be a playoff tuneup for the Boston Bruins against the Buffalo Sabres Saturday afternoon turned into a parade of injuries.

At 7:17 of the third period, Sabres defenceman Jake McCabe levelled Daniel Paille with a hit that left the Bruins forward dazed and confused as he was helped to the dressing room. Paille has a history of concussion issues.

McCabe was given a five-minute major for interference and a 10-minute misconduct, and was booted from the festivities.

Minutes later, the Sabres suffered an injury of their own when goalie Matt Hackett left on a stretcher after Bruins defenceman Torey Krug fell on his right leg. The Sabres were forced to insert Connor Knapp, their ninth goalie for the season, an NHL record.

The Bruins also removed Patrice Bergeron for the final frame, but did not reveal if the centre suffered an injury.

Boston would go on to win the game handily, 4-1, and claim the Presidents’ Trophy with the best record in the league with one game to go.

WHL player goes down hard during playoff brawl

- April 11th, 2014

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The WHL playoff series between the Portland Winterhawks and Victoria Royals began with a nasty line brawl in game one and ended literally with a knock out punch.

The Winterhawks advanced to the Western Conference final Thursday night following their 5-1 win over the Royals to take the series in five games, but the game was marred by two brawls, which included three ejections in the middle frame.

With the Royals down 3-1 as the horn sounded to end the second period, Victoria’s Austin Carroll gave Portland’s Dominic Turgeon a cheap shot in the faceoff circle at the Winterhawks end, which ignited the melee between both teams.

Victoria’s Steven Hodges then engaged with Turgeon before being separated by a linesman. Hodges then skated past Portland’s Derrick Pouliot and gave him a punch to the back of the head while he was tangling with Victoria’s Joe Hicketts. Seconds later, Hicketts was floored by a punch from Pouliot. Hicketts had trouble getting up and had to be helped off the ice by a trainer and fellow teammate.

The game ended with 153 minutes in penalties and lots of bad blood between both teams.

Eric Hinske, former Blue Jays player, has let himself go

- April 10th, 2014

Eric Hinske in 2012. (AFP/Files)

Former Toronto Blue Jays third baseman and rookie of the year Eric Hinske is the Chicago Cubs’ first base coach after playing 12 seasons in the majors.

You wouldn’t know it by the way he carries himself now.

Hinske, known throughout his career as a bulky player, certainly looks to have added quite a few pounds to his hefty 235-pound frame.

A few intrepid baseball fans noticed and took a few shots at his offseason weight gain.

I’m reminded of the time former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman John Kruk, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes during spring training while significantly overweight one season, was told by a female reporter that as an athlete he should be ashamed of himself.

His response?

“I ain’t an athlete, lady. I’m a baseball player.”

Astros literally had no TV viewers for Monday’s game against Angels

- April 9th, 2014

astros-angels

It was a repeat performance for Houston Astros fans sitting at home.

The woeful American League club played a game Monday afternoon at Minute Maid Park, but managed to register a 0.0 Nielsen rating on Comcast SportsNet Houston, reports the Houston Chronicle. The Astros were crushed by the Angels 9-1.

This is the second time the former National League franchise has failed to attract a TV audience. The first came Sept. 22, 2013 when the Astros played in Cleveland against the Indians opposite an NFL game featuring the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens.

Nielsen said of the 579 meters used to measure viewing habits, none tuned into the game. However, the pregame show drew a 0.2 Nielsen rating, or about 4,600 viewers.

The Astros are in this predicament after slashing their payroll following the November 2011 sale to new ownership and now field a glorified Triple-A baseball team.

For the past three seasons, the Astros managed to lose at least 100 games. They may well on their way to a fourth.

Time for baseball fans in Houston to turn the TV off until things turn around. This might take a while.