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Mitch's Sports Report: Bruins Hit Snooze Button, Wake Up Too Late To Recover In Nashville

The Boston Bruins played the first period of their game against the Predators in Nashville last night in much the same manner as people react to their morning alarm clock going off. They hit the snooze button.

The Predators on the other hand looked as if they had already drained a pot of espresso and ran through and around the Bruins like kids let loose in a bouncy house, and the result was a quick goal in the first three minutes of the contest, followed by another toward the end of the period, and while the Bruins finally woke up after that initial foray into slumberland, it was too late to recover and the Preds came away with a 2-0 win. The loss was just the second on the Bruins' current six-game road trip, and fortunately for Boston the Red Wings also lost last night so the B's retain their hold, for now, on second place in the Atlantic division. But the Bruins need to do something about their propensity for Keystone Cops play in their own end. The Bruins are not blessed with speedy defensemen. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg are savvy veterans but getting a bit long in the tooth and their younger counterparts, including former UVM defenseman Kevan Miller, Adam McQuaid and Zach Trotman, are big, tough players who can deliver a solid body check, but they are not fleet of foot and retrieving pucks quickly and moving them out of the zone to the forwards too often resembles a slow-motion replay. That's one glaring area where the traded Dougie Hamilton is sorely missed. It's an issue the Bruins don't seem eager to address before the trading deadline, so as this season drags on and players get more tired with the grind, getting points to solidify a playoff position may prove too daunting for a team that needs to get faster quicker.

In Toronto, where Maple Leafs fans could well hear my complaints about the Bruins and collectively do a serenade of "Cry Me A River", the home team gave the heavily favored New York Rangers a run for their money, and gave their long-suffering fans a glimmer of hope when Colin Greening tied the game at two late in the third period. But just sixty seconds later Derek Stepan turned the hope to disappointment when he scored the game-winner for New York with just about 90 seconds left to go in regulation. The Rangers then added an empty netter for a 4-2 win. Antti Raanta was filling in for Henrik Lundqvist in net for New York and kept the Blueshirts in it with a stellar thirty-five save performance. But the bad news for Rangers fans was that the return of Ryan McDonagh did not last long. The Rangers captain had missed several games with concussion symptoms after getting sucker punched by the Flyers' Wayne Simmonds, and last night was forced from the game when Toronto's Leo Komarov elbowed McDonagh in the head late in the first period. Komarov was ejected from the game for the hit and the league will take a look to see if he faces any further penalty, and the NHL would do itself a favor or two by revamping and toughening its policies for players who deliver these kinds of dangerous blows to the head, or the list of tough, skilled, and respected players like McDonagh who have their careers and livelihoods interrupted or cut short will only continue to grow.

We'll keep an eye on what the Montreal Canadiens do at the trading line. After an amazing nine win start to the season and much of the season in first place, the Habs' free-fall may mean they're ready to sell off veteran players as rentals for other teams, and after head coach Michel Therrien inexplicably and publicly blamed his best player P.K. Subban for a rare mistake when Subban fell down at the blue line,which led to a game-winning goal in the Habs' previous loss to Colorado, and then benched Subban for the last three minutes of the game when they trailed by a goal, he may have overstayed his welcome behind the Montreal bench.

The NBA trading deadline has come and gone, and as expected the Boston Celtics decided to do stand pat, letting the current squad which has won thirteen of its last seventeen games and has a hold on third place in the east keep doing what they do.

Upset alert in Division four boys' high school basketball playdowns: Last night number-ten seeded Sharon defeated number one Cabot 54-34, using a nineteen to five fourth quarter run to pull away and shock the top-ranked Huskies.

In mens' college hoops, the Lyndon State Hornets and Castleton Spartans played a thriller at Glenbrook Gym last night, needing two overtimes to decide the game in favor of the visiting Hornets. Shaun Hill led the Hornets with twenty-one points and the team was clutch from the charity stripe, hitting twenty of twenty-two from the free throw line, which helped seal the win down the stretch. Elsewhere, Green Mountain beat Johnson State 116- 77. The Johnson State women turned the tables, though, on their Green Mountain counterparts, winning 95-39, and the Castleton women beat Lyndon State 72-34.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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