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Mitch's Sports: Pats Teammates Support Josh Gordon Focusing On Mental Health Amid NFL Suspension

The Boston Bruins played a complete and convincing 60 minutes against the Anaehim Ducks in Boston last night, scoring a 3-1 win, their second in a row.

After a scoreless first period the Bruins got on the board with a spectacular pass from Torey Krug to David Pastrnak, who one-timed a shot near the left circle for his 22nd goal of the season. Krug has been a somewhat under-appreciated defenseman supplying a ton of offense this season with laser sharp passes like the one he made to Pastrnak, collection a puck that had been come down to his stick after popping high in the air, then in one blink of an eye motion whipping the pass over to his waiting teammate, who put it past Ducks goalie Josh Gibson, who played very well for the Ducks but had no chance on that goal.

Krug himself was the beneficiary of nearly as clever a pass from Brad Marchand later in the second. Marchand had the puck on the power play and found a lane down the left side and faked as if he was going to shoot one of his patented wrong-foot wristers, but instead saw Krug parked to the right of Gibson blue the  face off dot and rifled the pass to that spot, where Krug calmly sent the puck into the open side of the net.

David Krejci effectively put the game away early in the third when he followed up a play started by his own long stretch pass that started a breakout into the Duck's zone, trailing late to one-time a slap shot past Gibson. Anaheim added a goal with out 5 minutes to go but it was too late by then for a comeback, and Jaroslav Halak was once again sensational in net for Boston, following up his shut-out of Montreal in the previous game with a 24-save performance, none better than the glove save he made when it was still a one-goal game, shifting post to post and going full stretch to flash his glove and rob Brandon Montour, who was right at the doorstep and had mostly open net to shoot at.

The Bruins to their credit have been keeping their heads above water amid a spate of injuries to some of their best players, and a few of those stalwarts, including Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara and Jake DeBrusk have resumed practicing with the team and may be ready to return soon. Bergeron in fact could play this weekend, and that could effectively have the same impact as getting a great player added to your team via a trade.

Meanwhile out in Arizona, the Montreal Canadiens kept pace with Boston, remaining just one point behind the Bruins for the first available wild card berth, beating the Coyotes 2-1 last night and notching a milestone win for goaltender Carey Price. Price made 36 saves to reach career win number 300, and the game featured two players from each team traded the other skating against each other in that swap for the first time, Max Domi, now with the Habs, and Alex Galchenyuk, once considered a future Montreal star, now with the 'yotes.

Shea Weber scored for Montreal before Arizona tied the game at one and Paul Byron got the game winner for the Habs early in the third.

Wgile the Bruins and Canadiens fight to stay in playoff contention with a wild card berth, the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to charge ahead towards the post-season with the NHL's second best record, behind only the juggernaut that is the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Last night the Leafs plastered Florida's other franchisem the Panthers, winning easily 6-1 on a night when both Auston Matthews and John Tavares showed off by scoring two goals each. Matthews also added two helpers in the rout for Toronto.

The Colchester High School boys hockey team scored a 2-0 shutout win against Rice Memorial to win the Bob Beech Memorial Tournament held last night at Leddy Park.

Alex Rublee scored unassisted marker and assisted on Cam Rolston's goal, both coming in the second period, and Lakers goalie Sam Fath did the rest, recording 33 saves for the win.

The consolation game featured South Burlington against CVU and Rees Baker had himself a night, scoring a hat trick in the Wolves' 6-3 win. Dylan LeClair added two more goals for South Burlington, who used a four-goal unanswered outburst to pull away after the Redhawks had tied the game midway through the second period.

Finally, a word about New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon, who's been suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating his conditional reinstatement under the NFL's drug policy, as reported yesterday by ESPN.

The 27-year old Gordon had been suspended by the NFL over the previous four seasons because of multiple drug violations. Gordon could still apply for reinstatement, but he also faces the possibility at this point of a lifetime banishment from the league.

Gordon released a statement saying he would be stepping away from football to focus on his mental health. He also thanked the Patriots organization, coach, and owner for giving him the chance to try and revive his career, but what I find remarkable is the contrast between the public statements of support by his teammates, including Matthew Slater, who was quoted by ESPN saying  "life is so much bigger than football. Certainly that's the case here and we want to be conscious of that as we support Josh", and the NFL, which is responsible for ignoring glaring evidence, in some cases suppressing that evidence, of long term mental impairment caused by concussions and other assaults on their employees bodies and minds.

I have long since given up on NFL executives who treat their employees like personal ATM machines doing the right thing, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the statements of compassion for Gordon and hopes that he achieves mentally peace away from football came from the players who joined him on the field in week in and week out in playing the most violent sport in the U.S., but if Gordon does try to get back to playing pro football after dealing with his far more important mental health issues, it would be a very small step in the right direction if the NFL allows him that chance. It is quite literally the least they could do.

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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