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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Slap Shots

This writer is still combating spring term finals, but just to ensure this website doesn’t rust, we offer you the following puck-bagful of hot PC/Hockey East news items:

· Class of 2000 Friar alumnus Fernando Pisani is still in consideration for the Masterton Trophy as of Friday’s narrowing from each team nominee to the three finalists. His fellow candidates are Detroit dinosaur Chris Chelios and Toronto Maple Leaf forward Jason Blake. Pisani just completed his fourth full season with the Edmonton Oilers, but not before rallying from a nasty bout of ulcerative colitis, which had struck in July and kept him off the game roster until December.

In a guest blog on thehockeynews.com last Tuesday, Pisani recalled taking 20-30 trips to the bathroom per day, shriveling from 205 lbs. to 165, and all but cloistering himself in his home for near-lack of essential mobility. Yet, once he turned things around, he appeared in the remaining 56 games of the season and kilned a 13-9-22 scoring transcript. Look at that in terms of a point-to-game ratio (.392 average) and only his 2005-06 campaign (.463) was more productive.

Truth be told, Pisani’s rousing diary will make for an iffy tossup with that of Blake, who was diagnosed with leukemia on October 8, yet suited up the next night against Carolina and proceeded to log participation credit in all 82 games whilst receiving treatment. But –and not to get too Pee-Wee-Parents’-Newsletter about this- Masterton nomination really is one of those everyone’s-a-winner entities.

· Now that he’s finally a definitive winner on the Frozen Four front –after being twice denied- Nathan Gerbe has officially cut ties with Boston College, relinquishing his senior year in favor of a reported 3-year deal with the Sabres worth up to $850,000 per season.

Naturally, a gale of relief ought to be drifting everywhere outside of Conte Forum, particularly the eight institutions whose clubs choked down a portion of his peaking 22 points in the nine-game stretch drive, PC included. Provided the immortal –still occasionally debated- March 15 penalty shot didn’t leave a deep enough scar, rest assured goaltender Ryan Simpson won’t be object of a revived Nike “Couldn’t stop him!” ad campaign.

Under that radar, BU goaltender Brett Bennett –who endured his own Gerbe albatross in the form of a Beanpot equalizer and overtime strike February 4- simultaneously announced his deal with the Phoenix Coyotes. He thus erases his final two allotted years with the Terriers and leaves Professor Parker with a grand total of 2 games worth of experience in his goalie guild for next season. That club will consist of rising sophomore Adam Kraus and newcomers Kieran Millan and Grant Rollheiser.

· Last weekend’s awards banquet confirmed that rising senior Kyle Laughlin will retain his co-captaincy for Friar Puck, sharing that duty with soon-to-be-junior John Cavanagh. Two-way connoisseur Matt Taormina and now two-time top defender Mark Fayne will each have the “A” stamped above their hearts for the 2008-09 season.

Meanwhile, up in Vermont on Friday, the Catamounts confirmed the renewed captaincy of Dean Strong, who will skate solo with the “C” with the assistance of Corey Carlson and Peter Lenes.

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