In a page out of the Opinion pages of the Sun Journal, I offer my first edition of “Cheers and Jeers,” In-the-Crease-style:
• First of all, a hearty cheers to Scott Rousseau. For more than a decade, Rousseau, a native son of the Lewiston/Auburn community and a friend of hockey region-wide, has been the head varsity ice hockey coach at Falmouth. Under his guidance, the program rose from a mediocre Class B program to a contending Class A program, competing with programs at schools twice the size of the suburban Portland campus.
This week, one of the longest-tenured hockey coaches in the state, announced he is stepping away from the game to concentrate more on his family.
“I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old,” Rousseau said Thursday. My wife just got a job that’s going to require her to be out of the state and out of the country, and I want to spend more time with them.”
That’s called having your priorities in the right place.
Early-morning practices, followed by afternoon practices, in addition to his duties as a landlord, property-owner and store owner already eat up a lot of Rousseau’s time. In addition to coaching, he was also a leader with the Maine Class A High School Hockey Coaches’ Association, and helped to grow that organization into what it has become.
His teams at Falmouth, while never state champions, were always close to that goal. Never a season in the last decade went by when the Yachtsmen were not part of the conversation of the top teams in Maine, regardless of classification.
Knowing when to walk away is as much a part of being a good coach as winning and longevity. And in this case, Rousseau appears to have his priorities straight.
• Cheers to former Lewiston Maineiacs goaltender Jaroslav Halak. In his first playoff game of the season, Halak stopped 45 of 47 shots to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 overtime win over the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Canadiens, the No. 8 seed, held Alexander Ovechkin to no shots on net as the No. 2 Capitals struggled to put the puck past the stalwart keeper.
The Lewiston Maineiacs ought to be proud.
• Jeers to the Boston Celtics. Age will catch up to you in any endeavor. This will certainly be this organizations last kick at the can with its current lineup of aged superstars looking for one last shot at glory. The problem is, save for Rondo, there is a severe lack of talent to backfill the team with the impending departure/collapse of the past-their-prime, uh, “stars.”
• Jeers to the Red Sox. 8-0? Really?
• Cheers to the Bruins. Yes, they lost 2-1 in Game 1, but what a game, and what an effort. The players they had left to play against Buffalo all came to play, and the only reason for the loss was all-universe goalie Ryan Miller. That’s a tough wall to crack.