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Top Stories of 2012, No. 8: Bruins ousted in first round of playoffs by Capitals 12.26.12 at 8:42 am ET
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Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 8: the Bruins’ first-round exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year

Capitals forward Mike Knuble celebrates teammate Joel Ward's overtime goal that eliminated the Bruins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. (AP)

Coming off a Stanley Cup season, the Bruins looked poised to make another run deep into the playoffs in 2012. However, they were dismissed in shocking fashion with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

One goal decided the series, and it was Joel Ward‘s overtime goal that decided Game 7. The Caps outscored the B’s 16-15 in the series. Four of the seven games were decided in overtime.

“It was a long year,” B’s defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said after the Game 7 loss. “We had a few ups and downs, longer ups than downs. At the end, we came out of it strong and we seemed to find our rhythm going into the playoffs. But then again, we didn’t play our best hockey in this series. They played us well. It was tough.

“It’s definitely a weird feeling. It’s an empty feeling. You’re wondering what’s going to happen. You don’t really realize it’s over. It’s summer now. It’s going to be a long summer. A couple of bounces here or there, it could’ve gone the other way. You always have to look at it from a different perspective. The next couple of days, it’s going to sink in, probably.”

The Bruins had 49 wins in the regular season, three more than they had during their Stanley Cup season. The Bruins put up an impressive 102 points despite the “Stanley Cup hangover” that contributed to their slow start and grabbed the second seed.

On the other side of the ice, the Capitals finished with 42 wins and 92 points. They made an early coaching change, firing Bruce Boudreau following eight losses in 11 games while the Capitals sat at 12-9-1, tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference. Dale Hunter, a former Capitals enforcer, took over and led the team to 30 wins. The Caps won eight of their last 14 games, including two shootout wins (one against the Bruins) in their final three games.

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Read More: 2012 Stories of the Year, Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, bruins
Live Chat: Question and answer with WEEI program director Jason Wolfe 07.27.12 at 8:18 am ET
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Jason Wolfe, the program director for WEEI, will be conducting the first of what will be a weekly live chat, answering questions on a wide variety of topics. Come join the conversation, which is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Friday:

Read More: bruins, celtics, Jason Wolfe, patriots
LEEInks List: Boston athletes who have fallen from grace 07.08.11 at 7:50 am ET
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Former Red Sox star Roger Clemens leaves federal court in Washington, D.C., Thursday after jury selection for his trial. (AP)

Remember when Roger Clemens was on top of the Boston sports world? With the Rocket’s perjury case in progress, those days have never felt further away. Whether it’s because of contract disputes, trouble with the law, or locker room drama, plenty of former Beantown sports heroes have fallen out of favor over the past few years. We’ve got 10 that take the cake.

10. Nomar Garciaparra

If you were a Red Sox fan from 1997 to 2004, chances are you had at least one article of clothing with the number five on it. After winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1997, Nomar quickly became the undisputed face of Fenway Park. With two batting titles and five All-Star selections, he was grouped with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez as the three most exciting short stops in the league. Garciaparra seemed destined to play out his career in Boston, and perhaps help the Red Sox finally break the curse of the Bambino.

However, when TV cameras caught him sulking in the dugout while sitting out of a 2004 classic against the Yankees (when Jeter dove headfirst into the stands), Red Sox fans did not react well. That incident, combined with general manager Theo Epstein‘s desire for improved defense, led to the shocking trade. Garciaparra had to look on from Chicago as the Red Sox won it all without him with the help of Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz. Still, Nomar can expect a much better reception in Boston than most of the athletes on this list, especially because a one-day contract allowed him to retire as a member of the Red Sox.

9. Joe Thornton

Thornton entered the NHL with Boston in 1997 and led the team in scoring for several years, but it was never enough to get the Bruins to the next level. The center faltered under intense scrutiny, especially in the postseason and during his time as captain. After being traded to the Sharks in 2005 for Marco Sturm, Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau, Thornton won the Hart Trophy, making him the only player ever to be named MVP in the same season he was traded.

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Read More: bruins, celtics, leeinks list, patriots
Boston’s most frustrating losses of 2010 05.19.10 at 7:37 am ET
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Jonathan Papelbon's implosion Monday night is only one of many sour moments for Boston sports teams this season. (AP)

Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon's implosion Monday night at Yankee Stadium is only one of many sour moments for Boston sports teams this year. (AP)

Although 2010 is less than half over, Boston sports fans have dealt with their fair share of tough losses already. With all the success the local teams have had the past decade, a sense of entitlement has permeated the Hub. We are no longer used to historic collapses and unfulfilled expectations. However, teams and players that have enjoyed copious amounts of success have hit more than a few road bumps recently.

The year is still young and we have a lot of things to look forward to, but so far the new year has been anything but nice to New England sports fans. Although they may be tough to digest, here are 10 of the worst moments from our Boston sports teams in 2010:

10. March 10: Grizzlies 111, Celtics 91

As the fans were relentlessly booing the Green at halftime, there was a real sense that maybe this Celtics team is too old and too slow to win another championship. The Big Three are two years creakier and older than during the 2008 title run, and after the C’s were annihilated by a team led by young stars Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo and surrendering 111 points, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was left searching for answers. The devoted fan base began filing out of TD Garden midway through the fourth quarter, as the Celtics looked incapable of keeping up against a younger, fresher team.

9. May 15: Tigers 7, Red Sox 6 (12 innings)

Jon Lester pitched tremendously for the Red Sox, who were looking to build a winning streak and begin closing the gap on the Rays and Yankees in the AL East. The bullpen, which had been shaky to this point, could not hold a 6-1 lead, with Hideki Okajima surrendering two runs in the eighth and Ramon Ramirez ultimately walking in the winning run in the 12th inning. As maybe a sign of things to come, the Sox offense, which was labeled as the weak link on the team heading into the season, came through while the pitching staff again faltered late.

8. Jan. 31: Lakers 90, Celtics 89

After the Lakers opened up an early 13-point lead with the inside dominance of Andrew Bynum, the Celtics flipped the script on LA and headed into halftime leading 52-47. Things only got better in the third quarter as Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo sprinted and darted their way to an 81-70 Celtics lead with only nine minutes to play. However, things progressively got worse from there as Boston’s Big Three played miserably in the fourth, allowing an 11-point lead to slip away, and the Lakers capped off the comeback when Kobe Bryant hit the game-winning jumper with 7.3 seconds remaining.

7. April 16-17: Rays 3, Red Sox 1

With mother nature stopping Friday night’s game prematurely in the ninth with the score tied at 1, the Sox and Rays were forced to finish their game the following day, then play the scheduled game afterward. The Red Sox had the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 11th inning but failed to score, as David Ortiz grounded into a fielder’s choice at home and Adrian Beltre hit into a double play. In the 12th, Manny Delcarmen allowed a two-run home run to Rays designated hitter Pat Burrell, who began the day hitting just .185 with no homers or RBI. The Rays would go on to sweep the four-game series, solidifying themselves as the best team in the division, while at the same time making Red Sox Nation a little worried. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bruins, celtics, patriots, red sox
Fred Cusick – There will never be another. 09.16.09 at 9:27 am ET
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Cusick passed away Tuesday afternoon, just before he was scheduled to be inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame on Wednesday night. He will now be inducted posthumously. Below is an example of Cusick’s brilliance as he bids farewell to the old Boston Garden:

Read More: Boston Garden, bruins, Fred Cusick,