Morning Free Association: Everybody Loves Noelly

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Well, last nights’s game was postponed. It might have had something to do with this.

It’s just a little floody.

While we wait for the next game on Saturday against Carolina, here are some things about one of my favorite players and yours, Noel Acciari. Mark Divver of the Providence Journal (ProJo for the Rhode Island peeps) has been covering all things hockey in Rhode Island forever, or some similar timeframe. Part of his beat is covering the Providence College Friars hockey team. You know them, they won the NCAA Championship in 2015 with Noel Acciari as co-captain. Well, as it turns out, his contributions to the team were not just limited to his time there- his former coach uses video of his play to teach the current team how to play Friars Hockey. Oh, and we learned that his nickname was “Noelly”. I wonder if that’s carried on to Boston.

Everyone knows Noel Acciari was a heart-and-soul contributor to Providence College’s 2015 NCAA championship, but he’s doing his part for the Friars this season, too.

Coach Nate Leaman this week showed his players video of the Boston Bruins winger – who is having a terrific season along with linemates ex-Friar Tim Schaller and Sean Kuraly — to reinforce how he wants PC to play.

Acciari’s recent goal against Washington caught Leaman’s eye.

“He takes the puck to the net hard, stays on the rebound and scores. That’s Friar hockey,″ Leaman said after his team’s 5-0 win over Brown in the Mayor’s Cup.

A week before Christmas, with the Bruins holding a late 1-0 lead in Buffalo, Acciari sacrificed his body to block a slapshot in the Boston end, leading to an empty-net goal for Schaller.

“That’s why Noelly’s out there. He’ll do that stuff,″ said Leaman.

The video work paid off against Brown. “One of our guys blocks a shot with 30 seconds to go in the game. We’re up 5-0, but it’s how we play the game. To me, that’s got to be in your DNA if you want to be a championship caliber team. It was something that in the first half hasn’t been in our DNA,″ Leaman said.

One of the more remarkable NHL stats to this point in the season is that Acciari has zero penalty minutes even though he’s one of the hardest hitters in the league.

Acciari is a great example for any player. He knows only one way – all out. And that’s why every coach he’s ever played for — from Jim Creamer at Hendricken to Bruce Cassidy in Boston — loves him.

Yeah, anyone who likes hockey pretty much loves his style – clean hard hits, defensive responsibility, and hustle. Since the season opener, I’ve cringed a little when I see him block a shot since he missed 6 weeks with a broken finger but I love that as a player he’s willing to do that.

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