UMaine changes, Bruins’ comeback, Celtics’ exodus highlight a busy half year of sports news

I’m not sure what happened when the clock struck midnight back on Jan. 1, 2013 but I do know one thing – as we reach the halfway mark of this calendar year I can say it has been one of heck of a sports-news year so far!

Think about the sports stories from here to Boston, from January to July…

– The UMaine hockey story: The constant talk of what to do about the coach. It ended with Tim Whitehead being let go and Red Gendron being hired.

– The UMaine women’s basketball team: That terrible bus accident on the way to BU and then pulling out of conference playoffs.

– The seemingly steady stream of UMaine men’s players skipping out on Orono.

– The final high school tournament at Bangor Auditorium…and now as we hit July, the ole barn is gone and the shiny Cross Center stands tall.

– The magic moments of tourney time ’13…Tony Hamlin’s last night at the old place, Nick Gilpin’s buzzer beater shot in Augusta, the Bangor girls playing for gold for the first time in three decades.

– Bob Reasso gone as Husson University AD and it looks like UMaine’s Steve Abbott is next.

– The Boston Marathon bombings.

– The response to the Boston Marathon bombings.

– The Fenway Park sellout streak ended. The Sox may very well be in first place on the 4th.

– Ed Flaherty and his USM Huskies baseball team makes a run at the national title, finishing as runner-up.

– Speaking of runs…the Boston Bruins run to the Stanley Cup finals. From Toronto game-7 comeback to the last minute Chicago game-6, man that was a run!

– Patrice Bergeron.

– What? The Patriots signed Tim Tebow?

– The Patriots dump Aaron Hernandez.

– First Doc Rivers. Then KG and Pierce. Maybe Rondo. The Celtics go belly-up right in front of our eyes.

– The Portland Sea Dogs have the future of the Red Sox in their hands with Bogaerts, Ranaudo, Barnes, Workman, Britton et al.

– All of the Maine connections to coaching ranks in the NBA/NHL….John Tortorella, Jack Capuano, Steve Clifford, Jim Boylen, Rick Carlise and maybe Brett Brown.

– Can we handle the next six months of 2013 sports?

ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:

– 40 Games/ 39.1 Innings/ 0.92 ERA/ 43 K’s/ 4 BB/ 2 Saves/ 2 Wins…Reliever Mark Melancon of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Why can’t the Red Sox get pitchers like this?

– Speaking of the Pirates, Portland’s Ryan Reid is doing just fine since getting called up from Triple-A…6 Games/ 9 Innings/ 1.00 ERA/ 1 Save.

– John Farrell and Brian Butterfield will never admit it but they want to beat the brains out of the Toronto Blue Jays. Farrell is treated like a villain for coming back to Boston. The Jays passed over Butterfield twice when picking a manager.

– Every year about this time I hear a lot of folks poo-pooing Little League’s pitch count rules… yet every MLB game I watch, I see the starting pitcher is on a pitch count — right? When he reaches a certain amount, he’s out of the game.

– Among the NHL free agents out there….former UMaine Black Bears Dustin Penner, Mike Lundin, Tanner House and Brett Clark.

– Hey Peter Chiarelli – two free agents out there…Tim Thomas and Matt Cooke. What do you think?

– D.H.Lee flips off the crowd at the PGA tournament, Jessica Korda fires her caddy in the middle of the third round the the US Open Women’s Championship? What going on out there on the golf course?

– I just voted for the ESPY Award for “Best Game”:  the choices were Heat vs Spurs game 6,  Ravens vs Broncos AFC Division game,  Bruins vs Toronto game 7…guess which one I voted for?