Canton Sports Guy: Farewell to Fan Favorite

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Some of you may remember me writing about 33-year-old Bobby Robins, who I had hoped would be the Bruins new “Shawn Thornton,” a tough as nails, grinder forward who wasn’t afraid to throw his weight around. Be it an open ice hit, throwing an opponent into the boards, or dropping the gloves to fight, Robins seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

Another aspect that excited me about Robins was that he is extremely accessible on social media, and also runs a blog, www.bobbyrobins.com. It wasn’t just the fact that it existed; Jeremy Roenick has an active Twitter profile and a website as well, but based on more than one personal account he seems to be, to put it nicely, kind of a jerk.

Bobby’s was something different. His writing held a special sort of honesty and openness that can only exist when someone is cataloging a journey toward their life’s dream. For Bobby it was simple, and the same dream that every kid who puts on skates has — to one day make it to the NHL. While Roenick was tweeting schoolyard insults at followers who dared question his arrogance, or say they supported Barack Obama, Robins was giving us an inside look at the road to the NHL; and before you get to the big leagues, it’s not all glitz and glamour by any means.

After four years at UMass Lowell, Robins bounced around various teams and leagues, including stints overseas with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland) of the EIHL and HK Acroni Jesenice (Slovenia) of the EBEL. Finally, in 2011, Robins signed with the Providence Bruins, making his return to the AHL, and just one step below the coveted NHL.

Playing nearly 200 games for the P-Bruins, Robins became an instant fan favorite. He played hard. He hit hard. He just seemed like that guy with a dream we all knew growing up, and he was finally going to make it. Last year, Robins was called up to the Boston Bruins and made the opening night roster against Philadelphia.

After an explosive fight with the Flyer’s Luke Schenn, Robins would only last two more games with the Bruins before getting sent back down to Providence. At some point during those three games, Robins was hit in the head. It was either a blow from Schenn, or a hard hit the next night in Detroit, and symptoms of a concussion had started showing.

It’s been a long road of diagnosis, recovery, and “rinse and repeat” doctor visits since then. Because of the nature of these types of injuries, Robins has made a difficult decision as a player, but an easy one as a father and husband — he has retired from professional hockey.

Hopefully this is not the last we hear from Robins — he is a talented writer and has not ruled out a career as a sportscaster/blogger/podcaster. For now, he plans on enjoying his health and spending time with his family. I wish we could see more from Robins on the ice — he really was one of those players that could turn the momentum of a game with a single hit. However, in the end, he did it. His goal was to play in the National Hockey League. It took over 10 years and eight different clubs before he got there, but he got there. Congratulations Bobby Robins, and good luck in all your future endeavors.

Congratulations are also in order for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team, who earlier this month won their third World Cup and first in 16 years. The USA team was jumpstarted by Carli Lloyd’s first half hat trick, with two of those goals coming in the first five minutes.

Mostly American fans were in the stands — the game was in Vancouver — as the USA stunned Japan with the 5-2 thrashing. That score made it the highest scoring final in Women’s World Cup history and tied the men’s record set in 1958.

Remember when Sepp Blatter said that women’s soccer would garner more attention if they wore “skimpier uniforms?” Well, he couldn’t be at the game himself, citing the ambiguous excuse of “personal reasons,” but perhaps he was among the over 22 million people who tuned in via television or online, making the game the most watched soccer game on a single network of all time.

The MLB did their expected audit of All Star Game votes, which Kansas City Royals fans had managed to doctor by ballot stuffing. An estimated 60-65 million votes were deemed ineligible, and Kansas City ended up with three starters on the roster: right fielder Lorenzo Cain, catcher Salvador Perez, and shortstop Alcides Escobar. (A fourth Royals starter, Alex Gordon, had to miss the game due to injury.) The American League won the game 6-3 and will now have home field advantage for the World Series.

Mike Trout won his second MLB All Star Game MVP in a row, but it was the trophy presentation that seemed to garner the most buzz. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was holding the commemorative bat trophy horizontally while being interviewed by Erin Andrews, and the end of it kept bumping her in a … sensitive area. I won’t go into any more detail, as this is a family article, but the cringe-worthy clip is easily searchable online.

That’s all for this week. I hope everyone had a great 4th of July and is enjoying the remaining weeks of summer. Before you know it, the fall will be here. No more nice weather, but we get hockey, basketball, and football back. An even trade if you ask me.

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