---- — BOYCHUK’S PATH TO NHL
Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk recently told The Eagle-Tribune that he would wonder whether he would ever get his shot in the NHL while playing for six years and 374 games in the AHL.
The 29-year-old played just five NHL games before his 25th birthday and wasn’t given a real shot in the NHL until approximately three months before his 26th birthday.
His fellow Bruins defenseman got their shots at much earlier ages. Zdeno Chara played 297 NHL games before turning 25. Andrew Ference played 244 NHL games before his 25th birthday. Aaron Johnson played 146 NHL games before turning 25. Dennis Seidenberg played 126 NHL games before age 25. Adam McQuaid played 88 NHL games before turning 25. And Dougie Hamilton is a rookie at 19 years old.
WORKING UNDER RADAR
The Red Sox have several promising minor league pitchers (Matt Barnes, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa) who I featured in The Eagle-Tribune this winter.
One pitcher who didn’t receive any ink is Brandon Workman who the organization named its minor league Pitcher of the Year for 2012.
Workman, 24, combined to go 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 25 starts between High-A Salem and Double A-Portland.
“He’s going to attack you with his fastball, that’s his pitch,” teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. recently said. “That’s his pitch. He likes to establish his fastball and he’s a workhorse. His name Workman — he works. That’s how I really feel when he’s on the mound. It’s quick. He’s going to get out there and try to get it done as quick as he can and give his team an opportunity to put some runs on the board for him.”
MELLO SISTERS RULE
Congrats to North Andover girls basketball which on Saturday played in its first Division 2 North final in 21 years.
Morgan Lumb’s return to the lineup in February from a high ankle sprain was definitely the biggest reason the Scarlet Knights earned a spot in the finals. She had a terrific high school career and will play at Hartford next year.
But the Mello sisters also were terrific during parts of the Scarlet Knights’ playoff run, which ended in Saturday’s championship with a 50-33 loss to powerhouse Reading.
Michaela Mello, a senior, was huge in North Andover’s semifinal win over Belmont, scoring 14 points in the second half. She does not plan to play varsity basketball in college.
“I might do club or intramural but I want to go to a big D-1 school,” said Mello, whose top choices include UConn, UMass and the University of South Carolina.
Mello’s sister, junior Mackenzie Mello, provided both strong offense and defense down the stretch and will be an important part to the team’s success next year.
Red Sox assistant-GM Brian O’Halloran has an interesting past.
He is a Weymouth, Mass. native — same as me — and the same place where former Red Sox media relations director and current senior director of public affairs Pam Ganley lives.
But more interestingly, according to his bio in the 2013 Red Sox media guide, “before working in baseball, he spent two years in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia studying ethnic conflict and three years in Moscow, Russia supervising business operations for an international logistics company. O’Halloran is fluent in Russian and Georgian.”
He received his bachelor’s degree from Colby College and an MBA from UCLA.
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