Tagged: Boston Bruins

Cleaning out Super Bowl XLIX notebook

From: ESPN Boston

Super Bowl 49 logo

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels called receiver Julian Edelman “one of the toughest players I’ve ever had a chance to coach.” Added receiver Danny Amendola, “He’s the toughest player I’ve ever played with; a warrior.” Receiver Brandon LaFell said of Edelman, “He’s one of the hardest working guys I’ve ever been around, right next to Steve Smith.”

Belichick was pretty witty after the game when asked if he’s ever seen a catch like the 33-yarder that Jermaine Kearse made on his back. “Yeah,” he responded. “I’ve seen two of them.” Of course, he was referring to David Tyree’s on-his-helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII.

Defensive end Chandler Jones‘ initial reaction to Malcolm Butler‘s interception? “I immediately started crying right there on the field,” he said.

The Patriots are the first team in Super Bowl history to trail by 10-plus points during the second half and win the game. Teams trailing by 10 or more points entering the fourth quarter had been 0-29 in Super Bowl play.

What was Belichick doing the morning of the game? Still watching film of the Seahawks, of course. Specifically, he said he was watching Seattle’s 27-24 win over the Buccaneers from last season. The Seahawks had trailed 21-0 in that game before roaring back. This is another reminder to the level of detail that coaches take when preparing for a game.

Tom Brady‘s 37 completions were a Super Bowl record, passing Peyton Manning‘s 34 from last season.

The Patriots are the youngest team to ever win a Super Bowl, with an average age of 25.2 years.

Vereen’s 11 receptions tied a Patriots’ postseason record (Deion Branch in Super Bowl XXXIX and Wes Welker in Super Bowl XLII).

Asked about undrafted rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler, Belichick reflected on how he first came to the team. “He was a rookie tryout guy. We had already had our draft. We had already signed our free agents after the draft [so] he was part of what we like t call, ‘the few, the proud, the free.’ He came in and did a great job in that rookie minicamp [and] we created a roster spot by juggling some other guys around, signed him, and he had a good training camp. That’s a big jump from West Alabama to the NFL but Malcolm competes hard.”

LaFell on Brady: “I feel like when we’ve got Tom with the ball in his hands, we always have a chance. When you’re nervous, you look over there at Tom and he’s just all calm. It’s like, ‘If he’s this calm, we’re going to win this game.'”

Playing Catch Up…

A few days taken for a family emergency… but nothing too exciting had been missed, in Red Sox Nation anyway.

The Patriots won 23-20 over the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game:  The Patriots advance to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis on Feb. 5.  It will be the team’s fifth Super Bowl appearance in Bill Belichick’s tenure as coach (2000-present) and is the Patriots’ seventh Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.  Tom Brady and Bill Belichick become the first starting quarterback/head coach combination to advance to five Super Bowls.  For Brady, he ties his boyhood idol, Joe Montana, with his  16th career postseason win as a starting quarterback.

Just a ‘Classic’ game.  At one point, Brady’s emotions showed as he was jawing with Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis after the quarterback scored on fourth down goal-line drive in the fourth quarter, a play in which he took a big hit from Lewis.  The Ravens had a chance to win with 22 seconds left when Lee Evans dropped a touchdown pass. Then, after cornerback Sterling Moore deflected a pass on third down, Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal wide left that would have tied the game. A breath-taking ending.

The Red Sox signed free agent outfielder Cody Ross to a one-year deal worth about $3 million:  Boston had maintained an interest in Ross throughout the signing season, but pounced after his asking price dropped significantly (initially, he was seeking a three-year deal) and after left fielder Carl Crawford underwent surgery last week to address an arthritic condition in his left wrist.   The signing followed the Sox’ trading of infielder Marco Scutaro and his $6 million salary to the Rockies, which freed up the money they privately said they needed to have before making additional upgrades.   Even before Crawford’s injury, the Sox had maintained a healthy interest in Ross, who has hit left-handed pitchers well, with a career .912 OPS, even though his 2011 season could be considered a slight disappointment.  Ross, 31, is a .261 career hitter with 100 homers in eight seasons with Detroit, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cincinnati, Florida and San Francisco.

Right-hander Scott Atchison was designated for assignment to create space for Ross on the team’s 40-man roster.

The Sox are still interested in adding another starter to the mix at the right price.  Roy Oswalt remains their No. 1 target, though a team source acknowledged fears that Oswalt would prefer to pitch for either the Rangers or Cardinals (the free-agent turned down an offer from Detroit).  If they do not succeed in signing Oswalt, to whom they have made an offer (supposedly for $5 Million), a team source said Wednesday night, they most likely will shift their focus to trying to swing a deal with the Chicago White Sox for right-hander Gavin Floyd, with free agent pitcher Edwin Jackson a long-shot option at this stage.

The Sox also are thin at shortstop after dealing Scutaro, with veterans Nick Punto and Mike Aviles and rookie Jose Iglesias their only options at this time. The Sox have indicated they do not want to rush the 22-year-old Iglesias, who has fewer than 700 professional at-bats, and with neither Punto and Aviles the answer on an everyday basis, the Sox are expected to seek more help there. Punto is the better glove of the two, Aviles a better bat.  At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be much shortstop help available. Even the soon-to-be 45-year-olds have signed, Omar Vizquel coming to terms Monday with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Clay Mortensen, received from Colorado in the Scutaro trade, will compete for a spot in the bullpen, but more likely will open the season in Pawtucket.  Don’t look now, but the Sox have the makings of a potentially strong bullpen, especially if Franklin Morales and Andrew Miller can click from the left side.  If the Sox succeed in acquiring another starting pitcher and elect to return Alfredo Aceves to the pen, on paper they look strong with Andrew Bailey closing and Mark Melancon sharing setup.  If Bobby Jenks can be healthy and Matt Albers proves he just ran out of gas last season, the Sox pen has a chance to be strong and deep.  If.. If.. If…

With Jorge Posada announcing his retirement Tuesday after 17 seasons with the Yankees, it would appear to be a matter of time before we hear similar announcements from Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek.  Wakefield’s agent, Barry Meister, said the 45-year-old knuckleballer just returned from a vacation in Mexico, and that he hasn’t had substantive conversations with him in about 10 days.  He acknowledged that while there have been inquiries from other teams, there’s nothing in the works.  As Bobby Valentine noted the other day, it’s inconceivable that Wakefield would accept a minor-league offer from the Red Sox.  Varitek turns 40 just after Opening Day and got married in the offseason. No word from the player or his agents on Varitek’s plans, but the signing of Kelly Shoppach virtually closed the door on a return to Boston, and while Varitek last spring expressed a desire to play for as long as he can, he may have reached the endgame.

Tim Thomas Skipped the White House:  Boston Bruins president Cam Neely admitted Tuesday that he would have liked goaltender and Stanley Cup MVP Tim Thomas to be with the team when they visited the White House on Monday, but that Thomas “felt very strongly about not going” so the team respected his wishes.  He said the team didn’t make the event mandatory because “we didn’t think it would be an issue.”  Neely said he doesn’t expect the controversy to adversely affect the Bruins’ chemistry, pointing out with a laugh that not a lot of political discourse occurs in an NHL locker room.

Thomas explained Monday night in a Facebook page posting that he skipped the White House event due his disappointment in the federal government. His post read:

“I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.
This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.
Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.
This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT”

Later Monday night, Neely released this Bruins statement:
“As an organization we were honored by President Obama’s invitation to the White House. It was a great day and a perfect way to cap our team’s achievement from last season. It was a day that none of us will soon forget. We are disappointed that Tim chose not to join us, and his views certainly do not reflect those of the Jacobs family or the Bruins organization. This will be the last public comment from the Bruins organization on this subject.”

Of course, Timmy ‘The Tank’ is not alone.  Theo Epstein, who had made a campaign appearance on behalf of John Kerry, was not on the stage when President Bush honored the team in 2005, choosing to sit in the front row of the audience next to Stacy Lucchino, wife of the Sox CEO.  The reason, he said, was because he wanted attention focused on those most deserving.  Epstein was with the group of players who subsequently visited wounded vets at the Walter Reed Medical Center.  Bush was still in office when the Sox won again in 2007.  Epstein did not attend the ’08 ceremony, citing “family reasons,” and his absence barely registered.  It was overshadowed by the no-show by Manny Ramirez, whose absence from the stage was noted by the President himself.

 

And then of course… there’s this:

Prince Fielder stood with a smile and recalled his earliest memories of old Tiger Stadium, when he would hang out at the ballpark where his father hit so many massive home runs.  “For me, it was always Sparky saying I was going to pinch hit—and I really believed him,”  Fielder said, referring to former manager Sparky Anderson. “I’m just glad I get to come back.”  The Tigers introduced Fielder on Thursday after finalizing a $214 million, nine-year contract with the free agent first baseman, who is expected to hit a lot more home runs than his dad.  Detroit plays at Cecil Fielder (45) played for the Tigers from 1990 to 1996. His son, Prince (with ball), will follow in his footsteps after reportedly signing a nine-year $214 million contract with Detroit.Comerica Park now, and times have changed. Jim Leyland manages the Tigers, not Sparky Anderson.

Fielder was born in 1984, the last time Detroit won the World Series.  After luring him back to Michigan with the fourth-largest deal in baseball history, the Tigers are hoping Fielder will help usher in a new championship era for the Motor City.  “This is awesome, it’s kind of a dream come true. I’m excited.”  Detroit began seriously pursuing Fielder after designated hitter Victor Martinez tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during offseason conditioning.  Now the Tigers have three of baseball’s biggest stars—Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander—all in their primes. Detroit won the AL Central by 15 games last year but lost to Texas in the AL championship series.

It will be up to manager Jim Leyland to figure out where to play all of his powerful hitters. He said Thursday the Tigers will move Miguel Cabrera from first base to third to make room for Fielder. He also listed a possible batting order, with Cabrera hitting third and Fielder fourth.  It’s a lineup based on power, not speed.  That much is clear.  Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski indicated he’s satisfied with his roster heading into spring training, although it’s hard to rule out any more moves after the Tigers shockingly emerged with Fielder.  The pitching rotation is anchored by Verlander, who won the Cy Young Award and MVP last year, but Detroit’s fifth starter spot is still uncertain. Dombrowski said the Tigers could bring in some non-roster invitees to compete for that job.  “I think positional player-wise, we’re pretty well set,” he said.

Fielder’s father Cecil became a big league star when he returned to the majors from Japan and hit 51 home runs with Detroit in 1990.  Cecil played with the Tigers into the 1996 season, and young Prince made a name for himself with his prodigious power displays during batting practice at Tiger Stadium.

“Hotel California”…

… by the Eagles is one of my favorite songs (and one of the best songs in American songwriting history) and what I felt would be a fairly good transition into the troublesome world of the Oakland Athletics.

The A’s, or the Montreal Expos West Coast, just finished one of the semi-annual fire sales.  Chances are, should they still be in Oakland in two to three years, they’ll be holding another one.  Don’t get me wrong, these sales are great for baseball.  It gives other teams a chance to trade prospects for what are usually great young arms and keep one of baseball’s historic (yes, historic) and once proud franchises in the basement.

Lets take a brief look at the past…

The history of the Athletics Major League Baseball franchise spans the period from 1901 to the present day, having begun in Philadelphia before moving to Kansas City in 1955 and then to its current home in Oakland, California in 1968.

The “Athletics” name originates from the late 19th century “athletic clubs”, specifically the Philadelphia Athletics baseball club. They are most prominently nicknamed “the A’s”, in reference to the Gothic script “A”, a trademark of the team and the old Athletics of Philadelphia. This has gained very prominent use, and in some circles is used more frequently than the full “Athletics” name.  They are also known as “the White Elephants” or simply “the Elephants”, in reference to then New York Giants manager John McGraw calling the team a “white elephant”.  This was embraced by the team, who then made a white elephant the team’s mascot, and often incorporated it into the logo or sleeve patches. The typical Philadelphia uniform had only a script “A” on the left front, and likewise the cap usually had the same “A” on it. In the early days of the American League, the standings listed the club as “Athletic” rather than “Philadelphia”, in keeping with the old tradition. Eventually, the city name came to be used for the team, as with the other major league clubs.  After buying the team in 1960, owner Charles O. Finley introduced new road uniforms with “Kansas City” printed on them, as well as an interlocking “KC” on the cap. Also while in Kansas City, Finley changed the team’s colors from their traditional red, white and blue to what he termed “Kelly Green, Wedding Gown White and Fort Knox Gold.” It was also here that he began experimenting with dramatic uniforms to match these bright colors, such as gold sleeveless tops with green undershirts and gold pants.  Upon moving to Oakland, the “A” cap emblem was restored, although in 1970 an “apostrophe-s” was added to the cap and uniform emblem to reflect the fact that Finley was in the process of officially changing the team’s name to the “A’s.”  The innovative uniforms only increased after the team’s move to Oakland, which also came at the time of the introduction of polyester pullover uniforms.  During the team’s 1970s heyday, management often referred to the team as The Swingin’ A’s, referencing both their prodigious power and to connect the team with the growing disco culture.  During their Oakland Athletics updated logodynasty years in the 1970s, the A’s had dozens of uniform combinations with jerseys and pants in all three team colors, and in fact did not wear the traditional gray on the road, instead wearing green or gold, which helped to contribute to their nickname of “The Swingin’ A’s.”  After the team’s sale to the Haas family, the team changed its primary color to a more subdued forest green and began a move back to more traditional uniforms.  New owner Walter Haas restored the official name to “Athletics” in 1981, but retained the nickname “A’s” for marketing purposes.

The A’s are the only MLB team to wear white cleats, both at home and on the road, another tradition dating back to the Finley ownership.

One of the American League’s eight charter franchises, the club was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniaia, in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics.  The team had some prominent success in Philadelphia, winning three of four World Series from 1910 to 1914 (the “First Dynasty”) and two in a row in 1929 and 1930 (the “Second Dynasty”). The team’s owner and manager for its first 50 years was Connie Mack, and its Hall-of-Fame players included Chief Bender, Frank “Home Run” Baker, Jimmie Foxx and Lefty Grove.  After two decades of decline, however, the team left Philadelphia for Kansas City in 1955 and became the Kansas City Athletics.

After 13 mostly uneventful seasons in the Midwest, the team moved to Oakland in 1968.  There a “Third Dynasty” soon emerged, with three World Championships in a row from 1972 to 1974 led by players including Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, and colorful owner Charlie O. Finley.  Finally, a “Fourth Dynasty” won three consecutive pennants and the 1989 World Series behind the ‘Bash Brothers’ of Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley.

Since the mid 2000s the A’s have been in talks with Oakland and other Northern California cities about building a new baseball-only stadium. The planned stadium, Cisco Field, was originally intended to be built in Fremont, California (a location that has since been abandoned), and there were talks about it remaining in Oakland, and current talks about building it in San Jose.

As of February 26, 2009 the city of San Jose was expected to open negotiations with the team.  Although parcels of land south of Diridon Station are being acquired by the city as a stadium site, the San Francisco Giants’ claim on Santa Clara County as part of their home territory would have to be dealt with before any agreement could be made.  By August 2010, San Jose was “aggressively wooing” A’s owner Lew Wolff.  Wolff referred to San Jose as the team’s “best option”, but Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said he would wait on a report on whether the team could move to the area because of the Giants conflict.  In September 2010, 75 Silicon Valley CEOs drafted and signed a letter to Bud Selig urging a timely approval of the move to San Jose.  In May 2011 San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed sent a letter to Bud Selig asking the commissioner for a timetable of when he might decide whether the A’s can pursue this new ballpark, but Selig did not respond.  Selig addressed the San Jose issue via an online town hall forum held in July, saying, “Well, the latest is, I have a small committee who has really assessed that whole situation, Oakland, San Francisco, and it is complex. You talk about complex situations; they have done a terrific job. I know there are some people who think it’s taken too long and I understand that. I’m willing to accept that. But you make decisions like this; I’ve always said, you’d better be careful. Better to get it done right than to get it done fast. But we’ll make a decision that’s based on logic and reason at the proper time.”

Well, the proper time is most likely sooner rather than later.

Commissioner Bud Selig, who was recently extended through 2014, has placed the A’s and their pursuit of a new stadium and a move to San Jose on the front burner.  The special committee Selig put together to examine the dilemma has delivered a “comprehensive” report but has yet to be presented to all 30 owners. Still, Selig says they’re “proceeding at a rather quick pace” and seemed to agree to the suggested analogy that if the stadium issue were a baserunner, he’d be on third base.   A’s owner Lew Wolff said he’s “delighted” to hear that Selig is prioritizing the situation and that MLB is moving toward a decision.

The Giants could fight back by supporting an anti-ballpark campaign in San Jose, where a special ballot referendum (partially financed by MLB) would need to pass, or perhaps even by persuading one of their sponsors to sue MLB (the Giants cannot sue MLB themselves). There’s also nothing preventing the Giants from filing a lawsuit against the city of San Jose itself.

The Giants’ territorial claim can be overturned by a 75 percent vote from MLB owners.

So, let’s look at it positively.  Selig cleans up the whole mess, makes the Giants happy and San Jose constructs a stadium.  Yay!  The A’s (who currently have the worst stadium deal in most any major sport) will finally have a much-needed revenue stream to go with all those first round draft picks.

My suggestion… The California Athletics.  Using the original and updated San Jose Sharks logos and looking at one-time Bruins Captain and #1 draft pick over-all Joe Thornton, we get some useful uniform and cap ideas.  The new version of the Sharks jersey uses Deep Pacific teal, black, burnt orange and white.  The Miami Marlins have, except for probably a throwback jersey or two, abandoned the teal shade as their primary color and it could easily transition west.  The burnt orange could be amended to a more golden hue, and kept as a background color, mix well with the darker hues of teal, black and finally white.  Taking cues from the Athletics’ past, they can create a great ‘new’ yet totally retro jersey color scheme for their jerseys and caps.  Something that recalls the history of the Philadelphia Athletics while easily reminding you of the Oakland A’s.   I’d imagine the only team with much of a complaint would be the Royals (The Royals of Kansas City who take their color cues from their predecessor Athletics), but even then, too bad.  Look at how many teams utilize the ever familiar red, while and blue… The Red Sox, Braves, Cardinals, Angels and Nationals.  After all, Baltimore and San Fransisco are practically twins (because when John McGraw left Baltimore for New York and the Giants, he took the familiar colors with him), yet easily separated.

The A’s are a proud and deserving franchise who, if the transition is done right, would definitely thrive in a new venue.  Think of it like an expansion franchise designed to contend pretty quickly.

In case you missed it…

And according to NBC, many folks are missing it… the Boston Bruins are 25-4-1 in their last 30 games.

Oh, sorry.  The defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins are 25-4-1 in their last 30 games.

Many folks in the sporting world may not be up to date on that information.  Why?  Because hockey is the retarded little brother of the sporting world.  At least that’s what we’re led to believe.  The NFL (who had a prolonged work stoppage in the off-season) is the #2 sport in the US… maybe #1-B depending on who you ask,  and appears on five networks, three of them national over the air, one national basic cable and one premium.  The NBA is the 3rd place winner in the US, however they’ve taken a hit due to their very publicly drawn-out labor-stoppage and show of penultimate greed in the negotiations.  They have also been promoted to most boring.  Parity in the NBA is a thing of the past as several teams now sport ‘Trios’ of super-friends and have deteriorated to the point where owners are fighting amognst themselves and the league.  Imagine a league composed of twenty or so Oakland A’s or Montreal Expos teams, a few Angels and Dodgers then four or five Yankees teams.  Yawn.  The NBA is shown on four networks, one National over the air (part-time), two national basic cable networks and one premium.  The NHL, up until the first of the year, was on every now and then.

Several years ago (after the NHL’s last work stoppage), ESPN (ABC) decided not to renew their broadcast rights and an upstart network known as Versus picked them up.  Versus, for all their hunting, fishing, alternative sport hype, did a good job of trying to showcase a game or so a week.  NBC then bought Versus and brought the NHL back to a major national network, on Saturday afternoon… joy.  However, if you tuned in, you usually saw Pittsburgh versus Washington… or the Penguins versus someone… or the Capitals versus someone.   To open the season, the Bruins appeared on both Versus and the NHL network several times and lost pretty much all of them.  “The Stanley Cup Hangover” was to blame.  Back to formula, Pittsburgh and Washington.  But, now that Versus has become the NBC Sports network, the NHL is in full glory.  NHL themed shows, up to four games a week and mention of life outside Pittsburgh, Washington, Detroit or Philly (Of course, oce Sid the Kid retuns ad Ovie gets back to form, that will change).

Yay!

And in that time, the defending champs have gone ‘all-world’.  After a horrid start, the B’s have come together, both emotionally and on the ice, and played the game that took them to the dance.  No finesse.  No pass for the sake of passing.  Just hit whoever stands before you and shoot.  Get it towards the middle.  Score.  During a ten game winning streak, the Bruins outscored their opponents by like a factor of five.  But try to find NHL updates on ESPN or some other sports network.  You had a better chance of finding out what new and improved waste of time LeBron and Kobe had come up with during the lockout.  The reversal of fortune for the Colts gets far more coverage than the reversal of fortune for the Habs (Montreal being the NHL’s NY Yankees).

Zdeno Chara #33 and Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins discuss strategy before a faceoff in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Montreal Canadiens during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 26, 2011 in Montreal, Canada.Now, should you actually find an outlet other than the NHL network to give you some insight on the comings and goings of the Cup champs, you may find out some interesting tidbits.  This year’s version of the Bruins is a younger squad on pace to outperform last years squad.  Patrice Bergeron (26), Milan Lucic (23), Nathan Horton (26), Rich Peverley (29), David Krejci (25) and the wonderfully troublesome Brad Marchand (23) are all under thirty and developing well while Tyler Seguin, at just 19 years of age, will be heading to his first All-Star game.  Tim Thomas, the All-Star Vezina winning Conn-Smythe touting goaltender leads the team at 37 years old.  Zdeno Chara, one of the best conditioned athletes in the league (and tallest at 6foot 9) is 34 years old and looks like a Ray Bourque in waiting.  With a great mix of young talent (Tukka Rask, Adam McQuaid, Johnny Boychuk, Daniel Paille, Benoit Poulliot, Gregory Campbell) and solid veterans (Andrew Ference, Shawn Thornton, Joe Corvo) this version of the Boston Bruins appears set to be a legitimate contender to repeat for the Stanley Cup Championship in 2012 and a perennial contender for several years to come.

By mixing their youth with the veteran approach of the ‘Big Bad Bruins’, this team could help make up for the short-comings of those early 1970’s teams who had an abundance of on-ice talent to win at will but let their youth and exuberance dictate the carefree off-ice personalities which squandered their short window of opportunity.   Their rough and tumble yet very successful style of play is constantly in question.  Vancouver (the 2011 Western Conference Champions a.k.a Stanley Cup losers) accuses the B’s of playing stupid while penultimate rival Montreal respects the Bruins play as rough yet styled and respectable.  Sounds about right either way.

Stay tuned… if you’re watching.

Thank You…

Just as many of us did back in 2004…

I Thank You not only for myself but for those who are no longer here to see it.

For my mother, Rose, who someone somewhere in Boston may remember as the very pregnant lady making her way through the Garden for many a game back during the ’76-’77 Season…. For lore of the Big Bad Bruins, Number Four and the tales of those legendary Cup temas in the 70’s and their post-game ‘celebrations’ at a few of the local establishments…. and the passion passed down to me through the thick of the late ’80’s and early ’90’s through the thin of an entire decade plus in the Fleetcenter

For those who are wondering, the New England Patriots now hold the longest championship drought in Boston, not having won a Super Bowl since 2004.

Sweet.

Finger on the button…

No, not that button.  The Red Sox are obviously doing fine.  In fact, many of them were sitting in a sports bar down in Florida (in deep preparation for their head-butting affair with the Rays of Tampa Bay) watching the subject of this post… the Boston Brown Bears.

With a very forceful and definite message sent (once again) to the Vancouver Canuckleheads, the B’s have forced the series back to Western Canada.  We’re going into Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals in a series where the home team has won every gamepress the button.

Game Seven.  The two most important words in all of Sport.  Aside from the venue, it’s an even match.  Both teams equally desperate and both teams needing to destroy the other in their quest for 60 minutes of perfection to be the absolute best of the 2010-2011 NHL Season.  It should be tight, physical and just damned ugly at times… as General Patton once said, “God help me, I do love it so.”  He was speaking of course on the subject of War.  As am I.

As they say, “The team that wants it more, wins.”

Either way.. win or lose… Tim Thomas should be named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner (Playoff MVP).

So please excuse us if the ratings on NESN drop Weds night… there just may not be much room for flipping between games.

Go Red Sox! And as the sign on Fenway Park  backstop reads… Good Luck Bruins.

Busy day… Busy day…

So let’s open with the Bruins… or as the press will have us call ’em, the “Killer B’s”.

I think we can all admit it.. when Nathan Horton was sent into limbo with that fairly questionable hit on open ice in Game 3, none of us knew how the home town team would respond.  Double edged sword, 50/50.. so on and so forth… but they did what was right and just as importantly, what was required when they took to the ice in the second period looking and acting like a team who not only deserved to be in the Stanley Cup Finals but could win it.  Even more importantly, they carried it into Game 4.  Minus the shenanigans, tomfoolery and for nearly 55 minutes, the theatrics, Game 4 for the Brown Bears was near perfect hockey.  Not perfectly executed but perfectly played to a point where the teams shortcomings and failings were negated by team play and the play of Tim Thomas.

Now obviously the B’s need to carry this momentum into Vancouver for Game 5.  But I can feel most confident in saying that if the Bruins can play two more games just as they played the last two… with dilligence, passion and imperfect perfection… the Duckboat parade will be on schedule.

Speaking of the last two games….

Really?  No.. really?  Joe Girardi needs to find something to b!tch about other than the play of his team so he singles out Big Papi for a bat flip (after having just been brushed back)… yes, really.  Now obviously this was taken with a grain of salt by most except for David Ortiz who responded by saying “I’m a home run hitter, I flip my bat.  I’m gonna’ hit another one tonight.”  And on cue for Papi’s well scripted season to date… he did just that.  No bat-flip, no drama… just the reality of another well hit home run from a home run hitter.  Ortiz is continuing the rejuvenation of his career, or at least he’s just not sucking for the first quarter of the season in what is known as the ‘slow start’.  David has credited A-Gon for his hot start and for making a personal impact that only Pedro has had on him previously.  Some speculate if it’s a friendship, a kinship in lefties or just some tutelage that has led to it.. but what ever works.  Big Papi has been impressive to start the season to say the least and is emerging as the Papi this team has needed since Manny decided to just be Manny.

So the rest of the evening wasn’t quite as pretty, that’s quite all right.   The Timelord was on the mound and once again held everything together enough for his Companions to keep the momentum going defensively and offensively.  The Pinstripes didn’t look old tonight but looking plain out-played is just as good.  Now is definitely the time to strike and keep attacking the ‘Bombers as even the press corps are getting antsy with the expectation of many a move being made to bolster the NY bullpen, rotation and bench.  San Diego is already falling out and they have some good young talent about to expire (Heath Bell among them).  Let’s hope Jed Hoyer remembers who built his farm system in a single trade this offseason… that’s right his former employers and bestest’ buds back in Beantown.  Of course, the Trolley-Dodgers and Metropolitans are singing what could be fire-sale songs of poverty….

Tomorrow is the ‘big’ one with Beckett versus Sabathia, but let’s get serious… for any real Member of The Nation and any real (no, I mean real) fan of the Highlanders… they’re all ‘big’ games.

Petey has returned to Boston for tests on his knee (injured in Baltimore earlier in the season) and could require surgery.  definitely explains the number fall-off, but if surgery is required it could keep him on the DL a minimum of a month.   Cross your Sox.. I mean fingers.