B’s Beat: Injuries On Bruins’ Back-End

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With the injury to Torey Krug being announced just days ago, the Bruins now find themselves without three defensemen from their opening day roster. It’s been quite the roller coaster for the B’s, as they’ve had to manage a poor start while coping with the preseason trade of Johnny Boychuk.

Yes, I still believe it had to be done.

If you’re going to be critical of the Bruins’ front office for moving Boychuk now, in wake of these injuries on the back-end, I would advise you to save your breath. Obviously the trade looks really bad now, but all of these injuries are unlucky if anything. You can’t predict the frequency and severity of these ailments regardless of your disdain for Peter Chiarelli.

It’s also redundant to keep talking about a guy who isn’t a Bruin anymore.

Zdeno Chara’s injury was obviously the most brutal pill to swallow. He’s an aging player which obviously hurts his ability to recover at a quicker pace, despite being the freak athlete that he is. Z is also the most important player on the team’s defense for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s the powerplay, penalty kill, massive minutes every night and presence on and off the ice; the Bruins do not have a player that can fill his shoes for any length of time.

Fortunately, he’s only going to be out 4-6 weeks.

His injury had the potential to be a blessing in disguise given the fact that it would’ve allowed some of the younger Bruins’ defensemen to play bigger minutes and develop into larger roles with the team. It also would’ve allowed the big man to rest up in an effort to avoid burning out come playoff time. Unfortunately the injuries to Kevan Miller and Torey Krug have all but dampened those hopes, as the team has found itself substantially shorthanded for one of the most important months of the season.

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Red Sox Offseason Outlook: Outfield

The Red Sox offseason seems to be developing a trend early on in the process. Ben Cherington appears to possess a great deal of flexibility with his current roster, and the outfield is a major source of it. There are currently at least seven outfielders in the mix for outfield playing time in 2015 (not including super-utility guy Brock Holt), with several moves likely coming out of that group. The good news for the Red Sox is that many of these players are starting caliber, so there is a good deal of quality depth in the Red Sox’ current outfield.

Victorino could provide a spark in 2015

Victorino could provide a spark in 2015

At the conclusion of the 2014 season, the Red Sox managed to be missing every single one of the outfielders that were on the field for the final out of their 2013 World Series championship; Jonny Gomes and Jacoby Ellsbury departed to other pastures with Shane Victorino still stuck on the Disabled List. Victorino figures to be back in the mix for 2015, and could provide a strong veteran presence, assuming he can stay on the field. After a season of questionable outfield defense for the most part, it will be refreshing to have Victorino’s golden glove back in right field in 2015. Victorino could also play centerfield in a pinch, but this would not be ideal. Daniel Nava could also see some time in right, though he will likely be a fill-in at every outfield spot in 2015 (in addition to some first base), where his value can be maximized through platoon (career .585 OPS vs. lefthanders, .813 vs. righties). Allen Craig might play some right field in 2015, though his defensive shortcomings might be best deployed in left field (or, ideally, first base). However if Craig shows any of his previous offensive skill from his time with the Cardinals (.794 OPS), the Red Sox will probably be glad to trade worse defense for better offensive production.

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Red Sox Offseason Outlook: Infield

The infield should be a major strength for the 2015 Boston Red Sox, if for no reason other than there are options aplenty. There will be the usual locks, like Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli, but there should be competition in spots for playing time that will benefit the entire lineup. There are rumblings that the Red Sox could be looking to upgrade their infield in free agency, and if that happens it will likely be a singular, high-impact event. There is lots of returning stability in the infield, but there is also room for improvement.

Pedroia is the gold standard at the keystone

The Red Sox are fortunate enough to have their middle infield locked in for 2015. Pedroia is automatic to start virtually every game, and he is the best second baseman in the game when healthy (and sometimes when he isn’t). We are also operating under the assumption that Xander Bogaerts will not be impeded from starting at shortstop (we learned our lesson last season), because he flashed his considerable potential in September (.313/.317/.490). Brock Holt will likely be the Red Sox super utility guy in 2015, but he now has experience at every single infield position, which will be immensely valuable to the Red Sox. The best move here is to allow Bogaerts the time to continue his development at short, while Pedroia sets the tone for the entire infield. There is room for improvement for Bogaerts, but playing next to the Red Sox’ best defender will help make up for the learning curve.

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Were the 2007 Red Sox the Most Unlikeable Championship Team?

All year we’ve been celebrating the 2004 Red Sox Championship team and for good reason. Of course in 2004, nobody could have imagined the franchise would go onto win 2 more World Series in a 10 year span, and each team that won, had a different personality. 2004 was the year of the Idiots who asked the question “Why Not Us?” 2013 was the year of the beard, and helped a city cope with tragedy. But what was 2007? There really wasn’t much personality, just a team trying to win ballgames.

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Sure you might be thinking “What’s wrong with that?” and you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with that, but with the power of hindsight, it’s easy to see, there weren’t a lot of likeable players on the team.

The Ace of the club was Josh Beckett. He had won a title in 2003 against the Bronx Bombers, and he first entered the national spotlight when he pitched a complete game gem to clinch the series for Florida in 2003. In his first year with the Sox in 2006, he wasn’t what he was billed as. He gave up the long ball a lot, but in 2007 he had himself a year. When October rolled around, he was dominant.

With the Red Sox trailing 3 games to 1 against Cleveland in the ALCS, he stepped up and pitched a fantastic game to get the Red Sox back in the series and helped save the season. But we all know what happened to Beckett in the years following. He seemed to not care when he was pitching, and he was the ringleader in the Beer and Chicken scandal of 2011. He was booed out of Fenway during the 2011 and 2012 season, before finally get the boot to the Dodgers, were he was mediocre at best. Despite helping Boston to a World Series title, he might be one of the least liked Boston sports stars of all time.

Then there was Jonathan Papelbon. In his 2nd full season in the big leagues he was a dominant closer, and was untouchable in the playoffs that year. But even in 2007, you could tell he was crazy, and pretty much an ass. The only reason we liked him, was because he was on our team, and he was winning. Read more

Tears For Z: Little Girl Sad Over Zdeno Chara’s Injury (VIDEO)

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Every Bruins fan probably shed a tear or two when hearing about Zdeno Chara’s injury. However, no one probably took it as hard as this little girl. This young B’s fan even knows how much the captain means to his team.

I bet that card will cheer up Big Z as superhuman as he is, bet your sweet tears that he will be back sooner!

In the meantime, the boys have to rally and so far they have!

Pot Of Baked Beans Goes To Lets Go Bruins!

Celtics Circuit: Not Many Changes From 2013-’14

Boston Celtics

Brad Stevens won’t be giving instructions to Rajon Rondo for too long.

The Boston Celtics come into the 2014-’15 season with similar questions from the end of last year. Will Rajon Rondo, who is a free agent next summer, still be with the team at the end of the season? How will Marcus Smart fare in his rookie season?

The Celtics did not improve their team from the 25-win 2013-’14 squad. Many prognosticators are predicting the Celtics to finish with a similar record this year.

When the season starts on Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets, Rondo might be on the floor. The All-Star point guard broke his left hand on September 26th. He has missed all of training camp and he just went through his first full-contact workout on Friday.

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