Category Archives: General

Celtics Offseason: In Position To Make A Move

Danny Ainge has some work to do this offseason.

In a chippy final game, the Celtics got swept by the Cavs in what was really a heat check for a scrappy, underachieving Celtics team. In the end, it was the more star-studded, team that pulled away with the series win. Surprise, surprise. That’s how the NBA works.

 

The main takeaway from this series is that the Celtics aren’t there yet. They are not contenders. Not yet. If it wasn’t obvious before the Cavs series, it is now. Sure, it was an unfavorable draw getting King James in the first round as opposed to a very mortal Atlanta Hawks team, but the general result would have been the same – a first round loss. Which is fine by Celtics fans. Not many expected them to be in the playoffs anyways.

 

So, exit stage left regular season, and enter offseason 2015. Two things were especially apparent in the Cavs series that the C’s need to address this offseason – rebounding and star-power. Both were exposed by the Cavs during the series at some of the most crucial times. Kyrie and LeBron hit big shots and got to the free throw line at-will. Tristan Thompson killed the C’s with sneaky offensive rebounds in crucial late game situations. Just two examples that echoed problems the team has dealt with all season.

 

Celtics have both cap space and assets in draft picks to address these needs, with either a free agent signing or a trade. To me, the most attainable move would be to sign Kevin Love. He is one of the few talented free agents that has expressed interest in playing for Boston. At least, that was before Kelly Olynyk ended Love’s playoff campaign, dislocated his shoulder fighting for a loose ball with Olynyk. As furious as he was leaving the TD Garden, Love has a past with the Celtics, so I wouldn’t rule out him signing completely. Still, you can bet your ass that the chances of landing him took a hit – especially after the announcement of Love being sidelined for 4-6 months. Thanks, Kelly. You should try that whole box-out thing sometime.

 

Kelly Olynyk may have broke the Celtics chances with Kevin Love

Did Kelly Olynyk spoil the Celtics chance of landing Love?

Luckily, there are a lot of available free agents not named Kevin Love that can address the offseason needs. With the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, and old friend Al Jefferson, there are a lot of available free agents that fit into these two needs for the Celtics. There’s a lot of cap room and a lot of talented big men on the market. With Danny Ainge as your GM, something’s got to give this summer. Whether that big man is Kevin Love is to be determined.

Boston Bruins: Final Two Weeks By The Numbers

There are a lot of words that could be used to describe the 2014-15 season of the Boston Bruins. ‘Successful’ would not be one of them. Coming off of a Presidents’ Trophy a season ago, big things were expected from the Black and Gold, but they never got to showcase their full potential as injuries to several key players derailed their season and now there is only one team from the Garden that is playoff bound. Whether Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli return in 2015 is still up in the air, but the team did announce Monday that it will be parting ways with longtime fourth-liners and unrestricted free agents, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell, as they look to improve in the goal-scoring department for next season. Before we completely turn the page to next year, however, let’s look back at the final two weeks of play, which featured a teenaged rookie setting a Bruins’ record and joining some pretty impressive company in the process, the first NHL goal for one young defenseman, the team’s most shots on goal in two years, a dismal scoreless streak against one playoff-bound team, a woeful piece of all-time history relating to a particular season series and Boston becoming the first team to miss the postseason the year after earning one of the league’s most impressive trophies. For the final time in 2014-15, this is Boston Bruins: Final Two Weeks By The Numbers.

The Bruins head off the ice after a disappointing end to the 2014-15 season.

The Bruins head off the ice after a disappointing end to the 2014-15 season.

0: The Bruins did not allow the Rangers (this year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners) to have a power-play opportunity in their 4-2 win on March 28. It was the first time since Nov. 10 against the Devils that the Bruins’ opponent did not have a single power play and just the second time this season.

1: Zach Trotman scored his first career NHL goal – the game winner – to beat the Red Wings late in the third period on April 2.

1: The Wings led the Bruins, 1-0, after two periods in that game before the B’s rallied to win with three goals in the third. It marked the first time this season that the Wings lost a game in regulation in which they led after two periods (21-1-4).

.167: The Bruins had a .167 winning percentage this season when Torey Krug committed a penalty – the lowest of any regular player on the team. Zdeno Chara (.214) was the next lowest.

1.85: New York’s Henrik Lundqvist came into the March 28 meeting against Boston with a 1.85 goals-against average in 36 career appearances against the B’s before surrendering four goals in the loss.

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Brad Stevens Impressing in Second Season

Brad Stevens coaching

Brad Stevens has taken a more aggressive approach in his coaching style as the year has progressed.

 

Brad Stevens is finally getting the credit he deserves, though it hasn’t been easy leading up to this point.

Just 3 months ago, a flailing Celtics team lost many leads with fourth quarter meltdowns. The Celtics hit a season low 11-21 in January, a few weeks after trading their best player in Rajon Rondo.

Fast forward 3 months, and the surging Celtics stand at 30-36, winning 5 in a row, and 9 of their last 12. They are tied with Miami and Indiana for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Many thought this would be another 2013-14 tank year. Not the case. You can’t help but respect this team for overcoming expectations, and a lot of credit goes to Stevens.

As the season has gone on, Stevens made adjustments, including becoming more aggressive. He is being more aggressive in how he handles his team when they do not play well. He is also much more assertive with referee staff and how games are called, letting refs hear about bad calls from the sidelines.

Stevens worked his magic since the all-star break. He has got the most out of his new roster, an inexperienced squad with a lack of elite talent, through terrific playing calling and mixing and matching lineups. He is a coach that disregards politics, by giving guys the playing time necessary to prove themselves in game situations. Players like Datome and Jerebko have a fair chance of contributing to this team, when on their previous teams, they could not find much playing time to contribute. Celtics players have also noted that Stevens is straight-forward with his players.

He’s focused on the task at hand- Playoffs. He always has been, since the start of the season. He was quick to put his team on blast early in the season if they weren’t playing up to expectations. He was also quick to admit he needed to coach his team better. The passion was always there early in the season, but the execution was not. Now that this team has turned it around, Stevens is saying all the right things, downplaying any talk of playoffs, only focusing on how his team plays.

It’s not certain the Celtics will get into the playoffs this year, but that doesn’t mean the season was a total loss. Playoffs or not, Stevens is proving himself as an elite NBA coach, and Celtics organization and its fan base should feel fortunate to have him as a coach for the next 4+ years. There will be a lot to look forward to.

Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers

After a less than stellar February, the Bruins seem to have found their stride again during the first half of March as they have put some separation between themselves and those chasing for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The team has gone 6-0-1 in its last seven games and seen their first shootout goal of the calendar year, one winger accomplishing something not done in 31 years, a rare two-goal game for a member of the fourth line, the special teams doing something they have not done since 2009 and the team opening the scoring in as consistent of a way they have not done since 1990. This is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.

Brad Marchand has been doing his part to help jumpstart the Bruins in the month of March.

Brad Marchand has been doing his part to help jumpstart the Bruins in the month of March.

0: Carl Soderberg failed to win a face off against the Flyers on Saturday for the first time since Nov. 21.

1: Ryan Spooner scored the first goal of his career on Feb. 27 to give the Bruins their 30th win, 3-2, over the Devils in overtime. It came in his 35th career NHL game.

1: Six nights later, he took the first shootout attempt of his career in the loss to the Flames (0-1).

1: Max Talbot earned his first point as a member of the Bruins with the primary assist on Brad Marchand’s game-winning overtime goal to beat the Flyers, 3-2, on Saturday.

1.20: David Pastrnak is tied for fifth in the league with 1.20 points per game against the Atlantic Division this season (just five games).

2: Daniel Paille recorded goals in consecutive games on Feb. 24 and 27 for the first time since Jan. 4 and 7, 2014.

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Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers For 2/27/15

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Bruins and despite only playing five games, there has been a lot going on both on the ice with some quality opponents and off the ice with the trade deadline approaching on Monday. The team returned to Boston after a long, and somewhat miserable, 5-game Western Conference road trip this past Tuesday, but continues to struggle to hang on to the final playoff spot in the East. Just to name a few, the Bruins endured their longest shootout ever and helped to nearly set an NHL shootout record, had two players debut in the same game, scored their most goals in a game this year, saw their coach reach a milestone and one of their leaders reach a couple of his own. We have a lot to get to, so this is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.

While the Bruins have faltered pretty mightily in the last couple weeks, Tuukka Rask certainly has not been to blame.

While the Bruins have faltered pretty mightily in the last couple weeks, Tuukka Rask certainly has not been to blame.

0: Edmonton defenseman Martin Marincin scored the only goal in the 12-round shootout between in Bruins and the Oilers on Feb. 18. He has no goals and just one point in 21 games played this season.

1: St. Louis’ Petteri Lindbohm scored his first career goal against the Bruins in their win on Friday night. It also happened to be the first career goal allowed by Malcolm Subban and, according to Elias, Lindbohm became the first player in Blues’ history to score his first career goal on a goalie who gave up his first career NHL goal. The last time that happened in any NHL game was in 2007.

1: Brian Ferlin recorded his first NHL point with an assist on Gregory Campbell’s goal to put the Bruins up, 4-1, over the Blackhawks on Sunday.

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12 Reasons The Patriots Lost Super Bowl XLVI

The Patriots are just about set to take on the NFC Champion Seahawks in their sixth Super Bowl appearance in the last 13 years. In their two most recent trips in 2007 and 2011, however, the Pats have not been able to come away victorious. In their most recent Super Bowl loss to the Giants, there were some pretty clear reasons as to why they were unable to win the game. We all remember the last-minute, game-winning touchdown drive orchestrated by Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw’s accidental touchdown and the last-second Hail Mary attempt falling incomplete. Chances are, however, most people have forgotten about some of the other reasons the Pats came out on the wrong end of the score, but not to worry. Here are the top-12 reasons the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLVI.

Tom Brady walks off the field in Indianapolis following the Super Bowl XLVI defeat.

Tom Brady walks off the field in Indianapolis following the Super Bowl XLVI defeat.

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