Category Archives: General

Free Agent Frenzy: Shawn Thornton Heads to Florida

Florida Panthers v Boston Bruins

 

Well, Boston fans, it’s official:

Former depth forward and longtime Bruins fan favorite Shawn Thornton is headed south.

According to CBS Sports, the Florida Panthers picked up Thornton about an hour after Free Agency opened on Tuesday, July 1st.

Thornton has been signed to a two-year, $1.2 million dollar deal by Boston’s division rivals, which is only a slight raise from the $1.1 million he was receiving from the B’s. Quite a steal for Florida, who are still sitting under the salary floor two hours after negotiations began.

Boston is going to miss Thorty, who was not only an effective enforcer on the ice, but was a leader on the team in the locker room. Best of luck, and here’s to all the season matchups against Florida that will give Boston fans the opportunity to see one of the team’s favorite guys for the past few years.

Boston Bruins: Eastern Conference Semifinals By The Numbers

Coming into the postseason, the Bruins were expected to make another deep run and possibly contend for their third Stanley Cup in four seasons. Unfortunately for them, however, they ran into the red-hot Canadiens and saw their offense go cold at the worst possible time. Despite a heartbreaking loss in Game 7 at the Garden, there were still a lot of memorable moments in the series and, like always, plenty of interesting stats and facts to go around (and, yes, there are a lot). This series featured a record number of Game 7 meetings for the B’s and Habs, one Boston rookie doing something only one other player had done in the last 75 years, a new NHL record concerning consecutive seasons with a Game 7 appearance and Montreal’s netminder joining a goaltending legend as the only two to accomplish one particular feat. This, for the final time in 2013-14, is Boston Bruins: Eastern Conference Semifinals By The Numbers.

The Canadiens frustrated the Bruins in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and earned a series win in seven games.

The Canadiens frustrated the Bruins in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and earned a series win in seven games.

0: The Canadiens had zero players with a positive rating through Game 2.

0: The Merlot line had zero shots on goal in Game 4. And Game 6. And Game 7. Brutal.

0: Boston’s first line scored zero five-on-five goals in the series.

1: P.K. Subban’s game-winner in Game 1 was the first overtime goal of his postseason career.

1: Matt Fraser made his playoff debut in Game 4 after being called up from Providence earlier in the day. He scored his first postseason goal in the game and it was a pretty big one. In doing so, he became the first player in history to score an overtime goal in both the AHL and NHL playoffs in the same season, according to Elias Sports.

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Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers For 3/29/14

It has been a very exciting last couple of weeks in the hub of hockey as the Bruins went on a tear following the Olympic Break and became the league’s first team to clinch a playoff spot. While their winning streak finally ended at the hands of Montreal, their point streak is still alive. Also happening were a milestone game for a hockey legend, a milestone assist for a Merlot member, another NHL debut for one rookie, the first ever home win against one opponent and the third-longest winning streak in team history. This is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.

Jarome Iginla has been absolutely on fire during the month of March and a major reason the Bruins won 12 games in a row.

Jarome Iginla has been absolutely on fire during the month of March and a major reason the Bruins won 12 games in a row.

1: Last Tuesday’s win over the Wild was the first time the Bruins have beaten Minnesota at TD Garden (1-6-0).

1: Corey Potter played his first game with the Bruins on March 18 in New Jersey.

1: With their win over the Avalanche on March 21, the Bruins became the first team in the league to clinch a playoff berth.

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NFL Week 12 Preview: SNF – Broncos @ Patriots

Manning travels into Foxboro for Round XIV against Brady on Sunday Night Football



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There’s a first time for everything. 2013 has been a roller-coaster ride for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The 24-20 Monday Night loss against the Panthers marks their second controversial defeat of the year. Just as the pieces finally came together before the bye week, the Pats faced the 2nd overall defense in the NFL and it certainly showed. Although TB12 started out hot, he finished the game 29/40 for 296 yards with 1 TD and the game ending interception as time expired. The Patriots were held to 107 rushing yards, as both Ridley and Blount failed to surpass 50 yards respectively. Ridley did however score a touchdown, marking his 5th straight game to do so. A ton of penalties crippled both teams but the athletic Cam Newton made just enough plays to earn the victory his career and city so desperately needed. AFC seeding aside, the win meant more for Carolina than the New England loss. They did not play well enough to deserve a win. What’s next? Round XIV of the Brady (36) vs. Manning (37) saga on Sunday Night Football. There is no way the under is clearing in this high octane AFC matchup. Brady is 9-4 in his career against Eli’s better half, who has thrown 34 TDs to Tom’s 14 – yikes. So while the Patriots come off a short week and a tough loss, the Broncos beat the streaking (9-0) Chiefs to restore order in the AFC West. Check out these three keys to victory for the Patriots come Sunday night:

1) Devin McCourty & DB Play: With CB Alfonso Dennard (knee) most likely out on Sunday, Duron Harmon will be thrusted into more snaps at safety. McCourty should be an integral part to the pass defense and will be lined up against WR Eric Decker and TE Julius Thomas. Aside from his play on the field, Devin needs to corral his defensive backs mentally in the locker room. Aqib Talib was a hot head on the big stage, losing his composure against rival WR Steve Smith early and often – putting him on the sideline for multiple key plays. CB Kyle Arrington will be lined up against Welker in the slot, who has been practicing since sustaining a concussion last week. Rookie Logan Ryan has proved to be a solid tackler but has not turned heads or his with ball skills. It will be a challenge to halt this offense but it ends with Devin McCourty. Assuming Gregory will be limited on Sunday Night, a big performance from our center-fielder could propel the Patriots to a victory.

2) Protection: From Brady’s pocket to ball security, the Carolina defense got to New England when it mattered in Week 11. A sack took the Patriots out of field goal range on their opening drive, forcing a punt. Ridley’s fumble in the Red Zone was also an early squander. New England escaped an odd first half down 10-3 and stepped it up in the second half as Tom only get sacked once more. There isn’t that much room to make mistakes against elite teams and there is no doubt that Peyton Manning makes you pays for costly errors. The Patriots will need to execute a clean and efficient gameplan to have any chance of beating the 39.8 PPG Denver Broncos. This starts with giving Brady enough time to dish it out and providing running room for Ridley, Blount and Vereen.

3) Attack: 20 points won’t beat the Broncos. Aforementioned above, they are averaging almost double that in PPG and have scored 51 touchdowns as a team – the Patriots have scored 26. Although New England slowed the pace down against Carolina to combat their league leading time of possession, I predict a high-tempo no huddle offense to start the game. The Patriots did not have a lot of chances to score given their methodical approach. Denver has been solid against the pass; however, the two top receiving yards totals against the Broncos this year were by tight ends Antonio Gates (62) and Jordan Reed (90). Gronk needs to get in the end zone, it’s a fact. If not, we need multiple touchdowns from our running backs.

Last week’s game was a challenging test for the Patriots. Manning’s ankles will be sore the rest of the year and Chandler Jones needs to exploit that on Sunday to force Peyton into some early decisions. Belichick has historically owned Manning but have the times changed? Don’t think so. In what could possibly be a more exciting game than MNF, the Patriots take it 31-30. Don’t chew off all your nails!

Patriots Match-Up Mania: The Replacements, Continued…

Gronk has been cleared to play.

Bill Belichick’s post-game press conferences seldom yield any valuable information. It’s an annoying trend as Belichick possesses and can share significant insights into the sport he has a mastery of.

As the injury-riddled New England Patriots prepare to face the New York Jets at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Belichick inadvertently revealed his thoughts on all of the new players being worked into the team’s regular rotation with a seemingly innocuous comment to CSNNE.com’s Mary Paoletti. Bill was specifically replying to a question on newcomer Austin Collie and observed:

I mean, they’re never 100 percent ready. But there’s a difference between being ready and when you put the person in there and feel like, well there’s just too many things that can and probably will go wrong because they’re just not prepared enough for those…It’s certainly a very individualized type of call and I don’t think there’s any book on that. You just have to try to figure it out the best you can.

I’m focused on the “never 100 percent ready” comment, and I’m expanding the context of it beyond new players – veterans and rookies, alike – to injured veterans returning to the field and reserves switching roles to account for injuries, and starters changing positions. With the many injuries sapping the Patriots depth through six games, the concept of new players is at a premium in Foxboro.

Yes, Rob Gronkowski is available, or “cleared” by some doctor. Will he play? Who knows? Say he plays. What do we get? A fully Gronk’ed Gronk, or a timid, nervous Gronk who really isn’t ready but needs to see some action? Is he even in game shape after reportedly dominating practices? He has had success versus the Jets. Who hasn’t?

Collie made two key grabs in the Saints win. Kenbrell Thompkins isn’t really a replacement at all. However, he seems to be getting it now – finally. Did he “figure it out” in time to make his mark?

The real replacement match-ups to focus on are on the defense that could be without the squad’s top three players. Vince Wilfork we know about. Ditto for Jerod Mayo. Aqib Talib didn’t travel to New Jersey with the team. How do you fill those three holes?

McCourty could be playing corner at some point, too. But, he and Ninkovich taking a more pronounced role as captains is a significant match-up type issue. Players like Dane Fletcher, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington, and draftees Jamie Collins and Logan Ryan need to take advantage of bigger roles due to injuries.

Patriots Move To 4-0; On To The Next One!

Easy work on Sunday night!

Easy work on Sunday night!

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Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a fantastic 30-23 road victory against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday Night Football. It ensured that the Pats moved on to 4-0 for the third time in Bill Belichick’s tenure and it was the head coach’s 209th win which moved him to joint 5th all-time with Chuck Noel. It was a back to the future performance for Tom Brady who just seems to keep on getting better with age even despite being surrounded by a cast of rookie receivers. The future hall of fame quarterback is pulling off a great achievement with this receiving core and he is helping turn these players in to legitimate NFL wideouts so early on in their careers; Brady finished Sunday night’s game with a season high of 316 passing yards completing 20 out of 31 passes.

Not for the first time this season we saw the Patriots defense come up big with Aqib Talib being the stand out performer versus Atlanta as he hauled in an interception early on as well as the providing the game-sealing defensive breakup in the end zone to stop the Falcons late comeback attempt. Unfortunately Vince Wilfork suffered a season ending injury when he tore his achilles on Sunday night which has come as a massive blow for this Patriots team. The franchise has the ‘next man up’ approach but he will be a big miss. Thankfully for New England its entire defense has been contributing so far this season which has been a big factor in this four game winning streak; they are tied for 6th in forced fumbles recovering 3 out of 5 and are tied for 10th in interceptions with five picks. This defense is for real and despite Wilfork’s absence Belichick will find a way to make things work.

Tom Brady has won 140 games to just 39 losses which is outstanding. He has 45,820 passing yards and a fantastic touchdown to interception ratio of 341-125. With this limited offense people dared to doubt the Golden Boy but he has built up a good rapport with the likes of Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins as well as utilised Julian Edelman and even connected with Mike Mulligan for a touchdown on Sunday night. The running game has looked good with a well-run combined attack which saw Blount rush for 64 yards and a score, Ridley get 53 yards as well as Bolden chip in with 17 from 6 carries.

The offense will get stronger when Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola return from injury; two valuable weapons who Brady can rely on and will help take this team to another level. Tom Brady is working miracles at the moment I mean could Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Alex Smith make things work with this receiving core? No. The Patriots are a Super Bowl contender if they have a healthy roster heading in to the playoffs and after starting the season 4-0 they’re on course for an impressive regular season.

Season Prediction: With the way things currently stand the next chapter of Brady and Manning could be on the cards in a potential mouth-watering AFC Championship game. Picture a Star Wars scenario with Wes Welker as Anakin Skywalker and he has left to join Emperor Peyton Manning on the dark side. Brady, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his young receivers, they can represent Luke Skywalker, will go on the road to Mile High in a high stakes affair with the winner going to New York to play in Super Bowl XLVIII. Regular season: 13-3

Who would prevail?

Who would prevail?

 

 

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