B’s Beat: Seth Griffith Making The Most Of Opportunity With Bruins

seth griffith

One of the biggest problems for the Boston Bruins this year, aside from consistency, is their inability to replace the void Jarome Iginla left when he decided sign with Colorado. Guys like Iggy obviously don’t grow on trees, which is why it was nearly impossible to replace him in free agency



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Hell; even if there was a guy like him available in free agency, it isn’t like they could afford it given their terrible salary cap situation. Who am I kidding?

In the offseason; the B’s were essentially forced to plan on giving a shot to the underrated Loui Eriksson, who underwhelmed in his first season in Boston due to two significant concussions. It wasn’t ideal for the team to break up the Loui and Carl Soderberg connection, but they really didn’t have a choice.

That was until the team stumbled out of the gate, the Soderberg line was the only successful line, and they proved that their chemistry was too good to split up.

This development left the B’s back at square one with the Krejci line, right wing problem. They tried plugging Ryan Spooner as that team’s center to no avail, Matt Fraser had an opportunity to step in and earn himself a spot, but he underwhelmed.

It was at this point that the Bruins called up diminutive winger Seth Griffith from Providence.

Griffith was a fifth round for the Bruins in 2012. He played his OHL career with the London Knights from 2009 to 2013 and amassed 102 goals, 129 assists, and a +36 in 207 games. He was also a stellar playoff weapon for the Knights with 26 goals, 36 assists, and a +18 in 56 games. Griffith was also part of the team when they won back-to-back OHL Championships in 2012 and 2013.

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Why the Red Sox Have a Chance at Lester

Let’s start with the disclaimer that I do understand that I am the glass half-full type of person that tends to take the optimistic outlook on things. I realize that The Cubs’ (or any other teams’) dollars are worth just as much as the Red Sox’, and that the Red Sox cannot really bank on much of a hometown discount at this point. Popular rumors say that the Red Sox are one of at least six teams that are intensely interested in signing Lester from the open market, and Red Sox ownership reportedly has a meeting scheduled with Lester and his agents. However, the simple fact that they traded him should not rule the Red Sox out as a serious bidder for Lester’s services on the free agent market. Obviously the team has the resources to compete with just about any team on the open market, so the dollars should not be an issue. Red Sox fans should not exactly expect that Lester will definitely return to Fenway this winter, but they can expect a realistic shot at signing him.

There is something to be said for the comfort factor here. Lester was drafted, developed, and enjoyed tremendous success with the Red Sox organization, and this cannot be ignored completely. Additionally (and possibly more importantly), Lester has a great family life in the Boston area. His wife and children are comfortable here and have their whole lives centered around this area, so coming back to the Red Sox would be a seamless transition as far as the community is concerned. Lester has said before that one of the key factors in his free agent decision will be how comfortable his family is in a particular community, which should be an area in which the Red Sox have a sizable advantage over the rest of the market.

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Theo Epstein WILL Prevent a Lester-Red Sox Reunion

This week may be a very big week for the former Red Sox ace, Jon Lester. He is scheduled to meet with both the Chicago Cubs, and the Boston Red Sox. There are a large number of folks from Red Sox Nation convinced that Lester will return to Boston next year, but unless Ben Cherington has already made an offer to Lester and his agents that can’t possibly be turned down, there’s no chance his Sox will be Red again.

theo epstein

When Jon Lester visits Chicago this week, old friend Theo Epstein is going to show Lester all around the historic Wrigley Field, tell Lester how it feels to end a curse, and then put on the table a very very large offer.

Sure the Red Sox may be close to bringing back the ace that they traded to Oakland last year, but the former Boston General Manager will do everything in his power to stop that from happening. Theo came into the Boston organization right after Lester was drafted by the club, and he saw him grow, and brought him to the majors. There’s no doubt the two have a friendly relationship, and Epstein knows exactly what he’ll get by signing Lester.

Epstein is now at the point with the Cubs where he needs to start making big splashes, and at least get them into playoff contention in the next couple years, or he may find himself in a dumpster on the North Side of Chicago.

He’s already brought in Joe Maddon to run the ball club (under very sketchy circumstances, and most likely illegally). He’s developed the farm system enough where good prospects are making their imapact with the big league club now, and many Cubs experts think they may have what it takes to make the playoffs for the time since 2003.

Despite all the love he’s given to Boston, Lester will surely take the best contract offer he can get, as this will be his only time he can demand such a big payday. He’s also a competitor, and has already been part of two World Series championships, and most likely won’t want to play for a team that can’t compete. It’ll be Epstein’s job to show Lester they will be competitive, and I’m sure for this factor, Joe Maddon will be at Wrigley convincing him they will make the playoffs this season.

The Cubs are going to be that desperate guy in a romantic comedy trying to show the girl that he is better than the current or ex-boyfriend. They will Wine and Dine him, and do everything they can to show that playing in Chicago will be better than playing in Boston again. In this case, Boston fans will be rooting for the ex-boyfriend , but something tells me Chicago will sweep Lester off his feet.

Lucky number 6 or will Luck end the Patriots hot streak? New England Patriots vs Indianapolis Colts

Many people associate the “Lucky number” phrase with the number 7 or the movies Lucky Number Slevin and Ocean’s Seven but did you know that the number 6 is auspicious in matters with love and relationships in Chinese culture? There was also a fragrance for men made by fashion designer Liz Claiborne called Lucky Number Six and the Patriots will be hoping for their sixth consecutive victory when they face off against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts tonight.

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Out with the old and in with the new is an expression that billions across the globe know very well but in the National Football League that saying doesn’t always ring true. Tom Brady has continued to defy the odds in his career and he has done that more than ever since the defeat to Kansas City back in week 4. He and the Patriots continued their fantastic streak last week when they blew out the Denver Broncos 43-21.

The Broncos are in the eyes of many the best team in the AFC if not in football but with the New England victory last week it caused many to rethink their opinions and once again the win gave Terrific Tom some more pulling power in the Brady-Manning debate as he extended his winning record over his long term record to 11-5. After trailing a close first quarter 7-3 the Patriots battled back to completely smash Denver in the second quarter scoring 24 consecutive points.

From then on out the Patriots were in cruise control with Brady, making his 200th career start with the win giving him his 155th win (the most of any QB ever), completing 33 of his 55 attempted passes with Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski hauling in 9 receptions each for a combined 194 yards. Those two were Brady’s main targets as the Patriots offense continues to up the gears week by week; Gronk was the standout player though as he decimated the Broncos defense and made one of the most spectacular catches of the season.

Now the Patriots walk in to Lucas Oil Stadium tonight to take on the epitome of “the new” type of NFL quarterback in the shape of Andrew Luck and his Indianapolis Colts with huge playoff implications. With seedings, home field advantage and a potential bye week at stake on the line it makes tonight’s game an intriguing contest as with New England at 7-2 and the Colts at 6-3 a win for either team would put them in prime position for one of the two byes on offer going in to the postseason.

With both teams coming off a bye week giving them an extra weeks preparation ahead of tonight’s crucial game you can expect it to be a fantastic affair. The Luck led Colts have been high flying this season. After starting the season 0-2 the Colts went on a five game winning streak of their own before losing a crazy game to Pittsburgh 51-34 on the road but bounced back at MetLife Stadium when they convincingly defeated the Giants 40-24.

Since Luck came in to the league the Colts are 17-4 at home including their amazing comeback against the Chiefs in the wildcard round of last seasons playoffs. Tom Brady and co are use to overcoming obstacles and Indianapolis are slight favourites ahead of tonight’s matchup in what many are anticipating to be a close one. In the two previous encounters between Brady and Luck the Patriots have blown out the Colts 43-22 in last years playoff game and 59-24 in Luck’s rookie season back in 2012.

Both of these teams have come a long way since last years playoff game and both are very improved in various departments which is what makes, in my opinion, tonight one of the games of the season especially with all that is at stake. If the Patriots get the victory tonight it’ll give them a huge boost in terms of going on to clinch the 1st seed as well as home field advantage for the postseason which is what they will want to keep away from Denver so that they can guarantee that the road to Super Bowl 49 goes through Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots and Broncos had an arms race this past offseason to improve their rosters in hope of ensuring a trip to Arizona next February but the Colts are the dark horses in the conference especially as Andrew Luck is the best young quarterback we have ever seen just because of the impact he has had on the NFL in his first 2 and a half years and the talent he has displayed. When the Colts last faced New England they had no running game with only Donald Brown, now a Charger, playing and lacked any offensive weapons due to injuries.

Since then Colts legend Reggie Wayne has returned to action, TY Hilton has broken out to improve his game and become an established wideout in the league who provides a down field threat along with tight end Dwayne Allen who provides a nice balance to Luck’s friend from Stanford Coby Fleener. Add that with Hakeem Nicks, who despite not having a good year so far is a good player, along with rookie receiver Donte Moncrief and a one to punch of Bradshaw and Richardson in the backfield and it is clear to see why this Colts offense is on pace to potentially break records in 2014.

With that being said they are facing a Patriots defense tonight which under the guidance of defensive mastermind Bill Belichick has the potential to stop any offense in the league and did stop what many feels to be the best last week when they made Peyton Manning’s Broncos look ordinary. Despite having Chandler Jones absent due to injury the brilliance of New England’s secondary has given the front seven opportunities to be creative in getting to the quarterback and stopping the run which has helped the likes of Jamie Collins, Hightower and Rob Ninkovich as we saw last week with the latter’s interception against Peyton.

With Revis and Browner playing man coverage on the outside they can stop near enough any receivers in the league. Revis’ skill set is amazing for a corner and with one of the best safeties in the league in the form of Devin McCourty just behind him it allows for not only Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia to be creative with defensive play-calling but it also benefits the strengths of the two corners as it allows them to be aggressive. This also allows Patrick Chung and, when he gets on the field, Kyle Arrington to be effective in the secondary and break up plays.

When I previewed the Patriots and Broncos game I said it would come down to who wins the battle between the Denver offense vs the Pats D. With the latter winning it ensured that New England held on to their healthy lead which gave their offense the opportunities they needed to score more points to finish their opponent off and I would say that the same applies tonight if not more with the Pats being on the road. The offense will have to deal with crowd noise etc and while we know Tom Brady is one of the best QB’s of all-time in road games you need your defense to come up big and make stops in order to take some of the pressure off of your offense as well as give it opportunities.

If this happens I expect the Patriots to have the tools to defeat the Colts. Indianapolis’ defense played lights out during their 5 game winning streak but were brought back down to earth against the Steelers after their star cornerback Vontae Davis was knocked out the game. Davis is one of the better players in the league at the corner position but depsite is talents this Colts defense usually struggles against tight ends and when you considering that the Patriots have the best tight end in the league in Rob Gronkowski, 8 touchdowns this season, you would say that the Patriots have a critical advantage which could make the difference needed in a game that is anticipated to be so close.

Offensively you can expect the Patriots to spread the ball round like they’ve done in the past 5 games to Brandon LaFell, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, Julian Edeleman and even Tim Wright who I think will be used a lot more tonight considering the Colt’s vulnerability to tight ends. In the big moments though it will be Gronk who is thrown to and if the Colts don’t come up with a game plan to try and limit him especially in the red zone then I think the Patriots will pick off any weaknesses this Indie D has and will punish them.

One thing’s for sure and that is that tonight’s matchup is a mouthwatering encounter with both QB’s at the top of their respective games. Tom Brady has rediscovered his hall of fame form following a run of 5 games which has seen him throw 18 touchdowns to just one interception with a completion percentage of over 70% meaning he is now 5th with 22 touchdowns on the year to just 3 interceptions (tied with Aaaron Rodgers for the lowest among starters). The Patriots winning run also means that Brady now has a passer rating of 103.5 which also ranks 5th. His opposite number Luck ranks 2nd in touchdowns with 26 TD’s and leads in terms of passing yardage with 3,085 yards. Despite the fact that Luck thrown more passes than other QB in the league it is a testament to his abilities that he has managed to keep his completion percentage at 63.6%

So with everything being weighed up now we just have to wait a few hours to see who wins when the best of the old guard takes on the best of the new guard in the third dual between Tom Brady’s Patriots and Andrew Luck’s Colts. A Patriots win means they will take control of the AFC following Denver’s defeat to St. Louis earlier on today which is exactly what they need as they have two tough tests against the Lions and Packers coming up. New England would be a game ahead of the Broncos and two games ahead of the Colts with the head to head over both so tonight’s game is huge but will their Luck run out when they go in to the Dome tonight?

Historically the Patriots are 9-2 in their last eleven post-bye games. Bill Belichick with an extra week of preparation is a recipe for disaster for any opposing team as he will have planned everything to the exact final details along with the fact that quarterback Tom Brady’s record when playing inside a dome is 10-2 record, 26 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions I will go with a New England victory.

Prediction: Patriots 35-27 Colts

Bold Prediction: With the Colts down by a point 28-27 Andrew Luck looks to seal off a memorable 4th quarter comeback victory but a tipped play by Jamie Collins give Brandon Browner a ‘lucky’ pick 6 to gain some personal redemption after TY Hilton embarrassed him when the Colts faced the Seahawks. The return goes all the way in to the Colts end zone to put the Pats up by 8 and seal the game for New England as the Colts have just 10 seconds remaining and no timeouts!

Celtics Tweets of Interest: C’s Inconsistent Play Continues

celticsThe Boston Celtics followed up their best win of the season to this point with back-to-back home losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Such is the fate of a young team who cannot play consistently from quarter to quarter.

On November 8th, the Celtics traveled to Chicago on the second night of a back-to-back and held onto a 106-101 over the Bulls. Both teams were without their star point guards. The Celtics’ Rajon Rondo had to get a screw removed from his surgically repaired left hand. Meanwhile, the Bulls’ Derrick Rose sat out with a sore hamstring that has forced him to miss several games early in the season.

In the 109-94 loss to the Thunder, the Celtics jumped out to an 18-3 advantage over a shorthanded Thunder squad. Reggie Jackson and Anthony Morrow (both players scored 28 points) led the Thunder backcourt in a second-half comeback to wipe out the Celtics. The Thunder shot 14-of-19 from the field in the fourth quarter. This was the most frustrating loss of the season because the Thunder have been reeling without Kevin Durant (fractured foot) and Russell Westbrook (broken hand). After a strong first quarter by the Celtics, their play fell off and they failed to show much effort in the second half.

The Celtics fell to the Cavaliers with another poor fourth quarter performance. The Celtics held a 19-point lead in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers were 13-of-17 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. Kyrie Irving nailed three straight three-pointers to cut the Celtics’ lead to 10 and LeBron James posted 40 points to give the Cavaliers a 122-121 victory. The Celtics had a chance to win the game on their final possession, but Rondo was unable to get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

The Celtics are 3-5 and the schedule does not get any easier. Their next game is at home on Monday against the Phoenix Suns, who just missed the playoffs last year in the stacked Western Conference.

Here are the notable tweets from this week:

The country celebrated Veterans’ Day on Tuesday. Rondo sent this tweet in support of the United States’ military who protect Americans and the world everyday.

ESPN had another great documentary on Randy Moss on Tuesday. The documentary depicted Moss’ upbringing in Rand, West Virginia. Moss reached stardom at Marshall University as a wide receiver, but he dealt with off-field problems throughout his college and early NFL career. The 6-foot-4-inch wide receiver is considered one of the best players of all-time. He broke Jerry Rice’s single-season record for touchdown catches (23) in 2007 with the New England Patriots. Celtics guard Marcus Thornton was one of the viewers for this special on Moss.

Celtics Tweets of Interest: C’s Unveil Alternate Jersey

boston-celtics-logo (2)The Boston Celtics have endured a long week. When the Celtics defeated the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, the celebratory mood was subdued over the left ankle injury to Marcus Smart. After the game, the team announced that Rajon Rondo would miss Saturday’s game in Chicago against the Bulls because Rondo needs to get a screw removed from his surgically repaired left hand.

Also, the Celtics dropped three straight games during the week. The Celtics went 1-for-25 from beyond the three-point line against the Houston Rockets. On Monday, the Celtics fell behind as many as 30 points in the first half in Dallas. Despite a late comeback, the Celtics lost 118-113, to the Mavericks. Then the Celtics blew a 16-point advantage before falling, 110-107, when they hosted the Toronto Raptors.

Danny Ainge said Smart will be out at least two to three weeks with a left ankle sprain according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. The rookie guard was showing promise as a tenacious defender who could guard multiple positions. He showed an improving shot from the perimeter through the first five games.

Here are the tweets:

Emily Austen of celtics.com sent this tweet on Thursday night when the Celtics displayed their gray-sleeved uniform. I am not a big fan of the sleeve jersey and the color of this shirt. The Celtics should just stick to “Green Runs Deep.” The picture shows guards Avery Bradley (left) and Smart (right) showing off the alternate uniform.

Smart was able to play in front of family and friends in Houston and Dallas this week. The Celtics top draft choice thanked all of his supporters, including posting a picture of this young Celtics fan wearing his jersey. Smart was born in Dallas and there were dozens of family and friends to cheer for the rookie guard.

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