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A Look Ahead: The 2014 New England Patriots

In recent years Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots have always started an NFL season as many peoples favourites following 3 Super Bowl triumphs in the Brady-Belichick era. With that being said the team haven’t lifted the Lombardi trophy since 2004 and have also fell at the final hurdle twice in 2007 and 2011. For most franchises going deep in to the postseason is still considered a successful campaign but for the Patriots it’s win the big one or bust.

This is at the forefront of New England’s mind especially heading in to a season where the GQ quarterback Tom Brady will be 37 come kick-off time on September 7th. You can certainly argue that the window is closing for the legendary although it has been said as well as mentioned often that Terrific Tom could play in to his 40s. Personally I would put him in a bracket along other sporting legends who’ve enjoyed success in their twilight years such as Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and Ryan Giggs of Manchester United.

New England Patriots

So with that being said whilst looking at Brady’s career in recent years it is clear to see that he can still get it done and hasn’t deteriorated even with a receiving cast last year that including rookies along with no real superstars to throw to. A fourth Super Bowl ring would almost certainly cement Brady as the best quarterback of all-time; I mean who could argue with 4 Super Bowl wins and 6 appearances on the grandest stage of the all. If that happens this year retirement will naturally be thrown out there by the media but regardless of whether the Pats win it all this year I think Brady will play for at least another 3 seasons, including this one, as that would mean he would be 39 when the 2016 season starts and potentially could signal the end of his career.

Regardless of when Brady and Belichick leave New England one things for sure you have to say that with these two at the helm of the organisation as well as taking in to consideration that New England have added to a roster that made the AFC Championship game last year you’d definitely put the Patriots as one of the favourites to represent the AFC come Super Bowl 49 in Arizona just after the turn of the new year. They’ll have to contend with the likes of the Denver Broncos who they had an arms race with this past off-season during free-agency. A Brady vs Manning AFC Championship game is well on the cards again when you look at the rosters assembled by New England and Denver but don’t count out a young Indianapolis Colts team that is led but a superb young quarterback in Andrew Luck who just gets better and better as he prepares to enter his 3rd season in the NFL to shake things up for the old dogs in this conference.

The Pats last made the Super Bowl in 2011 and since then have also made the past 2 AFC Championship games so naturally any Patriots fan will have high hopes for New England to make it to the big game but after unfortunate injuries down the stretch in recent years and the fact that the Patriots in general have been spoilt for success over the past decade I personally am looking at the 2014 season through more objective eyes. New England’s success will come down to the young guns stepping up as this roster does have a lot of young talent; Only Vince Wilfork along with Tom Brady remain on the roster from the team’s last Super Bowl victory. You can expect even bigger things from young defensive players such as Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower who enter their third season this year as well as Jamie Collins who emerged as a gem late in the 2013 season. The secondary is looking scarily good with Devin McCourty, Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis all on the roster and all hunting out opposing offenses.

CL AND JC

Along with a revamped secondary the young Pats will have big roles to play in 2014

New England’s success will come down to the young guns stepping up as this roster does have a lot of young talent; Only Vince Wilfork along with Tom Brady remain on the roster from the team’s last Super Bowl victory. You can expect even bigger things from young defensive players such as Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower who enter their third season this year as well as Jamie Collins who emerged as a gem late in the 2013 season. The secondary is looking scarily good with Devin McCourty, Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis all on the roster and all hunting out opposing offenses.

On offense the Patriots have added Brandon LaFell to the likes of Julian Edelman as well as second year players Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins with Dobson in particular being predicted for a breakout season. It is clear to see that this offense of the Patriots has potential with Rob Gronkowski being the key player to any success that the offense looks to have with his blocking for the running game as well as drawing double coverage in the passing game being key. That’s along with the fact that when he receives the ball he is one of the best players in the league especially at getting in to the end-zone and putting points on the board.

With that being said Gronk has struggled for injuries in recent years but if he can stay healthy, especially in the playoffs, then the Patriots have a real shot to go all the way in 2014. For now though I’m sure they’ll be honing their skills and getting back to basics whilst focusing on getting their passing game back to top notch for the 2014 season. If the offense can get it going this season along with a defence that has the potential and players to create a unit that will rival the legendary defensive units from the past 3 Super Bowl winning teams then you’d say that New England has one of the most well equipped rosters in the National Football League and has all the tools to make it to Phoenix Stadium in 2015 with the franchise having a shot at winning it’s 4th NFL Championship.

Does a healthy Gronk in the postseason equal a Super Bowl victory for New England?

Does a healthy Gronk in the postseason equal a Super Bowl victory for New England?

 

These Big, Bad & Ugly Bruins Sweaters Are Wicked Awesome (PHOTOS)

ugly bruins sweaters

These UGLY Boston Bruins sweaters are probably the best thing to happen to the fans of the Black & Gold since the B’s hoisted the Cup back in 2011. Can you already picture yourself wearing this slice of hockey heaven on the beach or on the slopes?

Your biggest dilemma will be which one to buy?

ugly bruins sweaters

Psst, you can get both Ugly Bruins Sweaters from Fanatics.  Be the envy of all your friends!

B’s Beat: The Bruins Off Season So Far

Torey Krug Boston Sports Then & Now


If you are reading this article, you’ve probably taken a break from one of the most thrilling Boston Bruins’ off seasons in recent memory. Just kidding, it’s been brutal. Not only did they lose one of their best forwards in Jarome Iginla, but they’ve also yet to sign their two biggest free agents in Torey Krug and Reilly Smith.

The sting of losing Iggy is more palpable given the fact that his contract is the primary reason the B’s are in the cap hell they are in. He left town after a President’s Trophy winning season to sign an outrageous contract with the Colorado Avalanche. He has already come out and said that he believes he can win a Cup with the Avs (spoiler alert: He won’t.)

They will miss his character, leadership, and goal scoring ability, but they had to know that it wasn’t going to work out long term given his ridiculous amount of bonuses.

Peter Chiarelli and the Bruins’ brass have also signed two of their own free agents in Matt Bartkowski (1 year, $1.25 million), and Jordan Caron (1 year, $600,000). These are two guys that a lot of fans did not want back for next season, but players that are signed are easier to move via trade.

It has been stated multiple times throughout the off season that the Bruins’ are carrying a ton of NHL ready defensemen and need to deal a few for some assets, cap space, or a right hand on the right wing. It was surprising to see the team re-up Bart and Caron, but I have to believe that they did so for the sake of moving them to another team.

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B’s Beat: Zdeno Chara & The Bruins’ “Window”

Zdeno Chara Boston Sports Then & Now

Is Zdeno Chara’s Championship Window Closing?


The Bruins’ “win now window” is a hot topic in the hub, and I myself think it is a myth. It is propaganda shoved in our faces by the many “hot take” media guys that cover the B’s. It is everywhere you look, it is on the radio, it is on the TV, and it is utterly insufferable.

How does this move help them “win now”? What is Peter Chiarelli doing? Seriously, if I hear somebody ask either of those questions again I am going to climb to the rafters in the TD Garden between Orr and Clapper and take the plunge onto the spoked B.

The Bruins’ window is generally considered to be based on captain Zdeno Chara’s age, level of play, and inevitable decline. There are a number of reasons why this is both ridiculous and completely devoid of facts. For starters; Chara isn’t even the best player on this team anymore. He is their best defenseman for sure, but he isn’t the elite workhorse he once was. Having said that, Z at age 37 is still a better defenseman than about 90% of every other defenseman in the NHL right now.

“But Matt, he has gotten slow and it showed against Montreal last year, and Chicago the year before”. That is a fair point, but don’t you think it is a little irresponsible on the coach’s end to play a 37 year old play for 25+ minutes a night, even though he is a freak athlete? It is really easy to blame the player, but then again I would love to see anybody who calls him slow lace up skates and face the best players on the opposing team every night.

The Bruins plan for last season was to limit his minutes. Dennis Seidenberg tore his ACL and screwed that one up royally (not his fault obviously). So the team was forced to overuse their big man and he was unfortunately exposed. If Seides hadn’t gotten hurt, would that of happened? Who knows, and there isn’t any use in speculating. Hopefully it won’t come to that next season either.

You also can’t avoid the hypocrisy regarding Chara and the “window” too. Most people in Boston consider Big Z ineffective and slow right? If you were to type his name into twitter right now you would see a ton of “trade Chara” people. What I don’t understand is that if people feel as if Zdeno is too old and slow, than why is this “win now window” attitude based on him and the remaining years in his career?

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Bruins Development Camp Gets Under Way

bruins development camp

The Bruins Development Camp Is Off & Skating


Welcome back, Bruins fans!

The time has come to start really looking at how the team’s prospects are shaping up. This year’s roster includes a few expected guys, such as first-round draftee David Pastrnak, second-round draftee Ryan Donato, and current P-Bruins Matt Lindblad, Anthony Camara, and Malcolm Subban.

There are a few notable invites added to the camp this year, as well. Casey Bailey and Ryan Carpenter are both collegiate-level forwards who skated out with the P-Bruins guys for the hour long skate today. Carpenter was signed to a one-way contract back in March with the San Jose Sharks, and will be playing with Worcester of the American Hockey League next season. He and Bailey fit in well playing with the Bruins players, as did fellow invitees Alex Cord, Derek Docken, and Garnet Hathaway.

The development practice, which was held at the Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass, looked positive and promising for those watching. According to Mark Garbino of BruinsLife.com, it looked like ‘Pastrnak and Donato are already shaping up to be good friends’. He went on to describe a friendly shootout held between the two after the practice, saying that everyone seemed to be laughing and getting along quite well.

Despite all the incredible forwards who skated around together today, though, Boston newcomer Linus Arnesson seemed to be the breakout star of the practice with his clear, solid defensive play. He made some amazing passes to Pastrnak, suggesting that the two will make a good team when they finally hit the Bruins lineup together. Arnesson, who was drafted by the Bruins in the second round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, was signed to a one-year entry-level contract this June. The Swedish blue-liner spent one final year playing in the SHL before signing his contract with Boston, but we can expect to see him on this side of the pond come September.

As far as goaltending went, all three of the Bruin’s netminding prosepcts- Zane Gothberg, Adam Morrison, and Malcom Subban- were in attendance at the first day of camp. While Subban showed up an hour late due to dehydration issues, both he and Gothberg made solid showings for the practice.

If Bruins fans weren’t excited about next season yet, it’s doubtful they feel the same way now. Preseason is unofficially under way, and I personally can’t get enough of it. I can’t wait to see how the newest prospects measure up against the already formidable lineup the P Bruins have to offer, and I’m curious to see where more veteran players such as Camara and Arnesson will end up come September. Who will be in Providence? Who’s going to be skating out on the ice alongside Chara and Bergy?

Keep following the development camp, because it’s a great way to find out.

Pick Tuukka Rask’s Vaughn Gear For Next Season (PHOTO)

Tuukka Rask Deroy Designs

(ART: Deroy Designs)

Vote For Tuukka Rask’s Vaughn Gear For Next Season

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask had a great season even though the playoffs ended far sooner than he wanted. However, he won his first Vezina trophy and led the Boston Bruins to the best record in the NHL.

Now you can vote for the best goalie on the planet’s gear for the 2014-2015 season.

Tuukka Rask Vaughn Gear

Go to Vaughn’s Facebook page and cast your vote.

Hopefully, his new equipment will bring him some Stanley Cup Mojo!

Pot Of Baked Beans Goes To In Goal Magazine!

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