Experienced Group; With three- quarters of the NHL season over, the team’s defence ranks second in the league in goals allowed. As the third-year coach, Bruce Cassidy rotates goalies Tuukka Rask, and Jaraslov Halak the Bruins have held onto fourth place in the NHL East.
The defensive group of Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon, Carlo, John Moore Kevan Miller, Steven Kampfer, and Torey Rug.. have remained fairly healthy. Early season injuries to Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara the Bruins defence has been one of the best in hockey.
Except for John Moore and Steven Kampfer, the group has been together for five years or longer. At 42 years old Zdeno Chara is a valuable member of the clubs power play. Veteran Torey Krug is having a solid season by logging 44 games played and 5 goals and 33 assists. Krug is also an essential member of the Bruins power play. Sixty Minutes Of Hockey; One area the team needs to focus on is consistency. Saturday’s 5-4 win over the LA Kings the Bruins fell apart in the third period. Future Hall Of Fame winger Patrice Bergeron netted the game _winning goal in overtime to beat the Kings. It was also Bergeron’s 1,000 point as a Bruin.
The team has won and lost several close games this season because of a defensive breakdown. In a recent win over Washington, goalie Tuukka Rask kept the Capitals scoreless for three periods and earned his 253 wins as the organizations winningest goalie.
Staying Healthy; Despite early season injuries to Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara, the Bruins have one of the top five defensive units in the NHL. Outside of the Bruins Anaheim, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Minnesota have better defensive units.
Zdeno Chara continues to pile up the minutes every night. If the rest of the defence can stay healthy, the team should be a serious contender going forward.
Looking Ahead; Head coach Bruce Cassidy continues to mix up his lines regularly. Keeping goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak fresh will be another factor for a successful Stanley Cup run
With three weeks left in the 2018 Major League Baseball season, pitching will decide the outcome of the Red Sox success. The starting pitching has been spectacular. But it will be the bullpen that will determine the Red Sox success In this post, we will review three reasons why the bullpen will be a key factor.
Why The Red Sox Bullpen Will determine Their Post Season success
Depth In The Pitching department
Considering the pitching has been spectacular, they have also been getting quality starts from their fourth and fifth starters. Both Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez have pitched respectably in the absence of Eduardo Rodriguez.
It’s depth like this that have contributed to the teams best season ever. If the club can continue to get valuable performances from their back _end, then the pressure will help the pitching as the club heads into September.
A healthy Chris Sale
Chris Sale has been on the Disabled list since August 3rd with shoulder inflammation. Recently Sale has been throwing on the sidelines and is expected to return in September
Sale 12-3 had pitched superbly before going on the disabled list. Since then the club has been getting valuable contributions from Nathan Eovaldi, Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez.
Getting contributions like this that has propelled the team to the best record in franchise history. Righthander Nathan Eovaldi acquired at the trade deadline, has provided a considerable boost for manager Alex Cora. E
Along with having a deep bullpen the organization has one of the best closers in the game in Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel 4-1 37 saves is one of the teams most valuable players.
A club that has a Craig Kimbrel has an advantage. If the Red Sox expect to win in the post_ season, then Kimbrel will be a key factor. The Stretch Run The season of 2018 has been a historic one to say the least. The club is on it’s to a 110 win season, With new additions JD Martinez the post season will be very exciting.
The Patriots are heading to there eighth SuperBowl under head coach Bill Belichick. This was at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. For New England, it will be their seventh straight title game with Brady as their quarterback. This is the result of a recent controversy involving ESPN and head coach Bill Belichick.
Emphasis on Perfection; Since the arrival of, Bill Belichick eighteen years ago the emphasis has always been perfection. Belichick demands perfection from his players and coaches. Fans may think that Brady and Gronkowski are the two _star players but in Belichick’s mind, everyone is equal. In New England, there is a saying Do Your Job. This means that every player understands his role and doesn’t do too much. New England fans can attest to this motto and have seen good players get released or traded in the past. Recent examples are Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones. ;
The Patriots as an organization believe in getting value. Over the years Patriot fans have witnessed Belichick trading his number one pick. This maneuvering results in extra mid_ round picks. This enables Belichick to not only add depth this year but start planning for future drafts. Currently, the Patriots have at least five starters on the roster that Belichick had never drafted.The most notable free agent was Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler. Tom Brady himself was a late seventh rounder eighteen years ago. This is what separates Belichick, from the rest of the coaches in the NFL
No one person can predict their future, but one thing is certain in New England Tom Brady will be the quarterback for the next four years. This comes after a recent controversy involving Brady and the Patriots. The long controversy whether to keep backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, or trade him came to an end. Garoppolo was traded to San Francisco which sent a clear message that Brady wasn’t going anywhere.
After three weeks of the 2017 football season, the New England Patriots have several red flags that seriously need improvement. Coming off their fifth Super Bowl win this year is no different. New England is an organization that demands excellence. But their are some areas concerning the team. Area number one is the pass protection; Last week against the Saints Tom Brady was sacked three times one sack resulted in a fumble ran back for a touchdown. The Patriots have all their lineman returning from a year ago. Since the season opener against Kansas City, Brady has been under constant pressure. Veteran tackle Nate Solder has been a huge disappointment, so far getting beat on mostly every snap this season. I f the protection doesn’t get better his days as a Patriot may come to an end. Special teams has been another area of concern, for New England. Long time kicker Stephen Gostowski has lost the confidence of the fans,after last years poor playoff performance. Punter Ryan Allen has been sub parr so far this season. After three games this season Allen has been averaging only 35/40 yards per punt. Defense has been the biggest disappointment, this season. Normally the Patriots rank close to the top,but this year the team ranks towards the bottom. Safety Devin McCourty leads the team with 23 solo tackles. In the off season the Patriots went out and signed Buffalo free agent corner Stephon Gilmore. After three games Gilmore has look lost and confused, but does have one interception. Controversial corner back Malcom Butler has been also off missing several assignments. If the defense doesn’t play better, head coach Bill Belicheck may have no choice but to trade some veterans for help up front. Veterans such as Alan Branch and Malcom Butler need to step up if they want to keep their jobs. For a team coming off their fifth Super Bowl win the Patriots realize that their are several areas of concern. Bill Belichick will not stand for complacency; With the NFL trade deadline a couple of weeks away Belichick won’t hesitate, to make deals in order to improve the Patriots.
The Celtics and Wizards continue their round two play off match up to night against the Wizards. So far the series has been pretty equal with the Celtics taking the first two games by scores of 123-111 and a 129-119 overtime win. Game three was won by the Wizards in a blowout 116-89. What has been the difference maker? For the Celtics it’s been Isaiah Thomas. Thomas was deadly in game two putting up 53 after getting a tooth knocked out in game one. For the Wizards John Wall’s 40 point performance only went down in defeat. The difference maker in game three was Otto Porter. Porter had one of the biggest games of his career pouring in 34 and dishing out 14 assist. So what are the keys needed in order to capture the series and move on to the Eastern Conference Championship? i would say it’s a combination of two things one bench and two obviously defense. This is where the Celtics have the edge. Bostons bench of Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson have it over Brandon Jennings, Ian Mahinmi and Bogdanovic aren’t as good as the Celtics. Defensively the Celtics need big games from Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley. Both are shutdown guards on defense. Smart on the other hand needs to keep his cool and not commit so many turnovers as he did in game three. Basically this series can go either way. Which ever team plays Smart and doesn’t commit turnovers will win. If either team flares up like in game three it could cost suspensions as in the case of Wizards Kelly Oubre. Oubre got into a shoving match with Boston’s Kelly Olynyk and this could be an edge for the Celtics Sunday night. So I give the edge to the Celtics with the scoring punch Of Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder. Offensively the Wizards led by John Wall Monkrieff Morris, and Bradley Beal aren’t as good as Boston. Basically their’s no stopping Isaiah Thomas. Also the Celtics have another edge over the Bullets. That’s none other than head coach Brad Stevens. Stevens has done a great job in molding this team together with his rotations and strategies. Look for the Celtics to win in seven. .
The Celtics have had an exciting twenty four hours after capturing the Semi Final East round against the Wizards 115.105. It only gets better as GM Danny Ainge and his brain trust gather to see what number they fall in this years NBA draft. The Celtics have two first round picks via a trade with the Nets. The obvious pick is to improve the teams field goal percentage. The problem is they’re well stocked at point guard. So who do they draft or sign over the summer? If the Celtics fall in the top three look for the C’s to draft either Kansas’es Josh Jackson or NC States Justin Jackson.Jackson a senior totaled 1626 points in his Jay hawk career with a field goal percentage 45 percent. Jackson is one of the top small forwards in the draft. Freshman Josh Jackson is one of the most intriguing players in the draft. Only a freshman Jackson finished his freshman season with 522 points averaging 16 points per game and has one of the best shooting percentages in the country at 51 percent. Kris Jenkins of Villanova is another dark horse player. Jenkins has perfect small forward size 6’6 inches 235 lbs Jenkins had an impressive college career totaling 146 games 1383 total points averaging 9.5 points per game. If the Celtics decide to select a point guard the best shooter in the draft is Markelle Fultz of Wasington. Fultz only a freshman had 579 total points averaging over 23 points per game and a pretty solid 41 percent from the field. Other interesting candidates to keep an eye on are UCLA’S Lonzo Ball A freshman who finished up his career at 36 games totaling 524 points. Ball is not quite as good as Fultz but has a bright future ahead of him. Kentucky’s Malik Monk is another possibility . Monk a freshman shooting guard had an impressive freshman season totaling 754 points and averaging 19.8 points per game. A player who could step right in and help the Celtics would be Iowa State senior guard Monte Morris. Morris has a reputation of not turning the ball over rather than lose it he’ll hold onto til the play is finished. Morris played a total of 140 games with a total of 1708 points . A very sound player who can step right in and help a team out. Another top prospect to keep an eye is Florida States Johnathan Issac. Issac a freshman led the Seminoles to the final eight in this years March Madness tourney.. A strong leader he played in 32 total games with an impressive 50 percent field goal percentage totaling 383 points. c Would be a quality NBA forward within time. If the Celtics decide to go big Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen would be a great fit for Boston. A 7 footer Markannen a freshman totaled 576 total points in 37 games for Arizona. He would be a nice compliment along with current Celtic big man Kelly Olynyk. No matter how the balls drop tonight the Celtics have plenty of options. They could trade this years lottery pick and be in the same position next because they the Clippers number one 2018 pick plus three second rounders. They own the 37th,53rd and 56th picks in this years draft. No matter what direction they go in it should be an exciting six or seven weeks. It only gets better the Celtics will have agood idea of where they stand after to nights lottery drop. Stay tuned.
Now that the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books let’s examine the four Pat’s picks and see if any of these for can measure up to be Patriots. This draft unlike other Pat’s draft only came away with four picks due to off season signings or trades. Unlike other years where Belichick has drafted the likes of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edleman Devon McCourty just to name a few. This year Belichick came away with Youngstown State linebacker Derek Rivers, Troy offensive lineman Antonio Garcia, UCLA OT Connor McDermott and Arkansas DL Dietrich Wise. Starting with Rivers, Rivers was a two time All American for the Penguins. Rivers played a total of 49 games making 37 starts in his four years at Youngstown. Rivers registered 173 total tackles and 119 were solos. Look for Rivers to take the place of departed Chandler Jones at outside linebacker. Offensive tackle Antonio Garcia drafted with the second third round pick out of Troy University. Garcia is massive 6ft 5 291 pounds with exceptional long arms. Very productive starting in 37 games over four years at Troy. In that span Garcia just gave up an impressive 55 sacks. Good competition facing Clemson, Ohio State, Mississippi State and Wisconsin.A project player but look for him to eventually replace Nate Solder injury prone at left tackle within time. Dietrich Wise Wise the Pats 4th pick from the Razorbacks has unusual long arms.Wises length is 35 inch arms. Uses his length well and is very poised as a pass rusher.Also has very quick hands. Didn’t become a starter till his senior year. As a senior he had 119 stops for a total of 55 yards lost.Coming off the bench he was very productive averaging thirteen tackles and two sacks as a sophomore and junior. Will spell relief for Alan Branch and Malcom Butler . Connor McDermott OT UCLA. McDermott had a very solid career at UCLA. Gave up 14 sacks in a game during the 2015 season second lowest in school history. Started in 24 games over his junior and senior year. Also very versatile can play tight end . Something that Belichick relishes. Basically the Patriots traded a 1st,2nd,5th and seventh for off season acquisitions Kony Ealy DE, TE DeWayne Allen Colts, TE James O’Shaughnessy/KC running back Mike Gillislee Bills, Rex Burkhead running back / Bengals.They had a free agent blockbuster signing in signing Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore signed a four year deal with 40 million guaranteed. The team also came to terms with holdout corner Malcom Butler. Also they Also they acquired linebacker Kyle Van Noy from the Browns Van Noy was very productive for the Pat’s appearing in 14 games in 16 plus 3 playoff games. Overall give the Patriots a Dminus for this years draft. Its alot better to draft a player and have under team control for four or five years.By giving up all those picks for guys like Ealy and De Wayne Allen you still risk the chance of losing them in a year or two. Players like ex Patriot cornerback Logan Ryan cornerback Justin Coleman and safety Duron Harmon are examples of this. Players who take time to develop but eventually become quality NFL players.
The Boston Celtics are riding a six game winning streak over the Wasington Wizards thanks to Isaiah Thomas’es 53 point night Isaiah still suffering emotionally from the loss of his sister in a car crash last week as thus far been the MVP of the series. The Celtics however can’t count on Thomas to deliver 30 plus points every night. If they want to keep winning in post season they’ll have to get from everyone. Forward Al Horford is coming around and playing like the player he should be after signing with Boston as a free agent last summer. Both him and Avery Bradley need to play up to their potential and take some pressure off of Thomas . Horford has been playing well both offensively and defensively . Horford had a big game Sunday scoring 20 and snagging 10 rebounds. With Bradley’s defense and shooting the Celtics have enjoyed a six game winning streak. Compared to the first series against Chicago in which the Celtics won in six the Celtics have outshot the Wizards and have dominated on the boards. Rebounding is where the Celtics were weak against Chicago. In order to win they need to dominate the boards. Also they need to get out in front early where in Chicago the Bulls dominated the first quarter and half way into the second before a Celtics comeback from behind victories. Against the Wizards the Wizards have been shooting at a respectable 56%. But the Wizards have been getting most of their scoring from Bradley Beal and John Wall. Starter Moncrieff Morris has been hurt. The Celtics have been getting big games from forward Gerald Green, Kelly Olynyk and guard Terry Rozier. Forward Jae Crowder has come up big to playing solid defense and making critical shots. If the Celtics are to continue their post season success they’ll need from all twelve bodies. Thomas can’t be expected to keep pouring 30 plus night in and night out.They’ll have to get physical contributions from from their big men and shut down defense from Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley in order to keep up their winning ways . Head coach Brad Stevens has done a masterful job in three seasons as the Celtics head coach. Despite being knovcked out the first year against Atlanta and last year against the Cavs Stevens has guided his young team to a 53 win season and a very impressive post season. Banner number 18 is not far away.
With the major league baseball underway here is a breakdown of each AL team that will try to take the AL title away from the Indians. AL East 1st place Orioles strengths pitching,offense and bullpen. Gausman,ChrisTillman, Wade Miley and Dylan Bundy. Plenty of offense in Many Machado, Mark Trumbo, Chris Jones and Adam Jones. Look for the O’s to win 98 games in 17. 2nd place Red Sox. Strengths starting pitching in Chris Sale, David Price Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez. Powerful offense in Jackie Bradley, Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts and rookie Andrew Benintendi. Weaknesses could use a couple of more setup men in the bullpen. Look for the Sox to win 95 games and capture the wild card. Price needs to stay healthy. 3rd place Yankees strengths starting pitching. Michael Pineda,Mashahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Louis Severino are as good as it gets.Closer Aroldis Chapman needs to stay healthy. Offensively Greg Bird Starling Castro, DiDi Gregorious and Brett Gardner are OK. Future stars in catchers Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine. Projected wins 88 may be 90. 4th place Jays strengths offense. Even with the loss of Encarnancion Jose Bautista, Kevin Pillar and Justin Smoak are OK but they could still use another hitter Pitching wise JA Happ, Miguel Estrada, and and Mat Latos are OK but not enough Marcus Stroman is a future Cy Young candidate. Look for the Jays to win 85 games this year. 5th place Rays Strengths OK pitching still trying to deliver a quality starting staff. This year its Chris Archer, Alex Cobb,Blake Snell and Matt Andriese. Alex Colone is the closer. A little weak on offense with Evan Longoria, and Kevin Kiemaier supplying the power. The Rays have a way to go before they compete. Look for the Rays to win 78 games this year. AL Central 1st place Indians strengths everything weaknesses none. Look for the Indians to repeat as AL Champions. Good starting pitching Balanced offense even with homerun king Edward Encarancion pryed away from the Blue Jays.Starting pitcher Hector Carrasco is on e of the leagues best. Reliever Andrew Miller is probably the best setup man in baseball. Look for the Indians to win 100 games this year. 2nd place White Sox strengths bullpen decent starting pitching. They can only go up after losing 103 games in 16. Strong bullpen with Dan Jennings,Nate Jones , and Dave Robertson the clubs closer. OK starting staff in Jose Quintana,Derek Holland and Miguel Gonzalez. Jose Abreau and Melky Cabrera lead the offense. Look for the Sox to win 90 games this year. 3rd place Tigers strenths hitting weaknesses age. This team needs to win now. Starters Justin Verlander and Ryan Zimmerman are a year older. Offensively Miguel Cabreara is the leagues best hitter. DH Victor Martinez is 39 but still dependable. Look for the Tigers to win 83 games this year. 4th place Royals strengths hitting weaknesses pitching. Nce starter in Danny Duffy. Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain supply the offense. Royals need to find their winning ways of old. They won’t be much better than last year possibly 82 wins. 5th place Twins A team trying desperately to compete. They’re rebuilding through the draft. A nice group of starters in Kyle Gibson, Phil Hughes, and Hector Santiago. Out fielders Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario are rising stars. They need more help in the bullpen. Look for the Twins to win 78 games this year. AL West 1st place Rangers strengths starting pitching. The team that won 95 games last year should repeat. Starter Yu Darvish needs to stay healthy. They need big years from left Cole Hamels and Martin Perez. Veteran 3rd baseman Adrian Beltre is one of the leagues best power hitters. Look for the Rangers to win 97 games in 17. 2nd place Astros strengths everything. The Astros are loaded. Starters Lance McCullers, Dallas Kuechel,Colin McHugh and Joe Musgrove are probably the best in the west. They need to stay healthy in order to beat the Rangers. Offensively shortstop Jose Carrera and second baseman Jose Altuve are the games best. Look for the Stros to challenge the Rangers this year and win close to 95 games. 3rd place Mariners strengths experience. This is a group that needs to win now. Felix Hernandez is the teams ace. Second baseman Robinson Cano are a year older and Nelson Cruz are a year older. Veteran pitcher John Smyly was acquired for depth. Third Baseman Kyle Seager is a future star belting 33 hr’s and 99 rbi’s in 16. The M’s could win 87 games in 17. 4th place Angels strengthshitting. Despite having the games best player in Mike Trout and 38 year old DH Albert Pujols the Angels don’t have much. Starters Garrett Richards and Cj Wilson aren’t enough. The Angels will be lucky t win 78 games in 17. 5th place A’s Look for the A’s to fight it out with the Angels for last place. Veterans Rajai Davis and Trevor Plouffe are the teams best hitters. Pitcher Sonny Gray is not the pitcher he used to be. Look for the A;s to win 70 games in 17. Their you have my predictions. Not much different than last year. Look for the Indians and Red Sox to meet in the AL Championship.
Now that the 2017 season is officially over for the Boston Bruins lets takes a look at the positives going into 217/18. For the fifth time in six years the Bruins have been knocked out of the playoffs. This years culprit was the Ottawa Senators. You can say injuries was a big reason for getting eliminated in game five but in all fairness it was the Bruins themselves. Certainly it was not lack of effort it was just a simple matter of talent. Head coach Bruce Cassidy hired mid way through the year replacing Claude Julian did a masterful job. Going forward the Bruins need to tweak their roster. Decisions need to be made on first goaltender Tukka Rask. Rask had a decent year in 2017 registering eight shutouts and winning 31 games. But the bottom line he hasn’t won anything in post season since Tim Thomas left after their 2011 Stanley Cup season. The question is who do they replace him with. With nobody near[y as good in Providence the Bruins will have to consider trading him or explore free agency. Two goalies that are available are free agent Ben Bishop and Flyer goalie Steve Mason. Mason 29 years of age has a cap hit of 1,000,000 dollars played in only 58 games in 17 winning 26.. He’s at best a backup. Bishop on the other hand is the same age as Rask 30 yrs old. Bishop played in only 39 games 1n 17 but overall is about is as good as Rask. The rest of the roster is loaded with youth. Names t keep an eye on are center Tim Schaller,center Austin Czarnik, defenseman Charlie McAvoy. The Bruins need to let go non productive players Jimmy Hayes, Matt Beleskey, and center Ryan Spooner. Veteran defenseman and captain Zedeno Chara is 40. For 40 years old Chara is still productive logging 80 games in 17 and 75 games the year before. With young defenseman on the way up he could be a good role model to have around for another year at 4,000,000 guaranteed. With a weak free agency in 2017 the only attractive names on the market are defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk,Brian Campbell, defenseman Johnny Oduya and winger TJ Oshie. Shattenkirk 28 years old is the youngest and one of the most productive offensive defenseman going.Would be worth a long term investment for the Bruins. Campbell and O’duya are both in their mid to late thirties.Both would be short tem with Oduya’s playoff experience he would be the better fit. The other issue the Bruins need to explore are center David Krejci. Krejci recently signed a long term extension with the Bruins but his production has fallen considerably plus he missed the playoffs with an upper body injury. Krejci also has a no trade clause in his contract . Any deal that may come along the Bruins would ha to swallow most of and most likely get very little in return. One name to keep an eye on in free agency is winger TJ Oshie. Oshie had a solid season for the Capitals Oshie who averages 25 goals a year and still young would be the perfect fit for the Bruins. Clearly the Bruins have some decisions to make over the summer. The best thing they did was go with the youth movement and fire Claude Julian. They need to come to terms with Krejci and Rask and start winning in post season. Bruin fans are waiting patiently.