With NHL training camps officially undeway it’s time for hockey fans to start making their predictions.With a new expansion team hockey should be better than ever tis year. Welcome hockeys newest team the Las Vegas Knights. Lets examine three teams that will give the Penguins a run for their money. A team to keep a close eye on is Edmonton. General manager Peter Chairelli has developed the Oilers into a contender in just three years. He has two of the games elite Stars. Forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisiaitl are two of the games best. Both signed long term deals over the summer. McDavids deal is for eight years,one of the largest in team history. Defensively the Oilers are solid with veterans Kris Russell and Matt Benning protecting goalie Cam Talbot.The team also added winger Ryan Strome from the Islanders. Strome is regarded as a depth move and brings a physical presence to the roster. Dallas is a team that was very busy this past off season. The First order of business was the firing of head coach Lindy Ruff. Ruff was replaced by long time veteran Ken Hitchcock. Hitchcock previously coached the Stars ten years ago before moving on to St.Louis. The also added veteran goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop signed a six year deal thatshould bring depth to the goalie department Last years goalie Kari Lehtonen struggled through most of the season. Defensively Dallas acquired Mark Methot from Las Vegas.Plus the team signed Martin Hanzal and Tyler Pitlick. The new additions plus Hitchcock as coach should mix in well with star players Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Within time the Stars should be serious contenders. This leads us to the Bruins. With a new head coach and a nice mix of veterans and rookies the Bruins could be the surprise of the league. Veteran goalie Tuukka Rask is only thirty, and still has plenty of upside.Look for youngsters Charlie Mc Avoy and Brandon Carlo to be elite defenseman.Look for the Bruins to challenge in the Stanley Cup finals.
Even though the Patriots suffered an embarrassing 42-27 loss to the Chiefs, it’s time to move on. The Patriots pure and simply got punched in the mouth. Kansas City has given the Patriots fits before. The quest for championship number six begins now. The coaching tandem of Belichick and Brady has been together for seventeen years. No other coaching tandem in football has won more. And their’s been a lot of great tandems over the years. Tandems such as Lombardi and Starr, Shula and Marino , not to mention Noll and Bradshaw. No matter how great the tandem can be if they don’t play sixty minutes of football any team can be beat. This was the case Thursday night as the Chiefs Tyreek Hill exposed the Patriots Defense pretty badly. With Drew Brees and the Saints Sunday the Patriots cannot afford to many turnovers. Even though the Patriots committed less turnovers they still lost by fifteen points. The reason was the Patriots defense just didn’t stop the run. New Orleans has two great running backs in Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. If the Patriots don’t tighten up then it will be a long afternoon Sunday. Stopping the run was one of the reasons the Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl last year. You can bet assured that the loss did not sit well with head coach Bill Belichick. As history has shown Patriot fans he’ll do whatever needs to be done to win. Last year for example linebackers Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones were traded midway through the season. With fifteen games to go the Patriots need to focus on Defense. Their front seven ranked eighth overall in the NFL last year. You would never no by their performance in game one. If anything defensive backfield is better with ex Bill Stephon Gilmore at corner. But Gilmore played poorly in the opener. Talent wise the Patriots are one of the best in football. Even with the retirement of Rob Ninkovich the defense is still better than most teams. One thing is for sure the quest for number six will not be accomplished with poor performances as opening night.
Now that the Bruins have officially namede Bruce Cassidy head coach it’s time for the 2017 Bruins to go forward. With one of the youngest rosters in the NHL goaltending is still the main area of concern for this years Bruins club. The Bruins finally qualified for the playoffs after a two year absence. Development comes within time. Adding youth and veterans together the Bruins should be serious playoff contenders. Goal tender Tukka Rask is entering his eight NHL season as Boston’s goalie. He finished last year with a 37-20 record and a 2.64 goals against average. Not to mention eight shutouts and five ties. According to Sports Iluustrated Rask is ranke fouteeth among NHL starting goalies. Not bad company. But since the Bruins 2012 Stanley Cup loss to the Blackhwaks Rask has not won a post season round. This could be the result of various reasons. The main reason I feel is Rask plays to many games. Sixty five games plus the playoffs takes it’s toll on you. Personally I think Bruce Cassidy needs to rotate his goalies. Fifty five games and the playoffs would help mentally and physically. Depth wise the Bruins have Anton Khudobin and Zane Mcintyre in Providece. Khudobin is in his second season as Boston’s backup. Last year he had a 2.35 goals against average and a record of 8-6. Mcintyre only saw limited duty with only two apperances. Rotation is the key I feel to the Bruins success this year. If the Bruins can get steady backup play from Mcintyre and Khudobin then the Bruins should be OK. One thing the Bruins did learn from last year was expierience. Experience is your greatest teacher. With youngsters, McAvoy, Jakub Zboril,Brandon Carlo ,and Rob O’Gara fighting for a defensive pairing the defense should be solid. With veterans Dave Krejci,Adam McQuaid, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand leading the way the Bruins should make a strong bid for the Stanley Cup. Mistakes come with youth. Veterans also make mistakes. Mix the two factors together and you’ve got a pretty good team. Goaltending is still the Bruins main concern in 2017/18.
With only twenty nine games left in th 2017 MLS soccer season, the New England Revolution, seem to be on the outside looking in. Standings wise the Revolution have not been gaining any ground at all in the Eastern Conference. Attitude wise the club remains positive. Tenth place has been the home for the Revolution all year. With an 8-12 record the Revolution need to win all nine remaing games. Anything less will result in no playoffs. Desire has been the missing element this season. Several players have stressed that the talk needs to stop and wins need to come. The Revolution have had a realitively weak attack a;; season. Head coach Jay Heaps can feel the fans frustration on a nightly basis. The Revolution continue to play back on it’s heels Moving the ball consistently just hasn’t been their. Without offensive pressure the season could be over soon. Goal tending has been one bright spot for the Revolution. Cody Cropper has been outstanding. With six shutouts to his credit he’s kept the season in tact.Cropper is one of the best in the M,LS with 57 saves to his credit. Backup Brad Knighton has spelled Cropper and has been also impressive. Lack of offense has been the main issue for the Revolution this season. Saturday for example was a typical loss for the Revolution. A 2-1 loss at the hands of DC United.Getting a convincing win hasn’t been happening for the Revolution. Defensively the team has been been pretty stable. With most games decided by one goal the Revolution have been in most games. The team has kept the sore tight for most of the season. Defender Scott Caldwell has been the Teams best defender. Caldwell was also injured missing a few weeks in the middle of the season. League wise the Revolution aren’t that bad. The just can’t seem to gain any ground and catch the Montreal Impact 7th place 36 points. With nine games left the Revolution need to need to play every game with desire. If they don’t they finish the season in tenth place or less in the standings .
Tuesdays blockbuster NBA deal between the Celtics and Cavaliers was a deal that shook the basketball world. Boston is coming off an Eastern Conference championship run and came up short. The trade has brought mixed mixed results to Celtics fans. Going to Cleveland were Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the 2018 Brooklyn pick. Does the trade make the Celtics any better? So far it’s to early to tell. Next year at this time fans will have a better ideaFrom a Celtics point of view they gave up a lot but got a great player in return. Irving has been in the league,and has made the All Star team four times. Thomas since coming over three years ago, took a mediocre Celtics team and made them contenders. His gutsy 2017 playoff performance will go down as one of the greatest playoffs in Celtic history. The Brooklyn pick was the key to the deal Losing Jae Crowder will hurt also. Ante Zizic was the teams number one pick two years ago, and had an excellent summer league. Thomas’s style of play will surely be missed. Crowder on the other hand also played a vital role in last year’s success. The two of them are coming off great campaigns. Without Crowder the Celtics remain thin up front. Granted the Celtic still have the 2017 Laker pick. Overall the Lakers aren’t much better than last year. During the off season the Lakers drafted point guard Lonzo Ball and acquired Brook Lopez and Julius Randle. Certainlyno earth shattering moves. From the Celtics point of view they get a top ten player in Irving. How he buys into Brad Steven’s system remains to be seen. Not to mention getting along with Gordon Hayward , Marcus Smart, and Al Horford. General Manager DannyAinge feels Kyrie Irving is the man to go forward with. Paying Isaiah Thomas was not part of the plan. Irving is twenty five years old . He’s been in the league six years and is a four time all star. Plus a world championship under his belt. Defensively did the Celtics get better? Comparatively Thomas and Irving are about the same Two great shooters but weak on defense. Irving is also one of the best 3 point shooters in the league with a 873 3 point percentage. Personally I feel Lebron is going to stay in Cleveland. Once he gets used to playing with Isaiah I think the two will get a long great together.Getting the 2018 lottery pick will also play into his final decision. Hopefully by Ainge making this deal won’t make the Cavaliers any better. But after Isaiah Thomas’s 2017 playoff performance one has to wonder.
With NHL training camps about a month away, contract talks between the Bruins and David Pastrnak, are moving slowly. The latest proposal is a six year 36 million dollar deal. Considering Brad Marchands eight year 49 million dollar deal that’s not to bad The Bruins need to be careful not to overpay for someone who hasn’t won anything. One example is teammate Brad Marchand. Marchand has been in the league seven years with two trips to the Stanley Cup. Past contract talks have hurt the Bruins. Two such players Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel Both times the Bruins did not want to over pay. This resulted in the Bruins trading both players,and have nothing to show for it. Seguin for example, was one of the most talented players in the league . But again the Bruins traded away a young talented player. Once again the Bruins have failed to get equal value in return for a good player. The Dallas trade for example bought Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow,and Matt Fraser. Eriksson was the most productive out of the four. After two years with Boston Eriksson signed elsewhere. Not to mention scoring 30 goals in 2016 . Kessel on the other hand landed the Bruins two number one picks in 2010 and 2011. In 2011 the Bruins drafted a solid defense man in Dougie Hamilton. Again Boston sent him packing two years ago. Despite the bad trades the Bruins have seemed to find their way back to the playoffs. Boston has missed the playoffs two years in a row. The Bruins have committed themselves to develop young talent. This is what makes Pastrnak so important to the future.He’s the young veteran who can hopefully get them back to the Stanley Cup finals. Pastrnak is one of a host of young Bruins on the rise . Flanked with sold veterans such as Zedeno Chara, Adam McQuaid and Brad Marchand . The Bruin management needs to recognize this and offer Pastrnak a fair salary. Last week the Bruins offered Pastrnak a four year 36 million dollar salary. Even though Pastrnaks been in the league three years either way it’s going to be a tough call. He’s on the same path as Kessel and Seguin. Personally I think a good deal would either be a bridge contract or six years at 42 million. The future is now for the Bruins. .
Rumors never cease in Boston. The latest rumor from ESPN this week has the Celtics very interested in Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. Let’s take a look at three factors why the Celtics shouldn;t make this deal. Reson number one is Isaiah is currently the best best point guard in the NBA East. homas averages approximately 25-30 points per game. Irving avearages between 18-25 points per game. Secondly Thomas is a better passer than Irving. This should mix well with the addition of small forward Gordon Hayward. The Celtics haven’t had a better passer since Rajon Rondo, or going further back which would of been Larry Bird. Thirdly Thomas is a better three point shooter than Irving Thomas has an average of 350 or some stretches at 400. Irving is close behind but Thomas is slightly better. Another point to consider is Thomas has been in the league longer than Irving. Thomas was originally drafted by the Kings. He was then dealt to the Suns . GM Danny Ainge traded for Thomas three and a half years ago. Irving is twenty five but is not as polished or experienced as Thomas. Thomas is well groomed in playoff competition as is Irving playing with LeBron for the past several years. Boston needs to hang on to Isaiah . He is the heart and soul of the Celtics. Since coming over three and half years ago the Celtics are very close for winning the Eastern conference championship. During the playoffs Thomas lost his sister and got his tooth knocked out of his jaw all in one night. Plus he went on to participate in a playoff game and it turned out to beone of the best games of his career. Making a trade for Kyrie Irving would cost the Celtics dearly. Such a trade would cost the Celtics Thomas, Jae Crwder and either Jaylen Brown or Jason Tatum. Not to mention the 2018 Laker pick they acquired just before the draft. Make no mistake about it Kyrie Irving is probably one of the top ten players in basketball. But if the Celtics want to cobtinue to advance in the playoffs they should not trade Isaiah Thomas.
With seven weeks left of the 2017 MLB, the Red Sox find themselves in first place in the AL East. They/ve done this with a combination of hitting and excellent pitching. The Red Sox are doing it with timely hitting and solid pitching. At the trade deadline, the Red Sox acquired Giants utility man Eduardo Nunez. In addition, the Red Sox also picked up Mets reliever Addison Reed and recalled Pawtucket third base man Rafael Devers. Both Devers and Nunez have been a shot in the arm for the weak hitting Red Sox. Devers and Nunez have combined for 8 home-runs while Reed has been a plus in the bullpen. Every game seems to bring out a different hero. Lately the Red Sox have been doing with late season dramatics. Currently, the Red Sox are enjoying an eight game winning streak. The Yankees have fallen four games back while the Devil Rays are in third five games back. Christian Vazquez, Mitch Moreland, Eduardo Nunez and Devers have all contributed with game winning hits. Nunez especially has been important on both defense and offense. If the Red Sox want to remain in first place and have any type of success in the post season they’ll need with both pitching and timely hitting. October is about pitching. Thus far the pitching has been the best in the American League. With a league best 3-64 ERA most of the success is due to Chris Sale. Thus far this season Sale leads the league in both wins and strikeouts.The Sox have also been getting solid performances from Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez. Craig Kimbrell has been super coming out of the bullpen and saving twenty- five games. Pitching is what separates the serious contenders from the pretenders.For the first time in a long time, the Red Sox are last in the league in home-runs/116. Big Papi is no longer delivering big home-runs. What they have is good enough to win. Even if they lack power I’ll take pitching, defense and base stealing any day.