What happened yesterday in sports? A lot, and we are here to recap it for you.
* The Chicago Bulls topped the Miami Heat, 93-89 . This comes after both teams did not make many deadline moves, but the Heat are very much in on Troy Murphy, though I think he will end up a Celtic. Derrek Rose had 26 points for Chicago, while Dwayne Wade led all scorers with 34.
* The Boston Celtics fell to the new-look Nuggets, 89-75. Boston was without Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson, who they traded to the Thunder. Also out was Shaquille O’Neal, leaving the Celtics without any big men after Semih Erden was traded to Cleveland.
* The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New York Islanders in OT, 4-3. The Islanders took an early lead, but the Flyers stormed back to take this one.
* The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens, 5-4. Toronto took a 3-1 lead and Montreal later tied it with two PP goals. But the Maple Leafs scored soon after, and were able to win in Montreal.
* The Los Angeles Kings topped the Minnesota Wild in a key western conference game, 4-2. Also in the west, Vancouver topped St.Louis, 3-2, Dallas beat Detroit 4-1, and Chicago beat Nashville 3-0.
News and Notes:
* Some big moves in the NHL and NBA yesterday. Gerald Wallace was sent to Portland, which really shows the state Charlotte is in. That is all they have, and you have to wonder if folding is inevitable.
* I like the Perkins trade for both teams. From the Thunder side, they get a big man that can really make a difference. For the Celtics, they improve offenseivly with Jeff Green and while Perkins is great on defense, it does not hurt them that much. It is a gamble, with both O’Neal’s hurt, but if they get Murphy I think it’s well worth it.
* The goaltender carosual in Tampa Bay continues. They get rid of Dan Ellis and bring in Curtis McElhinny. I don’t think this makes a difference for the Lightning. The east will come down to Philadelphia and Boston.
* Brooks Orpik will miss the next five weeks for the Penguins. Tough loss after trading Alex Goligoski. Also interesting to see how Alex Kovalev works out there.
* And lastly, an NLL shout out. Brad Bannister, what are you doing? Folding the Roughnecks could kill the league, and you’re fine with it? Take the offer from the Flames and go away.
A lot has gone wrong for the 2009-2010 Boston Bruins. Opening Night 2009 was on October 1, 2009 vs the Washington Capitals. The Capitals won, 4-1. Now the Bruins are in the second round. And the Caps… Lost to the eight seed Montreal Canadiens.
As much that has gone wrong, (where to start?) so much has gone right. It all started the night Bruins leading goalscorer Phil Kessel was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a first and second round draft pick this year, and a first round pick the next. Kessel was coming off labrum surgery in the offseason, so his season did not begin until November. He still had more goals than any Bruins player.
The Bruins where coming off a season where they lost veterans Aaron Ward, Shane Hnidy, Manny Fernandez, Stephane Yelle, PJ Axelsson, and later Chuck Kobasew. They brought in Derrek Morris, Steve Begin, and Daniel Paille.
More went wrong when it was announced five games into the that Kobasew had been traded to Minnesota, but also Milan Lucic had broke his finger. Things got worse when Marc Savard aggravated a broken foot before a game vs Nashville.
The Bruins goal after that was to tread water. They learned early they would not be that offensive juggernaut that got them to first overall in the east the season before. They would have to be more like the 2007-2008 Bruins who took the number one Canadiens seven games. The Bruins got Lucic back in late November vs Atlanta. Savard returned four games later in Minnesota, a game that was won in a shootout. But Lucic was re-injured when he took an awkward pass from Dennis Wideman, and he had a high-ankle sprain.
December would be highlited be the return of Phil Kessel to Boston. The Bruins won, 5-2, with Savard’s hat trick. Going into late December, many worried about the Bruins getting distracted by the upcoming winter classic at Fenway park. They showed this losses to their opponet, the Flyers, and a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where Bill Guerin scored with 0.4 left in the game to tie it. After that Tuukka Rask, a rookie goaltender, started eight straight games opposed to last year’s Vezina trophey winner Tim Thomas.
Thomas was in net for the Winter Classic, and he was the biggest reason they won. The Bruins where down 1-0 with time ticking off the third period clock, and most where thinking “here we go again”. But Derrek Morris made a bueatiful slap-pass that Mark Recchi tipped in to tie it. It would be the second of the three Winter Classics to go to Overtime. The Bruins started off on the power play, but could not score. Thomas then made a fluery of saves the other way. Bruins MVP of the season Patrice Bergeron made a pass to Marco Sturm, which he tipped in. The Bruins did not know that would be the last home game they would win into Febuary.
A few nights later the Bruins misfourtone returned, when 22 seconds into the the game Savard injured his knee. It was revealed he had a torn MCL. In the stretch of his abscence, the Bruins went on a 10 game winless streak, started by a shootout loss in Los Angeles. The Bruins did get Savard back in Buffalo, a game where it showed how much the Bruins missed him, but they lost, 2-1. More bad news would erupt when rookie defenseman Johnny Boychuk was hit in the face by a puck vs the Vancouver Canucks. However, the winless streak would be snapped the next day in Montreal, Super Bowl Sunday.
The Bruins went on a four game winning streak before the olympics, all road games, in Montreal, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and Florida. Six Bruins would go to the Olympics: Thomas (USA), Bergeron (Canada), Zdeno Chara and Miroslav Satan (Slovakia), David Krejci (Czech Republic), and Sturm (Germany).
After the Olympics, the Bruins hit another tough stretch. They lost their first night back on home ice to the Canadiens, 4-1. The Bruins bounced back in games vs Toronto and the Islanders before things would take a turn for the worst. In a game vs the Pittsburgh Penguins the next day, Matt Cooke, a known cheapshot artist around the league, concussed the Bruins best player in Savard. He would need a stretcher off the ice, and would be out indefinetly. Cooke was not suspended by the league. There was a lot of aftermath to follow the incident, from Bruins coach Claude Jullian and GM Peter Charelli stating their displeasure, to former Bruins coach and now Hockey Night in Canada host Don Cherry bashing Cooke. The Bruins would meet the Penguins again on March 18, eleven days after the hit. The Bruins lost, 3-0 in a completey heartless game where many wrote the Bruins off afterward. But the Bruins continued their theme of the season and never said die.
Two days later they would face a team fightning them for a playoff spot, the New York Rangers. The Bruins beat them, and then the Atlanta Thrashers, in convincing victories. Later, they would lose to the Lightning in maybe their best effort all season. But they never said die.
In turned around on March 30, when the Bruins beat the New Jersey Devils in OT. After that they gained points in every game but one.
That’s when the good luck began to turn their way. The Bruins finished as the nukber six seed in the east, with a matchup with the Buffalo Sabres. They got the number two draft pick overall, thanks to Toronto. They beat Buffalo in six games, and would have their star playmaker Savard return. And they would have home ice vs the Philadelphia Flyers.
The season is far from over, but it’s hard to not appriciate what the Bruins have overcome this season. Sometimes good things come to those who wait. Maybe that will be the case for the Bruins. Or maybe their new hope will be shatered. Hopefully the former will come true, but either way, the Bruins have already amazed many. They never said die.
Sorry I have not wrote in a while, it’s been a busy week. I’ll catch you up with everything.
Red Sox: I was at Red Sox games on Monday, Wednesday, and Today. Monday they played the Tampa Bay Rays. Boof Bonser pitched, and got pretty roughed up. The minor leaguers came back, and Ray Chang hit a three run homer. I got an autograph from Terry Francona. Wednesday the Red Sox played the Pirates, and the Red Sox won. I got a ball from Jorge Jimmenez, my second of the spring, the other being from Victor Martinez. Today I saw John Lackey pitch vs the Orioles. He looked pretty sharp. I got an autograph from Dave Trembly.
Mike Lowell fowled a ball off his knee and left the game Friday. I expect this gives the Red Sox an excuse to put him on the DL. If that’s the case, expect Josh Reddick to make the roster.
Bruins: The Bruins won Tuesday night in Atlanta, a huge win. They laid an egg Thursday vs Tampa Bay, and won 5-0 vs Calgary today. Bergeron, Chara, Seidenberg, krejci and Recchi scored today. The Bruins hold a 4 point cushion for the playoffs and move to seventh place with the Flyers losing. The Thrashers play Carolina tonight.
Marc Savard spoke with the media today for the first time since being injured from a hit by Matt Cooke. He said that Cooke has tried to talk to him, but he does not want to talk to Cooke. I am hearing that Savard could return with a deep playoff run by the Bruins.
Vladimir Sobotka returned to game action today while Andrew Ference, just signed to a three year contract (for whatever reason) sat out with yet another injury.
Celtics: The Celtics lost to the Utah Jazz on Monday, while beating the Nuggets Wednesday and the Knigs last night to clinch the Atlantic divison. The Hawks lost to the 76ers, so the Celtics rank ahead of them by one game.
Kendrick Perkins missed last night’s game with a knee injury, and is expected to miss tomorrows vs San Antonio.
Blazers: The Boston Blazers play the last place Philadelphia Wings tonight. If Toronto loses to the Titans tonight, the Blazers with a win could move into second place all alone.
The Mailbag will be Monday. I am in Ft.Myers tomorrow. I will be in Port Charlotte Tuesday, and Sarasota again Wednesday to end my Red Sox spring schedule. I will be in Clearwater Thursday to see the Phillies and the Pirates.