While still recovering from a spring cold that managed to kick my ass all over the place this week...
The long nightmarish, though sort of expected, season has come to a conclusion.
The Celtics dropped their final two games of the season to finish at 25-57 for the year.
They lost to the Sixers 113-108. Kelly Olynyk established a new career high with 28 points and had 9 rebounds as well. Jeff Green scored 27 points and Avery Bradley added 23 points. Rajon Rondo scored just 8 points, but had 11 boards and 14 assists.
The season finale on Wednesday night saw the Wizards win 118-102. It was Olynyk again leading the way offensively with 24 points and 7 boards. Green scored 20 points and Bradley had 18. Brandon Bass scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Chris Johnson hit double figures with 10 points. Rondo sat out the last game and Phil Pressey scored 9 points and dished out 10 assists in his place.
It is hard not to be disappointed in a 25-57 season. There is no way to sugar coat such a bad record. And while a lot of people will be disappointed that the Celtics are likely not going to get one of those top 3 draft picks, given the level to which the expected names to fill those three slots were exposed in the college basketball tournament, they may not really be missing out on much.
The Celtics have a good coach who actually coaches. Brad Stevens did the best possible job he could given the situation. And it isn't like he doesn't have talent on the team. The Celtics have a ton of guys that are decent players and seemingly pretty good people off the court. They are missing that one dominant player to tie everyone together.
I'm not sure how they will go about finding that type of player or even who that player might be, but if they can tie the team together through that type of upgrade, the puzzle pieces they have in place right now just might be enough to turn things around faster than expected.
Kelly Olynyk has shown that he can be a force on the court. Jeff Green may never be the #1 scoring option he shows flashes of being able to do, but being able to put up 20 plus points on any given night is a nice second or third option to have.
The point guard situation is nicely outfitted with Rondo as the started and Phil Pressey showing he can be a capable backup and spot starter as needed.
Avery Bradley has developed into a capable two guard as an offensive player (his defensive capabilities having already been established), Brandon Bass is a solid post player and I love the hustle shown by Chris Johnson.
Of course, I know that some of the players are likely to hit the road in the offseason and I'm by no means suggesting that my thoughts on the players are going to be correct. But I liked the team on the court this year despite their struggles. Why? Because they played their asses off. It was not good enough to win a lot of games, but seeing the effort night in and night out during a "lost" season gives you a little bit of hope.
In other NBA news, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman will not be returning to the job next season. While his record over three seasons was not good, the reason for the departure is tied more to the health situation with his wife than anything else. He was profiled in a SI.com piece that I read this week written by Joan Niesen and it delves into how great a coach he is on a variety of levels. You can read the piece here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/news/20140415/rick-adelman-minnesota-timberwolves-kevin-love/index.html
ORR Girls Track - The Bulldogs track team keeps destroying their competition when it comes to track and field. They beat Bourne 122-13 this past week and my former player Rachel won the 800 meters event in 2:36.
Wareham Girls Track - My former player Paige had a huge week this past week. She finished 3rd in the 800 meters (2:31.4) during the Freshman/Sophomore meet which qualified her for States in that event.
When the Vikings faced GNB Voc-Tech later in the week, they ran away from their competition 94-36 to improve their record to 2-1. Paige was a big part of that as well. She won the 2 mile event in 12:16. She qualified for states in the event and broke the 37 year old school record (12:31). She was also part of the winning 4x400 relay team that finished with a states
qualifying time of 4:32.2.
Wareham Girls Softball - The varsity team dropped to 0-7 on the season after an 11-6 loss to Seekonk and a 6-5 loss to Bourne. Breanna had 2 hits in the Seekonk game. Raelyn got tagged with both losses on the mound.
Upper Cape Girls Softball - Improving upon their no-hitter earlier in the season, the Lady Rams beat South Shore 18-0 in a five inning PERFECT GAME! They are now 6-1 on the season.
I don't write a lot about the Bruins, I know. But with the playoffs starting I thought I'd make note that the Bruins finished as the best team in the NHL. This finish brings them the President's Cup and makes me wonder...so what?
Okay, now I'm not opposed to them being the best team in the league heading into the Quest for the Cup, but the press over them beating the Sabres and sealing the President's Cup was completely ridiculous.
Personally, as long as a team qualifies for the playoffs, do you really care where they end up? Any team can win from whatever seed they start out as. Winning the President's Cup doesn't mean you will win the Stanley Cup. And being the best regular season team means nothing if you aren't the best team after the playoffs are over.
And while it is only the first game of the series, the Bruins losing 1-0 to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night does not exactly inspire confidence.
Heading into the game, I was listening to the sports guy on the radio station I have on in the car. He was voicing the opinion I've heard from others that the Bruins facing the Red Wings is not a typical one vs. 8 seed kind of matchup.
Boston College - The Eagles finally got some good news when Olivier Hanlan, the men's basketball team's best player announced he would be returning to school for his junior year. There had been talk of him entering the NBA draft.
He met with new coach Jim Christian and made the decision to come back to school. For me, I think he made the right decision. He's the team's best player but I don't see him making a big impact on the NBA level just yet. I know if you stay and become a four year player in college, you are seen as having something wrong with you in this day and age. But I think that is pure poppycock. Some players might just benefit from a full college experience and have matured enough that you don't have to worry about a team babysitting him in the NBA.
By the way, Twitter helped rake NCAA president Mark Emmert over the coals this week. It seems he was a guest on the Mike & Mike radio show when they took questions via Twitter with the #AskEmmert hashtag.
TV - The network shows are heading into their season finales with the CBS comedies Mom (already renewed) and The Crazy Ones (fate yet unknown) ending this past week.
BBC America started the second season of their critical and cult hit Orphan Black last night.
Still nothing could top last Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones which featured the most well deserved and well earned death in cinematic history.
Movies - You can check out the final trailer for the X-Men: Days of Future Past movie below.
I saw the movie Frozen last week and found it to be pretty enjoyable. Even funnier was the Honest Trailer for the movie.
Books - I finished reading the Rob Thomas / Jennifer Graham mystery novel Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line before I got sick this week. It is set right after the events of the Veronica Mars movie and with the series/movie creator Rob Thomas involved with the writing, the book did have the right feel to it. The only flaw I saw in the book was the continued insanity of the fully grown adult title character to use a gun, or learn basic self defense tactics.
Music - Did anyone take part in Record Store Day yesterday? I usually try to go to the event which celebrates independent record shops with exclusive vinyl releases from artists both big and small. You can check out what was offered to fans yesterday via http://www.recordstoreday.com
I didn't pick up any of the vinyl releases, but I got three new CDs with the help of the special Buy 2 Get 1 sale at the Newbury Comics location closest to me.
I picked up the debut solo album from former Nightwish singer Anette Olzon called Shine. I grabbed a disc from last year called All Hell Breaks Loose from the band Black Star Riders (the remaining guys from Thin Lizzy). And finally, Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers had a solo album out last year called The Royal Sessions. It celebrates the songs and musicians of Memphis.
I also picked up (via online purchase) the 2013 self-titled debut from the rock trio The Winery Dogs. I had heard three songs when the album was originally released but hadn't yet gotten around to purchasing the CD. Now I have and hopefully there will be a review coming soon.
On October 11, 1979, the Minnesota North Stars opened the season playing the Hartford Whalers. The Whalers had been in existence since 1972 when the somewhat disingenuously named "World Hockey Association" or WHA began operations, and when the WHA and NHL merged, “the Whale” became one of the 4 teams that joined the NHL, along with the Oilers, Nordiques, and Jets.
The NHL treated the merger as an “expansion,” but for an organization “welcoming” new partners, the 4 new NHL franchises were basically stripped of their players and placed at the end of the draft order due largely to the acrimony between the two leagues – and the result was predictable – the Oilers were the only team that ever became successful (due in large part to one particular once-in-a-lifetime player), the rest were relegated to mediocrity. The rest of the three eventually relocated to greener pastures: The Whalers to Raleigh to become the Hurricanes, the Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche, and the Jets became the Phoenix Coyotes. It was only upon relocation that the Whalers and Nordiques achieved any real level of success. Arguably, the league's hubris here started a downward spiral to their canceled season - who wants to pay to see subpar competition?
And so it was 18 years after the inauspicious start in Minnesota (a 4-1 loss) that on April 13, 1997 they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning – perhaps apropos given the NHL’s expansion efforts into areas not typically considered “hockey friendly.” Also apropos, the day before Ottawa defeated Buffalo – far more typical hockey outposts – which eliminated Hartford from the possibility of the playoffs. April 13, 1997 would be the Whalers final game in Hartford.
They’ve been gone from Hartford now for almost as long as they were in the NHL. 17 years ago yesterday, they pulled up stakes and left Connecticut for good.
Connecticut has not been without sports – see the 2014 NCAA Basketball Champion University of Connecticut: the New England Patriots flirted with moving to Hartford until it turned out the property they were looking at was in fact a toxic wasteland and since 2003 the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun has played at Mohegan Sun Resort Casino, but let’s face it ALMOST being an NFL city isn’t the same as being one; being the home of a WBNA team – basically a vehicle for the Indian Casino to draw crowds – isn’t exactly the same as being home to an NBA team.
Here’s the thing though: there are probably more Whalers fans now than there ever were when they were playing. When they would play the Bruins, it was basically a home game for the Bostonians. From 1988, attendance was on a steady decline – it only began to increase when talks of the team moving began. In contrast, The B’s were consistently drawing a healthy crowd. It took three years for the Hurricanes to average what the Whale had been averaging, but they’ve been a healthy draw since. The Whalers now have about 456 fans on facebook.
There was a great write up in the Boston Sunday Globe yesterday on the “Fanniversary” of the last game, and while nostalgia sells the fact is there is one really good reason there is no longer a Hartford Whalers team. No one went to the games. Hartford is really no closer to getting another team than they were back in 1997. The merch sells – back in 2010, it was the best selling merchandise in the NHL and is consistently in the top 5 – but if you want to catch an NHL game in new England, you’re going to the TD Garden in the shadow of the Zakim Bridge in Boston. That’s where you’ll see the 2014 President’s trophy winner Bruins as they make their months long playoff run to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.
So, everyone loves a good story - even if that story isn't exactly non-fiction. The Whale is dead; Long Live the Whale.
Been a while since the last time we have chatted. since then I have finished my Winter Term at Rasmussen pulling all A's. The weird part of the grades, as they were so similar percentage wise, that it actually scared me a bit. As you all know Wednesday was Sully's birthday (53), didn't think for whatever reason he was this old. But anyway it's only a fitting present, if I give him a little tribute to his favorite player Zdeno Chara. Enjoy Sully, from my family to you have a great year, and I hope that you had a great day!
It's a little large, but after all if it wasn't for you we wouldn't have this site to blog on.
Kind of figured you like this one Sully, so I picked it as another one of your gifts....
Here's the last one, would have added some Patriot highlights if they had won. But now on to other things that I want to talk about. I wouldn't go make any plans on the Red Sox repeating as WS Champs in 2014, here are my predictions for the upcoming baseball season.......
American League East Champs - Tampa Bay Rays (sorry Red Sox nation, not this year)
American League Central Champs - Detroit Tigers (even though the Royals, Indians are starting to become worthy contenders)
American League West Champs - Nobody will guess this one, the Seattle Mariners, thought I would be different than AFD
American League Wild Card - Kansas City and those Swinging A's
American League Champs - you guessed it I'm a homer, the Detroit Tigers
Now on to the National League......
National League East - Sorry Atlanta fans, but I am going with the Nationals to win the East.
National League Central - Sorry Cub's fans you are going to have to wait at least another year, I am leaning towards the Pittsburgh Pirates...
National League West - Sorry B.O.B. and you Dodger fans, but if life is right, Kirk Gibson's Arizona Diamondbacks will win the West.
National League Wildcard - Braves and Cardinals (The George Steinbrenner theory Magic, you can't buy championships, you have to earn them)
National League Champs - Washington Nationals (will this be their year?).
World Series - yes I am a homer again, the championship finally returns to Detroit after 2 years of near misses and failures, the Tigers win the World Series in 7 games, and the struggling city regains some stature.....Why because there is no Jim Leyland this year to screw it up, like he did the last two years......
Now that I am finished with that bit of tomfoolery, I would also like to mention that I still have 3 of my final 4 in tact on ESPN. How many of you can say that? Wouldn't it be something if the Dayton Flyers continued their dramatic March Madness run, and took down another pair of giants this weekend? Even though I like Michigan and Michigan St's chances of meeting for a fourth time this year, I am not going to bet my life savings on it occurring. The Dayton Flyers and Stanford Cardinal is what March Madness is all about, knocking down the "Giants," and doing the unexpected............Oh yeah, before I leave I have one more gift for Sully.........
Here's a little news flash Scott, Max ain't getting the money from the Tigers, Miggy Got it! Guess you kind of out thought yourself this time, when you thought by waiting until the end of the year was a better move. The Tigers gave Miggy a 10-year contract extension today, worth $292 million which will make him a Tiger until 2023. What a way to pay him back for everything he has accomplished in a Tiger uniform, since his acquisition from the Marlins....Great Move Mr. I., Scotty you should have taken the $24 million a year and done this...
Until the next time, please feel free to leave your comments, and have a great week!
Earlier this season in the NHL, the West seemed to be the place. Flashy skating. Not much hitting. The Ice Capades of Hockey, with multiple teams sporting records that dwarfed the best in the East. For those who think hockey is best played the way Europe does it, the West seemed at least a partial vindication, perhaps a hope that hockey could be 'civilized'.
Not so fast. Rejoice, all ye who happen to like the way hockey is played by those who invented it. For starters, that style cruised through the Olympics. For seconds, the closest competition was from the closest neighbor (and closest style). And now, the NHL East is riding a wave of late-season resurgence.
The torch isn't even being carried by some of the teams you might expect. Oh, Pittsburgh is in it. The presumptive favorites of the conference are still close to the top. But the infusion of Detroit hasn't done much. At this writing, the Wings are hurting and one point within playoff standing. Weren't these the guys who were supposed to come out of the high-powered West and cruise? Hasn't happened. The powerful Caps are behind them, and looking up at the improving Ohio entry from Columbus. The Devils, who always seem to find a way to make big noise at the end, are in shouting distance but running low on time. Philly, Montreal, Toronto, New York (Rangers)... all in the mix but well back of Pittsburgh... who, by the way, trails the front runner by six points, albeit with a game in hand.
That front runner is, of course, Boston. The team that perhaps best symbolizes old-school hockey. The team that lost game 6 of the finals last year on a last-minute flurry of giveaways to Chicago. The team that traded away its can't-miss #1 pick before the season, lost its two grand old men to retirement and free agency respectively, and lost its great #2 defenseman for the season. At that point they were the first-place team in a last-place division.
The division may not be much stronger, but how things have changed for the Bruins.
Since falling to their old nemesis Washington on March 1, they've won 12 straight games. That streak has left the division deep in the rear-view mirror, but it's done something else. As mentioned, it's vaulted them past Pittsburgh for the best conference record at this juncture. And, even if only momentarily, it's put them past the St. Louis Blues who looked like President's Cup shoo-ins a week or two ago.
Of course, winning streaks have a way of doing things like that, and they may not last. But a few things have been telling in Boston's improved play of late.
One such thing is the record they've accumulated against the West, where Roberto Luongo said all the power was. It may be telling that he's no longer there and his powerhouse former team in Vancouver is closer to the last-place Oilers than to the first-place Blues (by a lot). For our purposes, it's equally telling that Boston sports a 17-4-4 record against the West.
Another good sign has been Boston's road play. Whether at the Bell Center in Montreal (when will they rename it the 'Forum'?) or in the rarified air of Denver, the Bruins have had the answers, particularly late in the game, a spot that had been the Achilles Heel of Julien teams for several seasons.
Yet another trend has been their ability to play their game at a higher level than others can play their own. Boston's signature is defense and hitting, but they've been able to dominate former opposite numbers who featured fast skating and cute passing, e.g. Colorado and Montreal. You can't hit what you can't catch. The Bruins have been catching them.
Endurance? The last two games of their western swing have seen Boston play Colorado and Phoenix back-to-back. In both games, Boston had the edge in the 3rd period, first in the thin air and then at the tail end of two road games in two days.
Goals? It seems the point-starved Claude Julien teams of past seasons are a memory. While trailing only LA for the fewest GA, Boston ranks third in GS behind Chicago and St. Louis. And those teams play most of their games in a less defensive conference. Boston's lack of big-name scorers hasn't been holding them down. Rather their depth has been holding them up.
That may be due to the fact that they've been able to field four solid lines and wear down opponents. There isn't a chump on the ice, and they may have the best goaltending tandem in the league. Johnson isn't the star Rask has become, but he's been more than solid.
The big thing though is that the team appears to be growing into its own new clothes. A lot of changes took place during the offseason, more during the season. All these new guys seem to be melding into place, and it shows in the level of team play which has been very high.
A lot of things good and bad can happen between now and June. But for the moment the Boston Bruins are the best team in hockey, and they deserve it. Friday night they became the first team into the playoffs. Will they be the last team out? Only time will tell that.
The Boston Bruins have now won 10 straight…that’s right hockey fans, 10-0-0
And clearly the best of the East. They even are in the conversation for best in the league with the St Louis Blues
I had planned on getting a full breakdown done for my MLB predictions but time hasn’t allowed that. Life has been busy at the new job going full speed ahead. And I must admit, I’m not as into the start of the MLB season as I was a couple of weeks back.
Maybe it’s just the cold weather is lingering on and dampening my enthusiasm. It was 10 degrees when I left the house Tuesday morning warming up into the high 30s, Wednesday saw the mid 40s and today it may just creep up to 50…a damp and dreary 50 that is.
I’m not positive but I vaguely remember the beautiful Mrsharry working on her tan last March…Where is the Spring? Who took it? Al Gore, you don’t know anything…global this!
Here is the promised win predictions for the upcoming MLB season
Boston 95 NY 92
Texas 94 Oakland 92
WC game Oakland at New York
Texas at Boston
WC at Detroit
Washington 98 Atlanta 94
St Louis 90
Dodgers 93 San Fran 90
WC San Fran at Atlanta
St Louis at Los Angeles
WC at Washington
The oldharry mind is trying to put the world events into some sort of order, a lot of things are troubling to me:
The Crimean/ Ukraine/ Russia situation has put the US military on alert…I have children serving in the US military…Read in any emotion at this point.
Secretary of State, John “the mourning dove” Kerry had these slamming scary words for Putin yesterday,
“ What you have done is not in line with how civilized people should act…the repercussions for this illegal action will be…sanctions…”
The warning signs of Russia's actions were visible three years ago, Mitt Romney warned about this two years ago...the administration ignored this right along and now can't do anything about it...troubling indeed.
The missing 777 is troubling, lack of viable information from Malaysia is troubling. No wreckage, no sign of a safe landing. The 777 makes for a large bomb an Israeli agent said recently. “Israel is on alert. How far can you fly at 640 mph with 6 hours of fuel?
What has or will become of the 227 passengers with valid passports…troubling indeed.
Texting while driving has become my pet peeve of the week. I pull up behind a stopped car at a red light. The light turns green but yet the car in front of me doesn’t move…I lightly tap on my horn but still no move. The guy behind me blares on his horn and still no reaction. The light turns yellow and then red again. I put my window down and yell, “hey, stop texting and drive or get off the road!” The driver still doesn’t react. The light turns green and the now 5 cars behind me start tooting their horns. I got out and walked up to the window of the car and there is this guy, about 30 years old texting away…I tap his window and he, startled by the tap, shoots thru the intersection. Idiot.
I was sitting back there stereotyping thinking it was a young woman driver…wrong, idiots take all shapes and sizes.
I went to a local bank to cash a small check from one of my neighbors who insists I take payment for doing neighborly things like shoveling the driveway etc. I don’t bank at this particular establishment so they asked me to produce 2 forms of picture ID. I gave her my driver’s license and my CSL. She scoured them and looked at me several times and compared my signatures. Then she looked at the $30 check and checked the endorsement to the signature on file. She then told me the signature on the check didn’t match the one on file so she would have to contact the signee. She asked me if I was a homeowner and upon me saying yes handed me a flyer of the Banks many benefits and programs to look at while she made the call. A few minutes later she returned and took $30 from the drawer and said, “you see how we protect our depositors, would you like to take advantage of this service by opening an account with us today?”
I said politely, “no I don’t want to open an account with you but I would like my identifications that you put in the drawer back”
Does cashing a check have to be such a hassle? Next time I’ll just deposit it in my bank…but I did need the cash, I hate plastic.
March Madness starts soon…do you have your brackets done yet?
As usual the New England Area has little or no chance to capture the NCAA crown but we will put forth an effort with our 4 teams, Harvard, Providence College, U Conn and U Mass.
Grady Sizemore looks like a 25 year old in Red Sox Spring training. I wonder how long he holds up.
The local beer store was unloading Sam Adams Summer Ale as I drove by…at least the local brewery has the right idea.
Darelle Revis said he’s happy to be a Patriot. Brandon Browner says he’s happy to be a Patriot. Julian Edelman says he’s happy to be back home with the Patriots. Brandon La Fell is very happy to be one of the guys to catch passes from Tom Brady and TB12 will be very happy to have more hands on deck this season…Vince Wilfork says he will be happy to play out the last year of his Patriots contract but he won’t restructure…so release me if you won’t pay me.
Today is the first day of spring and I’m sure that under the graying snow in my yard there are daffodils ready to burst forth…but the forecast for Monday next is 23 degrees by day and single digits by night…
Don’t forget to stop next door and check out Lanz and his talking sports column.