Wed. 11/18/15 NE Sports Brief

As I get back into writing here in this blog, again, this time I’m being very cliche and writing in a coffee shop.

Suggested song of the Post: Big Parade by the Lumineers

So I’m trying this new format and figure that it could be a better use of my time, while still keeping up with adding posts. I’ll be recapping the Boston sports scene here in one post. Without further ado, here we go:

Boston Bruins:
This team, this year, doesn’t look like they have what it takes to go deep into the postseason. A month and a half into the season and they have been up, down, sideways all over the place. I might be one optimist in Bruins’ nation but I think they will make the playoffs and the young mixed with the ‘old’ core can thrive once they gel a bit more. When they’ve won, they’ve looked great. When they lost, they look awful. CRV5tvm

No team can win when they blow leads and are horrific on the penalty kill. As the season wears on the upper management needs to remain calm and not throw the future and present out the window in order to get back into it. Maybe a shake up on the blue line to gather prospects or picks, and getting rid of the coach; but more on that in another post. They’ll overall be fine, grabbing the 7th spot in the east for the playoffs but falter to the Habs. They tread water for now.

Boston Celtics
The upstart Celtics have come into the season with high expectations, and a tough beginning schedule. They have done just what I thought of them so far. Good defense and a spotty offense. I like what I have seen, and think they too will be a playoff team. I look forward to the second season we need to keep an eye on, what with the Nets first round pick, potentially a lottery one at that.

Looking way ahead to the offseason and making some bold predictions on that front. A top three pick could be enticing for free agents to take a look here. A top three pick, a young core and a talented coach could be a very good place for Kevin Durant to get the Celtics banner 18.

New England Patriots
This week’s game against the Bills should be a win and they should be careful; being a potential trap game. A trap game, not in the sense that the Patriots could lose the game; but a key player. I am more concerned about the health of the stars and studs on the team than I am with winning a measly regular season game.

I see the Patriots game being somewhat close, but overall the Bills falter on defense making way for Brady’s heroics with a “unknown” name being his sidekick. Patriots 34-Bills 27.

Boston Red Sox
This is our final season with David Ortiz, his farewell tour will be met with smiles, bat flips and some nastiness as the team gets back to October to extend his retirement date a bit further. I like the Kimbrel trade more than most; many think they gave up too much but with them trading away young middle infield prospects, of which you have proven young talent on the roster and also still in the minors, this trade helps them astronomically. I’ll get to the free agency below.

hi-res-339c1723bafc420393c789120f9905f2_crop_north

This season I see them getting to the Wild Card game, (and from there its up to fate) with the Blue Jays still riding high and winning the AL East. Pablo and Hanley start the season with the team but one gets dealt at the deadline for pitching depth (Mark Melanson, Jonathan Paplebon being a few that could be a nice compliment to Kimbrel).

Other Sport Thoughts:

-I see the Free Agency Pitching to fall like this; David Price to the Red Sox. Greinke back to LA. Zimmerman to the Cubs. Cueto to the Giants. Jeff Samardzija to the New York Yankees.

-Speaking of the Yankees, they scoop up Mat Latos or Scott Kazmir, Daniel Murphy and Justin Upton.

Until next time,

-Lomonte

Lazier than Manny Ramirez on a Grounder to Short

Song(s) of the Post: Freak by Steve Aoki & Take U There by Jack U & a throwback on this thursday Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!!! by Vengaboys

Apologies mean close to nothing in today’s world, and I have few avid followers of this blog to write one here. However, I have been busy with plenty of new responsibilities this semester, which speak to my absence on here.

So, as I try to escape studying, and writing papers, I stumbled back upon this hobby of mine.

Since my last post, the New England Patriots have not lost, Tom Brady is funkier than ever and Gronk has turnt up like we all know he can do. Since my last post, the Red Sox are no longer defending Champions, they are chasing free agents with promises and North End’s finest cuisine. Since my last post, the Bruins have started the season the way they should have, losing half their D-corps.

Now to elaborate on each of those topics:W1ST9658.JPG

The Patriots 8-2 on the year, and 6-0 since Kansas City, are in the driver’s seat of the AFC. They look well on their way to title 4. As I alluded to earlier Tom is playing at a ridiculous level for an over the hill QB. The O-line remembered that they’re protecting the greatest QB to play the game. The receivers have finally run the correct routes, and we still have two young guys who haven’t quite broken the starting 11 (Dobson, Tyms). The running game is looking as good as they can without Stevan Ridley, RIP. Bill is coaching out his mind, and the Militia of Boom is coming to fruition now that Browner and Revis are playing at the correct level.

I will say, this is all fun and games but its only November, and I beg that the Patriots aren’t peaking too early in the season. They are playing top-tier football but if they don’t enhance this play during the playoffs, then I gotta say, I’m a little nervous. And believe-me-you the Broncos peaked too early in the season, and dare I say it, but the Eli-led teams peaked weeks 15-February….

That stung, but I’m looking realistically. I don’t believe they’ll take a dip in performance, nor do I wish that upon my team. In Bill We Trust.

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Lester, Panda and the crew will cause some noise this year. 9a48d99d0dc9454aaf303233d4d9ea9f-9a48d99d0dc9454aaf303233d4d9ea9f-0

Things look promising on all fronts with the Red Sox and the free agent class this year. Then again, its only November. I expect a big year from the Sox, as I do every year. This year is the year they can put the Giants and Cardinals in check by asserting their dominance since ’04. Winning 4 in 11 years is just as impressive as 3 in 5. And its almost more difficult to do. With the pending addition of Sandoval, David Ortiz will have more than enough protection in the lineup and have an immensely productive summer. Pedroia in front of him, Cespedes behind him, Panda behind that, and Nap behind him. Not to mention Allen Craig, Xander and Castillo. I feel my wallet getting lighter with all the tickets and beer I plan on buying this summer. The team is going to be stacked…. On offense.

Pitching on the other hand, will be a wild ride. Assuming Lester returns and pitches close to his performance last year the ace will be an ace. 2-5 however will be kind of a toss up. De La Rosa, Webster and Joe Kelly are “meh” pitchers as of now and with the offense looking as potent as it is I’d say they’ll be alright in the end. Koji is back and we’ll need nothing less than what we’ve expected from him. Should be a fun summer with the Sox.

Buy your turkeys early this year, Pablo’s gonna be rich and hungry.

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The Bruins are right where we want them this year. There is no sarcasm in that statement either.They have talent and talent on the IR, set to return for the grind of the season, right in time to be healthy to ramp it up for the playoffs. B1FAzT9CIAA7Say

Rask will return to form and win some games for them. As I said, the injured D-corps will come back and just in time. As we have seen in such a short sampling, when Krejci is in the lineup they can beat whoever they want; all the lines are set in their entirety and they run the show on those nights. Dougie is coming into his own and has almost grown into his body, the 6’5″ Elsa costume wearing peer of mine has thrown on some muscle and has shown a “tough” side at times this year.

I’m not worried about the Bruins and I’d like them to stay put at the trade deadline.

-Lomonte

+BASKETBALL! CELTICS! RONDO! I got nothing.

+I’d rather Boychuk than Chara still on the team but that’s neither here nor there.

+Today’s post was brought to you by procrastination

Take it Easy Tom

Song of the post: 100 Black Coffins by Rick Ross 

I had to let my feelings from Monday night sink in and settle down so in this post I’ll talk about the Patriots flub of a game against the Chiefs.

As you can tell by the song, (53 Coffins on Monday night) the New England Patriots as we know them seemingly died in Kansas City.

First things first, the crowd seemed like a bunch of pink hats out to break the sound barrier only. At least I think so.

Now to analyzing the disgrace that was the Patriots: Special teams, the best in the league. Defense, below average on all accounts and even further below average blowing their assignments and giving up 300 yards in the first half. The offense, even worse than the defense. They couldn’t develop any sense of rhythm or keep the defense off the field to catch their breath.

I’ll focus more on the offense because they are the weakest link right now. It all starts with Tom Brady. You heard right, Tom Brady is the reason that the Patriots are 2-2, not the O-line, not the receiving corps, but Tom Brady is hurting the Patriots more than not. (Aside from Josh McDaniels).hi-res-158177656_crop_exact1

Brady commands respect in every room, field or area he enters and is the greatest post-season QB to ever play. Something is off with him however. Maybe its Gisele wearing the pants, maybe its the new handsome backup from Eastern Illinois, maybe its Tom Brady. Maybe Tom Brady is the problem. He is one of the best motivators of his time and has always seemed to turned it up a notch when it was time to. He was able to motivate when he was playing better than everyone else. He’s been pedestrian so far.

His motivational tactics involve losing his temper and getting amped at his targets. We see it when he hammers his helmet into Gronk’s or slaps Edelman on the ass. He loves the game and gets intense. And until recently the team around him has responded well to it.

This is a different generation now. The offensive line is young, as are the receivers. And this generation, my generation has had the softer coaches and ‘everybody gets a trophy’ mentality. Tom is nearly ten years older than the guys he needs to motivate. Yelling at them makes them tuck their tails between their legs and not step up.

Or so that’s what I’ve seen in the majority of times that Brady has used his anger to motivate the team. The 22 and 23 year old o-line can seem to do nothing right in his mind, but Tom needs to help them as well as motivate them. He has to lead them more than we’ve seen. He needs to also do his job.

-Lomonte

PS: Now that Browner is back this week is the defense going to be the Militia of Doom?

One last thought: Perhaps Josh McDaniels is the issue, not any of the players at all.

The Gang’s All Here

The infamous song of the post: Freaking Out by Flo Rida

This is my first post in quite some time. Nearly a year. I was busy with military training and then an awesome summer job so I drifted away from this lovely little blog. Here I am again, back in school and better than ever.

Since being away New England sports have had let down after let down. Which I’m neglecting to mention.

Today, a mere nine days to the Bruins 2014-2015 season, we look ahead.

466351393_slideKrug’s back.

Smith’s back.

The gang is all here. Something in the air tells me this team is hungry. This team is willing and ready to get our cup back. Tim Thomas may be gone but his logo is stamped on this team. Prove people wrong.

“This team is too slow, this team is too old fashioned, they can’t skate with the rest of the NHL.”

Yet they have the most talent depth defensive core in the NHL, they have a Vezina goalie, and two studs backing him up. They have a Norris trophy winner, and young puck moving defensemen to back the Mack Trucks of Boychuk, McQuaid and Kevan Miller. They have a center corps that is worthy of any NHL team, with Bergeron, a perennial Selke finalist as their 2nd line center. Two left-wingers are determined to bounce back from dismal postseasons. Not to mention the plethora of young talent fighting for their NHL career to take off.

The Bruins didn’t change much from last year aside from losing Thorty and  Jarome “30 Goals” Iginla, which as difficult as it may be to replace those two players I have full confidence that their production will be matched if not passed. If what these two players say is true, Marchand and Lucic are coming back into the season with a head full of steam and are ready to step up their game. Which should mean more scoring from them.

The player replacing Iginla missed significant time last year is Loui Eriksson, and he can score at least 20 goals in his sleep. And playing with a play-making center in Krejci, and a thumper in Lucic he should have plenty of space to snipe.

Reilly Smith is back and is also capable of scoring 20-25 goals, and with chemistry between his linemates already developed, they could be clicking pretty quickly.

The mysterious third line is going to be a work in progress all season. I think it could be beneficial though. I envision Soderberg-Kelly-Spooner as the interchangeable center. Winged by either Paille/Campbell and Fraser. Fraser has impressed me during preseason and might even push Smith for the 2-line RW position.

The fourth line will look quite a bit different from the Merlot line of years past. Campbell said a position change for him could be in effect, that meaning he may not be the center for that line. The fourth line may look like an AHL line of the past two years, bringing along a few of the kids whether it’s Khoklachev, or Caron/Florek may take up two of the positions on that fourth line.

The bottom six forwards will be mixed and matched until something clicks and that will be good, for competition and even production. 1297542845319_ORIGINAL

As for the defense; the top four are likely set in stone. Chara and Seidenberg for chokeholding the other team’s top line, then Boychuk and Hamilton for some  offensive spark and toughness.

The defense will be business as usual, and the bottom two spots may be open for anyone at camp. Although Torey Krug is our powerplay specialist, his spot is not given to him. The last two could be anyone from Krug, Bartkowski, McQuaid, Miller, Morrow or even Warsofsky.

The reigning President Trophy winners have 69 points to replace between a few players. They are hungry and ready to prove people wrong.

Win The Series and Fall Into a Rut: What Not To Do in the Offseason

Song of the post: Dancing with Avicii

Not even a week removed from the superb Sox World Series win, we have reached the simmering of the hot stove. Rumors already bouncing in here, there and everywhere.

The latest and most disturbing to me is the Brian McCann rumor. He and his agent have already started to muse about Fenway and its faithful fans, some Sox representatives have mentioned his name in passing. STAY AWAY! I’ve heard he’s asking for 3-5 years for upwards of 40 million guaranteed.

Have we learned nothing? Stay away. You have 2 serviceable catchers between Ross and Lavarnway, plus a few prospects in the system at the catcher position. We set forth last offseason straying from the big, bloated contracts as well as building from within; why falter from that plan?

I’m not even a fan of bringing back the same team as last year. Yes, the pieces you must bring back can stay there; however the 2013 Red Sox should remain that, the bearded heroes who brought a city back to Boylston Street.

No Salty, no Drew, no Ellsbury, and Napoli may be an exception for a 1 year deal. If we try to bring back the same team we will only be disappointed and let down. The team will compete no matter what and the Sox will be in the hunt but there is no need to repeat history. The free agent market is bleak this year and I think the fans would be perfectly content standing pat, as it were. The city and the fans fell in love with this team; and it seems as though the ownership did even more to the point where it might cripple your chances going forward.

Build from within and extend the players before they reach free agency. We have a great farm system.

-Lager

The Return Of Ty Seguin

Song of the post: Play that Funky Music by Wild Cherry

July 4th, 2013 fireworks exploded above the TD Garden, Tyler Seguin’s apartment, and the NHL buzz followed suit. The Boston Bruins had sent their 21 year old forward to the Dallas Stars in addition with Rich Peverley and in return would get Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and another prospect. tyler-seguin-dog-nap

The word was Seguin was either sleeping past practices or having too much fun after games and during the playoffs. The Bruins were fed up with their under performing star. The players in return were all supposedly good players and had the potential to be great. The one proven veteran was Loui Eriksson, considered the most underrated player in the Western Conference at the time.

The Bruins moved on from Tyler Seguin and were sticking with their game, their philosophy; not being begging for the kid to show his real talent.

It’s now about a month into the Seguin-less era and results are looking muddled. Seguin has been showing that talent we touted and had hoped for. And Reilly Smith has been what we asked of him, a goal scorer with some speed. Eriksson, has followed Seguin’s path and been unproductive and under performing, not so much underrated. He hadn’t found the system before the hit heard ’round the NHL and it’s unlikely he will after.

There are whisperings from the Boston fan base that perhaps the brass pulled the plug on the kid too early. That perhaps he needed a warning not a change of scenery. However, they went with the latter and can’t look back on it. The Bruins are right in the thick of it and will be, so long as they don’t see John Scott anytime soon.

Seguin will be this era’s Joe Thornton; won’t get any significant accomplishments until later in his years, if at all. Speaking of San Jose, they (as in most years) look to be early season favorites for the Cup.

Those who are worrying about the trade need to know two things; its early and that the future is still bright on many of our players. The Bruins will be fine, barring any significant injuries of course. The Krejci line is beyond what would be expected. Iginla has shown promise as his career wanes, his numbers haven’t. Bergeron has looked sharp, unfortunately his linemates have not. Brad Marchand has lost whatever he had and seems to be just swinging his stick out there. Eriksson had the head injury and that has set him back but he had looked more like he was floating as he was out there. The third line players, Kelly, Soderberg, Spooner, Caron and Smith have all looked fast and promising; and if there was a better showing from the second line they could see more results as well. Merlot line is at their par, can’t ask any more and wouldn’t expect any less from them. ????????????????????

The defense has been as advertised; a rotating door at the young position between Krug, Hamilton and Bartkowski. Also as expected is Chara and Seidenberg their decreased minutes and at times decreased skill, and increased age. One problem I don’t like out of the D core is the “non-Krug-Hamilton-Bartkowski” defensemen carrying the puck deep. One good thing is Krug was not a flash in the pan. One bad thing is that Bartkowski can’t be out there more.

Tuuka seems like the number one we will have him be for 8 years.

The penalty kill is shaky and that is uncharacteristic of this group. I don’t fret however, they will come around. The powerplay is also uncharacteristic. They have been buzzing all around the ice and have a new dimension–several dimensions actually, whether its Krug and Krejci toying with defenders or Iginla on the quick shot and Chara with the tip in, the powerplay is much improved.

No worries at the hub, at least not from me. They are running into a tough patch right now but with virtually 2 of the top 6 forwards missing that is natural. They will be on track soon enough. Seguin is going to be a Star (pause for drum kick) but the Bruins will raise a banner before he gets back to the show.

-Lager

+That Seguin picture doesn’t make it look all bad

The Whole Team Here

Songs of the Post: Started from the Bottom by Drake || We Are the Champions by Queen || Tessie by Dropkick Murphys

Your Boston Red Sox are 2013 World Series Champions! The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals 6-1 on the jowls of John Lackey, the broken back of Shane Victorino, the MVP caliber walks of Papi and the [breaking] balls of Koji Uehara. Boston_Red_Sox_celebrates_World_Series_championship_20131031013016_320_240

It had been 95 years since the Red Sox had clinched the World Series at home. 1918 was the last time. That year sounds familiar, huh? Well it’s finally laid to rest. Babe Ruth has rolled over in his grave and now his bones have turned to dust. That number can no longer haunt us, that number is now just that, a number.

It feels like a weight has been lifted and we can finally breath easier. Now this weight is not as heavy, not a fraction as heavy as the one from 9 years ago. This weight carried different burdens; the bloated contracts, the slobs we called pitchers, the crazy manager, the “sexy” team, and being the laughing stock of the league. Now we shed those names and became the heroes, the beardos, the 2013 World Series Champions.

I can’t say much more that hasn’t been said already and I want to let it sink in for all of us, however; since Scott Boras has moved onto free agency; I might as well too.

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I have half a mind of a GM and half a mind of a fan; perhaps that’s mostly just being a diehard. Show me a definition and I’ll stop thinking I can be in the front office. Part of me jumping ahead is because I won’t be around to experience the winter meetings and spring training (more on that in another post).

Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Napoli and Joel Hanrahan frontline the free agent grouping.

Els and Drew are both Scott Boras clients and he has already started the tampering. According to Boras, Ellsbury needs an MRI on his right hand and eleven teams have already called about him. Eleven teams! Also his other champion client Stephen Drew, after an historically poor postseason was fitted for contacts between games five and six. No complaints there actually; he hit a homerun due to the contacts. I believe, unless Farrell needs his binky in Stephen Drew, that both will be gone onto… greener walls… cough.. cough Chicago Cubs.

Good riddance too! At times, most of the times, Stephen Drew was unbearable to watch, and at others you thanked the living gods that he was at short. However, like his brother we won’t really miss him. We have a 21 year old hotshot coming in. And as for Jacoby, he has, until this year been too ‘Hollywood’ for Boston. Many teams will have increased money and Ellsbury should be wooed elsewhere.

Their replacements will be Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. I’m going to be the first to say it; these guys are the biggest, most dweeby, awkward baseball players I have ever seen. Their talent makes up for it though. Xander, fluent in four languages looked dumbfounded and like he’d rather be in an online chatroom when being interviewed; and at times when he was in the batter’s box. And I follow Jackie Bradley Jr. on twitter and some of the things he posts are just plain weird; and this picture: jbj

Like I said, their talent makes up for their current awkwardness.

In my opinion we can move on from Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Napoli. Salty has overstayed his welcome by more than I ever wanted him to. Not to mention that he just kind of appeared on this team. I know he was traded but he’s just bleh. I can deal with Ross and Lavarnway until some of our catchers in the system can develop. Napoli was good while he was here but he was injured and he had that bigger hip issue early on. If they keep it to another year deal that’d be fine; but we can transition Lavarnway and Middlebrooks into firstbasemen as the farm seems to be teething with 3B and catchers.

I’d like to see Hanrahan back simply because Koji is 37 and that was magical and unheard of this season. We can’t expect near perfection for 5 months from him. He and Bailey looked good while they were back and forth between closer and setup. With Tazawa and Breslow and others in the ‘pen we’ll be looking good. I’d hope that Workman stays with the bullpen.

I think Lester should have his option picked up and we should work on and extension in the season. He earned it. Lackey should get another year or two added onto this contract he still owes us. Dubront should be the third starter and hope that he brings his stuff. Peavy and Dempster should split the fourth starter and one could be used as trade bait when the time comes. The fifth starter should be one of the kids in the farms; whether its De La Rosa or Webster; I think they can be brought up and taken under the wings of the older guys.

I didn’t forget about Buchholz:  indiana_jones_and_the_last_crusade

He can be traded at anytime in my opinion. We just went through Beckett checking out for half a year, but Beckett actually went out there and pitched. Buchholz’s attitude is very much west coast and he can go and take his shell necklace and hippie van out to California with him. The Dodgers threw us a bone once, why not again?

It’ll be a hot stove for sure, however we can’t bring back the same 25-40 guys. If you get complacent then you end up rolling in fried chicken grease and beer like the 2011 team.

-Lager

+I apologize for the lateness of the post
+I can’t take credit on the Buchholz picture- (Barstool)
+Check out the facebook page (link top left)