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.

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The Rise, Fall, Crash, Burn and Renaissance Of the Red Sox

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls Welcome to Fenway Park home of your Boston Red Sox,
(I suggest you click on the links as you reminisce)

Finally the day of the World Series and your bearded Boston Red Sox are back in the October classic. After many seasons of strange happenstance since their last victory and the rise of Red Sox Nation; they have returned. We waited just 6 years this time, instead of 86.

That number is still tough to type. The memories and nightmares from that number are still and always will be fresh in our minds. I never had live images of Dent, Buckner, or Fisk and the likes; but I saw the Boone home run, Grady Little’s last stand and the stolen base. All of them flash before my eyes as I type this for you to read.

RISE. Jason-Veritek-and-Keith-Foulke-Appearance

Papi’s heroics and Foulke’s erasing pitch birthed an entire new brand of Red Sox baseball. The one that was about filling seats, sexy rosters and selling pink hats. That worked and fueled big contracts, beer guts and an ’07 title. Why change that formula? Keep buying the clubhouse beers and signing their increasingly fatter checks and be competitive.

Always there, always in it.

That should be a Red Sox motto.

Always there, more than there; then in less than an hour, out of the playoffs completely. Again the memories, mostly nightmares and flashes of the 2011 team. Up in the 9th with the lock-down jig dancing closer against the measly Orioles. *last button to the Yankees/Rays game* Yankees are up by a landslide. The September from hell is over. *last button Red Sox/Orioles* One on. Papelbon still has it in the bag. *last button* “What in the– How? The Rays came back?! Whatever A-Rod is up maybe he can do us a favor and save us.” *last button and an eternity later* “Ball in the air, Crawford under it, closing in, closing in, he doesn’t catch it. Orioles walk–” *last* “7-7 Longoria cocks the bat, he hits it, down the line and the Rays win it!” *click—* 

Silence.

FALL.

From that moment on it was finger pointing and beer drinking and firing of managers and words shot every-which way. An offseason of disgust. Then utter confusion as Bobby Valentine was hired. You can hear the plane falling down. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

CRASH.

The 2012 Red Sox a team full of money and talent but nothing much else. We dealt with angry Papi, who however, was hitting the ball just like he used to. Then you heard murmurs of dislike. Then Pedroia shot at Bobby V. Texts were sent and more fingers were pointed. And we were tanking down, down, down. The trade deadline passed and somehow we just were expected to like and put up with this mockery of a team.

BURN.

And all of a sudden a trade went through. Sending bags of money and lifeless talent to LA. And we continued to burn into the history books as the clowns from Boston, with no end in sight. And yet the season ended and shortly thereafter Valentine was fired. John Farrell and a slew of free agents were signed to strange deals that were promised to get us back into it. Admit it we were all skeptical.

RENAISSANCE.

And yet hope springs eternal. These fellows were winning some games. But then our closer went down. Then another. But the team was still winning actual games. We got intrigued and the beards began to grow; some since long before and some just popping up as of now. We were intrigued during the season; merely interested because there’s no way that they can keep up the winning- they haven’t in what seemed like ages. No way could they keep this up. But they did, and gathered more than one believer on their way. 131003153809-red-sox-beards2-single-image-cut

They played several Cy Young Winners and candidates and were put up against some historical pitching and beat it with something more than just beards. They pitched toe to toe with some of the best, their bats went hot, then cold and yet we came back to life. We made a few of the most feared hitters and touted prospects fan and shake their head back to the dugouts. And we found out that Koji is part reptile with ice in his veins. We found Papi still has it in him to change a postseason. We have hope and we believe again.

“I haven’t found an answer for the question; why not us?”

After a long six years could it be possible that the Cardinals can, once again, help us forget the painful past?

Lager

+If you’ve seen Fever Pitch you’ll understand the reference in the link.

Team Orange

Song of the post: Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down

Say hello to Exeter Summer League’s newest coach!

I got invited to be asst. coach to my brothers’ summer league team.

Little league, everyone does it but not everyone is good. When I was in early in LL I was the only kid that could catch fly balls, so they put me in the outfield. Then they caught on when I would wear my Nomar shirt to practice everyday that I was a shortstop. I played there but couldn’t hit for shit. I blame my coach, Coach Giles. He would yell at you if you couldn’t hit. Ex-marine turned father who would yell at you if you made a mistake. The one good thing about him was him yelling at his goofy youngest son who ran like a moose and whined like Lebron.

I stayed at shortstop until I was supposed to ahem… “grow” but didn’t really. 6208_102845026392975_7050431_nThen I switched to hitting lefty and could finally hit the outfield. Then I was the ultimate team player, from outfield to second base I had the team covered. Hitting in the 1, 2, 8, or 9 spots I would battle my way on. Once I was on second base was mine. Then I’d stay there because my teammates’ ineptitude.

All that’s in the past and I won’t be batting behind Nomar anytime soon so that dream has come and gone. Baseball now for me comes in either beer league softball, on television or coaching little league.

I’ve coached one other team (also for my bros) before, last time however I was the fifth coach of five. I was just there for the books. That was the coldest baseball season ever.

This time will be better, my brothers can hit, their friends can hit and my brothers are the fastest kids on the team. Fact. I’m looking forward to it, I know I can’t wait to have the opportunity to coach my kid. I have it all planned out. There had better be a draft.

If there is you take strictly good pitchers. Fielding can be taught, pitching can’t. Hitting comes naturally. I’d rather have 8 pitchers on a 13 kid roster than 7 catchers. I mean really you should start with a good catcher, but at the younger ages, it’s tough to find the next Pete Rose.

I’ll let you know how the season goes and when the victory parade cookout is.

Lager

+That’s me circa ’09.