A Good Ol’ Shake-Up

Song of the Post- The Hockey Song

Happy New Year to you! And a not so happy New Year in the TD Garden. Tanking and underperforming teams are a constant as of late.

The underperforming team is the most confusing and perpetuating case that I mention. The Bruins were really effected by that Montreal series, it seems to have shaken the entire franchise to it’s core. They went from being feared and being in the top tier of the NHL to out of the wild card at this point in the season.

Nearly halfway through the ’14-15 campaign and the Bruins have more questions than the start of the season, which is concerning. What is this team to do? CRV5tvm

What are Julien and Chiarelli to do with the current cast of characters in the clubhouse?

The Bruins have gotten complacent and are contempt with their roles. They, and their coach, are set in their ways and know they have job security. Player like, Lucic, Marchand and others have their contracts, feel that their 1-2 seasons of success mean that they are firmly rooted in Bruins history. The Bruins brass needs to make a move that will fetch them either immediate returns or a haul like the Kessel trade.

We as fans deserve better than what has been put on the ice and as the Habs did when they lost to the Bruins in ’11, they rebuilt. They identified their core and upgraded around them. Unfortunately the Bruins were overconfident in their system as well as the players on the roster.

In my opinion, which most assuredly will not be taken into consideration as this team moves forward with the season, the team should sell off some key players this season; mend the ailing players and reload in the offseason. That meaning the B’s should ID some stars they can build on and ones they can lose. That will mean getting younger and getting some weight off the team.

Lucic, Marchand, Kelly, Campbell, Chara, McQuaid and Bartkowski are on my chopping block. Trade these players in bunches and in packages, attempting to obtain some younger talent and picks.

Kelly and Chara to Edmonton for Yakupov or some future picks would be fine by me, that team needs veteran leadership and defensive depth, those players would help solidify the Oilers on almost all fronts.

Lucic, McQuaid/Bartkowski to the Blues for TJ Oshie, as I alluded to in a previous post would help the B’s out on offense and help the Blues with their cap situation.

Marchand, and Campbell to the Blue Jackets or the Hurricanes for picks and/or some prospects in their systems. The Blue Jackets, although they annihilated the Bruins after Christmas, have few offensive options and while Campbell isn’t known for his offense, he can slot somewhere to help them and Marchand can further their edge that they play with. The Hurricanes are slipping and sliding and are thought to be shopping Eric Staal, I think they should do the opposite and add Marchand to his weapons.

Clearly the Bruins aren’t going anywhere, and their system is loaded with young top-4 defensemen, which is why I focused solely on adding forwards. They need a shake up and now is the time to fix it.

-Lomonte

+Pastrnak should not be moved.

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A Boston Sports Fan Holiday Guide

Song of the post: THIS & Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Bruce Springsteen

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from me to you. Those of you in the New England area and New England sports fans globally, have had many Christmas wishes come true over the past 15 or so years.

This year we have a very specific Christmas wish list that would make us all happy in the long run for each of our favorite teams. Starting with the men who play Sundays, following with the Boston Celtics, leading into the Red Sox and then the Big (Bad) Bruins.

For the New England Patriots all we wish for Christmas for them is health, and to retain their level of play. It is no secret that without one of the cogs in the offensive machine that is led by Tom Bradyrob-gronkowski, they aren’t at their peak performance level. Blount and Gray are a dangerous tandem that when healthy can run on just about everyone. Lafell and Wright are similar towards the production in that they help Brady get the first downs when checked upon. Amendola and Edleman are another tandem that is necessary in the Pats successes. As we saw against the Jets, Amendola can be a feature wideout, although it would be nice if he wasn’t the premier target. Edleman has shown time and again that he is the Brown, Branch, Welker type of choice for Tom Brady and as we could tell on Sunday that his absence was felt in the struggle against their New York foe.

Lastly for the offense would be all-time health for Brady and Gronk, without them our ship has no captain or sail to lead us to victory. Without Gronkowski the past several years the Patriots have stalled and not made it where they need to. If he remains healthy with his QB then maybe his QB can party like Gronk until the misses calls Brady home. Four defensive standouts that the Pats wish remain healthy are Collins, Hightower, Jones and Revis. They need their top D-men to keep roughing up the opposition.

The Celtics are next on tap, and we wish for only one thing, tanking. Rondo is out and the Celtics are filled with young talent, but still miss that superstar they need. They need the no. 1 pick overall and the team will be complete. Expiring contracts coming off the book plus young stars coming of age, will be enticing for future free agents. Stay the course Danny Ainge.

We have a few wishes for the Red Sox this holiday season, and that is no more moves. I personally want to hold onto the talent they have and not trade to get Cole Hamels. He is not a necessity as ownership seems to believe. The other wish the current prospects break onto the scene and stay competitive. As a side wish, health for Papi would be well received.

The lackluster Bruins are winners of two in a row going into Christmas and for them we wish they’d get a top six right wingerSochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men and a brand new fourth line. As has been noted since preseason the Bruins need a top-line RW and the Blues are looking to move TJ Oshie according to sources, the Bruins have a need for his talents and could fit well with playmaker David Krejci. A move for him would certainly avoid the forbidden movement of lines in Julien’s system. He could slot in the top line next to Lucic and Krejci, leaving the Bergeron line intact along with the Soderberg-Eriksson line that has been potent as of late. He would shuffle things towards the right path they belong on. However given the Bruins cap situation and the Blues desire to retain Tarasenko they could attempt to deal some of their unnecessary contracts, such as the current fourth line, which hasn’t produced much in quite some time. Moving the likes of Campbell, Paille and even Kelly would free up cap space for the Bruins and offer roster spots for the touted prospects in Providence. Obtaining Oshie would be a giant leap in getting back into the playoff picture, as well as allowing prospects to grow in the Bruins system.

Although one thing we can all wish for is lower ticket prices and less traffic in going to watch our favorite teams. A (Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivus) Miracle it would be.

-Lomonte

+

What Happened? I Blacked Out

Video of the post: Old School Debate scene

Song of the post: 3005 by Childish Gambino

What you should know about the video is that I just cranked out a paper and will stick it to my professor and his anti-American teachings today. Last class so I can’t wait.

On to the important matters; Red Sox and Bruins

The Red Sox, although I did bash them on twitter and a bit here, I now see what has and is taking shape. papi1It is great. Lester leaves to Chicago and cozy up with Theo and Jed, then the Sox promptly trade for two young pitchers that round out the back end of the rotation. They still need an ace. What the Sox did was equivalent to sticking it to Lester.

“Oh you want to leave for Chicago, fine we’ll improve the rotation behind the incoming ace and laugh as you have to deal with Johnny Gomes and Joe Maddon.”

This also shows to certain aces still on the market that the Sox aren’t playing around and can’t just hit and that they are ready to win. They have solid serviceable pitchers and young guns on the way up. Personally I would rather them sign Shields than trade for an ace.

****************

The big overrated Czech is back on the ice and is apparently playing tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. Fitting that Chicago plays Boston and ‘our guy’ chose their mound over ours. I hope the Garden is rocking and the chirpers are out.

Back to Z playing tonight, I don’t think he should. His first game back against the most potent offense in the league, he looked slow this year anyway, so him playing tonight is puzzling, but I digress.

As overrated as I think he is, the boys in black and gold certainly need him back. I unfortunately have not seen much of the games this semester, you can blame the same professor as previously mentioned but, however I know they haven’t been at their best.

This is the time of the year they need to beat the ones they should and put up a fight against the better teams. I will say that the B’s need to make a move for a scorer on the top 2 lines.

The Bruins are in good position considering their predicament they got into with their injury plague and amount of games they played. As their schedule gets deeper and rate of games played thins, I expect them to make a great run and position themselves well going into the All-Star break.

Coming soon: Break down of the Patriots.

-Lomonte

+Masterson signs with Sox

+So now the Sox rotation:
(ACE)Porcello
Kelly
Miley
Bucchholz-Masterson-Prospects

Ouch Jon.

Song of the post: Blank Space by (the one and only) TAYLOR SWIFT

We’ve all heard, and this may be late to the show but Jon Lester is a Chicago Cub. despicable-me-minions-whaaaat-aczfexuc

Jon Lester is gone. He is in the less hated pinstripes and on the up and coming Cubs. Theo Epstein and his “prospects” were more than the Red Sox and their stacked offense and the offer to be the next legend.

Alas it was not enough, and just like that the Cubs are soon to be contenders. My hate for them grows and I’ve said it before but I never want to witness the Cubbies win it. Steve Bartman you are my hero.

We turn the page and look at the strange roster that belongs to Ben Cherington and John Farrell. What are they to do with their minimal pitching? Who is available to sign? How do we fix this?

First, they need an ace, preferably through free agency. Which narrows it down to James Shields and Max Scherzer. Scherzer looks like a Yankee, and he’s asking for 200 million. I think he is out. James Shields, as I think I’ve mentioned before would be the best fit on this Sox team. He can be an ace while our farm system blossoms into great pitchers. I want him and I want him now.

If they cannot obtain an ace through free agency they must turn the tables with trades. No one is safe. The Sox need an ace and they should stop at nothing to get one, one that is young and will actually give them years and productivity if they were to trade Bogaerts, or Betts, or even Pedroia with Cespedes. I said it. Pedroia could be out of town, if they desperately need a young stud pitcher. 201310011529557518686

However, they should lay out the money for Shields and then trade a one-for-one with Cespedes and any of the number of pitchers attached to his name; Cueto, Latos, etc.

Two pitchers and then the Red Sox should stand pat. Keep this roster until NEEDS arise.

Assuming they get the “correct” pitchers in FA and trade market their rotation would look something like:

James Shields
Cuteo-Latos-Masterson
Joe Kelley
Rubby de la Rosa
Clay Bucchholz-Webster-[Prospects]

With the lineup they are throwing out there that is more than formidable enough to contend. Not to mention many players on the roster will be protected by the other members of the lineup and are due for bounceback seasons.

All in all, the Lester loss is baffling, could’ve been avoided and needs to be addressed.

-Lomonte

+Not to mention that the way he left was exactly how he said he wouldn’t leave. He said something along the lines of “what’s 20 million when on a scale that large?”

+ Red Sox- 6 years and $135
+Cubs 6/7 years and $155/170

+Hypocrite, liar, and I’ll deeply think about my fanship if the Red Sox honor him before the next 20 years is up.

+Bobby V’s fault.

 

The Baseball Epidemic

Song of the post: My Oh My by Macklemore || Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen || Centerfield by John Fogerty

They say that baseball is dying, that the sport doesn’t have the same passion and feel to it as the other sports. That’s the truth, but not the whole truth. We can’t refute the cold hard facts that the sport is drawing less interest as other sports, seeing the TV ratings compared to football and basketball. baseball

Baseball is not like any other sport out there. Most of the main sports; football, hockey, basketball, soccer and even lacrosse are goal based sports. Goal-based meaning the object of the game is to score on a basket or past a goalie. Baseball is not like that. There is a uniqueness about it, and a challenge to it. Within the other sports you can say that the same attributes can be carried over to the others. For example; a center in football can be a center in basketball, a midfielder in soccer will have great ease being a forward in hockey (assuming the athlete is capable of dual sports) and so on and so forth. You can pick up what I’m getting at.

Baseball is much different, because there is no “attackers” or “defenders.” It’s the batter against the pitcher and the fielders against the ball put in play. It is a frustrating game. A game so frustrating that as a kid or adult we can lose our tempers at it. Perhaps its the competitiveness but more often than not it’s because ‘I shouldn’t strike out’ makes more sense.

There’s the ball, now hit it.

I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t have my own baseball glove. I was three, or so I’ve been told that I was three when I started down the baseball life; and since then it has always been a part of me. Baseball is like a mafia or a nickname, once you’re in, you’re in for life. From the time you are just learning to play; your dad chasing the ball wherever you end up throwing it, until the neighborhood kids break your window with the ball as you reminisce on the glory days; baseball is in your blood.

Some kids lose the interest for the game others grow up to play. The lucky one’s who play on the big stage are the heroes to many. None more than to the kids who aspire and want to become their idols. Kids like me, who idolized Nomar Garciaparra and could play ball all day regardless of season. Ken_Griffey,_Jr._June_2009

Not everyone is like me however, some don’t understand the game, some get bored by it and others can’t stay up late to watch the games. The sport is dying but only for the unfortunate people who don’t know what it beholds.

The average age of the avid baseball fan is, let’s face it, old guys. Key word average. Let’s say 57 for good measure; they saw the glory days of baseball; they watched it explode. Some were lucky enough to watch it grow from post WWII until now. They saw local teams soon give way to the big city teams and then saw the big city teams create magic on the diamond.

Why are they such big fans? Why isn’t this generation finding the greatness of the game?

I point straight at the time of games. Back in the beginning there weren’t high-powered lights and electricity wasn’t available as is now. Back then the games went two and a half hours, not four. Back then the ads were on the fences not in between and longer than the innings themselves.

Now when you think of baseball you think of the 7 o’clock start and the cool of the night as well as the smell of dogs in the air. It wasn’t always like that. Games were played at 1, 2, or 3 in the afternoon; what importance does this have?

The games that start at that time are available to all, kids who get out of school and immediately flip the TV on, adults at work can tune in the radio and now stream it on the computer and keep them focused until the day’s out. That garnered interest in the past. However, as more places were able to afford the big lights and there was something special about the night game, began to push away the fans slowly. Ever so slowly. 2007-02-19-caps-med

That’s a hard line to connect to the decline in popularity. Hear out my thought; the 7 o’clock games are getting over around 10:30 or 11:00; and kids can’t stay up that late and expect to get to school in the morning. Heck, even adults can’t be expected to do that. The mentality, (not including postseason) is “I’ll watch the game until I fall asleep” believe it or not. That mentality is not beneficial for the sport.

I feel that you should be excited about the game and the close ones especially. Running from the bus stop to watch the 7th, 8th and 9th; or getting out of work to have a beer while the Sox walkoff with a win.

Would it be so hard for the MLB to make a major schedule change? Sunday-Wednesday more games on during the day; with one or two on at night. Then Thursday-Saturday one or two day games and the rest night-caps. I feel that is more conducive with the working person’s schedule.

Who am I to say though? murderer-row.1

Perhaps it’s not necessarily the times of games; because that would be utterly ridiculous as the only reason. There are others such as baseball not being exciting; and then I’d tell the neigh-sayers to watch Four Days in October; or even go to a game. Sure at times its slow, so is basketball. As a Sox fan I hate to say it but I think the lack dominance of the Yankees has a bit to do with it. Without them, that’s nearly 20 million fans not interested in the games.

When the Yankees are good, it’s good for the sport. Every team has a bullseye on them at all times, and that is very important. I hated to lose to the Yankees, but if David doesn’t have Goliath then where’s the story?

Baseball isn’t about watching fast people going back and forth, back and forth, side to side, it’s a competition each pitch. Even then baseball is more than that, to me its part of life.

-Lager

Might as Well, NFL

Songs of the post: Football 1 ::  Football 2

And for good measure.

Ok, while we’re young!

NFL is here and so is fall. This looks like it will be a great season. Wait, every season is a great season. Except ’07, and ’11…

Anyway my picks are in starting with the NFC then going to the AFC and my Super Bowl winner.

NFC:

NFC South Division: Buccaneers, Falcons, Saints, Panthers

The Falcons will come in first this year on the arm of Matt Ryan, hands of Julio Jones, and feet of Stephen Jackson. They now have a running game and can attack an opposing team’s weak points.

dougmartin_The Buccaneers will come in 2nd in the division this year. Shocker, you might think, but their top 8 rush defense now has a cornerback that makes their pass defense top 3 immediately. They also have Doug Martin who can log up big yards and set up the pass for Freeman, who has big targets now.

The Saints will come in third, but will lose a lot of heartbreakers, their defense can’t stop a leak.

Followed by the Panthers who will be a top 5 pick in the draft. CLOWNEY?!

NFC East Division: Giants, Redskins, Eagles, Cowboys

My gut is telling me that the Redskins will win the East, but they’ve been hyped from sea to shining sea. So it will be a closer race than many think. RG3 will have a slump of a year but Morris will take bulk carries. Defense will hold its own.

The Cowboys have a lot to prove this year otherwise I wouldn’t be surprised if Jerry Jones makes some crazy moves. Romo will put his mouth where his money is. Dez Bryant will have a monster year.

The Giants will come in third, but might be a wildcard team because it will be close. Their defense will have a rebound from last year but Manning will drop off statistically.

The Eagles have too many distractions, a new coach and drafted a QB that doesn’t fit their offense. Another awful year Phila.

NFC North Division: Lions, Vikings, Packers, Bears

The Bears will win the division, but by a luck play or two. Like Lewis before him Urlacher will want a good sendoff. Cutler is in a contract year and has favorite target Marshall lined out wide. That defense and Hester cause trouble.

The Lions will finish second, again close, but their defense looked mean, Bush looked good, and they have a better secondary receiver than Titus Young. Johnson will have a sad year compared to last.

The Packers, a potential wildcard team, will not WOW as everyone thinks. Their defense hasn’t impressed me, aside from Clay Matthews. And Aaron Rodgers is an overrated QB.

The Vikings will unfortunately finish last. The other teams will beat up on them and they’ll be the odd man out, still in the hunt maybe 9-7.

NFC West Division: Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, 49ersRichard-Sherman-Seahawks-Wallpaper-nfl-33152085-2816-1583

The 49ers will win the division, I mean they have every position deep with players and talented ones. Their defense got better with Asomuhagh*

The Seahawks will be a wildcard contender. They will impress at home and show some great games against the ‘9ers.

The Cardinals will just be average at best. Palmer to Fitzgerald will be highlight stuff as well as Patrick Peterson doing it all, but he doesn’t have enough to overcome the powerhouses.

Rams. 3 of Redskins first round picks, as well as their own.

AFC

AFC West Division: Raiders, Chargers, Broncos, Chiefs

The Broncos will win the division they basically did after Manning’s showing Thursday.

The Chiefs will finish second and will have a shot at the wildcard. Not enough defense however.

The Raiders, will turn some heads, but are, well the Raiders. Terrelle Pryor will win the starting job and the crazy fans will be back, looking for blood no doubt.

The Chargers will tank so far this season, Phillips will lose his starting job, potential Tebow? Potential Flynn?

AFC North Division: Steelers, Ravens, Browns, Bengals

The Bengals will breakout this season, their defense has been on the rise and will learn from last year’s mistakes.AJ_Green They are still young and could really be a threat.

The Ravens will be in the hunt, Dumervil and Suggs will figure out a nasty combo. Flacco will (hopefully) continue his play from Thursday. Rice will carry the team.

The Browns will finish third and might get all of Ohio excited, but only excited, because their QB is extremely old and their RB will get hurt.

The Steelers will not be as good as they seem to think, their running game is poor and the defense, not what it used to be.

AFC South Division: Titans, Jaguars, Texans, Colts

The Texans will win the division because of experience as well as Cushing returning. Reed will steady their defense and could make a deep playoff run.

The Colts will be second, but the team will take a step back, where Luck will put up similar numbers, most of their team was rookies last year.

The Jaguars will come in third, but only because they are a more rounded team than…

The Titans. Locker and Johnson can’t do everything, or anything (against the Patriots)

AFC East Division: Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Patriots

Division winner will be the Patriots, they have the tenure and respect from the league, but the defense will earn it this year, not so much Tom Brady as in years past. MVP lookout despite my thoughts. Bill-Belichick-Lets-Party

The Dolphins will make it interesting this year, I feel they could take both games against the Pats. Tannenhill was coming into his own and was finding Hartline and added Wallace this winter.

The Bills, because they have a better of 2 rookie QBs. Manuel looks like more of a quarterback than Geno Smith.

The Jets, a joke and will sink further into abyss. CLOWNEY ALERT! MANZIEL?!

SUPER BOWL:

49ers beat Seahawks to advance, too talented all around.

Broncos outshoot Patriots in Welker’s defining game.

49ers confuse Manning to beat the mile high team 27-16

-Lager

Swing Game, Swedish House Merlot

Song of the post: Stockholm Syndrome by Muse

Game five is on tap, and so is Merlot. Daugavins has been dropped from the fourth line, and my guy, Carl Soderberg, the SWEDE is in his place!

Now he is not going to turn the game or series around but I feel he is going to put in serviceable minutes that he had a few times in the regular season. He’s 6’3″ and can fly. I hope he clicks with Peverley or Kelly. Maybe even get bumped up to the third line once Paille realizes he misses Thornton.

That’s all imaginary talk, now the game. Defense wins championships boys, but the legs feed the wolves. SO which is the more crucial, defense or speed?

brad-marchand-punching-sedin1I mean the Bruins proved to everyone that they can skate and score with the Blackhawks, and the Blackhawks proved anyone can score in overtime…. again.

So it’s more important for the Bruins to get back to the lockdown D that got them to this point. I think Tuukka will bounce back from his blunders in game four; but maybe he will prove me wrong. Chara and Seidenberg were not themselves so I expect they’ll bounce back to form. However I think the Blackhawks being at home might find it easier to force mistakes from the D-pairing.

It’s a must win and I am getting worried that the Bruins top line is not enough to keep the ship going, and can’t keep up with the Chicago first line. The speed, skill, defense and brute force of the trio is scary and something the Bruins will just have to contain to a simmer, and not let the other lines get involved. I think the Bruins certainly proved to everyone that you need three solid lines not just 2 like the Penguins.

Marchand needs to step up, he’s been nearly invisible the whole series and we could use a little smirk from him or a little bite to our pest. He has tried to play like Seguin and Jagr at the same time, just play you Brad.

Talk shit, score; that’s what Marchand does!

Lager