Red Sox

Beers: Don't expect Thomas' workload to decrease

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Beers: Don't expect Thomas' workload to decrease

Tim Thomas has slumped with the rest of the Bruins over the last few months, which raises concerns among those who feel the B's need the Thomas of 2010-11 -- the impregnable last line of defense -- to defend their Stanley Cup championship.

Making it worse is the injury to Tuukka Rask and the ineptitude of newly acquired Marty Turco, which is forcing coach Claude Julien to lean on Thomas as Boston attempts to hold off Ottawa for first place in the Northeast Division (and second or third place in Eastern Conference) down the stretch.

But Bob Beers, the ex-B's defenseman who now serves as analyst on the Bruins' radio broadcasts, doesn't think Julien has a choice.

"It's really important for them to finish second in the conference," Beers told Lou Merloni on 'Sports Sunday'. "That gives them home-ice advantage for the first round. That's imperative for them right now. And Thomas gives you the best chance to do that."
Beers says it's obvious Thomas is playing tired - "Look at his age; look at how many games he's played . . . He played the 25 games in the playoffs last year. He went deep. June 15 was the last game." -- and there could be little things Julien can do to to keep him rested.

"They don't have that many back-to-back games, so you get a day in between, you give him some rest in between, you give him a rest maybe on game days where you don't skate him in the morning," said Beers. "Whatever the case is, try to get him his rest."

Just don't expect to see much of Turco unless the Bruins can put some space between themselves and the Senators.

"If you can open up a little lead over Ottawa -- you've got the games in hand, you get a few point lead -- then maybe you'll see a little bit of a change," sand Beers. "But I don't see them deviating from Thomas being the guy right now."

That being the case, Thomas' strong performance against the Flyers in Saturday's overtime win was a hopeful sign. But Beers warns not to take too much out of it.

"That game against Philadelphia was encouraging, but I'm not convinced yet that he's out of his slump," said Beers. "It's only one game."

ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

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ALCS: Tanaka, Yankees top Keuchel, Astros 5-0 for 3-2 lead

NEW YORK - Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

Gordon Hayward will have surgery on ankle Wednesday night

BOSTON – Gordon Hayward will have surgery on his left ankle tonight, according to a league source.

Hayward, who suffered a left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 102-99 loss at Cleveland on Tuesday night, was considering having the surgery in Boston or back in Indiana by a doctor who had operated on him when he played at Butler.

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It’s too soon to determine a timetable for Hayward’s return, although the Celtics anticipate he will most if not all of the remainder of this season.

Hayward’s injury delivers a major blow to a Celtics team that were considered a top-two team in the East by most.

With Hayward out for an extended period of time, teams like Washington and Toronto are likely to get more serious consideration as another strong threat to Cleveland which has advanced to the NBA Finals each of the last three seasons.

Replacing Hayward in the Celtics starting lineup was Marcus Smart who joined Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE