Bruins

Blakely: Celtics in the market for bigs . . . badly

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Blakely: Celtics in the market for bigs . . . badly

LOS ANGELES For the Boston Celtics, rebounding has been an issue all season.

It becomes an even greater concern with Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) not expected back, and Chris Wilcox out indefinitely while waiting to have additional tests performed sometime this week on his heart after the findings from an earlier cardiac test raised a red flag that warranted further testing.

Without those two, the C's best (and only) big man off the bench is Greg Stiemsma.

And with the NBA trading deadline at 3 p.m. Thursday, it's no secret that the Celtics are indeed in the market to add another big man.

Rivers acknowledges the need, adding that he hopes a big man can be added without disrupting the team's current roster.

"You don't want to do anything silly, you really don't," Rivers said. "We're building for this year and the future. We're not going to do anything that's going to hurt either one of those. Obviously, we're looking to grab a big from somewhere; hopefully by not giving away a player, doing it another route."

The Celtics have a pair of first-round picks to dangle out there as possible trade bait. Boston may also dangle out a player or two off their bench, such as Keyon Dooling or Marquis Daniels who both have expiring contracts and have limited (Dooling) to non-existent (Daniels) roles off the Celtics bench currently.

Rivers has already said that the team is working under the assumption that O'Neal won't be back, and if he does return it would "be a bonus."

As for Wilcox, who has been one of the team's top reserves the past couple of weeks, his uncertain status has made it difficult for the C's to figure out what their next move should be, roster-wise.

"We don't know if he's coming back or not, and the (trading) deadline is coming up," Rivers said. "So the quicker we find out, obviously that helps us."

But even if Wilcox were healthy, the need for size remains.

"We need another one, regardless," Rivers said. "So we'll be out there. But I don't think there are a whole bunch of teams out there lining up to help the Celtics."

Rivers and Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, have said tapping into the D-League is also under consideration.

"Of course, they're in the D-League and there's probably a reason for that," Rivers said. "And usually there aren't a lot of bigs floating around the D-League. But we're going to look everywhere, wherever we can."

Sunday's game only reinforced how badly the Celtics need help on the boards if they are to have any shot at making a strong surge during the second half of the season and potentially make some noise in the playoffs.

The Lakers had an eight-rebound edge, which was a key to Los Angeles enjoying a 17-8 advantage in second-chance points.

Boston tried to counter the Lakers' size with speed, and at times it worked.

But late in the game, a time when the game tends to slow down and half court offense is the norm, Boston's greatest weakness - lack of size - shined brightly.

Even Kobe Bryant, who is as clutch a player to ever play the game, looked to 7-footer Andrew Bynum in the game's closing seconds instead of getting shots for himself.

To see Bryantlook for Bynum did not come as a surprise to Rivers.

"Listen, they looked at our team and saw our size," Rivers said. "I think they knew exactly where they were going before the game. They won't say it, but the two places they wanted to go was Bynum and (Pau) Gasol. Kobe's going to get his, regardless."

Kenny Agostino looking forward to 'the right opportunity' with the Bruins

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Kenny Agostino looking forward to 'the right opportunity' with the Bruins

BRIGHTON, Mass – It’s been a few different stints with a few different NHL teams for 25-year-old Kenny Agostino, so he knows the drill at this point in his pro hockey career. The Bruins signed Agostino as a free agent on July 1 after he led the AHL in scoring last season, and they gave him a one-way contract as a show of proof that he’d get his chances at the NHL level.

It didn’t happen immediately out of camp as Agostino was felled by a concussion for part of the preseason, but he’ll get his chance now with injuries and ineffectiveness creating an opening for him on the Black and Gold. Agostino should get a look as the left winger on the third line after lighting it up in Providence with two goals and seven points in his first three games with the P-Bruins, and he’s looking forward to seizing another chance at the NHL level after stints with the Flames and Blues. 

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“I’ve been doing this a few years and I like to think I’ve developed my game outside of my offensive ability,” said the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Agostino, who had 24 goals and 83 points for the Chicago Wolves last season. “That’s kind of been my goal to become more of a complete player. I’m excited and looking forward to another opportunity and just want to make the most of it. I’m not looking past tonight.

“I was fortunate as a college guy to get my first pro experience at the NHL level in Calgary, but then you understand how difficult it is to establish yourself. You need a lot of different things. You need the right opportunity and you need to do well with it, so it makes you appreciate how great of an opportunity it is anytime you get to play in this league.”

Certainly, the Bruins are anxious to get a look at Agostino, and probably Peter Cehlarik at some point soon, and the lack of production from some of the NHL incumbents have fast-forwarded that process a little bit. Agostino will replace Ryan Spooner along the half-wall on the first power play unit, and perhaps he can add the kind of scoring touch in the bottom-6 that Matt Beleskey and Frank Vatrano haven’t been able to thus far.

“We know Kenny is going to start in Spooner’s power play spot, he’s done it before and he’s had some success at the lower levels when given that opportunity. Obviously he’ll play left behind [Brad] Marchand and [Jake] DeBrusk, probably on the third line spot,” said Cassidy. “He’s played with [Riley] Nash yesterday [at practice] so there’s a good chance he’ll play with him today.”

The Bruins certainly need a spark after limping out to a 2-3-0 start to the season in the first five games, so perhaps a hungry Agostino can do that while being given a legit chance to show what he can do by the Black and Gold. 

Tuukka Rask out indefinitely for Bruins with a concussion

Tuukka Rask out indefinitely for Bruins with a concussion

BRIGHTON, Mass – Tuukka Rask has been diagnosed with a concussion, and will be out indefinitely for the Bruins after getting trucked in Wednesday’s Bruins practice at Warrior Ice Arena.

The good news is that the 30-year-old Rask hasn’t previously dealt with concussion issues in his NHL career, but the bad news that it looked like a fairly serious concussion after Anders Bjork crashed into him during line rush drills at Bruins practice. It’s still unclear if Bjork caught an edge and crashed into Rask during drills, or if there was contact with another player that thrust the B’s rookie, who needed stitches on his chin as well, into the unsuspecting Bruins goalie for the rare violent collision during an off-day hockey practice. 

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“It’s not really easy. Last year I had a couple of collisions and it doesn’t feel good,” said Anton Khudobin. “Sometimes you get run over in a game and you kind of expect that it’s coming, but in the practices maybe you’re not expecting it. I don’t know. It’s not fun.” 

Rask had to be helped off the ice by his teammates and was spaghetti-legged and unsteady on his feet as he made his way off the way, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect him to miss 7-10 days at a minimum based on NHL concussion protocol. 

Clearly it’s a blow to the Bruins to lose their No. 1 goaltender while struggling to stabilize their game weeks into the regular season, and for Rask it continues a tough season where he’s off to a 1-3-0 start with a 3.30 goals against average and .882 save percentage behind a leaky defense. 

So Anton Khudobin will step in on Thursday night for Rask coming off a 29-save win over the Arizona Coyotes last weekend, and P-Bruins netminder Zane McIntyre will serve as Khudobin’s backup goalie on an emergency basis.

“You don’t want to see that, but at the same time we’ve got to keep moving forward and hopefully he’s going to get better soon,” said Khudobin. “I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year. My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”

It remains to be seen how quickly or slowly that Rask recovers from this concussion, but there is concern as more than a few NHL goalies have suffered from recurring issues once they start going down the path with concussion issues. 

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