Bruins

Wakeup Call: Canadiens are up, Devils are down

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Wakeup Call: Canadiens are up, Devils are down

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, February 19:

BASEBALL
Charlie Manuel takes the I'll-talk-about-this-one-time-and-one-time-only approach about his lame-duck contract status with the Phillies. But if he thinks that's going to put an end to the speculation about his future, well, history tells us he's mistaken. (CSN Philly)

No such problems in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates are extending Clint Hurdle's deal. (AP)

For the first time in history, all arbitration cases were settled before there were any hearings. (AP)

Boston or Oakland, Josh Reddick doesn't go anywhere without that WWE Championship Belt. (CSN Bay Area)

Roger Clemens says he's not losing any sleep over his failure to be voted into the Hall of Fame. (AP)

Dusty Baker looks and feels healthy after recovering from the mini-stroke he suffered at the end of last year. (AP)

One thing he hasn't recovered from, emotionally: How things ended for him when he was with the Cubs. (CSN Chicago)

On the present-day Cubs, Matt Garza is undergoing an MRI on that balky side muscle. (AP)

Meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano -- who refused a trade to the Giants last summer, costing himself a World Series ring -- is preparing for the day when he's shipped out of town. And it's coming. (CSN Chicago)

The season has barely started and already the Brewers' Mat Gamel finds out he'll miss all of it . . . for the second straight year. (AP)

Russell Martin is taking advantage of the WBC to fulfill his fantasy of playing shortstop. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

BOXING
If Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson can hug it out -- and sell a little barbecue sauce on the side -- there's hope for the world yet. (NBC's Off The Bench)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The Pac-12 reprimands Cal coach Mike Montgomery for shoving one of his players, though it won't say exactly what the punishment is. (AP)

No. 25 Notre Dame bounces back from its surprise drubbing at Providence on Saturday with a 51-42 win at No. 20 Pitt. (AP)

Miami? No. 2 in the country? Really? (AP)

The team directly ahead of the Hurricanes in the poll, Indiana, should have guard Victor Oladipo back in the lineup for tonight's showdown with No. 4 Michigan State in East Lansing. (AP)

Former N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe fought the law, and the law won. (AP)

R.I.P., Phil Henderson. (AP)

Brittney Griner scores her 3,000th career point as she leads Baylor to a come-from-behind victory over UConn in a battle of women's basketball titans. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
An external probe shows the NCAA just how messed up its investigation of Miami has been . . . (NBC's College Football Talk)

. . . which gives Miami school president Donna Shalala the opening to blast the investigation as "unprofessional and unethical" and demand her school go unpunished because "we have been wronged." (AP)

Oh, NFL docs? Marcus Lattimore says he's got a surprise for you. (College Football Talk)

Manti Te'o doesn't see why the dead-girlfriend hoax should affect his draft status any. (AP)

HOCKEY
The suddenly hot Canadiens win their fourth in a row, 3-0 over the Hurricanes. (AP)

And the suddenly cold Devils lose for the third time in four games, 2-1 in a shootout to the Senators. (AP)

The Flyers' road woes disappear -- for a day, anyway -- with a 7-0 romp on Long Island. (AP)

The time has come, says Chuck Gormley, for Alex Ovechkin to answer his growing number of critics. (CSN Washington)

It may be an "upper-body injury," but not that upper; according to reports, the Panthers' Kris Versteeg doesn't have a concussion. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

More good medical news: Springfield's Wade MacLeod, the ex-Northeastern star, is released from the hospital after suffering a seizure when he was checked into the boards during an AHL game Sunday. Not much word, however, on what, exactly, his condition is or how long he'll be out. (Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
Prosecutors say there's no evidence to support Oscar Pistorius' claim that he thought his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was an intruder when he murdered her with four gunshots through a locked bathroom door. (nbcnews.com)

An independent review of the Australian swim team's disappointing performance last summer in London reveals a "toxic", leaderless environment that featured "getting drunk, the misuse of prescription drugs, breaching curfews, deceit and bullying." Wow. (AP via nbcsports.com)

PRO BASKETBALL
Jerry Buss was the first NBA owner to recognize that the sport had to sell more than basketball to succeed, and his true legacy reverberates every night across the land in the "game presentation" that includes music, dancers and all the rest of the sizzle that goes with the on-court steak. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Still, asks Ray Ratto, how much credit for the Lakers' success does he actually deserve? (CSN Bay Area)

Buss' six children will continue to own the team, but -- since there's reportedly already discord between Jim, who runs the basketball side of things, and Jeanie, who runs the business end, over the refusal of Jeanie's fiancee Phil Jackson to return as coach -- will things begin to fall apart in what Kurt Helin describes as a "potential Shakespearian-level drama"? (Pro Basketball talk)

Jeremy Lin is "thankful" he wasn't voted into the All-Star Game because, he says, he didn't deserve it. (CSN Houston)

Last week, Derrick Rose said he might not play at all this year. Yesterday, he participates in five-on-five drills for the first team. What, pray tell, does it all mean? (CSN Chicago)

Sounds like the Sixers are finally getting fed up with this ridiculous Andrew Bynum situation. Join the crowd, boys. (CSN Philly)

In routine injury news, Mo Williams is back practicing with the Jazz, six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right thumb. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Darrelle Revis has reached the conclusion that the Jets don't want to pay him what he thinks he's worth, which means his days in New York are probably numbered. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Ravens expect to meet with Joe Flacco's agent at the Combine. (Pro Football Talk)

No one really understands why the Eagles brought in ex-Oregon QB Dennis Dixon, not when they'd already decided to keep Michael Vick and still have Nick Foles on the roster. But Dixon said he's been assured by his oldnew coach, Chip Kelly, that there'll be an open competition for the job and "may the best man win". (CSN Philly)

The Dolphins apparently aren't going to tag Sean Smith. (Pro Football Talk)

Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon when a handgun was found in his luggage at LaGuardia Airport. (AP)

TENNIS
Sloane Stephens' Australian Open upset of Serena Williams seems like a long time ago: She lost yesterday to Sorana Cirstea in the first round of the Dubai Championship. (AP)

David Krejci, Adam McQuaid forced out of Bruins win with injuries

David Krejci, Adam McQuaid forced out of Bruins win with injuries

BOSTON – The Bruins returned Patrice Bergeron and David Backes to good health and their lineup on Thursday night, but they also saw a few more players get banged up in their win over the Vancouver Canucks. 

David Krejci exited Thursday night’s 6-3 win over the Canucks with an upper body injury after scoring a power play goal, and Adam McQuaid also had to leave the game after dropping to one knee to block a shot with his right leg. McQuaid was also already banged up after taking a shot off his knee in last weekend’s loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, so taking another shot off the leg certainly wasn’t a helpful development. 

“He blocked a shot, so he’ll get evaluated tonight or tomorrow. I don’t know how serious – he blocks a lot of shots. This one stung him obviously so we’ll see how it turns out. Adam [McQuaid] has been doing that for years around here. He’s one of the unsung heroes in that locker room. Doesn’t get a lot of credit for what he does, the tough parts of the game, blocking shots, sticking up for your teammates,” said Bruce Cassidy. “He actually manages the puck very well. He’s not a flashy player. He’s not a guy that just throws it away either. He makes good decisions with it, and every team needs an Adam McQuaid. We’re certainly fortunate to have him.”

With Krejci it appeared that he suffered some back spasms after getting cross-checked, and that’s what ended up forcing him out of the win. Cassidy doesn’t foresee it being a long-term thing with Krejci, who finished with a goal and two points in 8:21 of ice time centering Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak.  

“He has an upper body; he had to leave. He wasn’t feeling too terrific today, and then he got, I think there was a cross-check there. He tried it, but couldn’t continue [playing]. I think he had some spasms, but I don’t think there’s anything long-term there at all.”

It remains to be seen if either McQuaid or Krejci will miss any time with the bumps and bruised suffered on Thursday, but it goes without saying that the Bruins hope they can stay in a lineup that’s beginning to take shape with the full group. 

Patrice Bergeron returns as game-changing force for Bruins

Patrice Bergeron returns as game-changing force for Bruins

BOSTON – To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the presence of Patrice Bergeron is a major game-changer for the Boston Bruins. 

Bergeron finally felt good enough to return to the B’s lineup after missing the first five games of the season with a lower body injury, and the impact was immediate and unmistakable with a goal and four points in a 6-3 win for the Bruins over the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden. It was also a far-reaching impact with the Bruins center pumping life back in the B’s power play with a return to his bumper position, returning a top penalty killer to the Bruins rotation, bringing normalcy back to the forward group by slotting fellow forwards back into their rightful spots and simply giving the B’s their best all-around player back. 

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Clearly it was a joyous moment for Bergeron to get back on the ice and play after getting a couple of good days in on the practice ice leading up to Thursday night. 

“It’s hard no matter what it is. You know, when you’re missing games, when you’re missing time, it’s… you miss being out there with the guys and battling with them and going through what we have to go through as a team. It’s good to be back,” said Bergeron. “You don’t know what to expect obviously [after a long layoff]. You’re trying to hope for the best. I don’t want to say I was surprised [at his high level of play] because you want to be at your best every time you step on the ice.”

Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork finally skated together for the first time after building chemistry all throughout training camp, and they finished with four goals, 10 points, a plus-6 rating and 13 of Boston’s 35 shots on net for the game. It was the way that the Bruins roster was drawn up headed into the season before they had a five-game detour due to the injuries, and the hope is that’s the way it will continue to look for the Black and Gold moving forward. 

“I mean it’s pretty evident, you know, the way [Bergeron] played out there. He just, it’s incredible the way he came back and dominated the game after being out for that long, you know?” said Brad Marchand, who finally has his longtime partner-in-crime back. “He’s just such a big part of the group. He’s able to calm things down in the room, on the bench, and he leads by example. He just does everything that a top guy does.”

Perhaps most striking of all was the emotion and organization that the Bruins played with having Bergeron and David Backes back in the lineup. The breakouts, reloading counter-attacks and defensive zone coverage all had more noticeable structure, and the Bruins were able to get the wave after wave attack from their forward groups that spurred on goals both during 5-on-5 play and when special teams were involved. 

Some of that is getting two highly talented players like Bergeron and Backes back from injury, and some of it is getting an important, tone-setting leader like No. 37 back for everything he does off the ice as well. 

Bergeron set up the important answering goal in the first period by firing a puck that created a rebound for Bjork to clean up, he did the same for David Krejci’s power play to close out the first period scoring, he created the turnover that led to Marchand’s goal in the second period and then he sniped home his own goal from the bumper spot to finally clinch things in the third period. It was clear that Bergeron is still navigating through discomfort and some level of injury while playing at this point, but his hockey IQ and his gritty toughness are allowing him to still be a highly effective player. 

“I think it was self-evident out there that the play on the ice, first of all, built a matchup against whoever we really want. The Power play obviously [was a] big impact there. I think it’s just morale as much as anything, on the bench and in the room,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Those intangibles, leadership, first shift of the game, he’s standing up. They had scored a goal and [he’s] kind of settling the troops down, talking about the details of the game. 

“[He’s talking about] finishing your routes on the fore-check and reloading all the way to our zone.

[It’s the] stuff that coaches preach a lot, but goes in one ear and out the other sometimes. When you hear it from the leaders of the group, it means so much more. To have that back in the room and along with David Backes, those are guys that are just vocal players that bring a lot in that aspect. It’s generally, a quiet group. That doesn’t mean you can’t be effective and win as a quiet group, but it just helps sometimes to have a little bit of that energy.”

While it was a clearly a feel-good story to see Bergeron back in his proper environs on the ice, it was also just as apparent there’s still some lower body discomfort with the Bruins center. He looked like he was in pain or laboring at times out on the ice, and admitted after the game that the lower body injury might be something he’ll need to manage for the time being. That would tend to mean that once again this isn’t something that’s going to go away anytime soon, and Bergeron will again need to grind his way through the pain. 

“That’s the million dollar question, right? I don’t know what to say to that. I guess yeah, I mean I’m feeling good,” said Bergeron. “But there’s… we might manage a little bit for quite a while. But I’m feeling good and tonight was no issue.”

Clearly Bergeron and the Bruins will gladly take it if he can be a difference-maker like he was on Thursday night with a four points, eight shot attempts and plenty of hard-working shifts in his 20:58 of ice time for the game. They’ll just need to keep their fingers crossed that No. 37 can keep suiting up and playing at a high level, and that the 32-year-old can avoid any further problems after already sitting out the first five games of the regular season.