Red Sox

Bruins feel lucky to clinch fifth straight playoff berth

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Bruins feel lucky to clinch fifth straight playoff berth

UNIONDALE, NY There was obviously a very happy group of Bruins players at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday morning after learning that they had clinched a postseason berth with Buffalos loss to Pittsburgh on Friday night.

They dont know who theyre playing and they have no idea what their ultimate postseason fate will be, but right now the Bruins know theyll get an opportunity to repeat as Stanley Cup champs.

The Bs stand as the fourth Eastern Conference team to secure a postseason slot with only two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Its definitely been a long, interesting season. We talked about how quick it was and weve had a lot of ups and downs, said Milan Lucic. Its an accomplishment, but obviously we have another goal in mind and thats clinching our division.

As Lucic stated, the Bruins still have something to play for with five games remaining as the Easts No. 2 slot is still completely up for grabs, but theres also some pride among the players at five straight years in the postseason.

Somebody like Milan Lucic doesnt know any different as the Black and Gold have been in the playoffs every year hes been in Boston. The young power forward realizes hes luckier than most in that regard.

Lucics first thoughts were of Marc Savard and his struggles to finally get into the postseason five years ago which he first did in his second season with Boston along with plenty of other worthy NHL names still waiting for their first taste of playoff hockey.

Im lucky. Im fortunate to be a part of some good teams and really coming into Boston at the right time. Ive been part of the postseason for five years and its great, said Lucic. You think about players that its taken so long for them to get there: I think it took Marc Savard seven or eight years before he made the playoffs. It took forever for Olli Jokinen and Jay Bouwmeester still hasnt made the playoffs, but they still have a chance with Calgary.

The playoffs are something you want to be a part of and its what you play for. Now there are five games left that we have to gear up for it.

That gearing up starts on Saturday afternoon with a matinee tilt against the New York Islanders.

Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

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Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Don’t confuse the goal of a normal spring training with the likelihood one will follow.

Tyler Thornburg’s time with the Red Sox has been an ordeal. He’s optimistic he can have a regular spring training after undergoing surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome in June, a surgery that included the removal of a rib which is now on display at his parents’ house. 

He said Saturday, in fact, there’s a “very good chance” of a normal spring. But there’s also a chance his build up to regular-season form runs unevenly. And that would be OK.

“I started throwing Oct. 2, that’s when they kind of gave me the go-ahead to go tossing,” Thornburg said Saturday at Winter Weekend. “So I’ve been building up slowly since then, just trying to make sure we don’t have any setbacks or things like that, and ramp it up at a good pace. I’m throwing at 120-140 feet, so it’s about the pace I’d normally be on, granted I’d know 100 percent before where I was [under normal circumstances]. So things could be a little different."

Consider a few other things Thornburg said Saturday at Foxwoods.

“I don’t really think any of us really know how quick I’m going to bounce back necessarily as far as how quickly the recovery’s going to go in spring training after an outing,” Thornburg said. “But hopefully I mean it’s fantastic, and we can kind of just keep going.”

A bit of natural uncertainty. He missed an entire season, and the reason he missed an entire season is had a lot going on medically. 

What appeared to be a shoulder injury was far from your usual, say, rotator cuff matter. His was a nerve issue.

“Two of the neck muscles were incredibly hypertrophied, like overgrown, and they just started squeezing on the brachial plexus, where all the nerves run down,” Thornburg said. “I’d be sitting there watching a game and just a nerve thing would hit me and I’d almost get knocked over by it. As well as the first rib was getting pulled up and my hand would just turn red some days if I was just standing there, cutting off the blood circulation. Then all the scar tissue and buildup along the nerves they had to go and dissect all that off there.”

So the injury wasn’t simple, and now, the recovery process is really a whole body matter. 

"There’s a lot off things your arm has to get used to between using different muscles, as well as my arm was kind of working through a scenario where it was trying to overcompensate for this and [trying] to relieve that,” Thornburg said. “So just worked a different way. Now your body has to remember how to actually properly work again. It’s a lot of neuromuscular stuff.”

Thornburg noted the possibility too he could be ready to go to start the season but not really ready to go back to back yet. Would the Sox then carry him on the big league roster, or continue to build him up elsewhere? 

Velocity won’t be there right away for Thornburg, he said: “But I mean that’s what spring training is for for most guys anyway.”

There’s a lot of optimism, but naturally, there’s a lot to be seen. 

“The rehab process, it's been a massive rollercoaster,” Thornburg said. “It really has. But I mean, I've been trying to take it week to week which has been a lot easier. There's the good days and bad days, just different kinds.”

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Former Patriot Mike Vrabel named head coach of the Tennessee Titans

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Former Patriot Mike Vrabel named head coach of the Tennessee Titans

The Titans job was rumored to be the first pick of Josh McDaniels, but as details have come to light, that is not the case.

The Tennessee Titans have agreed to hire former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel as their Head Coach tonight.

The team publicly announced the hire tonight across all of their social media platforms.

Vrabel won the Super Bowl with the Patriots three times in the early years of the New England dynasty. 

Despite having limited experience as a coach, he has attracted much attention in this past offseason for openings across the NFL. He has just one season's experience as a coordinator. 

Vrabel steps in to fill the role of Mike Mularkey, who was fired just one night after many believed he was receiving an extension. Despite the rumor of the extension, Mularkey and the Titans agreed to part ways just one day later.

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