Patriots

Bruins well represented in Spengler Cup

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Bruins well represented in Spengler Cup

There will be good Boston Bruins representation on the Team Canada entry in the European Spengler Cup next week. The tournament takes place after theChristmas holiday, and is a "who's who" of Canadian players plying their trade in Europe during the NHL lockout.

Patrice Bergeron will once again don the Team Canada sweater after winning gold at both the World Junior and Olympic level, and Tyler Seguin will also be skating for his country among a star-studded group of forwards.

Seguin had this to say on Twitter while speaking glowingly of his invitation to the Spengler Cup team:

"Wearing number 92 for team Canada in the Spengler Cup over the holidays! Big honor can't wait to throw on that jersey alwaysaspecialfeeling"

The Spengler Cup will include six teams in a tournament from Dec. 26-31 playing in Davos, Switzerland at the Vaillant Arena, home of the HC Davos hockey club.

Seguin has been arguably the most impactful NHL player skating in Europe during the lockout and has 24 goals and 38 points in 27 games for HC Biel while Bergeron has 11 goals and 28 points in 19 games for HC Lugano.

The rest of Hockey Canada's roster includes: Cam Barker, Sam Gagner, Jason Spezza, John Tavares, Matt Duchene, Ryan Smyth, Justin Williams, Devan Dubnyk, Carlo Colaiacovo and Jonathan Bernier.

"The players we have selected today are Canadian ambassadors for the game, both in North America and Europe, and we are excited they will wear the maple leaf in Davos," said Hockey Canada Vice-President Brad Pascall. "These players have a wealth of international experience throughout our program and everyone involved, from the players to our knowledgeable coaches and tremendous support staff, is looking forward to the Spengley Cup experience."

This year's Spengler Cup will include Canada's National Men's Team, Adler Mannheim (Germany) and HC Davos (Switzerland), the host team, playing in the Cattini Group, and HC Fribourg-Gotteron (Switzerland), HC Vitkovice Steel (Czech Republic) and Salavat Yulaev Ufa (Russia) playing in the Torriani Group. Interestingly enough Dennis Seidenberg, along with younger brother Yannic, will be playing for the Adler Mannheim team out of Germany in the tournament against Seguin and Bergeron.

The Spengler Cup has been held annually since 1923, and is the oldest professional international hockey tournament in the world.

Five quick thoughts: Patriots put it all together against Falcons

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Five quick thoughts: Patriots put it all together against Falcons

FOXBORO -- Here are some quick-hitting thoughts on the Patriots' 23-7 victory over the Falcons on Sunday night.

1) If the Patriots attacked this game believing that the best defense is a good offense . . . they were right. 

They controlled the ball for more than 18 minutes in the first half and ran for 92 yards on 18 carries (a 5.1 yards per attempt average) with four backs sharing the load. Rex Burkhead gave the team a spark with his speed and vision in his first game back since suffering a rib injury in Week 2. The success the Patriots had running the ball had the added benefit of opening up the play-action pass game and it helped protect Tom Brady. After taking two sacks in the first quarter and a monster hit (penalized for roughing the passer) from Adrian Clayborn in the second, Brady was fairly well-protected. 

PATRIOTS 23, FALCONS 3

2) Tom Brady lamented the fact that he hadn't been more accurate in the red zone of late, but he was better in that area to help the Patriots pad their early lead. 

The Patriots went 2-for-3 in the red zone through the first half, with Brady hitting on touchdown passes to Brandin Cooks (which looked more like an end-around hand-off) and James White. Brady still had moments of inaccuracy. The pass he lofted before being croaked by Clayborn was a bad one that was intercepted. (The pick was wiped after the penalty was enforced.) He threw behind Chris Hogan on multiple occasions. He also had an odd throw float well out of bounds that was intended for Rob Gronkowski. But for the most part he was on point, completing 21 of his first 29 throws for 241 yards. 

3) The Patriots defense showed up in critical moments time and time again in this one. 

They stopped the Falcons twice on fourth down, and they allowed Matt Ryan and his offense to convert on just two of their first nine third-down plays. The Falcons coaching staff deserves plenty of criticism for going for it when they did, but with a banged-up secondary, going against the reigning MVP and one of the best receivers in the league, the Patriots responded.

4) Bill Belichick's run defense was particularly impressive in the first half on Sunday night, helping keep the Falcons from getting anything going until it was too late. 

They allowed just 30 yards on nine attempts in the first two quarters (a 3.3 yards per attempt average), with Malcom Brown, Trey Flowers, Kyle Van Noy, Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise all making impressive stops at, near or behind the line of scrimmage. 

5) The Patriots suffered a handful of injuries to key players that will be worth keeping an eye on moving forward. 

Malcom Brown left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. Their top defensive tackle this season, Brown's absence may be one reason for why the Falcons were able to pump up their rushing yardage to triple digits by midway through the fourth quarter. Dont'a Hightower also left the game and was announced as questionable to return with a shoulder injury. Hightower has had a history of shoulder issues and so perhaps this is an older injury that was re-aggravated. Chris Hogan also left the game briefly and was evaluated for a concussion, according to NBC's television broadcast. He later returned.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE