Collinsworth on the Pats: 'They'll bounce back'


Collinsworth on the Pats: 'They'll bounce back'

The Patriots' two consecutive losses have the locals in a panic . . . but not Cris Collinsworth.

The ex-Bengals receiver, who now serves as the analyst on NBC's 'Sunday Night Football', calls the Pats' recent struggles "a little bump in the road" and reminds everyone there's one big reason "it's hard to imagine this team not bouncing back".

"This is a league where you still pick the quarterback, and when you still pick the quarterback you still pick Tom Brady," Collinsworth said Tuesday on 'The Dan Patrick Show', while admitting that "maybe Brady's second now to Aaron Rodgers . . . "

He also thinks there's another reason New England lost two in a row.

"But I think the other thing we have to remember is who they played the last two weeks," said Collinwsworth. "Watching the Giants in that game, their pass rush is devastating now that they have all their injured players back. They were hitting Tom Brady about the time his back foot was hitting the ground, and that offensive line for the Patriots is not that bad. I mean, they are okay. So I think we have to give the Giants a little credit.

"Obviously, the Steelers surprised them. The Steelers came out and went completely out of character, played the bump-and-run coverage. The Patriots did not adjust very fast, which I thought was stunning in and of itself . . . We're talking about the great Bill Belichick, the great Tom Brady, and yet you could tell it took several quarters for them to figure out that this was what the Steelers were going to do to them."

But for all the happy talk, Collinsworth still has a warning:

"Now they get the Jets, and I thought the Jets played more like the Jets than I've seen them all season this past weekend against Buffalo."

'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments


'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

BRIGHTON, Mass – Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was acting a bit out of character after the Sunday night loss to the Vegas Golden Knights when he said he wouldn’t be commenting on team performance outside of his own goaltending. 

Clearly, it was a tense atmosphere in the Bruins dressing room following an extremely bad road performance and it would seem very likely there’s probably been some friction in the past between Rask and positional players over his postgame candor.


That was the backdrop for Rask keeping it laconic, and saying on Sunday night: “I just try to go out there and give us a chance to win every night. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not going to comment anymore on team play that much. We can just talk about goaltending. That’s just the way it is. Sorry.”

It would seem that some fans and Bruins observers took that to mean Rask was pissed off at his Bruins teammates after a few breakdowns defensively, and a total non-performance at the offensive end of the ice.

Taking all that into account, Rask clarified his comments a bit after practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena and said it’s all about focusing on his own performance rather than taking issues with any of his teammates.

“You lose games and you’re not happy with your performance. Somebody just told me that I guess it got spun the wrong way that it was me mad at my teammates or something. That’s definitely not the case,” said Rask, whom at 1-3-0 with a 3.30 goals-against average and .880 save percentage this season, is clearly in need of some improvement as well.

“You lose games and you definitely hold yourself accountable and you want to talk about your performance and what you need to do to get better," Rask said. "So, that’s where I was coming from. I definitely wasn’t mad at our team. I was more mad at myself, so that’s that.

“You always try to give a fair assessment about the game, but I think the biggest thing that I need to worry about, and what everybody else needs to worry about, is how they get better themselves. You start from that, so that’s where I was coming from.”

The prospect of getting Patrice Bergeron and David Backes back healthy would go a long way toward improving the Bruins play on the ice and stabilizing things defensively for Rask and the rest of the Black and Gold. That’s really what’s needed at this point to improve a situation where the B’s are 23rd in the NHL, averaging 3.6 goals allowed per game, and real, rather than figurative, fingers might start getting pointed all around if it doesn’t start looking better in short order.  

Morning Skate: Shawn Thornton brightening hospitalized kids' days


Morning Skate: Shawn Thornton brightening hospitalized kids' days

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while back in the good, ol' Eastern Time Zone.
*Really nice piece from Shawn Thornton in the Players' Tribune about the inspiration provided by his “Nanny” and how he’s come to truly love the community service and hospital visits while involved with professional hockey. He’s always been one of those athletes that just stops by children’s hospitals for a visit without needing the attention for it, and that is a credit to his great generosity and empathy for those brave kids.

 *You want a Stanley Cup made out of bottle caps? Well, the world will certainly provide a Stanley Cup made out of bottle caps.

*Defenseman Connor Murphy hasn’t been the player that the Chicago Blackhawks expected him to be since arriving in the Windy City.
*The Colorado Avalanche are adding a fancy stats and video man to their management group as they seek to keep improving the NHL product.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Eddie Olczyk is returning to the NBC broadcast booth as his health will allow as he continues to battle cancer. Good to see you back, Edzo!

 *Erik Karlsson is finally set to debut for the Ottawa Senators after offseason foot surgery, and it will be a case of the strong getting stronger for a Sens team off to a pretty decent start.

 *For something completely different: Just in time for Halloween, Jennifer Tilly releases all of the behind-the-scenes secrets of working with Chucky.