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Edelman happy to wind down

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Edelman happy to wind down

BOSTON -- Julian Edelman wasn't at Children's Hospital Boston to talk about football on National Pancake Day. He was there to decorate flapjacks for sick kids like Paige.

Paige is shy; her parents did most of the talking to Jerod Mayo, Kevin Faulk, and Edelman at the Patriots' appearance. The little girl nestled further into her hospital bed as the pros spoke, surrendering a smile only when Edelman fetched her a small teddy bear.

"We watched you guys in the Super Bowl!" Paige's mother gushed.

"Probably should have switched to cartoons . . ." Edelman said wryly.

Of course, there's no avoiding football for a football player. But his sense of humor was fresh all morning. Even with reporters.

"I didn't go to the Combine. I wasn't good enough for the Combine," the former Kent State quarterback grinned.

Former quarterback. Special teamer. Sometimes receiver. Sometimes cornerback. Labeling Edelman has become an ever-changing exercise over the last three years. He got significant snaps as a defensive back last season, splitting his time with both offense and defense.

His versatility adds an air of intrigue to this offseason.

"I'll be a little bit everywhere," Edelman said. "Obviously going to hit it hard, study the film hard on what I have to prepare, take the coaching from the coaches and go from there. I'm excited for the opportunity to get better this offseason and I'm going to take advantage of it.

"I haven't really gone over everything. I've just been trying to wind down and mentally get away from everything. But I'll be discussing that with my coaches soon."

Edelman and Chad Ochocinco are the only two receivers under contract for 2012. That number will stand pat if, as common sense would suggest, Ochocinco gets cut and Wes Welker is tied down. That fact, and April's NFL Draft, will impact Edelman somehow.

Just not yet. For the moment, he seems content to decompress.

"I did design a mean pancake," he said. "Little bear nose, whip cream ears. I think the kids really enjoyed it."

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Maple Leafs defeat Bruins to force a Game 7

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NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Maple Leafs defeat Bruins to force a Game 7

1:06 - Mike Felger and Tony Amonte break down the Bruins 3-1 loss to the Maple Leafs in Game 6 as Toronto forces a Game 7 on Wednesday night at the TD Garden.

6:49 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, and Phil Perry discuss Rob Gronkowski’s bizarre press conference over the weekend and how it was not a good look for the Patriots tight end.

11:28 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay on Early Edition to give his Celtics observations through the first 4 games of the series against the Milwaukee Bucks. 

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Talking Points: Marner lights it up while Pasta struggles

Talking Points: Marner lights it up while Pasta struggles

GOLD STAR: Mitch Marner has been a problem for the Bruins during the regular season, and he’s proving to be a problem once again in the playoffs. The Leafs forward scored the game-winning goal in the second period when he jumped on a Brad Marchand turnover in the D-zone, and snapped a backhanded bid past Tuukka Rask to give Toronto a 2-1 lead. It was part of a two points, plus-2 night for Marner in his 16:44 of ice time where played strong, solid hockey, and stayed patient until Boston’s top line made a misstep that they could jump all over at the end of the period. Otherwise Marner mostly stayed out of the fray in the game and simply played a strong two-way game that was easily their best defensive effort of the series. Marner now has two goals and eight points against the B’s in the six games played thus far.

BLACK EYE: David Pastrnak just wasn’t good in this game. He missed three shots on net, had another six blocked and finished a minus-1 with one shot on net in 19:44 of ice time while clearly looking frustrated at what was going on around him. Both Pastrnak and Brad Marchand were pulling out overly fancy moves, over-passing and missing the net with their shot attempts in a clear sign that Freddie Andersen is beginning to get in their heads. If that doesn’t cease quickly in Game 7 then the Bruins could be in a world of hurt with a big chance to take a nice step this season, and move on to at least the second round if not getting any further than it. But right now the Bruins top line has gone from looking like a well-oiled machine to looking like a sputtering jalopy in need of some service at the shop.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins took over the game in the first period with their puck possession and usual dominance from their top line, and looked really ready to roll when Jake DeBrusk scored little more than a minute into the second period. But the Bruins allowed Toronto to score right back 35 seconds later and that seemed to really knock the Bruins off their pins for most of the rest of the game. It was a long rebound of a Nazem Kadri shot that was kicked out by Tuukka Rask, and then went right to William Nylander for the rebound score. The Bruins were fortunate that another goal was overturned due to goalie interference that would have quickly made it a 2-1 game, but it was clear the Bruins never really controlled the game again after the two quick goals at the start of the second period.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jake DeBrusk had the only goal for the Bruins, so he earns a little credit in a 3-1 loss. DeBrusk now has three goals in the series and was on the spot firing home a shot after a David Krejci offensive zone face-off win that gave Boston’s second line their third even strength goal of the series. DeBrusk also finished as one of only two players, along with Tommy Wingels, that ended the night with a positive plus/minus rating, and had three hits while playing fast and strong along the boards and in front of the net. There are a few other young players that haven’t looked particularly adept at the playoff-style of play in this series for Boston, but DeBrusk has thoroughly looked like he belongs since the drop of the puck in Game 1.

BY THE NUMBERS: -- minus-16: the combined plus-minus rating for Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak in the three Bruins losses where they’ve also been kept off the score sheet by the Leafs defense.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Maybe there is a little bit of [frustration], but you've got to go back to the drawing board and find the character we've shown all year. Now it's about one game." –Patrice Bergeron, on battling the frustration of losing two straight and instead getting ready for a Game 7 showdown on Wednesday night.

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