FOXBORO -- The Patriots locker room was nearly desolate on Friday. Players arrived and then departed quickly at the start of the media availability period. The ones who lingered weren't talking.
Their resounding silence was a way to steer clear of the news that offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien had agreed to become the next coach at Penn State.
Julian Edelman was the only player who would speak on the subject.
"If it's true," Edelman said of O'Brien's new gig, "we'll miss him."
Edelman wouldn't indicate if O'Brien was in Foxboro on Friday, but he described O'Brien as a "charistmatic" and "emotional" coach, saying that the Patriots will benefit from having him around during their playoff run.
"He gets fired up when you get fired up. Billy, he's just a good guy . . . You love playing for him. You want to do well for him."
Edelman said he wasn't disappointed that O'Brien had chosen to take the job when he did, with the Patriots preparing to make a run at the Super Bowl.
"You're always happy to see a guy succeed and get opportunities," Edelman said. "When guys go different directions, it gives opportunities for other people. We'll see."
Even though it was more quiet than usual in Foxboro the day after the O'Brien news broke, Edelman insisted nothing has changed in terms of the team's preparation. O'Brien's impending departure was not a distraction.
"We're still getting ready for the playoffs. We didn't change anything," Edelman said. "We're going to get back to work here soon, enjoy a couple days off and rest."
0:41 - Tom Curran and Albert Breer discuss some of the big takeaways from the Patriots win over the Titans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
4:49 - Jalen Ramsey told the fans in Jacksonville that the Jaguars would be going to the Super Bowl. Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith talk about if they have a problem with what Ramsey said and if the Patriots would be using his quote as bulletin board material.
9:25 - Curran, Breer, and Giles discuss Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels likely not returning with the Patriots as Patricia seems to be headed towards the Lions while McDaniels goes to the Colts.
14:06 - Michael Hurley joins BST to preview the Jaguars/Patriots matchup and discuss the Patriots schedule and road to the Super Bowl.
BOSTON – Less than 48 hours after one of his legendarily hard slap shots put a Montreal Canadiens forward in the hospital after striking him in the head, Zdeno Chara didn’t hesitate when given the chance to wind up and blast away on Monday afternoon.
It was the 40-year-old Chara that rocketed a slapper past Kari Lehtonen at the end of the second period, and in doing so energized the Bruins while getting them on the scoreboard. The Chara goal helped earn the Black and Gold a point in overtime before eventually falling to the Dallas Stars by a 3-2 score at TD Garden on Monday afternoon.
The Bruins captain had been texting with the felled Montreal winger on Monday, and was fully aware that Phillip Danault was out of the hospital and doing well aside from understandable concussion symptoms after a puck to the head. Perhaps that eased Chara’s mind just a little when it came time to lean into another wind-up slapper on Monday, but it was also certainly aided by the lack of brave bodies willing to front one of his heavy, hard point blasts.
“I obviously spoke to Phillip a number of times. I talked to him right after the game and wanted to make sure he was okay, and he texted me back that he’s doing fine. He’s been released [from the hospital] and that’s very positive, good news,” said Chara. “It’s obviously very unfortunate that it’s something that happens quite often, but it’s something you never want to see with somebody getting hit and hurt. I’m very happy he’s going to recover fully and hopefully he’s back on the ice and playing hockey [soon] like we all do.”
Was there any hesitation to Chara winding up and stepping into a 100-mph slap shot so quickly after the ugly incident in Montreal?
“It’s something that doesn’t happen very often where you have that clean [shooting] path to the net where you can settle the puck, take a look and take a full slapper,” said Chara. “Usually teams play so well structurally that there’s already somebody fronting it, and you’ve got to get it through him with bodies in front. It does happen, but it’s nice that you have that time to put everything on it.”
That’s exactly what the 6-foot-9 defenseman did in sparking the Bruins to come back from a 2-0 deficit and push for the overtime point while extending their point streak to a season-best 13 games and counting.