Bruins

Exclusive: DeFilippo discusses the firing of Skinner

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Exclusive: DeFilippo discusses the firing of Skinner

Some highlights of the press conference at Boston College, in which athletic director Gene DeFilippo announced the dismissal of basketball coach Al Skinner:

ON NAMING AN INTERIM COACH
"Pat Duquette has been named interim coach. All assistants are still on staff as of now, but they can go out and look for jobs at the Final Four."

ON THE DISMISSAL OF SKINNER:
This job has "a lot of good days and days not quite as good. This is one of the days that has been difficult for me. I am here to announce Coach Skinner and I met twice and last Wednesday, March 24 felt it was best to part ways."

ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THOSE MEETINGS:
"In these two meetings we addressed philosophical differences and future of program."

ON THE TIMING OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT:
"Out of respect for Coach Skinner he asked for 48 hours before we announced his firing, and with many job opportunities strung out, we gave him six days."
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ON SKINNER:
"We have great great respect for Al. He had a lot of great seasons at BC . . . Skinner stands for all that's good in college athletics . . . A lot of thing you look at . . . interactions betweens fans and players, how many people are in stands. How many people have been at the same institution for 13 years?"

ON THE NEXT COACH:
"Our goal now is to find a coach who shares a vision with BC basketball . . . We want to be very competetive, we want a coach that's going to play very competitive basketball, we want a team that's going to give everything while out on that floor, and we want a coach to recruit outstanding young men in the classroom."

IF THE LOSS TO VIRGINIA IN THE ACC TOURNAMENT WAS THE LAST STRAW:
"No . . . You look at whole body of work . . . I needed the time to think what's the best way I can get the basketball prgram to where it needs to be. These decisions are never easy because of all involved."

ON SKINNER'S INTERVIEW AT ST. JOHN'S:
"I said both parties very forthcoming with information. St. John's knew he had been fired by BC; Al told them, and so did I. We have to be truthful and we kept Al in that position because it had not gone public."
ON KEEPING IT A SECRET:
"It would have been a whole lot easier for me to say we were going to have a press conference on Thursday. As AD, you have to take the beating. Would I do it again the same way? Yes, I would."

IF RECRUITING WILL BE A PROBLEM:
"No, not really. We have had some terrific assistants that went off and got great jobs. It was nothing new at BC because we have had great players before."

ON TALKING TO THE TEAM:
"I have not yet. Skinner will address the team and then I will talk to them. Similar to football. I ask them to be patient."

IF THERE'S A TIMETABLE TO HIRE A NEW COACH:
"No timetable. Most of our students are taking off tomorrow, that gives us some time. I don't think there are other comperable jobs out there. If it takes us a while, so be it. We take as much time as we need to get right person."

ON THE FANS:
"I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with every decision we make. Decision we make are institutional. I don't just go out and do anything I want, but any decision we make has my recommendations."

Talking Points: Signs point to Pastrnak busting out of mini-slump

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Talking Points: Signs point to Pastrnak busting out of mini-slump

GOLD STAR: David Pastrnak netted the game-winner in the third period after getting freed up for a breakaway chance, and then throwing a double-move at Matt Murray before tucking one under his glove hand. It was the first goal in six games for Pastrnak, and it capped off a day when he topped 22 minutes of ice time, had a team-high five shots on net and battled through some physical play from the Penguins to get toward his offense. The 21-year-old continues to set the pace for the Bruins offensively, and has shown all the signs in the last couple of games that he’s busting out of whatever mini-slump was holding him down. Everybody knows that Pasta isn’t good for Thanksgiving, but it is certainly good for Black Friday.

BLACK EYE: A tough afternoon for former Boston College standout Brian Dumoulin, who got rocked by a couple of heavy Noel Acciari hits later in the game, finishing with a minus-2 rating while sitting on the ice for a couple of goals against. Dumoulin finished with three giveaways in 20:03 of ice time, managed only a single shot on net and was one of the weaker links on the ice for Pittsburgh in a game where they didn’t play too badly in the final 40 minutes. Dumoulin seems to struggle a bit when he comes back to Boston, and Black Friday afternoon was no exception.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins were outplayed in the second period despite outshooting the Penguins by a 14-8 margin, and they watched as Pittsburgh pressed them for three goals in the middle 20 minutes. But in what turned out to be a very important play in the game, Matt Grzelcyk finished off a broken play in front of the net to score his first NHL goal on the Garden ice where he grew up skating. That goal allowed the Bruins to move into the second intermission with a tied hockey game, and set things up for the third period heroics where David Pastrnak scored the game-winner on a breakaway strike.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jake DeBrusk put together another strong performance, and his line played a giant role in the Bruins jumping out to a 2-0 lead after the first period. He set up the David Krejci goal that got the Bruins up and rolling in the first period, and then he also fed Krejci again in the second period on a shot attempt he fanned on in the slot. The puck drifted over to Matt Grzelcyk for Boston’s third goal, and it capped off a day where the rookie winger topped 18 minutes of ice time, had two assists and a plus-1 rating, finished with four shots on net and had a couple of hits in there for good measure.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 – the placement the Bruins now have in the Atlantic Division after winning four games in a row, which puts them back into a playoff spot on the day after Thanksgiving. What a stunning turnaround it’s been over the last couple of weeks.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “it’s exciting. You’re on NBC, you’re playing against the Stanley Cup Champions, everyone is watching, let’s put our best foot forward. I know it’s one of 82, but it’s a bigger one of 82 the way I look at it, and I think they felt the same way coming out [in the first period].” –Bruce Cassidy, on the strong start from the Black and Gold. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Morris returns to Celtics starting lineup vs. Magic

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Morris returns to Celtics starting lineup vs. Magic

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics will turn to a familiar starting lineup as they try to get back on their winning ways following Wednesday’s loss at Miami.
 
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Marcus Morris will be in the starting lineup tonight against Orlando, joining the usual Celtics foursome of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford.

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Morris’ availability tonight was not a given, similar to it being in question prior to Wednesday’s game against the Heat.
 
Morris has been dealing with soreness in his left knee which kept him out for the first eight games of the season and has limited his playing time since then.
 
Stevens said Morris will likely not play against Indiana on Saturday but no final decision has been made. Since returning to the lineup, the Celtics have played Morris with a minutes restriction in addition to not allowing him to play in any back-to-back games.

Morris has made it clear that he does not like having his playing time limited while not playing in any back-to-backs, but has repeatedly he understands why it is being done and won’t fight what the coaching and medical staff believe is best for him and the team.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE