Red Sox

Ference has flu; Peverly gets maintenance day

566782.jpg

Ference has flu; Peverly gets maintenance day

WILMINGTON -- The Bruins will play one more game before the NHL's holiday break, before heading to Phoenix for a game next Wednesday.

That leaves four days off in between that Friday's game at home against the Panthers. The B's enter Friday while having three days off since their last game -- a 3-2 win against Montreal at the TD Garden.

So with the Bruins having plenty of time to rest between now and the end of the holiday break, coach Claude Julien is taking extra-advantage of that rest with at least one player.

Forward Rich Peverley -- who has two goals and five assists in the last four games, was one of two Bruins players not on the ice for the team's 40-minute practice on Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena.

The other missing player was defenseman Andrew Ference, who, according to Julien, is "battling the famous flu bug."

Peverley's absence was a maintenance day.

"Peverley is maintenance," said Julien after practice. "And you know, again, it's the same thing, where we're having a good look at our schedule and what that may do for him. So we're going to keep him off there for the next couple of days. And tomorrow is certainly another one of those days, and we'll decide whether he's in on Friday. And if not, then that will give him at least a good week. So we're going to be making a decision on him, regarding his situation."

It seems as if Julien is planning Peverley's maintenance days around the upcoming holiday break, a break in which he knows will be much more pleasant if they enter it with a win.

"It's like that every year," said Julien. "You'd like to finish on a positive note, so that we can head into Christmas and probably enjoy it a little bit more. Every team, I'm sure, thinks the same way. So, on our end of it, we have no excuse. We've had some time off here from playing. Hopefully we'll be the fresher team of the two when that game comes around."

Julien described Wednesday's practice as "short, but intense." He stressed that while the team is winning, it makes for a time in which they must focus even more on the little mistakes, rather than just move along as if everything is perfect.

"That's when you've got to be a little tougher on yourselves," said Julien. "When things are going well, you want to nitpick at that. When things aren't going as well, it's mostly about getting the confidence and everything going again. Right now, we've been nitpicking at certain parts of our game. We've talked about the neutral zone and giving up 40-plus shots for a few games. And that wasn't because of Zdeno more than it was because of our whole team not being very good in the neutral zone.

"So we nitpicked at the D-zone, and today we kept doing some drills which might have looked more like a fun day, but it was more about being stronger on the puck, puck protection, and being able to battle. We wanted to get better at that, so it's another area where we're trying to improve.

"We just want to get through here the next few days, and finish off on a high note," later added Julien. "And then get those two, three days at Christmas, which should give them the rest that they need."

Werner: Red Sox feel pressure to keep up with Yankees, Astros

boston-red-sox-tom-werner-81414.jpg

Werner: Red Sox feel pressure to keep up with Yankees, Astros

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski may not be looking closely at the Yankees' and Astros' rosters, but chairman Tom Werner was on Friday.

MORE RED SOX

 

“Sure there’s pressure,” Werner said at Winter Weekend when asked about the Yankees’ pick-up of Giancarlo Stanton and the Astros’ addition of Gerrit Cole.  “Houston was formidable last year. I thought we played them competitively in Fenway Park. They’ve obviously improved. But if we have the kind of performances I expect from some of our players this year — obviously we’re looking for some more improvement from certain players. Hopefully, a healthy David Price will be very important to that. 

"I think we have an excellent team, but anything can happen in a short series. The Yankees have improved, there’s no question about it. They have a deep bullpen and a great offense. But I like our chances.”

At the Boston baseball writers awards dinner on Thursday, Sox president Sam Kennedy cracked a joke about Dombrowski presenting Yankees general manager Brian Cashman with an Apple Watch as a gift.

“I’m sure that when Judge and Stanton come to Fenway Park this year, it’ll be electric,” Werner said.

It’s not exactly an offseason punch-for-punch dynamic with the Sox and Yankees, though, as it was circa 2003-04.

“Not specifically,” Werner said of countering Stanton. “It’s important for us to be competitive with them, but we’re not trying to play chess with them.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Red Sox notes: Yawkey Way cannot be named for living person

yawkey_way.jpg

Red Sox notes: Yawkey Way cannot be named for living person

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Yawkey Way will not become David Ortiz Way, for those who may have been holding out hope for the street to be renamed after him, or any other recent star.

MORE RED SOX

“We’ve talked about several different names,” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said on Friday evening at Winter Weekend at Foxwoods. “There’s been talk about the possibility of returning to what the original name was, which was Jersey Street. It’s been made clear in our research and due diligence that you can’t currently petition for a living person when there’s other property owners on the street. There’s a provision that allows you to petition for a name of a living person if there aren’t other property abbuters on the street. So living person is out of the question. So we’ve had a few different ideas, but we’re not quite there yet.”

Kennedy said the Sox are in conversations with the city and neighboring property owners on Yawkey Way about renaming the street. 

“We have to have a sponsor of our petition, so we’re engaged in those discussions right now and would anticipate a petition being filed,” Kennedy said. “The mayor has been terrific and his staff understand our desire to formally petition, but we’ve got to get a resolution on a few logistical items — like a name, for one — that we’re going to formally petition for.”

A next step could come within a couple weeks, although Kennedy wasn’t firm about that timeline.

“But I’ve said that before, and it’s just a lot of behind the scenes steps that you have to take getting formal approvals from property owners and elected officials,” Kennedy said. “The club can petition for the name and then ultimately as John Henry said back in August, [it’s] a public process. … it’s our decision to request a name.”

• More netting is coming to Fenway to protect fans from batted balls and such.

“Before 2016, we expanded to the inside wall of the dugouts and we’re going to beyond that in 2018,” Kennedy said. “All the way down to about Field Box 79 down the left field line, and then all the way down to almost canvas alley in the Field Box 9 area. So we’re still finalizing the exact dimensions, but it will be a dramatic expansion of our netting … beyond the dugout down the third base line and the first base line.”

  • Sox chairman Tom Werner supports pace of play initiatives, and said he’s heard from Red Sox players who support it as well — even though the players union decided to shoot down a proposal from the league, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. MLB can unilaterally make changes but ideally, the union and league would come to an agreement together.
     

“As you know the commissioner is having ongoing talks with Tony Clark and the union,” Werner said. “I think it’s pretty clear that there’s too much dead time in the game. And as I’ve said, it’s really not about pace of play but like trying to have less dead time. Last year the average game, the time was higher than it’s ever been in history. And I think we have talked about some common sense ideas. We’re not the only league as you know who is looking at dead time. 

“But just for an example, I think that to have the managers or the catchers go up, or the second baseman just be able to talk to the pitcher whenever they want, we should address that. So we’ve addressed a pitch clock in the minor leagues. I think it’s working. But I’m hopeful certainly that the union and owners will come together on this. Because I think it’s something that the fans are expecting.”

  • Sox ticket sales are not doing quite as well as they were a year ago, Kennedy said. 
     

"We’re very healthy and humbled by the fan support,” Kennedy said. “We sold [out Winter Weekend] faster than ever before, about three weeks. There will be between 6,000 and 7,000 people here, which is really a testament to Red Sox fans. You’ve got an unbelievable sports market as we all know with the Patriots and what they’re doing, the Bruins and Celtics at the top of their games. 

“We’ve got people buying tickets [for games] at a pace consistent with 2015 and 2016. We are slightly down from last year, I think there was a big bump from Chris Sale, understandably, so about 6 percent down from last year, which is understandable given it’s been a very slow moving offseason in terms of baseball news. But we continue to be grateful and humbled by the support we get.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE