Patriots

Haggerty: Five thoughts from Bruins-Panthers

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Haggerty: Five thoughts from Bruins-Panthers

SUNRISE, FL Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins down by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of action at the BankAtlantic Center.

FIRST PERIOD

1) Tough first period for a Bruins team looking for a break. The Bs play a good, solid period and Tim Thomas looks good enough between the pipes. But allowing a goal on six shots faced still isnt getting it done and there are a lot of high, unaltered shots that are somehow getting through Thomas on the way to the Boston net. He still needs to be better.

2) Perfectly legal hip check on Brad Marchand from Brian Campbell, and the Florida defenseman refuses to drop the gloves with Patrice Bergeron of all people to answer for it. Then Marchand chases after Campbell and gets an unsportsmanlike conduct call when he goes looking for retribution. Marchand needs to play a certain way while also realizing hes not going to get any breaks from the referees. But its pretty weak sauce for Campbell refusing to man up when challenged by Bergeron.

3) Awful, awful call on Shawn Thornton that led to the Bruins goal. Keaton Ellerby basically fell down with Thornton on his back near the side boards and the Bruins enforcer was called for cross-checking. Of course it led to a Florida power play goal after the Bruins had played a decent opening period. Just the way things are breaking for the Bruins right now.

4) Seventh straight game the Bruins have allowed the first goal to their opponents. They cant be successful if theyre constantly chasing after it, and the Panthers are the kind of team that will lock it down once they have a lead.

5) Jordan Caron looks good skating around with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. Good bid for Caron on a drop-back pass from Lucic near the blue line that opened No. 38 up for a big wrist shot. But Jose Theodore was there to make the stop.

SECOND PERIOD

1) The Bs fourth line on the ice again for two more goals against. Theyve had an up-and-down year and just havent been as good as they were last season, and tonights another example though its not close to all the Merlot Lines fault.

2) Zdeno Chara needs to quit the first breakout pass through the middle of the ice. One of them handcuffs Gregory Campbell, gets the Bs hemmed into their own zone and turns into a John Madden goal. There were two or three other instances of those passes turning into scoring chances for Florida tonight.

3) Brad Marchand has been effectively bottled up after taking that Brian Campbell hit in the first period. They havent been on the ice for any of the goals allowed, but they also have also only generated four shots on net while KrejciLucicCaron has two shots on net. Not enough offensive chances created by those top two lines.

4) Dennis Seidenberg is getting knocked off the puck left, right and center. Love the German defenseman but he looks as tired as anybody else on the Bruins team after taking a lot of hits and pounding over the last two years.

5) Just no snap from the Bruins. Watch Marco Sturm diving head first into the net to try and get at a Tim Thomas rebound. He was unsuccessful, but nobody on the Bruins is playing with that kind of bounce or emotional urgency.

Indy columnist rips Colts for Josh McDaniels hire

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Indy columnist rips Colts for Josh McDaniels hire

Gregg Doyel hates Josh McDaniels. 

That's the only takeaway one can have after reading Doyel's latest column in the Indy Star, anyway. In it, Doyel writes that McDaniels, who is expected to be hired as Colts head coach, already got his chance to prove his chops as a head coach in Denver and showed he stinks. 

Writes Doyel: 

We get a clean slate just once, same as Josh McDaniels, and his came in 2009 when he was hired to coach the Denver Broncos. And in less than two years he spray-painted so much graffiti on there that the Broncos fired him for a variety of reasons, so take your pick: his abrasive personality, his horrific judgment of talent, his team’s penchant for losing games, or those broken NFL rules.

Here in Indianapolis, where Josh McDaniels is about to be entrusted with our city’s crown jewel – he’s expected to be the next head coach of the Indianapolis Colts – are we to pretend Denver didn’t happen?

Doyel also refers to a 2013 quote from former Broncos punter Mitch Berger, who compared playing for McDaniels to playing for an "equipment manager" and called him a "punk." Then there's this from Doyel, who likes where Berger's going with the "punk" talk: 

I still can’t believe this is happening. Can’t believe McDaniels will soon be hired by the Colts, and entrusted with Andrew Luck. Can’t believe he was the hottest commodity on the coaching market this fall. McDaniels is Lane Kiffin to me, an arrogant young punk who ascended rapidly after Daddy got him a cherry first job in coaching – McDaniels’ father, Ohio high school legend Thom McDaniels, was friends with Nick Saban, who hired Josh as a grad assistant at Michigan State in 1999 – and who kept getting promoted to the point of failure.

This isn't the first time Doyel has had a take critical of the Patriots, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised. But he for sure hates Josh McDaniels. 
 

Brady in a stew over Jags-just-another-tomato-can talk

Brady in a stew over Jags-just-another-tomato-can talk

Don’t let Tom Brady hear your nonsensical takes on the Jacksonville Jaguars. This “tomato can” is packed with all the essential elements to give the Pats QB fits.

“This is the biggest challenge we've faced all year,” Brady said Tuesday during his weekly interview with Kirk and Callahan on WEEI. “We've had a good offense. They've had the best defense. And that's always a challenge when you go up against those guys. When you watch them play over the course of the whole season, you can see why. There is not a lot of time for the quarterback to throw, and I think the whole secondary knows it. The linebackers know it. And they're aggressive. They take chances. They get a lot of turnovers. They got a really good scheme, and the quarterback is just under pressure all day. Unless you get opened very quickly, there’s a lot of sacks and sacks turns into long yardage and long yardage turns into punts . . . "

Brady spent hours on Monday pouring over film to familiarize himself with a Jags team that he last saw in the preseason.

“There’s a reason why they’re in this game,” he said. “They’re the best team we’ve faced all season and if we don’t play our best, we’re not going to advance.”

That’s why Brady won’t allow himself to be distracted by all that comes with advancing to this point, or even the lingering stench of that ESPN/Seth Wickersham article. Who’s got time for that when there is so much on the line?

“This is a long time we’ve committed to each other since we came back together in April,” he said. “April, May, all those months committed to training and walkthroughs and practices and games and injuries and the emotion -- I don’t think we’re going to let anything get in the way of this week. I think the coach -- Coach [Bill] Belichick -- he does so many great things. One thing is he sets the best tone for the players because he knows what it takes to compete at this level without -- there’s more hype surrounding the game, there’s more distractions, there’s more people, there’s more people covering the game, there’s more to talk about it but we’re focused on our job . . . The hype only gets bigger from here so we just gotta stay focused on what we need to do.”

The Jags have obviously done a good job on that front as well. There is no way they’d be at this point, on this stage, without not only talent but that singular focus. Of course with some youth comes some exuberance and Jalen Ramsey’s comments to about 10,000 fans Sunday night has been a topic of conversation on sports radio and television and even in the Patriots’ locker room.

Brady doesn’t believe that’s something that would ever come out of Foxboro, but he’s not publicly shaming Ramsey either.

“What i’ve learned over a long time is it’s how you play, it’s not what you say," Brady said. "Everyone has different ways of handling things. We do what works for us.”

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