Celtics

Hanson ready to bring Slap Shot legacy to Bruins

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Hanson ready to bring Slap Shot legacy to Bruins

NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. Christian Hanson said it was a no-brainer to sign with the Bruins this summer.

The son of one of the infamous Hanson Brothers from Slap Shot movie fame donning Black and Gold, and splitting time between the AHL Providence Bruins and the NHL parent club in Boston certainly looks and feels like a marriage made in hockey heaven.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Hanson isnt a foil-wearing brawler like his cinematic dad, David -- a role that he still reprises in rinks all over the world. But hes a big-bodied center capable of playing third and fourth line roles.

Hansons game is winning face-offs, screening goaltenders, playing a tangible physical role and providing occasional offense while paying attention to the two-way game. In other words hes the type of player that Claude Julien will take notice of, and hes the exact kind of forward that will be useful should injuries gnaw away at the NHL roster once the regular season begins.

His best season game in 2009-10 when he played 69 games between the Maple Leafs and the Marlies, and finished with 14 goals and 38 points, and theres no reason to think he cant reproduce that in ProvidenceBoston.

Hanson was just glad to be back on the ice this past weekend for the start of P-Bruins camp after wrist surgery put him out of commission last February.

Its good to be back out there and get my feet and hands underneath me," he said. "Getting into the high temp is something you cant really recreate while skating over the summer. I can contribute a bit offensively, but hopefully everybody sees that Im a guy that goes hard on every shift. I wear my heart on my sleeve and Ill do anything to win. Thats what I feel like the Bruins are all about.

Hanson said signing with the Bruins was a natural fit for him after spending the last few years playing against them while racking up 42 NHL games in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. Hanson wants to fit right in with the organizational philosophy, and his words show he holds a clear understanding of what wearing a Bs sweater is all about.

Theyre an organization that fits my kind of game, said Hanson. You look at their forte and how they play hockey, and theyre a hard-working, honest, blue collar type of team. Thats my game.

It works. They won the Stanley Cup two years ago and theyre contenders every year. You look at the type of players they have: Milan Lucic is the ideal power forward. I think hes the best in the game. They have multiple players that go out there and make you say Holy Cow . . . those guys want to win. Thats what you need to have out there.

As for Bs fans that want to celebrate Hansons family legacy by dressing up as the Hanson Brothers or wearing their trademark eyewear, the center said to bring it on with a wide smile.

He never gets tired of answering questions about his dad, and never stops being proud of him either.

I 100 percent love it, Its one of the greatest things, said Hanson when asked about the Slap Shot legacy. I am so proud of him and what hes done. Right now hes in Vancouver doing a six-games-in-seven-nights tour for charity and theyre playing against local policemen and firefighters for charity.

The movie was made in 1977 and theyve been touring consistently since 1995. Theyve raised tens of millions of dollars over the years. For him to be able to do something he loves while benefiting so many people out there, I couldnt be more proud of him.

So dont forget to put on the foil for the inevitable Hanson Brothers Night that will happen in Providence this season, and watch for the knowing smirk on Christians face while hes playing amidst the Hanson hoopla out on the ice.

Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

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Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

As the wins continue to pile up for the Boston Celtics, so does the praise and adulation from others throughout the league. 

It’s a double-edged sword if you think about it. 

Acknowledging how good the Celtics are, is indeed a sign of respect. 

But it also means Boston plays every game with a large target on its back unlike any of Brad Stevens’ previous Celtics teams. 

And that means every game they play, even those like tonight’s matchup at Atlanta where they will be heavily favored, are dangerous matchups.

Because for some teams, the next best thing to competing against the champ (Golden State) is facing the team with the best record who just knocked off the champ. 

That will be one of the dynamics at work tonight when the Celtics (14-2) kick off a three-game road trip against a trio of sub-.500 teams beginning with the Hawks (3-12).

Boston has shown tremendous focus and attention to detail during their 14-game winning streak. But in that span, the Celtics have never had a trio of teams right behind each other that struggled as much as the Hawks, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks have this season. 

Not including games played on Friday, Boston’s next three opponents are a combined 11-33. 

All three of those teams would love to be the one to knock off the Celtics, the kind of victory that could significantly shift the direction of their respective franchises from their current downward spin. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will look to continue to play with the kind of defensive temperament that has catapulted them to the top of the NBA’s defensive standings in several categories. 

“The way they’re beating teams it ain’t pretty,” a league executive texted NBC Sports Boston. “But they win. Last I checked, that’s what matters most.”

And that success has to a large degree, put a bigger bullseye on the Celtics than ever. 

“Now that we have a reputation, I think everyone is coming for us,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Now we have to come play even harder, and I think we can do that. I think we are more than capable.”

Especially if they continue to defend at a level we haven’t seen in years. 

Boston has a league-best defensive rating of 95.4. A key component in Boston’s strong play defensively has been their ability to win the battle of the boards. They come into tonight’s game with a .530 rebounding percentage which is second in the league to Portland (.539).

And that defense, while praised for how it functions collectively, it also consists of some pretty good individual defenders as well. 

Among guards averaging at least 20 minutes per game, Boston has four players ranked among the top 10 in defensive rating (Marcus Smart, 93.5 defensive rating, 2nd); Jaylen Brown (93.6, 3rd); Terry Rozier (95.0, 5th) and Kyrie Irving (96.4, 8th). 

When you look at forwards, Brown headlines a trio of forwards that includes himself, Al Horford (94.2, 3rd) and Jayson Tatum (96.1, 7th). 

Aron Baynes has the best defensive rating (90.6) among centers, followed by Horford (94.2).

“Our guys are locked in and really trying and again we can really play some pretty ugly basketball at times,” Stevens said. “But I do think that we are competing which is really good.”