Bruins

It's a snap

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It's a snap

By Michael Felger

A few snap-judgments for you as parents everywhere celebrate back-to-school week (best week of the year!):

One man's opinion based on a single, solitary night of viewing: The UFC will become a major force in American sport only if it can figure out a way to get their guys to do most of their fighting from their feet. No one plopped down 50 for the pay-per-view event at the Garden to watch guys practice the ancient art of Jujutsu while lying prone on the mat. We saw too much of that on Saturday, and not enough of the stand-up, bloodbath that the opening Nate Diaz-Marcus Davis fight became.

That bout was barbaric, and it was totally engrossing. I'd pay to see it again.

We've been waiting all season for the Red Sox to declare themselves either in or out of the playoff race. Finally, mercifully, we have our declaration. Talk to you in a couple of months when the Sox start to shape their 2011 squad in free agency.

For now, it looks like a lot of money will have to be spent (Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez) and a lot of tough choices will have to be made (David Ortiz) for the Sox just to get back to where they were this year, which, injuries or not, wasn't good enough. Are you ready for another bridge year?

I guess I'm in the minority on this, but I feel the Patriots' secondary could be good enough if it were playing behind a decent pass rush. You can see glimpses in most of the guys out there, particularly the top 5 of Leigh Bodden, Devin McCourty, Darius Butler (although I'm starting to waver on him), Brandon Meriweather and Pat Chung. They can run. They tackle pretty well. And the coaches are clearly putting a lot on their plate. The only problem and it's a big one is that none have the elite cover skills to cover for a slow and ineffective pass rush.

And make no mistake, the Pats have a slow and ineffective rush. The coaches are clearly trying to scheme some things up, but they just don't have the personnel. The perimeter of the Pats' front seven ends Gerard Warren and Mike Wright and outside linebackers Tully Banta-Cain and Derrick Burgess is mediocre at best and atrocious at worst.

There's a lot to like about this team, but the pass rush feels like a fatal flaw.

According to ESPN Boston, the Bruins are still trying to trade center Marc Savard. If it's a pure salary dump, I hate the move. He's too good just to unload for pennies on the dollar. If he's dealt for something substantial (such as a top two defenseman or a top six forward) I'd feel better about it, but still not great. And here's why:

It would ramp up the pressure on the future of the franchise, 18-year-old Tyler Seguin. Think about it. Within months of drafting the kid, the Bruins deal their No. 1 center? The B's can claim in all sincerity that one thing had nothing to do with the other, and even if they're speaking the truth, the symbolism would be unmistakable. It would tighten the screws on Seguin to contribute immediately, and that can't be a good thing. The expectations over Seguin are already getting a bit out of whack. Settle down, people. He's probably a couple years away from being the guy the Bruins need him to be.

But make no mistake, Seguin has created a buzz. And part of it has to do with the fact that very few of us have seen him play outside of YouTube clips. We all want to get to know the kid, and that's going to put a change into training camp and make Bruins preseason games at least worth checking in for.

All I know is that I'll be watching exhibition hockey this fall for the first time in decades.

Remember, Sports Sunday moves to 7:30 p.m. this Sunday, with replays at 11 p.m.

E-mail Felger HERE and read the mailbag on Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Miller, Krejci game-time decisions tonight; O'Gara called up

Miller, Krejci game-time decisions tonight; O'Gara called up

BRIGHTON, Mass – It wouldn’t be a Bruins game this season if there weren’t some health question marks entering a game night, so the B’s will once again have a few players up in the air for the lineup tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

http://www.nbcsports.com/boston/bruins/bruins-goalie-decisions-may-become-tougher-you-might-think?int

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David Krejci (back) and Kevan Miller (upper body) were both on the ice prior to morning skate and Krejci participated in the optional practice, along with Patrice Bergeron and a handful of others on Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena. Krejci and Miller were termed game-time decisions based on the way things went this morning and Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy could have more lineup juggling in front of him based on those players.

Krejci said he was taking things “day-by-day”, but didn’t think it was going to be a long-term injury even if he misses the game.

“We’ll kind of take it day-by-day and we’ll see. I feel better than two days ago, so I guess we’ll be taking it day-by-day,” said Krejci. “I got hit in the last game and that forced me to leave the game. It’s a brand new injury and it just happened the other day. So that’s what it is.

“I don’t think it’s an injury that would be long term. It’s just one of these things that happens [during the games]. I wouldn’t lie to you if it was something that was a week or two weeks. We’ll just see how I feel later tonight. Injuries happen to every team. Hopefully, this is it for us here early in the season, and down the stretch, we’ll be healthy pushing for the playoffs.”

First the definite situations for the Black and Gold: Bergeron will play for the second game in a row and Paul Postma will be in the lineup, with Adam McQuaid shelved for the next couple of months with a broken leg. Beyond that, the Bruins could swing Miller from the left side to the right side if he plays, Charlie McAvoy could be added to the penalty kill and David Backes could end up playing some center if Matt Beleskey draws back into the lineup.

“We’ll probably move people around. [David] Backes, [Tim] Schaller has played some center over the years and obviously [Patrice] Bergeron looks like he’s going to play,” said Cassidy. “I think we’ll be okay. We sat out a forward the [Thursday vs. the Canucks], so we’ll move people around.

“Kevan will be a game-time decision, so we had a discussion about that and we’ll look into that as well. [Krejci] got hit in the lower back the other night, tried to finish and it’s one of those ones where at puck drop we’ll know.”

Robbie O’Gara popped on the Bruins roster on their team website early on Saturday afternoon, so the Yale alum will get the call if Miller can’t answer the bell on Saturday night. Another piece of good news: Noel Acciari skated with the injured players ahead of the morning skate and appears to be progressing slowly from his broken finger.  

Anything, it seems, is possible for these banged-up B’s as another body drops with each passing game or practice. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings vs. the Sabres based on an optional morning skate:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak

Schaller-Nash-Backes

Beleskey-Kuraly-Agostino

 
Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

O’Gara/Miller-Postma

 
Khudobin