Bruins

Lavarnway 'excited' about 2013 Red Sox

639564.jpg

Lavarnway 'excited' about 2013 Red Sox

PAWTUCKET Like most who are interested to see how the Red Sox will rebound from their disastrous 2012 season, Ryan Lavarnway has been watching the moves the team has been making. And hes pleased.

Im excited, Lavarnway said Saturday at the PawSox Christmas party at McCoy Stadium. I think that they signed players that are definitely going to help us win. Theyre players with a lot of playoff experience and a lot of game experience and theyre guys thatll be good to have around.

I think that the players that weve acquired are all high-quality character guys. And new manager John Farrell I think is going to lead a much tighter ship than what weve had recently.

In the past week the Sox added outfielder Shane Victorino and catcherfirst baseman Mike Napoli, who both agreed to three-year, 39 million contracts, along with pitcher Koji Uehara, who signed a one-year, 4.25 million deal.

While Napoli was brought in primarily to play first base he could be available behind the plate as well. His addition gives the Sox six catchers on the 40-man roster, with four on the 25-man roster as currently projected. Lavarnway, while still establishing himself at the big league level, is happy with the addition of Napoli.

I think hes a great player, Lavarnway said. And I know that when we play Texas we didnt want to pitch to him. So I think thatll be a good addition to our lineup.

Lavarnway, the Sox sixth-round pick in 2008 out of Yale, did not get to know Farrell before he left as the Sox pitching coach to manage the Blue Jays before the 2011 season. Lavarnway introduced himself to the manager for the first time last season during a game against the Jays. Hes been getting to know his new manager this offseason.

He called me and he said how excited he was to be a part of the team and how excited he was about what we had going forward and the new additions we were going to add, Lavarnway said. I saw him on the caravan in Boston last week. He seemed very excited and very dedicated.

Lavarnway is looking forward to a having a manager with a pitching background.

I think that he recognizes the needs that pitchers and catchers have, Lavarnway said, and that hell help meet those needs.

Hes also looking forward to having former PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler on the big league staff, as the Sox first base coach.

Itll be great for the players coming up because hes seen us at our best and at our worst and hes seen the transition periods in between, Lavarnway said. And I think he will help facilitate those and help us go from bad to good a lot quicker.

One of Lavarnways goals this season is to catch 100 games. He reached that milestone last season for the first time in his career, with 108 games behind the plate between Pawtucket and Boston. It was a workload that took its toll. He hit just .157, going 24-for-153, with 41 strikeouts and just 10 extra-base hits in the big leagues. His big league offense was well off what he did for the PawSox last season, when he hit .295 with eight home runs, 43 RBI, a .376 on-base percentage, and .439 slugging percentage in 61 games.

I just want to hit like myself again, he said. Its easy for me to say .290, 25 home runs, and 100 RBI. But that gets changed based on the number of at-bats I get. So if I get 500 at-bats, Id like to hit 20-plus homers again like I know Im capable of.

Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

connor-mcdavid-jack-eichel-112117.jpg

Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while enjoying the return of Adolfo to Toucher and Rich this morning.

*Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid have received plenty of acclaim over the past couple of years as talented, young stars in the league, but Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien details how things haven’t gone ideally for either of those youngsters, or their teams, this season. Clearly, it’s not at this level yet, but just think about the hype behind Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin when they were drafted 1-2 back in 2010, and what they have, and haven’t, been able to accomplish in the league since that time.

*Outstanding rookie Brock Boeser credits a conversation with Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green for helping spark his game this season.

*Good video piece on the near miss of Wayne Gretzky almost playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs after dominating them in the playoffs.  

*Salivating for some hockey trades? The 10 potential NHL trade deadline targets around the league as we wait for players to become available for trade later in the season.  

*Hockeybuzz is asking what the NHL, and more specifically the Hockey Hall of Fame, has against goaltenders?

*For something completely different: A great piece from Drew Bledsoe on the tragic passing of former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn, and how his death came just as he seemed to be putting all the pieces of his life together.

 

Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

bruins_brad_marchand_040516.jpg

Marchand, Krug and Backes all practice, won't play vs. Devils

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins are getting closer to a healthier lineup, but it won’t be in time for the Thanksgiving Eve road tilt against the upstart New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.

Brad Marchand (upper body), Torey Krug (upper body) and David Backes (colon surgery) all skated in red no-contact jerseys at practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena, so none of those three banged-up B’s will be making the trip to Jersey. Anders Bjork (upper body) didn’t practice and is obviously out vs. the Devils as well, but Ryan Spooner might be a possibility after making it through his first full practice since tearing his groin almost six weeks ago.

MORE BRUINS:

If he can make it through Wednesday's morning skate without any problems, Spooner will likely be a game-time decision against the Devils after missing the past 14 games.  

The Bruins have continued to indicate that Marchand is in the concussion protocol, though it appears the Bruins agitator is dealing with both upper body and lower body issues. Marchand was encouraged by the progress he’s making while returning to practice, so perhaps the B’s could get back one of their leading scorers sooner rather than later.

“I feel pretty good. It’s good to be back with the guys and feel like you’re a part of the team,” said Marchand, who has missed five of the past seven games after returning for the home-and-home against the Maple Leafs. “It’s frustrating whenever you miss games and you miss time away from the team, but they had a great road trip and they’re playing well. It would be nice to be back in the lineup consistently and be back with the team...it’ll come.”

Here are the projected Bruins line combos and D-pairings vs. the Devils based on practice Tuesday:

Heinen-Bergeron-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Cehlarik

Vatrano-Spooner-Nash/Szwarz

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Beleskey-Marchand-Backes

 
Chara-McAvoy

O’Gara/Postma-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

 
Rask

Khudobin