The Patriots have asked Chad Ochocinco to restructure his contract. OK. Why?Given the contributions made by Ocho in 2011, theverb beginning with "R" that is most appropriate in Ocho's case is "rip-up."The Patriots poured 4.5 million in salary into the once-productive wideout last year. What they got was a try-hard practice player that dropped a would-be touchdown in one of the team's three regular-season losses. They got 15 catches from him. Many of them were case studies in insecurity. On the majority of those 15 catches, Ocho wouldgo to the ground immediately afterthe ball arrived, clutching it to his body like a newborn and waiting to be touched down.Forget trying to make a play. That would meantaking a chance on ruining everything and inviting the wrath and disappointment of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.Better to just lie there on the turf andgive rise to the suspicion he was no longer very good than rise to his feet and prove it. On the few catches on which Ocho remained upright, he either scuttled out of bounds or -- in the case of his season-long reception against the Jets -- ran slowly down the middle of the field until he was tracked down like anaged and infirmed wildebeest culled from the herd. He played no special teams. Hewas not seen as a vertical threat. And, after Brady watched him drop passes throughout August and into September, the quarterback stopped looking at him. Tiquan Underwood and Matthew Slater were more valued than Ocho. So why bother asking him to trim the 3 millionsalary he's on the books for this season-- an amount that will be guaranteed if he's on the roster opening day. Look, the Patriots screwed up when they traded with the Bengals and gaveOcho a three-year deal worth 11 million and close to 5 million guaranteed. By the end of the season, the greatest compliment he earned was, "Well, at least he wasn't an a-hole . . ."He wasn't worth the money. Big deal. He wasn't an impediment to the team's success and the fact other pickups like Andre Carter and BrianWaters worked out so well lessens the sting.This could be the latest -- and last -- bit of face-saving done in L'affaire Ocho. The Patriots ask him to trim his deal, he politely refuses, the team releases him and the indignity of an outright release is avoided. Everybody loved the chance to work together and will remain friends forever. Worst-case scenario? Ocho agrees to the pay cut.
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.
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.
- HAGGERTY: B's need to ride hot hand of Khudobin until Rask rights himself
- Heinen beginning to look like a keeper
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: