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Martone: Things I won't miss about Pap

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Martone: Things I won't miss about Pap

I wish I could say I'll miss him.

The steady-as-a-piston 30 saves a season? The structure he's brought to the Red Sox bullpen over the last six years? His goofiness? His general likeability? Yeah, I'll miss all that. And while this may get me kicked out of the Purists' Circle, I'll even miss those crashing opening notes of "I'm Shipping Up To Boston", which the Fenway audio crew would have playing within seconds of the third out in the bottom of the eighth.

Here's what I won't miss about Jonathan Papelbon:

The interminable delays as he stood there on the rubber, staring in, his cap pulled down to eyebrow level, shaking off his catcher, shaking him off, shaking him off, until finally the poor sap would call time and trot out there for a three-second conversation. (I could never figure it. What can you say in three seconds other than "Fastball" or "cutter" or "slider"? How was that not one of the signs?) The just-as-interminable number of foul balls, as hitters managed to spoil one pitch after another. Which would, inevitably, lead to baserunners, sometimes more than one. He would succeed (far) more often than not, but those soul-draining, enthusiasm-sucking, 26-pitches-in-24-minutes innings . . . they'd take something out of you.

I'm not much for form over content, generally, but there was something about Papelbon's lack of artistry that just wore on me over the years. He'd drag the game to a halt, right at the time when the tension and excitement should be its peak, and it bothered me. (Let me back in, Purists!) Especially when compared to the android-like efficiency of Mariano Rivera, who could do the same job in one-third the time with one-fourth the number of pitches.

And I've been around long enough to know that -- while you're screwed if you have a bad closer -- you don't need a great one to survive. Some teams use a different one every year, usually for financial reasons, and do just fine. (Hello there, Joe Maddon.) If Ben Cherington declined to match what appears to be an overly generous proposal from the Phillies, I can't say I blame him.

Don't get me wrong; I liked Pap. How could you not? He was the closer in a glorious period in Red Sox history, and I'll always remember him fondly.

But not having to watch him night after night anymore . . . not shedding any tears over that.

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