Bruins

Michael Jordan is laughing at Kobe Bryant

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Michael Jordan is laughing at Kobe Bryant

From Comcast SportsNet
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Michael Jordan said there's no way Kobe Bryant and this year's USA Olympic basketball team could've beaten the 1992 Dream Team. Jordan told The Associated Press Thursday that he laughed -- "I absolutely laughed" -- when hearing Bryant's comments that the squad training in Las Vegas could take Jordan and company. Jordan said there's "no comparison" which team is better. "For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done," Jordan said prior playing in a celebrity golf tournament in Charlotte. Jordan said the 1992 team, which included 11 future Hall of Famers and won its six Olympic games by an average of more than 43 points en route to capturing the gold medal, was a better overall team largely because of the experience it put on the floor. "I heard Kobe say we were not athletic," said a smiling Jordan as he sat in a golf cart puffing on his cigar while waiting to tee off. "But we were smart. He said we were too old, but I was 29 and in the prime of my career. Pip (Scottie Pippen) was 26 or 27, (Charles) Barkley was 29, Patrick (Ewing) was 29 and Chris Mullin was 29. Almost everybody was still in their twenties." Jordan's response came after Bryant told reporters in Las Vegas that this year's team could pull out a win against the Dream Team if they faced each other in their primes. Bryant said this year's team has a bunch of racehorses, players who are incredibly athletic while the Dream Team consisted mainly of players at the tail end of their careers. He wasn't backing away from how he felt after the U.S. beat the Dominican Republic 113-59 on Thursday night in its exhibition opener, and wasn't bothered by Jordan's response. "I'm not really tripping," Bryant said. "The fact is they've got (Patrick) Ewing and (David) Robinson, those big guys. I mean it's tough. But if you're asking me if we can beat them one game, hell yeah we can beat them one game. You didn't ask me if we could beat them in a seven-game series. One game, we could get them, no question about it." Bryant's earlier comments received immediate and sharp rebuttal from some members of the Dream Team, including Barkley. Jordan joined in on Thursday. "Most of us were in the prime of our careers, at a point where athleticism doesn't really matter," said Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. "You have to know how to play the game." Jordan shook his head when asked why he thinks Bryant made the comments. "I imagine he's trying to say it to legitimize his own Dream Team," Jordan said. "But to me it's not even a question what team is better." Jordan said Bryant is certainly entitled to his opinion -- even though he said it's just plain wrong. "For him to make that comparison, it's one of those things where it creates conversation," Jordan said. "I guess we'll never know. I'd like to think that we had 11 Hall of Famers on that team and whenever they get 11 Hall of Famers you call and ask me who had the better Dream Team. Remember now, they learned from us. We didn't learn from them."

Morning Skate: The Force is with these Star Wars picks

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Morning Skate: The Force is with these Star Wars picks

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while giving my two cents on the Last Jedi. There were some things I really, really liked about it. The action was well-done, it looked beautiful and there were some very cool surprises along the way. That’s as good as Mark Hamill has ever been playing Luke Skywalker, and I bought everything involving him. Rey continues to be a very strong character at the heart of the new movies. I even liked the Porgs. It definitely felt like a Star Wars movie in a way that the prequels absolutely did not, and so that’s a very good thing to start.

But some of the explanations and non-answers to burning questions from Star Wars fans was midichlorian-level disappointing, and the character of Rose is bound to become one of the most disliked since Jar Jar Binks. I just didn’t see much of a reason for her being in the story. The parts with her and Finn felt pretty unnecessary in general. There were a lot of attempts at humor throughout with some hits and some misses, and it feels like they didn’t learn any lessons from the way they under-utilized Captain Phasma in the Force Awakens.

All in all, as I said I mostly liked it and I think it will age well as people get used to some of the really eccentric choices Rian Johnson made with his 2 1/2 hours of storytelling. But I also understand why so many people straight up didn’t like it, or feel like the people controlling Lucasfilm are taking Star Wars in a path that’s making the things they originally fell in love with much less recognizable. It doesn’t surprise me at all that Kathleen Kennedy really pushed for one scene with Princess Leia that people have very mixed feelings about. That doesn’t really speak to me about what’s best for the story or the fans as much as it does about self-indulgence. If they go too far away from what people love about these movies, the diehard fans will end up walking away.

Here are my new rankings of the Star Wars movies including the Last Jedi:

1) Empire Strikes Back (accept no imitations, the GOAT).

2) A New Hope (The original will always be where the magic started)

3) Return of the Jedi (I just wish the Ewoks would have been Wookiees)

4) The Force Awakens (This had to be letter-perfect and it was)

5) The Last Jedi (The great sections of this movie make it worthwhile)

6) Rogue One (Proof there is life outside the Skywalker saga)

7) Revenge of the Sith (They should have titled it ‘Best of the Prequels’)

8) Phantom Menace (Worth it for the Pod race scene & the duel with Darth Maul)

9) Attack of the Clones (Some of the worst acting/dialogue in Star Wars history)

 *Speaking of Star Wars and hockey, kudos to this fan-created Bruins and Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster, and an interview with the biggest Star Wars fan that I know of on the Bruins, Brad Marchand.

*Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk says that the Sens franchise “could look good somewhere else.” How is that not supposed to aggravate Senators fans that are already on the fence about this struggling team?

*A great speech from former BU standout Scott Young as he was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame this past week.

*Vegas Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant reflects on his “disappointing” end with the Florida Panthers when he was unceremoniously fired.

*Jordan Eberle is adjusting to New York life both on and off the ice, and it’s fair to say it’s quite a departure from Edmonton living.

*For something completely different: What a bizarre, sordid story with the wife of Lorenzen Wright reportedly mixed up in the death of the former NBA player.


 

With Bruins youth served, there are still plenty of lessons to be learned

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With Bruins youth served, there are still plenty of lessons to be learned

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins youth movement has gone remarkably well through the first three months of the season.

MORE BRUINS:

-Charlie McAvoy, just 19, is a contender for the Calder Trophy and leads all first-year players in ice time while excelling in all aspects of the game. 

-Jake DeBrusk has endured through some ups and downs in a top-six role alongside David Krejci and has played a key role in a number of Bruins wins this season while on pace for a solid 19 goals and 44 points. 

-Danton Heinen has erased the memory of his ineffectual NHL audition last season and has established himself as a third-line winger while on pace for 19 goals and 53 points as a solid 200-foot player.

-Anders Bjork is currently in a quiet period, but he’s shown enough speed and skill to be able to live up to the hype. 

-Sean Kuraly has been solid as a fourth-line center and Matt Grzelcyk is beginning to establish himself as a puck-moving defenseman capable of holding up an NHL job. 

This doesn’t even mention guys like Noel Acciari and Brandon Carlo that are still in the first few seasons of their NHL development and continue on an upward trend for the Black and Gold.   

Despite all of these positive developments, there are still going to be teaching moments and frequent lessons for the young Bruins. 

The Thursday night loss to the Washington Capitals was one of those moments with a standout youngster McAvoy getting pushed around by the big, strong Cap. Bjork finished with a season low in ice time while getting benched in the second and third periods. He may even get scratched for Saturday’s game vs. the Rangers after simply not being hard enough on the puck recently.

As the season goes along the intensity, the speed and the physicality is going to heighten around the league and a game against a big, strong, deep and dangerous team such as Washington was a good reminder of that for Boston’s rookies.

“This league has different levels as you go along. It’s tough enough for the young guys when they’re healthy, so there’s another level happening that [Anders Bjork] is going to have to catch up. I think it’s a little more physical. I think he’s getting pushed off pucks now, and you’re starting to see it against some of, you know, the men,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We knew that coming in that there’d be a time where that may or may not happen with all the young guys. We saw that with [Danton] Heinen last year. He’s kind of figured it out.

“[Against Washington] Charlie [McAvoy] had a tough time. You know, he got pushed off some pucks and beat one-on- one, so it happens to a lot of guys. That’s a good hockey club. It’s a good test for those guys to understand what it takes. You know, Grizz [Matt Grzelcyk], not so much. I thought, you know, his quickness allowed him to get in and out of spots, but that’s where Anders is right now, and he’s got to fight his way through it.”

Certainly it’s the kind of first-year learning process that every NHL player goes through, so there’s a level of patience and understanding from the veteran guys that have been there. Patrice Bergeron broke into the NHL as the youngest player in the league and knows it better than most.

“You’re going to see that during the season, especially for young guys. So I think it’s about going back to what you do best,” said Bergeron. “I think when you move your feet and you stop and start in the right position, things fall get back and fall back into place. He’s right there and the plays are going to come back to him, I think it’s part of being a professional and being a young guy and learning. I’m not worried about it.”

Clearly, the Bruins aren’t worried about it while knowing full well this would be a learning curve for the rookies, and that the rare instance where the rooks are taken to school will help the team out in the long run.