Bruins

Ochocinco maintains there's no problem

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Ochocinco maintains there's no problem

INDIANAPOLIS -- Chad Ochocinco arrived at Wednesday's media blitz 20 minutes late. A large crowd of reporters had already gathered around his table. They stepped over and on top of each other, jockeying for prime real estate around the fallen star's landing spot.
Ochocinco talked for every minute of the morning he'd missed.

Let me address this, the New England Patriots is an elite organization where everything is in house and always stays in house, its like Fort Knox," he explained. "There are no leaks, no sources, so claimed, going around the league. Theres no such thing. So, with the media, with the fans, with everyone else, is their public opinion on what they feel might be the problem. They dont know what goes on behind closed doors. Nobody does."

What people know is what they've seen this season: 15 catches for 276 yards and one touchdown. Considering his 2009 numbers -- 72 catches, 1,047 yards, 9 touchdowns -- the interpretation can only be negative. Something is off.

No, theres no problem understanding the Pats' system, he maintained. Im extremely intelligent, extremely intelligent. Football sense, life, the way I carry myself, the things I do, we can all see I have sense, Im smart. Its just that it didnt play out the way it was supposed to play out.

One can assume a disconnect between Ochocinco and Tom Brady. Not that Brady would ever hint at any disfunction. The quarterback has only been complimentary, tossing out bouquets like "work ethic" whenever Ochocinco's game-day impotence is raised. The pair's lack of on-field chemistry speaks louder than either of them, anyway.

No amount of adorable analogies can soften that reality.

Were dating," Ochocinco said of his quarterback. "First year of a marriage is always rough, always rough. Ive always had the chip on my shoulder, thats my style, its the way I am. If I dont have the chip, Im going to create it by saying something to someone who had to deal with me that week. Im just going to be quiet.

"I can still have fun. I sort of have to feel my way through it first. This seasons been, its more of a feel-my-way-through-it. Its a learning process. You just cant come into something new and just bust the door down and say, Hey, Im here.

Maybe not. But you could say he never even tip-toed over the Patriots threshold.
Yet Ochocinco is in Indy, and from the sounds of it, he's reconciled the question of entitlement by focusing on the bigger picture.

This playoff run, this Super Bowl is very meaningful. Many would say it didnt go the way I would like it, not up to my expectations. Everybody can see that, but I dont think this season negates a career of what I consider greatness, worth of fun. To get to this point quietly, most people call it bittersweet, but its a blessing. People will play this game for years, for years and many names, many greats without having a chance to sniff the Super Bowl.

"To be able to be here, regardless of how this season went is a blessing, period. Especially where Ive come from, what Ive been through. To get to this, not just this stage, but the NFL in general. Im happy, it could be my last one. Theres no reason to hang my head, theres no reason to be upset. It is what it is and Im still smiling. Ive been smiling all year.

You can't say Ochocinco's smile won't widen if New England wins a ring. No matter how many catches he doesn't have.

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game. 

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.