Bruins

Pavlovic: 'I just play basketball'

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Pavlovic: 'I just play basketball'

BOSTON -- Sasha Pavlovic wears the same game face whether he has hit a big basket or bumbled a play down the stretch.

Cool, calm, collected.

So when he plays as well as he has been in recent games, his performances seem to sneak up on the opponent. Then Pavlovic goes about his business as though its not a big deal.

I just play basketball, he told CSNNE.com. I dont make faces. I dont think there is a reason for that. Im just like that.

Pavlovic entered Wednesdays game against the Atlanta Hawks averaging 5.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, while shooting 69.2 percent from the field and 77.8 percent from three-point range in his last five contests. More importantly, he has made an impact of defense.

One player who knows Pavlovics approach well is Atlanta Hawks forward Vladimir Radmanovic. The two first met playing on youth pro teams in Serbia over ten years ago.

Radmanovic has come to expect the type of performances that may surprise others.

Hes a defensive-minded player, Radmanovic said. Hes a guy who can lock somebody down, very physical. Nobody thinks he can really jump and then all of a sudden youll see him blocking somebody on the fast break. Obviously those of us coming from Europe are good shooters, so thats the thing that Sasha has as well.

Hes bigger than most of the guards and he can guard basically one through four. The speed that he has gives him the ability to guard smaller guys and his size and his strength lets him guard bigger guys.

Pavlovic made it a point to improve his defense when he entered the NBA in 2003. After playing for six teams, he has found is critical for sticking around.

If you want to play in this league, youve got to be able to play defense, Pavlovic replied matter-of-factly, never changing his expression. If you dont, youre going to play on the bench.

Once again, staying cool, calm, and collected.

Morning Skate: Not all smooth sailing for top picks

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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

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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.

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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