Patriots

Rask, Ference to miss B's road trip: Paille's status in doubt

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Rask, Ference to miss B's road trip: Paille's status in doubt

BOSTON -- The injuries are mounting for the Bruins at the wrong time of the season.

With the team already missing Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley, they embark on a two-game road trip through New York and Toronto without Andrew Ference (lower body injury) and Tuukka Rask (left leg) as part of the traveling party.

Daniel Paille was also banged up in the third period on a collision with Steve Staios midway through the third period, and would seem to be a question mark as the Bruins tapped both Michael Hutchinson and Lane MacDermid as emergency call-ups from the Providence Bruins.

Paille seemed to be favoring his arm as he retreated for the Bs dressing room and he didnt return to the ice.

Both P-Bruins players will make the trip to New York and Toronto, and MacDermid is a fourth-line winger that would naturally fill in for Paille if he cant play. The injuries continue to eat away at a team thats desperately looking for something to break it out of 23 games of .500 hockey dating back to Jan. 12.

Many Bruins players like Dennis Seidenberg were dizzy just thinking about the sheer number of injuries that have hit the Bruins over the last six weeks, and at least a few more players that wont be available for an important stretch of the regular season.

I dont know how many guys went down, I think Tuukka Rask and Daniel Paille. I have no idea what they have, but no matter what its always tough to lose guys that are very important to the line up.

But right now we just have to get put together and win the next time.

The Bruins are hoping they can come together, but its becoming more difficult now that every single forward line has been altered from the combinations that took the ice on opening night way back in October. The chemistry and familiarity is gone as players like Jordan Caron, Brian Rolston, Lane MacDermid and Greg Zanon hold down important roles for the Black and Gold at the most important time of the year.

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

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Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

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Bruins still holding out on a goalie decision for Devils game

BRIGHTON -- Coming off a pair of back-to-back wins from backup goaltender Anton Khudobin, the Bruins are still undecided about what they’re going to do between the pipes Wednesday night against the New Jersey Devils.

On the one hand, the Bruins are very tempted to ride the hot goaltending hand with Khudobin a strong 5-0-2 record on the season and a .935 save percentage that currently leads all goaltenders across the league. There’s a school of thought that the B’s should simply keep plugging Khudobin into the lineup until he actually loses a game, and begins to cool down a little bit between the pipes after stopping 63-of-65 shots against LA and San Jose.

At the same time it will be over a week since Tuukka Rask has played in a game if the Bruins go with Khudobin on Wednesday night against the Devils, and Bruce Cassidy was clear to stress that Rask is still their No. 1 guy. So that’s the dilemma the Bruins are facing with Cassidy calling it “a good problem to have” based on Khudobin’s strong play from the backup spot.

That is a far cry from what the Bruins experienced a year ago with the same goalie, and a reason for optimism that their goaltending situation will be better off throughout a long season.

“Do you go with the hot hand and leave your No. 1 sitting where he’s beginning to wonder what the hell is going on? That’s the decision,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We need to keep them both in a good place, and not lose out on [Khudobin’s] good run while keeping Tuukka focused and confident in his game. That’s what we’re battling and I talk to Goalie Bob [Essensa] about it every day. We’ll make our decision [on Wednesday] and we hope it’s the right one.

“It’s a long year so no matter who we use there are a lot of starts. I don’t think Khudobin is going to go ice cold if he use Tuukka tomorrow, and I don’t think Tuukka is going to blow a gasket if we go with the hot hand. For me I don’t think it’s that big of a decision.”

Perhaps Rask blowing a gasket wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world given the way he’s played this season.

The one underlying concern for Rask beyond the .897 save percentage this season is that his game has really been in a different place for the last three seasons. While his .922 career save percentage mark is among the best in the NHL, he has been below that mark in each of the last three seasons while struggling to maintain consistently behind a changing roster that’s turning over to youth and inexperience.

It certainly seems like the Bruins feel it’s premature to label Rask as anything but their No. 1 goaltender, but the pause they’re giving on Wednesday night’s starter speaks volumes about their current confidence level in each of their puck-stoppers.

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