Celtics

Sox unsuccessful in landing starter Gonzalez

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Sox unsuccessful in landing starter Gonzalez

The Red Sox were involved in trade talks with the Oakland A's for lefty starter Gio Gonzalez right until the end -- when the A's opted for the Washington Nationals' package of three pitching prospects (plus a position player) over the Red Sox' offer, which was more titled toward position players, an industry source confirmed.

Gonzalez, 25, was sent to Washington in exchange for pitchers A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock, Tom Milone and catcher Derek Norris.

A deal with the Red Sox, meanwhile, would have required the Sox to part with four prospects -- each a high-level prospect, the source indicated.

It's believed that Oakland was asking for names such as third baseman Will Middlebrooks and outfielder Ryan Kalish -- among others -- to get a deal done with Boston.

Gonzalez, 26, will be joining the fourth team in his career, after stints with the A's, Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies. He's won 31 games over the last two seasons and pitched 200 innings in each of those seasons with a combined ERA of 3.18. But he's also walked 183 batters over the last two seasons and his 91 walks in 2011 led all American League pitchers.

Boston's options are now dwindling when it comes to trading for a starting pitcher. John Danks, another A.L. lefty in whom they had an interest, was re-signed by the Chicago White Sox Wednesday, taking him off the market.

A handful of starters remain available in deals, but most have question marks. Houston is willing to move Wandy Rodriguez, but he has approximately 35 million remaining in salary obligations. Atlanta is willing to move Jair Jurrjens, but the Sox are said to have concerns about his health after Jurrjens missed significant time in each of his last two seasons.

Still available are Gavin Floyd with the White Sox and a few members of the Tampa Bay Rays rotation (Wade Davis, Jeff Niemann) could be moved, though the Rays are telling teams they don't need to move either. One American League executive dismissed the chances of the Red Sox and Rays, division rivals, making a deal together.

Even after the Gonzalez trade, the A's aren't done moving pitching this winter. And they're unlikely to be done talking to the Red Sox.

Boston is still very much interested in closer Andrew Bailey. The A's have asked for a package which includes Josh Reddick and others.

For a time this week, a source said, the Red Sox and A's talked about a mega-deal which would have landed the Sox both Gonzalez and Bailey, but A's GM Billy Beane ultimately decided against putting both assets in the same deal, reasoning that he could get a bigger haul if he made separate trades involving the two.

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the 76ers at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview:  Celtics need to improve shooting

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bruins put finishing touches on reeling Canadiens

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Bruins put finishing touches on reeling Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Boston Bruins weren’t about to dance on any Montreal Canadiens’ graves after it was over and done with, but they effectively closed the door on any flickering playoff hopes for the Habs this week. It all ended with Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre that finished off the sweep of all three meetings between the two arch-rivals over an eight day span, and with the reeling Montreal a stunning 13 points out of a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

It was a close game nearly all the way through in Montreal until David Pastrnak and Riley Nash scored in the final few minutes of the third period, but the Bruins outscored the Habs by an 11-5 margin while clearly establishing they were the better team in all three contests. It all makes sense given the opposite directions that the two hockey clubs are headed at this point in the season, and because of that the Bruins were playing it pretty cool after burying the Habs.

“It was kind of a crazy week because we were playing them three times, so we obviously wanted to play good hockey,” said Tuukka Rask, who won all three games vs. the Habs while improving his lifetime record vs. the Habs to 10-15-3 in the process. “[We wanted to] get as many points as possible, and won all of those games along with the one on Long Island. So it was a great week for us.”

Certainly it seemed like there was more genuine emotion from the Bruins in Claude Julien’s return to Boston midweek, and perhaps a little more adrenaline in last weekend’s first game at the Bell Centre where rookies like Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy and Danton Heinen were dipping their toes into the storied rivalry for the first time.

But on this Saturday night it was more about a complete dismantling of the Bleu, Blanc and Rouge even as the Bruins initially fell down by a goal after a bad McAvoy turnover. Instead it was Boston’s Perfection Line that went to work with an efficient, dominant performance as David Pastrnak scored the game’s first goal and insurance third goal in the third period. They also accounted for the game-winner when Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak hemmed Montreal’s fourth line in the defensive zone, and Torey Krug eventually stepped up and rifled one short side on Carey Price.

Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak combined for two goals, six assists and a plus-8 in the resounding victory over the Habs, and had a dominant 12 of Boston’s 31 shots on net when the final horn had sounded. They simply overwhelmed Montreal with their depth, the high end quality of their lineup and the fact that Boston was rested while the Habs had to play in Washington DC on Friday night in a three games in four days stretch.

All of that allowed the Bruins to drive the final nail into Montreal’s coffin when the game was over, and it furthermore allowed Boston to keep worrying about the teams they’re trying to catch (ahem . . . Tampa Bay Lightning) rather than Eastern Conference bottom-feeders like the Canadiens.

“We talked about doing the job against them and finding a ways to push teams down while gaining ground on the teams above us,” said Patrice Bergeron. “I thought it was a great effort again. We knew that they would be ready for us, but we also knew that they had played last night. So maybe if we had a good start we could jump on them. I thought we had a good game.”

Clearly there have been ebbs and flows to the Bruins/Habs rivalry over their long history together, and both Boston and Montreal have been in the catbird seat at different times even in the recent editions of their history. But right now Boston is beating the Canadiens badly at their own skill and speed game and dominating thing with pure hockey rather than bullying, and that’s got to sting for a Habs group that simply couldn’t compete with the Bruins in three different chances to do so this week. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE