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9 Bruins Games to Circle on your Calendar

By on August 27, 2016 at 3:59pm

With the long-awaited Jimmy Vesey Sweepstakes, or #VeseyWatch as it was known on Twitter, coming to an unfortunate end last week after the North Reading, MA native decided to sign in the Big Apple with the Rangers instead of his hometown team, the buzz around this upcoming Bruins season has taken somewhat of a hit. The questions surrounding this group of players, specifically on the blue line, haven’t been addressed and the moves that have been made, most notably the signing of David Backes, have been second guessed. Adding Vesey to this group would have reinvigorated a fan-base that isn’t very happy right now according to recent sports polls, and masked some of the problems that still linger for this years squad. Nevertheless, training camp opens in just about a month, so rather than sulk and pout, I looked at the B’s upcoming season and found nine games that will surely get even the most depressed Bruins fan pumped up. Continue reading 9 Bruins Games to Circle on your Calendar »

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Vesey has less than a week to pick his NHL home. (thecrimson.com)

Jimmy Vesey, the Harvard product who won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey last season, is about to end all the drama and mystery when he chooses which NHL team he wants to play for on August 15th. When Vesey spurned the Nashville Predators this past spring and refused to sign with the team that drafted him, he instantly became the hottest free-agent on the market. Intrigue was added after his rights were traded to the Buffalo Sabres at the beginning of the summer, and hometown buddy Jack Eichel got the opportunity to recruit the former Crimson stud. Now all that remains is for Vesey to select which team he’ll call home and if the B’s are fortunate enough to land him, it’ll be the biggest offseason addition since Zdeno Chara 10 years ago. Yes that big. Continue reading Vesey is Key to Rest of Bruins Offseason Plan »

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Garoppolo will have a lot on his plate to start the year. (Kevin Hoffman, USA Today Sports).

On July 15th Tom Brady announced to the world he would no longer seek legal action in the infamous “Deflategate” scandal, thus ending the longest, and quite possibly the most ridiculous sports story ever, that was endlessly talked about for the better part of a year and a half. At that moment, it became clear Brady would accept his four game suspension, and put an end to his 14 year starting streak in the process. The man who has grown from hidden-gem to living legend had to hand the reigns over to Jimmy Garopplo, the unproven yet highly touted backup, therefore creating quite the interesting scenario for the QB from Eastern Illinois. Continue reading The Curious Case of Jimmy Garoppolo »

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Brad Marchand (Bleacherreport.com)

Summertime isn’t the most exciting time as far as hockey rumors go, especially when the biggest news surrounding the Bruins roster is waiting for unrestricted free-agent and Hobey Baker winner Jimmy Vesey to decide which team he’ll play for next season. However, Brad Marchand has recently made headlines not for his on ice antics, rather what his next contract will look like as a professional hockey player. Marchand is entering the final year of a four-year $18 million dollar deal and will be seeking a significant raise after coming off of a career year in which he scored 37 goals and 60 points.

It’s recently been reported that Marchand is looking for a 7×7 deal, meaning he wants seven years at seven million per, which would end up costing the B’s a total of $49 million. Granted he receives this contract, Marchand will be paid among the likes of teammates David Krejci and Tuukka Rask as well as the Sedin twins and St. Louis Blues sniper Vladimir Tarasenko. Again, if he ends up getting this contract, it will put somewhat of a strain on the B’s cap space and will most likely force Don Sweeney to trade an impact player since David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner will also be due for new deals after next year.

Although Marchand did prove to the entire NHL he was a dangerous scorer last year, it was his only season in which he scored more than 30 goals. Guys that have contracts in the seven million dollar range are either proven stars or franchise altering type of players. It doesn’t seem like Marchand is in that category just yet since last year was his breakout season, so it might be a better idea to wait and see if he repeats his high scoring pace next season and then sign him in the offseason. Not only would this give Sweeney more time to figure out what to do with all these contracts, it would also give Marchand the opportunity to prove he deserves a top-tier contract. The worst thing that could happen would be to lock him up long-term now and then find out he isn’t worth the dollars and term they are paying him. Waiting an extra season seems like the most logical choice in this case since he hasn’t completely shaken the agitator/borderline-dirty player mantra or cemented his place as a consistent scorer year after year.

The other option that hasn’t been floated around at all is trading Marchand now that his value is at an all time high. Even though this doesn’t make much sense right now, if Marchand proves he isn’t the goal scorer everyone thought, it would be harder to get the same type of players in return if the B’s did decide to trade him later on. While it’s hard to justify this now, it would look like a great move for Sweeney if some other team is paying seven million dollars for a 20-25 goal scorer with a wild side.

Obviously there are a lot of factors that come into play in a situation like this, but at a time where cap space is king and goal scorers come and go, it would be wise for the Bruins to hold off on signing Marchand right now and let him control his own destiny with his play next season. It’s been repeated at nauseum that the B’s finally escaped cap hell and inking Marchand now would bring them right back where they started, so Sweeney should show some patience and let Marchy show he’s grown from a pest to a leader.

 

 

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The Fantasy Ranx- Quarterbacks (1-3)

July 29, 2016 at 3:34pm in Fantasy
(cafewordpress.com)

1.) Cam Newton– Killa Cam returned to fantasy glory last season with a comeback tour that would make the New Kids on the Block green with envy. He did it all without his number one wideout in Kelvin Benjamin, who will be ready to go for the 2016 campaign. Many think that Cam will regress back to the mean this year, as he won’t be forced to run as often with an improved offensive line and the return of some key contributors in the passing game. That being said, I’m of the belief that Cam is poised for another monster year in 2016. He made tremendous strides in term of accuracy and pocket presence last season, and at the ripe young age of 27, he still has room to grow in all aspects of his game. If Cam can continue to develop as a passer, use his legs when the opportunity presents itself, and avoid the kind of injuries that have thwarted his fantasy potential over the years, he should be an absolute stud once again in 2016.

2.) Aaron Rodgers– The longtime “King of Fantasy QB’s” was finally dethroned this past season, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t poised for another big year in 2016. Last year, Rodgers finished a disappointing 7th in QB rankings, (ESPN scoring) so conventional wisdom might suggest that he’s not the fantasy superstar we’ve grown accustomed to over the years. Well in the words of my guy Lee Corso “Not so fast my friends!”. Rodgers less-than-stellar numbers can be attributed to a number of factors, the least of which have to do with his play or ability. First off, his receiving corps were held together by glue and popsicle sticks, with Jordy Nelson out for the entire year and Randall Cobb battling a bevy of injuries over the course of the season. Secondly, Rodgers once stud RB1 Eddie Lacy took one too many trips to PF Chang’s last offseason and quickly became one big, fat punchline. Eddie Lacy wasn’t just football fat, he was “Jonah Hill pre-21 Jump Street fat”. Luckily for Rodgers, Nelson appears as though he’ll be ready to start the year and Lacy has popped in the “Kanye West get right for the summer workout tape” and has slimmed down considerably. Given those developments and the fact that Rodgers is still the most gifted thrower in the league, he should once again return to fantasy dominance in 2016.

3.) Tom Brady + Replacement Level QB- Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that Tom is suspended for the first four games of the year for the horrendous acts he committed against humanity. I know that most quarterbacks would be at a tremendous disadvantage having missed the first four games of the season, and I know that it might take Tom and the boys a few weeks to truly get firing on all cylinders.  What I also know is that Tom Brady put together a stellar 2015 campaign that saw him finish 2nd among QB’s in points (ESPN scoring) and throw for the most touchdowns (36) and the least interceptions (7) among starting quarterbacks. He did all of this while missing his number one wide receiver in Julian Edelman for a majority of the season, as well as emerging pass-catching threat Dion Lewis. Consider these factors along with the common knowledge that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time, and you can begin to see why I am so high on him despite his four game suspension. Brady will also benefit from the return of left tackle Nate Solder as well as offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who should help to remedy the Patriots porous offensive line that allowed Brady to be sacked 38 times in 2015. When Brady does finally take the field, he will be more motivated than ever to prove that Deflategate was one giant hoax from the start, and that he and the Patriots are still the big, bad bullies on the block. Drafting a QB in the later rounds with a favorable schedule weeks 1-4 (something I will get into in my draft strategy column)  along with Brady could result in the highest scoring QB for you and your team in 2016. A pissed off Tom Brady offense will be running up the score every chance they get, and that will be sure to render big time fantasy numbers this coming season.

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Hey David ! FIGURE IT OUT.

July 18, 2016 at 6:57pm in Featured, MLB, Red Sox, Top Story
david price  globe

With a chance to sweep the Yankees and pull to within one game of the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the East, the Red Sox had their $200 million dollar man on the mound last night. Coming out of the break, Sox fans (including myself) were hopeful that David Price had figured out the source of his struggles throughout the first half of the year. Unfortunately, it was much of the same for Price and the Sox last night in the Bronx.

Like so many times this season, the big lefty looked sharp in the opening frames. His velocity was excellent, painting the black with a fastball touching 96 mph early and often. That, combined with his ability to mix in his breaking ball saw Price making quick work of the Yankees 19th ranked lineup through the first three innings. But, much like it has SO many times this season, one big inning ultimately did in the Red Sox “ace”.

So often this year, Price’s nemesis has been the long ball. While he didn’t allow a yabo last night, (a small miracle) he did surrender five hits in the fourth inning that resulted in three Yankee runs. Combine that with an excellent performance from Tanaka and the great Yankee bullpen, and that was all she wrote for the Sox and their six game winning streak.

Watching a pitcher with Price’s track record and ability struggle so mightily this season has been nothing short of perplexing. Mowing down lineups for years with the Rays, Jays, and Tigers, no one could have envisioned him sitting on an ERA of 4.36 twenty starts into his Red Sox career. Here’s hoping he can right the ship before the Sox and their playoff hopes disappear in the heat of the summer.

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Tom Brady/AP Image

Oh, Tom. Tommy, Tom, Tom. We had a good fight, didn’t we? We ruffled some feathers, tangled with authority, and left nearly no stone unturned in an effort to clear the name of the greatest quarterback of all-time. But in the end, there was nothing even the GOAT himself could do to combat the outright hypocrisy and lunacy of one Roger Goodell. The battle to prove Tom’s innocence was underhanded and unfair from the jump, and I for one think it’s time to move forward with Garappolo under-center for weeks 1-4.

When this whole Deflategate fiasco began some 543 days ago, it appeared as though Tom Brady would have an opportunity to prove what he has maintained since day one– that he had no knowledge regarding the deflation of footballs during the 2014 AFC Championship game. Throughout this exhausting legal process, it started to become clear that Tom’s innocence would have no bearing on whether or not his suspension would be eradicated.

What became the harsh reality for Tom and the rest of Patriot Nation was that Roger Goodell, the tyrant, set himself up with absolute, unbounded power when the CBA was put into place a few years back. Due to this stranglehold, Goodell was able to flip Brady’s case completely upside down and make it about his right to enforce his discipline regardless of a player’s innocence, or any other factor for that matter. Essentially, if Roger Goodell doesn’t like the way you cut your hair, he can suspend you for three games. If Goodell thinks you made fun of his hair piece behind closed doors, that’s four games.

This coming from a man who refused to acknowledge the facts (video evidence) that Ray Rice knocked his fiancee unconscious in an elevator. A man who has turned a blind eye to domestic violence, performance enhancing drugs, and several other infractions that have had a MUCH larger effect on the reputation and integrity of his game than an ALLEGEDLY deflated football used in a game that the Pats won by 38 points.

As I’ve said all along, the Brady suspension is a blessing in disguise for the Pats. Tom will have an extra four games of rest, and he will come back to a bevy of talented receivers DYING to catch passes from one of the best to ever lace them up. The extra rest will be huge for Brady and the Pats come playoff time. In addition, it will give the Pats a chance to showcase Jimmy Garappolo, who is nearing the end of his rookie deal and could be used as a trade chip moving forward with a solid performance in the first four weeks.

So enjoy the extended vacation with your super model wife and millions and millions of dollars, Tom. We’ll be ready for you to return week five and drop a 50 burger on those poor, poor Cleveland Browns. WE STAND WITH TOM.

 

 

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