After Olympics wrap, what's next?


After Olympics wrap, what's next?

So just like that, after 17 days, 104 US medals, and one stellar performance by George Michael, the London Olympics are over. Through it all, we met a few new American heroes, were re-acquainted with a few old ones, we were ALL swept up in the unfathomable drama of the 50K Race Walk. And now, theres nothing. Nearly three weeks of non-stop competition replaced by . . . I dont know. The crumbling Sox? Preseason football? The Little League World Series!?!

Truth be told, Im not an enormous fan of the Olympics. At least not compared to how much I care about professional sports, or how much some other people care about the Olympics. But if you have a pulse and a TV, its impossible not to get caught up.

For one, because its always on. Always. And when you consider the sad state of summer TV, the constant flow of competition on the NBC networks was a savior on so many boring nights. And then there are the events. From the absurdity of synchronized diving and the aforementioned race walk to the nuances of competitive ping pong and fencing its all so bizarrely fascinating. In some cases, you find yourself captivated by sports you never knew existed. And all those serve as hearty appetizers to legendary Summer Olympic-entrees like swimming, gymnastics and sprinting, not to mention the more mainstream sports like tennis, soccer and basketball led by familiar names like Federer, Murray, Wambach, Solo, LeBron and Kobe.

Together, we watched it all unfold. We cheered on Douglas and Raisman. We cheered for LeBron! We shook our heads and laughed (what else can you do?) at the unimaginable greatness of Phelps and Bolt. Men fell in love with Alex Morgan; women with Ryan Lochte. We all marveled at the fastest man on no legs but McKayla was unimpressed.

In real time, the games simultaneously dragged on for too long, but happened so fast. The opening ceremonies could have been yesterday or last year. But regardless of our (or my) warped perception, the London Olympics have come to a screeching halt, leaving in their aftermath a slew of memories that will easily last for the next four years.

But thankfully, we'll only need them for another four weeks.

Are you ready?

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’


Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 



A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day


A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

Less than a week after announcing his retirement on Instagram, Kevin Garnett was back in the gym with old friends Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers.

Cue the comeback rumors? "Anything is possible!"

The tweet from the Clippers called Garnett a “special guest” at the team’s practice on Thursday. 

Rivers, the current Clippers and ex-Celtics coach, told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan last week he was willing to bring Garnett, who has a home in Malibu, to Los Angeles for one last season but KG, 40, chose to retire. So, apparently, the reunion Thursday with Doc, Pierce and Garnett was only temporary.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, a former Celtics assistant under Rivers, wants Garnett to join his staff.