Belichick: All players must be ready, period


Belichick: All players must be ready, period

As surprised as you might have been to see Tom Brady look to Shane Vereen for the first play of Sunday's game, Vereen could hardly believe it himself.
The running back didn't know he'd get in until right before kickoff.
No, not at all," he said of receiving fair warning. "They tell us to be ready and thats the one thing I try to do is just be ready when my numbers called."
It was called for the first three snaps of New England's first series. Vereen started with a 10-yard catch, followed it with a 14-yard run, and added another 1-yard run to that.
You get excited," said Vereen. "Anyway I get to help the team, I get excited to do that.
He hasn't had much of a chance.
Before Sunday, Vereen had just six yards total (one rushing, five receiving) to his name. He's played in only four of seven games for the Patriots this year because of a foot injury that lingered from the preseason finale into Week 3. When called to duty on Sunday he ran for 49 yards on eight carries in addition to the 10-yard catch that opened the game.
From 14 offensive snaps on the season to 17 in one night -- that's a decent leap. Head coach Bill Belichick knew Vereen would make it.
"Shane is a good athlete. He's worked hard. He's a smart kid and he had more opportunities yesterday than he's had since the preseason. Like everybody who played yesterday, there are some good things to build on, some things that could have been better, and we'll just keep going forward, keep trying to work on some things and build on them."
Vereen's ability to perform comes from a combination of things, like athleticism and the work put in at practice. Belichick said the coaches approach each player the same way in regard to preparation, no matter what his experience.
If you're put on that football field, you're as ready to go as the next guy. Efficiency is expected.
"It comes down to everybody on our team being ready to go. Period. Just ready to go," he said. "Preparing during the week, getting ready to do their job, then with however many -- whatever opportunities present themselves during the game -- being able to go out there and do it at a quality level. That's what every one of our players prepares for.
"Playing time is not something that a player controls; opportunity isn't something they control. They don't call the plays, they don't know what the defenses are going to be, so those opportunities aren't always 100-percent predictable. The most important thing is the players, every player, is mentally and physically prepared to do their job, to what adjustments have to be made before or after the snap, and go out there and do it."
Vereen can only hope doing that will translate to more opportunities.
He may finally be ready.

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

Haggerty: Subban looking more like a 1st-round bust than NHL goalie

BOSTON, Mass – Malcolm Subban says that he believes that he can still be a No. 1 goaltender in the NHL.

While that’s admirable on some level for the sheer, brazen self-confidence involved in saying this after getting yanked from a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild at TD Garden, pretty much all of the evidence points out the contrary. Nearly two years after getting pulled from his NHL debut in against the St. Louis Blues after giving up three goals on six shots, Subban was pulled from Tuesday night’s appearance after giving up three goals on eight second period shots with the Bruins desperately in need of a quality start in goal.

He maintained a defiantly confident tone after another humbling NHL effort against Minnesota, and that’s a testament to the maturity and mental toughness of the person behind the goalie mask.

“It sucks. Obviously, I’m just trying to finish the game, let alone win one. Obviously it sucks, but what can you do now, right?” said Subban, who has now allowed six goals on 22 career shots faced in two starts. “Obviously I want to be a number one goaltender in the league. I was a high pick for a reason. I have the potential, and I just have to show it. Obviously I haven’t done that so far yet, but I think I’m getting closer to it. Honestly, I think I can do it right now. I just got to show it. Obviously, I didn’t [do it] today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Given the stunningly bad quality of his two NHL starts combined with a thoroughly pedestrian body of work at the AHL level over the last three years, there is literally zero tangible evidence Subban is tracking to be a franchise goaltender. Instead he’s the emergency goaltender called on by the Bruins only after Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin have both been shelved by injuries, and he’s now flunked the two pop quizzes when the NHL team needed him to come through.

Meanwhile, a sizeable selection of goaltenders taken after him in the 2012 NHL Draft class have already proven their NHL worth and broken through at the elite level: Matt Murray, Frederik Anderson, Connor Hellebuyck and Joonas Korpisalo.

Subban was hoping all along to break through this season in Boston, but things went south on him quickly with a Bruins team not playing well in front of him. The first goal was a fluttering Charlie Coyle shot that trickled between his glove hand and the top of his leg pad. The third goal was a softie low and to the glove side, power play strike authored by Ryan Suter. It added up to poor goaltending and shoddy defense, but it also added up to a Bruins goaltender that didn’t even give his hockey club a chance to win.

“It could be a combination of both. There are some goals – I’m not going to lie – there are some goals that we thought our goaltenders should have had. But I’m not here to talk about a goaltender who’s in one of his first few games because he let in a couple of bad goals,” said Julien. “We were terrible in front of him and we weren’t any better, and that’s the big picture. That’s more important.

“I don’t care who’s in net. I think when you have some injuries you need to be better in those situations and we weren’t good enough tonight. It doesn’t matter if Tuukka [Rask] is in net and we had injuries up front, or we’re lacking players here or there. You’ve got to let the system take care of the game. If you play it the right way, you have a chance to win. When you don’t, you don’t. That’s what happened [against Minnesota].”

There’s no question the defense in front of Subban wasn’t nearly good enough, and Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug in particular struggled to lock things down in the defensive zone. The wide open shots from the slot - like the Chris Stewart score in the second period that arrived 12 seconds after Minnesota’s opening goal - are indicative of a hockey club that’s not sticking to the game plan once things start to get a little wonky.

But this is about a player in Subban that should be entering the NHL stage of his career after being a first round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and anybody would be hard-pressed to see him as an NHL goalie after failing in each of his first two NHL starts. Combine that with the lack of dominance at the AHL level over the last three years, and there’s a better chance that Subban will be a major first round bust for the Bruins rather than suddenly develop into a late-blooming No. 1 goaltender in Boston.

The scary part is that Subban and fellow young netminder Zane McIntyre are all the Bruins have for Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, and perhaps longer than that if Rask can’t make rapid progress with his lower body injury.

Maybe Subban can be a bit better than he’s shown thus far, and the four goals allowed to Minnesota were not all his fault. The bottom line, however, is that Subban should be up for doing this job right now. Tuesday was a big chance for the young goalie to make a statement that he was ready for it.

Instead he looked like the same goalie that’s been pulled from two of his first four AHL starts this season, and plays like a goaltender that’s never going to truly be ready for the call in Boston.