British reporter: NFL in England 'has a chance' to work


British reporter: NFL in England 'has a chance' to work

LONDON -- My friend Matt Sherry of the Press Association (the UK's answer to the Associated Press) is seated in front of me here in the press box at Wembley Stadium and he and his mates are the target audience for the NFL in it's hamhanded European moneygrab.

I asked Matt if this British Invasion by the NFL is working. I can spit on the idea -- along with most American fans -- but we aren't the market.

Matt is. A 21-year-old from Hartlepool, he's a legit NFL consumer.

"I think it has a chance to work," he opined. "I think they started (coming to London six years ago) at the perfect time because popularity was rising anyway. This hasn't sparked popularity, it was there."

Sherry said the Patriots are the leading team in terms of interest here. Why? It is a bit of a mystery.

"I think it's the three quick Super Bowls and the simple fact it has 'England' in the name," he said. "But I've been wondering that myself."

Sherry says the sport is "still a niche."

Will it rise above that?

"I think me head says it will always be a niche. My heart says it won't. The Premier League dominates. Much like the NFL took over baseball in the States, Premier League is that way here. I don't know if that can change."

Sherry has hard data of the grassroots appeal, though.

"I've got in total about seven friends here today and four of them, six months ago, couldn't have told you anything about the NFL," he pointed out. "And they've probably spent about 200 pounds each to be here. And they are all about my age."

The NFL is into Phase Two of its plan to invade. There will be two London games in 2013 and the Jaguars will play a single game in each of the next four years.

"Next year is the most important," said Sherry. "We'll find out with two games how many are here for the game and not just the event. If one sells and the other doesn't, we'll know."

McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff


McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

BRIGHTON, Mass -- It hasn’t been an easy road for Bruins rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre since getting called back up by Boston a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old netminder is trying to give the B’s top-level goaltending while earning the trust of the Bruins coaching staff, and adjusting to the sporadic playing time that goes along with playing understudy to a No. 1 netminder like Tuukka Rask. The three goals allowed in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins didn’t look good on paper, but really there wasn’t much McIntyre could do with the defense totally breaking down in front of him during a 12-shot barrage in the final 20 minutes.

The 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage certainly look like a little frightening for the first-year goalie, but the truth is there’s going to be some bumps as he adjusts to life as a backup for the first time.

“[The adjustment] is mostly between the ears, to be honest,” said McIntyre. “I have confidence in my physical abilities and I know what I can do, and what makes my game successful. So right now it’s just building confidence every day in practice and staying persistent, staying with it. I know good things are going to happen when you surround yourself with good people, and the biggest thing is battling every day and making sure I’m contributing to the team.”

McIntyre will certainly have to be sharp if he’s put back in the crease on Tuesday night against the Red Wings after Rask exited from Sunday’s loss in the second period with symptoms of a migraine. The Bruins top goalie missed practice on Monday while getting himself checked out medically, and there’s a chance he could be out if the symptoms are in any way related to the Roman Josi shot he took off his neck last week.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day to be honest. That’s what I’ve always done in the past, and I’m just trying to build up confidence every day,” said McIntyre, who had been lights out in Providence prior to getting the call to Boston. “We’ll just see what happens and roll with it.”

That’s a challenge McIntyre will certainly be up for in a different way than Sunday’s mop-up duty, but it remains to be seen just how steady-footed the Bruins will be about their goalie situation if Rask is expected to miss any time this week.