Brown: What to expect from Patriots on Sunday


Brown: What to expect from Patriots on Sunday

Troy Brown joins Greg Dickerson and Andy Gresh where he touches upon a number of topics pertaining to the Patriots-Ravens AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

First up: Can Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley be effective against the Ravens run defense? Vereen had a coming out party of sorts against the Texans once Danny Woodhead left the game. Baltimore certainly won't be easy on the Pats running backs, though.

The same can be said for the Patriots wide receivers. Brown says the Ravens will have to be physical with them.

On the flip side, how will New England's defense hold up against the Ravens' run and pass game? Ray Rice has taken a back seat to the team's deep-ball offense as of late, but Rice is just as big a part of that offensive attack when the Ravens spread three wideouts.

Brown has much more analysis so check out the video.

Still looking for first point, Heinen stays patient


Still looking for first point, Heinen stays patient

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It may be strictly due to injuries or because Ryan Spooner is being moved back to third line center full-time, but Danton Heinen is going to get another top-six look on the wing. The 21-year-old Bruins prospect will be skating on the left wing with David Krejci and Matt Beleskey in Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild after serving as a healthy scratch last weekend against the Montreal Canadiens.

Heinen has only two shots on goal in the four games leading up to the scratch, and has been quiet offensively after leading the Bruins in goal-scoring during the preseason. Clearly there’s an adjustment to be made there, and it looked like the playmaking rookie winger was starting to develop a little more confidence trying to make plays while skating with Krejci and David Backes in last week’s win over the New Jersey Devils.

Heinen actually looked reminiscent of Krejci on a couple of plays, pulling back the puck after entering the zone and catching a trailing B’s teammate with a perfectly executed lead pass on the offensive rush. That effort plus a trip to the ninth floor press box last weekend seemed to reinforce just how much time he has to make plays, and that should be a benefit for both Heinen and his linemates.

Sometimes getting that first NHL point is the hardest part when a player breaks into the league, and it’s been that way for the young winger through his first four games.

“[Krejci] is such a good player, and I just try to complement him any way I can,” said Heinen. “You never want to be up in the press box, but it gives you a different perspective on the game. It’s a different angle. From up there it looks like you’ve got way more time. I definitely think I can be more patient with the puck, and make some smarter plays.”

Heinen started to do that in his best NHL game to date prior to being scratched against New Jersey, and it resulted in greater offensive possession and a couple of potential scoring plays getting created for the B’s second line. Unfortunately it didn’t lead to actual goals, and Heinen knows that’s what needs to happen through him if a player like him, with an offense-minded reputation from his University of Denver days, is going to stick top-6 in Boston.

“You can’t rely on the [top] guys every night,” said Heinen, who watched the Habs beat the Bruins on Saturday night while essentially shutting down Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. “When we’ve been out there we’ve kind of been getting some chances, but we’ve got to bear down.

“[Krejci] likes to play with the puck a lot, so you just get him the puck, go in hard on the forecheck and try to get open because he’s a good distributor.”

It sounds like a simple plan that might be a very good thing for young Heinen, who needs to start breaking through offensively if he wants to stick around in Boston for the long haul. 

Belichick doesn't rule out possibility of Lewis practicing this week


Belichick doesn't rule out possibility of Lewis practicing this week

Last week, when Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked if his team would have guard Tre' Jackson or running back Dion Lewis available at practice, Belichick said "probably not." For him, that's about as definitive as it gets. 

This week, it's a different story. 

Belichick was asked on Tuesday if the Patriots would "start the clock" on Lewis and Jackson, both of whom have been on the physically unable to perform list since training camp. The Patriots have five more weeks to determine whether or not they would like to have Lewis or Jackson practice. Once they do begin practicing, the clock starts, and the team will have three weeks to activate them. 

"We’ll have to talk with our medical and conditioning staff and kind of get a sense of where everybody is, and then figure that out from when practice starts on Wednesday," Belichick said. "So we’ll take a look at that information and see where we are, and then make a decision on it prior to Wednesday’s practice."

It wasn't a confirmation that either player would practice, but it wasn't "probably not," either.