Bruin up a storm


Bruin up a storm

By Michael Felger

Anyone else smelling the Bruins' first overtime game this postseason? I think we're due for one tonight.

Hey, Felger!What were you thinking when you came on the air the other night with the second shirt button so tight it was choking you, plus neither collar buttoned down??? Love your show, but you definitely need to update your wardrobe! You are one of the best looking men on CSNNE, but lack any sense of style and look like you shop at Sears for your on-air outfits. Please try SOMETHING other than the open collar blue shirt and boring sports jackets!! At the very least wear something that fits!!!JayNew Bedford
Ugh! So frustrating. I knew I was making a big mistake that night. It's the single, biggest issue I face on a daily basis. As I've said before, if I keep that second button undone then the hamburger meat comes out and the masses are horrified. But if I button it, then I'm too conservative and I get the likes of you. What's a girl to do?

Felger,When the Bruins get the first goal of the game, they are a different team. But they'll lose in five.The constant in all of the Bruins' failure through the years is Harry. Coaches and players have come and gone, but until Harry goes the Bruins will never win.Christopher

Um, I don't want to burst your bubble, Christopher, but Harry was done as president in 2007. He's still around the team, I guess, but he doesn't do much. As for your first point, I think the team that really changes stripes after the first goal is Montreal. The Habs can't trap and take that defensive posture as they do with the lead, and that plays to the Bruins' advantage. Not that the B's want a shootout, but a more up-and-down game is to their advantage in this series.

Felger,I'm with you 100 percent on the Bruins. The entire organization has a losers' mentality from the GM down to the coach. Do they realize that they operate in the sports town that has experienced six championships in the last ten years? We expect championships, not participation awards. It's about time this team steps up, thinks like a winner, acts like a winner and actually wins something. I'm not holding my breath.JoeWarwick, RI

Me neither. I think that Julien and Chiarelli brought an important culture change from the Harry years -- and it was sorely needed. They brought the organization out of the dark ages and back to respectabilty. Unfortunately, it feels to me like they're a little too comfortable with what they've accomplished. When the general manager explains after a 3-0 series collapse that his team is one of only five in the league to reach the second round two consecutive years, as Chiarelli did last year, then I think that pretty clearly signals the need for another change in culture.

Felger,Anyone who thought the Bruins really would contend for the Cup were out of their minds. They played gutless without passion and no physical hits.GilbertAspen, CO

The reason the B's aren't true contenders has nothing to do with passion and physical play. Those things are important, don't get me wrong, but if that's all you got, then you aren't going that far. And I believe the B's show enough of it, anyway. No, the B's issue comes down to skill and balls. They don't have enough skill up front when it comes to finishing -- their only 30-goal scorer, Milan Lucic, needed five empty-netters to reach that threshold, and the closest thing they had to a point-a-game guy was David Krejci with 62 points in 75 games. They also don't have enough skill in back when it comes to moving the puck. Above all, they've shown a propensity to shrink in big moments -- as evidenced by the Flyers series last year and the Carolina series the year before that. Skill and balls. Those are the issues.

Felger, You DB!We see eye to eye on numerous things. It's one of the many reasons why I put up with that tinny hum on the AM band all those years ago. And one of those things is that we both wish Chara was more like Scott Stevens and Chris Pronger. That being said, there is no way I can fault Chara for not trying to gut it out during Game 2. Did you see him during that pregame skate? He looked like he was a crossover away from loading up his Cooperalls. This wasn't about Chara having the guts to play, it was a question of controlling them while he played. Now, under normal circumstances I would be all for an on-ice gastro-intestanal calamity the likes of which would make Nick Brophey's squat of shame in Slap Shot look sanitary. Poo is funny. But the fact that such an incident would be lorded over B's fans by those crepe-eating francophones makes it 100 percent unacceptable.And honestly Mike, he looked like garbage in Game 1 during his ailment's opening act! Do you think that a weaker, ranker, more fetid version of Z, with the possibility of uncontrolled anal leakage, manning your blue line was going to help during the most physically demanding postseason in professional sports? It's just not worth it, and I fail to see how having your captain battle the squirts on the bench would inspire any of his teammates. Now, I know people have referenced other examples of athletes playing with the flu. To me, Michael Jordan reportedly playing in the Finals with the sniffles (I discount every NBA-related news story by at least half), the Pats fighting the flu in Indy, or Colin Montgomery playing every Major with an adult diaper do not translate. You can make a case for the New Zealand playing the 1995 Rugby Would Cup final after getting food poisoned, but since literally everyone on the team was sick, they either played or forfeited. (Funny how Clint left the scenes of Uncle Sal coming to visit Jonah Lomu on the cutting-room floor. They should have called that movie Infectious) They played bravely but were nowhere near the juggernaut (maybe one of the most dominating teams I have ever seen, in any sport) that crushed everyone on the way to the final, and lost in extra time. And when the details of their sickness came out, it was called sour grapes. This wasn't Jed Lowrie nursing a four-month case of Mono or Ellsbury having the bone density of one of the Gabor Sisters. It was an unfortunate combination of bad timing and a debilitating illness for a guy who is clearly a workout junkie whose fitness is never questioned. But it unfairly boils down to a lose-lose situation for Chara, because no matter what he did, he'd get crap from somewhere.MikeAttleboro

What was that, about 500 words on soiling your pants? The greatest poopy-pants stories in sports? Some of your finest work, Mikey.

Hey, Felger!I'm writing this before the Bruins' second game. I predicted to some fans I know that the Bruins would go down in six. No snipers, as Mazz would say.To continue on my NostraDOOMus rant: The Celtics could be out in the first round, too. Definitely the second. Ainge screwed up the chemistry of that team big time and they don't even care anymore. The Red Sox are already done. Carl Crawford is a small-market player already in way over his head and will never recover. The only way he may come back is if they move Ellsbury, because they are the exact same player. I'd say keep Lowrie in there, bring up that Kalish kid and just dump Drew. What are they keeping him for? So what if they owe him money? He will soon be hurt and he brings ABSOLUTELY nothing to the table. Dump Dice-K. Same as above. The season is already over. They have 149 meaningless games left. Sweet. The Patriots. Football in general is ruined unless they come to an agreement this week. Players will return out of shape and most of them will be on IR before four games are finished. Although I am generally a glass-is-half-empty guy, I don't feel that my opinions in this case are too far-fetched.SteveChester, NH

You're a glass-is-half-empty guy? No way! You really can't tell by reading your e-mail.

Felger,What you saw last weekend was the difference between the Celtics and the Bruins: Knowing how to win in the playoffs.ErikHyannis

Don't sell the Bruins short, Erik. Don't you remember those divisional banners in the rafters? And don't you know after losing to the Flyers they were one of only five NHL teams to make the second round two consecutive years?

Felger,The NHL may have its warts and all, but I'll take their officials swallowing whistles late playoff games, over the disgraceful call on Carmelo (which was sold by a flop by Paul Pierce) on Sunday night. The NBA is a clown league.KeithVernon, CT

Do you know that Pierce did it again in Game 2? Did you see it? Same situation, one of the last few possessions of the game, and Anthony was trying to get position and pierce snapped his head and arms back like he'd gotten shot. Only this time the refs didn't bite. You know you have a bad product when one of the top storylines coming out of every single playoff games is the officiating.

Felger,I rarely e-mail TV shows . . . but the way you put Max in his place last week on Sports Sunday was AWESOME!!! He's such a Green Teamer, and you clearly got under his skin. Keep him honest, we true Celtic fans love it!LarrySpringfield

I've crawled so far into the heads of the Green Teamers I might as well start paying rent. I've crawled into their kitchens and taken a giant, steaming dump. I'm the last thing they think of when they go to sleep and the first thing they think of when they wake up. Dickerson rolls over in bed and mutters my name. Tanguay calls out "Felgy!" during intimate moments with his wife. Poor Max is hearing voices. They need help.

Mike,So seriously . . . how hot is Lisa Hughes in real life??CrisNashua, NH

Felger,Tell those knuckleheads who produce the Sports Sunday show to turn down the background music during the "Reality Check" and other segments. I just watched the show and I could barely hear you over the music. MikeShrewsbury

Unfortunately, I get the sense that's the point.

Read Felger's weekly column Mondays. E-mail him HERE and read the mailbag Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown


Stars, studs and duds: Stevens shows confidence in Brown

Jaylen Brown made a costly turnover in the final minute that contributed to Boston’s 105-99 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

The fact that he was even in the game at that point speaks to not just his potential, but the level of confidence the rookie has already garnered from the Boston Celtics coaching staff.

Brown, who had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting on Thursday, turned the ball over with less than a minute to play and the Celtics trailing 101-99 at the time.

Moments after the turnover, Chicago’s Dwyane Wade drained a step-back 3-pointer that sealed the Bulls’ victory.

Disappointed with the game’s outcome, Brown acknowledged that it meant a lot to him for Stevens to have enough confidence in him to keep him on the floor down the stretch.

But with that faith comes added pressure for Brown to come through and deliver.

“It means I have to do better and try and execute for my team and earn everything I get,” Brown told reporters after the game. “I don’t want anything given to me just because I’m the number three pick in the draft.”

Stevens was asked about having Brown on the floor in the game’s closing seconds.

“He (Brown) was playing pretty well and I thought we were better off playing small,” Stevens said. “I wanted to keep Jaylen in there. I thought he did a lot of good things tonight.”

“Obviously that play didn’t go his way,” Stevens said.

On the play in question, Brown was matched up with Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic. Brown began to make a move, and eventually spun away from Mirotic and left his feet.

Brown was called for the turnover when he left his feet to make a pass, but didn’t release the ball until after he had landed – a traveling violation.

“I was looking for an outlet,” said Brown in explaining his late-game miscue. “I should have just shot the ball but I was thinking it was a bad shot. I probably should have just shot it. I just saw Mirotic on me, slower feet. Coach (Stevens) told me to drive him so I tried to be aggressive. I should have made a play.”

Brown added, “Just have to come out and execute, and play the game the right way. I want to make coach feel like he has a reason to put me out on the floor.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Thursday night’s game.



Dwyane Wade

The Chicago native gave his family and friends plenty to cheer about on Thursday. In his first game playing for his hometown Chicago Bulls, Wade had 22 points which included a back-breaking 3-pointer with 26 seconds to play that pretty much sealed the Bulls victory. Consider this: He made a total of seven 3-pointers all last season. He had four on Thursday.

Isaiah Thomas

For the second straight game, Thomas tallied 25 points and continued to shoot the ball extremely well. His 25 points on Thursday came on 10-for-15 shooting. He also had four assists and three rebounds.

Jimmy Butler

Butler was among the Chicago players who shot the ball much, much better from 3-point range than they usually do. He finished with a team-high 24 points which included him knocking down four of his six 3-point attempts.



Avery Bradley

Bradley provided a nice offensive complement to Thomas’ high scoring night, finishing with 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Bradley also made his presence felt on the boards and as a distributor with six rebounds and five assists.

Nikola Mirotic

He may have lost out on a starting job to Taj Gibson, but Mirotic’s value to the Bulls is clear. Mirotic had 15 points off the bench, shooting 6-for-11 from the field in addition to nine rebounds.



Second-chance points

Boston’s only two games into the season, but second-chance points looks to be an issue with no clear-cut solution. For the second straight game, Boston was outscored by double digits in second-chance points. On Thursday, Chicago had an 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.