While the NHL could very well still be locked out at the end of December, Bruins fans will have something else to distract them while the league and players come to their senses.
A number of Bruins prospects five to be exact -- were officially invited to World Junior Team Selection camps, and could be key players in the tournament that pits the best hockey players in the world under the age of 20 against each other. Defenseman Dougie Hamilton is expected to be the cornerstone blue-liner for Team Canada, and 2012 first round pick Malcolm Subban is in the mix to be Canadas starting goaltender. Hamilton has 39 points (7 goals, 32 assists) in 30 games for the Niagara IceDogs, and Subban is 13-7-3 with a 2.23 goals against average and .931 save percentage along with a pair of shutouts.
Rugged winger Anthony Camara plays for the OHLsBarrie Colts and has put up 34 points (19 goals, 15 assists) in 28 games this season, and has really become an intriguing all-around prospect that combines offensive ability with a willingness to drop the gloves.
The World Junior tournament could be a nice final NHL tune-up for Hamilton if the lockout finally ends during the month of January, though theres no guarantee of that right now.
Meanwhile, Bruins 2012 third round pick and Boston University defenseman Matt Grzelcyk has been invited to the US World Junior Selection Camp along with North Reading resident Jim Vesey. Grzelcyk has 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists) in 14 games for the Terriers this season.
Russian forward Alex Khokhlachev, who is struggling to carve out a niche for himself in the KHL this year, will likewise play for the Team Russian entry when the tournament gets started in his home country. Koko has seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 25 games for Moscow Spartak, but starred in the Super Subway Series when a team of Russian youngsters barnstormed through Canada playing junior teams last month.
The 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship will be held in Ufa, Russia from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.
As expected, Eduardo Rodriguez will start for the Red Sox on Tuesday in Baltimore and Clay Buchholz will go to the bullpen, manager John Farrell told reporters in Toronto.
The move became apparent after Buchholz (2-5, 6.35 ERA) struggled again Thursday night, allowing three two-run home runs in an 8-2 loss to the Rockies.
Rodriguez, who hurt his knee in spring training, has yet to pitch for the Red Sox this season. The left-hander, who was 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA as a rookie last season, made three rehab starts at Triple-A Pawtucket.
"The bottom line is the results, and there's been a strong precedent set with that," Farrell said of Buchholz in annoucning the move.
BOSTON – Celtics fans are slowly but surely getting over the disappointment of the team not landing the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft lottery earlier this month.
As cool as that would have been, the conference finals serve as a reminder that while having the top pick can be a good thing, most teams have to take a different route when it comes to getting on track towards and NBA title.
Of the four remaining teams in the playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the only one that has truly been elevated to their current lofty status courtesy of landing the number one overall pick (first with LeBron James back in 2003 and more recently with Kyrie Irving in 2011).
That means the rest of the remaining field built their way up into an NBA power relying on a combination of making wise draft picks and shrewd additions via free agency and trades.
So much of that has to do with leverage, something the Celtics have plenty of on all three fronts.
They have the potential to free up enough salary cap space to sign a pair of max players, a first for this franchise. Boston also has eight draft picks in next month’s draft (three in the first round, five in the second), the most of any team leading up to the draft since it went to a two-round system in 1989.
Those picks plus a roster full of really good but not great talent, gives them the kind of ammunition to pull the trigger on a trade that could add that much-needed All-Star caliber talent.
But it’s like a high school chemistry experiment as the Celtics try to figure out the right combinations to avoid having it all blow up in their face.
For now, the emphasis has to be on the June 23 draft.
A big part of that planning process involves figuring out what to do with the No. 3 pick, the highest selection the Celtics have had since they took Jeff Green (and traded him that night) with the fifth overall selection in 2007.
If the Celtics keep the pick, it will certainly bring about some controversy regardless of who they select.
By taking Dragan Bender of Croatia, the Celtics will be selecting the youngest player in the draft (he turns 19 in November) who may take years to develop into a legitimate contributor.
Selecting Providence College’s Kris Dunn, arguably the best perimeter defender in this draft, seems a bit redundant considering all the guards Boston has under contract whose strengths are essentially the same as Dunn’s.
Buddy Hield of Oklahoma is another option. He’s the best shooter in this draft, but doesn’t provide much other than scoring. Is that really worthy of a No. 3 overall pick?
Regardless of who the Celtics take with the No. 3 pick (and that’s assuming they keep it and not trade it away which is indeed an option), one thing we know for sure.
History tells us that if the Celtics keep the pick, he will wind up being a pretty good player.
In the past 20 years, the No. 1 overall pick has produced 12 All-Stars.
Among top six picks in that same span of time, the No. 3 selection has generated the second-highest number of All-Stars (8), while the No. 2, 4, 5 and 6 picks each had five All-Stars.
That’s important to note because the need to have multiple All-Stars is paramount to a team’s chances at making a deep playoff run.
Take a look at the four remaining teams.
There’s the defending champion Golden State Warriors, whose roster includes a quartet of current (Stephen Curry; Klay Thompson and Draymond Green) and former All-Stars (Andre Iguodala).
Cleveland’s roster includes a similar breakdown of recent (LeBron James; Kyrie Irving; Kevin Love) and not-so-recent (Mo Williams) All-Stars.
And then there’s Oklahoma City (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook) and Toronto (Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan) who each have a pair of All-Stars.
For Boston, the team's lone All-Star is Isaiah Thomas, who knows all too well that he can’t carry this team to a deep, meaningful playoff run without getting some All-Star caliber help.
The top two picks in this year’s draft – Duke’s Brandon Ingram and LSU’s Ben Simmons – are head and shoulders above the rest of the draft class, but the Celtics are in a good spot if you’re talking about adding a key piece to a potential title contender.
David Ortiz is out of the starting lineup and Jose Bautista sits for the Blue Jays as the Red Sox open a three-game series tonight in Toronto.
It’s a night off for Ortiz, while Bautista is serving his one-game suspension for his fight with the Texas Rangers' Roughned Odor earlier this month.
Hanley Ramirez moves to DH for the Red Sox, with Travis Shaw playing first base and Marco Hernandez filling in at third against Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez (4-1, 3.20 ERA). Joe Kelly (2-0, 5.28) makes his second start since coming off the disabled list for the Red Sox. He pitched 6 2/3 no-hit innings Saturday in his return, a 9-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Travis Shaw 1B
Hanley Ramirez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Marco Hernandez 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Blake Swihart LF
Joe Kelly RHP
Ezequiel Carrera RF
Josh Donaldson 2B
Edwin Encaracion DH
Michael Saunders LF
Troy Tulowitzki SS
Justin Smoak 1B
Russell Martin C
Devon Travis 2B
Kevin Pillar CF
Aaron Sanchez RHP