B's Subban struggles, gets pulled in loss to U.S.

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B's Subban struggles, gets pulled in loss to U.S.

Its been a rocky road with peaks and valleys for Bruins first round pick Malcolm Subban during his World Junior experience, and he endured a serious drop in a 5-1 loss to Team USA on Thursday afternoon. Subban was pulled after allowing four goals on 16 shots in the first two periods, and replaced with backup backstop Jordan Binnington, who allowed only a single goal the rest of the way.

Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau had a pair of goals for Team USA in the victory that puts them in the Gold Medal game, and is making the Calgary Flames look very smart for nabbing him with a fourth round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.

While it wasnt all Subbans fault, of course, it makes for a disappointing bookend to the Belleville goaltenders shaky start to the World Junior season. Heading into Canadas final game on Saturday Subban has a 4-1 record with a .908 save percentage and 2.64 goals against average, and has been outplayed by his counterparts in Russia, the United States and Sweden.

Fellow Bruins first round pick Dougie Hamilton was on the ice for the first goal allowed to Team USA, and it was a defensive mess in front of Subbans net. The 6-foot-5 blueliner ticketed to Boston when the lockout finally does come to an end certainly didnt fare much better than Subban in a World Junior tourney that he should have dominated.

Heading into the final game against Russia, Hamilton has two points and a modest nine shots on net in five tournament games.

Above and beyond all of that Team Canada had the best player in the entire tourney, Edmonton Oilers stud Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but none of that seemed to matter for a team that simply didnt have it in a crucial semi-final game.

Subban struggled out of the gate during exhibition play for Team Canada, and there was some question whether hed even make the squad out of training camp.

But Subban rebounded and had been playing solidly for his country until his club met a Team USA that came out flying in their match in Ufa, Russia. So now Subbans Team Canada will face off against host Team Russia on Saturday for the Bronze Medal while Team USA and Sweden will battle for the Gold.

McAdam: Ridiculous to think Bradley's streak ended because he hit leadoff

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McAdam: Ridiculous to think Bradley's streak ended because he hit leadoff

BOSTON -- If you think John Farrell's decision to hit Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff for one night is the reason Bradley's 29-game hit streak came to an end, I've got some swamp land you might be interested in buying.

Such silly talk first surfaced mid-afternoon when the lineup was announced. With Mookie Betts getting his first day off this season, somebody had to hit leadoff. Farrell went with the guy who was leading the league in hitting.

That sounds reasonable. But not to some, who cried that putting Bradley at the top was (take your pick) disrupting Bradley's routine, putting him in a place with which he wasn't familiar, or asking him to change his approach.

Of course, none of those made much sense.

First of all, Thursday night marked the sixth (SIXTH!) different spot that Bradley has hit during the hitting streak. He had hit second, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth. So the notion that any change was disruptive was absurd.

As for the notion that Bradley would treat his at-bats differently because he was leading off? Also wrong. Bradley's major adjustment since spring training has been being aggressive early in the count. So, do you know how many pitches Bradley saw in four at-bats as the leadoff hitter? Eight.

Does that sound like someone who was being forced to be more patient for the night, or someone changing their approach by working the count more?

Finally, Bradley hit two balls on the screws -- one to the warning track in right, just in front of the bullpen in his first at-bat and another in front of the center field door, some 400 or so feet away, in his third.

Streaks come to an end, even when hitters belt the ball hard. Twice.