Fallout from Gronk's broken forearm yet to be known

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Fallout from Gronk's broken forearm yet to be known

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski had surgery on his broken forearm Monday morning and he is looking at a four-to-eight week timetable for a return. The fallout as the Patriots head into the stretch run will be significant.

Gronkowski broke the forearm on an extra point after the Patriots final touchdown. Arm-flapping over the fact Gronkowski was blocking for the 59th Patriots point will ensue.

Bill Belichick tends to roll his starters out to play deep into games that are decided so the fact Gronkowski was on the field isn't surprising. The result, of course, is unfortunate for the player and the team but that, Belichick seems to believe, is the cost of doing business in a collision sport.

No player replicates Gronkowski's ability as a player. On Sunday he had seven catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He's also a terrific blocker and, along with Welker, is the key to the Patriots offense. He is a matchup nightmare and -- after a season in which he's been dogged by a balky back -- he was moving very well on Sunday.

But the imminent return of tight end Aaron Hernandez from his high ankle sprain will help soften the blow delivered by the Gronkowski injury. The Patriots also have a stockpile of tight ends on the roster -- Daniel Fells, Visanthe Shiancoe and Michael Hoomanawanui -- so the team will not be without options.

Still, the role Gronkowski plays in the Patriots offense means New England will have to reconfigure its offense for four-to-eight weeks.

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.