Five thoughts: P-Bruins vs. Connecticut Whale


Five thoughts: P-Bruins vs. Connecticut Whale

HARTFORD, CT -- Here are five thoughts from the first period of the P-Bruins and the Connecticut Whale with both teams tied at 1-1 after the first 20 minutes at the XL Center.

1) Ryan Bourque is winning the brotherly battle after taking the first goal of the game for the Whale to tie things up at one apiece. It was a pretty little play between Chris Kreider and Bourque to set things up, and showed the kind of firepower that some AHL teams are boasting this season during the lockout. It was a nifty move by former Boston CollegePhillips Andover stud Kreider to set it all up.

2) Providence's lone goal came on a Jamie Tardif tipped puck of Kyle MacKinnon shot, and underscores the quietly solid job Tardif has done for the P-Bruins as another calming veteran presence alongside Trent Whitfield and Chris Bourque.

3) Less than great period for Mike Hutchinson as the P-Bruins and Whale were tied at 1-1 despite outshooting Connecticut by a 12-6 margin. A Ryan Bourque shot off the post was all that kept it from being even worse, though Providence was robbed of a goal that appeared over the goal line before the refs whistled it off. P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said after the game he was told by the referees that instant replay wasn't working in the Hartford barn on Saturday night.

4) Colby Cohen picked up the helper on Tardif's goal and had a solid first 20 minutes. Cohen has been quiet among the P-Bruins defensemen this far in three games, but appears to be turning a corner as he's gotten involved offensively. He'll have to keep standing out as Cassidy has plenty of viable defensemen options if any of his blueliners are struggling.

5) Jared Knight still battling through that balky hamstringgroin, and has only played in two of Providence's first five games.


HARTFORD, CT -- Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Providence Bruins trailing the Connecticut Whale by a 5-2 score after 40 minutes at the XL Center.

1) Whale players Chris Kreider, Ryan Bourque and Logan Pyett had been largely kept under wraps early in the season, but the exploded all over the P-Bruins in the second period. P-Bruins have done a good job of keeping Connecticut's big producers off the board, the other forwards are killing them.

2) Michael Hutchinson was pulled after giving up four goals midway through the second period, and Niklas Svedberg was promptly greeted with Tommy Grant score that it 5-1. While it wasn't all of Hutchinson's fault tonight, Svedberg has shown much more early in this season for Providence despite suffering the loss to Springfield on Friday night.

3) Horrendous defense by Torey Krug and Colby Cohen on the Grant goal to make it 5-1. The Whale forward was completely uncovered by the Providence defense and it was a chip shot the flick a puck past Svedberg. It simply looked like a lapse in concentration for Providence, and has been one of several in the defensive end for Krug. He's a team-worst minus-6 on the season.

4) A great look by Chris Bourque on a slaps-pass across the ice to Jordan Caron for Providence's second goal of the game. Now the elder Bourque brother simply needs a goal tonight to be on equal bragging rights footing with younger brother Ryan after his first period score. Caron now has four goals on the season and holds a healthy lead for the P-Bruins in that category.

5) Providence will be on the PP to start the second on a delay of game penalty and could set themselves up for a comeback after Caron's goal gave them a little momentum at the end of the period.


HARTFORD, CT -- Here are five thoughts from the third period with the P-Bruins falling to the Connecticut Whale by a 6-3 score at the XL Center.

1) The P-Bruins aren't getting consistent production from their power play -- who would have ever thought we'd say that about a team in the Bruins organization, eh -- but they move the puck with ease, skill and precision when the Chris Bourque, Jordan Caron and Torey Krug unit is on the ice. They're fun to watch and they were 2-for-6 on Saturday night after going 0-for-5 the night before against Springfield. It's just a matter of consistency now.

2) Niklas Svedberg still having issues with playing the puck around his net. He went way outisde his net to corral a puck in the corner and threw it directly to Kris Newbury charging toward the net for an easy goal. The Swedish goalie has a lot of potential at stopping pucks, but he needs plenty of work when handling the puck.

3) Max Sauve with his third goal of the season in the third period after firing off a short side pass from a Craig Cunningham dish. That line has scored in 5 of Providence's six games this season. Sauve leads the P-Bruins with five points this year and is definitely doing his part.

4) Something feels so right hearing Brass Bonanza being played after every Whale goal here in Hartford. Would leave to see an NHL team back here in Connecticut someday.

5) Bobby Robbins with another fight for the P-Bruins tonight. I love that kid's spirit. He's dropped the gloves in just about every game for Providence and has tried to provide the emotional spark for the sub-.500 hockey club.

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)