Garnett: We have to be tough

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Garnett: We have to be tough

BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett is all about analogies and similes in his postgame interviews. But when head coach Doc Rivers called the Boston Celtics "soft" following their loss to (and fight with) the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, that was one reference Garnett was not a fan of using.

"I don't know any man that likes to be called soft," he said after Friday's win over the Portland Trail Blazers. "Maybe some women."

Rivers had reacted to the Celtics effort against the Nets and the second quarter altercation which resulted in the ejection, and subsequent two-game suspension, of Rajon Rondo.
"As a team, that was awful basketball-wise," Rivers said on Wednesday. "I thought, 'If Im
Brooklyn and the league, youve got to think were pretty soft the way were playing.' Were a
soft team right now, we have no toughness. That stuffs not toughness. All that stuff, thats not toughness.

The Celtics (9-7) bounced back from their loss to the Nets with a 96-78 victory over the Trail
Blazers (6-10). Garnett didn't like Rivers' message, but the team got it loud and clear.

"I think collectively he's talking about our style and obviously our offensive rebounds," Garnett said. "I don't think he's coming at us as men, but he's talking about our style as a whole. Collectively, we all have to do that together. The onus falls on each and every last one of us, not just one or two.

"But yeah, that was disturbing. Who likes to be called soft in anything, if you're a man?

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.