Jacobs: The Cup is on loan

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Jacobs: The Cup is on loan

BOSTON -- Before hockey officially got started in Boston on Saturday night, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs released a statement and also spoke to the media.

The statement not only apologized for the lockout, but it also let fans know that the organization is serious about a Stanley Cup run this season.

"Like all of you, I wanted nothing more than to have the season start on time in October," said Jacobs in the statement. "Make no mistake -- it should have. The fact that we were unable to reach an agreement until just recently, is a disappointment.

"I want to personally apologize to our fans and others who depend on this team for their livelihood. But these are just words. The best way to make it up to you is to play hard and win."

The Los Angeles Kings are the defending Stanley Cup champs this season. But Jacobs reminded everyone who won it the year before.

"I said last year after our playoff exit that the Stanley Cup is on loan," said Jacobs. "I really meant it.We have a strong team and one that I believe will be very competitive this season. I expect us to contend for the Cup. We have 48 games in 96 days before the playoffs.

"It's no longer a marathon -- it's truly a sprint."

Jacobs believes this Bruins team is well-equipped to win it all again.

"But our advantage -- and it's a significant one -- is that we know how to win," said Jacobs. "I remember asking our players a few years ago how many of them had won the Cup. Just a few of our players raised their hand. Before the start of the last season I asked the same question. Nearly everyone raised their hand.

"We want this for our team. We want this for our fans. We know what victory feels like and we want that feeling again. I can think of no better way to bring our team back together than to focus on our shared goal of winning another Stanley Cup for Boston, New England, and Bruins fans around the world."

As for the effects of the lockout, Jacobs is optimistic that the 3.3 billion in revenue that was lost will be returned by next year. Still, he believes some damage to the game has been done.

"Not permanently, but I think that we've done damage," said Jacobs. "Some of these lockouts make no sense. We really try and make this work. You always lose people in these environments.

"Let me talk about the players' association, let me talk about league situations, and let me make this observation: nobody won. But more importantly, nobody lost at this point . . . This is a game, and we did hurt the game. We didn't just hurt Boston. We hurt the game of hockey."

Some have vilified Jacobs as being one of the main reasons for "hurting" the game of hockey with another lockout. But Jacobs said on Saturday that he was the "last person" that wanted to shut the game down.

"First of all, you're not in a position -- when you're going through all of this -- to defend yourself," said Jacobs. "It really is not constructive to the process.

"I'm coming off winning a Stanley Cup. I've got a sold-out building. I have a financially-sound business. No debt. Ownership for 37 years. I'm the last guy that wants to shut this down, absolutely the last one out there.

"There's a couple of Canadian teams -- I'm not going to name them -- that irrespective are going to be very successful. But, this is a very successful franchise. I don't want this to shut down. Unfortunately, I play in a league with 30 teams. And when I step back and look at what's going on with the broadest sense of the league, I've got to play a role constructively in that way."

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

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Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?