London trip a chance for family reunion for some Patriots

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London trip a chance for family reunion for some Patriots

FOXBORO -- For the most part, when the subject of sight-seeing in London -- or grabbing fish and chips, or meeting the Queen -- comes up, the Patriots reply uniformly: "Business trip."

Yes, they're headed overseas to play the Rams in a game this weekend that will affect the standings. That's true. But for some Patriots, this will be a little bit more than a business trip. A few of them have family in Europe and intend to spend some time with their relatives who will attend the game at Wembley Stadium.

Zoltan Mesko was born in Romania and still has family in Eastern Europe. His grandparents, uncles and cousins will all make the trip to London to watch him play. For some of them, it'll be the first time they see him kick a football live and in person.

"I think it'll be a great experience," Mesko told Comcast SportsNet's Kevin Walsh. "I have a lot of family coming to town. But at the same time, it is a business trip so at the same time they have to be understanding of my time commitments. Hopefully we get to enjoy a dinner or two. It'll be a nice time to see them."

Dan Connolly has an aunt and uncle who live an England as well as some family members from France who will be in town for the weekend.

"We get a little free time," Connolly said. "Get to see the city. I've got a little family over there so I'll spend some time with them."

Sebastian Vollmer is originally from Germany and Mesko thought the offensive tackle may have some family headed to London for the game as well.

"Why not?" Mesko said. "If it's a 45-minute flight for them, why not?"

Plans are in the works already. For the few days leading up to the game, it won't be all about watching film, or going from the hotel to the practice field and back again -- especially for those getting the rare opportunity to see family members who live abroad.

"I think I'll do a double-decker tour maybe just to get off my feet and see the city at the same time," Mesko said, who visited London in the spring. "I think that's the most efficient way to go about it. We went in late March and kind of walked around the whole city. We kind of instructed ourselves on the historical facts and every monument. I think I'm gonna take the easy route this time."

Whatever he does, he'll have a chance to get reacquainted with the city, and with his family. And they will have a chance to get introduced to something very important to him.

"I'm excited to show my cousins and uncles what the game's all about," Mesko said.

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster. 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.