NBA MVP signs lucrative extension

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NBA MVP signs lucrative extension

From Comcast SportsNetCHICAGO (AP) -- It seemed like something out of a movie script the moment the Chicago Bulls took Derrick Rose with the No. 1 pick in the draft. The latest twist? A maximum contract extension. That's just another milestone in a rapid and steady rise for the point guard from the city's South Side to stardom with his hometown team. The reigning NBA MVP agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Chicago Bulls worth approximately 94 million, a person familiar with the situation said. The Chicago Tribune, citing anonymous sources, first reported the deal. The person spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Tuesday night because the deal had not been finalized. The extension will start in the 2012-13 season, when Rose is eligible to make about 16 million. The Bulls scheduled a news conference for Wednesday, though they won't say what it is for. "It's something big, but I think I want to talk more about it (Wednesday), with my family and everybody being there," the star point guard said after the Bulls' preseason victory over Indiana on Tuesday night. "But it's definitely something big." And, teammates say, it was well-earned. "We're all very excited for him," Carlos Boozer said. "He deserves it. He puts in a lot of effort. I wish the contract was for 10 years." The chance to join Rose in the backcourt was a big draw for Richard Hamilton. The veteran shooting guard signed with the Bulls last week after being bought out by the Detroit Pistons, and so far, he likes what he sees. "He works hard," Hamilton said. "He's young. He's 23 years old and the way he plays on the floor is the way he practices. In order to be great in this league, you just can't turn it on (during) games. He really has a great work ethic." The deal is more of a formality than a surprise. Rose and general manager Gar Forman had indicated it would get done, and it was not hard to see why they wanted to stay together. The Chicago product went from Rookie of the Year to All-Star to MVP in his first three seasons, becoming the youngest player to win that award. About the only thing he doesn't have is a championship ring, and that's what weighs on him as he enters his fourth season -- not the money. "I think I live a humble life," Rose said. "Of course, I know I'll be able to afford whatever I want, but other than that, there aren't too many things that excite me. Me winning is one of the things. Me being around my family, that's another. Money, that's the last thing I think about." The Bulls came close to winning it all last season, winning a league-high 62 games and advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Miami Heat. Now, they're looking for more. Rose has repeatedly pointed the finger at himself for the Bulls coming up short against the Heat in the playoffs. He worked on his inside game in the offseason after expanding his shooting range in previous years, but it's hard to imagine him accomplishing much more than he did last season. Rose delivered one of the best seasons by a point guard. He also joined Michael Jordan as the only Bulls players to win the MVP award. The South Side product established himself as one of the league's best players, averaging 25 points and 7.7 assists while leading Chicago to its best season since the championship era with Jordan and Scottie Pippen. For Rose, the contract extension is just another milestone in a rapid rise from the city's rough Englewood neighborhood to a starring role with the Bulls. He helped Simeon Career Academy become the first Chicago Public League team to win back-to-back state championships, then led Memphis to the NCAA championship game before the Bulls drafted him with the No. 1 pick in 2008 after defying long odds to win the lottery. "The Bulls are loyal," Rose said. "They've stayed loyal with me, showed that they trusted me by picking me to come here. I just feel blessed, and I'm just happy that I'm here."

Acciari glad to be back with B's after missing a month

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Acciari glad to be back with B's after missing a month

BOSTON -- Noel Acciari missed a month of game action with a lower body injury, so it would have been perfectly acceptable to show plenty of rust in his game upon returning to the Boston lineup.

But the former Providence College standout didn’t look rusty, a step behind or out of place in any way as he played the fourth line energy forward role to a perfect fit after missing the last 13 games. Acciari did get in one game with the Providence Bruins prior to suiting back up for the Black and Gold on Saturday, and perhaps that helped him manufacture a couple of shots on net to go along with three thumping hits against the Maple Leafs.

The 25-year-old Acciari didn’t factor into the scoring at all for the Bruins, but that’s just as well given that his focus should be on killing penalties, being hard to play against and taking the body whenever the chance presents itself. Claude Julien reformed the B’s energy line that had so much success earlier in the season with Acciari, Dominic Moore and Tim Schaller, and didn’t hesitate tossing them back into the mix together while looking for energy and a spark for an offensively stunted team.

“It’s good to be back with my linemates, and you know, I think we kind of picked up where we left off, but there’s definitely things we need to work on. That’ll come with a couple more practices and games together,” said Acciari, who finished theSaturday loss with three registered hits packed into 11:35 of ice time. “Kind of getting back to our familiarity and kind of get back to where we were before I got injured.

“It was a good start tonight, but we definitely just weren’t clicking like we used to, but that’ll come. I think that will come. Like I said, a couple practices and just kind of getting some games in [are good things]. I thought we were pretty good tonight, but, you know, should get more pucks to score [goals].”

Clearly there is room for improvement for everybody including Acciari, but it was encouraging to see the fearless competitor again flying around on the TD Garden ice playing high intensity hockey for a fourth line that could use every little bit of that. 

Backes: "Offensive frustration is warranted at this point"

Backes: "Offensive frustration is warranted at this point"

BOSTON -- This may not come as a surprise, but the Boston Bruins are having some trouble putting the puck in the net.

Despite outshooting the Maple Leafs by an 11-2 margin in the first period and outshooting them by a 32-21 margin over the balance of the 60 minute game, the Bruins scratched for just a single goal in a frustrating, constipated 4-1 loss to Toronto at TD Garden. Clearly some of the offensive difficulty was caused by a solid Frederik Andersen, who improved to 6-0-0 in a career against Boston that’s beginning to take on Bruins Killer proportions.

But a great deal of the B’s struggles to finish scoring chances on Saturday night is a malady that’s dogged the Bruins all season, and marked the 20th time in 29 games this year that Boston has scored two goals or less. In most of these games the Bruins have dominated puck possession and outshot their opponents, but still have come away mostly empty handed in the goals scored department while dropping deep in the bottom third of NHL offenses this season.

“It seems like every game we’re out-chancing teams, but we don’t outscore teams. That’s where the biggest issue is right now. Our scoring is not there and if you don’t score goals you don’t win hockey games,” said Claude Julien. “Because of that we criticize everything else in our game, but our game isn’t that bad.

“If we were scoring goals people would love our game right now, but that’s the biggest part. There’s not much more I can say here except for the fact that if we don’t score goals it’s going to be hard to win hockey games.”

But the Bruins aren’t scoring goals consistently, their power play is below average while trending in the wrong direction and the team has been forced to watch steady offensive players like Patrice Bergeron suddenly slump in a concerning way. Clearly David Pastrnak is doing his part with 18 goals scored this season in 24 games, and others like Brad Marchand and Dominic Moore have also performed above, or beyond, their acceptable level of play.

But there are other players failing with the chance to make an offensive dent: Austin Czarnik has been on the roster for nearly two months, and has zero goals and two points in his last 15 games as the offense is again dried up on the third line. He missed wide on a shorthanded chance in the third period after a Moore centering pass set up him all alone in front, and was critiquing himself for fanning on a perfect dish to him in the slot.

Moments later the Leafs had an insurance score from James van Riemsdyk to make it a 3-1 game, and it was all over for the Black and Gold at that point.

Czarnik is an easy target because he’s young and inexperienced, but there is more than enough struggle and frustration to go around with a bunch of offensive players that can’t seem to get out of their own way. David Backes admitted it’s reached a point where the Bruins are frustrated when they can’t score enough to beat a team like Toronto, and that it falls squarely on the lead guys in the Black and Gold dressing room that are underperforming.

“I think offensive frustration is warranted at this point; we just haven’t done a good enough job scoring goals. We played a heck of a first period. We limited them to two shots and we had an opportunity to have a team that’s coming in here that’s a younger team, to really put them behind the eight ball,” said Backes. “Instead, they think they got a second lease on life and they were able to capitalize. All of the sudden, they were up 2-0 and we’re fighting an uphill battle again rather than -- we have that opportunity to play a heck of a first period and we don’t find a way – it’s easy to talk about, but it’s going out there and doing the job and putting it past or through the goalie, or however it needs to happen. “You’ve seen our goals; you want to do a study on it unless you’re Pasta [David Pastrnak] with the one-timer on the side, it’s been ugly, it’s been rebounds, it’s been greasy goals and that’s our equation and we need more of it, and we didn’t do it. They did a good job of being in front of their net and boxing out, eliminating those second chances. But, we’ve got good players in here that need to create more and find those second chances and win those battles, find those loose pucks, and throw them in the net.”

The Bruins have been talking seemingly all season about the need to get to the “dirty areas in the offensive zone”, and for players to jump all over the second and third chance opportunities currently going by the board unchallenged on goalie rebounds.

Now it’s about speaking with action for the B’s, and more specifically speaking volumes with goals and offensive finish instead of “chances” that aren’t doing much of anything if they’re not being snapped into the back of the net.