Patriots begin self-evaluation week


Patriots begin self-evaluation week

FOXBORO -- On Monday, Patriots running back Stevan Ridley said he would be off hunting this weekend when asked if he would be paying attention to the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.
That was a day after New England had clinched a first-round bye.
Two days later, the tone inside the Patriots' locker room is "business as usual." And the responses to the "Will you be watching this weekend?" question was somewhat different than Ridley's.
 "I'll watch every game this weekend, closely," said Patriots' safety Steve Gregory after Wednesday's practice at Gillette Stadium.
"I'll probably watch HoustonCincinnati pretty closely, as I will all the games," said wide receiver Wes Welker. "And make sure I'm trying to stay on top of it all."
But until Saturday, the Patriots have a few days to not worry about their next opponent, mainly because, well, they don't know who that next opponent will be.
So there's no sense in preparing for three teams. Instead, they'll take the time to self-evaluate.
"We'll see how it plays out this weekend," said Gregory. "Right now, we're focused on us, getting some things corrected that we need to get corrected, and getting better.
"You want to narrow down on the things that you need to get fixed. And we've been doing that this week. So it's a good week for us, a big week for us to get better.
"It's just a week that we have an opportunity where we don't have to really necessarily game plan for one team," added Gregory. "It's a week where we can focus on ourselves a lot and get better at some of the things that we need to get better at."
Cornerback Aqib Talib referred to the bye week as a "free week."
"You can work on everything with a week like this," he said. "So, it's big for us."

Brandon Pirri scores twice, Rangers rally to beat Bruins 5-2


Brandon Pirri scores twice, Rangers rally to beat Bruins 5-2

NEW YORK - Brandon Pirri scored twice to help the New York Rangers beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Rick Nash, Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey also scored for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots. The Rangers won their third straight game, overcoming a 2-0 deficit to improve to 5-2-0.

David Pastrnak and Austin Czarina scored for Boston. The Bruins have lost three straight to drop to 3-4-0.

Zane McIntyre made 26 saves in his first NHL start. He was called up prior to Boston's 5-0 home loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night to back up Malcolm Subban due to injuries to Tuukka Risk and Anton Khudobin.

Down 2-0 after the first, the Rangers scored three times in the final 10:44 of the second.

Nash began the comeback with a power-play goal at 9:16. He curled to the net before corralling a rebound of Derek Stepan's point shot and flipping it over goalie Zane McIntyre for his third of the season.

Hayes tied it with 3:25 left in the second, banking a shot from behind the net off of McIntyre's pants.

Pirri's power-play goal with 36 seconds left made it 3-2. The free-agent signee ripped a shot from the right circle that was in the net before McIntrye could get his glove up. New York finished the game 2 for 6 on the man advantage, while the Bruins were 0 for 1.

It was not all positive for the Rangers in the second, with Dan Girardi missing two shifts following a hit from Pastrnak, who was assessed a minor penalty for an illegal check to the head. Girardi leaped in the air to play a loose puck in the neutral zone and, as he came down, Pastrnak drove his shoulder into the upper body of the New York defenseman.

Pirri made it 4-2 2:23 into the third with his fourth of the season. Vesey scored on a tap-in 43 seconds late.

The Bruins opened the scoring Pastrnak's fifth of the season 10 seconds into the game. The lead grew to 2-0 14:34 later when Czarnik scored his first goal in the NHL. Czarnik fired a shot from inside the blue line that New York defenseman Brady Skjei blocked, but Henrik Lundqvist appeared to lose track of the puck and it bounced across the goal line.

Lundqvist had 27 saves.

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but...can I have your jersey?

Roethlisberger to Brady: I've never done this before but...can I have your jersey?

Tom Brady has fans everywhere, apparently. Even in Pittsburgh. Even on the Steelers roster. 

Showtime's Inside the NFL caught video of Brady meeting with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before Sunday's game between New England and Pittsburgh. 

The pair hugged near the 50-yard line at Heinz Field. Brady called Roethlisberger "big guy." Roethlisberger, who was out with a knee injury, told Brady he wanted to play "so bad."


Then Roethlisberger became a fan. And like many of them, he had a request. 

"Um, hey, listen," he said. "I've never done this before, but I would love to get a jersey at some point. It'd mean...There's not many I want to put in my office. You're the best, dude."

Brady was happy to oblige. Just not right at that moment. 

"Sure, I'd love to," Brady said. "I'll get you after the game."