Patriots ready to deal with the heat in Miami

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Patriots ready to deal with the heat in Miami

FOXBORO -- Baggy sweatpants were in style at Patriots practice on Thursday. So were hooded sweatshirts stuffed underneath light shoulder pads. Some players wore shorts but had leg-warming tights on underneath.

It was hovering around 40 degrees outside of Gillette Stadium and Patriots players -- save for the one or two who were impervious to the cold and wore shorts and no sleeves -- did what they could to stay warm.

They won't have any such problem on Sunday in Miami. The forecast in South Florida calls for temperatures to reach as high as the upper 70s with a chance of showers.

It will be quite the climate change for the Patriots, but they seem prepared.

Vince Wilfork played his college ball at the University of Miami so he knows how to play in the heat.  

"Hydrate a lot," he said. "A lot of conditioning. Just making sure that you're ready to go. The biggest thing is you can't go down there thinking about the weather. Everybody knows in South Florida you can have thunder storms, you can have sunny, you can have whatever it may be except for snow . . . Just some things on that day you'll have to deal with.

"Hydration plays a big, big factor. Going down there and playing, especially if you get a nice hot day, one o'clock ballgame, you just have to be able to hydrate well and do everything you can during the week to get your body prepared to play in a place like that."

From what they've shared with the media this week, the Patriots haven't done much to simulate the temperatures they'll feel in Miami. They practiced outside on both Wednesday and Thursday, not opting for the warmer confines of their practice bubble. Coach Bill Belichick explained that it was more important to practice on grass -- the same surface they'll see against the Dolphins -- than it was to practice in a warmer environment.

Wes Welker -- who is from Oklahoma, played in college at Texas Tech, and spent time with the Dolphins earlier in his career -- knows what it's like to play in the heat as well. 

"Make sure you're in shape," he suggested. "Drink plenty of water. Eat right. Make sure you're ready for a little bit of heat that we haven't had up here lately."

Welker didn't think the weather would be too big of an issue, though from his experience, it will be more difficult for the Dolphins to come up to Foxboro in Week 17.

"Personally," Welker said. "Warm to cold is definitely the toughest."

For Aqib Talib, acquired in a trade-deadline deal from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the heat will be a welcome change from the weather conditions at his new home.

"It'll be nice," he said. "It definitely will be nice, playing in about 70 degree weather."

Unlike his teammates, Talib didn't feel the need to preach the importance of drinking fluids in order to guard against cramping or dehydration.

"We're all grown me out here," he said. "We all know how to do that."

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.