Plenty on the line for BCBU weekend series

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Plenty on the line for BCBU weekend series

Friday night wont be Matt Grzelcyks first game against rival Boston College as a member of the Boston University Terriers hockey team.
But it will be the most important one, of course.
The freshman defenseman from Charlestown, Mass. potted a goal in his first meeting against the Eagles, a 4-2 loss for BU, two weeks ago at Agganis Arena. In fact, Boston College has only one loss on the season to Northeastern all the way back in the middle of October, but has otherwise dominated their competition for two months.
The Terriers will once again host the arch-rival Eagles at Agganis on Friday night in a game broadcast on NBCSN, and will try to knock the BC birds off their pedestal.
But this time theyll be looking to postpone BC head coach Jerry Yorks brush with history as well.
York needs just one more win to pull into a tie with longtime Michigan State head coach Ron Mason as the most successful hockey coach in collegiate history with 924 career victories. It would also be pretty sweet for the legendary Eagles coach to pull it off against his good friend, Terriers head coach Jack Parker.
Parker is no slouch with his 883 career victories the second-most among active college hockey coaches behind York but it will be the dean of Boston College hockey holding sole possession of the collegiate record if he can capture both ends of the home-and-home weekend series against Boston University.
So theres a lot on the line for an 18-year-old kid like Grzelcyk, who has lived a charmed life over the last two years while skating with the US National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. before getting drafted by the Bruins in the third round last summer. Now he finds himself ready to suit up for a hotly contested weekend series between household hockey names like York and Parker that he grew up holding in special puck reverence.
Thats pretty heady stuff for a Townie kid that grew up in the shadows of TD Garden, but never made it to Beanpot games despite his fathers standing as a longtime member of the Garden bull gang. Whether or not hed seen the BUBC rivalry with his own eyes as an impressionable youth, Grzelcyk knew it was something he wanted to be a part of.
Thats why you come to a school like Boston University, said Grzelcyk. You get to be part of that BCBU rivalry, you get to play in the Beanpot and you get a chance to play on one of the biggest stages in college hockey. Its the kind of thing you dream about as a kid growing up in Boston.
Grzelcyk will no doubt factor into the big BUBC weekend after putting up 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists) in the first 11 games of his college hockey career. Thats not too shabby for a frosh blueliner, but there will be stars for the teams at both ends of the ice. Forwards Cason Hohmann and Wade Regan are both point-per-game players for the Terriers while freshman goaltender Matt OConnor is 5-2 with an impressive 1.90 goals against average and a .939 save percentage.
Meanwhile sophomore Calgary Flames draft pick Johnny Gaudreau has electrified the Heights with 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) in 11 games, and trails only UNHs Kevin Goumas for the Hockey East scoring lead. Gaudreau is joined on the Eagles offensive attack by Pat Mullane, Steven Whitney and Bill Arnold for the first-ranked and explosive Eagles unit. Senior BC goaltender Parker Milner was an invitee to the Bruins prospect development camp this summer at Ristuccia Arena, and is 10-1 with a .926 save percentage and a 2.06 goals against average for the Eagles.
So while the focus will certainly be trained on York and his pursuit of college hockey excellence and Bruins fans might even tune in to get their first extended look at Grzelcyk, this weekends two-game series is about much more than that. Its about the No. 1 ranked Eagles facing down the No. 9 Terriers in a Battle of Commonwealth Ave that hockey purists hope can simply keep going on forever.

Red Sox 'not going to rush' moving pitching depth after acquiring Sale

Red Sox 'not going to rush' moving pitching depth after acquiring Sale

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The addition of Chris Sale to the Red Sox' rotation has created a rare glut of starting pitchers, including seven with major league experience.

That means that at least one will have to be moved in a trade. But Red Sox' president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski isn't in any hurry.

"We're not aggressively looking to do something,'' he said. "We're really just digesting what's taken place. I think if we wanted to aggressively make a deal, we could definitely do that. But I don't really have a big hole on our major league club to address at this time.

"I think it's really important to gather all the info. Some teams have (starters) available; there are free agents out there. Our philosophy is kind of say, 'Let's just see what happens.' We're not going to rush out and do anything.''

That makes sense, especially since there's a very thin free agent market for starters, and many teams that need upgrades to their rotation.

Eventually, some are going to get desperate and may have to overpay. In that scenario, the Sox could really capitalize.

The starter the Sox would like to move the most is Clay Buchholz, if only because his salary ($13.5 million) is easily the highest among the three the Sox would be willing to part with. Steven Wright has yet to qualify for salary arbitration and Drew Pomeranz will get a bump from last year, but will still be under $5 million after arbitration.

Eduardo Rodriguez, meanwhile, almost certainly won't be dealt because of his youth and potential, though Dombrowski hinted that teams have checked on the availability of every starter except The Big Three of Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello "as well as guys who aren't (in the current major league picture like Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, and Roenis Elias).''

Depth in the rotation is always welcome, but the numbers are such that the Sox can't make the current group of seven starters work.

"You start counting,'' said Dombrowski, "and there's not enough spots for everybody on the team.''

It's possible that the Sox could go into spring training with all seven and wait to see if injuries elsewhere give them additional leverage.

But that, too, is unlikely.

"It seems like there's not a lot of moves made in spring training,'' he said.

As for what the Sox might be seeking in return, the Sox don't have any obvious need they have to fill. It's possible they could want to obtain some prospects to help restock the system after six were traded in two trades this week.

"I can't really answer that question.'' he said. "We've traded a lot (of prospects). We wouldn't mind replenishing some of what we've traded.''

Stevens on Thomas' groin injury: 'It’s important that he’s 100 percent'

Stevens on Thomas' groin injury: 'It’s important that he’s 100 percent'

There’s no such thing as a good time to have an injury. 

But in terms of Isaiah Thomas being sidelined with a right groin injury and the schedule awaiting the Boston Celtics … this is about as bad a time as you can imagine to be without their scoring leader.

Thomas returned to Boston ahead of tonight’s game at Orlando, marking his first game missed since the 2014-2015 season. 

He suffered a right groin injury in the second quarter of Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday. 

At the time, Thomas was optimistic that he would be able to play tonight. But with a day off from practice, the soreness proved to be too much for Thomas to suit up and play tonight. 

While it’s unclear just how severe his groin injury is, the Celtics are likely to be overly cautious (like they are with most injuries) about his return which may result in him missing more games than Wednesday night’s matchup against Orlando. 

“Those things (groin injuries) are a little unpredictable,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters earlier today. “Especially in this sport, you have to be able to stop and change direction on a dime, especially him. It’s important that he’s 100 percent.”

Stevens is spot-on when he talks about how uncertain a return for Thomas is currently. 

New York’s Kristaps Porzingis suffered a groin injury against the Celtics in a preseason game back in October that didn’t result in anything more than him missing a day of practice. 

It was a different story when Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic suffered a right groin injury last spring (March 7-29) that sidelined him for 13 games. 

The timetable for Thomas’ return to the floor is likely to fall somewhere within those two timetables which would make an already daunting stretch of games even more difficult. 

Following tonight’s game, Boston has 12 games remaining in the month of December with nine being against teams with a winning record. And of the three games against teams below-.500 (Miami twice, Indiana), two of them are on the road.