A real Top Ten


A real Top Ten

By Michael Felger

A top-ten for your Monday perusal:

1. Fraud of the Month award goes to Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, who on Sunday blasted the league over its handling of the Islanders-Penguins brawl that netted 346 penalty minutes and 10 ejections on Friday in New York. Lemieux said the league failed to send the proper message by not handing out tougher suspensions. We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players,'' said Lemieux.

This from the man who employs Matt Cooke.

Funny how we didn't hear these comments after Cooke sent Marc Savard to the hospital last year. Funny how we didn't hear them after Cooke viciously boarded Columbus' Fedor Tyutin last week. Funny how Lemieux continues to sign Cooke's checks.


2. And some people still believe LeBron is a more dangerous player than Kobe? Please. Is there any question what Bryant would have done with those two free throws on Sunday?

3. Anyone who deluded themselves into believing the Bruins were an elite team should have been set straight this weekend, when they were rocked in a pair of games by the Red Wings. The aggregate score was 10-3. The shots were 70-51. Lidstrom. Datsyuk. Zetterberg. Bertuzzi. Holmstrom. Rafalski. That's what a true Stanley Cup contender looks like.

The Bruins, meanwhile, still look like two-and-done fodder. That's for now. The trade deadline is two weeks from today.

4. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I expect a big year from Jonathan Papelbon. He made a conscious effort a few years ago to change his mechanics so as not to throw out his arm. The reason he did that was to make it to his walk year. Now that he's here, something tells me he's going to open it up.

5. Interesting decision by NBC not to roll video during a discussion about fighting in the NHL during the Bruins broadcast on Sunday. The stated reason was that they didn't want to "celebrate'' it. Sigh. Then why spend two segments talking about it?

A more important question is why the league continues to be ashamed of itself. Here's an idea: Stop trying to sell the sport to people and places who don't get it and, frankly, don't want to get it. Focus on those of us who DO love the sport, and give us what we want. And that includes fighting.

6. Remember all those people who said last year that Tiger Woods would be able to brush off his fall from grace and continue to dominate pro golf? Over 12 months later, it still hasn't happened.

7. I keep getting emails that say things like this:

-- Steven Stamkos through Feb. 14 as a rookie in 2008-09: seven goals.

-- Tyler Seguin through Feb. 14 as a rookie in 2010-11: Nine goals.

Hey, whatever makes you feel better.

8. I know Logan Mankins is going to be upset if and when the Pats apply the franchise tag to him, but there's got to be at least part of him that would like to call the Pats' bluff and play a season under the tag. That's because the franchise number for offensive linemen this year is 10.7 million. That's an absurd number for a guard, but because tackles are used to compute the number for all linemen, Mankins benefits. Again, over 10 million, guaranteed, for one season to play guard. That's more than the franchise numbers at cornerback (9.5 million), defensive tackle (7 million), running back (8.1 million) and receiver (9.5 million).

So if I were Mankins I might be tempted to say: You want to pay me 10 million guaranteed to play guard for one year? Go right ahead.

9. It's just fun writing bad things about LeBron. So it took him 21 shots to score 22 points in a have-to-have-it game . . . with a point guard checking him?


10. Go Huskies!

E-mail Felger HERE and read the mailbag on Thursdays. Listen to Felger on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)