Remaining Bruins players mulling European options

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Remaining Bruins players mulling European options

Nobody seems to know what will happen with the NHL CBA no matter how optimistic or pessimistic people from both sides spin the negotiation proceedings. But one thing thats happening with more frequency is more NHL players are weighing their options, and heading to Europe as things appear to be gaining in the grim category for hockey in North America. Johnny Boychuk was the 11th player to leave for Europe at the end of last week, and Bruins fourth line Gregory Campbell looks like hell be the next in line to leave Boston.

According to sources with knowledge of the situation Campbell has been in discussions with the HC Budejovice team in the Czech Republic thats also currently employing Andrew Ference. The Czech team is still trying to secure the private money needed to pay an NHL player like Campbell a common occurrence in NHL players heading to European teams when contract insurance becomes a factor. Campbells linemate, Daniel Paille, said he may also be headed to Europe in the next few weeks if progress isnt made on a CBA.

Paille, who serves as the NHLPA player rep for the Bs, said hed be most likely looking at the Elite League in England as an option if he does hop across the pond.

Im sitting on all the conference calls and having plenty of conversations with our guys about the current situation, said Paille. But it might get to the point in the next few weeks weve got to start exploring our options.

Were holding up pretty good here. For us its more of a mental battle and it gets a little frustrating. But at the same time we have to do this to come back, said Paille, of the dwindling number of NHL skaters bouncing from college arena to college arena to get their work in. Eventually were going to have to play some games somewhere. We dont know when thats going to happen, but weve got to stay ready.

Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand are among a group of Bruins players that havent yet really entertained playing in Europe as of yet, but that could change if games in December are cancelled next week. Thornton hasnt had any discussions with the Elite League, but that would be his best were he to play in Europe. Lucic is sticking around the Boston area with a pregnant wife expecting the couples first child, so the Bs forward isnt likely to leave soon.

Marchand has been bouncing between Boston where he was a regular attendee at the Boston skates for a good five week stretch and his Halifax hometown, but has indicated he probably wont be going to Europe unless the entire NHL season gets cancelled.

The Bruins already are tops among NHL teams with 11 players in Europe, and they could be adding to that number before the month of November is finished.

Al Horford's strong play propels Celtics to 97-92 win over Kings

Al Horford's strong play propels Celtics to 97-92 win over Kings

BOSTON – You knew Boston’s dominance over the Sacramento Kings at the TD Garden was going to come to an end someday. 

Well that day won’t come around for at least another season as the Celtics’ forgotten man just a couple nights ago, Al Horford, came up with big plays at both ends of the floor that helped propel Boston to a 97-92 win. 

With Boston ahead 95-92 with less than 10 seconds to play, the Kings had one chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer. 

They got the ball to their best player DeMarcus Cousins who tried to draw a foul against his defender, Al Horford. 

Cousins’ attempt to sell there being contact behind the 3-point line was not being bought by the officials. 

After his missed shot, Sacramento’s Garrett Temple fouled Horford with 4.8 seconds to play. 

Horford, who finished with a season-high 26 points, went to the line and made both of the free throws to seal the victory. 

The Celtics (11-8) have now won five of their last seven games overall as they hit the road where they’ve won four in a row away from the TD Garden.

Meanwhile the Kings (7-12) have now lost nine straight at the TD Garden.

Sacramento had swung the game’s momentum in their favor at the end of the third and early in the fourth, but the Celtics refused to go down without a fight. 

A shot by Horford tied the game at 76. And on the ensuing Kings possession, Horford came up with a blocked shot that ultimately led to lay-up for Jonas Jerebko to put Boston up 78-76.

Cousins suffered a cut above his right eye in the fourth quarter and finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 

After a Sacramento time-out following Jerebko’s basket, the Celtics came up with another turnover – their 15thforced turnover of the night – that led to a lay-up by Kelly Olynyk.

On the ensuing Olynyk basket, Cousins took a blow to the head on the play that forced him to leave with 7:08to play. 

With no Cousins on the floor, the Celtics tightened up their perimeter defense and made a point of attacking the Sacramento interior immediately.

Isaiah Thomas, who finished with 20 points, converted a three-point play at the 6:33 mark - 35 seconds after Cousins left the game.

The close finish was in stark contrast to how the game begin. 

In Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday, Horford only took five shots from the field. 

After the game, head coach Brad Stevens said that should have never happened. 

Jae Crowder called it “unacceptable.”

Well it didn’t take Horford long to get five shot attempts – about five minutes actually. 

And the four-time all-star hit most of them as he helped the Celtics lead by as many as 13 points in the first quarter before the Kings closed out the quarter with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 29. 

Horford led four double figure scorers for Boston which included Thomas, Jae Crowder (16 points) and Avery Bradley (15 points). 

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics hold on to lead after Kings rally back

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics hold on to lead after Kings rally back

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics take a slim 47-46 lead into the half over Sacramento, a team they have dominated at the TD Garden. 

The Celtics are looking to extend their winning streak at home over the Kings to nine in a row with a victory tonight. 

But the Kings are not going to go down easily, as they rallied back from a 13-point deficit in the first quarter. 

After Boston went ahead 29-19, the Kings scored the final 10 points of the quarter to tie it at 29. 

Sacramento took a couple of brief leads in the second, only for the Celtics to get a clutch shot or a timely stop defensively. 

The final points of the half came on a put-back basket by Al Horford which gave Boston a one-point lead that would serve as the margin going into the half. 

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Friday’s game.

 

STARS

Al Horford

After taking just five shots in Wednesday’s loss to Detroit, Horford had as many in the first six minutes. He would finish the half with 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting which included a pair of three-pointers.

DeMarcus Cousins

He had a horrible first half shooting the ball, but there was no denying Cousins’ presence and impact on the game. Despite missing six of his nine shot attempts he still led them with nine points and five rebounds.

 

STUDS

Avery Bradley

He looked a lot more like the Avery Bradley we’ve seen most of this season, and not the one who was a non-factor for most of Wednesday’s loss to Detroit. At the half he had nine points and four rebounds.

Matt Barnes

The oldest player on the floor certainly didn’t look past his prime. The 36-year-old small forward came off the Kings bench to score six points along with grabbing eight rebounds. 

 

DUDS

Rudy Gay

A 19.6 points per game scorer this season, Gay couldn’t get into any kind of flow or rhythm offensively. At the half, he had four points on 2-for-8 shooting which included him missing all four of his three-pointers.