Report: It won't be Bruins-Canadiens in Jan. 19 opener

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Report: It won't be Bruins-Canadiens in Jan. 19 opener

It appeared a slam dunk that the Boston Bruins would travel to Montreal to take on the hated Habs with that game already in the books for the expected Jan. 19 opening date for the NHL season.

It would appear the Bruins might still open things on the road as they would have at the Bell Centre, but the Habs will instead host the Toronto Maple Leafs to open the 2013 season, according to an RDS report. Theres been no confirmation of this, but it would be safe to assume CBC might have been an influence in getting things changed. After all, what would be better for Hockey Night in Canadas opening broadcast of the season than the Habs and Maple Leafs tangling in an Original Six showdown for a national Canadian TV audience.

The New York Rangers were originally scheduled to face a Western Conference team in the original, pre-lockout 2012-13 schedule.

So perhaps the NHL schedule-makers will instead create another Original Six showdown at Madison Square Garden between the Black and Gold and the Blueshirts. It would be a legitimate grudge match between the teams that many envisioned in the Eastern Conference Finals as last years regular season unfolded, but of course only the Rangers got to before falling to the New Jersey Devils.

There should also be no surprise if the NHL arranges for the Bruins and Sabres to tangle in the season-opening extravaganza on Jan. 19 given their bad blood over the last two seasons. Perhaps there's even an outside chance the B's host that game in Boston against Buffalo.

But theres currently no confirmation of which team the Bruins will open up the season with, or if theres a chance they may instead host that opener at TD Garden. The NHL schedule is expected to be announced at the end of this week once the NHL Board of Governors and the NHLPA membership have approved the CBA memorandum of understanding that will be in place for the rest of this shortened season.

At that point individual game tickets will be on sale and season ticket holders will get a full update on their situation as well. Dribs and drabs are leaking out about that first day of games, however, and at least the Bruins know one likely opponent that they wont be playing.

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."