Rex Ryan, Patriots head coach

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Rex Ryan, Patriots head coach

By Adam Hart
CSNNE.com

He's refused to genuflect and kiss the rings of The Hooded One. He's been flossin' his team since the red lights started glowing on HBO's cameras. He's had lap band surgery.

He is Rex Ryan, the Jets coach known for his brashness and oddly-white teeth. And if most New England media members had it their way, hed be leading their 9-2 team. Oh, it would be so much fun when he handfeeds them the quotes they want.

In another world it might've happened, had Bill Belichick not left the Jets for Foxborough. This is exactly how that other world would operate:

OPERATOR: It is 9:13 a.m. You are on a conference call with New England Patriots head coach Rex Ryan. Press 5 on your phone if you have a question to ask First up, we have

REPORTER 1: Rex, you have a long week to prepare for hosting the 9-2 Jets. Coach Belichick is giving his players considerable time off. Can yours expect the same?

REX: Yeah, a mini Bye Week sounds good right about now. Giving them three days off.

REPORTER 1: Any sort of message delivered before setting them loose?

REX: I told em, Lets go eat a gosh darn five-course meal. Football and five-course meals: its the Patriot way.

REPORTER 2: But when you do get to work, will you be concerned about any illegal filming by the Jets after the news out of Denver?

REX: Look, if I was concerned about the Jets getting a hold of our practice footage, Hard Knocks sure as expletive wouldnt have been up my expletive all summer, would they? I know were the best team in football -- you may not know it, but I do. Of course they should want to watch and learn from the best. I'll deliver our practice footage on a silver platter if they want.

REPORTER 3: (gushing) Wow.

REX: Is that a question or are you five?

REPORTER 4: Coach, in all seriousness, do you see this is an epic battle?

REX: Well, expletive yeah I do. The Jets get all the respect in the world from you people. Oh, theyre so quiet and reserved. So what? Were loud, boisterous and not afraid of anybody. They can come in here all fat and cocky, but theyll be leaving limp and... hold on a sec. (yelling) Hey, Mike! Mike! You get me that footlong sub or what? (muffled yes in background) Extra hots? (muffled yes in background) Damn right you did. Gimme that thing. Mmm... get in my belly. (rustling paper, CHOMP, GULP, relieved sigh) All gone.

REPORTER 2: Did you even take the wrapper off that sub?

REX: Whats it to ya?

(10 seconds of awkward silence)

REPORTER 1: Coach, the Jets are known to play Bon Jovi to simulate the level of noise opposing crowds make. I know youre the home team, but what do you use?

REX: I put Vampire Weekend on blast. Those herky-jerky, smarmy vocals are torturous. Are there even lyrics to their songs, or is it just jibberish?

REPORTER 5: New York has a pretty good secondary, but your rookie is locking down every receiver he faces. Its like sticking the opponent on a desert island. Since youre the master of hype, ever think of giving him the nickname McCourty Island?

REX: Heres the problem with that idea -- too many syllables in McCourty. McCourty Island sounds stupid. And I cant be taking deep breaths to say a nickname. It defeats the purpose. But McCourtyville, thats promotable. Oh look, Braylon Edwards checks into the quiet hamlet of McCourtyville, too bad he never checks out. Boom, done.

REPORTER 3: Wowee!

REX: Reporter 3, I've got a Tonka truck in my office for you to play with. Run along.

REPORTER 1: What d'ya see in Antonio Cromartie? He's been a pleasant surprise for the Jets.

REX: Hes tough. Guy is an att-lete. Plus, he's so productive. Cromartie repeatedly produces and produces and produces and produces, and... for the sake of saving time let's just say he reproduces. A lot.

REPORTER 4: What do you consider the bigger rivalry: New York or Cleveland?

REX: Hey, you know my brother's real name is Remus? He's got long hair like an old lady librarian, too. What a expletive.

REPORTER 3: Are you going to dress up like Belichick, kind of like how you wore that wig to look like your brother?

REX: They don't make hoodies in 5XL. Alls I got are sweater vests and altered Patriots tablecloths. Next.

REPORTER 4: How about the rivalry? You never answered my question.

REX: Obviously New York is the bigger rivalry, mainly because theyre afraid of us.

REPORTER 4: Afraid? How do you know that?

REX: My dad told me a long time ago that if someone wont even engage in a war of words with you, theyre too busy focusing on stopping the shaking going on in their boots. And believe me, the Jets have a case of happy feet right now.

Alright. That'll do it for today, guys. Gotta go figure out what's for pre-lunch.

REPORTER 1: Pre-lunch?

REX: Yeah. It helps take the pressure off. You know, the pressure of trying to bring New England it's first Super Bowl.

See: Ryan is a better quote than Belichick, making the media's job easy. But easy isn't always the adjective one wants attached to his job. Or girlfriend. It promises a lack of spectacular results and a whole heap of disloyalty, respectively.

Haggerty: Bruins putting a lot of their hopes in one roster fix

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Haggerty: Bruins putting a lot of their hopes in one roster fix

The improvement plan has become as clear as it’s going to be for the Bruins this offseason.

With Bruins general manager Don Sweeney locking up Kevan Miller to a four-year, $10 million deal this week and vowing to sign Torey Krug as well, the Bruins defensemen corps is going to look awfully similar to last season’s misbegotten group.

Almost identical, it would seem.

Sure, Sweeney said on Wednesday that the Bruins are actively seeking out “a transitional defenseman” that’s presumably a little better than 35-year-old journeyman John-Michael Liles, and can be paired with Zdeno Chara as a top duo for next season. It’s the No. 1 priority on the Bruins offseason shopping list just as it was last season once they shipped Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for draft picks and were instead saddled with a fearsome, crippling black hole at the top of their organizational D-man charts.

The trade market has been set to a degree by the Erik Gudbranson trade from the Florida Panthers to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night with Jim Benning giving up a Grade-A center prospect in Jared McCann, a second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in exchange for the 24-year-old top-four defenseman. Per a hockey source with knowledge of the situation, the Bruins were not involved in any talks for the towering Gudbranso. It sounded like the Panthers and Canucks were pretty locked in with each other on making a deal.

That’s an unfortunate product of Boston not being able to match up with the available center prospect that might have interested Florida and having dealt some of those 2016 draft picks on fruitless deadline rental deals for Lee Stempniak and Liles.

So, how difficult will it be to land Kevin Shattenkirk, or Jacob Trouba, or Sami Vatanen, or Tyson Barrie, or any other mobile blueliner able to play big minutes, move pucks and survive against the other team’s best offensive players while being sheltered defensively by Zdeno Chara?

“Time will tell on that one, you know? Either through free agency or through acquisition, it’s a matter of finding a trading partner or finding a match in the marketplace. We’re going to be aggressive,” said Sweeney. “We certainly have identified, we had our pro meetings … I’m not going to give my whole plan out to you today. But we have areas that we want to address in the depth of our organization more likely in the forward position, either on the right wing or the center, or again on the backend. We’re exploring a bunch of different things trade-wise. It’s difficult in this league, but I think that we’re in the position with two first-round picks to be either selecting really good players or to be in the marketplace.”

The Bruins had better hope it’s a miracle-working puck-mover that they bring to Boston because otherwise they are on course for bringing back the same old sorry usual suspects from last season. Miller and Adam McQuaid will be taking up a combined $5.25 million on the salary cap, Krug will have a salary in the range of $5 million per season after watching the B’s largesse in the Miller deal and both Chara and Seidenberg will trudge on as proud, aging warriors well on the back end of their careers after outstanding service in Boston.

That means many defenders, including Joe Morrow and Colin Miller, return. Defense was the clear weakness on the team, which finished 19th in the NHL after being in the bottom third of the league pretty much all season. It was inarguably the worst defensive group of Claude Julien’s 10-year tenure with the Bruins and had major difficulties in all areas ranging from tape-to-tape passes, to coverage breakdowns and good, old-fashioned lost battles in all of the danger areas.

So, with the plan to add one high-caliber “transitional defenseman” already laid out, it’s clear the B’s belief is that will be enough to substantially improve things on the ice.

At least that’s the theory before the bullets start flying next season and Sweeney gave a few perfunctory lines about the team improving in every area.  

“This is a results-oriented business, so we have to get better in areas. We have to improve our roster. I’ve said all along that we need to continue to improve our roster. We’ll be in the marketplace in every different way, shape, or form to try and acquire players that will continue to help us do so,” said Sweeney. “Talking with Claude and going over the time he spent with Butch [Cassidy], through my dealings with Butch, and realizing the development of a lot of the players that have been a part of our roster and success is the transition game and stuff that Butch has brought to the table.

“[It’s] how he saw the game, how he expects players to play and move pucks and work on it every day, is an area that I think he’s going to be an addition to our [coaching] staff and how he sees the game. I think I identified that if Butch was playing in this day and age now, he’d be a very welcome addition to our roster.”

So that’s the plan, folks. The big move of the summer is getting a defenseman they badly need, filling in a few roster spots, signing a good deal of their own players and then hoping for a better result next time around.

Isn’t there some kind of line about insanity and expecting different results with the same cast of characters year in and year out? 

 

Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas earns All-NBA team votes

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Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas earns All-NBA team votes

BOSTON – Isaiah Thomas was among the breakout performers in the NBA this past season, earning the Celtics guard his first All-Star appearance in the process. 

And when the league announced its three All-NBA teams on Thursday, Thomas was among the contingent of players receiving votes.
 
Thomas, who averaged a career-high 22.2 points per game this past season, received a total of 20 points which was more than perennial standouts Pau Gasol (16 points) of Chicago, Dirk Nowitzki (8 points) of Dallas and New York’s Carmelo Anthony (2 points).
 
Golden State’s Stephen Curry was a unanimous first-team selection as he was named to the first team on all 129 ballots submitted for a total of 645 points. Points for first, second and third team nominations were awarded on a 5-3-1 basis.
 
Joining Curry on the first team was LeBron James who was named to the first Team for the 10th time in his 13 NBA seasons; San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook.
 
The second team includes Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Golden State’s Draymond Green, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland’s Damian Lillard.

On the third team, there’s Paul George of Indiana, LaMarcus Aldridge of San Antonio, Andre Drummond of Detroit, Klay Thompson of Golden State and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.
 

Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

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Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

Three NFL owners have expressed “extreme disappointment” in Robert Kraft and the Patriots filing an amicus brief on behalf of Tom Brady in the quarterback’s appeal of the Second Circuit Court’s reinstatement of his Deflategate suspension, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. 

The Patriots filed the brief on Wednesday. 

The owners see the move as a publicity stunt done to appease Brady and the Patriots fans, Cole said, and they don’t believe Kraft did it any seriousness because the issue speaks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ability to punish players and undermines the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players.

If Kraft thought it mattered, he wouldn't have done it, Cole said one owner told him.