Sullinger reminds Garnett of former C's center Perkins

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Sullinger reminds Garnett of former C's center Perkins

WALTHAM Although Kendrick Perkins didn't put up big numbers while with the Boston Celtics, he brought something to the floor that the C's definitely needed.

Rookie Jared Sullinger isn't the same kind of player, but he too has shown the potential to have a similarly important, but stealth-like impact this season.

"He reminds me of Perk," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "He's not obviously the defensive player that Perk was, but as far as IQ, moving the ball and being unselfish, he's a great teammate."

Perkins, who was the starting center on Boston's 2008 title squad, was traded to Oklahoma City in 2010.

When told about Garnett's comparing him to Perkins, Sullinger responded, "Kevin doesn't give anybody praise; it means he likes you, I guess."

There's a lot to like about Sullinger, who continues to prove that him slipping to No. 21 in last June's NBA draft will be remembered as a gaffe on the part of several GMs.

Coming off his first start of the season at Washington, Sullinger will likely get the starting nod again when the C's host the Wizards on Wednesday.

On Saturday against Washington, the 6-foot-9 burly forward had four points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot.

But like Perkins, numbers don't do justice to the impact that his mere presence had as a positive for the Celtics.

"Jared understands what we're doing. He's a no-nonsense guy," Garnett said. "The young fella comes in, does his job, does what you tell him."

And the message for Sullinger these days is two-fold: rebound and defend.

Rebounding hasn't been much of an issue, especially on the offensive glass where he has already distinguished himself as the best player the C's have in that category.

Although he's eighth on the team in minutes played this season, Sullinger ranks second (five) in offensive rebounds, and eighth overall among rookies.

But like most first-year players, his defense is very much a work in progress.

And work is what he appears to be all about these days, evident by him being among the last players off the floor after most practices.

Sullinger seems to understand that for him to be the kind of player he envisions himself developing into, he must continue to work on his game.

"I feel really good," Sullinger told CSNNE.com. "Just have to understand my role, and that's rebounding. Scoring is going to be there at times, but right now everything has to go through Paul (Pierce), (Rajon) Rondo and Kevin (Garnett)."

Looking at the talent that's around him, Sullinger has no problem being a role player.

"Every basketball team, you have your superstars and then you have your role players who really came into their own," he said. "You just have to know who you are playing with."

The C's certainly know who they are playing with in Sullinger - a rookie who is wise beyond his years.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.