Three wishes for The Rapture

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Three wishes for The Rapture

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

Well, it was nice knowing everyone.

And if you dont know what Im talking about, then I have good news and bad news.

Good news: Dont worry about paying any of those outstanding parking tickets

Bad news: Were goners.

In just about 24 hours, the Rapture will be upon us, marking the end of our days here on Earth. I know, kind of puts a damper on the weekend, but we had a pretty good run, right? I mean, at least we did better than the dinosaurs. And like the dinosaurs before us, its now our time to say wordaapp.

Anyway, its only fitting to spend our fleeting moments doing the same thing we did for most of our lives, so heres a hypothetical sports question to consider (inspired by producer Jim Aberdale):

If you were granted one Boston-related sports wish before were all sucked into the vortex, what would it be?

And you cant say: Bruins win the Stanley Cup or Celtics go back and play the season with Perk because, unlike everything else in this column, thats unrealistic. Theres not enough time for the NHL Playoffs to end, or for Danny Ainge to build a time machine. We have only one full day left, theres no time to get fancy. Actually, theres not much time for anything . . . so lets move on.

Here are three End of Our Days wishes:

1. I wish we knew what really happened with LeBron in last year's playoffs

Or to put it in wish form: I wish we knew what really happened with LeBron and the Cavs during last years playoffs.

And I dont even care about the fact that a player may or may not have slept with another players mother (even though thats still pretty amazing). Its just the fact that, whether or not the rumors are true, something obviously happened. And that something was big enough to submarine the best player in the world and change NBA history.

Lets not forget that the Cavs were the better team in that series. They were the best team in the conference. They had the best player, a very solid supporting cast, and most of all, maybe the best chemistry in the entire league. I was in the Cleveland locker room before a game that February, and left convinced that theyd win it all. Not that Ive been around forever, but Id never seen another locker room like that, and still havent. Not even the Celtics at the start of this year could match their visual chemistry.

Then it happened. Clevelands own little mini-Rapture. And that was that.

Who knows what would have happened if the Cavs, as they were supposed to, knocked off the Celtics in the second round? I bet Doc Rivers would have walked away. And then, everything would be different. And what happens with the Cavs? Maybe they win it all? I think LeBron would have left either way, but without this collapse maybe he doesnt handle it the same way, and maybe Cavs fans arent as apoplectic.

No one talks about this because the storys more volatile than Milton Bradley. Its a touchy, touchy subject, plus its not like anyone involved is willing to talk. But that doesnt make it any less interesting or important. Whatever happened there has turned the NBA upside down. Whatever it was that made LeBron go off changed the course of NBA history. And I think its only natural to want to know what that was.

Something tells me well find out at some point, but sadly, we only have a day before its all over.

2. I wish I could spend an afternoon with Wakefield

Sounds like a forthcoming Mitch Albom joint, but come on, were talking about the Rapture here. Theres no need for extra drama.

For the better part of the last 17 years, Ive wanted to get into the box against Tim Wakefield. For one, because Ive always wanted know what its like to face major league pitching, and Wakes the one guy I could dig in against without the fear of taking a fastball to the head.

But also, because this pitch is now responsible for one of the longest pitching career in Red Sox history. Its made Wake millions and millions of dollars, allowed him to stay active in this league longer than just about anyone not named Jamie Moyer (or Julio Franco), and made some of the best hitters in history look like Wily Mo Pena.

I want to look like Wily Mo Pena.

I want to know what its like to stare down the barrel of Wakefields whacky knuckler and live (for a day, I guess) with a complete understanding of what its all about; about what goes over those 60 feet-six inches.

Tim, my afternoons wide open.

3. I wish I knew the truth about Tim.

No, not Wakefield: Donaghy.

I want someone-in-the-know to go through Tim Donaghys book, or a transcript of any of his million interviews, and address each issue, step-by-step. Ok, thats true. Nope, that ones a lie . . . and so on.

And you know what? I wouldnt be shocked by anything. I wouldnt be shocked if most of what Donaghys said is true: That games were manipulated by execs, that referees played favorites, that everything is not how David Stern would like it to seem.

Of course, I dont want to. But at this point, Ill almost believe anything.

Theres just no excuse for what continues to happen. And I dont want to take away from how awesome the games themselves have been; its still unbelievably enjoyable. But the ref problem is an epidemic, and theres no end in sight.

Its such a blatant slap in the face, and Sterns so cavalier about trotting these guys out there, thats its clear that something isnt right. Otherwise, Bennett Salvatore wouldnt be reffing playoffs games anymore. Otherwise, we wouldnt have to deal with the same incompetent, attention-seeking divas stirring up all the chaos with no real ramifications.

And Im not saying this in relation to the Celtics series. Even if the Heat did get the benefit of some calls, they still deserved to win. I just mean this in general. Refereeing continues to destroy the NBA product.

And Id love to know why.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

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.