Top five annoyances of the week

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Top five annoyances of the week

By Michael Felger

Five things I'm annoyed by this week:

1. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady claiming they aren't watching the Jets on HBO's Hard Knocks.

I call bullcrap, especially when it comes to Belichick. The material is too good, too rich. There are too many opportunities to make fun of people he and the Patriots truly dislike, from Rex Ryan to Mike Tannenbaum to Woody Johnson. Why would he pass that up?

Then there's the whole business of getting a glimpse at what the Jets are up to. You mean to tell me Belichick once went to the trouble of directly defying the NFL by taping the Jets coaches on the sidelines, but he wont turn on the TV and get a free look into their meeting rooms?

Spygate cost him 500,000.

Whats HBO cost?

Whatever it is, it seems to me Hard Knocks provides better "value."

2. Pink hats cheering for the return of Johnny Damon.

Weren't you the same frauds who booed him out of Fenway Park a few years ago? Oh, that's right. He was a Yankee! I forgot. You expected him to leave that 12 million on the table just because he played for the Red Sox.

Get a clue.

3. The assumption that Brett Favre will have the Vikings back in Super Bowl contention.

Brett Favre had a tremendous season in 2009. No question about it. But do you understand what an aberration that season was for him? He was garbage just one year before, throwing as many interceptions in the final THREE GAMES for the Jets (seven) as he did all last season for the Vikings. And, yes, he had another good year for the Packers in 2007, but that one was preceded by back-to-back seasons in which he stunk (20 touchdowns, 29 interceptions, 70.9 QB rating in 2005; 18 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, 72.7 QB rating in 2006).

Based on his recent track record, then, Favre is much more likely to crap the bed this season than have another MVP-caliber campaign. Those are just the facts.

Not that you'll ever hear them on ESPN.

4. The fact that I'm beginning to think the Patriots could be really good this year.

I know the preseason means less than nothing, but I can't help it. ThePatriots have that "look" right now. I've seen it before, and I knowenough to respect it. They're sharp. They're more energetic. It lookslike they have some young kids who can play. Questions remain atoutside linebacker, defensive end and on the coaching staff, but who inthe NFL doesn't have questions?

I came into training camp believing the Pats would reside outside of the league's elite this season. Now I'm not so sure.

5. The Jets.

Between Tannenbaum bragging about player acquisitions (Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, etc), Ryan bragging about his scouting ability (enough with "the Terminator" already) and special-teams coaches bragging about getting a punt blocked in the flipping preseason opener, Hard Knocks is becoming insufferable. Entertaining, but insufferable.

We get it, guys. You've got some good players. You might have a good team. Good job. You don't need to remind us every five minutes.

E-mail Felger HERE and read his mailbag on Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

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.