Bad blood lingers between B's and Stars

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Bad blood lingers between B's and Stars

GLENDALE, AZ. --- It goes without saying that a game between the Bruins and
Dallas Stars has become synonymous with fireworks and fisticuffs.

Three years ago, an early season meeting of the B's and Stars at TD Garden turned into
an all-our war against Sean Avery and Steve Ott. The hate-filled 60 minutes also featured Shane Hnidys most memorable moment as a Bs player as he tuned up Matti
Niskanen during a line brawl on the ice, and Marc Savard throwing punches at Avery in
defense of a young Milan Lucic.

That game really ushered in the Bs current team personality as a club not to be
trifled with, and handed the current cast of Bruins players their first evidence that dialing
up the physicality brings out the best in them.

Last season, when the B's were accused in some circles of notplaying with enough heart, toughness or chutzpah, they engaged in three fights withinthe first four seconds of a game against the Stars.

Gregory Campbell and Ott -- who had taken a run at Campbell during Campbell's days with the Florida Panthers -- renewed pleasantries, but it didnt stop there.

Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Krys Barch and busted up the then-Dallas
enforcers face with a punishing right hand. And Adam McQuaid crushed Brian
Sutherby in the third bout.

Andrew Ference and Adam Burish followed up with another fight four minutes
later, and once again the Bruins and Stars had renewed a unique bad blood relationship.

Its rare that kind of hatred crosses over to the opposite conference, but thats what has
happened in Dallas and Boston.

It doesnt seem to matter that the two teams only play once a season, and the expectation
is Saturday night could be another bloodbath.

Another ode to Slap Shot is not what Claude Julien is thinking, however.

With some of the old Stars players no longer in Dallas and new coach Glenn Gulutzan
in place, the Bs coach doesnt think the Stars will be pulling any shenanigans. But then
again the Stars still have the agitating Ott on their roster, and wont be shying away from
things should they get a little nasty on the ice.

It doesnt matter. They have a different coach and different players, and they probably
have a different approach, said Julien. Were going to go in there and play our game.

"And what youve seen over the years is that whatever they throw at us, were going to be
ready for.

The other factor in this years BruinsStars matchup: it will be Michael Ryders first
game against his former team. Ryder leads the Stars with 14 goals scored this season
and has been reunited with his old buddy from Montreal, Mike Ribeiro, in Dallas. The
reunion has brought the best out of both players, and theres also Ryders history of
playing well against his former team, the Habs, during his years in Boston.

In other words, a highly talented player that sometimes struggles to maintain focus and
motivation gets up for games against former teams. There should be a little extra for
Ryder against a Bruins team that didnt bring him back after he helped win a Cup in
Boston.

Hes a good man and hes having some success playing with his old liney Mike
Ribeiro, said Thornton, who formed a solid friendship with Ryder during their
time in Boston. He was a good guy, good teammates and obviously he helped us get a
ring so Im happy for him having some success there.

But certainly not too much success for Ryder against the Bruins on Saturday night if
Thornton has his way

Thomas excited for reunion with Green

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Thomas excited for reunion with Green

WALTHAM, Mass. -- When the phone rang this summer, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas had to do a double-take when he saw the name on the caller ID.

It was Gerald Green, his ex-teammate in Phoenix.

Although they only shared a locker room for 45 games in Phoenix, the two became quick friends.

On the court they developed instant chemistry while coming off the Suns bench. And that bond spilled off the court as Green would later spend time with Thomas in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. area in the summer months.

They were cool with each other, cool enough to where Thomas knew it wasn’t in Green’s nature to pick up the phone and call just to say hi.

“Gerald doesn’t call anybody,” Thomas said. “When he called I knew something was up.”

Green said Boston, the team that drafted him in 2006 straight out of high school, was interested in bringing him back for a second stint with the club.

“I tried to put my two cents in and he got here,” Thomas said.

There were several factors that led Green back to Boston, with a chance to reunite with Thomas being high on that list.

Green, already in Phoenix at the time the Suns signed Thomas in 2014, was impressed with the way the 5-9 guard carried himself.

“He was a genuine guy, came in really humble,” Green said. “I saw the talent was there. I knew he had the potential to be one of the best point guards in this league.”

Thomas certainly made a case for such lofty praise with how he performed last season, good enough to earn his first all-star selection.

What really stuck out to Green was that Thomas’ mentality and approach to the game was almost a carbon copy of his own.

“When we stepped on the court we had the same mentality,” Green said. “By any means necessary, get a bucket and play harder than the next team; just try and push the first team, make the first team better every day.”

Thomas was coming off the bench, showing lots of potential and promise that he could carry a heavier load if given an opportunity to do so.

He averaged 15.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes off the Suns bench in 46 games. Even more significant was that when Thomas did play for the Suns, they were 26-20.

In the games without him, they were just 13-23.

Green was admittedly disappointed they traded away Thomas, believing that season would have had a very different outcome had they not sent him to Boston.

And just like Green recognized Thomas’ skills and how much his team could have benefited from keeping him around, Thomas speaks in glowing terms about Green and what his return to Boston means for the team.

“We needed someone like him; a guy that could shoot the ball, a guy that could space the floor; instant scorer whether he starts or comes off the bench,” Thomas said. “Where the he starts or come off the bench. He’s going to really help us.”

Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

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Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

CINCINNATI -- For most of the game, A.J. Green piled up more yards than the entire Miami Dolphins offense in a virtuoso performance. As an encore, he thrilled the crowd by juggling some Florida citrus.

The Bengals receiver followed his disappointing game with a dominating one - 173 yards and a touchdown - and a Cincinnati defense that was inspired by Vontaze Burfict's return clamped down on the Dolphins for a 22-7 victory Thursday night.

The Bengals (2-2) rebounded from a 29-17 home loss to Denver on Sunday with a solid all-around game against a depleted team.

Green led the way, beating the Dolphins (1-3) on every type of route . He was upset with himself after he dropped a pivotal third-down pass and failed to make an impact against the Broncos.

"I hold myself to a very high standard," said Green, who had 10 catches. "I know what I'm capable of. Last week I didn't perform to that level. I had to refocus on a short week."

During the first three quarters, Green had 166 yards on catches while Miami had 152 total yards. The Bengals' season-long problem of stalling out near the goal line forced them to settle for Mike Nugent's season-high five field goals.

Afterward, Green and Andy Dalton appeared on the postgame show, and the receiver entertained the dozens of Bengals fans who stayed around by smoothly juggling three oranges at the interview desk.

"Any time he was one-on-one, he was able to make the play," Dalton said.

The Dolphins were missing four starting offensive linemen, two linebackers, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron. They had one big play - Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills - but couldn't do anything else on offense.

"We've got to get it fixed and quick, and by that I mean Monday," Tannehill said. "We're kind of in a dark spot right now. It's squarely on our shoulders."

The Bengals' defense expected to get a lift from Burfict's return. The volatile linebacker was suspended by the NFL for the first three games because of his illegal hits. He got a loud ovation when he ran onto the field during introductions wearing a baseball cap. Burfict knocked down a pass and had three tackles.

"He's amazing," end Carlos Dunlap said. "Did you see the plays he made? Those aren't plays you can coach. He came off his couch and played great. It's good to have him back."

Mostly, it was Green's show. He caught a 51-yard pass off Dalton's scramble in the first half, and had a 43-yard catch that set up another field goal in the third quarter for a 19-7 lead.

REMEMBERING FERNANDEZ

A large fan banner in the upper deck at Paul Brown Stadium honored Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died with two friends in a boat crash early Sunday near Miami Beach. The banner read: "Jose 16 Heaven's Bright."

STILL CAN'T RUN

The Bengals rushed for 77 yards and only a 2.1-yard average against the second-worst run defense in the league, one missing two starting linebackers.

SLOPPY DOLPHINS

Miami had seven penalties for 68 yards. The most egregious was by Terrence Fede, who pushed Kevin Huber to the ground after he punted in the third quarter. The penalty gave Cincinnati the ball, and the Bengals got a field goal out of it.

INJURIES

Dolphins: LT Branden Albert and C Anthony Steen were inactive with sprained ankles. Also missing were LBs Koa Misi (neck) and Jelani Jenkins (groin). C Mike Pouncey has missed all four games with a hip injury.

Bengals: TE Tyler Eifert was inactive again, contributing to the Bengals' trouble close to the goal line. He's recovering from offseason ankle surgery and returned to practice on a limited basis last week. CB Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday. G Clint Boling sat out most of the fourth quarter with an injured left shoulder.

ANTHEM STATEMENTS

Stills and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas knelt with their hands over their hearts during the anthem.

FANTASY IMPACT

Tannehill was 15 of 25 for 189 yards with a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and five sacks. Dalton was 22 of 31 for 296 yards with a touchdown and a sack.

UP NEXT

The Dolphins begin a stretch of four straight home games against Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the New York Jets.

The Bengals have a tough two-game stretch, playing Dallas and New England on the road. They're 1-5 in Dallas, dropping their last three. They've dropped their last six at New England, last winning in 1986.