Bergeron: All Star snub "doesn't matter"


Bergeron: All Star snub "doesn't matter"

RALEIGH, N.C. Most hockey players might have been upset about being snubbed for an All-Star game selection when they were so deserving of the honor.

But then again Patrice Bergeron isnt most players. In addition to being the most criminally underrated forward of his generation in the NHL, Bergeron is also perhaps the perfect teammate. The two-way center understands the complete game he has to play in all zones on the ice, and he completely buys into the team concept off the ice when it comes to individual accolades.

The 26-year-old admitted he would have liked being selected to the NHL All-Star game this because because it would have been his first time. But Bergeron knows there are bigger goals to a season that could very end with another deep run into the postseason, and knows a four-day rest in the middle of the season is something that will benefit him.

Instead Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara and linemate Tyler Seguin will be headed to the NHL All-Star game weekend while Bergeron heads back to Quebec City for a few days of rest and relaxation.

I was happy for Seguin and obviously for Zee and Timmy, said Bergeron. It doesnt really matter. At the end of the day its one of those things where its all about the team. Last year the reason we won was because we were playing like a team and nobody was worried about individual stuff. So its the same thing this year.

It would have been nice because it would have been my first time, but if you look at the schedule in February and March that time off is going to be huge. Im always aware that people arent looking at the details of the game as much as the results, and thats fine with me. My teammates see it and thats all that matters to me.

Bergeron potted his 12th goal of the season in Saturday nights 4-2 loss and is second on the Bruins with 37 points this year, so his offensive credentials are where they need to be. The center is winning close to 60 percent of his face-offs and is among the NHL plusminus leaders with a plus-27, but still sits on the outside of the All-Star selection process despite the Stanley Cup resume.

Bergeron said he would go to Ottawa if asked to fill in as an injury replacement leading up to the event, but count his coach among the people that felt it shouldnt have even come to that.

With Bergeron its the whole package: when I talk about the whole package its his demeanor, his professionalism, how he shows up at the rink every day, how he practices every day and how he wants to work as hard as he can every day, said Claude Julien. He just carries that into the game. Hes as consistent a player as Ive ever seen and hes so reliable at both ends of the ice.

Everybody talks about those players that score 50 goals or lead the league in points, but if you look at the whole package theyre not as good defensively. I dont know if hes underrated, but if he is then hes starting to stick out more. He deserves in my mind to be acknowledged as a top player in the NHL. In my mind hes a player that easily could have been added to that All-Star list because hes deserving of that opportunity.

Theres no doubt Bergeron is deserving of the honor, but he may have wait another year before hes recognized for the All-Star hes truly become.

Brady-Ryan marks rare case of NFL's top two quarterbacks meeting in Super Bowl

Brady-Ryan marks rare case of NFL's top two quarterbacks meeting in Super Bowl

For all the flack that Matt Ryan got heading into this season, he’s been a damn good quarterback. Is his career on the same level as Tom Brady’s? Of course not, but this regular season saw him stand as Brady’s peer, making him an MVP favorite.

One of Ryan’s biggest challengers for that hardware is the same man who stands in the way of him winning his first Super Bowl. Though he missed the first four games of the season due to suspension, Brady finished second in the league in passing yards per game and threw just two picks in 12 games while tossing 28 touchdowns.  

So Super Bowl LI will pin the quarterback with the best numbers overall (Ryan finished two touchdowns behind Aaron Rodgers for the league lead but threw for 516 more yards and had a higher completion percentage) against the quarterback with the best touchdown/interception ratio ever for a single season. 

In other words, this is a Super Bowl that puts what one could argue are the season’s two best quarterbacks each other. That’s pretty rare. 

Going back the last 25 years, there are four candidates for such meetings: Manning vs. Brees in Super Bowl XLIV, Favre and Elway in Super Bowl XXXII (this one is a stretch), Favre and Bledsoe in Super Bowl XXXI and Kelly and Rypien in Super Bowl XXVI.. 

Why haven’t the two best quarterbacks squared off in the Super Bowl more often? Because Brady and Peyton Manning played their entire careers in the same conference, silly. It’s taken other players entering their echelon to even set up such a scenario, and that’s why Brees’ Saints beating Manning’s Colts serves as the only example during Manning or Brady’s career. 

The strong performances of those who dominated the regular season have often carried over into their Super Bowl meetings, but not always. Drew Bledsoe and Jim Kelly (both throwing two touchdowns and four picks in Super Bowl losses) are examples of the wheels falling off in the final game. 

Here’s a breakdown of past occurrences. Note that all four of them saw the winning team score at least 30 points, something the Pats have done just once in Brady's four Super Bowl wins: 

Super Bowl XLIV: Brees vs. Manning

Brees led NFL with 34 touchdowns in regular season; Manning finished tied for second with 33

Final score: Saints 31, Colts 17

Brees: 32/39, 288 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Manning: 31/45, 333 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Brees completed a postseason in which he had no turnovers and did so in a nearly exactly average game for him that season, as e averaged 292.5 yards, 2.26 touchdowns and less than one interception per game in the regular season. The two quarterbacks also combined for just one sack. 
Super Bowl XXXII: Favre vs. Elway

Favre led NFL with 35 TDs in regular season, Elway finished second in TD/interception ratio

Final score: Broncos 31, Packers 24

Favre: 25/42, 256 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, fumble lost 
Elway: 12/22, 123 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

Again, this is the forced one because Jeff George (3,917 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions) had the better regular season than Elway (3,635 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, 11 picks). Elway may have been the winning quarterback, but he didn’t have anything to do with the win. Terrell Davis carried the Broncos, playing through a migraine and rushing for 157 yards with three touchdowns en route to Super Bowl MVP honors. 

Super Bowl XXXI: Favre vs. Bledsoe

Favre led NFL with 39 TDs, Bledsoe third with 27

Final Score: Packers 35, Patriots 21

Favre: 14/27, 246 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Bledsoe: 25/48, 253 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT

Both quarterbacks took five sacks in this game. For Bledsoe, it was the most he took all season. The game was the third four-pick performance of his NFL career. 

Super Bowl XXVI: Kelly vs. Rypien

Kelly led NFL with 33 TDs, Rypien second with 28

Final score: Redskins 37, Bills 24

Rypien: 18/33, 292 yards, 2 TD, INT
Kelly: 28/58, 275 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT, fumble lost

Turns out five turnovers (and being sacked four times) is not a recipe for winning the Super Bowl. Kelly’s 58 passes thrown set a Super Bowl record.

Dimitroff, Pioli the first Belichick defectors to lead new team to Super Bowl

Dimitroff, Pioli the first Belichick defectors to lead new team to Super Bowl

Working for the Patriots makes you attractive to other teams. Many have left, but Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli are finally showing that major success can be attained in the process. 

Dimitroff and Pioli have built a team in Atlanta that will play for the franchise’s first Super Bowl title on Feb. 5. While many have been hired away from Bill Belichick's Patriots to lead other organizations, Dimitroff is the first of the defectors to get to the Super Bowl on his own. Adding an old friend in Pioli has played a part in that. 

Dimitroff served as New England’s director of college scouting from 2003 through 2007 before becoming Atlanta’s general manager in 2008. He hired Pioli in 2014 as an assistant GM after the longtime Patriots director and vice president of player personnel had a messy stint as the Chiefs’ GM. 

Executives and coaches (even Field Yates; yes, the fair-haired boy from the television) leaving the Patriots for better positions with other organizations has been common, but with the new positions have often come diminished success compared to New England. 

Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Bill O’Brien, Charlie Weis (in his brief return to the NFL in 2010) and Josh McDaniels make up the list of coordinators who have left winning with the Patriots to experience a dropoff without Brady and Belichick. John Robinson (Titans), Jason Licht (Buccaneers) and Bob Quinn (Lions) currently serve as GMs elsewhere, while former Pats secondary coach Joe Collier works with Dimitroff and Pioli as the Falcons’ director of pro personnel. 

It’s only fitting that Dimitroff and Pioli will have to go through Belichick in order to secure a title on their own. Winning without Belichick has proven hard enough for his former colleagues; winning against him will be even harder.