Boychuk feels good, hopes to return for Caps


Boychuk feels good, hopes to return for Caps

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Johnny Boychuk said he feels good and that if it were up to him hell be suiting up for Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs against the Washington Capitals.

The 26-year-old defenseman looked like he was down for the count when he suffered a left knee injury smashing into Arron Asham for a third period hit last week. He feared the worst when he went down on the ice after his left knee buckled inward. So did everyone else.

But instead the injury was ruled a sprain, and the rugged, hard-hitting defenseman went through a full practice, ignoring the medical staff that told him he wasnt cleared for contact.

I wasnt supposed to take any battles today, but I got in there for couple of battles and bumps to see how things would feel, said Boychuk. Im feeling good. It was a good step practicing with the team. There were no snags to hold me back, so I kept going.

I hope I play. I obviously dont want to sit out. Well see how it feels later on today and tomorrow, and then go from there. The injury still hurt when it happened, but it wasnt as bad as it could have been. Thats for sure.

Claude Julien said that the chances of Boychuk being ready to return Thursday night for Game 1 against Washington were not impossible.

Im still confident that Johnny Boychuk will be ready to start the playoffs, said Claude Julien. Tuukka Rask may be a little bit longer. But both players are still day-to-day.

Boychuk has essentially been Bostons No. 3 defenseman all season, and is the only other blueliner along with Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg to average more than 20 minutes of ice time per game.

His return will be important for Bostons long-term success, and it allows him to continue waging a one-on-one war with Alex Ovechkin that the two physical, hard-nosed players have developed over the years. When they get together, it's a couple of big hockey bodies participating in some good, old-fashioned hockey violence.

Its fun hitting Ovechkin. To some players it might not seem all that fun, but hes a great player, said Boychuk. When he throws his body around you can feel it. When you do the same thing back to him Im sure hed say the same thing.

Its going to be fun to play against them . . . especially in the playoffs and maybe even seven games.

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox lose, but 'celebrate anyway'

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox lose, but 'celebrate anyway'

NEW YORK - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 5-3 loss in New York.



"I feel pretty good. Let's put it this way: Where we are now, I wouldn't want to play us going into the playoffs." - Red Sox principal owner John Henry

"I wanted to celebrate on that field so bad, but it is what it is. We end up being the first place team in the American League, and we're going to celebrate anyway." - David Ortiz, after the Red Sox lose on a walkoff, but clinch the division anyway.

“I’ll still be trying to hit the next four games, but if it just happens to be my last one (homer of his career), it’ll be pretty special." - Mark Teixeira, who's retiring Sunday and hit the walk-off grand slam.



* Joe Kelly became the first Red Sox pitcher to allow a walkoff grand slam since Julian Tavarez in 2006.

* Craig Kimbrel failed to record an out -- in 28 pitches -- marking the third time in 410 career appearances that that happened.

* Koji Uehara posted his 14th straight scoreless appearance.

* Brad Ziegler hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 19 appearances.

* Dustin Pedroia has scored five runs and knocked in seven in his last five games.

* Mookie Betts posted his major league-leading 66th multi-hit game.

* Clay Buchholz has a 2.63 ERA in his last seven starts.

* The one hit allowed by Buchholz marks the fewest hits allowed by him in a non-injury-shortened game since his no-hitter in 2007.

* The win marked only the second time the Red Sox have clinched the A.L. East away from home. The other time was in Cleveland in 1998.



1) Mark Teixeira

The first baseman is going out in style. In the final week of his career, he hit his second game-winning homer of the week, with Wednesday's being a walk-off grand slam.

2) Clay Buchholz

Buchholz was brilliant, allowing three baserunners -- an infield hit and two walks -- in six shutout innings.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts delivered what appeared to be the game's biggest blow -- a two-run chopped double in the eighth to break open a scoreless tie.