WILMINGTON -- The Bruins enter Thursday night's game against the Washington Capitals as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. At this point, every game is tough. But not every team is as desperate as the Capitals.
Washington enters Thursday's game at the TD Garden as the ninth-place team in the East. That's one spot out of the playoffs, trailing the Buffalo Sabres by two points for the eighth seed, and five points behind the Florida Panthers for the division lead.
Coming off a 5-1 loss to the Sabres on Tuesday night, and with only five games left on their regular-season schedule, the Capitals are desperate and dangerous. And the Bruins know it.
They just don't think it's a bad thing.
"I think, for us, it's great," said Julien. "Personally, it's the kind of competition we need this time of year to get ourselves ready for the playoffs. If you can't handle those kind of games now, how are you going to handle them in a couple of weeks from now.
"So I don't mind those at all. I think it's going to be a great tilt tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it."
Isaiah Thomas isn't a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team. But A. Sherrod Blakely expects it to be more motivation for the Celtics point guard.
BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.
It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.
Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.
Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.
This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.
And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.
“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.