Bruins' first line gives and takes away

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Bruins' first line gives and takes away

BOSTON -- It was an adventurous Saturday for the newly configured forward line with David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin.

They continued their offensive rampage by supplying both of Bostons goals, but they were also on the ice for the definitive play that meant the difference between winning and losing in a 32 defeat at the hands of the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon.

Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic were both chasing Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald in what appeared to be an icing call against the Bruins with less than five minutes to go in the third period.

But the refs never called icing as the puck skittered past MacDonalds stick, and both Seguin and Lucic stopped skating on the play. The Islanders took full advantage of the momentarily disoriented Bs defense, and suddenly John Tavares had tipped a Matt Moulson blast past Tim Thomas for the game-winning score.

It was too bad because Tavares goal wiped out a beautiful display of speed and backhanded shooting close to the net when Zdeno Chara connected with Seguin on a bank pass off a face-off that freed him up for his 22nd goal of the season.

Seguin jumped into the arms of the 6-foot-9 Chara for a spontaneous hug that made it seem that the Bruins might just win consecutive games for the first time in seven weeks.

Thomas was right on the post-icing play as soon as the Isles continued it up the ice, but at that point they had speed, momentum and at least a couple of Boston forwards stuck up ice.

As soon as MacDonald picked it up somewhere near their blue line, I just forgot about it for the time-being and just went back to the play and worried about whether there was a messed up call there or not later, said Thomas.

Its a shame as the LucicKrejciSeguin has been offensively brilliant with six goals produced in each of the last two games, but there is a downside to that forward combination as well. There will be defensive breakdowns on the ice without Patrice Bergeron to cover for a 20-year-old Seguin still developing the two-way player that he wants to eventually become.

That was the case on Saturday afternoon when the game was decided on a single play, and Seguin was admirably taking responsibility afterward for failing to play until he heard the refs whistle.

I didnt touch it. Their guy touched it and we didnt hear the linesman say anything so we all kind of stopped. I guess in the end its kind of our fault, said Seguin. Usually people always say you play right until the whistle is blown and we didnt do that.

The one third-period mistake doesnt wipe out the 12 shots on goal, two goals produced and half-dozen Grade A scoring chances created by a forward line humming with confidence and top-end speed. But it serves as a good reminder that even a moments hesitation can cost a team like the Bruins thats going to have to work for everything they get as an undermanned hockey club.

Whether its a mistake or not, we make mistakes and the refs are entitled to make mistakes too. But that puck still went by two of our guys, and theyve got to take the blame. Weve got to play to the whistle, said Julien. Maybe it was icing, but we still could have handled it better than we did.

In the end, youve got to look at it and say, 'Yeah, maybe it was icing.' It looked like McDonald touched it, but at the same time, that doesnt excuse us from not playing it through. There was no whistle blown.

Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

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Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

BOSTON -- There have been a significant amount of question marks surrounding David Price throughout his inaugural season with the Boston Red Sox.

Is he an ace? Is he mentally tough enough? Can he handle Boston?

Just to name a few.

Much like any player imported to Boston, the claim “He can’t handle the pressure in Boston” arises every so often.

And Price hasn’t always been his own best friend, frequently relying on the line “It’s me going out there and making pitches,” in addition to the claim that he’s never satisfied.

Price’s mellow demeanor isn’t something Boston fans are accustomed to -- they prefer Rick Porcello snarling at opponents.

Sometimes it might have seemed as if he lacked a killer instinct or didn’t have a sense of urgency, but Bryan Holaday, who played with Price in Detroit, has seen that’s not the case.

‘I’m sure he [pressing], it’s the nature of this game,” Holaday said about Price’s struggles earlier in the season. “Everybody wants to be at their best all the time and it’s not easy to do.”

However, he says that knowing full well that Price won’t display those emotions -- to anyone.

“He does such a good job on the mental side of things that even if he was, you wouldn’t be able to tell,” Holaday said before Price’s start Saturday night. “He’s never going to express anything like that. If he was [pressing], it’s nothing that anyone would be able to notice.”

There’s a lot to be said for that, too. Although baseball is driven on analytics, there’s no question that mental game is crucial, especially in the clubhouse. And a fly on the wall can easily see that Price’s presence is not only respected, but enjoyed by his teammates in the clubhouse.

“Everyday he gets up he wants to get better and that’s what makes him so good,” Holaday said. “He has that drive to be better everyday and come out and do his job. He takes a lot of pride in what he does and works his ass off. That’s why he is who he is. Any pitcher at that level, you don’t get that way by luck.”

Price may never be Boston’s favorite pitcher.

He may never be the “ace” in everyone’s eyes.

But based on Holday’s interpretations from his time in Detroit and Boston, Price will work hard to turn his first few months with the Red Sox into a minor footnote of his career.

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Bill Belichick was expansive Saturday when asked on a conference call how he'll split the quarterback reps for the Patriots final preseason game Thursday in New York.

"I think that’s a good question, it’s a fair question, it’s one that we really have to give some good consideration to," Belichick began. "As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t."

Since they can't, Belichick said there will be situational work done with whoever isn't going to get the game reps.

"We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another," said Belichick. "You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what’s best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it’s how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things.

What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up."

As I wrote earlier today, this is the sticky and uncomfortable situation arising from Deflategate. It's not a Tom Brady penalty. It's a team penalty when one considers the ripple effects. And there's no handbook to consult.

 

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

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Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

The Red Sox look to end their three-game losing streak tonight when the play the middle game of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Against Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy (11-1, 2.66 ERA), the Red Sox start right-handed hitters Chris Young in left field and Aaron Hill at third base. Duffy has won his past 10 decisions and came into Saturday with the fifth-best ERA in the American League. He joined the rotation from the bullpen on June 1.

Left-hander David Price (12-8, 4.00) gets the start for the Red Sox. Price has won his past three decisions, going eight, six and eight innings and not allowing more than three runs in each start. 

The Royals won the series opener 6-3 Friday night.

The lineups:

ROYALS
Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Christian Colon 2B
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Danny Duffy LHP

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
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David Price LHP