Bruins get wake-up call in Carolina

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Bruins get wake-up call in Carolina

SUNRISE, FL The Bruins havent lost much over the last three months, and its not something they want to get used to.

After letting up on the gas pedal in the third period and dropping their third game to the lowly Carolina Hurricanes this season, the Bs took the day off on Sunday in Florida. The bitter taste following Saturday nights defeat in Carolina reminded all of the Bs players how much losses arent to be tolerated in their dressing room. Now its up to the Bs to do something they havent had to do much of lately: Rebound from a less-than-laudable effort.

Its kind of been creeping up on us that we havent been at our best, said Adam McQuaid. Last night it reminded us how much we hate losing and what we have to do to be successful. Sometimes that can be a good lesson."

The Bruins are in the middle of a dense portion of their schedule with seven games in 11 days starting with Saturday nights tilt with the Hurricanes, and perhaps playing every other night is catching up to the Bs. Thats the easiest excuse for letting down in the final 20 minutes against Carolina to kick off a four-game road trip, and the Bs know it wont be easier against a Florida Panthers team in solid playoff position.

There isnt much room between teams in the Eastern Conference at the midpoint of the season, and the Bruins cant afford to start shirking winnable games in the middle of the schedule. The dog days of the NHL regular season are fast approaching, and it at least sounds like the Bruins are handling it the right way.

After the game going to the plane it felt like a Stanley Cup loss. Guys took it to heart and I didnt feel too proud of the outcome of the game or us not being able to find a way to win, said Tyler Seguin. Sucks that it caught up to us after weve been finding ways to win, but it serves as a pretty good wakeup call.

Actions will speak a lot louder than words when the Bruins take the ice at the BankAtlantic Center against the dangerous Panthers on Monday night.

Injury report: Amendola out for Ravens game, Bennett questionable

Injury report: Amendola out for Ravens game, Bennett questionable

Wide receiver Danny Amendola was officially listed as out on the injury report for the Patriots' Monday night home game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Amendola injured his ankle on a punt return against the Los Angeles Rams last Sunday. It will be the first game he's missed this season. The Patriots signed veteran wide receiver and kick returner Griff Whalen during the week.

Tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle, shoulder) is among the Pats listed as questionable, along with special teams ace Matt Slater (foot), who missed the Rams game, safety Jordan Richards (knee), linebacker Elandon Roberts (hamstring) and cornerback Eric Rowe (hamstring).

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

Whalen, part of Colts' infamous fake punt play, settles in with Patriots

FOXBORO – Griff Whalen was at the epicenter of one of the stupidest, funniest, most “did that just happen?!” plays in NFL history.

So indescribable it never even really earned a name, it was the fourth-down gadget play the Colts tried to run against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football in the first meeting between the teams after Indy ran to the principal’s office to start Deflategate. 

Whalen was the center on that play (I tried to call it “Fourth-and-Wrong” but it didn’t take) and the millisecond between him snapping the ball and the three players processing that the ball had indeed been snapped is perhaps my favorite moment of the past several seasons. 

Whalen is a Patriot now, brought in this week in the wake of Danny Amendola’s knee injury presumably to fill Amendola’s role as a punt returner and wideout. The Colts released him last January, the Dolphins picked him up and cut him at the end of training camp and the Chargers had him on their roster from mid-September until releasing him last month after eight games, two catches and 22 yards. He returned kickoffs for San Diego but no punts since 2015.

The primary area of need for the Patriots is on punt returns. Rookie Cyrus Jones’ transition to appearing comfortable remains glacially slow. It was Jones’ muff last week that brought on Amendola in relief. When Amendola hurt his ankle on a late-game return, the Patriots were forced to decide between Jones, wideout Julian Edelman (who doesn’t need extra work) and making a move.

Whalen is a move they made.

The slight and baby-faced Whalen indicated he had fielded some punts in practice, saying it went, “Fine.” Punt returns are something he’s done “since I was a kid.”

His first impression of the team was, "A lot of what I expected to see. A lot of detail. A lot of effort in practice. Good coaching all-around. I am excited to be here. I was excited to come into a good team that I’d gone against a few times. Hopefully come in and help out the team with whatever I can.”

I asked Whalen if he saw much of the commentary or creativity last year’s failed play spawned.

“I wasn’t paying too much attention,” he said. “When it’s during the season guys are pretty locked in on what they’re doing inside the building. But I heard more about it later on afterwards.”

Asked if he’d heard anything about the play since being here, Whalen replied, “I haven’t. Kinda was [expecting it].”

The Patriots will be hoping Whalen remains as productive for them on fourth down this year as he was in 2015.