LOS ANGELES, CA The Bruins didnt put their best foot forward in the San Jose loss that started their California trip, but they put together a very solid hockey game the next time around.
The Bruins started a little slowly against the Kings, but they finished with a rock-solid, gritty 4-2 victory over Los Angeles at the Staples Center that featured heavy hitting, opportunistic goal-scoring and a heavy dose of Tim Thomas highlight stops between the pipes.
That sounds an awful lot like the tired and true winning blueprint the Bruins used for the Stanley Cup last season, doesnt it?
It was a good thing the Bs rediscovered the winning formula as the Ottawa Senators also wound up victorious with a decisive victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Bruins started off the scoring on the penalty kill when Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron trapped Drew Doughty in his own end, and Marchand set things up with speed and tenacity before Bergeron snapped home the rebound chance for his 20th goal of the season. Doughty atoned for his error by finding Colin Fraser wide open cutting to the net to tie things up in the second period, but it all Bruins in the final period.
Bs skaters like Dennis Seidenberg and Milan Lucic stepped up the physicality to match a willing Los Angeles bunch, and Lucic was rewarded with a five-hole shot that somehow slipped through Jonathan Quicks pads. The Bs third followed with yet another goal as Chris Kelly who dropped the gloves in a rare fight during the third period redirected a Benoit Pouliot pass for the insurance strike.
The Kings close it to a one-goal game, but a Brad Marchand empty-netter closed out the scoring for the Bruins.
It's been almost two years exactly since the Deflategate saga began during the AFC title game between the Colts and Patriots on Jan. 18, 2015.
Since then, Robert Kraft has expressed his displeasure at how the whole thing was handled by the league -- particularly as it relates to the treatment of quarterback Tom Brady -- on multiple occasions. And according to a story in the New York Times, that feeling hasn't subsided.
"Sometimes, the league really messes up, and I think they really messed this up badly," said Kraft . "But we’ve all agreed to subjugate our right to disrupt everything.
"I mean, we can, but we’re a partnership. There’s jealousy, there’s envy, there’s stupidity. Sometimes, life is unfair, and you have to suck it up and move on and not use it as an excuse."
Brady served his four-game suspension to start this season, and Kraft opted to accept the league's punishment for the team following the 2014 season: They were docked two draft picks (a first and a fourth) and fined $1 million.
The piece includes Kraft's thoughts on President-elect Donald Trump ("Loyalty is important to me, and he has been a wonderful friend," Kraft said), as well as comments from others on how Kraft has handled his situation ("I think Bob has exhibited disagreement, but he’s also very capable of making and influencing change," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said).
You can read the full piece here.
FOXBORO -- The Patriots have had perfect attendance at each of their last two practices. The Steelers, on the other hand, have been working with less than a full deck.
All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell has been conspiculously absent from Pittsburgh's practices each of the last two days. On Wednesday, he was listed on the injury report as a non-participant due to non-injury related reasons. On Thursday, coach Mike Tomlin announced that Bell had been excused from practice due to "personal reasons."
Tomlin added that Bell will be ready to go against the Patriots on Sunday so it seems as though the team is painting this as a nothing-to-see-here situation. And it probably is. Whether or not Bell practices at all this week won't necessarily have any bearing on the AFC title game; if he's healthy, he'll be a factor.
If for some reason he doesn't follow up his 170-yard performance against the Chiefs with another strong game, however, people will wonder how his preparation was impacted by missing out on the first two of his team's on-the-field sessions this week.