Bruins play the waiting game

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Bruins play the waiting game

The Bruins are saying all the right things with the end of the regular season upon them.There are plenty of politically correct sound bytes about finishing things up strong with Game No. 82 still waiting for them Saturday afternoon against a Buffalo Sabres thats held a few grudges against the Black and Gold this season.

The chances of Ryan Miller and Milan Lucic exchanging Christmas cards this year is pretty much out the door, but thats a minor little Saturday afternoon sidelight before both teams go their separate paths during the postseason.

Boston will be jumping into a first round playoff series theyre expected to win, and Buffalo will be counting their regrets after missing the playoffs in a season many pundits including this one chose the Sabres as the Northeast Division favorite. With that in mindClaude Julien didnt believe for an instant that nothing-to-lose Buffalo was going to attempt to punish the Bruins for any perceived slights this season, but that possibility exists until the 60 minutes are up.

I expect a good game. When teams like Buffalo get eliminated you assume theyre throwing in the towel, but the one thing they can do in that last game is leave with a win. Thats as positive as it can get right now, said Claude Julien. They always play us well and strong, and I expect it to be a good game.

Youve got to give that coaching staff and that management plenty of credit. Theyre classy enough to keep from sending messages and going after a team simply because theyre out of the playoffs.

But the underlyinglack of focus on the Buffalo game comes freely for one particular reason: The Bruins have bigger fish to fry while waiting to learn their first round playoff opponent. Its between Washington and Ottawa with one final game for everybody on Saturday to decide their ultimate fate within the postseason.

Its a strange hockey limbo for the Bs players waiting to see who theyll be bringing on the hate against. For most players anyway: Rich Peverley said he could use another regular season tilt to fine tune his timing and readiness when the bodies start flying during the playoffs.

I havent been nearly as good as I can be. Maybe some other guys are getting anxious for the playoffs because it was a tough March for a lot of guys, said Peverley. But for me I can simply be much better.But most of the B's roster is battle-hardened and as ready as they're ever going to be for the playoffs -- they're like high school seniors just counting down the regular schooldays until graduation comes.

If the Senators take a single point from their game with New Jersey on Saturday afternoon then they lock up the No. 7 spot and a playoff date with the Bruins. That would be music to the ears of everybody around the Black and Gold.

If the Senators lose and the Capitals win then the Bruins will host Washington next week in the first round of the playoffs.

Its as simple as that with the Bruins hoping for the Senators after taking five-out-of-six against Ottawa this season including a snoozer of a hockey game Thursday night that ended in Boston victorywithout Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara or Patrice Bergeron dressing against the Senators.

The end of the regular season is so close and the Bruins have accomplished everything theyre going to prior to the playoffs, so Bostons players simply want to get on with the postseason. Of course the leaders within the Bruins dressing roomare staying on message, and talking about worrying about their executing their own game plan against whoever they play.

Were going to go out and play hard. Thats the most important thing for us: staying sharp and getting ready for Day one, said Brian Rolston. Were all excited to start the playoffs, but were also all excited about the way things are going."

But the quote was said with the robotic delivery and monotone voice of hockey players waiting for the best part of their seasons to begin. Make no mistake about it, the Bruins are scoreboard watching while waiting to see who shows up to play at the Garden Thursday night. The Bruins managed to pile up 100 points during the regular season and finish No. 2 in the Eastern Conference, but the entire regular season campaign has felt like a giant preamble to the Stanley Cup playoffs that awaits them next week.

In the playoffs you have to expect the unexpected. It doesnt matter what team youre playing against: whether its seventh or eighth place it doesnt matter, said Brad Marchand. You have to put your best foot forward.

Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Tim Thomas will all be back in the lineup against the Sabres for the Saturday afternoon finale, and it will be the Boston rosters final chance to get in some game action prior to the anticipated April 12 postseason opening for the Bostons home playoff games.

There are still plenty of chances for Boston to put their best foot forward, but it will be a whole lot easieronce they know who they'll be stepping on.

Ingram, not Simmons, set to attend NBA Combine

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Ingram, not Simmons, set to attend NBA Combine

BOSTON – The list of players who will be in attendance at the NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago next week has been released.

And not surprisingly, there are some projected near the top of the NBA draft board who will not be in attendance.

LSU’s one-and-done stud Ben Simmons, projected to be among the top two players selected, will not be in attendance.

Joining Simmons among the more notable players who won’t be in Chi-town is Croatian big man Dragan Bender whose current team Maccabi Tel Aviv is still in the middle of their season. He is projected by most as being the third overall pick. 

Providence star guard Kris Dunn, projected as a top-10 pick, will be among those in attendance, as well as his Friars teammate Ben Bentil.

The Celtics usually cast a pretty wide net at the combine, but this year it’ll likely be even wider due to the fact that Boston has eight picks that represents 13.3 percent of the draft.

Boston has three first-round picks, with the first to be determined during the draft lottery later this month. The pick comes from Brooklyn, and will be no worse than the sixth overall selection.

The Celtics also have the 16th and 23rd overall picks in the first round, along with five (31st, 35th, 45th, 51st and 58th) in the second round.

Here's the full list of prospects attending the NBA Combine:

Player College/Club
 Ron Baker Wichita State
 Wade Baldwin Vanderbilt
 Cat Barber North Carolina State
 Malik Beasley Florida State
 DeAndre Bembry St. Joseph's
 Ben Bentil Providence
 Jaron Blossomgame Clemson
 Joel Bolomboy Weber State
 Malcolm Brogdon Virginia
 Jaylen Brown California
 Robert Carter Maryland
 Marquese Chriss Washington
 Elgin Cook Oregon
 Isaiah Cousins Oklahoma
 Deyonta Davis Michigan State
 Cheick Diallo Kansas
 Kris Dunn Providence
 Henry Ellenson Marquette
 Perry Ellis Kansas
 AJ English Iona
 Kay Felder Oakland
 Dorian Finney-Smith Florida
 Michael Gbinije Syracuse
 Daniel Hamilton Connecticut
 AJ Hammons Purdue
 Josh Hart Villanova
 Nigel Hayes Wisconsin
 Buddy Hield Oklahoma
 Brandon Ingram Duke
 Demetrius Jackson Notre Dame
 Justin Jackson North Carolina
 Brice Johnson North Carolina
 Damian Jones Vanderbilt
 Skal Labissiere Kentucky
 Dedric Lawson Memphis
 Jake Layman Maryland
 Marcus Lee Kentucky
 Caris LeVert Michigan
 Thon Maker Orangeville Prep/Athlete Institute
 Patrick McCaw UNLV
 Isaiah Miles St. Joseph's
 Jamal Murray Kentucky
 Malik Newman Mississippi State
 Georges Niang Iowa State
 Chinanu Onuaku Louisville
 Marcus Paige North Carolina
 Gary Payton II Oregon State
 Jakob Poeltl Utah
 Taurean Prince Baylor
 Zhou Qi Xinjiang (China)
 Malachi Richardson Syracuse
 Wayne Selden Kansas
 Pascal Siakam New Mexico State
 Diamond Stone Maryland
 Caleb Swanigan Purdue
 Melo Trimble Maryland
 Tyler Ulis Kentucky
 Jarrod Uthoff Iowa
 Denzel Valentine Michigan State
 Isaiah Whitehead Seton Hall
 Troy Williams Indiana
 Kyle Wiltjer Gonzaga
 Stephen Zimmerman UNLV

Is Danny Ainge or Larry Bird a better NBA GM?

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Is Danny Ainge or Larry Bird a better NBA GM?

Danny Ainge and Larry Bird were both hired as NBA general managers in 2003. Ainge was back with the Celtics, where he spent the prime seasons of his playing career. And Bird went back to the Pacers, where he coached for three seasons.

There's no question that Bird was the better player. But who has been the better GM?

Trenni Kusnierek has a very interesting argument for why Ainge gets the edge. Watch the video above for her reasoning.

Dan Shaughnessy: Can Hanley Ramirez replace David Ortiz at DH next season?

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Dan Shaughnessy: Can Hanley Ramirez replace David Ortiz at DH next season?

Dan Shaughnessy joins Arbella Early Edition to discuss David Ortiz’s impressive start to the season and whether he thinks Hanley Ramirez can fill his shoes at DH next season.