B's infuriated over Montreal fans cheering Chara's injury

673228.jpg

B's infuriated over Montreal fans cheering Chara's injury

MONTREAL Theres nothing like some old-fashioned hatred to get the Bruins back on their toes.

The hatred was, of course, directed at Zdeno Chara. In a show of blind audacity, the Bell Centre crowd stood and lustily cheered when Chara lay on the ice, injured, after being hit in the throat by a puck fired off the stick of Tomas Plekanec.

Plekanec showed his class and sportsmanship by checking immediately on Chara as soon as the 6-foot-9 defenseman was felled, but the Montreal fan base chose a different tact with raucous cheering. It was their idea of revenge for Chara's hit on Max Pacioretty last year, in which the Montreal forward suffered a severe concussion and fractured vertebrae in his neck when he was ridden into the stanchion. The NHL chose not to punish Chara, ruling it was a hockey play, but that didn't stop a period of near mass insanity in Montreal, which culminated in the police being pressured to investigate whether criminal charges should be brought. (They weren't.)

That incident, in and of itself, probably indicated where many Canadien followers reside on that fine line between being devoted fans or being a bloodthirsty mob severely in need of a reality check. When they gave Chara's injury a rousing standing ovation, it clinched the verdict.

And it infuriated the Bruins.

That was embarrassing," said Brad Marchand. "The fact that they were cheering like they did when Zee was hurt was classless."The normally stoic Chara didn't like it either even if he wasn't quite surprised.

"The way the fans react I cant control, but at the same time its not sportsmanlike and its disappointing, said Chara. When a guy is laying down on the ice hurting and theres a standing ovation for that . . . what can I say? There is nothing much I can say about it."

This is a fan base that, in the past, has a) booed the U.S. national anthem, b) rioted and burned police cruisers in "celebration" of a first-round playoff win over the Bruins in 2007-08, and c) flooded the 911 emergency line with calls after Chara's hit over Pacioretty. So over-the-top behavior is nothing new in Montreal.

But Marchand pointed out that there's a time and place for everything . . . and injuries aren't the time for that sort of rabid fandom to be on display.

Were out there trying to do a job," he said. "Its entertainment for them, but at the same time you have to be concerned that its peoples lives at stake. Concussions and stuff like that are a very serious thing, and you dont have to disrespect guys when theyre trying to make a living for their family and theyre hurt like that.

Report: 76ers look to deal Okafor or Noel in draft trade

2016-05-19t11-26-22.066z-1280x720.jpg

Report: 76ers look to deal Okafor or Noel in draft trade

There’s a high likelihood the Philadelphia 76ers will trade Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel in connection with the June 23 draft, in which the Sixers hold the No. 1 pick, ESPN’s Chad Ford reported.

The Celtics, who have the No. 3 pick, have been rumored to be willing to part with it in a deal that includes Okafor.

Ford said in an interview with Philadelphia-area radio station ESPN 97.3:

You will not see the Nerlens Noel-Jahlil Okafor pairing at the start of next season. I think that they'll gauge the interest of both players. I think that there might be a slight preference for Noel, to keep him around with the Sixers, and I think you might be right, there might be a slight, better value for Okafor out on the market, but I think everyone agrees that that combination of those two players doesn't necessarily work.

The Sixers are expected to choose LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram with the top pick.  Ford and Marc Stein also reported Philly’s willingness to deal Okafor or Noel in this ESPN article. 

As a deal with the Celtics for the No. 3 pick, Ford told 97.3:

Absolutely…If I was Philadelphia, it would be done tomorrow. I don't know if Boston would do it, but for Philadelphia, 100 percent. That would allow them to actually I think bring in another guard, an elite guard, whether that's Kris Dunn or Jamal Murray, and suddenly now you've got a very, very bright future. I think that's an easy call for the Sixers if Boston would do it.

 

Quick Slants the podcast Ep 54: Brady, OTAs, and contract situations

cp-podcast_54.png

Quick Slants the podcast Ep 54: Brady, OTAs, and contract situations

Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry attended Thursday’s OTA session and offer their analysis on some of the new additions in Quick Slants the podcast.

Also on the docket, a look at some upcoming contract situations for the team, Tom Brady’s 17th season and Robert Kraft taking legal action in support of Brady.

Listen to the entire podcast via the player below, or by searching CSNNE on iTunes.

McAdam: Sure, take Buchholz out of the rotation, then what?

mcadamsnc1464323970833_3450k_1280x720_693942851954.jpg

McAdam: Sure, take Buchholz out of the rotation, then what?

It's easy -- obvious, even -- that Clay Buchholz should be immediately replaced in the Red Sox rotation.
     
What's more, it's apparent who should replace him. Eduardo Rodriguez, though his velocity remains mysteriously subpar, is otherwise healthy and available.
     
Even with the acknowledgement that Rodriguez's fastball isn't as lively as the Red Sox would prefer it to be, he remains a logical option.
     
And there can be little debate over the move to extract Buchholz from the rotation. In 10 starts, he's compiled a 6.35 ERA, and while pitcher’s won-loss records are notoriously misleading, this stat isn't: the Red Sox are 3-7 with Buchholz starting and 26-11 with everyone else.
     
Buchholz's confidence is shattered. You can see it in his body language on the mound. You can sense it with the glacial-like pace in which he works
with runners on base. You can observe it in his postgame remarks, where he looks and sounds like someone with no idea how to reverse his slide.
     
Case closed.
     
But the next part of the equation is a little trickier: what do the Red Sox do with him now?
     
It's highly unlikely that the Sox will just release him. For one thing, there's more than $8 million coming to him for the remainder of the season and those decisions aren't made lightly.
     
For another, it's possible -- hard as it might be to imagine now -- that Buchholz could help the 2016 Red Sox before the season is through. And if you think that's a ridiculous notion, then you've forgotten other similar stretches in his career.
     
In 2014, when Buchholz had what was, until then, the worst season of his career, he still managed to put together a seven-start stretch at the end of the season that saw him go 4-3 with a 3.18 ERA.
     
Or the 13-game stretch inside the otherwise hideous 2012 (season ERA: 4.56) in which Buchholz was 6-2 with a 2.53 ERA.
     
Those two stretches are at the heart of the paradox that is Buchholz - even in the course of miserable seasons, he invariably finds a stretch where he figures some things out and pitches brilliantly for a time.
     
It's one reason the Red Sox have stuck with him for the first two months -- the knowledge that, at any time, something may click, sending Buchholz on one of his patented rolls.
     
After all, Buchholz is just 31, too young to be finished. And as both the pitcher himself and manager John Farrell said Thursday night, in the wake of another poor outing, health isn't an issue.
     
And that's the rub here.
     
If Buchholz hadn't been given a public clean bill of health, the Red Sox could have discovered a heretofore undetected "general soreness'' somewhere on Buchholz's body -- a balky shoulder here, or a tender elbow there.
     
That would have bought Buchholz and the Red Sox some time to place him on the DL, take a mental break from the mound and work on making some adjustment away from prying eyes.
     
Now, that would seem not to be an option -- unless Buchholz, ahem, stubbed a toe getting on or off the Red Sox charter flight to Toronto early Friday morning.
     
Finally, Buchholz is long out of options and has sufficient service time to refuse an assignment to the minor leagues.
     
So what's left? Not much, beyond a trip to the bullpen. And that's where things get complicated.
     
In a 10-year major league career, Buchholz has made exactly two (2) appearances in relief, the most recent of which took place in 2008.
Given that Buchholz has struggled mightily early in games -- until Thursday's start, when he completely flipped the script and retired the first nine hitters he faced, Buchholz had allowed a batting average of  .366 the first time through the order -- it's difficult to imagine him being successful in relief.
     
Sure, the Red Sox could designated him as their mop-up man in  relief, brought in when the team has fallen behind early or jumped out to a huge lead in the middle innings.
     
But such scenarios can't be counted upon to provide Buchholz with enough regular opportunities, and even  if they did present themselves, there's no guarantee that Buchholz would thrive under such circumstances.
     
So, the club appears at a dead end -- unwilling to release Buchholz because of meager starting depth options and the likelihood that he might be needed in a few weeks or months, and unable to find a spot for him to get straightened out.
     
It's the ultimate conundrum, which, when you think about it, is the perfect way to view Buchholz's career.