Ference has flu; Peverly gets maintenance day

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Ference has flu; Peverly gets maintenance day

WILMINGTON -- The Bruins will play one more game before the NHL's holiday break, before heading to Phoenix for a game next Wednesday.

That leaves four days off in between that Friday's game at home against the Panthers. The B's enter Friday while having three days off since their last game -- a 3-2 win against Montreal at the TD Garden.

So with the Bruins having plenty of time to rest between now and the end of the holiday break, coach Claude Julien is taking extra-advantage of that rest with at least one player.

Forward Rich Peverley -- who has two goals and five assists in the last four games, was one of two Bruins players not on the ice for the team's 40-minute practice on Wednesday at Ristuccia Arena.

The other missing player was defenseman Andrew Ference, who, according to Julien, is "battling the famous flu bug."

Peverley's absence was a maintenance day.

"Peverley is maintenance," said Julien after practice. "And you know, again, it's the same thing, where we're having a good look at our schedule and what that may do for him. So we're going to keep him off there for the next couple of days. And tomorrow is certainly another one of those days, and we'll decide whether he's in on Friday. And if not, then that will give him at least a good week. So we're going to be making a decision on him, regarding his situation."

It seems as if Julien is planning Peverley's maintenance days around the upcoming holiday break, a break in which he knows will be much more pleasant if they enter it with a win.

"It's like that every year," said Julien. "You'd like to finish on a positive note, so that we can head into Christmas and probably enjoy it a little bit more. Every team, I'm sure, thinks the same way. So, on our end of it, we have no excuse. We've had some time off here from playing. Hopefully we'll be the fresher team of the two when that game comes around."

Julien described Wednesday's practice as "short, but intense." He stressed that while the team is winning, it makes for a time in which they must focus even more on the little mistakes, rather than just move along as if everything is perfect.

"That's when you've got to be a little tougher on yourselves," said Julien. "When things are going well, you want to nitpick at that. When things aren't going as well, it's mostly about getting the confidence and everything going again. Right now, we've been nitpicking at certain parts of our game. We've talked about the neutral zone and giving up 40-plus shots for a few games. And that wasn't because of Zdeno more than it was because of our whole team not being very good in the neutral zone.

"So we nitpicked at the D-zone, and today we kept doing some drills which might have looked more like a fun day, but it was more about being stronger on the puck, puck protection, and being able to battle. We wanted to get better at that, so it's another area where we're trying to improve.

"We just want to get through here the next few days, and finish off on a high note," later added Julien. "And then get those two, three days at Christmas, which should give them the rest that they need."

Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

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Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at how good the Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers were this weekend.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has veteran center

For 30 years, your voice filled Walter Brown and Agganis. A great man and a dedicated friend. Rest in peace, Jim. pic.twitter.com/11HyNzhLzs

— BU Men's Hockey (@TerrierHockey) July 24, 2016 *The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL. http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nhl/coyotes/2016/07/23/arizona-coyotes-continue-blue-line-tweaking-luke-schenn-signing/87486536/ *The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on. http://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/brophy-thoughts-and-observations-as-the-off-season-winds-on/ *Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov, and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade. https://www.nhl.com/news/andrei-markov-interview-about-montreal-canadiens/c-281225214?tid=280751088 *Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup. http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/16797681/nhl-tracking-pittsburgh-penguins-stanley-cup?ex_cid=espntw *For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gglkYMGRYlE" target="_blank">Dominic Moore mulling a couple of offers as he looks for an NHL contract for next season.

*Jordan Eberle joined Canadian sports radio, and agreed that something needed to change with the Oilers after continually missing the playoffs.

*I will miss Jim Prior’s trademark “The Teams are ready, so let’s play hockey!” open to every game as a PA announcer, and I’ll miss his warm personality around the rink. It’s a sad day for the BU hockey program.

*The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL.

*The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade.

*Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup.

*For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge.

 

Kelly ready for his new role as a Red Sox reliever

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Kelly ready for his new role as a Red Sox reliever

BOSTON -- He had to make a longer trip than the rest of his team to Fenway Park for Sunday’s game, but Joe Kelly was more than happy when he got the call at midnight that he was leaving Columbus before his Pawtucket teammates so he could pitch in Boston again.

The righty rejoins the Red Sox for the first time as a reliever since Boston acquired him from St. Louis in the John Lackey trade in 2014. Kelly is expected to not only fill the vacancy left by Heath Hembree -- who was demoted to Triple-A after the game Saturday -- but to lighten the workload on Matt Barnes, Brad Ziegler and other relievers since key pieces of the bullpen went on the disabled list.

And the righty said he’s ready for his new role.

“My body and arm got ready a lot quicker than it would of if I was starting,” Kelly said. “It’s weird to see how your body feels on different days when you still have to get in the game. As a starter, you only have to prepare for that fifth day and if your body doesn’t feel that great in between those days it’s all right.”

Kelly’s apprehensions about pitching on consecutive days might sound like a cause for concern, but he also explained that he’s put himself through the ringer in to be in a position to succeed. He's also had good results at Pawtucket (no runs allowed in five relief innings with one walk and nine strikeouts) after compiling an 8.46 ERA in six starts this season in Boston.

“Out of the bullpen it was good to see different situations,” Kelly said. “[Sometimes I would] get a workout in before the game and go out and pitch that game just to see how I would respond. Pretty much did all the different type of scenarios to see where my arm and body was at.”

That preparation not only addresses the physical toll relieving can take, but also the mental toll.

So, now Kelly should be able to hop into any situation if he’s has worse command than he expects -- of which he noted an improvement.

“Yeah the command feels good right now for the most part with my secondary pitches,” Kelly said. “There hasn’t been a game yet where I’ve had a chance to throw more than two or three of them. For the most part, I’m getting one or two of the off-speed pitches over for a strike.

“And location of the fastball has been pretty good. Not exactly where I maybe where I want it to be, but for the most part it’s been if I want to miss it to a side of the plate, it’s been on that site.”

And now with the move to the bullpen, Kelly really only needs one good off-speed pitch to pair with his five-alarm fastball.

Given he has three to turn to -- including his curve that he said has reached 86 mph -- Kelly should be able to find more success in his shortened appearances.

“I’ve been using slider and curveball for the most part,” Kelly said. “Curveballs to lefties, but recently I’ve been getting some success on curveballs to righties because the velocity has been a little bit higher. Whatever pitch is working the best for me that day -- curveball, slider, changeup -- that’s what I’m probably going to use out there in the game.”

With that advantage Kelly is hunting for strikeouts now more than ever.

He went as far to say he’ll either strike a guy out or walk the batter if he enters the game with a runner on third in order to save the run.
 
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t trying to strike everyone out as a reliever now,” Kelly said.

The Red Sox hope he won’t work to many 3-and-2 counts in that scenario.

White Sox suspend Sale for five days for uniform incident

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White Sox suspend Sale for five days for uniform incident

The Chicago White Sox have suspended ace left-hander Chris Sale for five days "for violating team rules, for insubordination and for destroying team equipment" after Sale reportedly cut up his and his teammates jerseys before his scheduled start on Saturday.

Sale, the subject of trade rumors with several teams, including the Red Sox, was sent home Saturday after he reportedly objected to the throwback uniforms the team was set to wear and cut his and others in the White Sox clubhouse. 

The team said the suspension began Saturday and will continue through Wednesday. He was also fined an undisclosed amount and placed on Major League Baseball's suspended list.

"While we all appreciate Chris' talent and passion, there is a correct way and an incorrect way to express concerns about team rules and organization expectations," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a team statement announcing the suspension.

Sale, the All-Star Game starter for the American League, is 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA.