Ference has flu; Peverly gets maintenance day


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."

Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions


Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions

The Patriots acquired Kyle Van Noy, who was the Lions’ 2014 second-round pick and starting linebacker this season, on Tuesday. 

Why former Pats executive Bob Quinn would send a starter East for what is reportedly just a conditional draft pick is something we’ll try to ferret out.

The Patriots were no doubt interested because they lost Jonathan Freeny to IR with an injury, rookie Elandon Roberts is an undersized thumper (Van Noy is 6-3, 252) and Shea McClellin is well, just… there so far.

Van Noy has two years remaining on his rookie deal so -- provided he shows something -- he could be around awhile. The move -- one week before the trade deadline -- is a familiar one from the Patriots who added players like Jonathan Casillas and Akeem Ayers in 2014 prior to their Super Bowl run.

This story from last season indicates that Van Noy’s lack of production in his first two seasons with the Lions was merely a matter of circumstance. 

Perhaps. We’ll find out soon enough. Meanwhile, the name Van Noy made me perk up because I remembered him as having a central role in the excellent book The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian.

Read the excerpt on Van Noy here. It will give you a better understanding of the road he’s traveled.

Report: Patriots trade for Lions LB Kyle Van Noy


Report: Patriots trade for Lions LB Kyle Van Noy

The Patriots have added more depth at linebacker, and they've reached out to an old friend to do it.

According to ESPN, the team has agreed to a deal with the Lions in order to acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy. The compensation has not yet been disclosed. 

Van Noy, who was a second-round pick out of BYU, is listed at 6-foot-3, 243 pounds. He played 36 snaps in Detroit's win over Washington on Sunday, recording two tackles.

The Patriots lost depth at linebacker when veteran Jonathan Freeny landed on injured reserve with a shoulder issue before New England's Week 6 game in Cleveland. Van Noy will fill in behind Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, providing insurance alongside rookie Elandon Roberts, Barkevious Mingo and Shea McClellin. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich has also seen time at linebacker this season. 

Collins and Hightower have both dealt with health issues over the last two seasons, often pressing reserves into action. Collins returned to the field over the weekend after missing Week 6 with a hip issue. Hightower missed Weeks 2 and 3 due to a knee injury he suffered in Week 1 against the Cardinals. 

Van Noy has played in 30 games since entering the league. His seven career starts have all come this season. He has 32 career tackles and one sack. Going into the draft in 2014, the All-Independent Defensive Player of the Year was viewed as a stand-out athlete with good quickness, a high football IQ and an ability to run with backs and tight ends in coverage. 

That the Patriots and Lions were able to work out a deal comes as little surprise. Detriot general manager Bob Quinn has a close relationship with Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio as he worked in New England from 2000-2015. Quinn began with the team as a personnel assistant, worked his way up the ladder, and from 2012 through 2015 he served as the director of pro scouting.