Five from the first


Five from the first

RALEIGH, N.C. Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Hurricanes locked in a scoreless tie at the end of the first 20 minutes at the RBC Center.

1) Tim Thomas didnt have a ton of action in the first period, but he made a big time stop on Alexei Ponikarovsky at the end of the first period when it seemed he was down and out of the play. The veteran Bs goalie only had six saves, but that was by far the biggest one to keep it scoreless.

2) Speaking of Ponikarovsky, he had three of Carolinas six shots in the first period. It looked like two of them came in that final scrum at the end of the period. I guess its appropriate since tonights tilt against the Bruins is his 600th career NHL game.

3) Two shots total on two power plays in the first 10 minutes of the game simply isnt good enough for the Bruins. It was one shot and then out for a Bruins team that wasnt winning enough battles right in front of Cam Ward. Ward meanwhile has looked very good with 11 stops in the first 20 minutes.

4) Canes outhitting the Bruins by an 11-4 margin. That usually spells trouble in any game the physical Bs are involved in. They did a good job drawing a couple of penalties, but not enough assertiveness or clean execution for the Bs at this point.

5) Benoit Pouliot managed to get Eric Staal whistled off for an elbowing penalty in the opening minutes of the game, and the gangly Bs forward has to lead the team in penalties drawn this season. Some of it certainly the unorthodox way he attacks with all arms and legs on the fore-check, and some of it simply good timing on Pouliots part when it comes to getting under the skin of his opponents.

Curran: Can we swear off the stupid questions?

Curran: Can we swear off the stupid questions?

FOXBORO  -- To think there’d be no further questions about the Tom Brady-Jimmy Garoppolo dynamic when Brady’s four-game suspension ends would be moronic.

Bill Belichick won’t like them. He’s destined to give them the verbal Heisman. But there are aspects to the story which demand further interrogation.

So there’s those questions. And then there’s baiting for the sake of baiting, which is what happened Friday morning.

A reporter asked Belichick, “You said Tom will start when he’s eligible. Can you think of an occasion when you named a Week 5 starter in July?”

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Belichick said.

“What happens if Jimmy plays better?”

“Look, I told you what’s gonna happen,” Belichick answered.

Pressing on, the reporter began, “So there’s no, there’s, there’s . . . ”

At that point, with Belichick reacting like he’d come open a month-old-corpse and muttering, “Jesus Christ," the reporter cut himself off.

I’ve been trying to steer clear of the media ombudsman business. But this stuff makes it hard. The first question was obtuse in the extreme. I don’t even know how that gets formulated.
This is not a Brady-Bledsoe scenario.

You have the best quarterback of his generation who – 17 months ago – took down what was supposed to be one of the great defenses in NFL history in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. A guy who got smashed all over the field in Denver at the age of 38 and still almost pulled out a win last January.

When that guy’s cleared to play, you sprint him onto the field regardless of the circumstances.

“If Jimmy plays better . . . ”? Better than what? Better than 11 touchdowns, no picks, 116-for-160 and 1,547 yards, which is what Brady did in the first four games last season? Better than Brady played in Denver while getting his head caved in every other play?

I understand that sometimes you have to ask the dumb question to get something on the record, but this was not that. This seemed like someone who really thought he was onto something. Was going to paint Belichick into an uncomfortable corner and hang him with his own words.

Sorry, counselor.

Now, you and I can sit on the front stoop and wonder what happens if Garoppolo plays ridiculously well then Brady comes back and spends four weeks playing like he’s never been on a field before and is clearly an impediment to the team’s success.

Won’t happen. But we can talk about it.

Asking Belichick if he’s gonna go with the hot hand when two days prior he told you what he was going to do is asking for a JC response.

Belichick probably figured that stating Brady was the Week 5 starter before he was asked was the best way to defuse idle speculation. “We’ll see . . . ” or “We always do what’s best for the football team . . . ” would have ignited a thousand hours of conversation about the budding quarterback controversy in New England.

Belichick now knows that the speculation and scenario spinning is coming anyway. JC may hear his name muttered a few more times from the podium between now and October.