Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Capitals

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Capitals

WASHINGTON, D.C. Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Capitals by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes at the Verizon Center.

1)David Krejci had a couple of close scoring calls including a Milan Lucic dish that left him all alone in front for a backhanded bid, but had his period end early when he blocked a shot that appeared to cause him some discomfort. Krejci took a couple more shifts, but then eventually disappeared from the bench with Chris Kelly taking his shifts between Lucic and Rich Peverley.

2)Speaking of Rich Peverley, nice job using the wood in bowling parlance in front of the net for Bostons only goal. Peverley got a hold of the puck after a big Milan Lucic fore-check popped it loose, and flipped it toward the front of the net where Lucic was actually headed. Instead the puck bounced off the stick of a seated Karl Azner swinging it toward the net. The puck bounced right off the stick and past Tomas Vokoun for games only score.

3) Sleepy first half of the first period, but a few big hits towards the end with Zdeno Chara lowering the boom on Cody Eakin during one of the last shifts closing out the period.

4)A tip of the cap to Dennis Wideman, who crossed the 500 games played barrier with the Washington Capitals this week and was recognized by the home crowd. Hes one of the top five scoring defensemen in the NHL this season and has really found a home in DC.

5) Jay Beagle and Cody Eakin are undefeated in six face-offs through the first period and it looks like Gregory Campbell, Chris Kelly and David Krejci needed to step up their draw game.

WASHINGTON, D.C. Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Capitals tied at a 3-3 score after the first 40 minutes of action at the Verizon Center.

1)Big garbage man rebound goal to tie things up for Brad Marchand jamming in front of the net during a power play at the end of the period. Hes the smallest guy on the ice, but hes never afraid to go to those danger areas, and appears to be enjoying his place back on the power play with Nathan Hortons injury. I wonder if we should start calling Marchand the Little Mound of Rebound? Would Obama approve of that one?

2)In a night of varying compete levels, Daniel Paille, Rich Peverley and Dennis Seidenberg all have four shots on net. Theyve all brought their A game tonight with Peverley and Seidenberg factoring into goals.

3) Some sloppy turnovers by Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk tonight in their own zone, and extending into the neutral zone. Boychuks giveaway at the blue line led to Mathieu Perreaults second goal of the second period on a play Tuukka Rask didnt have a chance at.

4) Highlight play by Tyler Seguin, who snapped a stick and took the hand-off of a new stick from Bruins assistant equipment manager Matt Falconer before jumping into the play to roof a backhander off a Capitals turnover by John Carlson. Just a simple play showing off Seguins game-changing explosiveness.

5)Looks like the Capitals are doing just fine without Alex Ovechkin, arent they?

WASHINGTON, D.C. Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins falling to the Capitals by a 4-3 score after 60 minutes of action at the Verizon Center.

1)Only the second time Tuukka Rask has given up four goals this season. Give the Capitals credit for coming storming back in the final 20 minutes.

2)The Bruins, on the other hand, looked sluggish and tired out of the gate in the final 20 minutes and perhaps had their minds on All-Star break vacations a period too early tonight.

3)Way too difficult to prove the Tim Thomas flap had any effect on the Bruins tonight, so Im not even going there.

4)Mathieu Perreault had 15 career goals headed into tonights game and leaves with a hat trick against the Bruins. Second straight game the Bs have allowed a hat trick to an opponent, but at least all three of Perreaults goals were demonstrably different.

5)Way too many defensemen turnovers and mistakes. That seems to be the surest sign that the Bs arent really invested into a game like they can be.

Celtics make progress, but was it a successful season?

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Celtics make progress, but was it a successful season?

BOSTON – Success comes in many shapes and sizes, and is not always seen the same by NBA players – not even teammates.

That was certainly the case following Boston’s 104-92 Game 6 loss to the Atlanta Hawks which ended the Celtics season.

While Boston won more regular season games (48) than they did a year ago and put up a much better fight than last season's four-game sweep at the hands of Cleveland, having the season end the way it did at home on Thursday clearly left a bitter taste in the mouths of most players.

Whether this was a successful season is open to debate.

But what’s abundantly clear for the Celtics is this team did indeed make progress from where they were a year ago when they were swept out of the playoffs by Cleveland in the first round.

“You go from 40 (wins) – under .500 and barely making the playoffs and kind of eeking  in at the end by winning six straight to being in the mix for being a top-four seed in the East,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “And so yes, there’s progress.”

But as far as this being a successful season, that’s not nearly as cut and dry.

“Of course it’s only going to be one team to have a successful year and that’s’ when you hold that trophy up,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “So, until we do that, it’s not a successful season. We are going to keep building, keep working.”

Celtics guard Marcus Smart had a slightly different opinion on the matter.

“I don’t look at it as a failure, for sure,” Smart said. “We did a lot of great things this season. We’re a young team. That’s good for us coming back. We have a lot of work to do obviously, but I don’t look at the season as a failure. So I guess you can say it was a success for us.”

But looking at how this season ended, while disappointing, serves as a reminder as to how Boston remains a team with talent but plenty of room to grow.

“People have told me all along there’s two really tough tasks, right?” Stevens said. “One is getting to be a very good, competitive team at a top 10-15 level on offense and defense and give yourself a chance to be in the discussion we’re in right now. And that’s been a path in the last three years to get there. And the next one is tough. And that’s been communicated before to me and we’re learning a lot. We learned a lot through this playoff series, but one of the things that I’ve learned is we’ve got to get better. And you know what? That starts with me. I’ve got to get better, and then I think each of our players will look at that accountably as well and we’re all going to be better the next time we take the court.”

And in doing so, look to build off the progress made this season and inch closer towards having a successful season which around here more often than not, means competing for an NBA title.

That’s why for Jared Sullinger, one of the few remaining players from the Big Three era of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen when deep postseason runs were an expectation and not a goal, he doesn’t see this season as being a successful one for the Green team.

“If we’re thinking making it to the playoffs is a successful season, then we’re going in the wrong direction,” Sullinger said. “If you look in this locker room, you see everybody’s down. We didn’t want it to end like that; we wanted to make a run. It’s tough losing like that.”

Sullinger added, “last year we were glad to make the playoffs. This year, we wanted to make a run, we wanted to make some noise. Unfortunately, our noise got cut short.”

C you next season?: Future is unclear for several Celtics

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C you next season?: Future is unclear for several Celtics

BOSTON – There are few guarantees when it comes to the NBA and the Boston Celtics, but one thing’s for certain: change is going to come next season.

This is especially true for the Celtics whose season ended with a 104-92 Game 6 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, sending the C’s home for the season with a second straight first round exit.

“That’s just the business of the NBA,” said Isaiah Thomas who had a double-double of 25 points and 10 assists which were both game highs on Thursday. “One thing I do know, I ride with these guys until the wheels fall off; I mean this was a special group.”

But whether they stay together remains to be seen.

Among those who could be on the move is Evan Turner, an unrestricted free agent this summer.

He will be among the more heavily pursued Celtics this summer, in large part because of his versatility as both a playmaker and scoring guard off the bench.

Several teams will come hard after Turner, among them being the New York Knicks and the Orlando Magic who are desperate to add talented, proven veterans to their young rosters.

The second year of Jonas Jerebko’s contract becomes fully guaranteed if he’s still on the roster after July 3. Considering the way he played in the postseason as well as his steady presence during the regular season, the Celtics are more than likely to keep him around for next season.

Boston has a pair of restricted free agents in Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger. It is unclear what the Celtics will do with them because it remains to be seen what type of offers (if any) they receive from another team.

“This season didn’t go exactly how I would have wanted it to,” Zeller told CSNNE.com. “But I like it here, I like the coaching staff and the players. So we’ll see what happens this summer. But yeah, I’m definitely open to the idea of coming back next season.”

There’s a certain amount of uncertainty surrounding Amir Johnson who could potentially become a free agent this summer if the Celtics decline to pick up the second year on his contract which is worth $12 million.

When I asked Johnson if he felt he had done enough to have to his second year picked up by the Celtics he told CSNNE.com, “I hope so.”

Johnson added, “We never quit even when we were down big at the end of the game. I feel there’s stuff we can clean up and be better, from the coaching staff to the players to the front office. But there’s something about this team, we don’t have no quit in us. I feel like we can definitely go far if we just put the right pieces together.”

And as far as his future in Boston, “I definitely want to here.”

Only time will tell just how many of Boston’s potential free agents will be riding with the Green Team next season, or be swept away and wind up on another roster in what will surely be an offseason of change.