Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Wild


Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Wild

ST. PAUL, MN Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Minnesota Wild locked in a scoreless tie at the Xcel Energy Center.

1) Six of Bostons 14 first period shots were from the fourth line after Claude Julien put all of the pieces back together after one game apart against the Winnipeg Jets. Great energy for the Merlot Line, but the Bs need more consistency out of the other lines rather than relying on a handful of breakaways from Daniel Paille.

2) One shot on net and 1-for-6 on face-offs is an early sign that the bad David Krejci has entered the building this afternoon. Not enough involvement from him though he did fire off a nice seam pass to Andrew Ference for a power play one-timer at the end of the period.

3) Marco Scandella is showing the kind of desperation the Wild must have throughout their lineup. He blocked three shots in the first period including a couple of painful ones while he was on his knees. Ouch.

4) Tim Thomas and Niklas Backstrom both look locked in early on. Fourteen saves for the Wild goaltender, who's trying to snap a personal five-game losing streak.

5) Three shots on net for Daniel Paille in the early going including a breakaway chance after splitting the Wild defensemen. Too bad he fired it directly into Backstroms chest when he got some room to shoot. Paille will continue to get those breakaway chances given his speed and tenacity, but the hands just arent there on a regular basis. Makes him something of a perfect fit as a fourth-line penalty killer, doesnt it?

1) Zdeno Chara is a minus-7 in his last four games and continues to offer little defensive resistance or push when the scoring chances are coming. Chad Rau was able to fly into the offensive zone without anybody slowing him down before he looked off Tim Thomas to beat him short side. Bruins arent doing a good enough job slowing down players attacking in their zone and its leading to goals.

2) A pattern with these Bruins is starting to come through. Good first periods with scoring chances followed by a let-down second period where mistakes are made and goals are allowed. That was once again the case for the Bs after a competitive first 20 minutes. The Bruins look like a team that cant pull themselves out of their funk, and theyll be playoff road kill if they cant snap out of it before the regular season is over.

3) An invisible 12:43 of ice time for Brad Marchand this afternoon. Hes not bringing emotion, energy or offense and both Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron have zero shots on net as well. The offensive no-shows cant continue for those three or for David Krejci when theyre already down Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley.

4) Lousy call on Chris Kelly put the Bs on the penalty kill that turned into Minnesotas second goal, but the Bruins arent earning any of the breaks right now. Refs completely missed a high stick to the mouth of Milan Lucic by Nick Schultz, and No. 17 was running hot afterward.

5) The Bruins need some energy. They havent really showed a dire need for an outside energy transfusion until the last couple of days, and its readily apparent right now. The Bruins need to do something to bring some enthusiastic bodies into the fold while the current Bs seem to be running on fumes. THIRD PERIOD
1) Milan Lucic slammed his stick down on the ice after getting robbed by Niklas Backstrom on a golden chance from the bottom of the right face-off circle, and that summed up the Bs frustration right now. They cant generate enough offense and its leading to frustration in all areas of their game.

2) The Bruins have been shut out four times in 11 games since Nathan Horton went down with a concussion after only having been shut out twice in the first 46 games of the season. Thats a pretty eye-opening statistic when thinking about the effect Hortons injury has had on the Black and Gold.

3) Great bout by Shawn Thornton with big Matt Kassian in the opening minutes of the third period. Pretty clear the bloodied Thornton is trying to inspire his teammates, but there wasnt anything he could do to force the puck into the net in the rest of the period.

4) Liked the compete level from Josh Hennessy in very limited minutes. He created a couple of scoring chances and played with some sandpaper.

5) Matt Cullen has always been a Bruins killer throughout his career and he did it again with the Wild in Minnesota this afternoon.


Turner: Ainge 'seemed confident' about Celtics chances of signing Horford


Turner: Ainge 'seemed confident' about Celtics chances of signing Horford

After signing with the Blazers, Evan Turner has been making the rounds showering praise on the Celtics organization and fans. He also left a farewell gift for those fans excited about free agency. Turner told the Boston Globe that Danny Ainge “seemed confident” at the Celtics’ chances of signing free agent center Al Horford.

Previous reports indicated that the Celtics plan to make a max-contract offer to Horford when they meet him Friday night in Atlanta. The Rockets are the only other team that has reportedly met with the former Hawks All-Star, and Houston's situation isn’t nearly as attractive as Boston’s.

Turner told the Globe that Ainge expressed he would like him back, but only after they attempted to lure Horford and Kevin Durant to Boston. That decision might not happen until July 8, and Turner understood even if he did return he’d have to take a “pay cut and a cut in role.”

If the Celtics do manage to land Horford tonight, they’d obviously be adding a former All-Star who’d immediately help the team on both ends of the floor.

Immediately, though, Horford would give them another recruiter heading into Saturday’s meeting with Durant. Horford and Durant reportedly would like to play with each other, so having him enter the room might help their chances at signing the future Hall of Famer.

"I liked Boston a lot, bro. The organization, and it’s just a sports city and the city is super nice," Turner told the Globe. "If you put money and everything aside, I would play in Boston every single day of the week. Seeing all those Hall of Famers come back and everything, that’s a real franchise."

The Celtics will likely be saying singing a similar tune to both Horford and Durant this weekend.

After ‘tough month,’ Farrell understands speculation on his job status


After ‘tough month,’ Farrell understands speculation on his job status

BOSTON - With the Red Sox reeling coming off a month in which they went 10-16 and dropped a handful of games in the standings, speculation has recently focused on John Farrell's job security.

Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox' president of baseball operations, told reporters Thursday that Farrell's job status was not a focus and that the entire organization had to perform better. Dombrowski added that it's seldom that one person is responsible for a downturn in play.

"We've come off a tough month and finished a disappointing trip through Texas and Tampa,'' acknowledged Farrell when asked about the chatter regarding his job status. "I can understand the question and the potential speculation that's out there. But our expectation is to win and that doesn't change. The focus daily is that, is to go out and put together an effort to win.      

"My communication with Dave is very consistent. I think he's confident in my focus  and that's to win each and every day. That's where we stand. We're looking forward to  the opportunity to start this final homestand before the [All Star] break, so that gets underway tonight.''

Farrell was also asked about the dichotmy that existed between his own evaluation of David Price's outing Wednesday and Price's own estimation. 

Farrell said post-game that he believed Price "probably had his best stuff of the season, in terms of velocity and in terms of the shape of his secondary pitches.''

Price, who was in full self-flagellation mode, offered a slightly contradictory assessment.

"Changeup, that's probably the worst changeup I've had in a month,'' he said. "Curveball was awful. Can't get my cutter or my slider where I want to. I'm just bad right now.''

Farrell was questioned Friday about the seemingly contradictory analysis.

"The commentary was, here was a guy coming off an outing where he had best velocity he's shown all year -- up to 97 mph,'' said Farrell, "strikes out 10 over six-plus innings. He made some mistakes in the middle of the middle of the plate. But in terms of just raw stuff, I thought he showed a curveball that had much more consistent depth to it than in more recent starts.

So in terms of raw stuff, I thought it was one of his better outings of the year. The execution?

No, that wasn't as good as the game against San Francisco or the game against Seattle.

"Whether that's a differing opinion from someone else? That was just my view of the raw stuff.''

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

O’Sullivan will return to make start for Red Sox on Sunday


O’Sullivan will return to make start for Red Sox on Sunday

BOSTON - Sean O'Sullivan -- and not Aaron Wilkerson -- is the Red Sox choice for Sunday's plug-in starter as the Sox search for a temporary replacement for Eduardo Rodriguez's spot in their starting rotation.
"That was the recommendation,'' said John Farrell of the choice to go with  O'Sullivan. "Granted, Wilkerson's been throwing the ball well there. But the recommendation was for Sean to come back here and pitch on Sunday.''
O'Sullivan made two starts earlier this season, allowing four runs in six innings to the New York Yankees on May 10 before being battered for six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings against Houston five days later.
Overall, O'Sullivan is 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 11 starts for the Pawsox this season.
Wilkerson, who was pitching in independent ball just two years ago, is 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA in eight appearances -- seven starts -- at Pawtucket.
O'Sullivan's stay with the Red Sox is expcted to be brief, since the Red Sox can through next week and first 10 days of the second half without a fifth starter.
"It's likely that spot will come up just once,'' confirmed Farrell. "With next Thursday's off-day, we've got a chance to make sure that [Rick] Porcello and [David] Price get on the mound before the break and that's the direction we're leaining in right now.''