Haggerty: Time for Bruins to learn from their mistakes


Haggerty: Time for Bruins to learn from their mistakes

TAMPA, Fla. The Bruins are either falling into a very troubling pattern, or living out the definition of hockey insanity.

The Bs are losing in the same confounding ways game after game, and its difficult to see that theyre taking any lessons from the piling losses. Theyve now dropped five of their eight games in March, and are in the midst of their first three-game losing streak since October, after getting spanked, 6-1, by the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night.

The Bruins looked tired and lethargic, and its hard not to see it as a second, more prolonged, Stanley Cup hangover period. Coach Claude Julien admitted after the game that fatigue is probably the biggest issue facing a team thats progressively dropped in the standings over the last month.
The fatigue factor is most glaringly obvious with 37-year-old Tim Thomas flailing away between the pipes, but its a malady that seems to be affecting the entire roster from top to bottom.

The thing that keeps coming up right now and the thing I can sense is that fatigue is setting in, said Julien of a team that has played a lot of hockey over the last two seasons. Its the biggest challenge I have now. Were not playing well and youve got the fatigue factor, too.

But its not as much the final results as the way theyre losing. For the fourth time in the last six games, the Bruinssimply werent ready to play when the opening puck was dropped andfell behind 2-0 in the first period.

This time it was a couple of strange goals allowed by Marty Turco in the first 2 12 minutes of the first period.Then the penalty kill broke down and allowed Ryan Shannon to get behind their entire group of defenders before a stretch pass connected with him for a successful partial breakaway. At that point Turco was pulled from the game in favor of Thomas, but the game was essentially already lost.

After the defeat the Bruins were collectively shaking their heads about another bad start, and looking for answers. Zdeno Chara said it comes down to a mental mindset and a decision to show a little more resolve when the team is getting punched in the face.

We were down two or three goals right away and thats a tough situation, said Chara. Its something we need to be better at, and its not happening right now. We can say whatever we want about the bounces, but there are no excuses. We just have to be better.

The Bs captain said his team needs to start the game with appropriate snap, crackle and pop, rather than waiting to get punched in the face by the opposition with a scoreboard barrage or get snapped out of their daze with a timeout from their coach. Right now the Bruins seem to responding rather than being the aggressor, and thats unlike the Black and Golds normal way of doing business.

It seems good in the room before the games. Everybody is focused. But we have to be more aware of things on the ice at the beginning, said Chara. It seems like we need to get mad when they score a goal. We need to play right away the way we can without getting scored on or taking a timeout.

Some of the mental mistakes and physical errors and even the lack of focus when it comes to putting together three consistent periods can be attributable to fatigue thats running rampant throughout the team. Some of the negative results can be chalked up to rookies and journeyman playing key roles as injuries mount.

But there has to be a point where pride and anger kick in, where the Bruins start to realize they are more than what they've become this season. The Bs could go from Stanley Cup champs to the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference in the blink of an eye.

Its time for the Bs to learn from some of the mistakes they keep repeating, and stop a vicious cycle that has them pointed into a downward spiral.

Red Sox 'not going to rush' moving pitching depth after acquiring Sale

Red Sox 'not going to rush' moving pitching depth after acquiring Sale

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The addition of Chris Sale to the Red Sox' rotation has created a rare glut of starting pitchers, including seven with major league experience.

That means that at least one will have to be moved in a trade. But Red Sox' president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski isn't in any hurry.

"We're not aggressively looking to do something,'' he said. "We're really just digesting what's taken place. I think if we wanted to aggressively make a deal, we could definitely do that. But I don't really have a big hole on our major league club to address at this time.

"I think it's really important to gather all the info. Some teams have (starters) available; there are free agents out there. Our philosophy is kind of say, 'Let's just see what happens.' We're not going to rush out and do anything.''

That makes sense, especially since there's a very thin free agent market for starters, and many teams that need upgrades to their rotation.

Eventually, some are going to get desperate and may have to overpay. In that scenario, the Sox could really capitalize.

The starter the Sox would like to move the most is Clay Buchholz, if only because his salary ($13.5 million) is easily the highest among the three the Sox would be willing to part with. Steven Wright has yet to qualify for salary arbitration and Drew Pomeranz will get a bump from last year, but will still be under $5 million after arbitration.

Eduardo Rodriguez, meanwhile, almost certainly won't be dealt because of his youth and potential, though Dombrowski hinted that teams have checked on the availability of every starter except The Big Three of Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello "as well as guys who aren't (in the current major league picture like Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, and Roenis Elias).''

Depth in the rotation is always welcome, but the numbers are such that the Sox can't make the current group of seven starters work.

"You start counting,'' said Dombrowski, "and there's not enough spots for everybody on the team.''

It's possible that the Sox could go into spring training with all seven and wait to see if injuries elsewhere give them additional leverage.

But that, too, is unlikely.

"It seems like there's not a lot of moves made in spring training,'' he said.

As for what the Sox might be seeking in return, the Sox don't have any obvious need they have to fill. It's possible they could want to obtain some prospects to help restock the system after six were traded in two trades this week.

"I can't really answer that question.'' he said. "We've traded a lot (of prospects). We wouldn't mind replenishing some of what we've traded.''

Stevens on Thomas' groin injury: 'It’s important that he’s 100 percent'

Stevens on Thomas' groin injury: 'It’s important that he’s 100 percent'

There’s no such thing as a good time to have an injury. 

But in terms of Isaiah Thomas being sidelined with a right groin injury and the schedule awaiting the Boston Celtics … this is about as bad a time as you can imagine to be without their scoring leader.

Thomas returned to Boston ahead of tonight’s game at Orlando, marking his first game missed since the 2014-2015 season. 

He suffered a right groin injury in the second quarter of Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday. 

At the time, Thomas was optimistic that he would be able to play tonight. But with a day off from practice, the soreness proved to be too much for Thomas to suit up and play tonight. 

While it’s unclear just how severe his groin injury is, the Celtics are likely to be overly cautious (like they are with most injuries) about his return which may result in him missing more games than Wednesday night’s matchup against Orlando. 

“Those things (groin injuries) are a little unpredictable,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters earlier today. “Especially in this sport, you have to be able to stop and change direction on a dime, especially him. It’s important that he’s 100 percent.”

Stevens is spot-on when he talks about how uncertain a return for Thomas is currently. 

New York’s Kristaps Porzingis suffered a groin injury against the Celtics in a preseason game back in October that didn’t result in anything more than him missing a day of practice. 

It was a different story when Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic suffered a right groin injury last spring (March 7-29) that sidelined him for 13 games. 

The timetable for Thomas’ return to the floor is likely to fall somewhere within those two timetables which would make an already daunting stretch of games even more difficult. 

Following tonight’s game, Boston has 12 games remaining in the month of December with nine being against teams with a winning record. And of the three games against teams below-.500 (Miami twice, Indiana), two of them are on the road.