Kelly proving former coach wrong

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Kelly proving former coach wrong

WILMINGTON, Mass. It seems that things werent quite so lovey dovey between the Ottawa Senators and Chris Kelly when the center made his way to Boston in a trade last February.

The deal was one of several Peter Chiarelli pulled off leading up to the trade deadline that helped the Bruins march their way to the Stanley Cup, and Kelly has settled in as one of the best third line centers in the NHL this season. Hes teamed with fellow trade acquisition Rich Peverley to form a dynamic forward group along with a surging Benoit Pouliot, and theyve been so good former first round pick Jordan Caron hasnt had a chance to crack the lineup lately.

The more you play with one another the more familiar you get with guys' tendencies, and what they do well and dont do so well. You get comfortable with each other. Even off the ice as well and that really helps things on the ice, said Kelly. Im just trying to get the puck wide to both of them to utilize their really good speed and play to their strengths. As a center thats my job to get them the puck in the neutral zone. If you get those guys the puck in the slot theyre going to make it more times than they miss it.

Claude Julien routinely sings the praises of Kellys intelligence, positioning without the puck and leadership capabilities above and beyond the nine goals and stalwart defense provided to the Bruins. That added with Peverley and Pouliot has given the Bs all kinds of depth and scoring from all three lines.

Pouliot has stepped in lately and has been playing better, and his skill level and playmaking abilities are coming around, said Julien. Those three guys are becoming familiar with each other and its helped a lot. Theyre turning into what we hoped we could create, and that they could become a line thats a threat every time they go out there.

But the Bs coach also mentioned some parting comments from departed Ottawa coach Cory Clouston after Kelly was traded last season that were bothersome at the time, and have perhaps added some motivation for the 31-year-old pivot since donning Black and Gold.

I still remember a comment that was made by his former coach last year, said Julien referring to Clouston. He said that when Kelly was traded he wasnt doing much there either. It was a cheap shot I thought at Kells as a guy coming in and giving him a chance to get used to his teammates.

Weve seen what hes capable of doing and he can be a really good player. I think most of his teammates in Ottawa knew that. I think it was obvious they missed him and I think they still do. Hes a pretty good player and a good leader.

Given what Kelly has done with the Bruins since arriving for a well-spent second round pick, it looks like Clouston is actually the one that hasnt done a whole lot since that deal last spring.

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 

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The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability. 
 

Monday, Jan. 15: Matthews jersey sells for big money

Monday, Jan. 15: Matthews jersey sells for big money

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering what Claude Julien would do if one of the Bruins players was running Facebook Live during his postgame comments.
 
*Auston Matthews is obviously making a huge impression in Toronto as his Centennial Classic jersey sold for over $11,000 at a charity auction.
 
*Clark Booth knows it’s time to talk about the NFL, but instead he wants to talk about Milt Schmidt. I agree with Clark.

*Sabres goalie Robin Lehner says that his Buffalo teammates need to start doing their job as the season circles down the drain.

*Pierre McGuire talks with TSN sports radio about the Ottawa Senators, and the tough road trip coming up for them.
 
*PHT writer Cam Tucker has more bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning as Ryan Callahan is going to be out for another four weeks with a lower body injury.
 
*As the Detroit Red Wings continue to round up the bottom in the Atlantic Division, Thomas Vanek may become trade bait.
 
*Peter Budaj is giving the Kings the saves that they need with Jonathan Quick out long term with injury.
 
*For something completely different: Tom E. Curran points out some togetherness issues with the Pittsburgh Steelers based on Antonio Brown’s Facebook post.