Lucic, Komisarek rekindle hated rivalry with another brawl

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Lucic, Komisarek rekindle hated rivalry with another brawl

When the most-recent incarnation of the BruinsCanadiens rivalry was at its height, a mutual hatred was born between players brought straight out of Central Casting. One is the brawling, brawny power forward voted amongst his peers as the most fearsome force in the NHL, and the other is the antagonistic force that keeps coming back for beating after beating.

Milan Lucic and Mike Komisarek dropped the gloves in another major brawl during Monday night's win, and it was equal parts frustration and anger for Bostons top left winger. Komisarek had pursued Lucic toward the benches and threw a shot at the Boston forward when it was clear the score was out of hand, and the Leafs were looking some way -- any way -- to change the game's momentum.

So how did Lucic react to the cross-checking infraction courtesy of his sworn enemy through the battles against Montreal and Toronto?

About as violently as one would expect with Lucic throwing punches at the head of Komisarek, and all of nasty business contained therein. It wasn't as violent as the beating Lucic handed Komisarek when the then-Montreal defenseman ended up with a shoulder injury, but it was just as one-sided.In the end Lucic will always have mastery over Komisarek when it comes to the physical batles, and that wasn't going to change in the Toronto D-man's first hockey fight this season.

The Montreal fights seem like so long ago. But hes a guy whose definitely gonna compete and hes just trying to show some emotion in a time like that, said Lucic. Obviously, you dont ever like to be on the other end of things. Whatever happened, happened there. Fortunately for me I came out on top in the fight.

Hes a competitor. Hes the type of guy thats going to show that hes not gonna back down. Hes going to stick up for himself and, like I said, try to show some emotion. Youve definitely got to respect that.

It looked like the linesmen was going to step in between Lucic and Komisarek to cool things down, but both players wanted nothing to do with it at first. Despite a separated shoulder the last time Komisarek then a Habs player was dropped by Lucic, he kept right on coming Monday night despite the circumstances.

It appears that decision was a little hasty considering the rain of punches that came down on Komisarek.

Komisarek and Lucic are both big bodies and there was plenty of pushing and shoving, and Komisarek even slipped a couple of punches toward Lucics face. But the Bs left wing returned Komisareks volley, and waited until the Maple Leafs opened up his chinwithin his hockey-fighting stance.Then Lucicunloaded four uppercut punches on Komisarek that snapped the Leafs defensemans head back, and left him red-faced gasping for air when the combatants were done. It was a heavy price paid to attempt jump-starting his hockey club when they were already trailing in the first period, and in the end it really didnt work for Komisarek.

Youre down a couple goals and we dont have any shots on net. Schenny Luke Schenn steps up and tries to show up by fighting Campbell, said Komisarek. Im not going to wait for Grabo Mikhail Grabovski to go out there and fight their tough guy.

"You go out there and just try to show up, and give a couple licks, take a couple licks, and step up I guess. So, its pretty tough.

In Komisareks case he certainly took a few heavy licks from No. 17, but it doesnt appear there was any lasting damage. So thats an improvement for a physical player that damaged his shoulder fighting with Lucic just a couple of years ago.

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

BOSTON -- Compared to most high draft picks, Jaylen Brown doesn’t log a ton of minutes for the Boston Celtics.
 
Playing on an experienced team with legit hopes of making a deep playoff run, rookies seeing limited minutes is a given.
 
Knowing playing time will come in a limited supply, Brown understands all too well the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity he gets on the floor.
 
He did just that on Saturday in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia, and he hopes to do more of the same on Monday when the Celtics take on the Houston Rockets.
 
When you look at Brown’s stat line, nothing about it looks impressive. He played 15 minutes, scored two points with one rebound and one blocked shot.
 
But beyond the stats was the fact that he was on the floor for seven minutes in the fourth quarter in a close back-and-forth game on the road. Rookies on the floor in crunch time is not the norm in the NBA.
 
“It means a lot,” Brown told reporters after Saturday’s win. “I try to be as best I can be for my team; try to put my best foot forward every night out.”
 
And he did just that on Saturday.
 
In the fourth quarter with the Celtics leading 87-83, Brown blocked a Gerald Henderson shot that wound up in the hands of Jae Crowder. Moments later, Jonas Jerebko hit a 3-pointer that gave the Celtics their largest lead of the game, 90-83.
 
And just two minutes prior to the blocked shot, he was out in transition following an Isaiah Thomas steal and threw down a dunk that pushed Boston’s lead to 86-83 with 7:11 to play.
 
Brown acknowledged making the most of those opportunities bodes well for him and the franchise.
 
“It’s great for our team in general; not just for me,” Brown said. “Those plays helped us to pull the game out in the end. So I’m glad we got the win. I think we should have played a little better than we did.”
 
The continued pursuit of self-improvement is a hallmark of what Brown’s focus and desire are at this stage of his pro career. He has talked often about not wanting to be just one of the best in this draft class but also one of the best in the NBA overall.
 
But he’s also learned that to get there takes time and experience developing both physically and mentally. Part of that mental growth entails having the right approach to games.
 
“Usually you try to tell yourself not to mess up,” Brown said. “Now that I’m getting more comfortable, it’s just play basketball, bring energy, things like that; come out and do what you’re supposed to do. A lot of times you try to tell yourself to not mess up and it’s counteractive; just come out and play basketball and have fun.”
 
And by doing so the minutes will come.
 
“You can’t control that. I just have to control what I can control,” Brown said. “I trust coach (Brad Stevens); I trust my coaching staff. I have to come out and in the minutes I get, play my hand as best I can and take advantage of what I do get and impact this team as much as possible.”
 
This season, Brown is averaging 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from the field.

Zolak: Bennett helps with Gronk loss, but Pats need to manage him

Zolak: Bennett helps with Gronk loss, but Pats need to manage him

Scott Zolak said on Pregame Live Sunday that the Patriots are better-suited to survive a season-ending injury to Rob Gronkowski than they were a season ago. 

Zolak said that given the health of Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and the signing of Chris Hogan, the offense has more stability at other positions to make up for the loss of Gronkowski, whose season is over due to back surgery. As for the tight end position, Zolak said he feels the Patriots traded for Martellus Bennett to protect themselves against scenarios like the one they currently face. 

“This offseason they [acquired] Martellus Bennett, I think for this very reason: to prepare for what really happens year after year, is some sort of issue comes up with Rob Gronkowski and you have to play without him,” Zolak said.

Bennett was questionable with an ankle injury for this week’s game, but is expected to play. Asked about the health of Bennett, Zolak said that he believes the tight end is good to play, but that his importance to the team with Gronkowski out means the Pats will need to be careful. 

“I think he’s healthy enough to get through about 30-35 snaps,” Zolak said. “They’ve got to balance him now moving forward.”