Marchand, Peverley set to return for B's


Marchand, Peverley set to return for B's

NEWARK The Bruins have both Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley back with the team, and the speedy, gritty wingers are prepared to help make a difference against a New Jersey Devils squad thats on a roll.

Peverley said it was difficult watching the games against Florida and Tampa Bay that he missed while dealing with personal matters. His speed and skill will be welcomed with open arms by a Bruins team that has looked increasingly stagnant against the competition on the road.

Im not sure its missing guys as much as its an overall team attitude thats been dragging us down for quite some time now, said Peverley. Im excited to be back. I missed the games and Im excited to be around the guys again.

Its overall energy and bringing speed to the game. Thats obviously something thats been hurting us. Its moving the puck quickly and keeping your feet moving. When were doing that were playing at our best.

Peverley appeared to be skating with Benoit Pouliot and Chris Kelly during pregame skate at the Prudential Center, but Claude Julien has mentioned several times he may start tweaking the lines if things dont improve.

Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off the ice and Julien confirmed following morning skate that hell get the starting nod against the Devils. Thomas is coming off a blah effort in a defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He allowing four goals amid the chaos in front of his net, but Julien is showing some confidence in his 37-year-old netminder to go back to him Thursday.

Julien may also be inching toward handing Tuukka Rask a very big start on Saturday afternoon at TD Garden against the New York Rangers a team that Rask has played well against in the past. Here is the projected lineup for tonights tilt against the Devils:




Still wait-and-see on Smart's status for Celtics' opener


Still wait-and-see on Smart's status for Celtics' opener

BOSTON – Marcus Smart’s sprained left ankle injury continues to heal, but the Celtics remain in wait-and-see mode when it comes to his availability for the season opener on Wednesday against Brooklyn.
Smart sprained the ankle in the second quarter of a 121-96 preseason loss to the New York Knicks when he stepped on the foot of Knicks guard Justin Holliday.
He was helped off the floor by teammates Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas along with head trainer Ed Lacerte.
Since the injury, the Celtics have been pleased with the healing progress of the ankle, the same ankle he sprained as a rookie which kept him out for several weeks.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Smart is no longer in a walking boot and continues to be day-to-day as he receives a steady diet of treatments to help speed up the healing process.
Smart will undergo a series of tests to determine the ankle’s strength, prior to getting any kind of clearance to play.
That’s why Stevens isn’t worried about Smart returning to the floor too soon.
“I trust our staff. Our staff and Marcus will make that decision well,” Stevens said. “Then I play guys, if they are available.”
Smart has established himself as one of the Celtics’ top reserves, with the ability to play both guard positions and some small forward depending on the lineup on the floor. The Celtics have to prepare for the possibility that he will not be able to play in the opener (or the first few games considering Boston opens with three games in four nights.

His absence would create more playing time for Terry Rozier in addition to likely resulting in extended minutes for starters such as Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder.
As eager as Smart is to get back on the floor, he and the Celtics are mindful of the big picture.
This team wants to make a deep playoff run and they’ll everyone – Smart included – to do so.
That’s why as much as Smart wants to get on the floor immediately, he has to remember – or be reminded of – that this is an 82-game season and his long-term value to this team and its goals can’t be taken for granted.

Olynyk cleared for full contact at Celtics' practice


Olynyk cleared for full contact at Celtics' practice

BOSTON - The Celtics got a bit of good news on the injury front with Kelly Olynyk being cleared for full contact.
The 7-foot center participated in most of the Celtics’ drills on Saturday, some of which included contact.
Olynyk said he had been doing some contact work prior to practice Saturday, but in a more controlled setting.
“I’m just trying to ramp it up a little bit more, every day,” Olynyk said. “Just trying to take a step in the right direction every day.”
Olynyk had surgery on his right shoulder in May with him expected to be out for at least five months.
Danny Ainge, C's president of basketball operations, recently said that he anticipated Olynyk returning sometime in the middle of November.
That would put his return about six months out from the time of surgery.

“He did a lot more than he has done,” coach Brad Stevens said. “We’ll see how he feels and progress at the appropriate rate after that.”
One of the strengths that Olynyk brought to the floor when he played was the ability to help space the floor because of his 3-point shooting.
Olynyk was not just a good 3-point shooter for a center, but one of the better 3-point shooters in the NBA last season when he connected on 40.5 percent of his 3s last season.  And it’s clear that last season was not a fluke, evident by him shooting 37.3 percent on 3s for his career.
However, the addition of Al Horford not only solidified the Celtics’ interior defense but also provides them with another stretch center.
Horford, who spent the past nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, shot 34 percent on 3s last season which at the very least, makes him a player that defenses have to respect when he’s outside of the 3-point line.