Peverley 'ready to go' Saturday vs. Stars

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Peverley 'ready to go' Saturday vs. Stars

GLENDALE, AZ. Rich Peverley went through full practice with the Bruins at jobing.com Arena as the Bruins settle themselves for a couple days in Phoenix before moving on to Dallas for Saturday nights New Years Eve tilt with the Stars. Peverley donned a gray jersey to skate with Chris Kelly, Benoit Pouliot and Zach Hamill, and appeared to have fresh skating legs befitting a player thats sat out three straight games.

Claude Julien said that the shifty, feisty Peverley should be ready to play against the Stars this weekend barring any setbacks, and that would amount to the rich getting richer no pun intended with the Bruins riding a seven-game winning streak.

Peverley looked good today. Unless theres a setback I dont see any reason why we shouldnt keep moving forward with him, said Julien. The rest that hes gotten has certainly allowed him to get better. To me he looked good skating-wise. He was probably fighting the puck a little bit, but thats what happens when youve been out for that long.

Peverley himself said hes feeling good and ready to jump back into the lineup, but it was probably wise to skip a road game on a subpar ice surface in Phoenix that could have exacerbated his undisclosed situation in game conditions.

Its been there a little while . . . for most of the year. Its something I can play through and it gets better every day, said Peverley. Any time you can get rest it definitely helps. The conditioning falls a little behind when youve had six or seven days off the ice. I feel pretty good and Im ready to go here. So it should be good.

Peverley has 10 points in nine games during the month of December, and has been playing some of his best hockey of the season while playing through the nagging issue prior to getting shut down just before Christmas.

Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

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Bogaerts hitting at a record-setting pace

A change of scenery is a must for the Red Sox after the rough series in Texas, where they were lucky to walk away with one win.

The pitching staff's struggles were the most apparent, but Xander Bogaerts had arguably his worst series of the season -- 2-for-12 at the plate and two errors in the field.

Although Bogaerts now finds himself three points behind José Altuve (.347) for the American League batting lead, he still leads the major leagues with 108 hits. He has more hits than Daniel Murphy, who’s at .349 in the National League.

And despite his weekend struggles, the Boston shortstop is in position to make a run at history  -- the single-season hits record.

Bogaerts is already in a comfortable spot to break Wade Boggs’ Red Sox record of 240 hits, set in 1985. Through 74 games, Bogaerts has 10 more hits than the Hall-of-Famer had at that point in the season.

He's also ahead of the pace set in 2004 by Ichiro Suzuki, who established the MLB record for most hits in a season with 262 that year. Bogarts has five more hits than Ichiro had through 74 games.

There's no guarantee he'll reach 262, or anything close. Ichiro had a strong finishing kick in '04, batting .418 with 159 hits after his 74th game. In fact, in his final 74 games, he hit .433 with 141 hits. He's left challengers in the dust before: Altuve was equal to Ichiro's pace in 2014 -- both had 105 hits in their first 76 games -- but wound up with "only" 225 hits.

So, admittedly, Bogaerts is facing an uphill battle.

He does have a one advantage over Ichiro, though. In 2004, Suzuki -- still playing for the Mariners -- usually had Randy Winn hitting behind him. Although Winn was a respectable player, he doesn’t command the respect of the hitter who's usually behind Bogaerts: David Ortiz.

Opposing pitchers still don’t plan to attack Bogaerts, but it’d only be worse if pretty much anyone other than Ortiz was coming up next.

And there’s one last set of statistics to consider:

Suzuki finished 2004 with 80 games in which he had at least two hits. That’s 49.7 percent of the games he played in.

Bogaerts has done that 33 times -- 44.6 percent of his games. So he needs to string together some big games if he intends to make an improbable run at the 12-year-old record.

Improbable, yes.

But definitely not impossible.

Lionel Messi says he is quitting Argentina national team

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Lionel Messi says he is quitting Argentina national team

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Lionel Messi says he is quitting Argentina's national team.

Argentina and Messi lost a final for the third year in a row, with Chile winning the Copa America 4-2 on penalty kicks following a 0-0 tie Sunday night.

His nation's career scoring leader with 55 international goals, Messi sent Argentina's first penalty kick over the crossbar.

Messi tells the Argentine network TyC Sports "the national team is over for me. It's been four finals, it's not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over."

Messi and Argentina lost to Brazil in the 2007 Copa final and to Germany in extra time in the 2014 World Cup final. They lost last year's Copa final to host Chile on penalty kicks.

The 29-year-old Messi has led Barcelona to four Champions League titles.

Perry's Patriots 53-man roster projection

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Perry's Patriots 53-man roster projection

With New England Patriots organized workouts finished until next month, Phil Perry puts together another 53-man roster projection.

View the gallery here