Pouliot finally showing some consistency


Pouliot finally showing some consistency

Benoit Pouliot had quite the reputation preceding him when he arrived in Boston this summer.

He had worn the Blue, Blanc and Rouge of the Montreal Canadiens for the two years prior, and hed nearly taken Johnny Boychuks head off with a flying elbow during last years first round of the playoffs. He even had the hometown TV broadcasters call him one of the biggest busts in NHL history in a fit of pique, but Pouliot never truly struck back or let people see him sweat.

Instead Pouliot went about his business while attempting to build up a strong reputation with the Black and Gold, and hes still standing heading into the playoffs. Pouliot finished the regular season one shy of his career high in goals (16), and he set a new career-high with 32 points.

Theres been a lot of positive stuff. There have been some ups and downs, but a lot more ups. I feel like my confidence is pretty good right now, said the 25-year-old Pouliot, who finished with two goals in his last three games to close out the season. For me it was about learning what was going on down here. The winning streak helped me feel comfortable early on in the season, and allowing me to stay put on the third line has let me get a good feeling with the guys that Im playing with.

It wasnt the most consistent season as Pouliot rode some extreme highs and lows with some very timely, game-winning goals mixed in, but Claude Julien said that the lanky forward finally achieved some consistency over the final five weeks of the season. His forward pairing with Brian Rolston and Chris Kelly has turned the Bs third line into a dangerous combination that give the Bruins three legitimate threats among their forward lines headed into the playoffs.

Hes got 16 goals, right? I think we kind of anticipated thats what he was going to be giving us between that and 20. There were some ups-and-downs in his season, but typically I find that in the last while, hes been the player we were expecting him to be, said Claude Julien. Theres a better stability in his game and theres a consistency that goes with it. Hes played well, that lines played well and you know, so its been refreshing to see that.

We knew the one thing that he wanted to work on was consistency. He is capable of playing well, and theres some spurts where he wasnt as efficient as we knew he could be. But that part of his game has improved. I think hes matured in that area and we got a lot out of him.

So much so that perhaps Pouliot will be returning to the Bruins fold next season as he enters restricted free agency following the season. But that will be up to Pouliot if he can show his consistency and his penchant for creating highlight reel goals once the postseason begins on Thursday night.

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)