Pouliot steps in and steps up

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Pouliot steps in and steps up

BOSTON -- One wouldnt blame Brad Marchand if he got a little uneasy watching how smoothly Benoit Pouliot filled in for him on a sick dayWednesday night.
Bostons favorite agitator missed the game because of flu-like symptoms and Pouliot was called onto play with Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin against awoebegone Flames unit, and the results were stunning.
All he did was match a career-high with three assists as he melded smoothly inwith Bergeron and Seguin forthe Bruins' 9-0 win that didn't mess a beat from their run of blowout victories in the last nine games. One of Marchand's linemates sensed their partner might be getting a little antsy, and planned to send out an encouraging message.I was talking to Bergy and we said we were going to send Marchand a text at the same time saying, 'We still miss you . . . ' " said Seguin before busting into laughter. I thought Pouliot did do a great job. Hes fast, obviously. Its hard to replace a guy like Marchand, but I thought he stepped up his game for sure.The onslaught started early. The trio posted its first goal just 74 seconds into the game, and that ignitedthe Bruins' rout. Pouliot notchedan assist on that goal, which was scored by Seguin, and added two more to match a single-game career high of three points amassed last season as a member of the Montreal Canadiens against the Minnesota Wild, the team that originally drafted him as a high lottery in 2005.Playing with high-end talents like Bergeron and Seguin gave Pouliot the kind of skilled linemates who can properly utilize his speed.Anyone watching the B's has witnessed Pouliot's elite size, speed and skill package when they all work together for highlight reelgoals. In fact, Pouliot may be moving up and down the lineup at any number of different spots as vacancies open because of injuries or illness, and he's proven wholly capable thus far this season. His coach gave a big thumbs up for a job well done after the game. That's exactly what good teams do: have players step up when others are injured or otherwise incapacitated. I thought Pouliotplayed a good game tonight," said coach Claude Julien. "He was really strong on the puck he made some good plays and he just continues to get better. I think confidence is a big factor when it comes to that, and hes feeling more comfortable with our hockey club.Poliot's performance illustrates the depth Boston enjoys along its front lines. Lose one of the teams top scorers and antagonists in Marchand, and simply plug the talented (if erratic) Pouliot into the lineup while watching closely for behavior that can sometimes cross the line. It was all good in the hood for Pouliot against the Flames. "It was awesome. It feels like theyre always at the right spot at the right time," said Pouliot of skating with Bergeron and Seguin while they accounted for nine points, a plus-9 and 12 shots on net in victory. "Theyre good skaters, good with the puck and they play hard on both ends of the ice. So, my job is just to fill in and try to help them out as much as I can and try to do what Marchy Marchand does. Things worked out."The 10-minute misconduct Pouliotreceived for mouthing off to a ref in New Jersey Wednesday night is the clear, undisciplineddownside to Pouliot's game. But those moments are becoming increasingly rare and were nowhere to be seen in a big moment stepping up for Marchand. And the Bruins hope moments like Thursday's become increasingly common for a player showing his talent in Boston.

Turner jokes that Celtics will retire his number

Turner jokes that Celtics will retire his number

It’s not the craziest thing someone has said on Twitter, but Evan Turner tweeted Monday that the Celtics should retire his number. 

It was a joke, of course, as the former Celtic was reacting to news that Isaiah Thomas had said he liked the No. 11 and would change his jersey number if so many people in Boston hadn’t already purchased his No. 4 jersey. 

After Turner joked that No. 11 was going to be retired, Thomas joked back that he would wear No. 11 as a tribute to the current Trail Blazer. 

Prior to being traded to Boston, Thomas wore No. 22 for Sacramento and No. 3 for Phoenix. 

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.