Pouliot takes a step forward

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Pouliot takes a step forward

BOSTON -- Benoit Pouliot was anxious to get back into the mix for the Bruins after he missed the last three games with an illness. Jordan Caron had stepped into his spot while improving with each game that he played in, but the door was opened again for Pouliot when Rich Peverley needed a rest Monday night due to a minor undisclosed injury."

So Peverley sat, and Pouliot managed to open the game with his first career goal as a member of the Bruins and helped open things for a 5-2 victory over the Islanders at the Garden. Pouliot went hard to the net on the first shift of the game and crashed down toward the net as Caron tossed a puck that was hiding in Evgeni Nabokovs skates.

Pouliot sped to the front of the net and pushed the loose puck into the back of the net to give Boston a quick advantage, and give the Bruins some production from their free agent signee out of Montreal. Pouliot finished with 8:39 of ice time, the one shot on net, and a takeaway, giving further evidence that things are getting incrementally better in a Black and Gold uniform.

Pouliot is still fighting to get noticed for the right reasons, but at least the frenetic energy and production met for a meaningful performance in Boston. It doesnt mean Pouliot is going to suddenly realize his vast potential with the Bruins, but at least there was a little something.
The Bruins coaching staff wants Pouliot to use his 6-foot-3 lanky frame as a potential screen and shot-changer camped in front of the net. That position along with his linemates led to lighting the lamp.

It was nice to see, and Pouliot was in the right place. He was right there, put on the breaks, and banged it in. In the second period we almost had another identical one, with Jordan Caron throwing it across the crease, said Julien. Pouliot is a guy thats working hard, hes trying to find his way on this hockey club, trying to adapt.

His work ethic and compete level is there, so, again, weve just got to keep working with him and see how far we can go.

It remains to be seen if Peverley can return to the lineup. Also, Daniel Paille could miss time with a suspected broken nose after taking a Steve Staios slapper straight to the face in the third period. But in a world where some of the bottom six Bs forwards are getting a little banged up, Pouliot might get a few more chances to string together some meaningful performances.

C's players mull how to utilize platform as athletes for social commentary

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C's players mull how to utilize platform as athletes for social commentary

WALTHAM -- The national anthem protests by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick have had an undeniable ripple effect on professional sports teams across the country. And that includes the Boston Celtics.
 
“We as an organization know what’s going on,” said Marcus Smart. “We read and see and hear about it every day. It’s a sensitive subject for everybody.”
 
While it’s unlikely that Celtics players will do something similar to Kaepernick taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, there’s no question some are figuring out the best way to utilize their platform as athletes to express their views on current social issues.
 
“Us athletes have to take advantage of the stage we’re on,” said Jae Crowder. “Try to make a positive out it. You can’t fix negative problems with negative energy. I don’t want to do anything negative; I want to do something positive, shed light on the situation.”
 
Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, and a number of professional athletes have tried to have more attention paid to recent killings of African-Americans by police officers where, based on the video footage, it appears excessive or unnecessary force was used.
 
It is a topic that has brought a wide range of responses from many in the sports world, including the dean of NBA coaches, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.
 
During the Spurs’ media day this week, he was asked about the Kaepernick’s protests.
 
“I absolutely understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, and I respect their courage for what they’ve done,” Popovich told reporters. “The question is whether it will do any good or not because it seems that change really seems to happen through political pressure, no matter how you look at it.”
 
As examples of the political pressure he was referring to, Popovich mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ability to galvanize group, as well as the NBA and other organizations pulling their events out of the state of North Carolina because of its legislation as it relates to the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
 
“The important thing that Kaepernick and others have done is keep it in the conversation,” Popovich said.
 
And while there may be differing opinions as to whether Kaepernick or any other athlete should be protesting, the one common thread that seems to bind the Celtics players and the front office is them having the right to speak out not only as professional athletes, but Americans.
 
“The biggest thing is we all really value the freedoms that we have and that we’ve been allotted,” said coach Brad Stevens, who added that he has had individual discussions with players on this subject. “We certainly support an individual’s freedoms. It’s been great to engage in those discussions. It’s been really fun for me how excited our guys are about using their platform.”
 
And that more than anything else is why Crowder feels the Celtics have to have a united front as far as the message they present to the masses.
 
“If we want change we have to do it together,” Crowder said. “I feel like those guys (other athletes) used their platforms well. I think more athletes should do the same. You can’t do it with any hatred; you can’t do it with any negative. You have to do it with positive energy.”

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

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Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.