Slumping Bruins given day off Monday

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Slumping Bruins given day off Monday

ST. PAUL, MN The Bruins skipped practice on Monday, but it wasnt for any fervent observations of Presidents' Day.

Bruins coach Claude Julien sensed his slumping hockey team is carrying a heavy load on their shoulders while mired in a 7-9-1 slump over the last 17 games. So Julien gave his hockey club the day off Monday, a scheduled travel day to St. Louis.

It seemed like the right thing to do after sensing frustration emanating from the room when the once high-scoring Bs were shut out for the fourth time in nine games Sunday in Minnesota.

Its true every good team has slumped at some point this season. Heck, the Chicago Blackhawks just kicked an epic nine-game losing streak that revealed some flaws within their team fabric. But those losing stretches have been five or six games in most instances before each of those scufflingteams snapped back into form. The Bruins have been fighting a midseason funk since just after theChristmas break. Since then they've been plagued by a long stretch of mediocre hockey with key injuries thrown in for good measure.

The creeping concern isnt about a game against the Blues on Wednesday night or the month of March, but more about snapping out of their team-wide malaise before the real season begins in April.

One day were saying lets get right back on the horse and go at it, and other days were saying 'Lets take a couple of days to regroup,' said Claude Julien in the lobby of the Saint Paul hotel as the Bs were checking out on Monday morning. Theres travel and hopefully a good practice tomorrow. When youre not winning you sometimes think that practicing will solve the issue, but I sense a lot of weight on their shoulders right now.

You can feel it. Its heavy. I dont know if practicing is going to make a difference. I know that our guys are a little tired as well."

The one thing the Bruins dont want to do is deviate from is the long term plan calling for pockets of rest after their elongated season last year. Just as the Bs had fumes in the gas tank starting this season, they now seem to be slogging through the February portion of the schedule.

If nowhere else, the proof is in a third period. Boston had mastered the final 20 minutes of games all season, but now they've watched the opposition outscore them 5-1 in the third over the last four games.

Its that time of year when you get that way, and you keep going back to what we said at the beginning of the year. We didnt have a very long summer, said Julien. All of the other teams and players had an opportunity to have more time off and we didnt. You cant say one thing at the beginning of the year and not stick with it because of the outcome. Its more about the long term plan.

The one thing I can tell you right now is that well get out of this. One thing Ive always said is tough times dont last, but tough players do. We have a bunch of tough players in there that will battle through it.

The Bruins players appreciated a day away from the rink to rest and regroup before seeing a St. Louis Blues team Wednesday that has shut down more than a few offenses this season. The Blues lead the NHL with a scant 1.88 goals per game, and both Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott have been excellent for St. Louis between the pipes.

Not exactly the recipe the Black and Gold are looking for to bust out while averaging 1.8 goals per game, but perhaps a day recharging the batteries will do the Bs some good.

Nobody likes losing and everybody hates thinking about the games weve played in the past few weeks. Its just not the way we want to play, said Dennis Seidenberg. Today is good to relax, shut off from hockey and well get back at it again tomorrow. Hopefully well get back to where we want to be and how we want to play.

Patriots place Lewis and Vollmer on reserve/PUP, cut three to get to 75-man limit

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Patriots place Lewis and Vollmer on reserve/PUP, cut three to get to 75-man limit

FOXBORO -- The Patriots were able to trim their roster to 75 players by Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline without making any eye-opening cuts. 

The team placed right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and running back Dion Lewis on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, which will make them unavailable for the first six weeks of the regular season. The Patriots also released linebacker Ramon Humber, tight end Steven Scheu and offensive lineman Keavon Milton.

Neither Vollmer nor Lewis were expected to be healthy enough to begin the season. By placing them on reserve/PUP, the Patriots are no longer dedicating active roster spots to those players, but they have also kept the option open for one or both to return later in the year. Guard Tre' Jackson was also placed on reserve/PUP on Monday. Receiver Danny Amendola is the lone player to remain on active/PUP, meaning he will continue to count against the active roster and can re-join the team to practice at any time.

Veteran center Dominic Moore among Bruins signings

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Veteran center Dominic Moore among Bruins signings

The Bruins announced some organizational signings and one surprise dip into late summer free agency with a one-year, $900,000 contract for 36-year-old depth center Dominic Moore.

The B’s also announced one year, two-way contracts for forward Brian Ferlin, along with defensemen Chris Casto and Alex Grant, and all three of those players will serve as young, organizational depth players in Providence.

Moore has spent each of the last three seasons with the New York Rangers amid a career 765 NHL games played as a solid face-off and penalty-kill player that has fourth line candidate written all over him.

The Bruins will be former Harvard center Moore’s 10th NHL team. He’s coming off a season where he posted six goals and 15 points in 80 games for the Blueshirts, and has previously played for Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Toronto, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Tampa Bay and San Jose along with the Rangers.

While Moore is a solid candidate for fourth-line duty that will provide leadership, good face-off work, solid and gritty penalty-kill work and all kinds of NHL experience, he is also a 36-year-old on a team that has a ton of center candidates headed into camp. 

Moore’s presence could be problematic if he’s standing in the way of developing young centers Austin Czarnik and Noel Acciari. The expectation is that B’s coach Claude Julien, as he always has in the past with safe veterans like Chris Kelly, will go with a player like Moore over the youngsters if times start getting tough for the Black and Gold.

Ferlin, 24, completed his second professional season with the AHL's Providence Bruins in 2015-16, producing six goals and eight assists for 14 points with 27 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating in 23 games. He was sidelined for much of last season in Providence by a concussion.

Casto, 24, completed his third full AHL season with Providence in 2015-16, establishing career highs with seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points with 47 penalty minutes in 68 games.

Grant, 27, spent the 2015-16 season with the Arizona Coyotes organization, splitting time between the Coyotes and their AHL affiliate in Springfield. He recorded seven penalty minutes in five games in the NHL, while compiling 11 goals and 31 assists for 42 points with 57 penalty minutes in 69 games in the AHL.  

 

 

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Pedroia returns, Pomeranz on mound

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Pedroia returns, Pomeranz on mound

Dustin Pedroia returns to the lineup after missing two games to attend a family funeral as the Red Sox play the middle game of their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays tonight at Fenway Park.

Pedroia is back at second base, batting leadoff, as the Red Sox look to make it two in a row coming off a 9-4 victory on Monday night.

Brock Holt, who filled in a second in Pedroia’s absence, moves to left field and Bryan Holaday catches left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-10, 2.95 ERA) for Boston. Pomeranz struck out a career-high 11 in his last start against the Rays, last Thursday in St. Petersburg. 

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (9-5, 3.53) starts for the Rays.

The lineups:

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller 1B

Matt Duffy DH

Tim Beckham SS

Scott Souza Jr. RF

Corey Dickerson LF

Luke Maile C

Jake Odorizzi RHP

 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Travis Shaw 3B

Brock Holt LF

Bryan Holaday C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Drew Pomeranz LHP