In big moments, Wilfork's the biggest

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In big moments, Wilfork's the biggest

FOXBORO -- The numbers were good, but they don't shoot out. Six tackles. One sack. One quarterback hit. It's what you'd expect from a defensive captain, and leader, of Vince Wilfork's caliber.
The numbers, however, don't come close to describing how dominant Wilfork was in Sunday's 23-20 victory over the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game. Driving the pocket, making stops in the backfield, taking over the line of scrimmage . . . he was a force Baltimore couldn't handle.
And he saved his best for (almost the) last: Back-to-back plays when Baltimore was driving with less than three minutes to go in the game. First he stuffed Ray Rice for a three-yard loss on third-and-3 from the Pats' 30, then he pressured Joe Flacco into a wild, incomplete throw on the next play, giving New England the ball with a chance to run out the clock.
Had Tom Brady and the offense not gone three-and-out, which allowed the Ravens one last (and nearly successful) drive, Wilfork would be remembered today as the game-clincher.
But Bill Belichick will remember.
"I thought Vince had a lot of big plays today," said the coach, and he wasn't surprised.
"Vince is obviously our most experienced player and he's been a great leader, great captain all year," he said. "His leadership has been tremendous."
And like a leader, Wilfork was willing -- nay, eager -- to share the credit.
"It was just a great defensive play from all eleven - not just myself," he said.
On the third-dpwn play, though, it was just himself.
"I think to be honest with you . . . the Ravens just cut me loose," Wilfork said. "I don't know. I'm always taught when someone doesn't block you, it's a set up and all. I don't know if they just missed a block or it was a setup block and I just beat it. I don't know. I'm going to have to watch the film and see it.
"Critical plays like that, you just have to take advantage. At that split second, the only thing I saw was: Did Rice have the ball? If it was a setup block, they . . . didn't get me."
In the end, the Ravens didn't get the Patriots. Wilfork wasn't surprised about that, either.
"There's no doubt in my mind, this team will finish ball games," he said of the Patriots. "They will fight, no matter what the outcome may be. This team is a bunch of warriors. They're a bunch of fighters, coaches and everybody, this whole organization is just a special group of guys and I love playing for guys like this."
Feeling's mutual, Vince.

Will the Celtics have a difficult decision to make about Isaiah Thomas contract?

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Will the Celtics have a difficult decision to make about Isaiah Thomas contract?

Listen to a jam packed episode of the "Celtics Talk" podcast with Kyle Draper, A. Sherrod Blakely, and special guest Steve Kyler from Basketball Insiders.com

SUBSCRIBE Audioboom | iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher

Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely are back with another episode of the "Celtics Talk" podcast. This week, we start things off by discussing Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier - what their minutes should be...what their TRADE VALUE might be, etc.

Basketball Insiders.com writer Steve Kyler calls in to discuss where the Celtics fit in the East, how the incident DeMarcus Cousins got involved in at a bar in New York City might effect his trade value,  and would the Magic trade Nikola Vucevic.

Finally, a heated debate on will and IF the Celtics will pay Isaiah Thomas max money when his very affordable contract is up in a couple years. Should Brad Stevens limit his minutes to guard against injury?

Thursday, Dec. 8: Five most confusing NHL players

Thursday, Dec. 8: Five most confusing NHL players

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the proud ownership of this year’s Christmas tree in the Haggerty household some fifty bucks later. 

*Down Goes Brown provides a list of the five most confusing players in the NHL this season, and none of them are Boston Bruins. Hooray. 

*Bruce Boudreau makes the case to the Hockey News that Devan Dubnyk is more deserving of a Vezina Trophy this season than Carey Price. How about Tuukka Rask being more deserving than either one of them?

*An interesting look at the rough state of Maple Leafs goaltending right around the Tuukka Rask trade to Boston and the Vesa Toskala/Andrew Raycroft years. 

*A fun video piece with FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Freidman and Wild coach Bruce Boudreau as they took a tour of Toronto together.

*Speaking of trades, the Philadelphia Flyers hit the jackpot with the Wayne Simmonds trade as he’s been a proud part of the Broad Street Bullies tradition. 

*Gord Miller is an excellent play-by-play man, and he tells some great stories of his life on the road whether it’s the NHL season or the World Junior tournament. 

*While the Boston University hockey team is a star-studded group with an amazing freshman recruiting class, Patrick Curry has been a player that’s quietly had an excellent season. 

*A few minutes with Pittsburgh Penguins D-man Kris Letang about a wide array of subjects including Mike Sullivan and concussion spotters.

*For something completely different: good interview with the former Flash, John Wesley Shipp, about his role in the newer Flash TV series, and the coolness of bringing back Shipp and Mark Hamill as their former characters.