Felger: Harbaugh knew what he was saying

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Felger: Harbaugh knew what he was saying

Michael Felger thinks that, because he brought it up unprompted, John Harbaugh was 'scratching an itch' when he talked about the Patriots' championships being stained by Spygate.

Bruins ‘expect better effort’ tonight in Detroit with cut looming

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Bruins ‘expect better effort’ tonight in Detroit with cut looming

BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins had a pretty humbling experience hosting the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night when they were outhustled, outworked and vastly outscored in a lopsided, 5-1 loss at TD Garden.

So, they’re clearly looking for a much crisper, cleaner and competitive result at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night for the first road exhibition game in a rematch with the Wings. Adam McQuaid had a rough night in his first preseason game as the most experienced guy on the D-men group iced that night, so he’s looking for a better performance personally and team-wide against Detroit this time around.

“It goes without saying that our last game was pretty bad from top to bottom,” said McQuaid. “There are a lot of areas to improve on. Guys were working hard at times, but the battle, and getting in on guys and battling, you have to make sure you’re on top of them when you defend quick players like that. Yesterday was a good up-tempo [practice] and guys were battling with each other, and hopefully that carries over into [the game].”

Helping matters will be a much more experienced group as the solid pairing of John-Michael Liles and Brandon Carlo will be added to the mix and Joe Morrow will be making the trip as well. Up front, Ryan Spooner and Matt Beleskey will be playing in their second consecutive games after generating some decent offense against Detroit. They will have 19-year-old speedy Zach Senyshyn added to their mix.

“The last game we had a bit of a hard time with our breakouts, so we worked on that a little bit,” said Spooner. “I don’t think we were very happy with how we played. The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0, I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about, and we expect a better effort for sure.”

Young prospects Danton Heinen and Peter Cehlarik will also be in the mix with Riley Nash and Dominic Moore bringing experience down the middle of the ice. Perhaps that combined with the growing intensity in each succeeding preseason game will pull a better result out of a group facing the first cuts of training camp following the two games this weekend. 

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

Belichick: Brady-less Patriots ‘just really focused on Buffalo’

FOXBORO -  A verrrrrryyyy long time ago, the Patriots targeted September. There were t-shirts and everything printed back in 2002 as the Patriots came off of their first Super Bowl title.

The names of that season’s first four opponents – Steelers, Jets, Chiefs and Chargers – were all listed on a bullseye.

How’d that work out? Well, they hit the bullseye for most of September, winning the first three. Then they lost four in a row and the notion of “targeting” a segment of the schedule around these parts went the way of the Dodo bird.

Which may be why, as truly remarkable as this September’s been, Bill Belichick isn’t taking any bows after three damn wins.

“We’re just really focused on Buffalo,” Belichick told me Friday morning when I asked about whether winning the first three in the face of some adversity was a point of pride. “I don’t really care about last week. I don’t really care about two weeks ago. I don’t really care about last year. I don’t really care about four years ago. I don’t really care. I think we’re just trying to get ready and compete against Buffalo. That’s our challenge this week.

“The rest of it – it’s in the books. It is what it is,” he said. “So write whatever you want to write about it. It’s good, it’s bad, I mean I don’t really care. It’s done. We’ve got to do a good job of what we have here with Buffalo. We can’t live in the past. And I respect where you’re coming from, I really do. It’s not like I’m trying to be dismissive of it, but I really don’t care. It doesn’t really matter. Nothing that happened last year, last week, last month really has anything to do with this week.”

Things change after Sunday. The best player the franchise has ever had rejoins a team that – in spite of the adversity – flourished without him. Even though the competition wasn’t what one would call “stiff” compared to challenges Brady faced as recently as last January, it’s still remarkable.

Asked about Brady’s looming return, wide receiver Julian Edelman also redirected.

“We got a game before that,” he pointed out. “When he comes back we'll obviously be happy but we got a job ahead of us with the Buffalo Bills.” 

Asked if there’s some pride taken in the beginning, Edelman replied, “It’s just having pride in your job in general. Really just focusing every week and trying to improve. I say it every week on these cameras, if you try to get better and you get better every week, you're gonna do these things. 

“It tells you that you have a mentally tough team that goes out there and works hard and prepares hard and does the extra things,” Edelman added. “I've been around here a little while and that's just the mentality we've always had and continue to have. We have a tough one against the Bills and we'll see how it tests out against these guys.”