Ventrone talks about roster yo-yoing

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Ventrone talks about roster yo-yoing

FOXBORO -- Death, taxes, and Ross Ventrone transactions.

The Patriots' safety has been involved in 21 transactions since signing with the Patriots as a rookie free agent. He's been cut by the team six times since August. Each time has been soon followed up with his activation to the practice squad.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said on Friday that he is proud of the way Ventrone has responded each and every time he's cut and then brought right back on board.

"He's handled it great," said Belichick. "We've had other guys along with him that have been on or off the practice squad, or from the practice squad to the roster. But probably none more than him. He might lead the league in transactions. He's got to be right up there.

"But he's handled it great. We have a good line of communication and understanding."

As for how Ventrone feels? Well, he's just happy to always be called back.

"To be bounced around like that, it is pretty unique," said Ventrone on Friday. "But week-to-week, I just look at it as hopefully I'm going to play. I'm going to prepare like I'm going to play."

Ventrone has appeared in five games this season and has recorded one tackle. In order to keep him on his toes, and make sure he's ready to be activated to the 53-man roster when needed, Belichick surprises him sometimes at practice.

"Look, in the end, either you play in a game or don't," said Belichick. "That's what it comes down to. So you get prepared to play every week. If the coaches give you the opportunity to play, you play. If the coaches don't, then as a player, you can take what you learned that week, and get ready for this week. And he's don't a great job of that, outstanding.

"He's been ready when we've called him up a couple times. Sometimes, we had a feeling that we were going to be doing that. But other times, it's really been kind of a last-minute thing. And he's always been well-prepared and ready to go. We throw him in there when he kind of least expects it in practice, and he's prepared."

He's prepared because, regardless of how many times he's been cut and then brought back in, Ventrone prepares just as much as anyone else on the team.

"Every week, whatever my role is that week, I have to plan like I'm going to be playing the whole game," said Ventrone. "One injury away from going in. So I just plan and prepare like I'm going to be playing the whole game. I get into the game plan and everything, and study up just as much as anybody else."

Of course, whenever Ventrone is cut, there's no guarantee that he'll be available to the Patriots. He has to clear waivers first.

It's a risk that Belichick continues to take, knowing full well that someone could claim him. It just hasn't happened yet.

And as the weeks go by, and the transactions continue to include his name, Ventrone continues to become more and more of a Patriot, as evident on Friday in front of his locker, when asked if he ever thinks of what his football career would be like if he was claimed by another team.

"I'm just worried about the Chiefs right now," said Ventrone.

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.