Bobby V gets serious


Bobby V gets serious

After last night's loss to the Twins (Oh no, the Mayor's Cup!), Bobby Valentine was very clearly unhappy with certain members of his team.

You knew this because, as is the style, Bobby V. held nothing back with the media.

Of Felix Doubront's performance, Valentine said: "I wished for a little more."

Of reliever Mark Melancon, the manager sarcastically said: "I thought he backed up bases pretty well. He had that down.

And of the bullpen in general, Valentine said: "Im not really happy with any of the relief.

As we move forward with the spring training, and eventually the regular season, the major question surrounding the Sox will continue to be: How long until Valentine's act runs thin?

Everyone wants to know.

But for now, I'm not sure how anyone can offer a legitimate guess.

Valentine's antics have worked with some teams, with others they've been a disaster. Of course, with the Sox history and high-priced attitude, it might be fair to assume there will be a problem, but we never know. Ultimately, it just comes down to winning.

If the team's doing well, everyone's happy. If not, everyone will find reasons to bitch and moan about something, regardless of whether that something is at the root of the problem.

It's really that easy. Valentine's openness with the media may not be an issue at all.

But in some cases I think it undoubtedly does some good. Take for instance, Jose Iglesias, who spurned Valentine's ire after missing a sign in last night's game.

He missed a sign, Valentine revealed to reporters after the game. It was a tough sign to get, but I told him Id take him out of the game if he ever missed a sign again.

No one has a problem with this, right?

I mean, what better way to have him learn?

One on hand, I'm sure Iglesias didn't enjoy hearing himself called out, but I guarantee this gets his ass in gear. I bet he takes an extra few minutes or hours this Spring to finally learn every last sign in the Sox repetroire.

And if he doesn't, if that kind of criticism over something as learning signs, is enough to throw Iglesias off track, then that tells you a lot about the kind of player he is. You know he's not your guy. I don't think that's the case, I'm just using him as example.

Then again, it's one thing when you're dealing with 22-year-old rookie, quite another when the target of Bobby V's frustration is a vet making almost 22M.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City's defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to take control of the AFC West.

Charcandrick West also had a touchdown run for the Chiefs (10-3). They moved into a first-place tie with Oakland (10-3) but holds the tiebreaker with two wins over their longtime divisional rival.

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