BOSTON -- Its been almost two months since Bobby Valentine was named manager of the Red Sox, and general manager Ben Cherington has been using that time to get to know his manager better.
Nothings really surprised me, Cherington said before Thursdays Boston baseball writers dinner. Hes a creative guy, open minded. Its been helpful to work with someone who has an open mind as to how our roster comes together because we had to have an open mind this off-season and he certainly has that. So I dont know if that surprised me but its been nice to work with someone who thinks about those things.
Other than that, no surprises. Hes working really hard. Hes been in Boston a lot, working out of the office, watching video all day long to get to know our players better, obviously talking to players a lot, meeting players. So I think hell be as familiar with this team as anyone could be by the time we get to Fort Myers.
Cherington expects some changes in Valentines spring training camp, compared to what the team had for the last eight seasons with former manager Terry Francona.
There are aspects of the game he feels very strongly about, which I think well see some emphasis on, Cherington said.Hes working with bench coach Tim Bogarand the rest of the staff to schedule those days. Well have a better sense when we get down there but I think the days will be a little bit different.
I think that he also believes in getting the work done as efficiently as possible, and not just being out there standing around to waste time. But there may be aspects of the game that he wants to emphasize more, certainly fundamental aspects of the game that he wants to spend more time on in spring training. Theres usually a way to do that without extending the day too much.
Im really looking forward to seeing him and the staff in actionand the new facility I think will provide some energy for us I hope and most important, this goes back to the beginning of the off-season, but I truly think our players are ready to put last year behind them and spring training in front of them. To do that, at least in a formal sense. So I think thats something were all looking forward to. We still have some work before we get down there.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while gearing up for Big Papi weekend.
*A “behind-the-scenes” look as Jimmy Vesey was sold on the New York Rangers, but there’s not too much detail about the pitches from the other teams. Feels pretty apparent at this point that Vesey wanted to live, and work, in New York City.
*Damien Cox says that the World Cup of Hockey better get it right the next time, or else…or else what, Damien? You’re going to block them on Twitter?
*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban making their preseason debuts on Saturday. David Backes and David Pastrnak will play their first preseason games for the Bruins as well.
*It’s a complicated, strange story with Vladimir Sobotka, the KHL and the contract he seemingly can’t get out of to again play for the St. Louis Blues.
*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is ready to get back to work with the Arizona Coyotes after his World Cup experience.
*San Jose Sharks prospect Timo Meier is out for the next month with mono, which is definitely worse timing than Zach Senyshyn getting hit with the mononucleosis bomb over the summer.
*A quick look at the Philadelphia Flyers in advance of their preseason meeting with the Black and Gold tonight, which won’t be televised.
*For something completely different: there will be some pretty funky stuff happening on The Walking Dead this season.
BRIGHTON, Mass. – It hasn’t been difficult to spot Claude Julien randomly at Fenway Park on a nice summer night in Boston over the past ten years. The Bruins coach doesn’t hide his affection for the Old Towne Team.
So, Julien didn’t waste much time before sharing his thoughts on the final season for David Ortiz and the celebration of his Hall of Fame-worthy career that’s going on at the Fens this weekend.
It might have been a chore when the rest of the Team Canada coaching staff was watching the Toronto Blue Jackets during the World Cup of Hockey, but Julien never strayed too far away from his Red Stockings.
“He’s finishing in style, and you don’t see that very often,” said Claude Julien of Big Papi, who was sitting with numbers of .316 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI that border on the ridiculous at 40 years old.
“A lot of times when people retire the game has caught up to them big time. Not him. He doesn’t seem to have missed a beat here. I’m pretty impressed with how he’s handled this year, and what he’s done. If I’m correct he just hit the home run last night for the game-winner.
“But as you know I was in Blue Jays land for about two weeks, so I had to keep a low profile. They were watching the Blue Jays and I’m Canadian too...but I was watching the Red Sox. So, it was healthy competition for our [World Cup] coaching staff.”
The most intriguing part about all is that the best is still yet to come for Ortiz in his farewell tour as he gets one more chance to clutch up in the postseason. It'll give Julien more to marvel at over the next few weeks while showing again why Big Papi will go down as the greatest clutch hitter in the history of Major League Baseball.