Ortiz: 'I thought I was done here'

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Ortiz: 'I thought I was done here'

FORT MYERS, Fla. There was a time this offseason when David Ortiz wasnt sure hed be back for his 10th season with the Red Sox.

Yeah, Im not going to lie to you, yeah, he said. At one point I thought I was done here. But like I say, our front office they got caught into a lot of things this offseason and at one point I was like, OK, I guess Im not a priority to you. And thats the way it looked like to me at one point.

But my agents they explain to me whats going on and this team was looking for a GM and manager, all that stuff, and it take them some time to put it together. And after that they went to the players, which I think it was a little crazy of a time to do so. But they did. And Im here.

After accepting arbitration in December, though, Ortiz knew hed be back for at least one season. Although he settled just before going to an arbitration hearing on Feb. 13, the process was new to him.

Ive been a free-agent before, he said. The arbitration thing I learned some things about it. Its a little crazy. They were making a big deal about me going to arbitration. The night before I saw all the big dogs down there and I said, What are your guys doing here? They went like, Well, this case is one of the cases you dont see too often and we have to be here for that. I said, 'Oh, OK.'

I didnt do anything. You have your group that works on that and they let you know how its going be. They told me not to wear my earrings in front of the judge and I said, 'Expletive did I kill somebody or something? What does it have to do with being in front of the judge?' 'You dont want to have that much bling-bling and this and that. See, now were starting on the wrong foot.' What? I used to live with my earrings on."

Large diamond studs aside, Ortiz said there are no hard feelings after accepting a one-year, 14.575 million deal. The Sox had earlier offered him a two-year, 18 million contract.

No man, said Ortiz. I want to have a multi-year contract because this is where I want to be. Ive been multi-year before. Its not like I shut it down or anything. My best year was when I have a long-term and thats because I didnt have to worry about a contract. All I have to worry about is playing baseball. Sometimes people get the wrong idea about things that I say. I dont care. Ive got 15 years in the big leagues and I think I earn every single penny that I have.

Ortiz, who said he never talked with principal owner John Henry this offseason, is not sure why they didnt settle for a multi-year deal.

I dont know, he said. Thats a question that you got to ask them.

Ortiz, who turned 36 in November, figures his age might have worked against him.

Probably, he said. I guess Im like the wine. Well see. But Im happy with my contract and happy being here. I take a lot of pride for the fans here. I think 100 percent sure what motivated me to play the game to do my thing out there is when you walk out there and you have all those people cheering for you. That has no price. When Im walking to the plate at Fenway and I hear all these fans and hear a lot of good things. Some guys play in front of five, 7,000 fans and on the field theres a huge difference. Im used to this, the baseball fans that want you do well. Im used to that.

His position as a designated hitter may have worked against him, too.

Maybe it worked against me, he said. I dont have the opportunity to make 25 million. Everybody needs a power hitter under their wings. Thats what Ive been doing for years here. Youve got limitations because you dont play in the field. The hardest part of the game to deal with is hitting.

But, he said nothing will change for him, playing on a one-year contract.

Ive been playing on a one year contract for the past few years, right? he said. And of course you want not to have to worry about contracts. That aint for everybody, know what Im saying. That aint for everyone. And I try my best to sign for the next few years. It didnt work out. But Im happy with what I got. Im not going to lie to you. Im happy with it. I want to get over with it in the very beginning. They were busy at doing a lot of things. I understand that. But Im back, Im here at least for another year, and like I always tell you guys Im going to try my best. I always play to change things around when Im on the field and I think Ive been a worthy person for this organization for years. And thats what matters to me.

Acciari glad to be back with B's after missing a month

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Acciari glad to be back with B's after missing a month

BOSTON -- Noel Acciari missed a month of game action with a lower body injury, so it would have been perfectly acceptable to show plenty of rust in his game upon returning to the Boston lineup.

But the former Providence College standout didn’t look rusty, a step behind or out of place in any way as he played the fourth line energy forward role to a perfect fit after missing the last 13 games. Acciari did get in one game with the Providence Bruins prior to suiting back up for the Black and Gold on Saturday, and perhaps that helped him manufacture a couple of shots on net to go along with three thumping hits against the Maple Leafs.

The 25-year-old Acciari didn’t factor into the scoring at all for the Bruins, but that’s just as well given that his focus should be on killing penalties, being hard to play against and taking the body whenever the chance presents itself. Claude Julien reformed the B’s energy line that had so much success earlier in the season with Acciari, Dominic Moore and Tim Schaller, and didn’t hesitate tossing them back into the mix together while looking for energy and a spark for an offensively stunted team.

“It’s good to be back with my linemates, and you know, I think we kind of picked up where we left off, but there’s definitely things we need to work on. That’ll come with a couple more practices and games together,” said Acciari, who finished theSaturday loss with three registered hits packed into 11:35 of ice time. “Kind of getting back to our familiarity and kind of get back to where we were before I got injured.

“It was a good start tonight, but we definitely just weren’t clicking like we used to, but that’ll come. I think that will come. Like I said, a couple practices and just kind of getting some games in [are good things]. I thought we were pretty good tonight, but, you know, should get more pucks to score [goals].”

Clearly there is room for improvement for everybody including Acciari, but it was encouraging to see the fearless competitor again flying around on the TD Garden ice playing high intensity hockey for a fourth line that could use every little bit of that. 

Backes: "Offensive frustration is warranted at this point"

Backes: "Offensive frustration is warranted at this point"

BOSTON -- This may not come as a surprise, but the Boston Bruins are having some trouble putting the puck in the net.

Despite outshooting the Maple Leafs by an 11-2 margin in the first period and outshooting them by a 32-21 margin over the balance of the 60 minute game, the Bruins scratched for just a single goal in a frustrating, constipated 4-1 loss to Toronto at TD Garden. Clearly some of the offensive difficulty was caused by a solid Frederik Andersen, who improved to 6-0-0 in a career against Boston that’s beginning to take on Bruins Killer proportions.

But a great deal of the B’s struggles to finish scoring chances on Saturday night is a malady that’s dogged the Bruins all season, and marked the 20th time in 29 games this year that Boston has scored two goals or less. In most of these games the Bruins have dominated puck possession and outshot their opponents, but still have come away mostly empty handed in the goals scored department while dropping deep in the bottom third of NHL offenses this season.

“It seems like every game we’re out-chancing teams, but we don’t outscore teams. That’s where the biggest issue is right now. Our scoring is not there and if you don’t score goals you don’t win hockey games,” said Claude Julien. “Because of that we criticize everything else in our game, but our game isn’t that bad.

“If we were scoring goals people would love our game right now, but that’s the biggest part. There’s not much more I can say here except for the fact that if we don’t score goals it’s going to be hard to win hockey games.”

But the Bruins aren’t scoring goals consistently, their power play is below average while trending in the wrong direction and the team has been forced to watch steady offensive players like Patrice Bergeron suddenly slump in a concerning way. Clearly David Pastrnak is doing his part with 18 goals scored this season in 24 games, and others like Brad Marchand and Dominic Moore have also performed above, or beyond, their acceptable level of play.

But there are other players failing with the chance to make an offensive dent: Austin Czarnik has been on the roster for nearly two months, and has zero goals and two points in his last 15 games as the offense is again dried up on the third line. He missed wide on a shorthanded chance in the third period after a Moore centering pass set up him all alone in front, and was critiquing himself for fanning on a perfect dish to him in the slot.

Moments later the Leafs had an insurance score from James van Riemsdyk to make it a 3-1 game, and it was all over for the Black and Gold at that point.

Czarnik is an easy target because he’s young and inexperienced, but there is more than enough struggle and frustration to go around with a bunch of offensive players that can’t seem to get out of their own way. David Backes admitted it’s reached a point where the Bruins are frustrated when they can’t score enough to beat a team like Toronto, and that it falls squarely on the lead guys in the Black and Gold dressing room that are underperforming.

“I think offensive frustration is warranted at this point; we just haven’t done a good enough job scoring goals. We played a heck of a first period. We limited them to two shots and we had an opportunity to have a team that’s coming in here that’s a younger team, to really put them behind the eight ball,” said Backes. “Instead, they think they got a second lease on life and they were able to capitalize. All of the sudden, they were up 2-0 and we’re fighting an uphill battle again rather than -- we have that opportunity to play a heck of a first period and we don’t find a way – it’s easy to talk about, but it’s going out there and doing the job and putting it past or through the goalie, or however it needs to happen. “You’ve seen our goals; you want to do a study on it unless you’re Pasta [David Pastrnak] with the one-timer on the side, it’s been ugly, it’s been rebounds, it’s been greasy goals and that’s our equation and we need more of it, and we didn’t do it. They did a good job of being in front of their net and boxing out, eliminating those second chances. But, we’ve got good players in here that need to create more and find those second chances and win those battles, find those loose pucks, and throw them in the net.”

The Bruins have been talking seemingly all season about the need to get to the “dirty areas in the offensive zone”, and for players to jump all over the second and third chance opportunities currently going by the board unchallenged on goalie rebounds.

Now it’s about speaking with action for the B’s, and more specifically speaking volumes with goals and offensive finish instead of “chances” that aren’t doing much of anything if they’re not being snapped into the back of the net.