Youkilis: 'Exciting to have Valentine on board'

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Youkilis: 'Exciting to have Valentine on board'

BOSTON -- Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis hasn't had a lot of time this season to get to know his new manager. But he and Bobby Valentine chatted for a few minutes before a fundraiser Thursday night for Youkilis charitable orgnazation.We talked once on the phone and then we texted a couple times about the event and stuff like that, Youkilis said. My main question to Bobby was, Whats the dress code? Because were all going to spring training, what do we bring? Because some teams wear suits. So we definitely had that conversation. It went well.It's exciting just to have him on board. He's really pumped. I think hes been everywhere, from what I hear. Hes been all over the country and doing all kinds of stuff. So its kind of fun to have him going. It's going to be a tougher spring training. We're going to be working our butts I think off with Bobby. Not that we didn't before, but I think we're going to be hitting a lot more of the fundamentals."Youkilis acknowledged the teams attitude last season was lacking. Asked if he though, Valentine was the manager who could change that, Youkilis responded:Its like my dad always said with Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson: 'You show me a great manager, you got a lot of great players'. Youkilis grew up in Cincinnati as a Reds fan. If Bobbys going to be the guy, we got to do it. But if we dont win games, the blames going to go on him, which is unfair. Thats just how it is. When players dont play well, managers, you know, things happen. Managers get fired. And I always feel personally, its on the players. Players got to play the game to keep managers looking like theyre doing the right thing. But I think hes going to be great. I think hes going to bring a winning attitude and I think hes going to get this team going from day one.Youkilis didnt know much of Valentine before he was named manager less than two months ago. The third baseman believes theyll get to know each other better during the grind of the season.I really cant go off a couple offseason conversations, either, Youkilis said. I always tell people, like when June and July rolls around and were grinding it out and were in it, then you can have a better impressions. You cant, even in spring training, you wont get a good impression because youre not in winning streaks and losing streaks. But I think the thing with Bobby that I got now is you play the game hard you play the game right and you do the little things and hes going to love you.

Mastrodonato: The Red Sox have to win now

Mastrodonato: The Red Sox have to win now

Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald joins Town Fair Tire Sports Tonight with a take on whether or not Dave Dombrowski should make a big trade.

Bruins view newly signed Krug as an emerging leader

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Bruins view newly signed Krug as an emerging leader

With Bruins defenseman Torey Krug in the fold for four more years, a Thursday afternoon conference call with the 25-year-old defenseman and GM Don Sweeney was about what the young puck-mover can accomplish over the next few years. With Krug coming off a four goal, 44-point season and offseason shoulder surgery, it will be a slow and steady progression to begin next season once he’s cleared to play.

What isn’t in question is Krug’s leadership, toughness and gritty attitude to go along with his considerable offensive skill set, and those all made the $21 million contract a no-brainer from the Black and Gold end of things.

“Torey’s got a very, very unique skill set that’s important to our hockey club. He’s had a very, very productive three years. His role this year and his time on ice, in all situations, increased significantly. He was able to shoulder much, much more responsibility in all parts of the game. As a young player who is invested in the Boston Bruins organization, he wants to win, he does things the right way every time he comes to the rink,” said Sweeney. “He wants to get better; he’s not satisfied. All the things you want out of a young player to identify with, which is something we also acknowledge, that Torey has really been identified as an emerging part of our core leadership group.

“I think he’ll help tremendously to help all of our young players that hope to fall in similar fashion with the success that he’s had up to this point. We have a lot of work to do in front of us and Torey’s going to help us get back to where we want to be in trying to win a Stanley Cup.”

Krug has averaged 10 goals and 41 points over his first three seasons in the NHL, and averaged a career-high 21:37 of ice time last season as a de facto No. 2 defenseman behind Zdeno Chara. It was a big season because Krug survived, and continued to put up points, as a legit top-4 defenseman in the NHL, but the 5-foot-9, 181-pounder also needed his shoulder repaired after his first season of heavy duty usage.

So it bears the question of whether Krug will stay in one piece with the heavy top-4 duty over the next four years. Whatever the answer is to that question, the puck-moving defenseman will be a leader, a feisty character on the ice and somebody that’s going to serve as a good professional role model for the flock of young players expected to come through in the next couple of seasons.

The Michigan boy couldn’t be happier to be a part of all of it in Boston for the next four years.

“I think [the leadership thing] has been something that was instilled in me in a young age, you know, coming from my father. It’s always been authentic. If anyone tries to force it then people see right through that, and it just doesn’t happen. But for me and this team and this locker room I think I’m able to bridge that gap from the young guys to the older guys,” said Krug. “I relate to every single person in that locker room, which I think will help our team as we grow and we mature bringing in younger guys from Providence. Or guys that are just signed and helping them develop and helping them feel comfortable within the locker room because it can be intimidating.

“It’s tough to walk in the locker room, you know, when you have Stanley Cup Champions and Norris and Selke Trophy winners. So it can definitely be very intimidating and hopefully I can serve as that bridge to kind of ease that gap for those guys. As far as young defensemen goes, the one thing that Claude [Julien] helped me with when I first came up was making sure I was myself. I was here for a reason. I was able to do the thing I do well, and I wasn’t straying away from that to try to be someone that I’m not. So I think young defensemen, once they realize that and they realize that everyone in this organization is there to help them then they’ll begin to improve. They’ll become themselves as they will at the NHL level.”

With Krug having experienced a couple of years of late season collapses as one of the young leaders on this Bruins team, even more will be asked of him next season as the Black and Gold push hard to right the ship. 

OFFSEASON

Report: Lakers have interest in Celtics RFA Tyler Zeller

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Report: Lakers have interest in Celtics RFA Tyler Zeller

The Los Angeles Lakers have interest in Boston Celtics restricted free agent Tyler Zeller, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. 

The Celtics made a $3.7 million qualifying offer to Zeller this offseason, meaning the Celtics can match any offer sheet the 26-year-old center signs.