Bruin up a storm

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Bruin up a storm

By Michael Felger

Anyone else smelling the Bruins' first overtime game this postseason? I think we're due for one tonight.

Hey, Felger!What were you thinking when you came on the air the other night with the second shirt button so tight it was choking you, plus neither collar buttoned down??? Love your show, but you definitely need to update your wardrobe! You are one of the best looking men on CSNNE, but lack any sense of style and look like you shop at Sears for your on-air outfits. Please try SOMETHING other than the open collar blue shirt and boring sports jackets!! At the very least wear something that fits!!!JayNew Bedford
Ugh! So frustrating. I knew I was making a big mistake that night. It's the single, biggest issue I face on a daily basis. As I've said before, if I keep that second button undone then the hamburger meat comes out and the masses are horrified. But if I button it, then I'm too conservative and I get the likes of you. What's a girl to do?

Felger,When the Bruins get the first goal of the game, they are a different team. But they'll lose in five.The constant in all of the Bruins' failure through the years is Harry. Coaches and players have come and gone, but until Harry goes the Bruins will never win.Christopher

Um, I don't want to burst your bubble, Christopher, but Harry was done as president in 2007. He's still around the team, I guess, but he doesn't do much. As for your first point, I think the team that really changes stripes after the first goal is Montreal. The Habs can't trap and take that defensive posture as they do with the lead, and that plays to the Bruins' advantage. Not that the B's want a shootout, but a more up-and-down game is to their advantage in this series.

Felger,I'm with you 100 percent on the Bruins. The entire organization has a losers' mentality from the GM down to the coach. Do they realize that they operate in the sports town that has experienced six championships in the last ten years? We expect championships, not participation awards. It's about time this team steps up, thinks like a winner, acts like a winner and actually wins something. I'm not holding my breath.JoeWarwick, RI

Me neither. I think that Julien and Chiarelli brought an important culture change from the Harry years -- and it was sorely needed. They brought the organization out of the dark ages and back to respectabilty. Unfortunately, it feels to me like they're a little too comfortable with what they've accomplished. When the general manager explains after a 3-0 series collapse that his team is one of only five in the league to reach the second round two consecutive years, as Chiarelli did last year, then I think that pretty clearly signals the need for another change in culture.

Felger,Anyone who thought the Bruins really would contend for the Cup were out of their minds. They played gutless without passion and no physical hits.GilbertAspen, CO

The reason the B's aren't true contenders has nothing to do with passion and physical play. Those things are important, don't get me wrong, but if that's all you got, then you aren't going that far. And I believe the B's show enough of it, anyway. No, the B's issue comes down to skill and balls. They don't have enough skill up front when it comes to finishing -- their only 30-goal scorer, Milan Lucic, needed five empty-netters to reach that threshold, and the closest thing they had to a point-a-game guy was David Krejci with 62 points in 75 games. They also don't have enough skill in back when it comes to moving the puck. Above all, they've shown a propensity to shrink in big moments -- as evidenced by the Flyers series last year and the Carolina series the year before that. Skill and balls. Those are the issues.

Felger, You DB!We see eye to eye on numerous things. It's one of the many reasons why I put up with that tinny hum on the AM band all those years ago. And one of those things is that we both wish Chara was more like Scott Stevens and Chris Pronger. That being said, there is no way I can fault Chara for not trying to gut it out during Game 2. Did you see him during that pregame skate? He looked like he was a crossover away from loading up his Cooperalls. This wasn't about Chara having the guts to play, it was a question of controlling them while he played. Now, under normal circumstances I would be all for an on-ice gastro-intestanal calamity the likes of which would make Nick Brophey's squat of shame in Slap Shot look sanitary. Poo is funny. But the fact that such an incident would be lorded over B's fans by those crepe-eating francophones makes it 100 percent unacceptable.And honestly Mike, he looked like garbage in Game 1 during his ailment's opening act! Do you think that a weaker, ranker, more fetid version of Z, with the possibility of uncontrolled anal leakage, manning your blue line was going to help during the most physically demanding postseason in professional sports? It's just not worth it, and I fail to see how having your captain battle the squirts on the bench would inspire any of his teammates. Now, I know people have referenced other examples of athletes playing with the flu. To me, Michael Jordan reportedly playing in the Finals with the sniffles (I discount every NBA-related news story by at least half), the Pats fighting the flu in Indy, or Colin Montgomery playing every Major with an adult diaper do not translate. You can make a case for the New Zealand playing the 1995 Rugby Would Cup final after getting food poisoned, but since literally everyone on the team was sick, they either played or forfeited. (Funny how Clint left the scenes of Uncle Sal coming to visit Jonah Lomu on the cutting-room floor. They should have called that movie Infectious) They played bravely but were nowhere near the juggernaut (maybe one of the most dominating teams I have ever seen, in any sport) that crushed everyone on the way to the final, and lost in extra time. And when the details of their sickness came out, it was called sour grapes. This wasn't Jed Lowrie nursing a four-month case of Mono or Ellsbury having the bone density of one of the Gabor Sisters. It was an unfortunate combination of bad timing and a debilitating illness for a guy who is clearly a workout junkie whose fitness is never questioned. But it unfairly boils down to a lose-lose situation for Chara, because no matter what he did, he'd get crap from somewhere.MikeAttleboro

What was that, about 500 words on soiling your pants? The greatest poopy-pants stories in sports? Some of your finest work, Mikey.

Hey, Felger!I'm writing this before the Bruins' second game. I predicted to some fans I know that the Bruins would go down in six. No snipers, as Mazz would say.To continue on my NostraDOOMus rant: The Celtics could be out in the first round, too. Definitely the second. Ainge screwed up the chemistry of that team big time and they don't even care anymore. The Red Sox are already done. Carl Crawford is a small-market player already in way over his head and will never recover. The only way he may come back is if they move Ellsbury, because they are the exact same player. I'd say keep Lowrie in there, bring up that Kalish kid and just dump Drew. What are they keeping him for? So what if they owe him money? He will soon be hurt and he brings ABSOLUTELY nothing to the table. Dump Dice-K. Same as above. The season is already over. They have 149 meaningless games left. Sweet. The Patriots. Football in general is ruined unless they come to an agreement this week. Players will return out of shape and most of them will be on IR before four games are finished. Although I am generally a glass-is-half-empty guy, I don't feel that my opinions in this case are too far-fetched.SteveChester, NH

You're a glass-is-half-empty guy? No way! You really can't tell by reading your e-mail.

Felger,What you saw last weekend was the difference between the Celtics and the Bruins: Knowing how to win in the playoffs.ErikHyannis

Don't sell the Bruins short, Erik. Don't you remember those divisional banners in the rafters? And don't you know after losing to the Flyers they were one of only five NHL teams to make the second round two consecutive years?

Felger,The NHL may have its warts and all, but I'll take their officials swallowing whistles late playoff games, over the disgraceful call on Carmelo (which was sold by a flop by Paul Pierce) on Sunday night. The NBA is a clown league.KeithVernon, CT

Do you know that Pierce did it again in Game 2? Did you see it? Same situation, one of the last few possessions of the game, and Anthony was trying to get position and pierce snapped his head and arms back like he'd gotten shot. Only this time the refs didn't bite. You know you have a bad product when one of the top storylines coming out of every single playoff games is the officiating.

Felger,I rarely e-mail TV shows . . . but the way you put Max in his place last week on Sports Sunday was AWESOME!!! He's such a Green Teamer, and you clearly got under his skin. Keep him honest, we true Celtic fans love it!LarrySpringfield

I've crawled so far into the heads of the Green Teamers I might as well start paying rent. I've crawled into their kitchens and taken a giant, steaming dump. I'm the last thing they think of when they go to sleep and the first thing they think of when they wake up. Dickerson rolls over in bed and mutters my name. Tanguay calls out "Felgy!" during intimate moments with his wife. Poor Max is hearing voices. They need help.

Mike,So seriously . . . how hot is Lisa Hughes in real life??CrisNashua, NH
Scorching.

Felger,Tell those knuckleheads who produce the Sports Sunday show to turn down the background music during the "Reality Check" and other segments. I just watched the show and I could barely hear you over the music. MikeShrewsbury

Unfortunately, I get the sense that's the point.

Read Felger's weekly column Mondays. E-mail him HERE and read the mailbag Thursdays. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Report: Celtics have called Cavaliers about potential Kyrie Irving trade

Report: Celtics have called Cavaliers about potential Kyrie Irving trade

Celtics fans aren’t the only ones thinking of ways Kyrie Irving could end up in Boston.

Even though it would be hard to imagine last season’s No. 2 seed in the East trading one of the best players in the league to last season’s No. 1 seed in the East, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote Monday that the Celtics have indeed called the Cavs about the 25-year-old point guard. 

Wrote Lowe:

Most teams, including the asset-rich Celtics, have placed the obligatory call letting Cleveland know they would like to be kept in the loop, sources say. Boston could offer Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and one of their golden picks -- Brooklyn's pick next season, or the Lakers/Kings pick they got from Philly in the Markelle Fultz deal. It's unclear if they would dangle all of that, but those picks could represent the young stud Cleveland needs. Regardless, a deal between the East's two best teams seems unlikely.

While nobody’s counting on Irving joining the Celtics, a trade of Irving elsewhere could still swing the balance in the East in Boston’s favor depending on what Cleveland gets back. Irving reportedly requested a trade from Cleveland earlier this month. 
 

Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

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Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

The figures and briefs are in for the Bruins and Ryan Spooner for their arbitration hearing Wednesday, but both sides are still hoping that a deal can be reached prior to it. The Bruins have submitted a one-year contract offer for $2 million. Spooner’s camp countered with $3.85 million, creating a sizeable gap of almost $2 million between the two.

Spooner, 25, has averaged 12 goals and 44 points the past two seasons with the B’s, including 35 power-play points while working the half-wall for a Boston PP that’s been ranked seventh overall two seasons in a row.

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Spooner is coming off a two-year contract worth $1.95 million and his is a complicated situation for the Black and Gold. Spooner holds significant value as a trade piece and has been an important part of a very effective power play, but he also finished the playoffs as a healthy scratch after going quietly the past few months of the season.

Spooner was one of the major pieces discussed in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild around the draft prior to the Wild shipping Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and he's been involved in trade discussions with several teams the past couple of years.

The Bruins have prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings if/when the B’s decided to spin Spooner to another team, but they also enjoy his speed and playmaking when he’s on his game. There’s clearly a scenario where the Bruins start the season with Spooner installed as their third-line center and perhaps explore more trade discussions while seeing if a full season under Bruce Cassidy can unlock his significant offensive potential.

If that's still in the plan, they’d be wise to come to an agreement and avoid the hearing Wednesday where they’d ostensibly be bad-mouthing a player they’d want back on their team. The Bruins have the right to walk away from Spooner should he be awarded the full $3.85 million by the arbiter. Still, it’s hard to believe they’d do that given that he’s a homegrown asset with trade value.

The feeling at this address is that there’s a deal to be made between the two sides for something around the $3 million mark. That’s something that would be worthwhile for the Bruins if they have any designs on continuing on with Spooner.