Bruins wary of goaltending 'advantage' over Capitals

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Bruins wary of goaltending 'advantage' over Capitals

WILMINGTON, MA If theres one weakness the Bruins can exploit when they take the ice against the Washington Capitals, it could be between the pipes.

Tomas Vokoun has been out with a groin injury since getting removed from the Caps victory over the Bruins on Mach 29 after aggravating the problem, and it appears he wont be ready to start the postseason. Michael Neuvirth skated on his own prior to Mondays Capitals practice while working his way back from a left legankle injury, but he isnt expected to be ready for Thursday nights Game One either.

So that leaves Washington with goaltending rookie Braden Holtby to start the playoff series.

The 22-year-old Holtby has no playoff experience, but has been excellent with the Capitals posting a 14-4-3 record with 2.02 goals against average and .929 save percentage while mixing in with Neuvirth and Vokoun. Those numbers are nice, but on paper it appears to be a mismatch next to Tim Thomas and the Bruins goaltending situation.

That tends to happen when you place a fresh-faced goaltender side-by-side with four-time All-Star goaltender with reams of experience, and both Vezina Trophies and Conn Smythe Trophies on his award shelf.

The Bs goaltender might feel that and think that in his heart of hearts, but he cautioned against getting too overconfident facing a group of Washington goaltenders clearly in flux due to injuries. Thomas referenced the Capitals goaltending situation while breaking down their team as an opponent.

Obviously they have a potent offense. They had our number this year, but that doesnt really mean anything going into the playoffs as weve seen in the past, said Tim Thomas. They have some physicality. I dont know how physical theyre going to play us in the series. That really remains to be seen. Thats their offense and thats their biggest danger.

We have to be willing to put in the work that needs to be done on our offensive side. I know that it looks like at this point theyre going to have a young goalie playing, but that doesnt mean anything. You cant take for granted. Sometimes those kids can stand on their heads in those situations for a number of reasons but one of them is that they never expected to be there so they dont have that mental pressure.

Playoff series are never won with paper matchups and lopsided strengths and weakness in postseason previews, but the Bruins have to feel good about their goaltending situation headed into a series expected to go deep into April.

Update: Three-way Cavs, Nuggets, Pacers deal for George 'very unlikely'

Update: Three-way Cavs, Nuggets, Pacers deal for George 'very unlikely'

We knew back on the night of the draft that as the Cavaliers desperately looked for a way to pry Paul George out of Indiana, they started involving third teams in the talks (because Indy had no interest in Kevin Love for Paul George straight up, not should they). Phoenix was involved, but that fizzled. So did talks involving Denver.

But those latter ones didn’t die the night of the draft, according to reports that came out over the weekend. Denver, Cleveland, and Indiana were still talking about a three-team deal that would land Love in Denver and George in Cleveland. The challenge for Cleveland was finding the combination of young players and draft picks that Indiana wants in a deal — Indy is rumored to want a lottery pick (preferably high lottery) and a young player or players.

Now that Denver three-team is “very unlikely” to happen, according to Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL's Top 10 list revealed Monday night: Where does Tom Brady wind up?

NFL players vote every year on which players should make up the list of the best their game has to offer, but it's an imperfect system. And that's probably putting it lightly. 

The NFL Network will reveal the final 10 players on its annual Top 100 list Monday night at 8 p.m. It will be an order that has been chosen by some players, not all. Of those who took part, some hastily made their way through a handful of names at the end of last season handing over their choices. 

Yet it's the list the league ends up with, for better or for worse, prompting responses like JJ Watt's when he found out he was No. 35 this year after playing in three games last season. 

On NFL.com, the Top 100 list is described as the answer to the question, "Who are the top 100 players in the NFL today?" If that's the criteria -- and not simply performance in 2016 -- then Watt's complaint actually doesn't hold much water. If he's healthy, no one would argue that he's one of the best 35 players "in the NFL today."

This year, several Patriots players from 2016 made the cut: Rob Gronkowski (No. 23), LeGarrette Blount (No. 80), Julian Edelman (No. 71), Dont'a Hightower (No. 94) and Malcolm Butler (No. 99). 

Tom Brady will be the last of Bill Belichick's players to be named. He's lumped into a Top 10 that will include Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Ezekiel Elliott, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Von Miller and Khalil Mack.

Here's what we think the list should look like when the curtain falls on the finale of this flawed endeavor:

10. Elliott
9. Beckham
8. Bell
7. Brown
6. Ryan
5. Jones
4. Miller
3. Mack
2. Rodgers
1. Brady