Campbell (foot) status up in the air for Monday night

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Campbell (foot) status up in the air for Monday night

BOSTON -- Gregory Campbell participated in an optional morning skate on Monday, but his coach wasnt quite ready to pronounce him ready for the Bs lineup against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday night.

Campbell has additional padding on his right skate boot and has skated for three days in a row including a pair with his Bs teammates and is feeling good. The center said he needed to speak with his coach and the trainers before he could say for certain whether he would be playing tonight.

I had the trainers punch out the skate a little bit, so it relieves a little bit of the pressure. If I play Im sure Ill put on a hard, protective pad or shield to protect me from getting hit again, said Campbell, who suffered the injury in the first period of the win over the Blue Jackets and played the rest of the game with a fracture in his left foot. Its a little sore when you take it out of the skate. It feels a little better in the skate when youre walking on it or putting a shoe on it. Walking is a little bit tougher than skating right now, but its funny how things go like that.

Campbells courageous attempt to play through pain means just one more question mark for the Bruins before tonights game. The Bruins are also waiting to hear whether or not Milan Lucic will be suspended for his hit from behind on Zac Rinaldo Saturday afternoon against the Flyers. Rich Peverley is also dinged up. He played very sparingly during the second and third period of the Flyers win with a nagging injury that caused him to miss Sundays full practice.

Julien said hell consult with the Bs trainers later on Monday afternoon and the team will make their final decisions on the lineup for Monday's clash with the Habs.

There are a lot of things we have to sort out and our lineup is probably one of the most uncertain ones weve had this year with a lot of different things, said Julien. We still have the Lucic thing with no answers on that yet. We also have a couple of players that are not questionable, but theyre players we have to make decisions on. So its really difficult for me to sit here and say that this guy is in and this guy is out.

If a guy is ready to go then theres no reason to hold him back. Then again, if a guy is still having issues Id have no problem holding him back.

Sounds like Campbell is best defined as a question mark in those conversations until otherwise noted. If he cant play then that leaves Zach Hamill once again centering the fourth line and Jordan Caron potentially available should Lucic get Shanabanned by the NHLs VP of Player Safety.

Butler earns praise from Belichick, Patricia after wire-to-wire performance

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Butler earns praise from Belichick, Patricia after wire-to-wire performance

FOXBORO -- Malcolm Butler left Sunday's win over the Texans feeling pretty good about himself. One week after being relegated to the No. 3 corner role on the Patriots defense, he played every snap and allowed just two catches for 10 yards.

“I think I’m building,” Butler said afterward. “I think I’m taking it a step at a time. There’s a lot of football to be played, so whatever you see, judge me.”

And we have. There was the pass-interference penalty in Week 1. There was the botched pick-play coverage with Patrick Chung in Week 2. But even with those mishaps mixed in, Butler's energy and effort did not seem to wane on film.

He caught Chiefs speedster Tyreek Hill for a tackle from behind to prevent a first down in the season-opener. Against the Saints, his hard pass breakup on top Saints wideout Michael Thomas was a bright spot for the Patriots secondary.

In Week 3, that effort was there again. Targeted twice while in coverage on DeAndre Hopkins, Butler did well to jam Hopkins at the line of scrimmage and then limit the game's highest-paid receiver to zero yards after the catch.

When asked about Butler on Tuesday's conference calls, both Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia struck tones that were strikingly different than the ones that made headlines when discussing Butler the week prior.

"Yeah, I think Malcolm did a good job," Belichick said. "I mean, all of our defensive backs I thought were pretty competitive. We had some scramble yardage and loose plays and things like that. But I mean, the normal passing game we were pretty competitive on. But like anything else, there are certainly a lot of things we can do better."

That goes for Butler, too, who admitted last week that he hadn't been playing up to his standards.

On one of those scramble-drill plays Belichick referenced, Deshaun Watson found tight end Ryan Griffin for a 35-yard gain, which included several yards after the catch when Butler was among the defenders who missed the chance to try to wrestle Griffin to the ground.

There were occasions though -- like Watson's first-quarter third-down scramble that Butler helped to stop, forcing the Texans to kick a field goal -- when Butler's want-to was evident.

"I thought Malcolm played really well," Patricia said. "We certainly didn’t play great at all as a defense. I’m not saying that but I think the guy really tried to go out and play extremely hard. 

"This is a very competitive guy. Malcolm steps up to the challenges that you place in front of him. He goes out and competes, he works hard, he tries to do it the right way and he really tries to get better every week. Look, we had a productive week last week for him and working through. But it’s a new week and we’re going to try to get the same consistency every single week and that’s what we’re trying to do."

A week ago, when asked about Butler's performance, Belichick and Patricia weren't quite as glowing.

"I don’t think anybody’s performance this season is really where it needs to be or where it will be," Belichick said at the time. "We all need to do a better job."

"I think with Malcolm, he’s kind of in a boat with everybody else," Patricia said. "We’re trying to get better."

Part of the reason Butler may have been relied upon as much as he was could have been due to the fact that fellow corner Eric Rowe -- who started in Week 2 opposite Stephon Gilmore -- was inactive with a groin injury. 

How Butler will factor in against the Panthers in Week 4 remains to be seen, but if his work against the Texans improved his confidence, then that would seem benefit the Patriots defense as a whole. 

"Things that we're confident in," Belichick said, "we do more aggressively, we do quicker, we do with probably better overall execution than things we're not confident in . . . 

"It’s a fine line there between confidence and overconfidence and taking it for granted, as opposed to just being right in that sweet spot of having an edge, having confidence, being alert and aggressive."

Report: Dwyane Wade close to reuniting with LeBron James in Cleveland

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Report: Dwyane Wade close to reuniting with LeBron James in Cleveland

The LeBron James-Dwyane Wade reunion is happening in Cleveland.

Wade, 35, who won two championships with James with the Miami Heat, is "nearing a commitment" to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. 

Wade, bought out by the Chicago Bulls after one underwhelming season in a return to his hometown, will clear waivers Wednesday, become an unrestricted free agent and can sign for the $2.3 million veterans minimum with the Cavs. 

Wojnarowski reported that Wade considered offers from the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and a return to Miami, where he won two titles with James in 2012 and '13 and one with Shaquille O'Neal in 2006. 

The Cavs, of course, have remade James' supporting cast significantly since reaching the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season in June. 

Kyrie Irving was traded to the Celtics in a deal that sent Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder to Cleveland. Thomas' injured hip is expected to keep him from playing until January, giving Wade, who averaged 18 points for the Bulls last season and 23.3 points, 5.7 assists and 4.8 rebounds in his career, an opportunity for more minutes.