Yeah, well, apparently notice of my Super Bowl sendoff wasn't as well-publicized as the Patriots.Instead of 25,000 fans thronging on the lawn of my sprawling Lakeville estate, I had a pug under my feet, three sons showing varying levels of interest in the fact I'll be gone nine nights, and a wife making me promise not to be stupid. Miss them? Yeah. A lot. Lucky to be going to my ninth Super Bowl? Unbelievably. I've said it before, while wecannotroot for the teams we cover, my work and life situation have been aided by the fact I've covered the Patriots during the Bill Belichick Era. Because they've been damn good, I've been able to cover some of the most memorable moments in NFL history, the greatest coach of the Super Bowl Era and - in my mind - the greatest quarterback that ever played. As a beat guy at the Providence Journal from February 2002 through August 2006 (and for five years before at the Metrowest Daily News), my work was more widely-read because of the success of the team I covered. That led to a national opportunity with NBCSports.com from 2006 through 2009, and that led to a chance to come back to the Boston market to write and do television for Comcast SportsNet. My first job in writing was at the Barnstable Patriot. I worked there from February 1992 through June 1994 and made 300 a week plus 20 for gas. I didn't make more than 20K until November 1995. I make more than that now. When I popped my laptop open here at Gate 22, I didn't know what I was going to write. This just came out. And I'm glad it did because - even though covering a Super Bowl with"your" team in it is a ton of work and a ton of pressure-it's an incredible opportunity I'm extremely lucky to have. I know many of you would not just do it for free, but would pay for the chance. So stick with me, Mary Paoletti and Phil Perry from Indy all week. Keep up with Rich Levine on his ingenious odyssey from Boston to Indy. Follow all our shows on TV - 60 hours work - and we hope you enjoy what we bring you. We are so happy for the chance to do it.
Coveted free agent Gordon Hayward reportedly has three teams he is interested in signing with this summer. The Celtics, as you might expect, are one of them.
The other two are the Heat and his team for the last seven years, the Jazz.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Hayward is scheduled to meet with all three teams when free agency begins, starting with the Heat on Saturday and then the Jazz on Monday. His day to meet with the Celtics has yet to be announced.
All three teams are likely to offer Hayward max contracts, but expect the C's to push extra hard to land him as they attempt to "sequence acquisitions" for both Hayward and Pacers star Paul George.
The Bruins should not sign Kevin Shattenkirk. They really shouldn’t.
Yet they might. Pierre McGuire said on TSN Radio Tuesday that his guess is that Shattenkirk, arguably the best free agent defenseman on the market, will end up in Boston.
It is remarkable how universally against a Shattenkirk megadeal B’s fans have seemingly been. A Twitter poll with over 3,600 votes this month had Bruins fans preferring Boston sign 40-year-old Zdeno Chara to a two-year, $8 million extension than the 28-year-old Shattenkirk to a seven-year, $45.5 million deal.
That is obviously the correct conclusion, but considering how hard the false “Chara is old and bad” garbage is pushed in this town, it’s telling that 64 percent would rather he stick around than the team build the defense around Shattenkirk.
Of course, Shattenkirk is not a bad player just because he’s been overrated in recent seasons. He’s a decent second-pairing defender and strong power play asset who can be penciled in for 40 points a year. The Bruins already have that in Torey Krug, and he makes less than Shattenkirk figures to command. Shattenkirk is also a righty who plays on the right, which is not a need for the Bruins, whereas Krug is a left shot who plays both sides.
Add in the Bruins’ cap situation due to some bad contracts and they why of Shattenkirk would be a bad signing doesn’t need to be re-hashed. By this point, the explanation’s been given a few times in a few different places.
So what would the Bruins’ actual case for signing Shattenkirk be?
TO KEEP IT MOVING
Last season was encouraging for Bruins fans because it saw them reach the playoffs for the first time in three years while also seeing young talent emerge. Yet they still only made the playoffs by two points, something of which Don Sweeney and Cam Neely are undoubtedly aware.
So for all the good signs, this could be a fringe playoff team again if more improvements aren’t made, and missing the playoffs for the second time in three years would mark a step back in the eyes of ownership, perhaps putting jobs in danger. It would be a shame if money were spent irresponsibly for the sake of saving jobs, but Shattenkirk would definitely make the Bruins better next season, even if it crippled them financially down the road.
TO PULL A CHIARELLIAN FREE AGENT SWITCHEROO
With McAvoy set to be a top-pairing player and Brandon Carlo a good second-pairing option, the Bruins do not have a need for a highly paid right-shot defender. That doesn’t mean they don’t have needs elsewhere.
Last offseason, Peter Chiarelli made the controversial move of trading Taylor Hall, one of the best left wings on the planet. He did it to get Adam Larsson to help build Edmonton’s blue line up, then he went out and signed Milan Lucic in free agency to replace Hall.
If the Bruins truly have designs on adding Shattenkirk, perhaps they could have something similar in mind: Trade someone like Carlo for either a left-shot defenseman or a left wing, then replace Carlo with Shattenkirk.
This would still not be financially palatable, however. When the Oilers traded Hall for Larsson, they swapped a player with a $6 million cap hit for a player with a $4.16 million cap hit and replaced the original player (Hall) with a player in Lucic who carried a $6 million cap hit. So essentially they netted one player for an additional $4.16 million.
Carlo is on his entry level contract, so unless the Bruins traded him for a player on an entry-level deal, they’d be spending a lot of money in any maneuver that involved replacing him with Shattenkirk.
TO GO ALL-IN ON POST-CLAUDE LIFE
Claude Julien’s detractors lamented his affinity for responsibility. They loved it when Bruce Cassidy was more open to trading chances.
Well, you like trading chances? Shattenkirk’s your guy. He’s a good skater, a good offensive player and a sub-par defender. You put Krug, Shattenkirk and McAvoy as three of your four top-four defenseman and you’ll be a long way from the days of Chara, Seidenberg and Boychuk, for better or worse.
BUT, KEEP IN MIND . . .
They for sure should not sign Kevin Shattenkirk.