Day 1: Touch down in Buffalo (Gronk's town)

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Day 1: Touch down in Buffalo (Gronk's town)

BUFFALO, NY When we last spoke, I was getting out of the car in Williamsville and heading over to the field where Rob Gronkowski played his first three years of high school football.

Why? I don't know. I was in the neighborhood.

So I walked off into the snow, across the field and took some video.

Before you watch this you should know that I was intentionally impersonating Fatty McGee in between sentences.

Also, not really.

After making it back to the car, I headed into the high school to see if there was anyone around in the athletic department. Once I got there, the AD was gone but the girls basketball team was at practice, and there were a few coaches and parents more than willing to talk about Gronk. With one major theme being that him winning a Super Bowl might be a bittersweet moment for the town.

One one hand, they're happy to see a local boy make it big, but on the other:

A) There's still a little bit of ill will surrounding Gronk's decision to leave the school for his senior year.

"He was in another league," one coach said, "and he wanted to play at a higher level. So he went to Pittsburgh. They do it a little different than we do in Western New York.

It was the right move, but didn't sit well with everyone."

B) Everyone there hates the Patriots.

"James Starks grew up around here and won a Super Bowl last year," said the coach, "and that was a pretty big deal. People were very kind about it.

But James Starks doesn't play the Bills twice a year."

On that note, I'm settled down in Buffalo for the night. Tomorrow morning, I'm heading back to Willamsville North at 8 am to meet with Gronk's old AD, before heading down to Canton, Ohio and the Football Hall Of Fame.

It was a hectic first day, and the blog hasn't quite found it's rhythm, but now that the longest leg of the trip (It was seven hours from Boston to here) is in the books, things should settle down and we'll get a little more cohesive action.

Until tomorrow.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Morning Skate: Tempered expectations for Bolts' rookie Sergachev

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Morning Skate: Tempered expectations for Bolts' rookie Sergachev

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while simply shaking my head at David Price. What a typically soft, boorish ballplayer not meant for a big market where more is expected of those wearing the Red Sox uniform.

*There are tempered expectations for rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev as he gets things going with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

*Keith Yandle believes that Dale Tallon being back in charge of the Florida Panthers is going to bring unity and solidarity to the Panthers once again.

*Kevin Shattenkirk believes that the New York Rangers are right on the cusp of challenging for a Stanley Cup title.

*Here 20 thoughts from the just-concluded Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp, where there’s some pretty strong, young talent.

*Even as the highest-paid player in the NHL, Connor McDavid is underpaid for what he brings to the table, says Ron MacLean.

*Interesting look at the Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog situation in Colorado, where both players have watched their performance fall off a bit. This is why I’d be very nervous about giving up the farm to trade for either of these players if I’m the Bruins. The jury is out on whether they’re in decline as players, or if it’s simply the mess in Colorado getting them down.  

*For something completely different: What a sweet interaction between "Wonder Woman" Gal Gadot and a young, emotional fan all decked out in WW gear.  

 

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.