Boston Bruins

Every team needs a Chris Kemoeatu

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Every team needs a Chris Kemoeatu

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

The Super Bowl is just 10 days away -- 10 days. Do you have any idea how much brain-raping (Hi, Ben!) obnoxious drama ESPN can inflict on we football fans between now and then?

So much. It's going to be ugly.

And it's why I love Chris Kemoeatu a little bit right now.

When Steelers Pro Bowl center Maukice Pouncey suffered a high ankle sprain and his Super Bowl status became questionable, The WWL was poised to pounce. Adam Schefter undoubtedly worked himself into a frenzy, planning his next remote interview (in front of his many leather-bound books in his apartment that smells of rich mahogany)...

"WILL Pouncey play? Or WILL he be forced to sit and watch helplessly as his team battles the Pack for the Lombardi trophy? Zomg, you guise!"

But Kemoeatu punched much of the suspense out of the report.

"We are definitely sad that he won't be able to be with us in the Super Bowl," the defensive end told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Wednesday. "Definitely I feel bad for him. We just have to win it for him."

ESPN is doing its best to persevere.

'There's no word from the Steelers... not beyond what that one teammate said after practice. Pouncey was seen wearing a walking boot but we're waiting for more definitive evidence of the injury.'

NFL Network's Albert Breer is helping the cause by tweeting this: "Playing optimist, Steeler G Ramon Foster just told me on Pouncey, "I think he'll play." ... Not sure if he was instructed to say it or not."

I wish Kemoeatu's comments could stand; they were refreshingly definitive. In fact, I wish that all teams had a player -- or just anybody -- to give such straight answers that bypass all the melodrama and guesswork.

EXAMPLE: WILL Dick LeBeau finally retire? WILL the 73-year old come back if the Steelers fail to win a third Super Bowl? Or will he keep coaching until he DIES on the field?

LeBeau's Wife: Dick is done. If he doesn't retire, I'm divorcing him. End of story.

And who needs a person like this more than the Patriots?

EXAMPLE: DID Bill Belichick know Wes Welker was going to taunt Rex Ryan in his press conference? WAS he possibly in on it? WILL Welker be punished?

Ross Ventrone: Bill didn't know anything. Wes lost a bet and had to say whatever the practice squad told him to. The "foot soldiers" thing was my idea. Good, right? Oh, but Wes is gonna be benched for the first series of the game. Oops.

I realize that such plain-speak would change the nature of my job, too. But I think I'm smart enough to adapt. Why? The leather-bound books in my library are real. And I actually read them.

Morning Skate: Star players must get more involved in CBA negotiations to make Olympics a reality

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Morning Skate: Star players must get more involved in CBA negotiations to make Olympics a reality

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling that we’re just now learning about the massive rap skills of the brotherly duo of Andrew and Pete Frates. 

 

*Ken Campbell from the Hockey News says that if influential players, like Connor McDavid, want to go to the Olympics then they need to get more involved in the CBA negotiations

 

*Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang shows what a class act he is by taking the Stanley Cup to a children’s hospital in Montreal.

 

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Minnesota Wild looking to find long term deals for both restricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. That was pretty clear when they chose to deal off Marco Scandella in order to clear up some cap space to afford both of them. 

 

*The Edmonton Oilers are going to face higher expectations for next season, and are willing to embrace that kind of pressure.

 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance wonders aloud whether there will be any offer sheets coming for restricted free agents. I appreciate Craig wanting to add a little more intrigue to the NHL’s offseason, but it isn’t going to happen as long as GMs are treated like they have small pox once they go that route with an offer sheet. Take a look at the future job prospects for general managers that went with offer sheets in the past, and you’ll see why GMs simply don’t do them. This is why the Bruins are uncomfortable with David Pastrnak sitting unsigned as a restricted free agent, but not overly concerned that he’s going to sign a mega-offer sheet elsewhere.  

 

*The CCM hockey brand is apparently changing hands from its former home at Adidas

 

*For something completely different: Speaking of Pete Frates, MLB has announced a fundraising drive for ALS research in his name. 

Postcard From Camp, Day One: Gronk puts on a show

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Postcard From Camp, Day One: Gronk puts on a show

FOXBORO -- Day 1 of Patriots training camp practice featured a little bit of Rob Gronkowski news before the session. During the session, Gronkowski put on a show.

In shells and shorts, the Patriots tight end put his trademark style on display by catching touchdown passes during 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 work and then hamming it up -- perhaps practicing for the regular season when the restrictions on celebrations have been pulled back a bit by the NFL.

Before the session, Bill Belichick said that Gronkowski had "no limits" in practice. The 6-foot-6, 265-pounder certainly seemed to be feeling just fine.

WHAT WE SAW
* Rob Ninkovich, Kony Ealy and Joe Cardona were not spotted at practice. Dont'a Hightower and Alan Branch began camp on the PUP list and did not participate Thursday.

* With two of the roster's perceived top defensive ends not present, the representatives for that edge group on Day 1 were Trey Flowers, Derek Rivers, Deatrich Wise, Geneo Grissom and Shea McClellin.

* During 3-on-4 drills at the goal line, Gronkowski put on a show. The drill may have been only semi-competitive at times but when Gronk caught a touchdown, he celebrated with gusto and the crowd ate it up.

* Jimmy Garoppolo took off for an early lap alongside backup center Ted Karras after a fumbled quarterback-center exchange. Working out the kinks. It's early yet.
 
* Austin Carr had a good release and then caught the "period-winner" to make defensive backs do pushups at the end of a 2-on-2 drill at the goal line. The undrafted rookie receiver from Northwestern earned plaudits from Jimmy Garoppolo and the rest of his offensive teammates for his performance. Even receivers coach Chad O'Shea was fired up, telling the rookie to celebrate after the fact. Carr's in the running for more reps with Andrew Hawkins now out of the mix.

* Justin Coleman made a nice pick with his hands to start things in a positive direction for the defensive backs during 2-on-2 work. Undrafted rookie Kenny Moore also made an impressive pass breakup while in coverage of Malcolm Mitchell.

* Cyrus Jones dropped a kickoff very early in the practice. He looked more smooth during punt-return work. He worked alongside undrafted rookie Will Likely during a punt-return drill.

* During kickoff work later in the session, Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola were the first two returners taking reps. Matthew Slater was also back there in his traffic-cop role. Rex Burkhead, James White, Jones and Likely also took part.

* Cooks ran one around the edge off of motion during 11-on-11 work. It'll be interesting if the Patriots try to implement him in that fashion during the season. He took occasional sweep handoffs while with the Saints with varying levels of success.

* Following the first 11-on-11 period of the day, Tom Brady and Garoppolo worked a side-session with Josh McDaniels and Dion Lewis. Brandin Cooks and Julian Edelman also had a quick conversation with Brady.

* Another side session came later that featured Edelman, Cooks, Dwayne Allen, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan and Devin Lucien.

* Grissom appears to be one of the primary beneficiaries when it comes to playing time with Ninkovich and Ealy out. Rookie Derek Rivers also saw work with regulars. At the linebacker level, Jonathan Freeny appear to be one of the first off-the-ball options, along with Shea McClellin.

* Late in the practice, Brady and Garoppolo worked with a group of centers that included Karras, David Andrews, Joe Thuney and Jamil Douglas. Douglas spent much of last season on the Patriots practice squad.

11-on-11
* Brady incomplete for Cooks down the middle. 0-for-1.
* Brady complete for Gronkowski short. 1-for-2.
* Brady incomplete for Cooks. Broken up by Butler. 1-for-3.
* Brady complete to Gronkowski in the back of the end zone with Freeny on him. 2-for-4.

* Garoppolo complete to Gillislee short. 1-for-1.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Edelman. Broken up by Rowe. Thrown behind a bit. 1-for-2.
* Garoppolo complete to Edelman with Cyrus Jones in coverage. 2-for-3.
* Garoppolo complete to Mitchell. 3-for-4.

* Brissett complete to Foster. 1-for-1.
* Brissett complete to Cody Hollister. 2-for-2.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 3-for-3.
* Brissett complete to LeShun Daniels. 4-for-4.

* Garoppolo complete to Allen down the seam. 4-for-5.
* Garoppolo complete to Allen with Harris in coverage. 5-for-6.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Edelman with Butler in coverage. 5-for-7.
* Garoppolo complete to White with McClellin in coverage. 6-for-8.

* Brady complete to Cooks deep with C. Jones in coverage. 3-for-5.
* Brady complete to Burkhead with Van Noy in coverage. 4-for-6.
* Brady complete to White. 5-for-7.
* Brady complete to Edelman with C. Jones in coverage. 6-for-8.

* Brissett complete to Foster deep with Thompson in coverage. 5-for-5.
* Brissett incomplete to Lucien. Pass breakup by Kenny Moore. 5-for-6.
* Brissett incomplete. 5-for-7.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 6-for-8.

11-on-11 HURRY
* Brady complete to Cooks. 6-for-9.
* Brady complete to Cooks. 7-for-10.
* Brady complete to Cooks. 8-for-11.
* Brady complete to Burkhead. 9-for-12.
* Brady complete to Burkhead. 10-for-13.
* Brady complete to Hogan. 11-for-14.
* Brady complete to Hogan. 12-for-15.

7-on-7 HURRY-UP
* Brady complete to Cooks on low throw. 1-for-1.
* Brady incomplete for Gronkowski. Broken up by Van Noy. 1-for-2.
* Brady complete for Gronkowski. 2-for-3.
* Brady complete for Edelman. 3-for-4.
* Brady incomplete for Hogan in back of the end zone. Broken up by J. Jones. 3-for-5.
* Brady incomplete for Edelman. 3-for-6.

* Garoppolo complete to Mitchell. 1-for-1.
* Garoppolo complete to Carr. 2-for-2.
* Garoppolo complete to Lewis. 3-for-3.
* Garoppolo incomplete to Mitchell. Broken up by Ebner. 3-for-4.
* Garoppolo intercepted by Richards. Intended for Develin on scramble drill. 3-for-5.
* Garoppolo intercepted by Rowe. 3-for-6.

* Brissett incomplete for Slater. 0-for-1.
* Brissett complete for Slater. 1-for-2.
* Brissett complete to Lucien. 2-for-3.
* Brissett incomplete. Broken up by...the paddle guy. Defense loves it. 2-for-4.

LATE 11-on-11
* Brissett complete to Foster.
* Brissett incomplete to Washington.
* Brissett complete to Jacob Hollister.
* Brissett incomplete out of the back of the end zone.
* Brissett incomplete. Batted down by Wise . . . and Wise wasn't trying.