Fifteen thoughts from Bruins-Sabres

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Fifteen thoughts from Bruins-Sabres

BUFFALO Here are five thoughts from the first period of the Bruins and Sabres with both teams locked in a scoreless tie after the first 20 minutes of action at the First Niagara Center.

1) A couple of good stops by Tuukka Rask in the first period particularly on a Derek Roy tipped puck right in front of the net in the first minute of action. You had to expect that Rask would be motivated after getting humbled here his last time in Buff, and hes been good. A much tighter hockey game as well with both teams doing a good job clogging up the neutral zone, but it appears that whatever work Rask has been doing with goalie coach Bob Essensa is helping.

2) A shot on net and a perfect five-for-five in the face-off circle while David Krejci is playing right wing for the Bruins. Hes put together another solid period after an encouraging performance against the Blues, but a little actual offensive production looks like something the Bs will need tonight.

3) Bruins defensemen looking a little slow on their skates tonight. Thomas Vanek blew right on by Adam McQuaid but missed the net with a shot, and Tyler Ennis looked like he went through Zdeno Charas legs while attacking the left post. But Tuukka Rask was able to hold the post and keep it scoreless.

4) Corey Tropp with three shots on goal playing in place of Brad Boyes. I think hes already matched Boyes production over the last two weeks.

5) Mike Knuble a health scratch again against the Montreal Canadiens and apparently not too happy about it. Its time for the Washington Capitals to do the right thing and trade the classy veteran. No way to treat a guy like Knuble unless theyre planning to deal him.

SECOND PERIOD

BUFFALO Here are five thoughts from the second period of the Bruins and Sabres with the Bs trailing Buffalo by a 1-0 score after the first 40 minutes of action at the First Niagara Center.

1) Another tired-looking performance by the Bruins following an encouraging one. No emotion, small pockets of physicality around large pockets of labored skating and little sustained traffic around Ryan Miller. There is still 20 minutes to go, but weve seen this Bruins team quite a bit lately.

2) Joe Corvo was decent two nights ago in St. Louis, but hes been bad tonight against the Sabres. Incredibly passive and afraid to shoot from the point on the power play and way off with his transition passing while breaking out of the defensive zone. There have been way too many of these games from Corvo this season. The defensive shortcomings are forgivable, but the offensive deficiencies are mystifying.

3) Ryan Miller brought the good stuff again tonight. Eighteen saves including a shoulder shrug stop when Tyler Seguin had a chance all alone after stealing the puck inside the blue line. Hes flowing with confidence when hes making stops like that on shots roofed to his glove side.

4) Huge swing in momentum when the Bruins fanned on their first power play attempt without a single shot, and the Sabres stormed right back down with an Andrej Sekera goal at the other end. Two power plays with nothing to show for it really isnt a good look for the Black and Gold.

5) Chris Kelly leads Bruins with four shots on net and has been active tonight. One of the most energetic players for the Bruins. They need more playing like him the final 20 minutes.

THIRD PERIOD

BUFFALO Here are five thoughts from the third period of the Bruins and Sabres with the Bs and Buffalo tied at a 1-1 score and headed to overtime after the first 60 minutes of action at the First Niagara Center.

1) Great energy from the fourth line in the third period. They earned the power play that helped set up Zdeno Charas game-tying goal. Did their jobs in the energy department at most important juncture of game. Six shots on net for them as a unit.

2) Johnny Boychuk covering for Zdeno Chara when hes caught up ice and diving face-first to block a Jordan Leopold shot from the slot to open the third period. The people criticizing his new contract extension should watch plays like that. Boychuk is fearless and wants to win. The Bruins need players like that.

3) Tuukka Rask with encouraging signs throughout the game. Twenty-two saves and many of them in high-traffic situations with plenty of bodies around the net. It was his best game in over a month and finally gets the Finn back on the right track.

4) Six shots on net for Chris Kelly and plenty of blue collar scoring chances around the net. The Bruins are beginning to rouse up those competitive juices and its obvious in some of the individual performances.

5) Give the Sabres credit, they started playing the proper way in the second half of the season. But it was way, way too late to try to get back into the hunt for a playoff spot.

Rondo says he will not play tonight

Rondo says he will not play tonight

Rajon Rondo, out with a fractured right thumb, will not play for the Chicago Bulls against the Celtics tonight in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series at TD Garden, according to multiple reports.

The series is tied at 2.

Rondo, the Bulls point guard who played the first two game of the series, was reportedly going to try and test the thumb tonight but told reporters Wednesday morning he couldn’t play. 

Game 6 is Friday in Chicago. Game 7, if necessary, is Sunday in Boston.  Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg called Rondo's return a "longshot."

More to come. 
 

POLITICO sees Epstein as potential savior for Democrats

POLITICO sees Epstein as potential savior for Democrats

A piece that ran on POLITICO Wednesday morning explored an interesting possibility: A potential political career for longtime baseball executive Theo Epstein. 

The piece, titled “Could Theo Epstein Perform a Miracle for the Democrats?” comes a month after Fortune magazine ranked the Cubs president of baseball operations No. 1 on its annual ranking of the world’s greatest leaders. In the POLITICO article, Ben Strauss, in addition to noting the 43-year-old’s accomplishments with the Red Sox and Cubs, hits on several instances in which Epstein’s leadership has been mentioned in relation to politics. 

Strauss then goes on to interview CNN senior political commentator (and Cubs fan) David Axelrod about whether Epstein could be a saving grace with “Democrats on the lookout for a new generation of talent.”

The interview sees both POLITICO and Axelrod compare Epstein to Barack Obama. Says Axelrod: 

They both have two kinds of intelligence: emotional intelligence and a more linear intelligence. They both have the self-confidence to surround themselves with very smart people. Theo’s had a core group around him (general manager Jed Hoyer and head of amateur scouting Jason McLeod) since the beginning in Boston. It’s striking how much he relishes smart people around him and has the confidence to be challenged...Obama had it, too. I would add that Epstein has learned on the job. In Boston he was a pioneer [in using statistical analysis]...He’s told me that he used to be dismissive of the touchy-feely stuff [in evaluating baseball players], but now his scouts write five-page essays about the guys they’re going to draft. In the same way, Obama would tell you he was a better president at the end of eight years than at the beginning. He was smart enough to learn on the job, too.

Asked whether Epstein could win a statewide race for governor or Senate in Illinois, Axelrod replied, “Yeah, he could,” but questions whether Epstein has “the desire to hold public office.”

“I think Theo would be frustrated in public office because of the situation he’s in now,” Axelrod said. “He basically has free rein to do what he needs to do for the success of the organization. That is not the case in politics—you’re seeing that with the governor in Illinois (Bruce Rauner) right now. You have to deal with legislatures and all kinds of public stakeholders. And if you’re used to making things happen, I’m not sure the Senate would be a particularly satisfying job for you. When I talked to him on my podcast...about what he might want to do next...he allowed that he might want to own a team sometime and use that team or use that platform to try to impact on a community. He clearly cares about the larger world and wants to make an impact...But there are many, many reasons I think Cubs fans can relax and enjoy the benefits of his leadership for many years to come.”