Haggerty: 15 thoughts from the Bruins-Devils

630098.jpg

Haggerty: 15 thoughts from the Bruins-Devils

NEWARK Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Devils by a 2-1 score after the first 20 minutes of hockey at the Prudential Center.

1) So much for Nathan Hortons December struggles. After netting only three goals in 12 games over the last month, Horton gets a power play goal on the doorstep off a nice feed from David Krejci to get his new month off and running. As some other offensive players cool off, the Bs could really use a nice offensive streak from Horton over the next few weeks.

2) Gritty work by Gregory Campbell in front of the net as he won the one-on-one battle with Mark Fayne in front of the net as an Andrew Ference shot glanced off the skate before landing in the net. Ference gets the assist and the Bruins are 11-0-0 this season when the defenseman registers a point tops on the team in the undefeated category.

3) The Bruins have won 16 out of 18 face-offs in the first period including a perfect 8-for-8 for David Krejci. Thats complete and utter domination for the Czech centerman and its also a far cry from the Dallas game when he had a rough night on draws.

4) Fifteen saves for Tim Thomas in the first period as he looked on point as the Devils threw barrage after barrage at him early in the game. He was at his best turning New Jersey back on their power play until an over-aggressive Brad Marchand play turned into a clean look and power play goal for David Clarkson. Can you believe he leads the Devils in goals?

5) A pair of delay of game penalties for pucks getting thrown over the boards. Is there a more ridiculous penalty more frequently called than this, and should it even be called when a team is on the penalty kill?

NEWARK Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Devils by a 3-1 score after the first 40 minutes of hockey at the Prudential Center.

1) Rich Peverley still looking a little rusty after a couple of games back in the lineup. He walked right in from the right point all alone and missed David Krejci on the backdoor as he opted to fling a puck at the net that missed wide. It looks like the instincts and the quick reactions still are a little off for him, but thats to be expected after missing a handful of games.

2) Three giveaways each for Adam Henrique and Ilya Kovalchuk, who are also getting destroyed in the face-off circle by David Krejci and the Bruins. Theyre treating the puck like its made of plutonium purchased from Libyan terrorist. What movie?

3) A ten-minute misconduct for chirping with the refs for Benoit Pouliot in the second period. Pouliot has done some very good things for the Bruins this season, but he is very much a wild card as a player for them. Youre never quite sure what hes going to do out there.

4) A perfect example why Patrice Bergeron is a worthy candidate of the Selke Trophy award this season. He blocks the Adam Larsson shot at one end, turns it into a breakaway and then beats Martin Brodeur on the ensuing breakaway while waiting him out in front of the net. He should just send that tape to the hockey voters as proof of his candidacy.

5) Three shots on net in 12:54 for Brad Marchand, who doesnt have any points but has been pretty active including the over-aggressive play that led to New Jerseys only goal.

NEWARK Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins taking down the Devils by a 6-1 score after 60 minutes of hockey at the Prudential Center.

1) A pair of goals from the Bs fourth line. When that happens it means Boston is doing some damage as they were on Wednesday night.

2) The Bruins continue their third period domination this season. Its become their victory signature to impose their will and really discourage teams in the final 20 minutes of their hockey games.

3) Two assists for Milan Lucic in a quietly great evening for No. 17.

4) When Patrice BergeronBrad MarchandTyler Seguin are attacking with speed and tenacity there are few forward combos that can hang with them and that was the case tonight with New Jersey.

5) David Krejci won 13-of-17 face-offs in the wins and has a six-game point streak going on for the Bruins after a quiet start to the evening.

Avery Bradley (Achilles) returning to Celtics lineup vs. Hawks

Avery Bradley (Achilles) returning to Celtics lineup vs. Hawks

BOSTON – The wait is finally over for the Boston Celtics and Avery Bradley.

Bradley will return to the Celtics starting lineup tonight after having missed the previous 18 games (and 22 out of 23) with a right Achilles injury.

“I’m excited to be back out there,” Bradley said. “I can’t wait for the game to start.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Bradley will play with a minutes restriction for the first week, and adjust accordingly.

“I wanted to come back four weeks ago,” Bradley said. “But I have to do what’s smartest. Those (medical) guys know better than me. It was tough listening to them. But we came to a compromise I guess you could say and I can play tonight. I’m happy with that decision.”

Bradley said the training staff wanted him to get more practices playing at the level he’s accustomed to, prior to returning to action.

But with the Celtics’ schedule, practice time would be few and far between so limiting his minutes initially is indeed a compromise of sorts.

Although rookie Jaylen Brown has done a solid job filling in for Bradley with the first unit, Stevens had every intention of Bradley returning as a starter.

“He’s our starting two-guard,” Stevens said. “We started the year really well as far as that group playing together. We haven’t had that group playing together very often. Jaylen and Marcus (Smart) are both able to give us a lot off the bench as well as if we need to plug them into a (starting) lineup later on. We feel good about that.”

As far as handling Bradley’s minutes this week, Stevens has a very simple approach to what he needs to do.

“I’m just going to play him in the first couple of stints,” Stevens said. “And when his minutes run out he won’t play anymore. It is hard if you’re trying to save minutes for the end. I’m not sure that makes a lot of sense with getting stiff, sitting for a long time, coming off a long lay-off.”

Bradley is the Celtics’ second-leading scorer at 17.7 points per game along with a team-high 6.9 rebounds. A first-team All-NBA Defender last season, Bradley is also shooting a career-high 40.9 percent from 3-point range.

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

cardinals_chandler_jones_022717.jpg

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.