Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Capitals locked in a scoreless tie aftert the first 20 minutes of Game 1 at TD Garden.
1) Cheap move by Jay Beagle tripping David Krejci on the faceoff at center ice and then butt-ending him in the face when the Bs center tried to get up afterward. Beagle gets whistled for a four-minute penalty and we start to see the Dale Hunter-type influence on the series and Washington.
2) It appears the Bruins strategy is throw as much rubber at Braden Holtby as possible. Makes sense given that its a rookie goaltender, but now Holtby has made nine saves and built up a little confidence. Not enough traffic in the first period from the Bruins for a young goaltender looking for a foothold.
3) Dennis Wideman getting booed every time he touches the puck. Its like old times all over again.
4) How is the Washinton power play as bad as it is? They manage only a single shot on net after a quasi-bogus boarding call against David Krejci when Dennis Wideman turned his back to the center when he saw him coming.
5) It appears pretty simple: The Bruins strategy involves pounding Mike Green with physicality and grinding him down, and the Bruins are doing the exact same thing with Dennis Seidenberg. Zdeno Chara also had Alex Ovechkin teed up from all the way across the other side of the ice, but Ovie side-stepped the onrushing 6-foot-9 missile right at the last moment. Four hits for Ovechkin and three apiece for Shawn Thornton and Chara.
We haven't heard from cornerback Malcolm Butler as his future as a Patriot hangs in the balance after his visit with the New Orleans Saints last week.
Butler, a restricted free agent who has yet to sign the $3.91 million tender offered by the Patriots, posted a photo Wednesday on Instagram with the cryptic message "Nothing changed but the change," which happens to be a lyric from a song titled "Could It Be" by rapper Nick Lyon. So, perhaps a change of teams is being referred to.
More to come...
The NFL is acknowledging it has a time-management issue. Games are too long. Commercial are too frequent. And according to an email addressed to NFL fans, Roger Goodell is hoping to change that.
On Wednesday afternoon the commissioner explained the methods by which the league is hoping to improve the fan experience, most of which concern the presentation of games with as few interruptions as possible.
"On the football side, there are a number of changes we are making to the mechanics and rules of the game to maintain excitement and also improve the consistency of our officiating," Goodell wrote. "For example, next week clubs will vote on a change to centralize replay reviews. Instead of a fixed sideline monitor, we will bring a tablet to the Referee who can review the play in consultation with our officiating headquarters in New York, which has the final decision. This should improve consistency and accuracy of decisions and help speed up the process.
"Regarding game timing, we're going to institute a play clock following the extra point when television does not take a break, and we're considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown. We're also going to standardize the starting of the clock after a runner goes out-of-bounds, and standardize halftime lengths in all games, so we return to the action as quickly as possible. Those are just a few of the elements we are working on to improve the pace of our game."
Goodell also mentioned that the NFL is working with its broadcast partners to reduce the frequency of commercial breaks during games.
"For example," Goodell wrote, "we know how annoying it is when we come back from a commercial break, kick off, and then cut to a commercial again. I hate that too. Our goal is to eliminate it."
Goodell, team owners and executives will convene in Phoenix next week for the league's annual meetings where discussions about these potential changes could see meaningful progress.