Jacobs: The Cup is on loan

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Jacobs: The Cup is on loan

BOSTON -- Before hockey officially got started in Boston on Saturday night, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs released a statement and also spoke to the media.

The statement not only apologized for the lockout, but it also let fans know that the organization is serious about a Stanley Cup run this season.

"Like all of you, I wanted nothing more than to have the season start on time in October," said Jacobs in the statement. "Make no mistake -- it should have. The fact that we were unable to reach an agreement until just recently, is a disappointment.

"I want to personally apologize to our fans and others who depend on this team for their livelihood. But these are just words. The best way to make it up to you is to play hard and win."

The Los Angeles Kings are the defending Stanley Cup champs this season. But Jacobs reminded everyone who won it the year before.

"I said last year after our playoff exit that the Stanley Cup is on loan," said Jacobs. "I really meant it.We have a strong team and one that I believe will be very competitive this season. I expect us to contend for the Cup. We have 48 games in 96 days before the playoffs.

"It's no longer a marathon -- it's truly a sprint."

Jacobs believes this Bruins team is well-equipped to win it all again.

"But our advantage -- and it's a significant one -- is that we know how to win," said Jacobs. "I remember asking our players a few years ago how many of them had won the Cup. Just a few of our players raised their hand. Before the start of the last season I asked the same question. Nearly everyone raised their hand.

"We want this for our team. We want this for our fans. We know what victory feels like and we want that feeling again. I can think of no better way to bring our team back together than to focus on our shared goal of winning another Stanley Cup for Boston, New England, and Bruins fans around the world."

As for the effects of the lockout, Jacobs is optimistic that the 3.3 billion in revenue that was lost will be returned by next year. Still, he believes some damage to the game has been done.

"Not permanently, but I think that we've done damage," said Jacobs. "Some of these lockouts make no sense. We really try and make this work. You always lose people in these environments.

"Let me talk about the players' association, let me talk about league situations, and let me make this observation: nobody won. But more importantly, nobody lost at this point . . . This is a game, and we did hurt the game. We didn't just hurt Boston. We hurt the game of hockey."

Some have vilified Jacobs as being one of the main reasons for "hurting" the game of hockey with another lockout. But Jacobs said on Saturday that he was the "last person" that wanted to shut the game down.

"First of all, you're not in a position -- when you're going through all of this -- to defend yourself," said Jacobs. "It really is not constructive to the process.

"I'm coming off winning a Stanley Cup. I've got a sold-out building. I have a financially-sound business. No debt. Ownership for 37 years. I'm the last guy that wants to shut this down, absolutely the last one out there.

"There's a couple of Canadian teams -- I'm not going to name them -- that irrespective are going to be very successful. But, this is a very successful franchise. I don't want this to shut down. Unfortunately, I play in a league with 30 teams. And when I step back and look at what's going on with the broadest sense of the league, I've got to play a role constructively in that way."

Patriots third-rounder Rivers takes winding road to Foxboro

Patriots third-rounder Rivers takes winding road to Foxboro

FOXBORO -- There was not much room for debate as far as this was concerned: Derek Rivers was among the most physically-impressive defensive ends in a draft class loaded at that position.

That begs the question, then, how did the Patriots have the opportunity to draft Rivers at No. 83 overall in the third round? 

The short answer is that he went to Youngstown State, an FCS school, and those players usually don't come off the board early.

But that answer only leads to more questions, as in, how did someone with the athleticism Rivers possesses end up at Youngstown in the first place? And why did he stay?

At 6-foot-4, 248 pounds Rivers was among the top defensive line performers at this year's combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 seconds, which was good for fourth at his position group. His 30 bench reps of 225 pounds were also fourth among defensive linemen, and tied him with Solomon Thomas (the No. 3 overall pick who weighed 273 pounds in Indy).

Rivers also checked in with the ninth-best broad jump for defensive linemen (123 inches), the fifth-best vertical (35 inches), and the third-best three-cone drill (6.94 seconds).

Those kinds of athletes don't typically end up at Youngstown State. They usually end up a couple hundred miles down the road in Columbus.

"Out of high school, I was a non-qualifier, so I didn’t get my SATs, and then I was just a late bloomer," said Rivers, who was 182 pounds near the end of his sophomore year in high school, according to Vindy.com. "I wasn’t very heavily recruited so I went to Fork Union [Military Academy] and then Youngstown came and they offered me. I was just ready to play ball."

Rivers may have been able to head to a bigger program after emerging for Youngstown as a sophomore with 14 sacks (fifth in FCS that year) and 17 tackles for a loss. But he stayed, and he continued to dominate. As a junior he had eight sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. As a senior he had 14 sacks and a whopping 19.5 tackles for loss.

Feeling devoted to the program that gave him a chance, Rivers remained and had the opportunity to work under coach Bo Pelini for each of the last two seasons. 

Pelini, a former Nebraska head coach and former Patriots linebackers coach under Pete Carroll (1997-99), may have in a roundabout way helped Rivers land in New England. Pelini and Bill Belichick seem to have a good relationship -- Belichick is now coaching two of Pelini's former players in Vincent Valentine and Rex Burkhead -- and Belichick referenced the coaching Rivers received under Pelini as one of the reasons why Rivers is ready for the NFL. 

When asked about Pelini during his conference call with Patriots reporters, Rivers seemed to agree. 

"Bo was awesome, man. He was like another father to me as far as when he came to Youngstown," Rivers said. "I mean, he took our team to another level. Just the little things that he focused on as far as accountability, doing all the little things right. I mean, those were the things that Bo emphasized, and those were the things that Bo instilled in me."

Rivers added: "The first thing that Coach Bo said in his first meeting with us when he got to Youngstown was that he was like, ‘What you do off the field is going to reflect on how you play on the field.’

"I was a non-qualifier in high school. At Youngstown, I’m probably going to graduate with a 3.0, and it makes sense. If you’re lazy off the field, you’re going to be lazy on the field. If you miss assignments in class, you may miss assignments on the field, so they translate."

Even though even though he's not coming from Alabama or Florida State, even though he took a bit of a circuitous route to get there, in his first night with the team Rivers sure sounded like someone who's been on the fast track to Foxboro for years.

Celtics-Wizards series begins on Sunday at 1:00pm

Celtics-Wizards series begins on Sunday at 1:00pm

The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards will begin their semi-final series on Sunday, April 30 at 1:00pm.

CSN will get you ready with Pregame Live at noon, and will wrap up the action on Postgame Live immediately following the game.

The complete schedule (all times Eastern)

GAME 1 -- Sunday, April 30 at Boston, 1:00PM (ABC)

GAME 2 -- Tuesday, May 2 at Boston, 8:00PM (TNT)

GAME 3 -- Thursday, May 4 at Washington, 8:00PM (ESPN)

GAME 4 -- Sunday, May 7 at Washington, 6:30PM (TNT)

xGAME 5 -- Wednesday, May 10 at Boston, TBD (TNT)

xGAME 6 -- Friday, May 12 at Washington, TBD (ESPN)

xGAME 7 -- Monday, May 15 at Boston, 8:00PM (TNT)