Lesson learned for Seguin

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Lesson learned for Seguin

WINNIPEG So Tyler Seguin didnt set his alarm clock for the proper time on Tuesday morning. Or so he says.

But if you have a shred of common sense, you realize that if his alarm clock was set to Eastern Standard Time, it would have made him an hour early rather than an hour late. Did the 19-year-old simply blow off a team function yesterday morning? Where was Seguin's road roommate to wake him up? (Probably Jordan Caron, his roommate at home in their Charlestown digs, and oh by the way, the guy that cracked the Bs lineup once Seguin was scratched.)

But none of that is really important at the end of the day.

The Bruins arrived in Winnipeg in the early morning hours Tuesday after a statement dub over the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they had every right to feel good about themselves after their 14th win in 15 games. Seguin had potted a power play goal and spoke after the contest after battling to keep his confidence up with two goals in his last 10 games after a torrid start to the season.

Maybe Seguin simply overslept as he and team officials contend, or maybe he did what most 19-year-olds would do in a Canadian city where the world can seem like a playground to a young hockey star.

The details dont really matter to manyaside from people with way too much time on their hands. What matters most is that the Bruins reacted with a harsh punishment fitting the crime, anddelivered a strong message that no individual player is bigger than the team.

"It's a mistake. Something you can only learn from and move on, Seguin admitted after watching his team go 0-for-3 on the power play and struggle to finish off offensive chances in a 2-1 loss to Winnipeg. I know it wasn't professional and that it has consequences.

Anytime you go up in the stands it's not something I'm happy with. I told myself after last year that I never wanted to be back up there and I was again tonight.

The punitive nature of the B'sactions was even more enlightening when all parties involved admitted afterward this wasnt the first Seguin had slept through a team meeting. Seguin admittedhe was also scratched last season for a similar infraction. The team covered upSeguin's absence last year, but there was no effort to hide the growing pains of a 19-year-old superstar this time around.

What matters most now is that Seguin learns from this experience and looks back on it as a valuable lesson. Nobody likes to get up for a morning meeting after a late night of travel (and perhaps a social beverage or two). But thats part and parcel with having a job and a seriouscareer, and that's something that all of us learn along the way. The NHL is full of teenaged superstars learning how to be pros withinthe highest level of scrutiny, and these kinds of hiccups happenalong the way are common.It doesn't make Seguin a problem child or an issue, but it does indicate the Bruins wanted to make a statement publically.

Whats different with Seguin is that it becomes the lead story on TSN with everybody making jokes ranging fromwhat kind of cereal the kid eats for breakfast to what kind of alarm clock he was using on the road. Its all funny and harmless, and it seemed that Seguin was properly embarrassment about the whole incident after the fact.His reaction next is what matters most. As long he responds accordingly this whole breakfast incident becomes a bad joke about Lucky Charms. If it happens again then there'sa serious issue with the team's budding superstarthat needs to be addressed.

Last season Seguin scored a goalin the game after rumors swirled about a potential return to his OHL Plymouth Whalers team and did it againwhen the Bs mulled the idea of sending the 18-year-old to the World Junior Tournament in December. He exploded for an electric four-point performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning after a bevy of healthy scratches during the playoffs to start his first NHL postseason experience.

Seguin has always responded to adversity with monster truck force. Its likely the Bruins expect him to explode offensively while using his embarrassment and anger as fuel.

Shawn Thornton pulled Seguin aside during Tuesday at lunchtime and had a chat with the 19-year-old about the entire situation. A respect leader in the B's clubhouse, Thornton hadfull confidenceSeguin wouldrespond when placed back in the lineup Thursday against the Florida Panthers.

I already talked to him pregame, said Thornton. Hes aware. Hes a smart kid. Hes only in his second year, but he gets it. Weve all been through it and weve all made those kinds of mistakes before.

In fact, some have been through it worse than others. In the minor leagues Thornton oncemissed a team flight from Kentucky to Newfoundland and then had to find his own way northin order to catch up to the team before theautomatic healthy scratch.

Thats not exactly an easy journey for a player that already knows hes in the doghouse.

The difference: Thornton learned his lessons in the minor leagues and got razzed by his teammates and coach.

Seguins tardiness became part of the national sports conversation in Canada Tuesday nightand proved once again that its not always easy growing up from hockey phenom into responsible adult when theres a national audience watching you. It's a difficult lesson to learn, but it's the growing pains that come along with shepherding an electric young hockey talent like Seguin in the big boy world of the NHL.

Celtics season comes to an end with Game 5 loss to Cavs

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Celtics season comes to an end with Game 5 loss to Cavs

BOSTON – The final horn sounded and for the second time in three years, the Celtics faithful saw their team’s season end at the TD Garden at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

But this was different.

Two years ago, the Celtics were just lucky to be on the floor with the Cavaliers who had no problem sweeping them out of the postseason.

This time, things were different.

Cleveland had their way with Boston, but had to work harder – much harder – than they did a couple years ago.

And that more than anything else, is clear and undeniable evidence that the Celtics are on the come-up even after their season ended with a 135-102 Game 5 drubbing.

They lost the series four games to one, most of which were played without their most dynamic player, Isaiah Thomas (hip) who came into the postseason as the top scorer in the Eastern Conference.

Boston did lots of good things in this series, but it served as a reminder that the Celtics aren’t quite ready for the bright lights and big-game performances needed consistently this time of the year to win.

LeBron James’ reign in the NBA is far from over, but it’s clear as day that the Celtics are positioning themselves to be one of the favorites to eventually unseat the Cavs.

Boston’s regular season record (53-29) was the best in Brad Stevens’ four years on the job, good enough to go into the postseason with the top overall seed.

But as we saw time after time after time, regular season records mean little if it comes void of the superstars most of the elite teams have in waves.

The Cleveland Cavaliers did as expected in eliminating the Boston Celtics and in doing so, move on to the NBA Finals for the third straight season where they will face a well-rested Golden State Warriors club.

Celtics Nation serenaded the players as they walked off the floor who were disappointed but should have walked off with heads held high.

Why?

Because in the end, they gave the fans exactly what they wanted – everything they had to offer.

And for most of this season, it was good enough to not just compete but win a lot of games that few outside of the Celtics’ payroll anticipated would result in a victory.

In Cleveland, the Celtics ran into the ultimate buzzsaw.

Not only were the defending champions playing their best basketball in the playoffs, but they were healthy both mentally and physically – something they could not lay claim to during several stretches during the regular season.

Meanwhile, the Celtics dealt with injuries throughout the season.

There were the usual bumps and bruises.

And then there was Isaiah Thomas’ right hip injury which he played through after re-aggravating it at the end of Boston’s second-round series with Washington.

But it proved to be too much for him to deal with which led to the Celtics shutting him down for the playoffs at halftime of Game 2.

Boston managed to win Game 3 and had opportunities galore to get Game 4 only to come up short in large part because they didn’t have an offensive closer – a player who could fill the void left by Thomas’ absence.

In Game 5, the Cavaliers managed to find areas to exploit most of the first half as they pulled ahead to dominate the action.

And the Celtics, a team that without Thomas relies heavily on ball movement, timely cuts to the basket and the need to knock down open shots, simply failed to once again take advantage of the opportunities – and there weren’t many – the Cavs afforded them.

Game 5 had the look and feel of Games 1 and 2, when Cleveland came into the TD Garden and had their way with the Celtics with a pair of wins by a combined 57 points.

Cleveland began Thursday night’s game with a 28-12 run, capped off by an emphatic dunk by LeBron James who blew past Terry Rozier.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens called his second time-out of the quarter, a clear sign of his concern – and justifiably so – that the game could quickly get out of hand as was the case in the first two games.

And with more than two minutes to play, the Cavaliers had a commanding 36-26 lead after a Kyrie Irving lay-up in which he was fouled by Rozier.

Cleveland continued to pull away in the second and third quarters as Boston’s defense showed little resistance.

And when they did, the Cavs just went around and over them, resulting in an overwhelming performance that Boston had no answer for, home court or not.

It was another beatdown at the hands of the Cavs, but there was a different vibe following this one.

Two years ago, there was no telling what the loss meant to a Celtics team that at the time, was lucky to be in the playoffs.

This season, there was no luck at all in Boston being one of the last four teams with games on the docket.

They deserved to have this opportunity, one that’s likely to come around a few more times in the near future as Boston continues to strengthen a young core with more talent and experiences like what they went through during this Conference Finals against Cleveland.

Dustin Pedroia leaves Thursday's game with left knee pain

Dustin Pedroia leaves Thursday's game with left knee pain

A sloppy, cold night at Fenway Park led to an early exit for Dustin Pedroia, who was pulled because of left knee pain.

The Red Sox said the move was precautionary and that Pedroia is day to day. The press-box announcement included the note that manager John Farrell removed Pedroia, which is not typically information provided in-game, but was perhaps an attempt to reinforce that Pedroia did not want to exit the game.

Pedroia had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.

Pedroia led off the third inning Thursday night against the Rangers' Nick Martinez with a walk and scored when the next batter, Xander Bogaerts, homered. Pedroia grounded out to end the bottom of the fourth. 

He did not field a ball in the top of the fifth and was replaced by Josh Rutledge ahead of the top of the sixth.