Mottau: Playing for Bruins 'a dream come true'

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Mottau: Playing for Bruins 'a dream come true'

BOSTON -- The circle is complete for 33-year-old Mike Mottau, who wondered if hed ever get the chance to suit up for the Black and Gold team he cheered on as a hockey-crazed kid in Avon, Mass.

The veteran NHL defenseman grew up idolizing Ray Bourque and loved the way Cam Neely played, and still hasnt quite come down from the realization hell be skating for the Bruins at TD Garden in a big Tuesday night tilt against the Ottawa Senators. Mottau nearly signed with the Bruins two years ago coming off a highly successful stint with the New Jersey Devils, but the timing wasnt right then for the team then.

The timing is right now for both team and player, and its a pretty sweet experience for a kid that lived the dream and won a Hobey Baker while at Boston College.

"Its a dream come true," Mottau said. "Ive been a Bruins fan throughout my entire NHL career. To put on the sweater this morning was really special even though it was only a morning skate. My wife didnt believe me when I first told here I was coming to the Bruins. The excitement level is through the roof for my parents, my sister and brother and my in-laws.
Ill play wherever they need. I just want to get on the ice and provide some depth for the stretch run here.

Its excitement for me and controlling my emotions. Its the same game for me once you get out there, which is a comforting feeling. But the events leading up to the game and seeing familiar faces in the stands will be pretty exciting.

Mottau will also see some familiar faces in the locker room. He has been friends with Shawn Thornton for a long time and was Joe Corvos roommate during World Championships for Team USA.

Mottau will be playing in only his second game since coming back from a serious concussion, and doesnt know how long hell be in the lineup with Johnny Boychuk recovering (mild concussion) and Greg Zanon expected to practice with the Bruins on Wednesday. But hell enjoy his debut and bring his responsible two-way play as a defenseman to the table while giving Claude Julien options once the Bruins have eight healthy defensemen.

Whether its by Zanon or Mottau, Corvo is expected to have his starting spot challenged after underwhelming all season with the Bruins. He is second among defensemen in scoring, but hes held little influence on the power play or five-on-five offensively with his heavy shot and passing instincts. His woes in the defensive end have kept him to under 20 minutes of ice time on most nights.

Claude Julien said both Mottau and Rolston will suit up for the Black and Gold against the Senators, and his newest defenseman plans on making a good first impression.

Its a physical lineup," Mottau said. "Coach Julien has done a good job implementing a system where everybody knows their role, and everybody plays that role to the best of their abilities. That shows theres an accountability factor in the lineup and that speaks volumes to the amount of success that theyve had over the last few years. Im just happy to be here and be able to contribute.

Mottau wont be a top-pairing defenseman and isnt going to be a game-changer for the Bs headed into the playoffs. But hell play an important role with the Bruins as they're very unlikely to get through the postseason without major injuries as they did last year.

Theres something very right about local kids like Mottau and Josh Hennessy becoming the first Mass. products to play for the Bs since Bobby Allen did in the early days of Peter Chiarellis career with the Bruins.

Price struggles in third inning, but otherwise shines in first start

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Price struggles in third inning, but otherwise shines in first start

CHICAGO -- Everything was going smoothly until the No. 9 hitter.

Protecting a 1-0 lead in the third inning Monday in his first start of 2017, David Price walked two straight batters with none on and one out in the third inning. Ninth-place hitter Adam Engel walked, as did leadoff man Tim Anderson -- who had drawn just four walks in 181 plate appearances entering the game.

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Price, whose command was in question coming off just two rehab starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, immediately paid for the consecutive free passes.

Melky Cabrera jumped on Price's first pitch, a middle-in fastball, for a three-run homer and a 3-1 lead.

The Sox got Price two runs back in the top of the fourth inning, giving him something of a fresh slate with a tie game at 3-3. He took advantage of the second chance, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the bottom of the inning and keeping the game tied, and was rewarded when Mookie Betts homered to lead off the fifth and put the Red Sox back on top, 4-3.

He immediately put himself back in hot water by hitting the first two batters in the bottom of the fifth. But two groundballs to the left side -- the second of which, hit by Cabrera, was turned into an inning-ending double play -- got Price and the Sox out of the inning with their lead intact.

Back from an elbow injury, Price was impressive out of the gate in his first major league game since last year's playoffs. He struck out Anderson to begin his season and needed just 14 pitches in a 1-2-3 first inning.

The lefty touched 96 mph on the final pitch of the first inning, which produced an easy groundout to shortstop from first baseman Jose Abreu.

Price was staked to a 1-0 lead before he threw a pitch.

Betts' leadoff double against Chicago's David Holmberg gave way to a run thanks to some great Betts base running. He took third base on Dustin Pedroia's ground out and then scored on a foul pop up that Abreu, the first baseman, snagged in foul territory with a basket catch — a rare sacrifice fly to the first baseman.

Home runs were a big problem for Price last year. So too was the third inning, when he had a 6.03 ERA.

Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

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Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

CHICAGO -- Injury scares are finding Dustin Pedroia in all the wrong places.

The Red Sox second baseman was pulled in the second inning Monday afternoon against the White Sox because of a left wrist sprain, an injury he seemed to suffer on a collision running to first base in the top of the first inning.

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He and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu converged on the bag at the same time on a grounder to Abreu, and Pedroia tumbled over Abreu

Pedroia had season-ending surgery on the wrist in September 2014, addressing a tendon issue. Pedroia had surgery on his left knee this year, and missed time after Manny Machado's slide caught him in that leg in April.

Pedroia during the last homestand was pulled as a precaution because of concern for that leg.

Josh Rutledge took over for Pedroia at second base.