Ninkovich: Belichick emphasizing importance of wrapping up division

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Ninkovich: Belichick emphasizing importance of wrapping up division

FOXBORO -- Chances are, Bill Belichick won't tell you what he tells his team, leading into Sunday's game in Miami.

But in the "Patriot Way" era, in which the only realistic goal seems to be "Super Bowl or bust," a division title is one step towards reaching that goal. And if you were to believe Belichick, you'd think the idea of Sunday being a "hat & t-shirt" game, was nothing more than the elephant in the room.

Preparing like they do each week. Nobody's talking about hats or t-shirts. It's just like any other game.

Not true. And neither is the notion that Belichick isn't emphasizing the importance of what they can leave Miami with: an AFC East Championship.

"It's a huge week for us," said the more outspoken Rob Ninkovich after Friday's practice. "We all know that. And we're excited to go play this game. I think it's that much more of a motivational game for us, to go to Miami, play a good team on the road, and come back with a hat and t-shirt.

"Belichick just emphasizes the importance of this game, to obviously sure-up the division," added Ninkovich. "And we'll talk about that if we win, but anytime you're going into a week where you know that you can win the division, you just put a lot of emphasis on making sure you go down there as a business trip. We're going down there to win the game."

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics have spent most of this season playing short-handed and Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee will potentially be another one of those games.
 
Veteran forward Jonas Jerebko has a sore left knee and is considered questionable for the Bucks’ game.
 
“Jonas went through about half of [Tuesday’s] practice,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
 
Jerebko has missed two games this season due to illness.
 
Because of Milwaukee’s length at seemingly every position, Jerebko’s ability to play both forward positions will be something the Celtics will surely miss if he’s unable to play.
 
This season, Jerebko has appeared in 69 games while averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 35.0 percent on 3’s.

Tuesday, March 28: 1,000 games for Sabres' Gionta

Tuesday, March 28: 1,000 games for Sabres' Gionta

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while forgetting that Nancy Kerrigan is on Dancing with the Stars.  

*Here’s the rundown on Brian Gionta celebrating his 1000th NHL game played with the Sabres on Monday night.

*Congrats to good guy Chad Johnson, who was appropriately given the “Good Guy Award” by the Calgary Flames media this week.

*Brock Boeser showed his abilities in a fantastic NHL debut after leaving the college ranks for the Canucks.

*I hope the fancy stats crowd is listening to this: The NHL playoff forecast is raining on the Corsi and fancy stats parade.

*Hope that Eddie Lack is okay after he had to be taken off the ice in a stretcher following a collision at the end of Carolina’s game.

*ESPN’s hockey crew breaks down some expansion mock drafts and have either Adam McQuaid, Jimmy Hayes or Malcolm Subban headed to the Vegas Golden Knights.

*The Benn brothers are gearing up for their first match-up against each other with the Canadiens and Stars set to meet.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jen Neale nails a Philly columnist for a hot take on USA Hockey and says the column illustrates just how much a change is needed there.

*The Winnipeg Jets have officially been eliminated from the playoffs, so now the Colorado Avalanche don’t have to feel so bad about themselves.

*For something completely different: One thing I’ve never wondered is what Tony Robbins thinks about politics.