Not quite all in

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Not quite all in

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

As the Bruins get ready for Game 7 at the Garden, theres a quiet confidence brewing in Boston.

And I mean really quiet.

Like the 18th green at Augusta. High tea at Buckingham Palace. An interview with Rajon Rondo.

But regardless of the decibel level, that confidence does exist. If you polled Bruins fans, I think a majority would still pick the Bs to win this series. Whether theyre making that decision with their heart or their head, it doesnt matter. Boston believes the Bruins can do it.

Its just that no one wants to talk about it.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column where I called the Bruins the team that time forgot. Basically, that as the lone team without a parade during Bostons stretch of success, the Bruins are still treated with our old-school mentality. Back when you always anticipated the worse, and the idea of winning was always overshadowed by the fear of losing (again).

So when it comes to games like tonights against the Lightning, it gets a little weird. Theres confidence, yes. Theres no reason to believe this team cant go out there and win.

But theres also no reason to believe they will.

They havent earned that yet. There's no Bruins Swagger amongst fans. You can never assume any kind of victory.

Instead, heading into Game 7, you cant help but consider what happens if they lose. Not only how horrendous youll feel, but: What will the team look like from here? Is Julien gone? Chiarelli? Will Seguin make The Leap? What if Thomas comes back to Earth?

Or most importantly, when will they ever be this close again? How long will it be until the Bruins are one away from the Stanley Cup Finals?

Thats hard to say. On one hand, this doesnt exactly feel like the start of the next NHL dynasty. On the other, who knows? Theyll still have talent. Anything can happen. And thats the mentality well have going into Game 7. Ready for anything.

A win, and I dont know. Its impossible to sit here today and imagine the Boston Bruins playing for the Stanley Cup. Ive lived here too long, and seen so much, that its literally impossible to fathom what it would feel like if the Bruins win tonight and move on to Vancouver. I mean, these are the Bruins!

Still, with a win, theyre only one step closer to the promise land. The toughest challenge still lies ahead.

But with a loss, the ladder snaps and the Bruins come tumbling down. The same place they started, except now the fans are in a little deeper, a little more jaded and less likely to ever believe that the Bruins will end this awful stretch.

But tonight, the belief is still there. Maybe that's the natural feeling when youve got home ice and the best goalie in the game, but when it comes to the Bruins, there's nothing natural about it.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

00:43 - Rob Gronkowski says he's ready to go against the Texans. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Kayce Smith talk about this risks of him playing while injured.

05:47 - Phil A.Perry follows up the Gronk discussion with a deeper breakdown of Gronk’s decision to play this Sunday.

10:02 - David Price appears to be easing back into baseball after pitching Friday night. Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Price’s outing in Cincinnati. 

16:12 - The BST crew recaps the Red Sox win over Reds. Drellich returns to analyze how the pitchers performed and how that will impact the Red Sox postseason stretch.  

Danny Amendola embraces delayed follow-up to strong Week 1 performance

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Danny Amendola embraces delayed follow-up to strong Week 1 performance

This actually won’t be the first time that Danny Amendola had to wait to follow up a strong season-opener with the Pats. 

As the veteran receiver aims to return Sunday from a concussion and knee injury after leaving the Pats’ Week 1 loss early and missing Week 2 altogether, he’ll try to build a Week 1 performance that saw him lead the Pats with 100 yards on six receptions. 

The stop and start is somewhat reminiscent of Amendola’s first year with New England in 2013, when he had 10 receptions for 104 yards in the season-opener. He suffered a groin injury in that game, however, and didn’t play again until Week 5. At least the wait is shorter this time around. 

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“I mean, there’s going to be bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s football, right?” Amendola said Friday. “But I feel really good today, feel strong, so get ready tomorrow and just continue to prepare.”

In that first game back in 2013, Amendola again led the Pats in receiving yards, but it was in a terrible offensive showing for New England. All it took was four receptions for 55 yards to be the Patriots’ best receiver in a 13-6 loss to Cincinnati in which Tom Brady had a rare scoreless game. 

If Amendola can pick up where he left off in Week 1, the Pats will be in good shape. They’re also expected to have Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan ready to go, but Amendola was Tom Brady’s most reliable weapon in the Chiefs game, even though Brandin Cooks made a bigger impact with two pass interference penalties drawn in the red zone. 

Not known for his durability towards the end of his time in St. Louis, this will be the fourth of Amendola’s five regular seasons in New England in which he didn’t play in all 16 games. He played the full season in 2014, 14 games in 2015 and 12 games in 2013 and 2016. 

With Julian Edelman out, Brady could certainly use Amendola’s services as often as possible. That’s especially if he plays the way he did in Week 1. 

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