Paille ready to go after welcomed distraction in Finland

607966.jpg

Paille ready to go after welcomed distraction in Finland

WILMINGTON, MA -- Daniel Paille was happy to answer all of the texts, emails and phone calls that poured in from his Bruins teammates during the 113 days the NHL players were locked out by the NHL owners.

The fourth line winger is the NHLPA player rep for the Black and Gold and he was in Boston for nearly the entire run of the lockout minus the month he hopped over to Finland to get himself ready for the abbreviated schedule everybody thoughthoped was coming. But Paille is also glad the flood of electronic transmissions has slowed to a trickle this week as the entire Bruins roster is once again in one place, and the NHL labor impasse is a thing of the past.

Though Andrew Ference was the Bruins representative in New York City when the NHLPA and NHL closed the deal early Sunday morning, Paille had been the point person throughout the four months of lockout hell.

Its going to be a lot easier to go through more NHLPANHL situations throughout the years, said Paille, who had 15 points and a minus-5 rating in 69 games last season. It was a busy six months with all of the calls and keeping guys informed. Guys here did a good job of asking good questions and I did everything I could to keep them informed. Even when I was in Finland I was constantly on the updates and in on all of the calls.

I definitely wont miss all those calls and guys asking certain questions, but guys were definitely curious and have all the right in the world to ask those questions. It wasnt the best situation, but it was good to see guys fight through it and understand a lot more than last time.

Paille managed to get into nine games with Ives Tampere in Finland and tallied six points (2 goals, 4 assists) along with a plus-7 overseas, and said the trip to Europe came at the perfect time for him. The fourth line winger was starting to feel weighed down by the rhetoric and vitriol flying back and forth in the CBA debate, and he felt it from his front row seat manning every NHLPA conference call.

So after skating in Boston with Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Mike Mottau among others, Paille got a nice little mental health break in Finland.

I cant speak for everyone, but we have a routine every day during the season. We didnt have that routine for so long. I was involved with the NHLPA calls and questions from anybody here, said Paille. But at one point I didnt want to read all the articles anymore and read into too much that was going on. Going to Europe meant I didnt have to focus on it and helped. It was much better when I had something else to focus on.

Now its back to NHL hockey and reuniting with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell as one of the most effective fourth lines in hockey. Like so much of the team the trio has a little something to prove after a down season in terms of timely offensive output, defensive responsibility (Campbell, Paille and Thornton were a combined minus-15 during the regular season) and consistent energy.

But thats not necessarily a bad thing. Paille also needs to be ready as hes one of the bottom-six forwards that could be pushed into an expanded role if the compacted season produces more nagging injuries.

With the short schedule its going to get tight and guys are going to get tweaked groins. Id like to play in a bigger role, but I dont have a problem playing where I am now, said Paille. I just need to make sure that if Im needed to step up then Im ready for that opportunity.

Whether its a dependable, gritty fourth line role, a chance to play up the lineup or serving his teammates well as the NHLPA rep, Paille will be ready in any of those facets as the season gets going this weekend.

Tiger Woods arrested for DUI in Jupiter, Florida

tiger-woods-041015.jpg

Tiger Woods arrested for DUI in Jupiter, Florida

Tiger Woods, recovering from his fourth back surgery in the last three years, was arrested on DUI charges Monday morning in Jupiter, Fla.

Woods, 41, is the winner of 79 PGA tournaments in his career (including 14 majors). He was stopped this morning at around 3 a.m. and booked at 7:18 a.m. He was released on his own recognizance at 10:50 a.m.

Physical problems have plagued Woods in recent years, but he said last week "unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again." However, he will need months to recover from his most recent surgery.

Get the latest on this story from golfchannel.com

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

Bradley's emergence as vocal leader speaks volumes about growth

BOSTON –  Terry Rozier was having a rough stretch where his minutes were limited and when he did play, he didn’t play particularly well.
 
Among the voices in his ear offering words of encouragement was Avery Bradley who knows all too well what Rozier was going through.
 
For all his time as a Celtic, Bradley has let his work on the floor do the talking for him.
 
But as the most tenured Celtic on the roster, his leadership has to be about more than just getting the job done, but servicing as a vocal leader as well.
 
For a player whose growth from one year to the next has been a constant, being a more vocal leader has been the one dynamic of his game that has improved the most during this past season.
 
And it is that kind of leadership that will carry into the summer what is a pivotal offseason for both Bradley and this Celtics franchise which was eliminated by Cleveland in the Conference finals, the first time the Celtics got that deep in the playoffs since 2012.
 
He is entering the final year of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2014. And it comes at a time when his fellow Tacoma, Wash. native and backcourt mate Isaiah Thomas will likely hit free agency where he’s expected to command a max or near-max contract that would pay him an annual salary in the neighborhood of $30 million.
 
At this point in time, Bradley isn’t giving too much thought to his impending contract status.
 
Instead, he’s more consumed by finding ways to improve his overall game and in doing so, help guide the Celtics to what has to be their focus for next season – a trip to the NBA Finals.
 
While Celtics players have said their focus has always been on advancing as far into the playoffs as possible, it wasn’t until this past season did they actually provide hope and promise that Banner 18 may be closer than you think.
 
It was an emotional time for the Celtics, dealing with the unexpected death of Chyna Thomas, the younger sister of Isaiah Thomas, just hours before Boston’s first playoff game this season.
 
And then there were injuries such as Thomas’ right hip strain that ended his postseason by halftime of Boston’s Eastern Conference finals matchup with Cleveland.
 
But through that pain, we saw the emergence of Bradley in a light we have seldom seen him in as a Celtic.
 
We have seen him play well in the past, but it wasn’t until Thomas’ injury did we see Bradley showcase even more elements of his game that had been overlooked.
 
One of the constant knocks on Bradley has been his ball-handling.
 
And yet there were a number of occasions following Thomas’ playoff-ending injury, where Bradley attacked defenders off the dribble and finished with lay-ups and an occasional dunk in transition.
 
Among players who appeared in at least 12 playoff games this year, only Washington’s John Wall (7.9), Cleveland’s LeBron James (6.8) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry (5.2) averaged more points in transition than Bradley (4.7).
 
Bradley recognized the team needed him to be more assertive, do things that forced him to be more front-and-center which is part of his evolution in Boston as a leader on this team.
 
“It’s weird but players like Al (Horford) definitely helped me get out of my shell and pushed me this year to be more of a vocal leader,” Bradley said.
 
And that talent combined with Bradley doing what he does every offseason – come back significantly better in some facet of his game – speaks to how he’s steadily growing into being a leader whose actions as well as his words are impactful.