Patriots happy to return to work

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Patriots happy to return to work

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Patriots got back to work Monday after two days off. The team worked in full pads and worked late, arriving to a media session almost a full hour later than expected.

Patrick Chung sighed as he sat down before reporters. He wore the navy blue sweats seen weekly at Gillette stadium. He looked tired but content.

"It feels awesome," he said of being in Indianapolis. "It feels awesome. We're still here on a business trip, though. We're still here to work hard. But it feels good. It feels good to be here. A lot of guys don't get this opportunity, so we've got to take the best of it and play a good game."

Focus is a question. There are loud, colorful, insistent distractions everywhere the Patriots turn. Just the size of the media hoard, multiplied exponentially this week, reminds them of the hype.

It's a wonder how the players manage emotions and expectations.

"You don't want it to feel like a vacation," said Devin McCourty. "Waking up this morning, going to meetings, going over to the facility, going to practice, guys starting to go through the natural routine of the week is better for us. We're guys, we get in a routine and that's what we're in. Once we get in it, we don't know anything else.

"The biggest thing now, since we are in a hotel, guys are coming back, getting together, grabbing something to eat. We're all here so let's go down and watch some extra film. It kind of helps in a way, especially if we can kind of stick together and stay in our little bubble rather than getting outside and being entertained by the circus of everything going on with the media, fans and everything."

Football is the fix.

When New England turns its attention to study, preparation, preparation, execution, the surroundings fade away. Not even Monday practice threw them off. Normally, it's the day after a game -- either they rest on a victory or return for meetings.

So practicing in full pads? It actually feels natural when your sense of time is based on what you do, not when you do it.

"For us, we don't see it as a Monday," McCourty explained. "Today was a Wednesday. For football players, it's kind of like, as soon as you say it's a Wednesday we don't remember the days of the week we just know it in terms of our football schedule."

The Patriots are relieved to return to work. Considering this week business as usual, finding normalcy amid the chaos, is crucial to setting the tone and finding success. Yes, even before a Super Bowl. Especially before a Super Bowl.

Report: C's first-rounder Guerschon Yabusele expected to miss summer league

Report: C's first-rounder Guerschon Yabusele expected to miss summer league

It’s early for Celtics fans to be looking ahead to summer league play, but the C’s know at least one of their prospects likely won’t be there. 

Guerschon Yabusele, the second of Boston’s three first-round picks in the 2016 draft, recently had surgery to remove bone spurs from the top of each of his feet, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg. As such, Yabusele is not expected to play this summer.

A 6-foot-8 power forward from France, Yabusele was taken 16th overall in last year’s draft. He began this season playing in China before finishing the season with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League. 
 

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right.