Peverley returns with a vengence

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Peverley returns with a vengence

BOSTON -- Rich Peverley admitted there was a little bit of adjustment after missing the last two games because of an undisclosed injury.

Keyword: Little.

Peverley, who had practiced but not played in a game since November 5, wasted hardly any time getting back into action on Saturday night during the Bruins' 6-2 win over the Sabres at TD Garden.

He was skating well tonight and he didnt seem like he missed a beat, said coach Claude Julien. He was using his outside speed, carrying it deep into the Buffalo zone, and thats what we needed to do. We needed to get that puck in deep and he was able to do that a lot of times under control. I liked his game. For having missed the last two, I thought he came back real strong.

Peverley scored the Bs first goal, which tied the game at 1-1, less than eight minutes into the second period. In the third period, he assisted on a goal by Chris Kelly.

Not a bad nights work for someone who had been eagerly waiting to get back in action.

You are playing on adrenaline because you want to get back in, he said. You want to use your assets to help the team wherever that may be. I dont like sitting so its great to be able to help the team whatever way I can.

Peverley was mum on the details of what had kept him sidelined -- Theyre just calling it an undisclosed minor injury, he said -- but did note that he felt close to 100 percent following the game. He also said the decision to play was mutual between him and the medical staff.

Another mutual agreement? The excitement shared by both Peverley and his teammates for him to be back on the ice.

He was huge, said Brad Marchand. He had a great goal tonight to get us going and then another great play on Kells goal. For him to come back the way he did and have a big game tonight, it was huge for us. Hes been able to jump in and go up and down the lineup and everywhere he plays, he contributes to the line and really carries his weight. Hes been a great player for us so far and it was huge having him back tonight. It really helped us out.

Echoed Tyler Seguin: He was really good tonight. He stepped in and played a really big part of our win tonight. Obviously his goal and even better his pass, just his all-around complete game tonight. He didnt waste any time getting back in his groove.

While being sidelined for the past two games has given Peverley a chance to watch his team from a different perspective -- I think when we play simple, keep the game simple, things are positive for us and it keeps showing in our game, he assessed -- nothing compares to the vantage point he has on the ice.

You realize that you want to be in there and you want to do what you can, he said. It gives you that much more eagerness to want to get in and play.

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.