Peverley takes hits at B's practice


Peverley takes hits at B's practice

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Rich Peverley was approaching the day when he'd be cleared for contact, and that day arrived on Wednesday as the shifty winger took part in 5-on-5 drills during an off-day practice at the HP Pavillion home of the San Jose Sharks.

It wasn't hand-to-hand combat on the ice, but it was pretty clear Peverley was getting bumped around a little bit during the practice session.

Peverley has missed close to six weeks of action with a sprained MCL in his right knee, but was out taking shifts as the extra forward with third line members Brian Rolston, Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot.

Some thought he might slide into the right wing spot on the top line currently manned by Jordan Caron, but it makes much more sense to ease a player in that hasn't skated a shift of hockey in nearly two months.

Peverley has participated on the ice during the last three team practices dating back to Monday's morning skate at TD Garden. These are all good signs that the gritty skill player's return is imminent and that's welcomed news considering the big role Peverley plays in all situations for the Bruins.

There remains an outside chance Peverley could play in one of the weekend games on the trip with the Kings and Ducks on tap for back-to-back games.

Peverley's participation in Wednesday's practice was the highlight of practice for the Bruins after touching down in California for their three-game road trip through the state. Here are the lines from practice:


Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Don’t count the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the Paul George sweepstakes just yet.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, the Cavaliers are still working on a way to get George with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Ohio.

The latest rumor involves a three way deal being discussed between the Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets. According to Hayes, the deal would send George and Kenenth Faried to Cleveland and Kevin Love to Denver.

Presumably, Indiana would end up with good picks and a few young assets.

Click here for the complete story.

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl. 

What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.  

But in a roundabout way he might. 

MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.

If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders. 

Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.

Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).

For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich. 

We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.