Talib ready for first playoff experience


Talib ready for first playoff experience

FOXBORO -- Following Wednesday's practice, Aqib Talib was asked if he believed in momentum heading into the playoffs, regarding the Patriots defense posting its first shutout since 2009 in Sunday's regular-season finale.
"I believe in preparing for your next opponent," said Talib. "And I know we're going to have a pretty tough next opponent. So, we're going to do a good job of getting better as a team this week, and preparing for that next team, when it's time to."
Sounds like something a Patriot would say. Sounds like he gets it. Sounds like a veteran who's been there before.
Only, Talib actually hasn't been there before.
In his four-plus seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Talib never played in a playoff game. Now, after being acquired by the Patriots during the season, he's trying to get ready to prepare for his first postseason experience.
"I never got a chance to participate in the postseason," said Talib after Wednesday's practice. "My first chance, I'm definitely looking forward to it."
When wide receiver Wes Welker was asked about the advice he'd give someone who has never experienced playoff football, he said, "I think everybody's tired at this time of year. And you've just got to push through and amp it up another level for the playoffs, and really get that adrenaline going."
Talib said he hasn't picked anyone's brain about what the playoffs are like. He's not concerned though. He believes he's ready to jump right in. Because that's truly the only way he'll get to know.
"I've never been to the postseason, but I'm not a rookie or nothing," said Talib. "Once we get out there and the game starts, it's still football.
"I mean, there was a point in time where they had to see for their selves," he said. "So, I'm just going to have to see for myself what it's like."

Bruins sign pair of draft picks, including BC's Fitzgerald, to entry-level deals

Bruins sign pair of draft picks, including BC's Fitzgerald, to entry-level deals

Amidst the current turmoil at the NHL level, the Bruins delivered a little good news about the future today . . . with more potentially to come. 

The Bruins announced the signing of a pair of prospects/former draft picks -- Boston College forward Ryan Fitzgerald and defenseman Emil Johansson -- to entry-level contracts that will kick in next season. There will likely be another wave of signings with the Bruins from the amateur ranks once players like Charlie McAvoy, Anders Bjork and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson are finished up with their college teams in the NCAA tournament, though it remains to be seen exactly which players end up taking the NHL plunge. 

There was some uncertainty as to whether Fitzgerald would definitely sign with Boston after completing his senior season at BC, but he will immediately join the Providence Bruins on an amateur tryout agreement after signing a two-year deal. Johansson will join the Bruins on a Professional Tryout Agreement with a three-year entry level deal that kicks off next season. 

The 5-foot-10, 177-pound Fitzgerald was an alternate captain for BC in 2016-17, with 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points in 34 games with 56 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating. Fitzgerald is also the son of Billerica native and former Bruins forward Tommy Fitzgerald, who took to Twitter on Friday to voice his overwhelming pride over his oldest signing an NHL contract. He was a fourth-round pick by the Bruins in 2013.

Johansson, 20, completed his first season with Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Hockey League in 2016-17, establishing career highs with 7 goals and 10 assists for 17 points with 26 penalty minutes in 49 games. The B's selected him in the seventh round in 2014.

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

With all attention focused on overtaking the Cavs for the No. 1 seed in the East, the offseason -- trades, the draft, free agency -- is on the backburner in Celtics Nation these days.

But that pot's still simmering,

And it began to boil a little today when Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding, in the middle of a story on the Clippers being at a crossroad, threw a little accelerant on that old Blake Griffin-to-Boston flame . . .

But more and more people around the league believe he would be open to a fresh start — perhaps with the Lakers or the Boston Celtics, who have coveted Griffin for years and would offer a new chance to win. The most intriguing fit might be if he were to go home to Oklahoma to join Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, but his interests in the entertainment industry make staying in Los Angeles a priority.

Not much of a thread to grab there. But that didn't prevent cbssports.com's James Herbert from looking into it . . .  

Jumping to another contender on a max contract might not be simple. As CelticsBlog’s Keith P. Smith pointed out, Boston would have to dump Terry Rozier, waive Tyler Zeller and renounce all its free agents, including Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson, in order to even get near the amount of cap room that would be required to offer Griffin or someone like Gordon Hayward a max deal. 

Then again, Herbert says the Lakers and Thunder, Griffin's supposed other two destination spots, are even less financially flexible than the C's.

For now, it's all just a temporary diversion from the battle for No. 1.

It's also a reminder, though, that a whole new season -- the offseason -- is just around the corner.