Talking Points: P-Bruins blank IceCaps, 3-0

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Talking Points: P-Bruins blank IceCaps, 3-0

PROVIDENCE, RI The Providence Bruins (3-5, 6 points) have been searching all season for a win they can point to as a complete game, and they finally got it in a 3-0 shutout of the St. Johns IceCaps on Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

P-Bruins energy line brawler Bobby Robins finished with a goal and an assist and Swedish goaltender Niklas Svedberg made 18 saves for his first AHL shutout in a white-washing of the IceCaps. Even better the P-Bruins penalty kill shut down St. Johns power play in seven chances, and Providence chipped in a power play goal in a solid special teams display.

This kind of effort hasnt been common enough in a 3-5 start for Providence this season, but clearly P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will take it.

It was our most complete game of the year, and I thought the Christian Hanson line with Robins and Lane MacDermid dominated from beginning to end, said Cassidy. They set the tempo, Niklas Svedberg made a big save when we needed it in the second period and the power play chipped in with an important goal. That was just a good, complete win from beginning to end.

Robins started the scoring by snapping in a goal just 22 seconds into the contest to give the Bruins both the lead and the momentum, and Providence just kept right on pushing. That included a shorthanded breakaway in the second period with the team still clinging to a one-goal lead: Maxine Macenauer hopping on a loose puck and sped the other way with a chance all alone against Svedberg, and the Swedish goalie calmly kicked away the bid with a flick of his leg pad.

Minutes later the P-Bruins power play cashed in when Ryan Spooner fed a cross-ice pass to Carter Camper, and the Bruins forward slammed the puck into the empty net to double the lead. The P-Bruins tacked on one more in the third when MacDermid pounced on the rebound of a Robins rocket, and made a diving stab for the insurance goal.

GOLD STAR: Bobby Robins has earned plenty of respect while piling up 33 penalty minutes in Providences first six games of the season built mostly on hockey fights and hustle plays. On Sunday afternoon the energy winger contributed to the scoreboard with his first goal of the season just 33 seconds into the first period, and a smoked shot from the slot in the third period that set up Lane MacDermids insurance goal. Robins went into the game scoreless in his first six games of the season and hes not expected to be a big offensive performer in his grinding, energy role and came through at a big time for Providence.

BLACK EYE: Justin Florek took a delay of game penalty early in the game and didnt have a shot on net when the game was over, and wasnt any kind of a factor in a game that featured many standouts for Providence. Florek is now scoreless in five games with a minus-2 rating on the season and hasnt yet made much of an impact in his first full AHL season in the Bruins organization.

TURNING POINT: Niklas Svedberg only needed to make 18 saves in a game where the ice seemed titled in favor of Providence much of the time against a weary St. Johns team, but his biggest save came with the game on the line. Maxime Macenauer shot in toward the Providence net all alone on a shorthanded breakaway with Providence clinging to a slim one-goal lead, but Svedberg calmly kicked the shot away with his right pad. Minutes later Carter Camper potted a power play goal to double Providences lead, and the Bruins were in the drivers seat.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 the number of players with a positive plusminus rating for the Providence Bruins through eight games: Christian Hanson, Lane MacDermid and Bobby Robins are all a plus-1 and defensemen Zach Trotman and Garnet Exelby are a team-best plus-3.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Whether the energy comes from big hits, fights, a goal like tonight or some kind of veteran leadership, its my job to create energy that gets the rest of the guys all riled up before and during the game. Bobby Robins, who used his offensive touch (two points) to help the P-Bruins to victory on Sunday afternoon.

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise. 

Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans. 

“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.” 

The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.

“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.” 

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.