These aren't fun times


These aren't fun times

By Michael Felger

Having fun yet, Bruins fans?

Felger, It's the middle of the second period and the Bruins just failed on another PP. Another PP that Seguin saw no part of, but started with Recchi, Peverley, Ryder. Even if the Bruins make it to the Cup finals, even if they win the Cup . . . Claude needs to be fired. How he can refuse to play Seguin on the PP is beyond comprehension. The only two things I can think of: (1) he thinks putting Seguin on PP will result in a SH goal, so he'd rather not score, or (2) he has an attitude of "I know better than everyone else.'' Either way, I don't want this guy coaching next year. Hell, fire him in between second and third periods. Marc Malden

To me there is no excuse for the following:

In 17 playoff games, Mark Recchi has played 45:54 of power play time. Rich Peverley has played 34:14 on the man advantage.

And neither has registered a point. Not a goal, not an assist. Nothing.

And both were on the power-play unit for full shifts on Wednesday night.

Did Doc Rivers keep playing Big Baby Davis in the playoffs after it was clear he wasn't right? No. Did Terry Francona play Coco Crisp over Jacoby Ellsbury in the playoffs in 2007 after it was apparent the rookie was more effective than the veteran? Nope. Does Bill Belichick EVER play the lesser of two players when it matters most, regardless of age or experience? Absolutely not.

Claude is the only guy in town who does this.

Hey Felgy, I can't watch it anymore . . . Claude (Schultz) has sucked all the fun from this playoff run. I can't sit there and watch one more wretched power play with Recchi and Kaberle, or seeing Seguin on a line with Campbell and Paille. Tampa Bay just tied the game at 2-2 and I shut off the TV and don't care if they win or lose. They're doing it without me. If the Bruins win, its in spite of Shultzy NOT because of him! Jay Hanson

This is what I mean when I say being a Bruins fan isn't fun. These playoff games are enthralling, gripping, intense. They are the best that sports have to offer. But I would never describe this experience as "fun.''

(I am so irrationally angry that I can barely think. If they blow this I won't rest until Klink and Schultz are both canned. Below is the best I can manage without writing SCREW YOU KABERLE! over and over for 9 pages). Felger You DB! After last night's debacle there really isn't that much to say. It's for all the marbles tonight. I don't want to hear anymore bitching from Claude because Frenchie McGashface worked the refs for some makeup calls. I don't care about Steve Downie trying to swap spit with Andrew Ference. None of that matters tonight. Tonight it's all about who wants it more. Who wants to be the next Stphane Matteau. Which team wants to look back at this series for the rest of their lives without being haunted by the specter of chronic, gnawing regret. On the surface, the Stanley Cup playoffs are designed to crown a league champion. In actuality, the playoffs are a physical and mental meatgrinder. They expose the strengths and weaknesses of all involved and the team that hoists the Cup is much more a survivor than a winner. Nowhere is that more evident than a Game 7. All I want tonight is a Game 7 worthy of this league's heritage and a performance from the Bruins that indicates they want to make history and not become a footnote in it. I only have one piece of advice. Adalius Tomas Kaberle should probably fly out to Vancouver regardless of the result. Mike Attleboro

Don't you wonder about Downie? Like what happens if Ference stands there and puffs out his lips just a little bit? They would actually be kissing, full on. I'm serious. Is this what Downie wants? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, of course. I'm just saying.

Mike, You harp on that stat about close out games, the Bruins being 3-7. It's a bogus stat. 4 of those 7 losses occurred in one series vs. Philadelphia last year. Aside from that ONE series, they are 3-3, which is pretty good, really. Mike

Come on, babe. That's sort of like saying that other than the Super Bowl, the Patriots had a pretty good playoff run in 2007.

Felger, I can't take watching Kaberle anymore. Is Claude really going to let the other 20 guys sink with this February (they got him before the Perkins trade, for God's sake) import? The other Bruins (mostly) have been grinding since September and if you are not going to provide anything like Kelly and Peverley have as late season add-ons, then send him upstairs to the Marc Savard sidecar seating section!! And the 4-on-3 with Recchi (love the dude but man he looks S-L-O-W) and Kaberle in Game 5 was like Grady Little staying with Pedro. Seriously!!!?? Dan Chicopee

Seriously, Dan. Baring any surprises tonight, Claude is going to let this team sink or swim with Kaberle and Recchi on the ice. And I'll tell you what, even if Kaberle and Recchi score tonight, it doesn't justify how Claude has handled it.

Salut les Boys, Last night watching game with 2 friends. Montreal not play but we love hockey and watch the series we do every year and we love again and again is ridicule Julien! Not know if know but people in Quebec say "fait pas du Julien" if you have freind or famille person that look like heshe maybe about do something very stupid . . . rough slang translate like US people say . . . "don't pull a Julien"! So after watch him play Mark Recchi for again 43 minutes of game (Boston fans so happy he keep play Recchi on PP because he produce so much!!!) I share top things we talk about last night . . . things that make Julien . . . well Julien! Need say more? 1. Wannabie Frenchie: People in Quebec not have love for "Tete de Patate" (think Mr. Potatoe Head) because he is a . . . in English wannabie frenchie, you know? He not born in Quebec but because he have last name like Julien and can speak french (if you from Quebec you hear stupid Ontarion accent and you know he not real..other people no tell, like Tony with NY accent, you know?) he make people believe he French . . . we no want him!!!!!! 2. La tete monstrueux: Look at size of that Big Head!!!! 3.Head Games: Now trying play games in head wGuy Boucher . . . Boucher very young coach but already he better coach then Claude! Julien talking about referees, how Tampa should worry about themselves not Boston . . . he react to what Boucher say. This is what Boucher want, play games with Claude, distract him. Boucher know already Claude over his head coach NHL team, now he try and play games in the head . . . much too much for Claude to process. Soon Claude head cook all the way and you have a "pomme de terre cuite" behind Boston bench. 4. Blind River Ontario: He born in BLIND (make all joke here) River, Ontario. 5. Bag of used pucks? : Claude traded and team no get money, players or picks in draft for him . . . see article. Only can happen to Claude! 6. "L'entraneur de Marionnettes": When he change some things in serie this year not his idea or wish it only because somebody like Neely or maybe Chiarelli make Claude do it or when no choice like wSequin play because no Bergeron. He is an "l'entraneur de marionnettes." Sometime see strings from bench all way up to suite with Neely and Chiarelli. 7. "Pince de Noisettes" USslang translate mean Cheek Pincher you know? Claude so tight now because NeelyChiarelli tell him what to do, Guy Boucher play with him, Game 7 tonight, can't play 5 lines, etc. . . . you put a quarter in there and you get 2 dimes with nickel few minutes after. 8. Fired?!?: My other freind say "He know he fired if he lose serie wTampa" then after few seconds all 3 us look each other and agree he to stupid to figure out that. Even Boston win Coupe he no coach next year, no fire but Neely "promote'' or give him nice big title maybe like Vice President of Developmental Hockey Operations & Logistics (Then make him go to 162 Tier 2, Junior B and College Division 3 games so he never around team or front office). Claude then think he upper management and very important then maybe Winnipeg hire him and make big splash because hire Coupe Stanley winner coach. That is what 3 of us think happen. Salut, Jean

I post this e-mail to show that feelings on Julien's ineptitude transcend nationality, language and culture.

Mike, Was Belichick an ass clown for not pulling Bledsoe in 2000 for Brady? Then I don't think Claude not playing Seguin is as fire-able an atrocity as it seems to be painted over the past few days. I'd say Claude's rep as a stubborn, defense-first system guy who never takes ice time from veterans is more the issue than anything. I've heard you say even if Mo Lewis didn't happen, Belichick was starting to think about pulling Drew, so even though we can never know, Bill never took a beating for not making that change. Both Bledsoe's and Bergeron's injuries resulted in a positive team outcome. The only difference being; If Bergeron NEVER gets hurt, Seguin NEVER plays this postseason based on Claude's history whereas if Bledsoe NEVER gets hurt, MAYBE Brady still replaces him later in that season based on what we know about Belichick. We're now debating a conjecture and not a result. In other words eventually Belichick intended to replace Bledsoe with Brady whereas Claude had no intention of plugging in Seguin to spark their scoring or power play. I just don't think this is some sort of revelation or black mark on Claude's jacket. It is an NHL playoff miracle that happened to highlight one of this coaches already present flaws. Regards, Jake Boston

Fine. Can I still blame him for the power-play numbers?

Hey Felger, You always said talent wins in this league. The Bruins have a handful of very good players. Tampa has a handful of Elite players. This could be a long summer. Alex Salem

Tampa has more talent at forward. They don't have more talent at defense or in net. The Bruins should win tonight.

Felger, Do you think that the only chance the Celtics have to be a contender for the years to come is to sign Dwight Howard when his contract is up? What is the possibility of this happening? Zach Middleboro

Zilch, Zach. Zippo.

Hey, Felger, After Game 4 of the Bruins collapse, we come to find out that a friend of ours shaved his beard sometime between periods 1 and 2. He said he shaved it because he was sick for three days and it had a "coating" on it. We personally blame him for the loss, regardless of his condition. In your opinion, is there any legitimate reason for shaving a beard during an NHL playoff run? Mick Nashua, NH

Yes. Tom Caron.

E-mail Felger HERE and read the mailbag Thursdays. Listen to Felger on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Steve Bulpett joins Mike Felger to weigh in on the NBA trade deadline and the lack of moves made by Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics thus far.