Valentine: Sox showing 'fantastic' attitudes

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Valentine: Sox showing 'fantastic' attitudes

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Bobby Valentine is starting his first spring with the Red Sox and wasn't at all responsible for the team's putrid September -- on and off the field.

But even Valentine recognizes that a team can't run from its past.

"Whether or not a team wins a championship or comes in last,'' he said, "there's always concern about how the attitude will develop in a new year, considering there were some major issues last year at the end and major changes this year at the beginning.

"I'm concerned about (how) the attitude (is going to be). But attitude filters down and when you see Josh Beckett and Jon Lester here, they're the top of the pyramid as far as the pitchers are concerned. And they came early and they've been showing fantastic attitudes. So far, the attitude with the pitching staff seems to be filtering down.''

Valentine will address the full squad of players later in the week and was asked whether he intends to broach the subject of the disappointing finish and the subsequent reports of clubhouse misbehavior.

"I definitely believe that actions speak louder than words,'' said Valentine. "The actions that I've watched the last five or six days are speaking volumes. I think that our fans will want to see more than they want to hear. But I think they need to hear something also.

"I don't know if I'm going to address it. I hear the first day, state-of-the-union is a multi-(person event), that there's a lot of talk going on that day (with the general managers and owners also speaking). I'm not sure, if I'm last up, that I'm going to have to say something. The last thing I want to do is be redundant. But I want to be emphatic
and I think everyone wants to be emphatic. And if it needs to be said again, I will.''

As Valentine pointed out, many of the 63 players in camp were unaffiliated with the mess last fall. Many were in the minor leagues while still others (Andrew Bailey, Nick Punto, Ryan Sweeney, Mark Melancon) were with other organizations.

"I'd hate to paint all of them with the same brush,'' Valentine said. "Many of them have no reason to feel that they need to erase anything of their past. As fas a fresh start is concerned, absolutely. This is 2012. This is the year that could be the most special year of
their life. That is definitely a message that I want them to understand, regardless of what happened last year -- whether they were in Korea, Boston or the National League West.''

Report: Celtics have called Cavaliers about potential Kyrie Irving trade

Report: Celtics have called Cavaliers about potential Kyrie Irving trade

Celtics fans aren’t the only ones thinking of ways Kyrie Irving could end up in Boston.

Even though it would be hard to imagine last season’s No. 2 seed in the East trading one of the best players in the league to last season’s No. 1 seed in the East, ESPN’s Zach Lowe wrote Monday that the Celtics have indeed called the Cavs about the 25-year-old point guard. 

Wrote Lowe:

Most teams, including the asset-rich Celtics, have placed the obligatory call letting Cleveland know they would like to be kept in the loop, sources say. Boston could offer Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and one of their golden picks -- Brooklyn's pick next season, or the Lakers/Kings pick they got from Philly in the Markelle Fultz deal. It's unclear if they would dangle all of that, but those picks could represent the young stud Cleveland needs. Regardless, a deal between the East's two best teams seems unlikely.

While nobody’s counting on Irving joining the Celtics, a trade of Irving elsewhere could still swing the balance in the East in Boston’s favor depending on what Cleveland gets back. Irving reportedly requested a trade from Cleveland earlier this month. 
 

Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

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Spooner, Bruins nearly $2 million apart in arbitration figures

The figures and briefs are in for the Bruins and Ryan Spooner for their arbitration hearing Wednesday, but both sides are still hoping that a deal can be reached prior to it. The Bruins have submitted a one-year contract offer for $2 million. Spooner’s camp countered with $3.85 million, creating a sizeable gap of almost $2 million between the two.

Spooner, 25, has averaged 12 goals and 44 points the past two seasons with the B’s, including 35 power-play points while working the half-wall for a Boston PP that’s been ranked seventh overall two seasons in a row.

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Spooner is coming off a two-year contract worth $1.95 million and his is a complicated situation for the Black and Gold. Spooner holds significant value as a trade piece and has been an important part of a very effective power play, but he also finished the playoffs as a healthy scratch after going quietly the past few months of the season.

Spooner was one of the major pieces discussed in trade talks with the Minnesota Wild around the draft prior to the Wild shipping Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and he's been involved in trade discussions with several teams the past couple of years.

The Bruins have prospect Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson waiting in the wings if/when the B’s decided to spin Spooner to another team, but they also enjoy his speed and playmaking when he’s on his game. There’s clearly a scenario where the Bruins start the season with Spooner installed as their third-line center and perhaps explore more trade discussions while seeing if a full season under Bruce Cassidy can unlock his significant offensive potential.

If that's still in the plan, they’d be wise to come to an agreement and avoid the hearing Wednesday where they’d ostensibly be bad-mouthing a player they’d want back on their team. The Bruins have the right to walk away from Spooner should he be awarded the full $3.85 million by the arbiter. Still, it’s hard to believe they’d do that given that he’s a homegrown asset with trade value.

The feeling at this address is that there’s a deal to be made between the two sides for something around the $3 million mark. That’s something that would be worthwhile for the Bruins if they have any designs on continuing on with Spooner.