What to do with win streaks?


What to do with win streaks?

With last night's blow out over the New Jersey Devils, the Bruins remain entrenched as Boston's undisputed best team. Even though the B's season isn't even halfway complete, if you ask anyone in the city: Who has the best chance to win a title in 2012? The Bruins are the only logical answer.

But right now, of Boston's three active teams, the Bruins actually sport the least impressive win streak. Sure, they've won eight of their last nine, and 22 of their last 26 games, but thanks to their New Year's Eve loss in Dallas, the Bruins current winning streak is at one.

Meanwhile, the Patriots are still riding hot on eight straight games, and after last night's beat down of the Nets, the Celtics, after starting the season with three straight losses, have now won four straight.

But unlike the Bruins, of whom Boston knows what we have and are confident in what they can do, the Pats and C's remain a mystery. Despite a combined 12 straight wins, neither has shown enough to sell us on any serious long term success (aka: a ring). Then again, they haven't had the chance.

It's a tough little predicament that fans find themselves in. On one hand, teams can't control their schedule. They can only beat who they're allowed to play. So while wins over the Jets (the best of the bunch), Chiefs, Colts, Eagles, Broncos, Redskins, Dolphins, Bills, Pistons, Wizards, Wizards and the D-League Nets, aren't entirely impressive, it's not the Pats' and Celtics' fault. They've literally done as well as they possibly can. When it comes down to it, what more could we really expect them to give? Yet, it's still not enough.

Unlike the Bruins, who over the course of this amazing stretch have consistently embarrassed quality teams like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Florida, Los Angeles, Ottawa and (this year at least) Toronto, with the Pats and C's we still have to wonder: What happens when they face legitimate competition? This while holding on to lasting images of ugly losses to the Steelers and Giants, the Knicks and Heat.

It's not that we don't think they can beat the good teams, we're just not sure that they can, and that's a problem. It's unbelievably strange, when you consider the Pats haven't lost since two weeks before Thanksgiving and the Celtics now sport the second-longest winning streak in the entire NBA.

But thankfully (or maybe not), this indecision won't last much longer. Starting Friday, the Celtics host the Pacers, who are 4-2 and maybe even a little better than their already impressive record suggests. After that, they have four days off before hosting the defending champion Mavericks on Wednesday, and Derrick Rose and the Bulls on Friday. The very next night they're in Indiana for a very tough back-to-back against the Pacers before returning home that Monday to host Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins and the Thunder probably the best team in the West. By the end of that stretch, for better or worse, we'll know what we have in the 2012 Celtics.

And by that time, we'll also know a thing or two more about the Pats. Not that anyone can or will be content with only one win in these playoffs, but winning one game (at least to start) will go a long way in increasing our expectations, and easing some of our fears. Whether they beat the Bengals or Broncos, or more than likely, the Steelers, the Pats will have shown us something and have that four-year-old monkey off their backs.

If not, hey, we always have the Bruins.

That's all I'll have today on Standing Room Only, but tomorrow's another day, with a big AFC Playoff preview and NFL playoff picks. So stay tuned, and until then, have a merry Thursday.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Morning Skate: Petersen snubs Sabres, Fleury pens letter to Pittsburgh

Morning Skate: Petersen snubs Sabres, Fleury pens letter to Pittsburgh

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the NHL pre-July 1 wooing period is underway.


*Another draft pick has snubbed the team that selected him after their college career, and this time it’s the Buffalo Sabres. 


*It’s a shame to see the demise of the CTV sports staff in Montreal. Brian Wilde is a friend and a colleague, and a voice on the Habs that deserved to be heart up in that city. 


*In an emotional letter penned to the only NHL city that he’d ever played in, Marc-Andre Fleury has plenty to say about Pittsburgh. 


*The Edmonton Oilers and Peter Chiarelli have signed rugged power forward Zack Kassian to a three-year, $5.85 million contract. Interesting risk here for a player that might be a fourth line guy, and has had some issues toeing the line in the past, but Kassian has been pretty effective for the Oil since they stuck out their neck for him. 


*Teemu Selanne is a no-brainer for this season’s Hockey Hall of Fame class, and that’s great. But it will be a crime if three-time Stanley Cup champion and high-ranking lifetime scorer Mark Recchi doesn’t finally get into the Hall this season. Seriously, Recchi has the credentials statistically, he has the Stanley Cups, he has the time playing with some of the greatest players of his generation during his NHL career and he also happens to have been a great person and leader on top of all that. If former Bruins winger Recchi doesn’t hear his name announced this season then something is seriously flawed with the process. 


*How exactly will the return of Brandon Saad impact both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane over the next few seasons? One would imagine it’s going to be a positive impact. 


*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman thinks that the Columbus Blue Jackets are making a push to be contenders, and will be in the mix for Ilya Kovalchuk. 


*Speaking of Blackhawks former Cup champs, Niklas Hjalmarsson is bringing that winning tradition, experience and leadership to the Arizona Coyotes now that he’s been traded. 


*For something completely different: What a crazy story this Han Solo movie intrigue has turned into, with reports that the movie’s crew “broke into applause” when it was announced that Ron Howard was taking over direction of the movie. 

Bradley left off NBA's all-defensive teams

Bradley left off NBA's all-defensive teams

BOSTON – Avery Bradley was one of the NBA’s better defenders this past season, even as injuries limited him to just 55 games played. 

The lack of court time may have been a factor in Bradley being left off the NBA’s all-defensive first and second teams which were announced on Monday. 

Bradley, a member of the NBA's all-defensive first team last season, received 12 first-place votes as part of a 46-point voting total which was tops among the players who did not make the first or second team. 

Golden State’s Draymond Green, Utah’s Rudy Gobert and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard were the top three vote-getters, which explains why they are the three finalist for the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award which will be announced tonight during the NBA Awards show which begins at 9 p.m. on TNT.

In addition to Green, Gobert and Leonard, the first team also included Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul who was named to his seventh all-NBA defensive team, with this being the sixth straight time being on the first unit. Houston’s Patrick Beverley, a second-team all-NBA defensive selection following the 2013-2014 season, was also named to the first team. 

The second unit included Memphis guard (and former Celtic) Tony Allen, San Antonio’s Danny Green, New Orleans center Anthony Davis with Oklahoma City’s Andre Roberson and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo rounding out the second team. 

In addition to Bradley, other Celtics receiving votes for one of the two all-defensive teams included Marcus Smart (five first-place votes, 21 points total); Jae Crowder (five points total) and Isaiah Thomas (one point total).