Monthly Archives: February 2016

Loui, Loui…

…as in Loui Eriksson…as of 3:00 pm tomorrow, hopefully to be called “ex-Bruin” Loui Eriksson.  Not that I hate Loui.  But it’s time to go.

I have been cringing over the past week every time I heard reports of the Bruins negotiating an extension with Loui.  Hearing figures like 6 years, 36 million being thrown around.  WHAT??!!  IT’S LOUI ERIKSSON!!  Yeah, he makes 4 and a quarter mil now.  I suppose at least 5 mil is on the docket for him next.  But hopefully not here.  He’ll be 31 this summer.  Nice player.  But those numbers I couldn’t swallow for him going forward.  Spend it on someone else, I say.

So it’s pretty clear I think the B’s should deal Loui.  But you may ask, “are you giving up on this season when you suggest trading one of the teams’ best offensive players?”.  Glad you did ask.  And the answer is:  YES.

Well, it’s not really giving up on the season as much as it is that I do not believe this team has a realistic shot at winning the Stanley Cup.  You may respond, “well, they are only 4 points out of the division lead and no one other than Washington in the East has really, truly impressed.”.  And I would say, sure that’s what it looks like on paper.  But look at the facts.  They often get walloped by playoff caliber teams.  They cannot win at home.  Their defense is a sieve.  And so on.

Let’s face it, this team needs some work.  The rebuild started last year, presumably with the canning of Peter “no-movement clause” Chiarelli and the hiring of Don Sweeney as GM.  Then the Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton trades, the Matt Belesky signing, the 3 first round picks and all that.  It needs to continue now.  No one says they have to go to the bottom.  But they can’t stand pat either.

What would I do?  Once again, glad you asked:

*Shop Zdeno Chara and Tuukka Rask.  These guys are likely not going anywhere, simply because of whatever “no movement” clauses Chiarelli gave them.  I’ve actually been on the “trade Z” bandwagon for a couple of years now.  Again, not because I don’t like the player.  Or because he is done.  But his value was going to continue to decrease, especially now that he is about to turn 39.  And the fact that Claude plays him waaaaaay too much, especially in meaningless situations.  Then he is worn down by the playoffs.  Z absolutely still has value, just not here.  He would have value by being dealt.  And please spare me the “oh, he can stay here and mentor young players like Zach Trotman, Joe Morrow and Colin Miller” crap.  That would be nice, but I would prefer he leave and then have those 3 play 20 minutes a night the last 19 games of this year.  You know, to see if they are actually real NHL players.  But that’s me…

Rask is a good goalie in my eyes, not great.  Certainly not a 7 million dollar a year goalie for sure.  Then again, I wouldn’t pay any goalie 7 mil a year.  Too many guys can do the job for much less.  Tuukka very rarely “steals” games…at least in my view.  When Claude has the proper players in place, working his system to close to perfection, just about anyone can play net.  Ok, that may not be true.  But Tim Thomas, who spent over a decade in the minors and Finland and nowhere near the NHL, became a superstar in his 30s and won 2 Vezina trophies in this system.  I think someone not making 7 million could do about the same job as Tuuks here now…maybe cut it at least in half?

*Shop Torey Krug.  Maybe he’s improved as a defenseman.  Hard to tell on this team.  But Claude gives him 21 and a half minutes a night.  Maybe because there are few alternatives.  But anyway, offense is supposed to be his strong suit.  And he has 3 goals on the year, 2 less than Kevan Miller…who is well-known for his offense…not.  Krug makes 3.4 million.  He is a restricted free agent after this season.  So, what, you are going to pay a supposed offensive specialist, who this year is not much of an offensive contributor (on an improved offensive team, especially considering Julien is the coach…not known for his offensive systems), 4 or 4.5 million on a long-term deal going forward?  Not me.

*I would say shop Dennis Seidenberg too.  But someone has to play defense I guess.  Plus, 8 million over the next 2 seasons for another declining player won’t likely get you much.

*Waive Zac Rinaldo and Max Talbot.  Wait…already done.  But if they clear waivers, do not bring them back.  Who needs them?  Why can’t you plug Tyler Randell and some other younger dude into those spots?  What’s the difference?

*Free Alexander Kokhlachev.  Ok, no one cares about him but me.  And maybe he really does suck.  Claude sure hates the guy.  But he’s good for a point per game in Providence.  And Claude despised Ryan Spooner before he was forced to play him last year.  That turned out ok.  I say what the hell, if Alex doesn’t get moved, bring him up, along with Frank Vatrano (25 goals in 25 games) and Seth Griffith (60 points in 46 games) and make them a line for the rest of the year.  You’d rather see more of Rinaldo, Talbot, Joonas Kemppainen, Randell, Landon Ferraro, even Brett Connolly?  Please…enough…

*Pray that Chris Kelly doesn’t have a miraculous recovery and returns in April…where then Claude plays him 20 minutes a night, again at the expense of a younger, probably better, player.  Unlikely to happen since they said he would be out 6-8 months in November.  But crossing my fingers anyway.

Now, I’m not saying move all of the above for a bag of pucks and some goalie sticks.  But if you can get a decent return on any and all of the above, aren’t all of these trades worth considering?  May speed up the rebuild.

My prediction?  I’m not expecting much.  I think Sweeney, Cam Neely, Charlie Jacobs and all of management are straddling the fence on which way they want to go this year…never a good thing when hard decisions need to be made.  My initial inclination over the past couple of weeks was that they would add some depth pieces only and try to make a run this year still.  Think Greg Zanon, Mike Mottau and Corey Potter like.  I know, scintillating.  I still do have that feeling as we speak.  But I’ve been wrong before…

 

Again with Kevin Love?

Welp, we are up against the NBA trading deadline tomorrow and here we go again with the Kevin Love to the Boston Celtics rumors.  “Danny always eventually gets his guy” rumors.  Whatever.

So maybe Love has never really “fit in” with the Cavaliers.  But they are 38-14.  So he must be doing something right…right?  16 points and 10 boards a game.  Yeah, less than his 18 and 12 that he was doing overall in Minnesota.  But that’s what happens when you are the only guy on one team and on the other you have guys like LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Matthew Dellavedova…ummmm, maybe not the last guy, but you get the point.

So what is the problem then?  Why are there even rumors swirling around this guy?

The talk today is Love would go and Ryan Anderson would be coming to the Cavs.  Ryan Anderson?  I just looked at his numbers and honestly didn’t realize he was any good.  Looks like he is a 16 point, 6 rebound guy, but also doesn’t apparently play any D.  And one snippet said he may be looking for 16-18 million a year after this year.

Ryan Anderson?  At least 16 mil a year?  Just doesn’t seem right.

Anyway, Anderson would seem, on paper, to be a downgrade from Love.  To me anyway.  Maybe the Cavs get other useful bodies, I don’t know.  But it still seems like a red flag to me that the Cavs seem so willing to chat about moving Love.

Regardless, would I take Love on the C’s?  Sure, I love good players.  And it seems that he still is a good player.  Is he a Top Dog?  Not sure.  He was in Minnesota, throwing up years of 26 points and 13 plus rebounds a game.  But where did it get the Timberwolves?  Nowhere.

It appears he has not been a great fit as largely a #3 option in Cleveland.  Can he be a #1A in Boston, along with a #1B and even perhaps a #1C?  Would remain to be seen.  Of course that would depend on who the other two players are.

I’d have trouble giving up the 2016 Brooklyn first rounder for most players at this point.  The players that I would clearly give it up for are also clearly not being moved by their teams.  A good part of me wants to see the Celtics maybe make a few minor moves and then ride this thing out.  They seem to have great chemistry.  The coach has them playing together and unselfishly.  And we’ve always said they have a team full of pretty good players, if not superstars.

Then they would make the pick at the draft, which should be in the top four, maybe higher if the Nets trade their best players and lose at a greater pace over the remainder of the year, as is also rumored.  It also obviously has a chance of being #1, due to the lottery process.  We all know the Celtics lottery success has been nonexistent, but we can dream, no?  This Ben Simmons dude is apparently the next big thing and to have a solid chance at him would seem like something the team could not pass up.

Then ideally the team would make some more moves over the summer and come back a TRUE championship contender perhaps as soon as the 2016-2017 season.  Despite the way I am leaning in regards to what I want the team to do at this trading deadline, I am certainly not delusional as to think they can ride the current team out into a championship THIS year.  Despite winning recently at Cleveland, in no way do I think the C’s would beat them in a 7 game series in the playoffs.  And beating a Western team like the Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, etc…that’s a whole nutha story…

I also do not think adding one body like Love at the trading deadline tomorrow makes them a championship contender this year either.  It’s going to take a few moves.  Seemingly this would all come together over the next offseason.  Just my opinion…

That being said, if a team comes in and makes the Celtics an offer they can’t refuse…they certainly have to look at it.  Here’s a list of players on the current team that I would consider “untouchable”:

 

Yup…there is no one on the list.  Do I like what Isaiah Thomas brings to the table?  Sure do.  He’s a gamer.  Not afraid.  Can drive, shoot, set up, hit free throws and all that.  But expendable in the right deal?  Absolutely.  I’d like to see if Marcus Smart can develop into a “star”.  I’m not that confident about it, but I’d like to see more of him.  Since the C’s got Evan Turner, there has been something I have loved about this guy.  But as an impending free agent, I am not sure I am opening the vault for that kind of dude.  The 4 youngsters?  R.J. Hunter, James Young, Jordan Mickey and Terry Rozier…I’d love to see if they turn out to be something.  But something tells me that if they were on that path, Brad Stevens would’ve found them more minutes this year regardless.  Can’t hold them down if they can play.  Stevens actually force-fed Hunter and Young some minutes earlier this year.  Not very much return on those minutes, to say the least.

Anyway, I think the point has been made:  There is some talent here and some of these guys could blossom down the road.  At this juncture, I’ll take the calls on anyone though.  I’m just not doing anything unless it is really worth my while.  I mean, REALLY worth my while.  I’m definitely not giving up this years’ Brooklyn pick unless something ridiculous falls from the sky.  Of course, I am not affiliated with the Celtics in any way, so it won’t be my decision unfortunately.  So it’s anyone guess what Danny Ainge will do.  I have been in favor with most of what he has done in the rebuild thus far, so I have faith that will continue.  Let’s see what happens between now and Thursday afternoon.

One thing I am looking forward to this summer regardless though?  The 18 second round picks!  Ok, it’s really like 4 or 5.  But how many guys can you stash overseas?  Is Ben Pepper still there?  I know Colton Iverson and (the other) Marcus Thornton are.  Probably more from the past that I have forgotten.  The lesson is this:  2nd round picks…why bother!  It amazes me that the draft used to be like 12 or 15 rounds back in the day.  Nowadays, beyond the top 10 picks or so, half the guys cannot play.  But that is a story for a different day…

 

 

Super Blah…

…that’s how I felt about that game last night.  And the halftime show as well, for whatever that is worth.

As we all know, part of the reasoning for the lukewarm reaction toward the Big Game is that the New England Patriots were not there.  That is no secret.

But I was not all that impressed by the participants regardless.  Carolina did not look like a 17-1 team.  The Denver defense absolutely showed up to play.  But the offense?  Meh…although if you listened to Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, you would probably think that Peyton Manning threw for 800 yards and 10 TDs and was the reason they won the game.  Ugh…for those watching objectively, Peyton was not very good.  But I suppose he didn’t need to be with the way the defense played.

You know what else I didn’t like about the game?  Where do I start?  Per usual, let’s throw out a few bullet points, again, in no particular order:

*Manning.  I’m putting him here again, because that’s how much I didn’t like him.  Only one interception, but could have been more.  But that one was a beauty.  Threw it right to a defensive lineman.  Rarely threw deep, but I suppose he didn’t need to.  Yelled “Omaha” a few times, so that was nice to hear.  Anyway, I have belabored the point.

*Cam Newton.  Your NFL MVP everyone!!  Wow.  Putrid.  On and off the field.  Sure the Denver pass rush was relentless.  They took the run away from him.  The Carolina coaches didn’t seem to make adjustments to allow Cam to do what he did all year, as far as utilize his running skills.  That much is all true.  But he started off the game firing passes over his receivers heads.  Ok, his receivers are atrocious too.  But he didn’t give them a chance early on.

The play everyone is talking about, his fumble with about 4 minutes left?  I’m still speechless.  Ok, I’m really not.  What a joke.  Losing 16-10.  4 minutes left.  IT’S THE SUPER BOWL!  And he doesn’t dive for the ball?  Doesn’t make any effort whatsoever?  Actually peels off?  Embarrassing.  I can’t say I have ever seen anything like it, especially considering the circumstances.  We all know how I feel about Peyton.  But he is for damn sure diving for that ball…even with his prior neck injuries.  He understands the magnitude of the situation.

Did we ever get an explanation?  I don’t know, but I haven’t heard what he was thinking yet…from him anyway.  I’ve heard people say that he thought the ball was going to bounce backwards.  Ummmm…not so sure.  Maybe the media was going to ask him in the postgame interview…but of course he bailed on that.  Another ridiculous thing.  I’ve heard people defending him for cutting that short because Chris Harris Jr. can be heard in the background telling reporters that they had a great game plan to stop Cam…and Newton didn’t want to listen to it, blah, blah, blah.  That’s pure garbage.  You played awful, your team lost, you didn’t get to “dab”…face the music.  And he is supposed to be one of the “new faces of the league”?  Please…lost a lot of respect for him yesterday.

*Carolina offensive line.  Did the Patriots offensive line from two weeks ago actually take their place Sunday?  Yes, again, the Denver pass rush is stout.  But neither the Pats or the Panthers can come even close to even slowing them down at least a little?

*Jerricho Cotchery.  Yikes, he is still in the league?  And he’s like the Panthers #3 receiver?  And then he drops the first three passes thrown to him.  Including the one that was a catch, then wasn’t, but should’ve been (more on that later).  But he would’ve made it easier if he just caught the ball cleanly.

*Ted Ginn Jr.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Carolina’s #1 receiver!  If you listened to Nantz and Simms, you would’ve thought he actually finally became good this year after 8 years of mediocrity…less than that actually.  He caught 44 passes this year…yup, less than 3 a game.  On 96 targets.  So he caught less than half thrown his way.  Anyway, the things that bothered me most was on his 45 yard catch and run, it appeared that he could have maybe juked the safety, cut inside and then race to the end zone…you know, because his one skill is that he can fly.  Instead, he just cruised out of bounds.  Maybe it’s just me, since no one else is talking about it.  But it seemed that he kind of just gave up on the play.  I suppose a lot of receivers kind of do that as well.  But…IT’S THE SUPER BOWL!  Try it at least.  And take a hit if you have to.

*Greg Olsen.  Ok, he is the real top pass catcher on the team.  Where was he?  Sure, he was probably blanketed.  But so was Rob Gronkowski in the AFC Championship.  And he came up huge still.

*Demaryius Thomas.  Another disappearing act.  Blame Josh Norman if you want.  Or Manning.  But 1 catch for 8 yards?

*Mike Tolbert.  I have a little soft spot for this fat guy.  I really haven’t watched him a ton over the years, either in San Diego or Carolina.  But he has always seemed to run well when I did.  Short, fat dude plowing through the line.  Interesting to watch anyway.  But the first two times he touched the ball he fumbled.  Disappointing.

*Graham Gano.  As Jim Nantz said early, along with Simms and sideline reporters Evan Washburn and Tracy Wolfson, they would also go to Jay Feely “if needed”.  Nice of Jim to include Jay.  Anyway, I feel that sideline reporters are generally useless.  But Feely inexplicably added something the one time they went to him.  After Gano missed his field goal, Feely said that Gano had “missed a couple in this direction in pregame in the same fashion and knew what to expect…”, or something along those lines.  So Gano KNEW the adjustment he had to make and STILL did not make it?  Hard to fathom.

*Carolina punt coverage.  On the Jordan Norwood return specifically.  You think he calls fair catch.  But you don’t bother looking to see if he did?  And then you bump him before he catches the ball anyway?  Then no one tackles him right at the spot?  I’m still shaking my head over that one.

*Mike Carey.  This one needs no explanation.  Didn’t everyone know that whatever he said, the call on the field was going to be the opposite?

I could probably find more, but those are the ones that come to mind immediately.  I won’t be watching the tape again, so I’ll leave it at those…

I’d love to blame the officials.  But like I have previously said, that job is tough enough.  Could the Cotchery “catch” actually have been ruled a catch?  Sure.  But then again, he should have caught it cleanly in the first place and we wouldn’t even be talking about it.  One unsportsmanlike penalty on Aqib Talib, when he was jawing on the sideline, was questionable.  As was one on a Carolina DB (forget exactly who) when he knocked the ball out of Emmanuel Sanders hand after a catch.  Then when Talib had that blatant face mask penalty…there was some chatter of possibly tossing him from the game.  But, all in all, I don’t think the refs had any bearing on the game either way.

I’ll tell you two things I did like and that no one is talking about.  Kony Ealy.  3 sacks, an interception, a couple of QB hits, fumble recovery…I don’t know much about the guy.  But he had a monster game.  Second thing?  Some dude named Mario Addison.  Never heard of him.  But here is some monster defensive end flying downfield after Norwood on his punt return.  And then I watched him also jet after a receiver downfield from the line later in the game.  He may completely suck, for all I know.  But loved watching the big dude speed down the field on those occasions.

Let’s now break down the halftime show.  Ummmmm, nope…but that Bruno Mars can dance, no?!

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