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Pure Unadulterated Gibberish…Conclusion…

Continuing on with more nonsense from the piece the other day…

*While we were talking about trade deadlines for the Celtics, we are less than impressed with the Danny Ainge’s winter partner, Boston Bruins GM Donnie Sweeney’s performance.

Donnie Hockey was able to unload Danton Heinen and his putrid contract (that Sweeney gave Heinen of course).  But Ondrej Kase?  Nick Ritchie?

Underwhelming.

Yeah, they both have “term” left on their contracts.  Love how “term” has become a hot word at each NHL trading deadline in recent years.  But a first round pick for Kase?

I guess unloading David Backes in that deal was a positive too…but the Bs are still on the hook for 3 mil of his dough.

And Kase doesn’t exactly have a storied NHL history, except for being injured.  Haven’t seen him do much since he’s been here either…other than him getting sent to the box for embellishment on Saturday night.

Sure it’s only been a handful of games.  But Kase isn’t what I envisioned for a second line right wing.  The pundits seem to love the deal and him in particular, so I guess I’ll have to give it time.  What else can I do?

Ritchie…whatever.  Heinen is gone and that makes his deal an overall plus.  But he’s miscast on the second line, I can tell you that much.

The Bruins needed scoring and they simply didn’t get it.  With Jake DeBrusk in a long funk and the Bruin power play scuffling a bit in recent games, the lack of scoring punch has been exacerbated perhaps.

I suppose nothing will matter if Tuukka plays like he has been for the most part recently…giving up some nice softies.

The Bs will be alright.  But how far “alright” takes a team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen.  At least they didn’t give up any of their highly touted kids.  Though a lot of their most recent highly touted kids haven’t exactly panned out…so there’s that.

Especially if they suffer from the “President’s Trophy Curse.”  Also especially, if the Tampa Bay Lightning are on a mission to avenge the first round sweep last season after winning the President’s Trophy last year and setting records in the process.  With or without Steven Stamkos.

*NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION SOCCER!!!  Started Saturday.  I’m excited!!  Are you??!!

Wait a minute, no I’m not.

And guess what?  They played to a tie in their opener.

Shocker.

*XFL.  Still no interest.

Moving on.

*The Patriots have OTHER free agents besides Tom Brady?

GO FIGURE!!

We kind of went through it all 6 weeks ago or so.  But we will take another look as the onset of free agency is upon us.

It goes without saying that I don’t think anyone really cares about the likes of Phillip Dorsett, Elandon Roberts and Shilique Calhoun.  Or even Danny Shelton, Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner or Justin Bethel.  I’d say the same about Ted Karras.

At least I feel that way.

After Brady, the key four are Joe Thuney, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Devin McCourty.  Love to have them all back.  And I may actually pay Van Noy.  And slightly overpay McCourty for his leadership.

I have a hard time seeing any of that though.  Especially if Brady leaves.  The Pats may let them ALL walk as part of a total rebuild.

Thuney for sure is gone.  He will command huge dollars.  And the Pats already paid their other guard, Shaq Mason, huge dollars.  Even though the offensive line was fairly putrid overall last season, the feeling here is that they can plug in another serviceable guard for a fraction of Thuney’s cost.

I’d be wary of handing Collins another huge contract.  He wanted one the first time around here.  Got dealt for pennies on the dollar.  Then signed a huge deal with Cleveland.  And didn’t seem to make much of an impact.  He was dominant on a cheap contract early last year.  But the competition was weak.  He sort of disappeared as the schedule got tougher.

I really would consider paying Van Noy.  He fits well in the system and has turned into a very good player.  But at 16 mil plus, will the Pats pay him?  I have my doubts.

If anyone gets overpaid, it’s Devin.  But how much is too much?  He was extremely overpaid in his last deal.  He is getting up there in age.  Who is going to open the vault for him?  His leadership is invaluable, but how much is that worth?  His brother Jason is due 5.5 mil, a ton for him.  The Pats are supposed to keep him at that number.  But what if they don’t?

I do feel like Devin and the Pats work something out.  Maybe at the expense of all the other free agents.  But maybe for the leadership, it will be worth it.

That all being said, it still comes down to Brady.  If he walks, this team could possibly look entirely different next season.  Even if Brady stays it will look different.  But it could be drastic if he goes.

Fun times indeed!

*Last but not least, YOUR BOSTON RED SOX!!

Speaking of fun times!!

This honestly will be a whole nutha column upcoming.

But the Chris Sale situation last week was fun, wasn’t it?

Look, I am not a doctor, but the guy is still going to need Tommy John surgery at some point, no?  So why are they messing around?  Just do it, get him recovered and back for…I guess 2022.  He honestly should have had it last year.  All reports seem to indicate that anyway.

Ownership and Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom can call it what they want.  But this year is some sort of bridge year, right?

The offense should still be fine.  But the pitching staff?  Gross.  Especially if Sale eventually is shut down…which EVERYBODY expects.

Eduardo Rodriguez had an awesome year last year.  But would anyone be surprised if he goes something like 13-11, 4.28 this year?  I won’t.

Counting on Nathan Eovaldi to be a key guy?  Not a great idea.

And the nickel and diming the Sox brass just did to Rafael Devers?  In case you missed it, the team “came to an agreement” with all of their pre-arbitration players on contracts.  Like 20 of them or something.

The Sox “renewed” Devers’ contract.

Big difference.

Yes, the Red Sox are completely within their rights to renew contracts when they can’t come to an agreement otherwise.

But to do it to one of your best players?  Stupid.

If Raffy was asking for 10 million this year, ok.  But I am betting he wasn’t.  Probably more than the almost 700k he got.  But seeing as how all these players have to kind of “pay their dues” before they get PAID, I am betting it wasn’t an outrageous ask.  Something should have been able to have been worked out with his agent.

Again, stupid.  Great way to alienate your players.

Just ask Mookie Betts.

Just like Betts, and especially if he keeps trending up, Devers is going to remember this one.

Guaranteed.

Again, more on the Sox coming up.

But who is excited about the upcoming season?

Not many, I am afraid…

Pure Unadulterated Gibberish…

…some more random crap as I find the time to write something lucid…

*Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady, TOM F’NG BRADY!!!!

Had enough yet?

As I noted last time, yes I sure have.  February is typically a slow sports month and Brady coverage during that time was everywhere.  Heading into March…no change.

I said, “wake me up in a few weeks”.  And it’s almost time.  The NFL CBA will be presumably ratified on March 12.  Then get ready for even more rampant rumors.

The rumors thus far?  Fun.  But how seriously do we take them?  Tampa, Miami and Indy?  Not seriously.  LA Chargers and Vegas Raiders?  Somewhat.  Dallas?  Intriguing…obviously depends on how the Dak Prescott negotiations/franchise tagging goes.  Tennessee?  Perhaps real…but the latest is that the Titans are using Brady to leverage Ryan Tannehill in their negotiations.  Brady won’t be happy with Mike Vrabel if that is true.  San Fran?  Hmmmmmm…GREAT speculation about Tom going home to the team he rooted for growing up.  And Billy Belichick getting Jimmy Football back.  I deem this extremely unlikely, however.

Pats?  Seems like the most realistic option still, to be honest.  They won’t offer even close to the most money if it comes to that.  That’s a no doubter.  But I think a lot of us think it’s hard to believe that Brady goes to a new organization and has to learn a new offense, or at least new teammates and tendencies and all that if Brady gets to “bring his offense with him”.  Probably be forced to go to all offseason activities, when he has avoided every one of these other than the mandatory ones in recent years here.  Plus, when push comes to shove, will Brady have the stones to leave?  Will Bill actually let him leave, also when push comes to shove?  Also, more importantly, will owner Robert Kraft let him leave?  That’s ALWAYS the wild card.

Nothing would shock me at this point.  I think Bill would let him go.  Robert?  Not so sure?  Brady?  He may just want the love and attention in his first foray into unrestricted free agency.  And in the end, he comes back to NE.  I wouldn’t rule that out at all.  That actually may be the leader in the clubhouse at this point.

Again, crazy enough, I don’t even care either way.  I am not going to worry about a 43 year old quarterback, even though it will be weird (sad?) seeing him in a different uniform.  But I root for the laundry overall, so I will root for the players that wear the laundry (See:  Betts, Mookie).  I will not wish for Brady to fail if he departs, let me get this straight.  I am extremely grateful that arguably the best player of all time played 20 years in New England.  But my allegiances are with the Patriots, not Brady himself, despite all the success he has led us to.  I suppose the six rings have influenced me a bit in my thinking.    But wouldn’t they for most people?

Since Brady is the biggest chip on the free agent market, even at his advanced age, he should be among the first dominos to fall…at least among the QBs.  8 days until the official tampering period starts.  10 until the gates officially open for business.

At this point, my interest is about back to being all in.  Can’t wait.

*All the above being said with being ok with Brady leaving, I’m pumping the brakes on former NFL third stringer Jordan Palmer coming out this week and saying current Pats backup Jarrett Stidham is going to be “a stud”.  And for all of us to “jump on that bandwagon”.

Yup.

More intrigue.

I would have liked to have seen Stidham more last year in a real game.  Looked like he had potential from his performance in the preseason (from whatever real stuff we can actually take from preseason action).  But, let’s hold off on those kinds of bold predictions…for now anyway.

Though Brady didn’t play much his first season either…just sayin’…

*Looks like Kyrie Irving wanted a new coach.

Kenny Atkinson and the Brooklyn Nets “mutually agreed to part ways” the other day.  Kind of out of nowhere.  Atkinson was probably not a Hall of Fame coach.  But coached a couple of bad teams before getting the Nets into the playoffs in his third year.  Not to mention had a hand in developing players such as Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen during his tenure.

Sure, they were a smidge under .500 this year.  But they were also missing Irving for most of the season and Kevin Durant for the whole season.  Those two, in combination with the aforementioned four and others, would help vault you into competition, no?

So Atkinson gets the gate before he presumably would be able to see all that come to fruition next season.

Then when listening to GM Sean Marks’ rambling comments about “it was mutual between me and Kenny”, “the players had nothing to do with it”, “I would have loved for Kenny to coach Durant and Irving and all these guys” and all that nonsense…all it did was tell me that at least some players didn’t want him there.  And, as always, the finger naturally points to Irving.  And some reports are coming out that Kyrie prefers Tyronn Lue to coach the team.  Big surprise.

I don’t know if Atkinson can coach or not.  But this one completely feels like it has Irving’s fingerprints all over it.  And it again reminds me that I am so glad Kyrie is out of my town.

*Speaking of “my” town and the Nets, that overtime lineup Brad Stevens used against Brooklyn last week was awesome, right?!

In all fairness, Brad had his hands tied a bit…ok, actually, a LOT.  Jayson Tatum didn’t play because of illness.  Kemba Walker was just back from injury and was on a minutes limit.  Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward got hurt during the game and were unavailable.  And Marcus Smart took a couple of dumb fouls at the end of regulation and the beginning of OT and as a result fouled out of the ballgame.

There shouldn’t have even been overtime.  Smart fouling a dude on a three pointer with 0.2 seconds left was just colossally stupid.  As much as I love what Smart brings to the table each game, he still does stupid stuff like this, pushes refs, flops and takes waaaaay too many shots.  I guess we have to just deal with it.  In any event, it wasn’t all his fault, as the 51 points allowed in the fourth quarter and the blown 21 point lead was simply atrocious work by the team overall.

So, back to the OT lineup.  Daniel Theis, Carsen Edwards, Brad Wanamaker, Semi Ojeleye and Javonte Green were your guys.  At least that is what I recall since I don’t even want to go back and confirm it was specifically all of them.

As much as I love myself some Danny Theis, this unit may have trouble beating an over-50 team at the local YMCA.

Hyperbole, I know.  But you get my point.

There needed to be some veteran depth bench moves made by GM Danny Ainge at the trade deadline a ways back.  And he didn’t get it done.  We’ve written about that.  But this just proves it.

As well as that Friday night atrocity against the Utah Jazz at home.  No Brown or Gordo.  And limited Kemba.  But when you are forced to throw Wanamaker out there in crunch time and watch him throw up wide open bricks, including an airball, then you should know you have a problem.

Wanamaker was something like -25 in 26 minutes.  That’s hard to do on a good team.

Sure, once everyone is healthy, the C’s should be competitive.  But not enough for a championship, in my opinion.

I am beginning to think that Ainge and Stevens knew this.  And didn’t want to overpay for anyone at the deadline.  See which, if any, of the kids pan out, see if Gordo opts out after this season…then make appropriate moves over the summer to form a REAL contender.

Wouldn’t make them bad guys or even wrong.

But frustrating, nonetheless…

A Little Bit Of Everything…

Tying up the rest of the loose ends:

*Boston Bruins.  So the NHL trade deadline is rapidly approaching.  Some trades have already happened.  But things should head toward fast and furious in the coming days.

What will the Bruins do?

Last season, GM Don Sweeney went out and got Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson, which admittedly was more than I thought he would do.  I mean, it wasn’t like getting Jon Michael Liles and Lee Stempniak, like he did one year.  You can argue the merits of handing Coyle a 6 year extension for huge bucks this season.  But the moves from last year worked out pretty well, I think we can say.

Unfortunately for Donnie Hockey, that hole on the right wing of David Krejci (and Jake DeBrusk) still exists.  Seems like it has existed for years.  And I guess it has…other than the Johansson stint.

In my opinion, that’s almost the only move to make.  The “Perfection Line” of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak is all set.  Wait, I still need to know where that moniker came from.  No one but people on the NHL Network seems to call them that.  I don’t ever remember hearing that nickname until the playoffs last spring.  Mostly out of Doc Emrick’s mouth.  Annoying…but whatever…

The gaggle of third and fourth liners the Bs have would probably suffice.  Coyle/Anders Bjork is a fine start to the third line.  Sean Kuraly/Par Lindholm/Chris Wagner/Joakim Nordstrom/Anyone is certainly acceptable as a fourth line.

Karson Kuhlman may very well be an NHL player.  But I am beginning to think that isn’t this year.  And I am totally done with the Danton Heinen Experiment.  On any line.

If you added some beef to the bottom six and a somewhat of a scoring RW to the second line, I think we are good.

Wait…defense anyone?  I am not sure they need it.  Well, no one will stop any kind of upgrade attempt of course.  But I think the 2nd line guy is more important.  The 9-10 guys in the mix now on D would seem to work.  Perhaps Jeremy Lauzon is the real deal.  Or perhaps he is being showcased for a trade.  He did just sign a cheap extension after all.  And you ain’t getting rid of that John Moore contract.

But if they stood pat on D, I actually wouldn’t mind.

Who to give up?  Anyone!  Maybe Sweens can soak someone into taking Heinen.  Or even better, “The Player Formerly Known As David Backes”.

Ummmmm…yeah, I know those ain’t happening.

But the time is now to make another run.  Patrice, Marchy, Z, Krejci, Tuuks, etc aren’t getting any younger.  As much as I would like to hang on to guys like Bjork, Kuhlman and Jack Studnicka and hope they develop, if the package is right, Donnie has to consider dealing those guys.

After all, guys like JFK, Peter Cehlarik, Trent Frederic, Zach Senyshyn, Jakob Zboril, Anton Blidh, etc. have or will ever make it.  And those are “kids” that Sweeney had high hopes for.  Among many others.  So who is to say the likes of Kuhlman will either?

*Tom Brady.  Everyone sick of this talk yet?  Still a month away from free agency.  It will be an absolutely fascinating process once things start going down.  But I’m a little exhausted from it all at this point.

How much more can we talk about it?  Hasn’t every angle been covered thus far?

Is there really any NEW news?  Or just idiots like me speculating?  I say it’s the latter.

Wake me up on this one in a few weeks…

*Dustin Pedroia.  I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again:  PLEASE GO AWAY!!

The guy was a good player for a long time for the Boston Red Sox.  But he seems to be the only one that doesn’t realize that his career is over.  We keep hearing he has setback after setback.  And how he needs to “regroup and consider his options”.  We hear it seemingly hear it every day.  And will through Spring Training, most assuredly.

I appreciate his zeal to get back and play the game.  But that ship has sailed.

If it’s all about getting the 25 mil plus left on his deal, well that is all guaranteed, so he’s going to get it anyway.

Step aside Dustin.  It’s long past time.

*Kobe.  His death was certainly tragic.  As was his daughters’.  But so were the deaths of the other seven on board that helicopter.  I think the general public loses sight of that waaaaaaaaay too many times when it comes to celebrities.  But I am never going to win that fight, ssssssooooo…

As my man Colby recently posted, along with most assuredly several others, a little bit of a cloud still kind of hung over him as his career went on.  Yes, the rape accusations were 17 years ago.  But it’s funny how that all played out.  Charges dropped, case dismissed, civil suit being settled, Kobe buying his wife like a 4 million dollar ring while this was all going on…and everything else…how soon we all forget.

Listen.  There’s no argument about Kobe’s basketball ability and the fact he was one of the greatest of all time.  He also may have remade himself into a quality person as he got older.  Maybe he was a quality person all along but made at least that one mistake.  I don’t know.  I never knew the guy personally.

But that’s my problem with putting all these athletes and celebrities on a pedestal.  No one knows “how great a guy” that any of these people are.  Am I supposed to take other athletes’ or performers’ words for it?  Who knows about those people either?

Recognize his greatness in the sport.  But let’s not get carried away with some of the nonsense that has been spilling out about him “in tribute”.

That’s all I am saying.

*XFL.  There’s been a request to comment on this.  So here goes:

I have watched very little of the first two weeks.  But what I have seen is a lot of disorganization across the board.  Officials, coaches, players, etc.  And I haven’t exactly seen great football either.

That’s not much of an analysis.  And since I’ve only seen a fraction, it may be totally erroneous.

One thing is for sure though:  If teams are already firing coaches and team captains after the first week of games, that has to raise a red flag.  ONE GAME?  A little hard to believe.

Maybe Vince McMahon sent down the orders.  That’s a little scary to think about, no?

In any event, despite the Blowhards’ love for the game of football, we really haven’t been inspired to watch much of it.  That seems like a problem for the league if we aren’t the only ones.

I could probably sum up the lack of desire in two words:  “Matt McGloin”.

‘Nuff said.

*Super Bowl.  As we all know by now, the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl and Jimmy Garoppolo peed his pants in the 4th quarter of the game.  Does that mean that Jimmy Football now sucks and that he isn’t considered a franchise quarterback anymore?  I don’t have the answer to that as of yet.

What I do know is that if your coach does not trust you to with plenty of time left to move down the field at the end of the first half, then that could be a problem.

So maybe the jury is still out on Jimmy G?

No need to comment further as the game was over two weeks ago and I suppose we are all on to the XFL.  And…I passed on watching the halftime show and most of the commercials.  So I don’t have any intelligent analysis there.

I really just needed a few words on the game to wrap up the picks portion of the season.  As poor as they were, we still have to recap, right?

Week (against the spread):  1-0

Week (straight up):  1-0

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  10-7

Season (against the spread):  136-131

Season (straight up):  171-96

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