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Rob Gronkowski looked like his old self as he dragged defenders with him on this 46-yard touchdown on Sunday vs. the Bears. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Games like Sunday against the Bears highlight just how different the Patriots are than the rest of the NFL. Four weeks ago the Patriots suffered an absolutely embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs. The media basically wrote off Bill Belichick and Tom Brady as washed up and said it was time to move on. Fast forward four weeks the Patriots haven’t lost a game since then and have posted scores of 43, 37, 27, and 51 while Tom Brady has thrown 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Meanwhile the Bears suffered their third loss at home last week, and there were reports of locker room dysfunction. Instead of coming out and shutting the critics up, the Bears collapsed against the measuring stick of the NFL.

- In case you were wondering, Tom Brady is far from washed up. Yesterday he completed 30-of-35 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns. He very well could have gone 34-for-35 since three of those were drops by Julian Edelman (2) and Shane Vereen (1) on very catchable passes. The other was a throw away. It’s funny there don’t seem to be too many people claiming he’s washed up and calling for Jimmy Garoppolo to claim the throne. Maybe, just maybe the media is finally realizing that this is how Belichick, Brady, and the Patriots operate. They treat September and October as extended pre-season to gear up for November through January. It’s crazy they continually get criticized even though they’re one of the very few teams you can pencil into a playoff spot every single season.

Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 8: Brady, Gronk Dominate Bears in 51-23 Patriots Win »

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Zdeno Chara, Dougie Hamilton

The Bruins received some bad news earlier this week as future Hall of Fame defensemen and team captain Zdeno Chara was declared out for 4-6 weeks with a Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) injury in his left knee. Since signing with the Bruins in 2006, Chara has only missed 15 games and has proven himself to be one of the most important players in team history. He is one of the centerpieces around which the front office has built two Eastern Conference championship teams and a squad that raised the Stanley Cup in 2011. He is a leader both on and off the ice and has been the driving forces behind the resurgence of hockey in Boston.

Chara averages 25 minutes of ice time a game and is routinely tasked with playing against an opponent’s best line. He also logs time on the power play and penalty kill, the mark of a truly great player. His slap shot has set world records and his presence alone has made some of the most skilled players in the game skate the other way. No one can replace him and the Bruins are clearly worse off without him but if he can come back fully healthy, the six week break could help him and the Bruins in the long run.

The past two playoff runs have showed Chara battle minor injuries and fatigue and not be the same force he usually is during the regular season and during previous post seasons. In the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against Chicago, Chara was a -5 rating including a -1 rating in the crushing series ending loss in game six. In the 2014 second round against Montreal he was a +4. However, that positive rating was inflated as he was a +1 in game one and a +5 in game two of the series. In the final five games, he was an even rating three times and a -1 on two occasions. Continue reading Why Six Weeks Off For Zdeno Chara Could Help the Bruins in the Long Haul »

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Seth Griffith Proving Worth for Bruins

October 27, 2014 at 9:00am in Boston, Bruins
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Entering the 2014-15 season, one of the biggest question marks on the Bruins roster was who would play right wing on the Milan Lucic/ David Krejci line. Loui Eriksson and Matt Fraser were early candidates but through two weeks another player has emerged to fill that role: Seth Griffith. The 21 year old is five games into his first NHL season and has one goal and one assist with an even rating thus far.

When asked about his adjustment to the NHL Griffith noted, “We’re starting to gain a little chemistry going, so that’s good to see. But, you know, it’s not too hard playing with two great players.”

Griffith is attempting to fill big shoes playing in a spot in which Jarome Iginla scored 30 goals last season. The Bruins are hoping that Griffith is the answer and he can present a different match up than Iginla. He is not as physical as Iginla at 5’9” and 192 pounds but he brings a speed element on the wing that was not a part of Boston’s top line last season. He is adept at moving the puck and has shown good instincts in the defensive end. Griffith also has not allowed playing with two stars to affect his game or make him timid, which is something that can be common among young players. Lucic and Krejci are both just getting back to full speed after injuries affect their early season availability and play. As they get more comfortable playing and being on a line with Griffith, the top line could become a formidable one. Lucic and Krejci are both on multi-game point streaks and Griffith recorded his first NHL goal against San Jose on October 21.

The Bruins still have some other potential options whether it is in house (Eriksson, Fraser) or through a trade. There have been reports that Boston has interest in young Edmonton Oilers star Jordan Eberle to play as a top six right wing. Boston will likely make a decision on what direction to go at right wing in the next few weeks. In the meantime, Griffith is making his case to be the answer for the Bruins.

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1. Patriots:

MISC

* You know it’s an announcer that doesn’t have the Patriots much when he says “Brady has so many weapons.”

* Lot of empty seats at kickoff and many of them got a quick jump on halftime actually missed two touchdowns

* Like Chara too much of Gronk in October doesn’t bode well for playoff time

* Surprised no one from Cambridge is petitioning the State House for stricter gun laws with all the musket fire in Foxboro

OFFENSE

* Pats scored on their first drive again Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Brady Throws A Bunch »

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Oscar Taveras

Cardinals top prospect and outfielder Oscar Taveras, 22, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic. His girlfriend was in the car with him and also died in the accident.

The accident occurred in Puerto Plata in the D.R.

Taveras was seen as a rising star in the major leagues. Continue reading Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras Killed in Car Crash »

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102614_Pats

Coming into Foxboro, Chicago found themselves thoroughly outmatched, never quite able to get things going. By the time the Bears really started showing any signs of life, it was far too late, and in the end, they were on the wrong end of a 51-23 loss to New England.

An offensive holding call on the opening drive really killed off the momentum Chicago was starting to build up, and since they were fairly deep in their own zone, New England was able to get great field position to start their day, beginning at their own 45. In no time at all, New England marched down the field and took the lead with a touchdown throw to Rob Gronkowski. The Bears had some encouragement on New England’s next drive after the Patriots found themselves with a 1st-and-goal from the two, then 2nd-and-goal from the one, but Chicago held them back.
Continue reading Offense Leads Way For Patriots In Blowout of Bears »

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Jon Hilliman (Jeremy Brevard/USA Today Sports)

Boston College, 23; Wake Forest, 17

Boston College improved to 3-0 on the road this season with a six-point win over Wake Forest (2-6) at BB&T Field. The Eagles looked like they were going to cruise early, but ended up having to stave off the Demon Deacons’ comeback bid.

Alex Howell got BC on the board with a 30-yard field goal to cap off an opening drive that took up more than half of the first quarter. On the last play of the period, running back Jon Hilliman gave the Eagles a 10-0 lead with a 33-yard touchdown run. Hilliman scored again late in the second, carrying it into the end zone from one yard out for a 17-0 halftime advantage. Continue reading College Football Week 9 Roundup: BC Holds off Wake, UMass Comes up Short »

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