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Mike Shalin's Working Press: Bruins can continue to think big

BY MIKE SHALIN
March 23. 2018 11:27AM
Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo and center Sean Kuraly congratulate each other as they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Amalie Arena. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)



They were missing Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron, Jake DeBrusk and David Backes — and the Bruins appeared to run out of gas in St. Louis Wednesday night.

For the second straight game, they settled for an overtime loss, but the two points kept the dream of first place alive.

Heading into play Thursday night, the Bruins trailed the Lightning by four points and had a game in hand. They also have two games left against Tampa Bay, which played in Brooklyn Thursday.

The B’s actually need to avoid a tie-breaker with the Lightning because they had five fewer wins than Tampa.

Since Bergeron went down, the Bruins are 8-2-2. But they are just 2-2-2 in the last six.

Ryan Donato, playing his second game as a pro, scored the only goal Wednesday and is the first Bruins player since Barry Pederson in 1980 with four points in his first two games.

Hosmer disappointed

Deven Marrero told Chris Smith of MassLive that his buddy, Eric Hosmer, who wound up signing with the Padres, was surprised the Sox didn’t pursue him.

“He obviously wanted to play for a contender,” Marrero said. “That’s what everybody wants to do. And play for this great city, this great organization, which has a winning tradition. I mean, he would have loved to be here just like everyone else, for sure.”

It’s early, but it says here Hanley Ramirez will have a good year and will get the 495 plate appearances he needs to guarantee next year’s $22 million. Let’s not forget how good this guy has been in the past.

Twitter thoughts

Marc Savard weighed in on his former team:

“My @NHLBruins playoff starting lineup if everyone is healthy? 1) Marchy Bergy Pasta, 2) Donato Krecji Nash, 3) Heinen Nash Backes, 4) DeBrusk Kuraly Gionta, 1) Chara McAvoy, 2) Krug Miller, 3) Gryzelcyk McQuaid, 1) Tuukka”

From Dave Laurila of Fangraphs: “In his last four full seasons, Shoeless Joe Jackson hit 72 triples and struck out 74 times.”

From Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com: “Current Patriots wide receivers under contract: Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, Matthew Slater, Riley McCarron, Cody Hollister. Not sure how all this will work.”

From Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram after Tuesday night’s game at TD Garden: “Russell Westbrook made the media wait for about an hour and 15 minutes after the game before he spoke to them and he was upset with a team PR official for making him do it. Then he basically said nothing for a minute and 10 seconds while wearing a puffy silver jacket with a hood.”

College jottings

E.C. Matthews won 91 games playing for Dan Hurley at URI. And having been raised without a dad, Matthews, embracing his coach after the loss to Duke, said, “This is my guy. I know we’re not the same color, but he’s definitely my father. Just trying to walk off the court the right way.”

Thursday, Hurley became the new coach at UConn.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton has a theory on all the upsets in this year’s Dance. “I think what you see happening in college basketball, it’s almost like a revolution,” Hamilton said after his ninth-seeded Seminoles tripped up top-seeded Xavier to advance to the Sweet 16. “What happens is, you start categorizing people by the reputation that their players get going into college. But in reality, kids are playing basketball all over the country and teams are getting better.

“Just because maybe they might not be in one particular conference or maybe they’re not considered to be one of the more traditional rich schools, people are playing basketball. … “I don’t think at this level you can really call them ‘upsets.’”

I’m not telling you this story because it’s my alma mater, but here’s what Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall did this week. Four-star recruit Alex Lomax, who had committed to Wichita State, played for former NBA star Penny Hardaway at a Memphis high school and Hardaway just got the Memphis college job. The kid wanted to play for Hardaway and Marshall could have held up the process, could have made the kid sit out a year because he was going to a conference foe. Marshall let Lomax go.

“I have a lot of respect for Alex Lomax and his family,” Marshall said in a statement. “When they chose Wichita State in the fall, over several other very nice offers, my staff and I were honored. Obviously, we take commitments to the Shocker program very seriously, but this is a very unique situation where a young man’s mentor and coach since the fifth grade has become a Division I head coach. Allowing him out of his NLOI without any kind of penalty is the right thing to do at this time.”

Hard feelings

Ray Allen has a book coming out and in the book, released next week, says the Celtics would have had Chris Paul in 2014 but that Doc Rivers didn’t want to foist Rondo on his good friend, then New Orleans coach Monte Williams. “He just wants attention,” Rondo told the Boston Globe. “I need actually some sales from (the book). (The) only (publicity) it’s been getting is from my name. I need some percentage or something. His people contact my people or something. The only pub I’ve been hearing about is when he mentions my name.”

The two weren’t great pals as teammates and count me among those who thought Rondo was the reason Allen left.

“Obviously that man is hurting,” Rondo said. “I don’t know if it’s financially, I don’t know if it’s mentally. He wants to stay relevant. I am who I am. I don’t try to be something I’m not. I can’t say the same for him. He’s looking for attention. I’m a better human being than that. I take accountability for my actions.”

LeBron James showed there might be some life left in the Cavaliers after all. Wednesday night, he had 17 assists and zero turnovers as the Cavs rallied from behind to beat the Toronto Raptors. Oh, and he also had 25 points and seven rebounds.

Dwight Howard became the second NBA player since 1981 with a 30/30 game Wednesday, with 32 points and 30 rebounds — and also earned a one-game suspension for his 16th technical of the season. Kevin Love was the last guy to do 30/30, in 2010.

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com.


Sports columns Patriots/NFL Red Sox/MLB Celtics/NBA Bruins/NHL