How They Match Up

It’s no secret that the Blackhawks were the best team in the NHL during the regular season. I mean, they didn’t lose for the first 24 games of the season. They didn’t fall off much after that, losing only 7 games the rest of the season. The playoffs are a lot closer, though. The last time we played the Hawks was almost two years ago when we beat them in a shootout during the regular season. That is hardly an indication of what’s to come. Many writers and analysts have already said that this could be one of the best Cup Finals in a long, long time. Both teams have won the Cup in the past 3 seasons. Here is how the match up:

REGULAR Season Bruins Blackhawks
Wins 28 36
Losses 14 7
Points 62 77
Goals Scored 131 155
Goals Against 109 102

And now for the playoffs:

Postseason Bruins Blackhawks
Wins 12 12
Losses 4 5
Points For per Game 3.1 2.8
Points Allowed per Game 1.9 1.9
Home Record 7-2 9-1
Road Record 5-2 3-4

What do you think will happen in the series?

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Looking to the Elder

I’d love to let you know that the Bruins won last Friday and are going to the Stanley Cup Finals, but if you don’t already know that somehow, you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog in the first place.  This article is about Jaromir Jagr. For someone who has scored download681 goals in his career, he has really decided to buy into his role with the Bruins. At age 41, the guy has become a solid set-up man and a great defensive forward. Not to mention we got him because Iginla chose the Penguins over us… But now he’s golfing.

Jagr has only had two goals since signing with the B’s, but has 7 assists in the playoffs. He has been playing with Bergeron and Marchand too, so he has been a critical line throughout the postseason.  Jagr’s tenacity was one of the main reasons why we won game 3 in double overtime. He dug out the puck and stole it from Malkin before giving it to Marchy who slid it across to Bergy for the winner.  All of the Bruins can’t say enough about the veteran. They love his work ethic and how much better he tries to get each and every day.

Former Bruins player and champion Mark Recchi and Jagr raised their first Stanley Cup in Pittsburg in the 1990-91 season. Recchi still praises his old friend. This is the first time that Jagr has reached the finals since the 1992 Stanley Cup.

Goaltenders Equal?

I read an interesting article on ESPN earlier about the difference between the way Tuuka Rask is playing during the playoffs this season and the way that Tim Thomas did two years ago when we won the cup. Thomas won the Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe that season and was clearly the leading factor in why we brought the cup back to Boston. He was phenomenal. But now he left us and we needed to fill those shoes. Tuuka is a lot younger and doing just that.bruins-thomas-and-rask

Through the first 13 games of each year’s playoffs (2011 and 2013), their records are identical, 9 wins, 4 losses. However, and much to my surprise, Tuuka’s numbers are better. Maybe it’s just because Thomas did it first, and now we just expect it from everyone, but I would have thought it would be the other way around. Rask has allowed 2.10 Goals per game and sported a .933 save percentage. Thomas allowed 2.39 Goals and had a .927 save percentage.

Granted, Thomas was a lot more interesting to watch because he would fly out of nowhere and make the save, whereas Rask is typically in the right place. Except when he leaves his net and goes out 10 feet. But either way, we are going to need him to keep playing this well if we want to bring home another cup. Go Bruins!

LeBron MVP

Well the Celtics season is over after a heart-breaking loss on Friday to the cocky and arrogant, New York Knicks. The next few months will really show where this organization is headed with the decisions they face with KG and Paul Pierce. However, this story is not about that. Lebron James won his 4th MVP this weekend. He became the second player to get 120 of 121 possible first place votes. Shaq did it 13 years ago. The lone voter, who decided to back Carmelo Anthony instead, was the Boston imagesGlobe’s Gary Washburn.

To me, this is ridiculous. I know everyone in Boston hates LeBron, but the main reason why he wasn’t unanimous, was because everyone thought he would be. Just so happens that it was a guy from Massachusetts to snub him. We all know that he is the best player in the league and by far the most efficient. If he took as many shots as Melo, he would be the leading scorer, but he is more than that, clearly. Plus, Melo sucked against us during the last 3 games of the series and I really thought we had a chance to steal it from those scumbags.

Kevin Garnett did receive one vote for MVP, but not a first place one. This was enough to tie him for 12th in the balloting.

Celtics Playoff Preview

The Celtics begin their playoff series against the New York Knicks on Saturday at 3 P.M. at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks were real hot at the end of the season, winning 16 out of their last 18 games and clinching the Atlantic Conference for the first time in a long time. The Celtics, however, only won 4 out of their last 10 games. But if last year tells us anything, it’s that this team is built for the playoffs.

The following stats were taken from ESPN.com:

  Knicks Celtics
PPG 100 96.5
RPG 40.6 39.3
APG 19.3 22.8
FG % 0.448 0.465
FT % 0.759 0.776
3P % 0.376 0.358

I do not want to count the Celtics out, even if the Knicks have been playing extremely well, but if the C’s want to take this one, I am willing to bet that it’s going to go 6 or 7 games. Is this team built for that? The Knicks have many dangerous weapons, especially the scoring 1champion of the regular season—Carmelo Anthony. He is averaging nearly 29 PPG. They also have 5 others that average in double-digits, including J.R. Smith who is averaging 18.1 PPG and hasn’t started a game all season. Tyson Chandler is their big defensive presence who can out rebound us consistently, and Amar’e and Felton who can put home 12-18 points on any given night.

The Celtics were led once again by Captain Paul Pierce. Pierce had another great season averaging 18.6 PPG and logging over 33 minutes per contest. Jeff Green has really stepped up ever since he dropped 43 against the Heat. He also put in 34 against the Pistons, and over 20 in many other games. KG is still solid with his mid-range jumper and if he can stay healthy, he should be able to help with his 7.8 Rebounds per game. Avery Bradley has been off for about a month, but still tenacious on defense, and we need him to keep that up. The Knicks can shoot so we need to make sure that we are pressuring the ball enough to make sure they don’t feel comfortable. Let’s go Celtics!I do not want to count the Celtics out, even if the Knicks have been playing extremely well, but if the C’s want to take this one, I am willing to bet that it’s going to go 6 or 7 games. Is this team built for that?

The Knicks have many dangerous weapons, especially the scoring champion of the regular season—Carmelo Anthony. He is averaging nearly 29 PPG. They also have 5 others that average in double-digits, including J.R. Smith who is averaging 18.1 PPG and hasn’t started a game all season. Tyson Chandler is their big defensive presence who can out rebound us consistently, and Amar’e and Felton who can put home 12-18 points on any given night.

NBA: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks

Playoff Predictor: Broncos vs Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVII

The 2012 NFL PLayoffs are set and with the Wild Card round starting this Saturday, here’s a breakdown of the match-ups and my Bold predictions:

 

AFC Wild Card: Houston Texans vs Cincinnati Bengals Saturday at 4:30pm

Houston (12-4) will probably feel a sense of Deja Vu as they play the Bengals (10-6) on Saturday as the two tangoed in last years playoffs. The game marked the first time the Texans had made the playoffs resulting in a 31-10 drubbing of Cincy.

Houston Playmakers RB Arian Foster, DE J.J. Watt and WR Andre Johnson were keys to victory against the Bengals last year and will be relied on again come Saturday. Also the Texans will have starter Matt Schaub this year (Schaub was injured last season late).

For Cincinnati, second year studs QB Andy Dalton and WR A.J. Green will be the X factors for Cincy on Saturday. Also, to the Bengals credit, their defense has been solid all season finishing the year with the 7th best passing defense (212.5 yards per game) and the 12th best rushing defense (102.5 yards per game).

Prediction: I foresee a more competitive contest between these two teams in this go-around. The game will ultimately come down to turnovers. Andy Dalton threw 3 interceptions in last years wild card game. The Texans committed no turnovers. I have the Texans winning 21 to 17 over the Bengals.

Baltimore Ravens vs Indianapolis Colts Sunday at 1:00pm

The Ravens (10-6) will take on the surprising Colts (11-5) in a game that will be high with emotions on both sidelines. The Ravens were a few different play calls away from making it to the Super Bowl last year, and went on a campaign to prove themselves this year in the AFC (though they slowed down at seasons end). The Colts came into this season with little to no expectations at all. A rookie quarterback leading a team that went 2-14 the season before didn’t exactly add up to a winning season. However, Andrew Luck and Co. fought their way into the post-season game by game. Not to mention doing so while watching their head coach, Chuck Pagano, battle Leukemia .

The Ravens will be led by QB Joe Flacco and RB Ray Rice as they’ll attempt to mix their power running game and passing attacks together to try and overwhelm Indy’s defensive schemes.

The Colts will no doubt rely heavily on the shoulders of potential Rookie Of the Year winner Andrew Luck. Luck broke Cam Newtons rookie record for passing yards in a single season finishing with 4,374 yards.

Prediction: I see the Baltimore Ravens winning this contest, but not without a fight from Indy. While the Ravens defense hasn’t been up to snuff with the loss of Ray Lewis and Co. I still believe the Ravens have the upper hand in this one. Luck and the Colts have had a phenomenal season, no doubt about it, but I believe the magic ends this Sunday as Luck cracks under the pressures of post-season play. Ravens win 28-13.

NFC Wild Card: Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings Saturday at 8:00pm

The Packers (11-5) were stunned by the New York Giants in last years NFC Divisional Round and have an opportunity in this years post-season to prove their still as good as they were when they won it all in 2011. The Minnesota Vikings were similar to the Indianapolis Colts this year in the sense that they weren’t expected to make the playoffs. With second year QB Christian Ponder at the helm, and Adrian Peterson coming back from a knee injury, Minnesota had a few questions marks to say the least. Well, Adrian “All Day” Peterson had a response…run…a lot. Led by Adrian Peterson’ stunning season, becoming only the 7th NFL rusher to reach 2,000 yards (he finished with 2,097 yards), the Vikes find themselves in the post-season.

Green Bay will no doubt be led by the likes of QB Aaron Rodgers, LB Clay Matthews, and WR Greg Jennings, etc. The Packers started shaky at 2-2 but finished strong going 10-2 to close out the season.

The Vikings will no surprise call an number 28 to once again carry the load and the team on his shoulders in this one. The Vikes could stand a chance in this one seeing as they did beat Green Bay to close out the season 37-34. This one, however, I have going to Green Bay with the Packers winning 21-7.

Seattle Seahawks vs Washington Redskins Sunday at 4:30pm

The Seahawks (11-5) and the Redskins (10-6) are nearly mirror images of one another. Both teams sport sensational rookie QB’s in Seattle’ Russell Wilson and Washington’ Robert Griffin III. Both teams are in the top 5 in the NFL for rushing yards per game, Washington leading the league with 169.3yds and Seattle in 3rd with 161.2yds. The only edge Washington has over Seattle is that the Skins made the playoffs by winning the NFC East division in a season finale this past Sunday over the Dallas Cowboys.

Despite both teams having play-makers on both sides of the ball, this games outcome will be determined by the play of two men. The performances by Seattle’ Russell Wilson and Washington’ Robert Griffin III will decide who moves on and who goes home.

I predict a shootout in this one with both rookie QB’s trading punches all game long. I have Seattle edging out Washington 31-28.

Divisional Rounds and Super Bowl Pick:

The Denver Broncos and New England Patriots earned a first round bye, same for the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers. Both the Broncos and Falcons earned home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. With the picks I made above the Broncos would play the Ravens with the Patriots playing the Texans in the AFC. In the NFC, based on my picks, the Falcons would play the Seahawks and the 49ers would play the Packers.

My Picks:

I have the divisional rounds and championship rounds going down something like this:

Patriots vs Texans: The Pats send Matt Schaub and the Texans home as they win 24-14 in style led by Tom Brady and Co.

Ravens vs Broncos: Peyton Manning and the Broncos make it look easy in Mile High Denver as they beat Baltimore 28-14.

AFC Championship Broncos vs Patriots: Peyton Manning gets the better of Tom Brady and leaves New England fans heart broken as Denver wins it at Mile High by a score of 24-21.

Falcons vs Seahawks: In an absolute shocker, I have the Seahawks upsetting the Dirty Birds as Russell Wilson and Seattle find a way to keep Matt Ryan and Atlanta at bay winning 17-14.

Packers vs 49ers: The Colin Kaepernick show continues, with help from the defense and a solid rushing performance by Frank Gore, as San Fran sends Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers packing with a final score of 28-24.

NFC Championship 49ers vs Seahawks: In an NFC West battle for the ages I have the Seattle Seahawks pulling off another upset and catapulting themselves into their first super bowl appearance since 2006. The Seahawks recently walloped the 49ers back in week 16 42-13 and split the season series 1-1 with a 13-6 loss to San Fran in week 7. It could happen.

Super Bowl XLVII Broncos vs Seahawks: Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos win the franchises first Super Bowl since 1998 (The Denver Broncos had home-field advantage in 1998 also) as Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks heroics aren’t enough with Denver winning 31-21. Manning wins Super Bowl MVP.

Final Thoughts: I want to here from NFL fans and Pats fans on this one. Can the Patriots win their first Super Bowl since 2005? How do you see the playoffs panning out? Leave a comment below.

Oh Hey, Sox-Yanks Game

As much as I’ve been trying to pretend it’s offseason for the Sox, it’s hard to ignore completely when the Yanks are in town. ESPN and sports analysts have been talking about the expected lack of interest in the Red Sox-Yankees game tonight at Fenway for the obvious reason being that the Sox aren’t in the picture. Earlier today there were a couple thousand or so tickets still available on StubHub starting at just $17, an unheard of price for a game against even the worst of teams. On the other hand, they’ve also brought up how the Sox could play spoiler to the recently struggling Yanks who are close to losing their playoff spot as well. It’s a weird situation, one we’re certainly not used to dealing with. So it begs the question, does it matter to you at all?

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Von Miller Tebow Tribute

 

I’m not sure if I enjoyed this more as a shot at Tebow or because I loved watching the Steelers lose so I have some sort of defense while Non’s is drooling over the Orioles success. Either way I think everyone knows what that game meant last night. Peyton and the Bronco’s could be trouble down the line. Might not be as easy as last year’s playoff whomping.

Painful Loss Despite Rondo’s Heroics

Here’s a video that sums up pretty much how every Celtics fan feels right now…

 

Last night could have been one the most heart breaking playoff losses for the C’s thus far. Just utterly painful. Falling short of the win in OT to the Heat. The only positive was Rondo’s incredible performance, nearing a triple double with 44 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists, but even that gets overshadowed by the loss. When asked about his performance, Rondo responded, “We lost, simple as that.” Exactly why as much as I want to talk more about Rondo’s night, I just can’t. One of the biggest problems the Celts had and have had was giving up second chances. There’s no way they win giving the Heat offensive boards like that. It’s just not going to happen. Regardless, the C’s better come out firing on Friday when the Heat come to the Garden for game 3, a must win for the Celtics. And Leibo…we’re missing your boy Avery…bad.

Weekend Recap

Not a bad Monday for us those of us here in Boston reflecting back on this weekend in the sports world. The Celtics stretched their win streak to 5 games, topping off the weekend with an absolute clobbering D. Wade and the Heat. With a month left of games, the C’s sit at the 4 spot in a crowded Eastern Conference playoff race and one game up on the 76ers for the lead in the division. A 14 game April will make or break the C’s and set the stage for what could be the last playoff run of the Big Three era. On the ice, the B’s took care of business in New York, taking one a piece from the Islanders and the Rangers while clinching the Northeast Division with three games left on the schedule. The Bruins wrap up the regular season Saturday at home vs. Buffalo before gearing up for playoff hockey once again in Boston. As if a weekend of winning wasn’t enough, today brings us one day closer to baseball season. The Red Sox open up regular season play this Thursday in Detroit, starting off a 6 day, 6 game road trip before baseball comes back to Boston on Friday the 13th against the dreaded Rays. It’s a good week to be from Boston. Happy Monday!20120402-163315.jpg