Saturday, February 02, 2013

Boston Sport Daily - 02/02/2013

by Hal Bent, BostonSportPage.com

A swing through all things Boston sports this fine Saturday morning in February while wondering if furry rodents predicting weather this day is really worth the attention it receives. Also, the Super Bowl is tomorrow night and the Boston sports community continues to struggle with the mixed emotions of the game: Both teams earned their way to the Super Bowl the old fashioned way--the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers both beat the best team out there, the New England Patriots, on their path to the big game.  My recap of how those games influence the Super Bowl are up at MusketFire here, and my domination of the Internet continues with The Daily Comics Review here. Now that I'm done with the shameless self-promotion, on to the Boston Sport Daily:

BOSTON CELTICS:

The season apparently ended early for the Boston Celtics when All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo was lost for the year with an ACL injury.  Without Rondo, the Celtics woke up, ended their six game losing streak, and ripped off two wins in a row.  Now that the Green Teamers have witnessed a few wins without Rondo, the chatter is all about how the team is better without Rondo.  Nothing like jumping to conclusions with a small sample size.  

Unfortunately, the news for the team in green just gets worse and worse: rookie power forward Jared Sullinger, who has looked like the top ten lottery draft pick he should have been this season, is out for the year now for back surgery, which is the reason he was available when the Celtics drafted him at the 21st overall pick. Losing Sullinger for the season is a blow, but if it means getting him back at full strength next season, it makes sense to have the surgery now and not miss training camp in the fall.  

Yes, having Sullinger have surgery now instead of after the season is throwing in the white towel, but I am sure it was going happen as it became obvious this Celtics team was headed for a battle to reach .500 and the final playoff spot.  The season was a lost cause from day one as this team just could not get in rhythm on offense and struggled on defense without guard Avery Bradley and any kind of defensive presence in the middle of the floor at center.  

I still maintain the team should consider trading anyone not named Bradley, Rondo, or Sullinger (and Rondo and Sullinger are not going anywhere since they are injured and out for the year) if it can help next season.  This season should be about sorting out the bottom of the roster to see who is a keeper and who is trade bait, getting forward/center Fab Melo as much court time as possible to expedite his development (Melo is on the Kendrick Perkins three-year plan) and speed up his contribution to the team down the road. 



BOSTON BRUINS:

The Bruins actually lost a game in regulation.  There, that monkey is off their back. Buffalo, playing with extreme emotion like it was game seven of the conference championships, came into the Garden and blew the Bruins off the ice after Boston led 3-1 early on.  I don't know what happened to the Boston defense, but you can only expose any goalie to so many odd-man rushes before disaster occurs. Goalie Tuukka Rask got plenty of practice for the next shoot-out as he faced far too many uncontested shots.

Beyond the loss, the Bruins lost forward Shawn Thornton for a week or so after he was forced to  fight against the Sabres' 6-foot-8, 258-pound John Scott early in the first period.  Granted, Thornton is the enforcer, but he got pummeled by Scott. The Bruins had one player on the roster capable of going toe-to-toe with Scott: captain Zdeno Chara.  Chara, all 6-foot-9 of him, was nowhere to be found leaving Thornton to get the crap beat out of him and be out with a concussion.  Not exactly how the team captain steps up and serves the best interests of the team and his teammates. 



BOSTON RED SOX:

Well, the Red Sox world series tickets are in high production: the Red Sox signed 36-year-old first baseman Lyle Overbay this week.  Adding a lefty, defensive specialist to play first base is hardly a move that will warm the hearts of Red Sox fans in early February.  In fact, Overbay continues the off-season moves by the Red Sox that looked good in 2010 but reek of grabbing everyone available, toss them in the spring training blender, and sort the wheat from the chaff. 

In other Sox news, young outfield prospect Ryan Kalish underwent shoulder surgery and is out for spring training and not expected to contribute until later in the season, if at all.  Kalish looked like a future star in 2010, but injuries cost him all of 2011 and most of 2012.  He's teetering on the cliff of "still a prospect" and "wash-out" and undergoing another surgery before the start of the season has not helped inspire faith in him fulfilling his lofty expectations. 

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