Thousands Of Miles Can’t Separate Jenni Hotch-Hill Of Alaska From Boston Sports

Why does a girl from Alaska root for New England sports teams?
Jenni Hotch-Hill of Wasilla, Alaska can trace the roots of her fandom back to two people: Her father and Larry Bird. Four thousand miles of land in between Alaska and Boston can’t keep her from cheering on her favorite teams.

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Find out how Hotch-Hill lets her Boston out with ’47 in the video above.

Rex Burkhead Opens Up About ‘Tough’ IR Stint After Returning To Patriots’ Roster

FOXBORO, Mass. — Rex Burkhead wore a red hoodie, a gray beanie and a wide smile as he addressed reporters in front of his locker Thursday afternoon.
He had every reason to be happy.
Just days after welcoming his first child into the world, the New England Patriots running back officially was removed from injured reserve and added to the 53-man roster Monday, making him eligible to play in Sunday’s matchup with the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium.
“It feels great,” Burkhead said in his first remarks to the New England media since September. “I’m looking forward to being back here on the field on Sunday and just being back out here with the team, practicing again and being around the guys. The past few weeks, it’s been different. It’s been weird not being around everything, so it just feels good.”
Burkhead was placed on IR after suffering a neck injury during a Week 3 loss to the Detroit Lions. It was the latest in a long line of injuries he’s suffered since joining the Patriots ahead of the 2017 season, but he’d never been forced to spend significant time away from the team.
Under NFL rules, players placed on IR cannot practice for six weeks and must sit out at least eight games.
“It’s not fun, for sure,” Burkhead said. “It’s something that I’ve never really dealt with for an extended period of time. But it puts things in perspective. It makes you really appreciate your time out on the football field and in the locker room with the guys. It makes you miss it, for sure. You’re just really appreciative for every moment you have, so I was definitely looking forward to when I could get back out there.”

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Wednesday commended Burkhead for the hard work he put in while sidelined, saying the 28-year-old “consistently met or exceeded targets” set for him by the team.
“I just worked my tail off,” Burkhead said when asked about Belichick’s praise. “That was really it. Just doing whatever I could and control what I could control. The trainers did a great job; the strength coaches did a great job, really just getting me back into shape and being ready to go whenever I was able to come back and start practicing.”
With Burkhead unavailable, the Patriots, who also lost Jeremy Hill to a season-ending torn ACL in Week 1, have relied for much of the season on a backfield combo of rookie Sony Michel, veteran co-captain James White and converted wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
With Michel dealing with injuries of his own, the Patriots entered multiple games with just two active running backs.
“It was tough — very tough,” said Burkhead, who has 24 carries for 86 yards and three catches for 31 yards in three games this season. “But they’ve done a great job. Guys really stepped up and played their tails off. Even CP getting in there and getting some action. That was fun to watch. But at the same time, (I was) just doing whatever I could and still staying locked in mentally.”
Burkhead said he’s needed to “knock the rust off” since returning to practice Nov. 8, but he feels ready to get back to work on Sunday.
“I’m excited for sure,” he said. “Especially with it being a home game against a good team like the Vikings, it’s definitely going to be a challenge, and I’m looking forward to it for sure.”

This Bruins Player Has ‘Leveled Up’ This Season, According To ESPN

Nothing could have prepared the Boston Bruins for the first quarter of this season.
After a preseason trip to China, the B’s now have been ravaged by injuries, forcing players into a variety of roles they previously hadn’t filled in their careers.
But who has stepped up their game the most so far this season?
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski tackled that very question for every team in his power rankings this week. After placing the Bruins 12th in his rankings, he tabbed defenseman Matt Grzelcyk as the Bruin who has “leveled up” most.

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“The young blueliner has performed admirably in the wake of the team’s horrific stretch of injuries to its defense,” Wyshynski wrote. “Grzelcyk’s ice time has jumped by four minutes per game, and he remains on the plus side of shot attempts and goal differential.”
It’s tough to argue the selection.
Grzelcyk’s ice time has jumped due to his increased role on the blue line, and he’s spent some time on the first pairing periodically this season while also quarterbacking the power play when Torey Krug was out. He’s slashing 1-7-8 through 22 games, meaning he’ll likely catch the 3-12-15 marker he hit in 61 contests his rookie season.
And with five defenseman currently sidelined for Boston, Grzelcyk will need to continue shouldering a pretty big load for his team.

Boston Bruins Development Continues To Falter With Bjork To AHL

Boston Bruins Development Continues To Falter With Forward Anders Bjork To AHL
Just a year ago the Boston Bruins were the hot young team that made the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs with a roster filled with hope and promise with youth starting to fill up the rankings.
Unfortunately this season it feels like the organization has taken a step back with many of the young prospects failing to pan out despite massive heaps of praise and hype from both the organization and the fan base. The latest disappointing news came on Thursday when Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney announced that forward Anders Bjork was being assigned to the AHL Providence Bruins.
The 22-year-old skated in 20 games with Boston this season and could only scrummage together one goal and two assists for three points. Bjork had a rather solid debut season in 2017-18 where he skated in 30 games for Boston notching four goals and 8 assists for 12 points with a plus-two rating. Bjork was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and signed an entry level contract with Boston back on May 30, 2017 after coming out of Notre Dame where he played for three seasons racking up 40 goals and 69 assists for 109 points in 115 games.
Certainly a disappointing start to Bjork’s career among other young Bruin skaters who have also had a rather rough and slow start to their NHL careers. Plenty of time to turn things around but for the moment it looks like a step back for the Boston Bruins who are currently sitting in the first Wild Card spot and are currently 5 pts back of the Tampa Bay Lightening for the 3rd spot in the Atlantic and 6 points behind the first place Buffalo Sabres.
As for Bjork, he will likely be back up at some point in the near future. It likely would have been more beneficial for him to have started the year in the AHL to begin with. And ultimately it feels like that has been a bit of an issue for Boston as of late having rushed many of their players up to the NHL level either do to injuries or the false sense of readiness.
The post Boston Bruins Development Continues To Falter With Bjork To AHL appeared first on Trifecta Sports.

Bruins Injuries: Here’s Latest On Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo

Take a look at the Boston Bruins’ defensive pairings Thursday night, and that will tell you all you need to know about how banged up the blue line is.
Whether it’s the Torey Krug-Connor Clifton top pairing or Steven Kampfer on the second unit, it’s clear the Bruins simply have been decimated in their back end. At the moment, Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Kevan Miller and Urho Vaakanainen all are out with various ailments.
And while concrete dates for returns are non-existent, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy after morning skate on Thursday provided some updates on McAvoy (concussion) and Carlo (upper body).
“He’s progressing,” Cassidy said of McAvoy, via Bruins.com. “He’s out with (skating and skills coach Kim Brandvold) a little bit early doing some work and then graduated to our practice. Hopefully he’s back with us tomorrow.

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“It’s a day-by-day process for him. He’s doing better. We obviously miss him. Will be nice to get him back when that day comes.”
The news is better for Carlo.
“He’s close,” Cassidy said. “He’ll get another good practice in tomorrow, take some contact and hopefully Saturday’s the day.”
The Bruins have shown great resolve in the face of all these injuries, keeping themselves in a competitive spot in the Atlantic Division. And as players get healthier, one has to think Boston will start trending upward.

Patriots’ Julian Edelman, Celtics’ Kyrie Irving Complete Customized Jersey Swap

Kyrie Irving and Julian Edelman now are truly Boston sports brothers in arms.
The Boston Celtics guard and New England Patriots wide receiver completed their No. 11 jersey swap Thursday. Irving revealed as much when he showed reporters the customized Patriots jersey Edelman sent him.

#Celtics Kyrie Irving Shows Off His New No. 11 #Patriots Jersey, Thanks Julian Edelman: https://t.co/2jt5k07Tpl pic.twitter.com/jFqc0vGY06
— WBZ Boston Sports (@wbzsports) November 29, 2018

Irving was “ecstatic” to receive his Patriots jersey.
“Shout out to my guy Julian Edelman,” Irving said.

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Edelman trained at the Celtics practice facility earlier this fall during his four-game suspension and struck a friendship with several of Boston’s ballers. He then turned heads last month when he wore a customized No. 11 Boston Celtics jersey, which had his name on the back of Irving’s No. 11 shirt, in a press conference following the Patriots’ Week 5 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Irving soon asked if he could have a Patriots jersey with his name on the back of the No. 11 shirt. The Patriots honored Irving’s request.

Great win last night, @KyrieIrving. We’ve got you.
From one 11 to another. pic.twitter.com/5bJwHFqxSG
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 17, 2018

The Celtics star finally showed off his unique threads to the envious public Thursday.

Kathy Frattaroli Shares How She Escaped A Yankees Fan Family With ’47

Kathy grew up in a family of Yankees fans, but switched allegiances to the Red Sox in 1975 and she hasn’t looked back since.  Her dedication to the Sox is unflappable: Her young son once asked, if the Yankees ever wanted to sign him, how would she react? Her reaction was swift and absolute: NO WAY her son would ever wear pinstripes!

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Watch the video above to hear Kathy’s full story.

NBA Odds: Celtics Very Heavy Betting Favorites Against Terrible Cavs

The Boston Celtics will be looking to end a two-game straight-up losing streak on home hardwood when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night as 13.5-point favorites on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Boston returns home after tallying a 124-107 win in New Orleans as a 2-point underdog on Monday, and has claimed SU and against the spread wins in two of three games ahead of Friday night’s Cavaliers vs. Celtics betting matchup at TD Garden.
However, the Celtics have largely struggled during the month of November, posting consecutive SU wins just once while going 6-8 SU, including a pair of losses as betting favorites in their past two home outings.
The Celtics produced their lowest point total of the season in a 98-86 loss to the visiting Utah Jazz as 4-point chalk on Nov. 17. The C’s followed up four days later with a 117-109 loss to the New York Knicks as 14.5-point favorites, marking their second outright loss of the season as double-digit home chalk.
Not surprisingly, the Celtics also have struggled to regularly reward bettors during their middling November run, going 5-9 ATS, including a 3-2 ATS mark at home. That trend extends to the club’s performance as big home favorites, with the Celtics covering in just three of 15 outings when favored at home by 10 or more points since the beginning the 2016-17 season, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

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However, the Celtics should have ample opportunity to reverse those trends against a Cavaliers squad searching for answers after opening the season with just four SU victories through its first 20 outings.
While it was Cleveland that emerged victorious in a seven-game clash with the Celtics in last spring’s Eastern Conference finals, it’s a different club that will visit TD Garden on Friday. With LeBron James no longer leading the attack, the Cavaliers’ offense has wilted in the early going.
Cleveland has mustered an average of just 89 points per game during its current two-game SU slide, capped by a 100-83 loss in Oklahoma City as a 12.5-point underdog on Wednesday night, and now sits last the NBA at just 103.5 points per game this season.
The Cavaliers also have struggled on the road, dropping their first eight decisions before tallying a 121-112 win in Philadelphia as 13-point underdogs last Friday, but own a respectable 6-4 ATS record away from Quicken Loans Arena. However, even when James was in the lineup, the Cavaliers were a shaky bet when visiting Boston, going 6-6 SU and ATS over their past 12 such meetings.

Dana-Farber Patient Zack Cummings Shows True Boston Fanhood With ’47

Zack Cummings is a 15-year-old Boston sports fan who grew up in Saugus, Mass. In February of 2017, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and visits Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Clinic twice a week to receive chemotherapy treatments.
Zack’s passion is sports and through his work with Dana-Farber, he has been able to attend Celtics and Patriots games and throw out the first pitch before a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

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Find out how he lets his Boston out with ’47 in the video above.

Rob Gronkowski Injury: Tight End Reappears On Patriots Injury Report

FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was healthy for one day at least.
Gronkowski was back on the Patriots’ injury report Thursday with back and ankle ailments after he was removed from the list Wednesday.
Gronkowski’s ankle first showed up on the injury report prior to Week 4. His back first popped up on the injury report prior to Week 7.
Gronkowski said Wednesday he was feeling good this week.
Here’s Thursday’s full injury report.

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LIMITED PARTICIPATION
TE Dwayne Allen (knee)
QB Tom Brady (knee)
SS Nate Ebner (knee)
TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back)
FULL PARTICIPATION
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
Allen didn’t participate in practice Wednesday. He was back on the field in a limited capacity Thursday.
The rest of the Patriots’ injury report remains unchanged from Wednesday.