Torey Krug, Milan Lucic, Andrew Ference Congratulate Johnny Boychuk On Retirement

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Johnny Boychuk clearly left an impact on some of his former teammates.

The New York Islanders defenseman retired Wednesday due to an eye injury he sustained during the 2019-20 NHL season.

Before his career in New York, Boychuk spent six seasons with the Boston Bruins, winning a Stanley Cup in 2011.

A few of his former teammates — Torey Krug, Milan Lucic and Andrew Ference — took to social media to congratulate Boychuk and share some memories.

Check them out:

Congrats to my brother from another mother on a successful career. Sucks it had to end this way but was pleasure being your teammate and best friend for 5 year in boston. Love you bro #2011champs @joboych pic.twitter.com/vimiO8yYln— Milan Lucic (@27MilanLucic) November 25, 2020

One of my favorite teammates! @joboych congrats buddy! https://t.co/gyM3F7LrC8— Torey Krug (@ToreyKrug) November 25, 2020

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Andrew Ference (@andrew.ference)

Although Boychuk’s career was cut short, it certainly is one to be proud of.

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Jayson Tatum Posts Adorable Instagram Signing Celtics Contract With Deuce

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Deuce never is too far from his dad, so it’s no surprise he was right by Jayson Tatum’s side Wednesday night.

The Boston Celtics made Tatum’s contract extension official. The details of the deal were not disclosed, though reports suggest it could be close to $200 million.

Tatum met with president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to put pen to paper as he was accompanied by Deuce, mask and all.

Check out the adorable pictures.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0)

*Insert heart eyes emoji.*

The 2020-21 NBA season is set to begin Dec. 22.

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Cowboys Strength Coach Markus Paul Dies At 54 After Medical Emergency

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The Dallas Cowboys are mourning the loss of one of their own.

Strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul died Wednesday at the age of 54 after suffering a medical emergency Tuesday, the team announced.

Sending our deepest sympathies to the family & friends of Markus Paul. The Dallas Cowboys strength & conditioning coach passed away Wednesday at the age of 54.→ https://t.co/SSUvgPzthu pic.twitter.com/2wEAs72tnm— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) November 26, 2020

“The loss of a family member is a tragedy, and Markus Paul was loved and valued member of our family. He was a pleasant and calming influence in our strength room and throughout The Star,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. “His passion for his work and his enthusiasm for life earned him great respect and admiration from all of our players and the entire organization. We offer our love and support to his family in this very difficult time. Our hearts are broken for his family and all of the individuals whose lives he touched and made better.”

Paul required medical attention at Dallas’ practice facility before he was transported to the hospital. The Cowboys canceled practice Tuesday.

Paul joined the organization in 2018.

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NBA Cancels 2021 All-Star Game, Indianapolis Will Host Event In 2024

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There already has been a change to the 2020-21 NBA season.

The league announced Tuesday it canceled this season’s NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis. The Pacers will host the event in 2024.

The NBA and the Indiana Pacers announced today that NBA All-Star in Indianapolis, which was originally scheduled for Feb. 12-14, 2021, will now be held Feb. 16-18, 2024.Full Release: https://t.co/sOBn41RDrs pic.twitter.com/Ihot6AvP6m— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) November 25, 2020

“The 2024 NBA All-Star Game will take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Pacers, on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024,” the press release said. “Plans for a revised NBA All-Star 2021 will be announced at a later date.”

It certainly will be interesting to see what kind of plans the NBA has for that weekend. Perhaps the league will go the virtual route like the NFL for its Pro Bowl.

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NBA Rumors: Pacers Thought Offer To Celtics Was Plenty For Gordon Hayward

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For a brief moment in time, it was thought that Gordon Hayward would be traded to the Indiana Pacers.

It certainly would make sense considering Hayward is from Indiana, and he reportedly already moved back. But the Boston Celtics reportedly didn’t like the return the Pacers offered, which included Myles Turner.

The Pacers, though, believed it was enough to acquire Hayward.

“If you can add a player that materially improves you, you have to take a shot,” general manager Kevin Pritchard said during a press conference Tuesday, as transcribed by MassLive. “It hurt a little more this time because the feedback was (Hayward) wanted to be here. We were probably overplaying in the trade, but we were trying to get a special player.

“It can’t come at a cost so debilitating that it doesn’t make sense.”

Hayward, as we’re sure you’ve heard by now, reportedly agreed to sign a four-year, $120 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets. A sign-and-trade with Boston still appears to be on the table.

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The post NBA Rumors: Pacers Thought Offer To Celtics Was Plenty For Gordon Hayward appeared first on NESN.com.

NFL Week 12 Picks: Odds, Analysis And Predictions For Every Game

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Thanksgiving is going to look a little different this year, that’s for sure.

We’ll go ahead and assume that (in most parts of the country) celebrations will be subdued. And the NFL is no different.

Instead of jam-packing stadiums for the annual Turkey Day tripleheader, we’ll have just two games on Thanksgiving, with COVID-19 forcing the NFL to move this week’s Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup to Sunday.

Such is life in 2020.

Before ducking out to get turkey, NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian will make their against-the-spread picks for not just Thanksgiving but all of Week 12.

Week 12 NFL Picks: Ravens-Steelers, Colts-Titans, Chiefs-Bucs | The Spread, Ep. 13
Yesterday

First, here’s how they fared last week.

Mike Cole: 7-7 (74-83-3)Ricky Doyle: 7-7 (75-82-3)Andre Khatchaturian: 6-8 (72-85-3)

Now, here are their Week 12 picks, with all lines via consensus data.

THURSDAY, NOV. 26(-2.5) Houston Texans at Detroit Lions, 12:30 p.m. ETMike: Texans. I don’t care if this is a square pick. The Lions look like they’ve quit on Matt Patricia, and the bigger issue might be their injury issues, as they are rudderless offensively without D’Andre Swift and Kenny Golladay. It doesn’t look like either plays Thursday.Ricky: Lions. Just can’t bring myself to lay points on the road with a three-win Houston team that’s only beaten Jacksonville (twice) and New England. On Turkey Day, no less! Feels like the Texans are being overvalued after last week’s victory over the Patriots, while the Lions are being undervalued after being shut out by the Panthers, making for a decent value play despite Detroit’s flaws.Andre: Texans. Despite their record, the Texans have a positive yards per play differential. They’ve lost a ton because of their brutal schedule, which featured losses to Kansas City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Green Bay. Their biggest weakness is their run defense, but Detroit averages just four yards per carry, and Swift is banged up.

Washington Football Team at (-3) Dallas Cowboys, 4:30 p.m.Mike: Washington. The Football Team has moved the ball since Alex Smith took over, ranking third in the NFL in early-down success rate. Turnovers have been a killer, but only Houston has fewer takeaways than Dallas.Ricky: Washington. Smith is serviceable, as Mike mentioned, but here’s a bigger question: Is Washington a good QB away from being legit? Of course, you could say that about several teams given the importance of the position. But the Football Team is well coached and excellent defensively, featuring a strong pass rush, great coverage and sure tackling that limits opposing rushing attacks. Offensively, Ron Rivera’s group offers a solid running back tandem and decent enough line play.Andre: Washington. Washington’s elite pass rush (third in sacks) will dominate Dallas’ banged-up offensive line. The Football Team sacked Dallas QBs six times in the first meeting between these teams. Washington also has the second-best yards per play differential in football over the last five weeks.

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SUNDAY, NOV. 29Baltimore Ravens at (-5) Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:15 p.m.Mike: Steelers. The Ravens are severely undermanned and could be traveling day-of due to COVID-19. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, has been a challenge for Lamar Jackson, who has completed 58 percent of his passes with a 59.2 passer rating in four career games against the Steelers. He’s also struggled against the blitz this year, and the Steelers are known for their blitzing attack.Ricky: Ravens. Love the circumstances more than anything. Road underdogs coming off a loss are 73-50-5 ATS this season, largely because the public tends to steer away from those teams, in turn affecting the market. Baltimore checks all three boxes, with the pick being even more attractive because it’s a divisional matchup, on a short week, in a revenge spot after the Ravens barely lost the teams’ previous head-to-head matchup in Week 8.Andre: Ravens. The Ravens aren’t getting much love after dropping three of their last four. In the previous meeting, Jackson had four turnovers and the Ravens still only lost by four points. The Steelers’ rush defense is strong, but they allowed 265 total rushing yards to Baltimore in that game. If Jackson cleans up his act just a little bit, Baltimore should be able to cover.

(-2.5) Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots, 1 p.m.Mike: Cardinals. As Ricky astutely pointed out last weekend, the Patriots are now bad. New England’s defense looked borderline unprepared and unmotivated last week against the Texans and now faces an even stiffer test against an offense with all kinds of weapons.Ricky: Patriots. As Mike astutely pointed out that I astutely pointed out, yes, the Patriots are, in fact, a bad football team. Sometimes, bad football teams beat good football teams, though, and would anyone be shocked if Bill Belichick somehow slows Kyler Murray in the QB’s first career start against New England?Andre: Patriots. New England faced the NFL’s worst rush defense in terms of yards allowed per carry last week and ran the ball just 24 times, the second-fewest rush attempts for the Patriots this season. That needs to change because the Pats are 4-0 when rushing the ball more than 35 times in a game and 0-6 otherwise. Arizona allows the third-most rushing yards to quarterbacks and the seventh-most yards per carry.

Carolina Panthers at (-4) Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.Mike: Panthers. Two teams going in very opposite directions here, as Matt Rhule has the Panthers playing a very competitive brand of football. Carolina should go into Minnesota and follow the same script Dallas just wrote: bully the Vikings on the ground. Mike Davis is among the league leaders in yards after contact per carry.Ricky: Vikings. Dalvin Cook should feast against a Panthers run defense that ranks 31st, according to PFF. And even if Teddy Bridgewater returns for Carolina, no one knows him quite like Minnesota, where the quarterback spent his first four seasons (2014-17).Andre: Vikings. Minnesota is on track to win the 2020 “Best Bad Team” award. The Vikings are ranked fourth in yards per play differential, lead the NFL in yards per play and are second in yards per carry. They have the NFL’s best yards per play differential over the last four weeks. Carolina has allowed 100-plus rushing yards in eight of its 11 games. Good luck against Cook.

(-6.5) Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.Mike: Browns. The Jags have been able to hit on some big plays with James Robinson, who is second in the NFL in runs of 10 yards or more. However, Cleveland ranks fifth in limiting explosive running plays, which more or less takes away the Jags’ one chance to keep it close.Ricky: Browns. According to CBS Sports, Cleveland’s minus-23 point differential is the worst by any 7-3 team or better through 10 games in the Super Bowl era. So, this isn’t a slam dunk. Still, for Jacksonville, Mike Glennon is starting at quarterback, something he hasn’t done since 2017.Andre: Jaguars. Cleveland faces Tennessee and Baltimore in back-to-back weeks after this game. One could easily see the Browns looking past the Jaguars. Jacksonville is in the middle of the pack when it comes to run defense, which will be key in slowing down the Browns’ rushing attack (third-most yards per game).

Los Angeles Chargers at (-5.5) Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.Mike: Bills. If Buffalo has an issue here — at home, against a rookie quarterback with an extra week to prepare — it might be time to jump ship on the Bills being any good. Instead, I think they right the ship and cruise.Ricky: Chargers. The over might be the real play here, with both teams capable of putting up points while struggling defensively. Joey Bosa’s return last week is a good sign for Los Angeles’ pass rush moving forward, though, and that could help disrupt Josh Allen just enough for the Chargers to keep this game close.Andre: Chargers. I love getting points with the Chargers just because they play so many close games. They’re 3-0 ATS this season when getting more than three points, and all seven of their losses have been by one possession. The Bills’ biggest strength is their aerial attack, but LA has a top-seven pass defense, allowing just 6.8 yards per pass attempt. Defensively, the Bills have a solid pass rush, ranking third on PFF, but Justin Herbert has the highest passer rating when under pressure.

(-3) Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m.Mike: Falcons. Atlanta had a hellacious time trying to block up the Saints’ pass rush last week, and Matt Ryan was sacked eight times. He’ll have much more time to carve up a shaky Raiders defense this week — a defense that has the 31st-ranked sack percentage.Ricky: Falcons. The Raiders might have wasted all of their bullets in their Sunday night loss to the Chiefs. On the one hand, it was a moral victory, seeing as Vegas pushed the defending Super Bowl champions to the brink. On the other, it was a huge missed opportunity, with the Raiders ultimately done in by their extremely inconsistent defense.Andre: Falcons. The Raiders have the worst-graded defense on PFF and Atlanta allows the most yards per play. I trust the Falcons at home getting points. They’re 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games as home underdogs.

(-7) Miami Dolphins at New York Jets, 1 p.m.Mike: Jets. New York has covered its last two games despite playing a pair of fairly decent defenses (New England and the Chargers), while averaging four touchdowns per game. Let’s stay with that for one more week, no?Ricky: Dolphins. Miami shut out the Jets, 24-0, the last time these teams played in Week 6, with Joe Flacco turning in an abysmal performance. And the Dolphins since have gotten better, last week’s hiccup in Denver notwithstanding.Andre: Dolphins. The Jets have the fifth-best rush defense on PFF and the Dolphins stink at running the ball. So can Tua Tagovailoa make up for that against the NFL’s worst coverage defense, according to PFF? I think so. He has yet to throw a pick in his first 97 pass attempts, and the weather (50 degrees and clear) shouldn’t be an issue for Tua, who struggled in his first cold weather game last week.

(-5.5) New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m.Mike: Giants. Why don’t the Bengals have a better backup quarterback than Ryan Finley? That seems dumb.Ricky: Giants. Some injuries actually can galvanize a team, with players rallying around their fallen teammate. Joe Burrow tearing his ACL and MCL is not one of those injuries. It’s just crushing. Also, for what it’s worth, New York is 8-0 ATS in its last eight road games.Andre: Giants. The Giants’ pass rush has recorded at least two sacks in every game this season. That number should go up against a Bengals’ offensive line that has allowed the second-most sacks in the NFL.

Tennessee Titans at (-3.5) Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.Mike: Colts. This might be the week the injury bug catches up to the Titans. They were down the entire left side of their offensive line in Baltimore, and center Ben Jones is playing with a knee brace. They survived against an equally limited Ravens front, but it’s a much stiffer test this week against a ferocious Colts front.Ricky: Titans. When these teams squared off two weeks ago, Tennessee led until opening the second half with serious special teams woes (a shanked punt, a blocked punt TD and a missed field goal). Not sure that happens again. Plus, the Colts (29th in third-down conversion percentage, 25th in red-zone scoring percentage) might fail to expose the Titans’ biggest weaknesses (32nd in opponent third-down conversion percentage, 25th in opponent red-zone scoring percentage).Andre: Titans. Tennessee boasts the second-best turnover differential in the NFL. That could be vital in a game featuring Philip Rivers, who is known to throw a pick or two and is dealing with a toe injury. The Colts have a strong rush defense, but it didn’t matter in the last meeting when the Titans rushed for 157 yards, the most Indy has allowed all season.

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(-5.5) New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos, 4:05 p.m.Mike: Broncos. I’d be skeptical of taking the Saints in this spot, at that number, with Drew Brees under center. Taysom Hill on the road against a defense that ate up Tua Tagovailoa last week? This could be a frustrating afternoon for the Saints.Ricky: Broncos. The Saints seemingly have found their stride, rattling off seven straight wins. But we could see some regression from Hill in his second career start at quarterback. A road game in Denver is far more challenging than a home date with Atlanta.Andre: Broncos. Denver’s coverage defense ranks second on PFF. The Broncos are seventh in sacks and third in yards allowed per pass attempt. The Broncos also have the sixth-best yards per play differential over the last four weeks. New Orleans probably will win, but Denver will keep it close.

San Francisco 49ers at (-7) Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m.Mike: 49ers. Do we have a little bit of a trap game here? The Rams should be feeling good after a Monday night win in Tampa, but now they have a short week to prepare for the 49ers (who are coming off their bye), and a huge Week 13 matchup with the Cardinals looming. Tough spot.Ricky: 49ers. Definitely smells like an opportunity for the Niners to catch a divisional opponent feeling all fat and happy. San Francisco also might get back offensive reinforcements, with wide receiver Deebo Samuel and running back Raheem Mostert trending in the right direction.Andre: Rams. I’m not buying the trap game narrative. The 49ers just aren’t very good on offense, especially with Jimmy Garoppolo out. They’ve turned the ball over eight times in the last three games. Defensively, San Francisco has an average pass rush and that won’t cut it against the Rams, who have allowed just 13 sacks this season. When Jared Goff is kept clean, he has the fourth-highest completion percentage (76.1) according to PFF. That number falls to 42.4 percent when he’s pressured.

(-3.5) Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m.Mike: Bucs. Tom Brady has been an incredible bounce-back performer his entire career, going 45-21 ATS after a loss and 15-1 ATS as an underdog following a loss. That all happened in New England, sure, but the Bucs are 3-0 off a loss this season, winning those games by an average of 22 points. The Chiefs’ shaky run defense will allow Brady and the Bucs’ offense to find the balance they need to succeed.Ricky: Bucs. Tampa Bay’s defense ranks fourth in explosive run plays allowed and sixth in explosive pass plays allowed, so this is a challenging matchup for Kansas City’s quick-strike offense. Don’t be surprised if the Bucs rebound this week with an outright upset.Andre: Bucs. All four of Tampa’s losses have come against top-10 rush defenses in terms of yards allowed per carry. Tampa usually needs to run the ball in order to be successful. The Bucs had eight rushing yards collectively in their most recent loss to New Orleans and 42 total rushing yards on Monday night against the Rams. They’ll have an easier time running the ball against the Chiefs, whose biggest weakness is their rush defense.

Chicago Bears at (-8.5) Green Bay Packers, 8:20 p.m.Mike: Packers. Green Bay’s ridiculous stretch of 12 straight covers following an ATS loss ended in Indy, which might mean the Packers are double-due here? With Nick Foles nursing a hip injury, it appears the Bears don’t have a healthy quarterback — or a good one, for that matter.Ricky: Packers. Perfect get-right spot for Green Bay at home in primetime. Chicago’s offense is in bad shape, starting at the QB position, where the Bears should turn back to Mitchell Trubisky if he’s healthy.Andre: Packers. Green Bay’s pass defense has been a liability this season, allowing 7.7 yards per pass attempt. But Chicago’s anemic offense likely will struggle to take advantage of that. The Bears also haven’t cracked 100 yards rushing in seven straight games and rank 27th in yards per play differential over the last four weeks.

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MONDAY, NOV. 30(-5) Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles, 8:15 p.m.Mike: Seahawks. It’s a tough matchup for Philly, considering the Eagles’ best chance to get going on offense is to find success on the ground. Stopping the run is the only thing Seattle does relatively well on the defensive side, and not even the Seahawks’ pass defense can get Carson Wentz going.Ricky: Seahawks. Love a good bird battle. A fitting end to Thanksgiving week, really. Anyway, Chris Carson figures to rejoin Seattle’s backfield, which is a nice little development for the Seahawks, who can butter up the Eagles’ defense on the ground before soaring through the air.Andre: Eagles. The Eagles have the second-most sacks in football. Their offensive line is terrible, but Seattle has the 28th-ranked pass rush on PFF. The Eagles control the battle in the trenches at home and keep this one close.

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Yasiel Puig To Red Sox? Making Sense Of Juicy MLB Offseason Rumor

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Will the Red Sox make a splash this offseason? Boston has financial flexibility and a strong desire to bounce back from a disappointing 2020. As such, we’ll examine whether several notable free agents make sense (or don’t make sense) as the club looks to retool for 2021 and beyond.

Yasiel Puig is a lightning rod.

Some love him. Some hate him. But everyone pays attention to him, as he’s a fascinating player with excellent talent and a polarizing temperament that occasionally ruffles feathers.

It all started with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2013, when the Cuban outfielder burst onto the scene and finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting. He earned an All-Star selection the following year and landed among the top 20 on the NL MVP ballot.

Puig hasn’t quite lived up to the hype since those early days in LA, although he stuck around with the Dodgers for another four seasons before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds in December 2018 and then to the Cleveland Indians in July 2019.

The 29-year-old did not play for a major league team in 2020 after contracting COVID-19, a development that nixed a deal he agreed to sign with the Atlanta Braves.

So, Puig remains a free agent and it sounds like he’s ready to return to the diamond. Should the Boston Red Sox consider taking a flyer?

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported Tuesday, citing sources, that the Red Sox, Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles are among the teams that have Puig on their radar, so it’s not that farfetched.

Let’s examine the possibility.

InfoPosition: Outfielder (mostly right field)Age: 29 (Dec. 7, 1990)Height: 6-foot-2Weight: 240 poundsBats: RightThrows: Right

2020 statsN/A

2019 stats149 games (611 plate appearances)24 home runs, 84 RBIs, 19 stolen bases.267/.327/.458

Career stats861 games (3,376 plate appearances)132 home runs, 415 RBIs, 79 stolen bases.277/.348/.475

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Why Puig makes sense for Red Sox:It’s fitting Jackie Bradley Jr. jumped into a friendly Twitter challenge involving Puig and pitcher Trevor Bauer earlier this week. All three players are free agents, and signing Puig essentially would be Boston’s way of trying to offset Bradley’s departure. (Bauer also has been linked to the Red Sox in free agency speculation.)

Of course, going from Bradley to Puig hardly is apples to apples. The former is a far superior defensive outfielder, fully capable of locking down center field in any MLB ballpark, whereas Puig has played primarily right field and perhaps would transition to left field in Boston.

The Red Sox already have Andrew Benintendi stationed in left field, so signing Puig might indicate Boston is comfortable deploying Benintendi and Alex Verdugo in center field and right field, respectively, or that another move is forthcoming. Unless the Sox are sold on Puig in center field or right field, something that’s hard to envision based on Fenway Park’s dimensions.

Either way, Puig is an attractive option mostly for his offensive upside and the infusion of energy he’d provide, two factors that might be enough to override a suboptimal defensive alignment.

Although Puig has regressed since posting his two highest WAR totals (4.7 and 4.9) at ages 22 and 23, there’s probably still some life in his bat and his legs as he enters his age-30 campaign. He totaled at least 23 home runs and 15 stolen bases in each season from 2017 through 2019.

Counting stats usually aren’t the best indicator of a player’s impact, but with an OPS of at least .820 in two of those seasons (2017-18), it’s difficult to overlook Puig’s potential for what could be short money.

According to Feinsand, the belief is Puig will sign an incentive-laden contract after a year off. A one-year deal seems plausible.

Why Puig doesn’t make sense for Red Sox:Puig is an imperfect defensive fit for the Red Sox, as constituted. The preference might be to land someone capable of playing center field if Bradley walks in free agency. Benintendi has proven fine in left field, while Verdugo was excellent in his first season patrolling right field in Boston.

Beyond that, given the relative low cost of acquisition, it’s mostly a character question: Is Puig’s offensive upside enough to justify the risk that comes with adding such an enigma?

One could argue it’s exactly what the Red Sox need — a shot in the arm after a disappointing 2020 — but there’s obvious downside, too. And Boston will need to seriously consider both the pros and cons, while also weighing the possible impact of him sitting out last season.

Verdict: Not a fit.

Prediction: Puig signs a one-year contract with the Orioles.

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Jayson Tatum Officially Signs Contract Extension With Celtics: ‘I Love This City’

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Jayson Tatum’s contract extension is official.

The Boston Celtics forward reportedly agreed to the rookie max extension that could net him close to $200 million.

The team announced Tatum’s deal in a press release Wednesday but did not disclose details of the 22-year-old’s new contract.

“Jayson has emerged as one of the best two-way players in the NBA through his first three seasons, and will continue to get better and better as a player and a leader,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said, via the press release. “He possesses unique scoring and playmaking abilities, and has displayed exceptional poise and maturity in how he approaches the game. He’s someone who, at 22 years of age, will be a central figure to this organization’s championship aspirations for many years to come.”

As for Tatum, he’s just excited to remain in green.

“I am incredibly grateful to the Celtics organization, and the city of Boston for this opportunity,” he said. “I love this city, this organization, and the best fans in the NBA. I plan on being here for a very long time.”

Tatum already has an impressive résumé that includes an NBA All-Star appearance and All-NBA Third Team nod.

Now, he just needs to add an NBA championship to that list.

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Bruins Wish Johnny Boychuk Well After Defenseman’s Career Cut Short

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Johnny Boychuk’s six years with the Boston Bruins never will be forgotten.

The defenseman, who has spent the last six seasons with the New York Islanders, retired Wednesday due to an eye injury sustained in the 2019-20 NHL season.

Boychuk was crucial to the Bruins’ blue line en route to Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup victory. And the B’s honored their former defenseman Wednesday on Twitter.

The Bruins want to wish Johnny Boychuk all the best in his retirement. Thank you for helping to bring the Cup back to Boston. @joboych pic.twitter.com/xOp6tH3Xxn— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 25, 2020

Boychuk, 36, scored 54 career goals, compiled 152 assists and racked up 331 penalty minutes.

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Why the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes Will Win the Eastern Conference

The 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes have much more talent than people realize and are poised to do some serious work next season. They are a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup and have an even better shot at coming out on top of the Eastern Conference. But what makes them so dangerous, and why do very few people consider them as their Stanley Cup favourites?
The 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes Will Win the East
Young Talent Leads the Way
The Hurricanes have multiple young and skilled players that are leading their team to victories. Their average age is 27.2 years of age. Which is a full year younger than the league’s average, but their players play like veterans. Sebastian Aho, Jake Bean, Martin Necas, Teuvo Teravainen, and arguably their best player, Andrei Svechnikov, are all 25 years old or younger. Six out of their top ten point producers and average time on ice leaders are 25 or younger. Svechnikov was on pace to double his rookie season’s point total and has the potential to hit 35 goals next season. His Corsi rating is off the charts at 56.4 percent, with a relative Corsi of 3.1. Along with Aho and Teravainen, that first line is among the most dangerous in the league.
But it’s not just their offence that has some talented young players. Their defence, renowned as one of the best in the league, is full of intelligent players. Led by veteran Dougie Hamilton, players like Brady Skjei, Haydn Fleury, and Jaccob Slavin are all incredible defencemen. Extremely underrated, Slavin is a top-pairing defenceman whose shutdown ability is at the top of the league. He led the Hurricanes in blocked shots with 107 and has a high Corsi rating of 55.2 percent, showing how Carolina controls the game when he is on the ice. Having young talent to drive a team is crucial, not just for this season, but makes the Hurricanes a threat in the Metropolitan division for years to come.
Depth Is Key
The biggest factor for winning games in the playoffs is a team’s depth players. And there certainly is no shortage of solid depth players in Raleigh. Each line of offence can create chances, and each defensive pairing is more than capable of frustrating their opponent’s forwards. The third line of Warren Foegele, Jordan Staal, and Jesper Fast is a trio that sneakily combined for about 90 points last season (taking into consideration that Fast was still on the New York Rangers). These are not the most offensively gifted players, but they are skaters who can score and produce when necessary.
The Hurricanes’ defensive depth is one of their biggest strengths as a team. The first pairing of Slavin and Hamilton rivals the best top defencemen in the league, with a combination of offensive skill and shut down playstyles. The second pairing of Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce is another strong pair the Hurricanes lean on heavily. Excluding goalies, these two are third and fourth on the team in average time on ice. The defencemen they’re behind? None other than the first pairing previously mentioned. Jake Gardiner and Haydn Fleury close out the pairings. Fleury is looking to prove his worth to the team after signing an extension in October. The 23-year old is a great defensive defenceman, and could easily be second-pairing on a weaker team. Even when the top lines of the Hurricanes are in slumps, the depth pieces pick up the slack.
Team Chemistry
A large part of team chemistry remains unseen: team bonding, tensions in the locker room, coach/player interactions. As fans and analysts, we do not have access to that. However, the Hurricanes’ team chemistry is on full display. Their controversial “Storm Surge” is an example of this. Normally, teams give a stick tap or wave to the crowd after a home victory, but the Hurricanes take it a step further. They all seem to be having fun and enjoying themselves, and it is obviously well-planned out beforehand. This means they must have cleared it with their coaching staff, who bought into the fun and games. It is unusual for a team to do this much after wins, but it gives us a glimpse into Carolina’s style. They have fun with each other, their coaches, and seem to be playing hockey at the same time.
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour embraces and promotes this light-hearted atmosphere in the locker room and behind the scenes. It is so obvious that Carolina’s players are very close with each other because they play so well together on the ice.  The players trust the coach and are 100 percent bought into Brind’Amour’s system, which has worked extremely well. This player-player trust, as well as player-coach trust, is a key part of the Hurricanes’ success as a team. Normally, chemistry is not a large piece in considering a playoff run, but the 2020-21 Carolina Hurricanes are looking to be the exception.
 
Main Photo
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