Bruce Cassidy Appreciates Boost Sean Kuraly Has Provided Bruins’ Third Line

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Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was hoping Sean Kuraly could jump-start the team’s depth when he moved the 28-year-old from the fourth line to the third-line pivot role and moved centerman Charlie Coyle out to the wing.

So far, so good.

Kuraly recorded his third point in as many games Tuesday in an eventual 4-3 overtime loss to the host New Jersey Devils. Kuraly crashed the back post and scored a third-period goal, having benefitted from a beautiful right-to-left pass from winger David Pastrnak.

Kuraly now has two goals and one assist in his last three games. He had scored two goals in his first 41 games this season while centering the fourth line. Cassidy was asked if he has been surprised by Kuraly’s production since making the change.

He provided an extensive assessment.

“We’ve all watched him for four years, I think we know what his strengths and weaknesses are,” Cassidy said on a postgame video conference after Tuesday’s loss. “We were looking to build a bigger line. He had been struggling offensively, he hadn’t scored in a while, not that we’re looking for offense every night but all of our players we keep an eye on that stuff. So was (Charlie) Coyle. So put them together, moved Coyle to the wing, bigger bodies we talked about that, we wanted to get a line like that, all things being equal in terms of health.

“Just about a guy finding his game. He’s found it later in the year. Good for us, good for him,” Cassidy continued. “He’s going to the net. His goals are not a-typical of how he would score them … went to the net tonight a number of times, been going to the net a lot lately, getting those bang-bang plays. That’s how he’s going to score goals.”

Coyle snapped his scoring drought with a goal three games prior, too. Fellow third-line winger Nick Ritchie had three points in the prior two games entering Tuesday.

“… In general that’s how he’s going to create offense, and this time of the year, those goals are important,” Cassidy said of Kuraly. “Our (defense is) doing a little better job getting pucks through, shooting for sticks so he can benefit from that being a bigger body around that net.

“Those are the things we know about him and what we’ve seen. We were hoping it would come together with some offense, but most importantly be a good 200-foot line, hard to play against and physical. We got both sides of it.”

Unfortunately for the Kuraly line, Coyle left Tuesday’s game during the third period and did not return. Cassidy did not have much of an update on the veteran forward, but hopefully, it won’t prove to be anything that keeps him out long term. Because the Bruins, specifically the third line, have been showcasing just how good Boston can be with that type of depth.

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Fans Boo Packers QB Aaron Rodgers During Brewers Game In Philadelphia

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Are fans already turning on Aaron Rodgers?

The Packers quarterback has been swallowed up in controversy this past week after rumors surfaced about his desire to leave Green Bay. The flames were fanned a few days after the initial report was made when a new rumor suggested Rodgers would return to the team under the condition general manager Brian Gutekunst parts ways with the team.

These rumors apparently have not sat well with many fans, as evidenced by what occurred at Tuesday night’s Milwaukee Brewers game.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Todd Rosiak, an advertisement for Bergstrom Autos featuring Rodgers appeared on the big screen in between innings at Citizens Bank Park. This sparked a chorus of boos from some members of the crowd.

Yikes.

This definitely is not what Rodgers wants to see or hear. This might not have happened in Milwaukee, but it did happen during a game involving one of the city’s teams. There’s no telling which team’s fans were booing Rodgers, but it is not a good look nonetheless.

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Excited For Patriots’ 2021 Season After New Additions? David Andrews Agrees

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David Andrews seems to feel similar to many New England Patriots fans midway through the NFL offseason.

The Patriots, who went out and splurged in free agency before just putting the finishing touches on a 2021 NFL Draft class which includes a potential franchise quarterback in Mac Jones, have provided much-needed excitement after a disappointing 2020 campaign.

Now, as Andrews noted during a video conference with reporters Tuesday, it’s just counting down the days until the Patriots get to put it together between the lines.

“I was excited to see some of the improvement we were making and some of the guys we were bringing in,” Andrews, who re-signed on a four-year contract, told reporters, per the team. “I’m definitely excited in what we’re doing. Met a lot of the new guys. Excited to get a chance to get out and practice with them and play football with them. That’s what we’re all here for.”

The Patriots, who went 7-9 last season, improved across the board while adding depth at positions of need.

“We made a lot of improvement on paper and that’s definitely part of it,” Andrews added. “Now we have to become a football team. We have to work together. Learn to work together, because obviously there’s going to be a lot of new faces, and just become a team and start putting it together here. That’ll build through the offseason and obviously into training camp. Excited once we get the rookies into the building and start working with them. Just excited to get the whole ball rolling here.”

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The Patriots’ offense, as you probably know, made a handful of early signings in free agency with two of the top tight ends — Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry — a pair of receivers — Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne — along with trading for offensive tackle Trent Brown and re-signing former Patriot lineman Ted Karras. They should all help Andrews and the Patriots offense, which had a down season as Cam Newton struggled in his first campaign in New England.

Of course, that doesn’t even include the signings on the defensive side like edge rusher Matt Judon, linebacker Kyle Van Noy or the draftees like Jones, defensive tackle Christian Barmore and defensive end Ronnie Perkins.

Andrews admitted that while he was impressed by the number of players the Patriots signed, it wasn’t his main reason for returning. His hope, as he mentioned, was set in motion prior.

“(I) knew we wanted to be back here. It all made sense,” Andrews said. “I kind of made that clear throughout the whole process. Super excited to be back. Super excited to see all the new faces we added, especially now, the draft just ended. This is home like I’ve said. This is a special place to me. The Kraft family is very special to me. The community, the coaches, the team. I’ve enjoyed playing here and I want to play here.”

Andrews signed a four-year deal worth $19 million, keeping him in New England through the 2024 season.

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Chris Sale Update: Chaim Bloom Shares Milestone For Red Sox Pitcher

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Chris Sale took an important step in his recovery.

The Boston Red Sox starting pitcher on Tuesday threw off the mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March of 2020 while rehabbing down in Fort Myers, Fla.

“He did get up off a mound today, you know, really more just to get the feel of it,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said before Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

“It was not an extensive throwing session but at the end of the session this morning he got up off the mound and threw a few pitches off the mound. So that is a great milestone for him, it’s the first time he’s done that since the surgery. So it’s very light today. But great for Chris and awesome for the organization.”

This development in his rehab was a bit delayed, though.

The 31-year-old went through a bout with COVID-19 in January, and the ensuing quarantine protocols, neck stiffness and a “very minor back thing” early in camp slowed his progress down a bit.

But Bloom believes they’re close to mapping out a more structured time table.

“The next step is obviously to get into regular mound work and mound work with some intensity, and then we can start thinking about facing hitters and mapping out a game schedule,” Bloom shared. “So I don’t know exactly when that will be, and whenever it is, we got to do it right. But the important thing is that we’re moving forward.”

The Red Sox certainly will be conservative in bringing Sale back, but his return to the rotation is highly anticipated, as Boston’s staff has exceeded expectations of many thus far.

We’ll see where Sale fits in to that.

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How ESPN Grades Red Sox After One Month Of 2021 MLB Season

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Only one team across Major League Baseball received a higher grade than the Boston Red Sox in a column by David Schoenfield published Tuesday on ESPN.com.

Schoenfield handed out grades for all 30 teams through one month of the 2021 MLB season, taking into account each club’s performance thus far relative to its preseason expectations.

The Red Sox received an “A,” trailing only the “A+” awarded to the San Francisco Giants.

The Kansas City Royals also received an “A” from Schoenfield.

Here are the other grades within the American League East, per the longtime baseball scribe:

Baltimore Orioles: BToronto Blue Jays: B-Tampa Bay Rays: C-New York Yankees: D+

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The Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers received the worst grades among all MLB teams, with Schoenfield tossing a pair of “F” marks in their direction.

Obviously, we’re dealing with a very small sample size — the Red Sox went 17-10 in April — and a lot can change over the next five months. But the “A,” coupled with the “D+” given to the Yankees, really encapsulates how this season has gone for Boston.

The Red Sox, coming off a last-place finish in 2020 but armed with reinforcements, were difficult to project this season, but it’s fair to say they’ve exceeded expectations. They entered Tuesday atop the AL East standings. Their playoff odds entering Monday, per Schoenfield, sat at 51.9%, up 13.8% from before the season began.

Schoenfield pointed to J.D. Martinez’s resurgence as the “best storyline” surrounding the Red Sox, with Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo joining the All-Star designated hitter to form one of the league’s top offenses. But Boston’s pitching has improved greatly, as well, and manager Alex Cora deserves a ton of credit for pulling the right strings in his return to the dugout.

May hasn’t been quite as kind to the Red Sox, who dropped back-to-back games in Texas to open the new month. But the Red Sox return home to Fenway Park on Tuesday night to begin a three-game series with the toothless Tigers.

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When Chaim Bloom Believes Andrew Benintendi Trade Will Be Complete

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The Red Sox traded Andrew Benintendi to the Kansas City Royals on Feb. 10 in a deal that included the New York Mets, but fans still don’t know all of the players Boston got in return.

Franchy Cordero and Josh Winckowski were two of the known pieces, while the other three were players to be named later. Of course, “later” is a broad term and it’s unclear just when those players will have names.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom met with the media Tuesday prior to the Red Sox’s game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park and was asked about the trade. Bloom gave a vague timeline of when fans can expect to know who Boston will receive to complete the trade.

Bloom gave a bit of a an update as to when the trade should be finalized.

“I don’t want to get into an exact date,” Bloom told reporters during a Zoom availability. “But, safe to say once the minor league season’s well under way we’ll get some resolution to that.”

Cordero is the only player at the moment in the big leagues and has struggled quite a bit this season. Still, Bloom expects the outfielder to turn things around.

“All the physical ability is there to do it,” Bloom told reporters. “We want to give them as much runway as we can.”

It certainly will be interesting to monitor the coming months to see who will be part of the Red Sox roster to finish up the trade, while also seeing if Cordero is able to work out of his slump.

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Bruce Cassidy Believes Bruins Are ‘Playing The Right Way’ In Final Stretch Of Season

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The Boston Bruins are headed to the Stanley Cup playoffs, but head coach Bruce Cassidy knows this is just the first step.

The Bruins defeated the New Jersey Devils on Monday night to clinch one of four spots available in the East Division. It’s the fifth straight season Boston will see postseason action. And even though Cassidy is proud of his team for what it has accomplished, the knows there still is an ultimate goal to be met.

“You play for an opportunity to play for the Cup. We’ve accomplished the first part of that,” Cassidy said after the game. “As for the challenges, there were some, for sure. I think every team’s gone through them. We had our share of adversity, COVID rescheduling and injuries, using different people. The positive side of that is you learn a little bit about guys. They get thrown into situations where they gotta step up. With goaltending, we saw a lot in the back, maybe not as much up front, but certainly other areas. And we came out of it OK. I think we’re starting to play some really good hockey now. … We’re playing the right way. I think guys are preparing themselves for how you need to play in May and June and hopefully July.”

The Bruins moved ahead of the New York Islanders for third place in the East Division, and know every game still matters in order for seeding purposes.

Boston has another chance to lock up two points Tuesday night against the Devils.

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Brad Marchand Details Longevity After 800th NHL Game With Bruins

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Brad Marchand had no idea going into Monday night’s match between the Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils that it would be his 800th career game in the NHL.

That didn’t seem to matter, as the left winger notched two assists en route to a 3-0 victory that clinched a playoff spot.

That level of play, at almost 33 years old now, has been the standard since he was selected by the Bruins in the third round of the 2006 NHL Draft. And it’s helped him defy all odds.

“Yeah, I feel very fortunate, I actually didn’t know,” Marchand told reporters of the milestone before the game. “It’s a nice little milestone. I think the biggest thing is just, as you get older, it’s all about how you take care of yourself and you kind of learn that at a younger age, I had great leaders the whole time that I’ve been able to watch and learn from, so that’s good. Another game but hopefully there’s many more.”

He had great leaders, indeed. Some of them, like Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, also have been benefitting from longevity in their own NHL careers.

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And though they’ve been doing it longer, Bergeron spoke to what impressed him about Marchand as a rookie coming into camp.

“The first time I saw him on the ice I think it was training camp, and the one thing I remember was his competitive level in every drill,” Bergeron told reporters of his teammate in a postgame Zoom availability. “Being on that puck and hunting it and not quitting on any play. And really you could tell that he wanted to make an impression, right away from Day 1. He had that will, and you know that little extra, that a little something that you need to be a great player and to me, it’s that compete level and that work ethic that has helped him so much to be now, probably one of the best left wingers in the game.”

It’s high, but warranted praise.

In the 12th year of his career, Marchand has accumulated 63 points (27 rebounds, 36 assists) and his name has been thrown into the hat for Hart Trophy candidates — probably because he has a great attitude about all the work it’s taken to get him there.

“It’s been a fun ride,” Marchand said. “There’s no question about that, it’s it’s been an incredible journey and, you know, we’re so fortunate to play this game and your career could end on any day. So every day that we get, it truly is a gift. And I’m just trying to make the most of it and enjoy every day.”

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Amazon Gets Exclusive ‘Thursday Night Football’ Rights One Year Early

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“Thursday Night Football” is leaving FOX sooner than originally anticipated.

The NFL on Monday announced Amazon acquired exclusive rights to the popular program for 2022, one year earlier than initially planned. “Thursday Night Football” will run one last season on FOX in 2021.

In March, the league revealed Amazon would take over these rights in 2023 when its various new media deals go into effect. FOX’s digital rights will be expanded as part of their new deal with the league in anticipation of losing rights to the program.

The NFL is just the latest organization to jump on the streaming service trend, which has accelerated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The league has promised to carry Thursday night games for free on TV in the broadcast markets of the participating teams in 2022.

The future of football (and all professional sports, for that matter) quickly is approaching.

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Amazon Gets Exclusive ‘Thursday Night Football’ Rights One Year Early

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Sign In

“Thursday Night Football” is leaving FOX sooner than originally anticipated.

The NFL on Monday announced Amazon acquired exclusive rights to the popular program for 2022, one year earlier than initially planned. “Thursday Night Football” will run one last season on FOX in 2021.

In March, the league revealed Amazon would take over these rights in 2023 when its various new media deals go into effect. FOX’s digital rights will be expanded as part of their new deal with the league in anticipation of losing rights to the program.

The NFL is just the latest organization to jump on the streaming service trend, which has accelerated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The league has promised to carry Thursday night games for free on TV in the broadcast markets of the participating teams in 2022.

The future of football (and all professional sports, for that matter) quickly is approaching.

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Amazon Gets Exclusive ‘Thursday Night Football’ Rights One Year Early

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