Rask, Bruins Win a Big One in Atlanta

Clinging to a one point lead for the final playoff spot in the East, the Bruins faced their closest competition for that spot last night in Atlanta. Tuukka Rask pitched the shutout as the Bruins roared to a 4-0 win, pushing their lead to three points. Couple that with their win over the Rangers on Sunday, and the playoff picture suddenly looks a lot better for Boston.

We’ll go with 15 links from this morning:

Bruins march through Atlanta en route to playoffs – Joe Haggerty with the thorough game story and talking points from last night’s game.

B’s respond nicely to pressure – Dan Rowinski assures Bruins fans that the sky is not falling, after all.

Grinders Starting to Produce as Bruins Beat Up Thrashers 4-0 – James Murphy notes that David Krejci and Milan Lucic showed their form of last season in the win.

Student bodies may be on the way – Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook reports that the Bruins might be signing some college and junior players soon, including 2008 first round pick Joe Colborne.

Life caught up to Antoine Walker – Mike Fine looks at how the former Celtic landed himself in the financial mess of a lifetime.

Nate Robinson and the Art of High Energy Basketball – Jessica Camerato looks at why the Celtics guard is always high-energy.

Celtics unpack, look to get right at home – Mark Murphy has the Celtics hoping that a 12-day homestand can help get themselves straightened out.

Happiness, hope on the diamond – Gordon Edes gets J.D. Drew to talk about as much as anyone has since he’s been in Boston. He recalls making his MLB debut with the Cardinals on the day that Mark McGwire hit home run # 62 in 1998, and talks about his son Jack, who might face more surgery.

10 takeaways from breakfast with Belichick – Tom E. Curran reports on the media breakfast with Bill Belichick at the NFL Owners meetings.

Offseason Workouts a Time for Patriots to Bond, Jell as a Team – Jeff Howe (who was the first to report that Randy Moss and Tom Brady had reported to offseason workouts) tells us what the players are trying to accomplish in these sessions.

Patriots could benefit from draft change – Mike Reiss says that splitting up the draft over several days could help the Patriots ability to make trades.

For Hermida, patience will be a virtue – Brian MacPherson in the ProJo profiles the Red Sox new fourth outfielder, who will have to make a number of adjustments this season.

Sox’ catching prospects are being well-received – Amalie Benjamin has bullpen coach Gary Tuck talking about the future receivers in the Red Sox organization. Tuck is particularly high on Luis Exposito.

Buchholz’ bad habit makes unwanted appearance – Alex Speier has Clay Buchholz reverting to some old ways, showing that he remains more of a work in progress rather than a finished product.

Pedroia suffers wrist sprain – Sean McAdam has a plethora of Red Sox notes from yesterday.

On the downside, Jim Donaldson writes today about breakfast with Bill Belichick being like “dry toast” and that the Patriots coach has no “personality”, says he laughed at an out-of-town writer who asked him if Belichick had said anything “revealing”, that Belichick “is nothing like the colorful and quotable ‘Tuna'” (Bill Parcells) and that he approaches press conferences like a “root canal.”

How long has he been the coach here? Is any of this new? In Tom E. Curran’s piece above, he notes that Donaldson was “dominating the proceedings with even longer questions than mine.” Donaldson says he got maybe one morsel of interest from the session, while Curran came away with 10.

Maybe the problem is with you, Jim.

(Funny, in this picture from said event, the dry-toast Belichick is smiling, while I believe that is Donaldson (top left) happily eating his free food.)

  • Tom

    Sounds like Belichick’s breakfast is like one of your columns Jim

  • Lance

    I get the impression Donaldson yearns for the days before the horseless carriage and bathing suits that didn’t even reveal ankles. The guy is just wasting office air until retirement.

    • Tony

      The quote about Parcells pretty much sums it all up for most of the media: he treated them like absolute dogs most of the time; he insulted their intelligence on a daily basis; he restricted access to his assistants, like Belichick does (where do you think Belichick learned that from anyway?); and he also would yell insults at them often–but man, he was QUOTABLE. In other words, he may have disliked most of them, but he made their jobs easier because he gave them what they most desire: good soundbites and good print quotes.

      Belichick treats these guys with respect, but he doesn’t kiss their butts and he also commits the cardinal sin of not being quotable and not making their jobs easier. That’s simply unforgivable for most of them.

  • Char

    Just a correction: It’s Tuukka, not Tukka.

    Two U’s, two K’s, two points. ;-)

    • Bruce

      Thanks.

      For some crazy reason Tuukka isn’t in my spell-checker’s dictionary…

      ;-)

  • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

    I’m going to bring this up because no one else will:

    Is it just entirely possible that people over reacted to the Pittsburgh game last week and the Bruins are much better than what they showed in those excremental 2 and half hours? I’m not saying that they’re good or will make it out of round 1 – I can see the Capitals or Sabres bludgeoning them to death in 4 or 5 games – but they aren’t as awful as that game showed.
    It just feels like that the Bruins get more flak for putting up a gutless performance than the Red Sox did for that awful ALDS series against the Angels, the putrid playoff game against the Ravens, and about 20 Celtics games where the C’s couldn’t hold a double digit lead. Huh.

    • Tony

      I think 38 years without a Stanley Cup and 20 years without an appearance in the finals has led to the Bruins having a much, much shorter leash on the fans’ anger than the other three teams, each of which has provided a championship (or two or three) over the last decade alone.

      That said, I agree with you that everyone overreacted to the Pittsburgh game, but it was a metaphor that the fans could grasp onto to vent their spleens about what has been a very, very frustrating season, especially coming off a year where it appeared that the Bruins have begun to turn the corner, finally.

      • Jason Coyote

        It was also a metaphor that the local talk show hosts could glom on to so they could have four-hour programs loaded with Bruins callers.

        Tony, while I agree that the Bruins might be on a shorter leash than the other three teams, they also have a considerably smaller base of hardcore devoted fans, which is why in the end it’s the media that blew this out of proportion the most.

        BTW it’s been nice hearing Bob Neumeier on 98.5 the past couple of mornings. Given that he also popped up on EEI the previous week, I’m wondering if he’s fishing for a local job. Does he still work for NBC? I don’t remember seeing him in Vancouver at all, which surprised me.

  • Eddie

    The huge ratings for the Pittsburg game should re-inforce the theory that fighting is necessary in hockey because it’s so boring.

    This morning Dale Arnold described a fight in last night’s game between Thornton and some other goon. He said the other guy “asked” Thornton to fight and then described parts of the fight saying Thornton took it easy on the guy and had the ref stop it when he had the upper hand. Am I the only one who sees that this isn’t a real fight? Shouldn’t somebody be angry in a real fight? This is roller derby.

    • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

      I’m amused that you find hockey boring, yet you’re listening to Ned Flanders.

      • Eddie

        As Ordway would say “You’re making my point”. Ned Flanders was the Bruins’ play-by-play guy for many years. Ergo hockey fans must like boring.

        • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

          Because when I think “dull”, I think Don Cherry.

  • http://www.sportsjuke.com BostonSportsJuke

    I think Clay Buchholz might be reverting to old habits. And I all think we should calm down about Clay. He is being thought of as a savior, yet he has a 4.91 ERA lifetime with the Sox.

    • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

      I think we should expect nothing from a team that has gradually degenerated their lineup in the name of “run prevention”.