After shoveling for nearly two and a half hours, I feel the need to rant. It is usually ideal therapy for me so I figured there is nothing better than to sit down at my computer and just let it have it.
* First and foremost, all you people out there who love snow and are the outdoorsy type were either dropped on your heads as children or should make an appointment to get your head examined, pronto.
*Yesterday, the Patriots took care of business by dismantling the Bills giving them home field advantage throughout the playoffs. While this is an obvious advantage for the Pats, let us not lose sight of the fact that the Pats just last season were blown out on Foxboro turf by the Ravens 33-14 in the first round of the playoffs. The Patriots could play host to any number of teams as the AFC playoff picture hasn’t quite come into focus yet. To be honest there isn’t a clear cut team that I am “comfortable” with the Pats facing after their first round bye as each team poses it’s own set of problems.
*Going into this season I was hoping the Patriots would use the Raiders pick to scoop up Alabama’s Mark Ingram. Now with one week to go in the regular season, that is no longer the case. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been incredible for the Pats this year. He has carried the ball 209 times this year for 928 yards and 12 touchdowns, without a fumble. In fact during his 3 years in the league spanning 309 carries he is yet to fumble. (Lord, I hope I don’t jinx the man). He has also been great in the back field in picking up blitzes to protect Brady. He along with Danny Woodhead have been a very pleasant surprise this season. What’s even better is they are both young and can share backfield duties for years to come. Their success has enabled the Patriots to concentrate on other areas come draft time.
*I am really hoping that the Celtics aren’t about to partake in their annual swoon after Christmas. Last season the Celtics were 23-5 going into Christmas day, eerily similar to this season. Last season they played the Lakers and lost, much like they did with the Magic this season. Last season, after Christmas the Celtics played less than .500 ball and got a 5 seed in the playoffs. I am hoping the Celtics can maintain the dominance they have showed this season because I feel home court advantage will be important to them come April as evidenced by their 13-1 home record, best in the NBA.
*Many fans are wondering if the Celtics will make their usual trade deadline move as they have the past 3 years (PJ Brown, Mikki Moore, Nate Robinson). Such a move will be unnecessary as they will actually be getting healthy around that time. Expect Kendrick Perkins, Delonte West, Jermaine O’ Neal and Rajon Rondo to all be fully healthy come mid- February. I have long said this is the deepest team I can remember in the NBA. For that very reason I think they are the best team in the NBA.
*There has been a lot of discussion as to what the Boston Red Sox batting order will be come 2011. Some writers (Gordon Edes) actually think that Dustin Pedroia will bat 5th or 6th. Now what bothers me is that he is a so called expert and gets paid to offer his opinion on such matters. But how can one man who has his amount of access to the club even think this? Why would anyone bat the league leader in runs scored when healthy (2008-118 runs 2009-115 runs) deep in the lineup and not have him set the table for the big boppers? His logic escapes me and if anyone can help me understand what he is thinking it will be greatly appreciated.
*In regard to the Sox lineup, here is something that hasn’t really been brought up. Why not bad Carl Crawford ahead of David Ortiz? If Crawford was to bat in the 5 hole and Ortiz 6, there would be no more Ortiz shift. A walk to Crawford would soon turn into a triple if teams were to employ the dreaded shift. With the shift out of play, Ortiz is looking at 15 to 20 more hits this season. At the same time I see the flaw in having back to back lefties in the lineup, but I think it is more valuable to get rid of that shift as many times as possible.
*Last week I wanted Claude Julien fired and was calling for Santa to give him a shake weight to occupy his time. Don’t get me wrong I still want him canned. But how cool was it to see Shawn Thornton drop the gloves 2 seconds into the game against the Thrashers last Thursday night? I was calling for some kind of spark that would show me the Bruins did have heart. Thornton produced that and then found the twine twice in a 4-1 win over the second best goalie in the NHL, in Ondrej Pavelec. Hopefully Bruins fans will look back to December 23 as the turning point in the season, that got the boys in black and gold going.
*Speaking of the Bruins, I appreciate Marc Savard’s effort in trying to drop the gloves toward the end of the Atlanta game. But what the hell was he thinking? This is a man who was knocked out for an extended amount of time last season after a cheap shot by Matt Cooke. Then missed the first few months of this season with post concussion syndrome. I never want to see one of my guys turtle but that was an exception. I understand he didn’t want to be the only one on the ice not dropping his gloves, but he has to realize common sense. Don’t put yourself at obvious risk of furthering your injury!
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