What To Expect of The 2017- 2018 Bruins

Ottawa Senators v Boston Bruins - Game Six

Photo credit: Maddie Meyer/ Getty Images

Tonight hockey returns to Boston as the Bruins open their season against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the TD Garden. The Bruins did not make many additions this offseason as their biggest signing was the resigning of their young star David Pastranak who had a career high 34 goals last year. The Bruins were somewhat limited this offseason as they had 10 million in cap space. 6.6 million of that will go to Pastranak with his new extension that will keep him in Boston for the next six years. The Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney is hoping the younger players can step up and justify his choice to not bring in much outside help. Some young players the Bruins are counting on include Anders Bjork, Jake Debrusk, and Jakob Forsbacka Karlson. The Bruins are hoping these young players can be the Bruins future as veterans Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara are all in the latter part of their careers.

This Bruins team is predicted by many to make the playoffs and they certainly have the talent. They will need the young players to step up because if they don’t this offense will have a very hard time scoring. It also key for the Bruins that backup goalie Anton Khudobin builds on his exceptional ending to last season. The Bruins number one goalie Tuukka Rask posted a career high in wins last year however for the third straight season his save percentage dipped. In recent years Rask has been burdened with a heavy workload leading to a decline in some of his numbers. This has caused many to question if he still is one of the top goaltenders in the league. If Khudobin can give the Bruins 20-25 starts that will give Rask more rest and will allow him to return to his Vezina form which the Bruins will need come playoff time.

Bruins fans could be in store for a very exciting year if these young players play to their potential. If they do not it could be a long season and the Bruins may find themselves rebuilding by the end. Tonight is when he games start to count and the Bruins will be looking to start with a win and two points.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NHL #Bruins

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Patriots Make A Statement

Brandin Cooks, Corey Moore

Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Michael Dwyer

This past Sunday was unlike any other both NFL players and fans have ever seen. As most people have heard last week President Donald Trump was very critical when asked about players who were sitting during the national anthem to raise awareness for racial inequality in the United Sates.  Trump said that players who kneel during the national anthem should be pulled of the field and fired. This is not a political blog nor a political post however Trumps comments were both uncalled for and wrong.  when moments on Sunday occur such as the solidarity that was shown it can’t be ignored. On sunday NFL teams showed that they stood by each other with displays of unity. The Patriots players and team staff linked arms as some players kneeled during the national anthem. Many team’s did something similar as it varied throughout the league. Even though sundays are for football for a brief few minutes on Sunday these players reminded fans that they are more than just athletes.

With Politics aside once the Patriots and Texans game started fans were in for a wild game that reminded us why Tom Brady will apparently never age. So far this season the problem for the Patriots has been their defense and on Sunday it was the same. The Texans Rookie Deshuan Watson threw for over three hundred yards including two touchdowns. The rookie Quarterback was known for his elusiveness in college and on Sunday the Patriots had no answer. Even when the Patriots defenders got pressure on Watson he was able to avoid it giving his receivers more time to get open.  Heading into the last five minutes of the game it looked as if the Patriots were going to lose the game making them 1-2 and creating doubts about this team after an offseason which brought talk of an undefeated season. The Patriots however still had one more chip to play and that was Brady. Like he’s done so many times Brady rescued this team. The Patriots quarterback threw a 25 yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Cooks with 23 seconds left to put the Patriots up by 36- 33.

It was Brady’s fifth touchdown of the game as he also threw for 378 yards. Had the Patriots lost this game this team would be viewed very differently today. So far this season Brady leads all quarterback’s in yards and he doesn’t look like he’s slowing down a bit. Eventually Brady will start to show his age however at this point at 40 he looks better than ever. The decline that everyone is talking about with perhaps the greatest quarterback ever seems to be far away. As Brady showed on that last drive people should not doubt him or his team.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Patriots #NFL

Takeaways from Patriots week one Loss to the Chiefs

NFL: AFC Divisional-Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots

Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots opened their season on Thursday with an embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots were dominated in every aspect of the game. Their defense was picked apart as the Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith finished with 368 yards and four touchdowns. Alex Smith has always been considered a solid quarterback but he rarely has games like this. In Smith’s ten year career he has thrown for more than 300 yards in just five games. Smith was not the Patriots only problem as rookie Kareem Hunt ran for 148 yards in his NFL debut. As the Patriots defense struggled the offense did not do much to help as although the Patriots put up 27 points the offense rarely got in synch. The Patriots scored just 10 points in the second half while the Chiefs scored 28. Brady did not play up to his normal expectations and the offensive line struggled to protect Brady.

It however is not time for Patriots fans to panic. The Patriots entered the season as the defending champs and many experts have picked them to repeat. The Patriots had a tremendous offseason in which they added star receiver Brandon Cooks, Cornerback Stephen Gilmore, and a number of talented running backs. These additions have had many people thinking the Patriots could go 19-0. That will not happen but that does not mean that this Patriots team wont be very good. It will take time for this team to form an identity as many of these starters did not play much during the preseason.  Even though Brady did not play to his normal standards he also was not horrible. Patriots fans may be frustrated but this is not how this team will look at the end of the season. They will be one of the best teams in the NFL and this opening night loss will could be considered a wakeup call when all is said and done.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NFL #Patriots

Bills Begin Rebuild

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Photo Credit: Matthew Fairburn

On Friday the Bills surprised the world as they traded two of their top players. The Bills traded talented but often injured receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams and cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles. Both these players were arguably the Bill’s best players at their position for the Bills .The Bills received more draft picks in both these trades as well as receiver Jordan Matthews from the Eagles. No matter what the Bills say this upcoming season is not one in which they will make the playoffs. The Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor now must prove himself without one of the games top receivers at his disposal. Although this was a surprising move it is one that needed to happen. The Bills have the longest streak without a playoff win in football as entering this season it has been twenty one years since the Bills last won a playoff game. That streak will continue but after years of futility the Bills now at least have defined the direction this team is going in.

With these trades finalized the Bills received Matthews to replace Watkins and cornerback E. J. Gaines from the Rams to replace Darby. The Bills also received draft picks which was essential. The Bills now have two first round picks in the next two drafts and could receive more depending on any additional moves they make. The Bills receiving corps now consists of Mathews, Anquan Boldin, and rookie Zay Jones. That is not a horrible group but replacing Watkins with Matthews makes this group less dangerous. Next season will be a tough season for Bills fans. The front office has made it clear that improving this team in the long-term is more important than this upcoming season. If the Bills can hit on the picks they received then this trades will receive good reviews in the future and for the Bills hopefully some playoff wins . If the Bills however fail to draft the right players than their playoff drought will continue as the players the Bills gave up flourish.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NFL #Bills

Danny Amendola The X Factor

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Photo Credit: Jim Rogash/ Getty Images

When the Patriots signed Danny Amendola the notion was that he would replace Wes Welker. Welker left the Patriots for the Denver Broncos in free agency following the 2012 season after 6 impressive years with the Patriots in which he caught less than 100 passes in a season only once. Amendola hasn’t put up anything close to those numbers as his most catches in a season with the Patriots so far is 65. That however does not mean Amendola has been a failure in New England. Amendola has shown his value by coming up with clutch catches in postseason for the Pats since joining New England in 2013. Putting up the numbers that Welker put In New England is no easy task. Amendola has played along some very good targets in New England including Rob Gronkwoski, Julian Edelman, Martellus Bennet and last years rookie sensation Malcolm Mitchell. Amendola may not light up the stat sheet at the end of the day however when the Patriots have needed a big play he has answered the call.

Next year the Patriots will have one of the most talented receiving corps in recent memory. The Patriots added Brandon Cooks in trade with the New Orleans Saints to go along with Julian Edelman, Malcom Mitchell, Chris Hogan, Rob Gronkowski, and fellow offseason acquisition Dwayne Allen. As a result of this Amendola moves further down the depth chart and with a six million dollar cap hit the Patriots asked Amendola to restructure his deal. Like two times before Amendola accepted this and choose winning over money. Amendola is not the type of receiver to put up godly numbers like 10 ten catches a game for 180 yards. He will however be there in the clutch as he’s shown time over time in the past few seasons. He may not be the next Wes Welker like many people predicted but he’s followed the mantra of his head Coach Belichick by doing his job when the Patriots have needed him the most.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Patriots

 

 

The Butler Situation

Butler

Photo credit: Getty

The New England Patriots have had both a very busy and interesting offseason. They have not been afraid to spend money as they signed Stephen Gilmore, one of the top free agents, to a monster deal and Lawrence Guy a defensive lineman to a 2o million dollar deal. The Pats also traded for tight end Dwayne Allen and emerging star Brandin Cooks. The Patriots improved their defense and made their offense even scarier. There still remains two big tasks this offseason for the team. That includes resigning two key contributors to their last two Super Bowl wins: Malcolm Butler and Donte Hightower. The Patriots have plenty of cap space however the two still remain free agents. Not only have these two players contributed greatly to the Patriots success lately their paths to the NFL, especially Butler’s, is what makes them so special.

Butler was signed by the Patriots in 2014 after going undrafted. Butler then had to earn his way and wasn’t well known before his interception that will be remembered throughout New England forever. With the Seahwaks at the goal line they decided to throw it and Butler stepped infront of the ball picking off the pass and sealing the Patriots victory. Butler went from undrafted to hero and has gotten better every year since. Before the offseason began Butler said he wanted to be a Patriot for life however it does not look like that will happen.

Butler wants top ten cornerback money which he deserves. The signing of Stephen Gilmore  ended the possibility of that happening. Gilmore is set to receive 45 million guaranteed over the next five years and possibly 60 million in total. Butler is deserving of at least that and maybe more. The Patriots are not a team that would give two guys at the same position that same type of deal. It was reported that the Patriots won’t give Butler more than 1o million a year which is not top ten cornerback money. Recent reports also say that the Saints and Butler are already discussing a new contract. Even though the Pats could match that contract and bring Butler back that is highly unlikely. It seems that Butler’s days in New England are numbered however he will leave with two championship rings and having made one of the most impactful plays in Patriots history.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#NewEnglandPatriots #Saints

AFC Championship Preview

dirty-towel

Photo Credit: Getty Images

This coming Sunday the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers will face off for the AFC crown and the chance to move onto the Superbowl.This will not be an easy game for either teams defense. The Steelers must keep Tom Brady and the Patriots offense of the board while the Patriots defensive unit must contain the Steelers prolific combination of , Running back Le’veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown. In the Steelers first two playoff games Bell rushed for 167 yards against Miami and 170 against the Chiefs last week. Brown also put up exceptional numbers in the Steelers first two playoff  games as against Miami he had 124 receiving yards and against Kansas City he finished with 108 receiving yards. Both these players have game changing speed and the Patriots defensive will have to contain them if they want to move on to the Superbowl. The Steelers defensive however also is facing a challenge as even without star tight end Rob Gronkowski the Patriots offense is still very dangerous.

Last week against the Houston Texans the Patriots showed how deep their offense is. Against the Texans who have a better defense than the Steelers Running back Dion Lewis put on a performance for the ages. Against the Texans Lewis became the first player in NFL history to score a rushing, receiving, and kick off return touchdowns in the same playoff game. This gave the Patriots something they didn’t have last year against the Broncos in the playoffs  when Lewis was injured .. depth. Rather then having to rely on Tom Brady last week the Patriots were a threat in both the passing and running game. This was critical as not only were the Patriots missing Gronkowski but they were also missing rookie receiver Malcolm Mitchell who has become one of Brady’s favorite targets.  If the Steelers are going to knock off the Patriots then they must pressure Brady and contain the speedy running back Dion Lewis and bruising running back Legarrette Blount.

This game figures to be a high scoring one as both these teams have prolific offenses led by two of the best quarterbacks in league in Tom Brady and the Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Both defenses will have to step up and make plays as this game could very well  come down to a big defensive stand in the last minutes  No matter what this will be an entertaining game and only one team can move on.

Written By: Jamie Gatlin

#Patriots#Steelers