When I say the week was near perfect, I actually mean it. There were almost no flaws to this week in Boston sports other than a 3-2 shootout loss to Toronto for the Bruins on Saturday night. Every team looked great with all their wins this past week and even the Red Sox, who are not playing, had some unbelievable news with their newest player arriving in town.
The Boston Bruins
I do not normally start with the teams that are currently playing, but seeing as the Bruins probably had the only bit of bad news this week, lets get the bad news out of the way and move on to everything else that is so good. Just because the Bruins did lose on Saturday night, is not to say they did not have a good week. Wednesday night the B’s blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 in a re-match of last season’s Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. It must have been a good feeling for the Bruins to beat Philly after embarrassing themselves in the playoffs last season. In case you forgot those forgettable games, the Bruins had a 3-0 series lead over the Flyers only to lose the next four games and be eliminated.
Thursday night was even better for Boston when they came back home to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Not only did the Bruins score a season high eight goals, but old friend Mark Savard returned to action for the first time this season after sitting out the beginning of the year from post-concussion symptoms. Savard was able to return thanks to the trade of defenseman Matt Hunwick to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Colby Cohen who was immediately sent down to Providence. This move was purely to clear up cap space for Savard, but allows Cohen, a Boston University alumni, a chance to make it into the pros with his favorite team.
Like I said before, the only minor scratch on an otherwise perfect week for Boston was the Saturday night shootout loss to the Maple Leafs. The Bruins held a 2-1 lead well into the third period but a late power play goal by Kris Versteeg sent the game into overtime and an eventual shootout, where the Bruins just cannot seem to figure it out. The Maple Leafs took the shootout out 2-1 and got the eventual 3-2 win over the B’s. Boston will look to bounce back from their loss on Saturday with games Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders, and Philadelphia again, respectively.
The Boston Celtics
The Celtics had a strong 4-0 week over the Cleveland (one of the four teams they had already lost to), Portland, Chicago, and New Jersey. Aside, from the Portland game, none of these teams were even close to competing with the C’s even the Bulls who look to become more of powerhouse team in the East with the return of Carlos Boozer. Charles Barkley has even stated that he believes the Bulls are going to be the team in the East to beat, but were still no match for the Celtics on Friday night.
Aside from rolling over teams this past week the Celtics were happy to announce that Doc Rivers had been named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for November. Doc is completely deserving of this award while guiding his team to a great 11-3 month. Delonte West also underwent successful surgery on his broken right wrist, but has no timetable set for his return just yet.
Finally, in somewhat related Celtics news, former Celtic Antonie Walker is on the road to reviving his NBA career. That road has made a stop in Idaho with the Development League’s Stampede. Walker has just signed a contract with the Idaho Stampede as he tries to make a comeback to the NBA at 34 years-old. Walker also needs to try and payback the millions of dollars in debt he owes after losing most of the money he made in his NBA career to gambling problems. Whether Walker will be effective enough to move up into the NBA is another question, but those who have seen him recently claim he is in the best shape he has been in a while, and is completely serious about revitalizing his career. Good luck Mr. Wiggle.
The Celtics will take on Denver Wednesday, head to Philadelphia on Thursday, and close out the week in Charlotte on Saturday.
The Boston Red Sox
So they might not be playing baseball at the moment, but besides the Monday Night Football match-up, the Red Sox had the most exciting weekend of all the teams in Bean Town. Earlier in the week the Red Sox made a smaller announcement that they had re-signed catcher and captain, Jason Varitek. The deal is for one year at $2 million. Varitek will be the back-up catcher to Jarrod Saltalamacchia and serve more as a mentor to the 25 year-old who is still trying to find his role in the majors.
However, the HUGE news for the Sox came throughout the weekend as the Red Sox and Padres worked out a deal to bring power hitting first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, to Boston. The Red Sox and Padres worked out a deal initially that sent three prospects (pitcher Casey Kelly, outfielder Raymond Fuentes, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo) to San Diego in exchange for Gonzalez. The deal looked like it was about to fall through as the Red Sox were not able to negotiate an extension to Gonzalez’s existing contract that is over at the end of this season, but ended up going ahead with the trade despite the lack of an extension. There is no way the Red Sox do not have a framework for Gonzalez to stay in Boston for years to come after giving up three of their best prospects. The Red Sox wanted to give Gonzalez a six year deal while Gonzalez wanted eight years and a difference of $40 million was in place between the two contract suggestions. It seems that Boston will end up finding a middle ground with the first baseman with a seven year deal.
This is an amazing acquisition for Boston. They receive a great bat for the middle of the order and an amazing defensive first baseman. Kevin Youkilis will move back to third base and is completely fine with the switch. Gonzalez is only 28 years-old and is in the prime of his career. He is a career .284 hitter and hit 31 home runs and drove in 101 RBI last season. Gonzalez even stated that after playing in the major leagues, that playing for Boston was his second dream come true.
The New England Patriots
Finally, the game that every Pats fan had been waiting for since week two this season. A re-match with the dreaded Jets. After getting tossed around by New York back in September the Patriots absolutely trounced the Jets 45-3 on Monday night as well as Teddy Bruschi Night. The former linebacker was honored by the Patriots at halftime for extremely memorable career in New England. There is no question at all about who was the better team in the AFC East now.
After getting a field goal on the opening drive, the Patriots never looked back. Tom Brady was pretty much perfect throwing four touchdowns for 326 yards and no interceptions. Brady finished the game with a QB rating of 148.9, not too shabby.
So what happened to that highly touted Jets defense? Can’t blame the cold of New England, because it is not exactly warm in the Meadowlands these days either. They just were not as good as everyone thought apparently. The Patriots executed both in the air and on the ground. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had another effective night with 72 yards rushing and his two touchdowns are the 10th and 11th for him on the season. Those two scores by Green-Ellis are the most by a Patriots’ player in a season since Corey Dillion had 13 back in 2006. Also, Danny Woodhead had a nice 50 yard run that was ruled a reception because of the pitch throw that he received from Brady, but still shows just how well he was able to penetrate his former team’s defense. There were also just so many plays that the Patriots were wide open that the Jets failed to make successful in their favor. Notably, a touchdown catch by Aaron Hernandez in the fourth quarter. The Jets only forced three punts in the entire game and one field goal. Who were those guys that were supposedly one of the best defensive teams in the NFL?
Mark Sanchez was also supposed to be this great quarterback on Monday that due to the Patriots poor pass defense could potentially rival Brady. Whoever thought Sanchez could rival Brady was terribly mistaken. Not only did Sanchez and Jets fail to score a touchdown, the great Mark Sanchez was picked off three times by that poor pass defense. Devin McCourty (who looks like a potential Pro Bowler now), James Sanders, and Brandon Spikes all had interceptions, Spikes coming in the red zone just when one thought the Jets might score.
Regardless, this was not the Super Bowl and just the Patriots and Jets week 12 match-up. Both teams still have four games left and the Patriots will have their work cut out for them still against the Chicago Bears next week and the Green Bay Packers the week after. Anything can still happen, but it was great to see the Patriots absolutely destroy the Jets and take back the AFC East they so rightly deserved.
Boston College: With no game this past week due to the end of B.C.’s season, the Eagles were glad to welcome in the news of their upcoming bowl game. On January 9, 2011 the Eagles will be in San Francisco to take on No. 13 Nevada in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl game.
UMass: The Minuteman announced big news this past week with a preliminary plan to move into the FBS conference in the next few years. The Minuteman will be leaving the CAA of the FCS conference and will be joining the Mid American Conference. This is a great move for both the school and the state. UMass will be able to able to bring in a much bigger football program and most likely get a new stadium. Also, Massachusetts will have a bit of a rivalry in college football between UMass and Boston College. This potential rivalry could revitalize college football in the Bay State, which really has not been big since the days of Doug Flutie at B.C. Look for UMass to have a preliminary FBS type of schedule the next two years and then the move into the MAC in 2013.
About the Author
Written by Geoff Poster
I am a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. I currently work for WODS Radio and Mix 104.1 Radio in Boston, MA as both a board operator and member of the promotions department. I am interested in pursuing a career in sports media. I currently have a Boston sports podcast entitled The Last Name Show, and I also write for the website SportsofBoston.com