Sox have work to do this off-season

Red Sox players may be enjoying their off-season, but for the men and women who work in the front office, there is much to do. This time of year, when free agency is in full swing and trade rumors are rolling, is called the “hot stove.” In Boston, the hot stove season is always exciting as management tries to improve the team. Since the new owners took over in 2002, the Red Sox have had the resources to add almost any player they wanted.theo.jpgThe 2006 off-season saw the Sox acquire Japanese superstar Daisuke Matsuzaka. Principle owners Larry Lucchino, John Henry and Tom Warner put up a $51 million posting fee, just to get exclusive rights to talk to Matsuzaka.

After the negotiations were complete, Dice-k was signed to a six-year $52 million contract. This proved the Red Sox owners would stop at nothing to acquire a player that they thought could help the team. Continue reading

Follow your dreams

There comes a time in every one’s life when their hopes and dreams finally come true. For Tom Poti, one of the Washington Capitals’ star defensemen, that day was June 22, 1996.

Destiny found Poti in the 1996 Entry Level Draft for the National Hockey League. He was picked in the third round by the Edmonton Oilers and would be sent to training camp at the end of August.

Born on March 22, 1977 in Worcester, Mass., Poti was a devoted hockey player from the age of seven. He attended St. Peter Marion High School in Worcester for two years, then went to Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass., for the remainder of his high school years. Continue reading

Kiffin firing may be Al Davis’ biggest mistake yet

Lane Kiffin was never given the chane to do what he wanted, and always had Al Davis looking over his shoulderWhen owner Al Davis hired USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, most questioned Kiffin’s history as well as his age. Kiffin might have been part of college football’s powerhouse, but he also looked as if he had just graduated from USC.

Now due to the fact that the Raiders are a work in progress and are still not contending after starting over from scratch two years ago, Kiffin will go down as the second Raiders coach to be fired after only a year.

At age 31, Kiffin was the NFL’s youngest coach, but surely did not act like it. Since 2002, the Oakland Raiders have gone through four different coaches, and saying that Kiffin was in for a challenge was an understatement. However, knowing this, Kiffin accepted the job with eagerness to get started and to put the team back on top where they were during the late 1960s, 70s and 80s. Continue reading

Pruitt proves depth at the point

Gabe Pruitt has proved this preseason that he can play with the Big ThreeDrafted 32nd overall by the Celtics in 2007, guard Gabe Pruitt shows he can play with the Big Three as the preseason comes to an end.

Sunday, the Celtics played New Jersey in their seventh preseason game, and Pruitt was given the chance to prove what he can do. Filling in for Rajon Rondo because of an ankle injury, Doc Rivers wanted to see how much depth he had at the point.

Gabe Pruitt, enter stage left. Playing with the Big Three, all Pruitt wanted to do was show Celtic fans that the team has another option besides Rondo. Continue reading

Pacman is out of power-ups

Adam “Pacman” Jones is expected to return to the field this Sunday, Dec. 7, as the Dallas Cowboys take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Jones, who was suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the League’s Conduct Policy after getting into a fight with his appointed security guard, was also suspended an extra two games by Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones.As the player who led the Cowboys in passes defended this season, Jones (Adam) will be an important addition to the team as they look to make their drive to the playoffs.

Although it will be beneficial for the Cowboys to have him back, Jones is well aware of the precarious situation that he finds himself in as a result of his actions.  While this has been the most recent of Jones’ off-field mishaps, he has an ever growing list and police record that NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, took into account as he handed down the suspension.  Continue reading

Celtics look to defend title for first time in 20 years

There was a time when the Boston Celtics were so dominant it seemed they won the National Basketball Association Championship every season. With Red Auerbach at the helm, and Bill Russell leading the charge along with countless other all-time-greats, this hallowed city knew nothing of losing. Between 1950 and 1970, the Celtics won 11 rings, and cemented themselves as the most successful organization in all of professional sports.celtics1.jpgHowever, after Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish started a dynasty of their own in the early 80s by winning three championships, the Celtics instantly disappeared into oblivion.

Most of the new generation of fans felt disconnected with this new wave of players, who, ultimately, paled in comparison to the their predecessors. After Bird’s retirement, things looked rather bleak for this once heralded franchise. Continue reading

MVP decision a no-brainer

Dustin Pedroia When it comes to deciding the Most Valuable Player in each league in Major League Baseball, certain things come into play. Many of the sports writers from around the country who cast these votes have guidelines for whom and what makes a player the MVP.

Many believe the person has to be on a contending team throughout the season, and that player has to be able to carry them throughout certain periods of the long, 162-game marathon. Statistically, the player has to be near the top of every category, while playing enough games to warrant consideration.

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia fits all of the criteria and more; yet surprises everyone by doing it. Listed at 5-foot-9, he has always been looked at as someone who couldn’t get it done in the big leagues. Even as early as last spring when he first made his MLB debut, people were calling for his replacement. Continue reading

Cubs, Angels favorites heading into postseason

Chicago Cubs fans have been down this road before, looking like the team to beat in the National League coming down the final stretch of a season.  Many Chicagoans have suffered through the agony and defeat of making it so far, only to lose at the very end.  The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim enter the postseason representing the American League, and are perennial favorites having won their division the past two years. Unfortunately, for Cubs fans, this road to the postseason leads to a dark and dreary place.krod-2.jpg

In 2003, all the Cubs needed to do was win games six or seven to advance to the World Series.  With stud aces Kerry Wood and Mark Prior taking the hill, all looked well for Chicago.

In game six, they had a 3-0 lead with only five outs to go, when the lovable losers blew it again. This time, however, with a little help from one of their fans.  The infamous Steve Bartman reached over into the field of play taking a probable out from the grasp of left fielder Moises Alou.  Then Alex Gonzalez made a crucial error at short, and the Florida Marlins went off to an eight-run inning that Cubs fans will never forget.  Continue reading

Bruins take back Boston

BOSTON–Boston has not been the “hub of hockey” since the 70s when Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito were drinking from Lord Stanley’s Cup. Besides the early 90s when the Bruins finished first in the Eastern Conference and made a finals appearance, there hasn’t been much to get excited about. Just plenty of early round playoff exits and major disappointment.bruins.jpgIn recent years, the TD Banknorth Garden has drawn better attendance for children’s ice shows, such as Mickey and Minnie’s Magical Journey. I understand that the last Bruins championship parade through Boston was 1972, but they should at least outdraw Mickey Mouse.

With the Red Sox recent exit from the post-season by the new look Tampa Bay Rays, normally Boston sports fans would turn their attention to the Patriots. Only every time I tune in to see Tom Brady and the Patriots high flying offense, I get some guy named Casell who looks like he hasn’t started a meaningful game since high school. Since this is an actual reality with Tom Brady going down only 19 minutes into the season and having a starting quarterback who usually carries a clipbord, there has been no better time to watch Boston Bruins Hockey. Continue reading

Suffolk men’s hockey team opens season at Becker College

The Suffolk Men’s hockey team opened up its season this past weekend with a couple of exhibition games in the Dunkin Donuts Tournament at Becker College. The men’s team prepares for another long, grueling season after finishing last year with a 7-15-2 overall record.

The men did qualify for postseason play, but were ultimately eliminated in the semi-finals of the Eastern College Athletic Conference playoffs by Wentworth Institute of Technology. Although the team lost some of its key senior leaders from last season, they have some good young players coming in to help complement a core group of veteran players on offense and defense. They also have a strong young goaltender in sophomore Jeff Rose, who played well between the pipes last year as a freshman. The Ram’s lost the first game of the tournament to Nichols College in a hard-fought, 4-1 decision. The team fell behind early as the Bison scored a mere 46 seconds into the game. Continue reading

First round of NHL playoffs

BOSTON — As all NHL players knows, the playoffs are a long and grueling process, extending from the start of April to mid-June if you make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. All rounds of the playoffs are best of seven series. The players will hook, grab, and really try anything within the rules of the game to reach that final series. For some teams, their playoff pushes began back in February and have been playing at an extremely high level since.

The first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs featured very strong teams, all with a chance to make that final push. The match-ups in the Western Conference were Detroit Red Wings/Nashville Predators, San Jose Sharks/Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild/ Colorado Avalanche, and the Dallas Stars/ Anaheim Ducks. Continue reading

Tough start for club hockey team

BOSTON — The Suffolk Club Hockey Team is off to a rough start in their second season after dropping their second straight game out of the last three. The Rams played the Berklee Icecats, who played a fundamentally sound game.

Unfortunately, the Rams were missing many key players due a scheduling mistake made by the league. With only eight skaters and a goalie, far below normal for a team to keep a competitive edge, Suffolk looked tired and unfocused in the second period. Continue reading

A star is born

BOSTON — As basketball players go, Mario Chalmers height is less than notable. Standing at just 6’1″, Chalmers is undersized for an off-guard, and most of his Kansas teammates tower above him.

But when it comes to shooting the ball, Chalmers plays bigger than his height. With a 66% true shooting percentage, combined with a tenacious defensive stance, he has risen above the pack in this year’s NCAA tournament. Continue reading

A race to the finish in the wild wild west

BOSTON — As we’re entering the end of the 2007-2008 NBA regular season, much attention is being placed on the Western Conference playoff race. Many are wondering who will come out on top and who will fall through the cracks. With only a few weeks away from seasons end, there hasn’t been one team to clinch a spot, while the Eastern Conference already has half of the teams in the playoffs.

What does this mean? The end of the regular season is going to be a race to the finish between the top teams in the Western Conference. This is the first time in NBA history that no team has clinched the playoffs this late in the season. Continue reading

Allegations send Clemens for a curve ball; Former Yankee pitcher denies steroid use

BOSTON — Roger Clemens’s legacy as one of baseball’s greatest pitchers was severely challenged by the recent allegations contained in the Mitchell Report, that a strength and conditioning coach injected him with anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) over a three-year period beginning in 1998.

Since the release of this information in December, Clemens’ has taken no proper path to deal with the issue. He spoke under oath for about five hours to congressional lawyers last Tuesday, then said he told them he did not use performance-enhancing drugs. Denying charges, avoiding press, and being all around moot on the topic of this issue certainly is not working in Clemens’ favor. Not only has he lost his spot in the Hall of Fame, he has also lost the trust of many fans. Continue reading

March to madness

BOSTON — The National Collegiate Athletic Association 2008 Men’s basketball Tournament is well under way; four brackets and 64 of the best collegiate teams in America have been whittled down to the final four: UCLA, North Carolina, Memphis, and Kansas are still in the chase for an invitation to The Big Dance.

The 2008 bracket is a study in dashed hopes and dreams with some of the best teams in the field bowing out in early rounds. March, a month of big upsets and unthinkable buzzer beaters, is now securely tucked away in the history books. April however, promises to be the month where basketball super giants reign supreme. Continue reading