Not so quick thoughts on the weekend
By Peter Santo
As a sports fan, this weekend surely had its share of ups and downs across many different sports. This weekend was rock bottom for the Boston Bruins, as they missed the playoffs for the first time since 06-07. Boston sports fans still have some hope however, as the Red Sox have started 5-2 and the Celtics will return to the NBA playoffs this spring.
Well the reality of missing the playoffs that has crept ever closer all season finally dawned over Causeway St on Saturday night. The Bruins were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the Pittsburgh Penguins win over the Buffalo Sabres. Say what you want about the Bruins getting unlucky with the Penguins losing, it never should’ve gotten this far. The Bruins had chance after chance to get their act together and start playing winning hockey. And time and time again they disappointed.
How many times did we say “This is the biggest game of the season, it’s a must win. The boys have to show up tonight,” and each time they came out with an effort even more listless than the last. The latest being startling losses to Washington, Florida and Tampa Bay.
I know Claude and Chiarelli have been here seven years, I know they have won a Stanley Cup and were two games away from another just two years ago, but it’s time for them to go. It’s time for some new blood in Boston. Someone has to be held accountable for this colossal failure of a season, and who better than the guy who put the team together and the guy who couldn’t get them to show up in must win games.
Someone needs to tell Bruins management that grit alone simply cannot win games in the NHL anymore. Sure you won a Cup that way in 2011, but let’s face it, no goalie will ever put his team on his back like that again.
The name of the game is scoring goals, and the Bruins simply do not score enough. Not only that, but their defense is now a glaring weakness. Zdeno Chara is very noticeably past his prime as is Dennis Seidenberg. Torey Krug is a liability in his own end and Matt Bartkowski is simply terrible. Getting rid of Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille was a good start, but more drastic measures need to be taken.
As things fell apart for the Bruins in Florida, up the road in Georgia, things were looking up for 21-year old Jordan Spieth at Augusta. Spieth put on a spectacular show, eclipsing the record for most birdies made in a single Masters and becoming the first player to ever reach 19 under par, all while winning the green jacket in style.
Spieth’s inaugural major victory has set the stage for what appears to be a budding rivalry in the game of golf. It is only fitting that they now hold the top two spots in the Official World Golf Ranking. The American Spieth vs. European Rory Mcilroy adds another interesting dynamic due to Europe’s recent Ryder Cup dominance.
Coming into Masters week all eyes were on Tiger Woods and how his short game would stand up to the pressure of The Masters. Tiger answered all of those questions with a very convincing performance. His T17 finish all but shattered all expectations many had.
Despite a disappointing final round 73, his 69, 68 showing on Friday and Saturday and Sunday pairing with world number one Rory Mcilroy had to give even the biggest Tiger haters some hope.
Just a year removed from supposedly tanking to gain draft position and finishing with the 6th overall pick in the NBA draft, the Boston Celtics are back in the playoffs. Sure the C’s have some solid players this season, but there’s no one on the roster that jumps out at you.
Being the superstar driven league that it is, one would not expect a team like the Celtics to succeed in today’s NBA. However many people underestimate the power of a great coach in the modern game. While the players and weak Eastern Conference also played a role, most of the credit for this turnaround has to go to Coach Brad Stevens. Danny Ainge must be smiling as he watches his star pupil grow before his eyes and lead these young C’s to the playoffs.
While many don’t expect the Celtics to beat the Cavs, they will certainly put up a fight and TD Garden should be rocking once again.