MIke Shalin's Working Press: Patriots become a bit of a circus act | New Hampshire
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MIke Shalin's Working Press: Patriots become a bit of a circus act

By MIKE SHALIN
February 08. 2018 10:08PM




A quick glance around the sports world as we all wonder if Josh McDaniels will ever get another head coaching offer from any team other than the Patriots — or if J.D. Martinez will ever sign with anybody.

Folks were surprised when a story surfaced at the Super Bowl that Rob Gronkowski might want to stop having his body punished in the NFL and opt for a movie career. Asked about it after the loss, Gronk didn’t shoot it down, saying only that his latest injury, a concussion, was behind him mulling his future.

You wonder if all this post-Super Bowl craziness in Foxborough, Mass., will have anything to do with the big fella’s eventual decision, but let’s be honest, he’s already making a ton of money off the field and it’s easy to see that transferring to the big screen. He could even do some of his own stunts and not get banged up as much as he does on the football field.

As far as the other nonsense going on with that team, I have a feeling it’s Malcolm Butler telling the truth — he’s being backed up by current and former teammates — and what Bill Belichick did in Minneapolis was bizarre, at best.

As far as McDaniels, folks around here like to talk about how the Pats stuck it to the Colts over Deflategate, but that’s a stretch. Who says the once-failed McDaniels would have been the answer to Indy’s coaching prayers? Coaches from the Belichick tree have not exactly torn up the NFL, right?

Bruins on fire

The Bruins — remember them? — have been operating under the radar on the local sports scene but have developed into a legitimate contender.

Heck, NHL.com vaulted the B’s, 18-1-4 in their last 23 games, to the No. 1 spot in the NHL rankings, passing the Tampa Bay Lightning. Starting play Thursday night, the Bruins trailed the Lightning by a point for the league’s top spot and Boston had a game in hand.

Patrice Bergeron has emerged as a Hart Trophy candidate as the league’s MVP. Zdeno Chara is playing his best hockey in years and Tuukka Rask has turned a terrible start into a Vezina-worthy season. He’s 19-0-2 in his last 21 starts (with more-than-reliable backup work by Anton Khudobin) and has seven straight games of either one or two goals allowed.

The Bruins were leading the league in goals against, were fourth in goals per game and penalty killing and sixth on the power play.

The question facing management now is which path the club will take seeking a title. The trade deadline is later this month and Don Sweeney, Cam Neely and the brass have to decide whether to go for it with a trade or with the current mix of veterans and young stallions.

On the move again

Wednesday night, Isaiah Thomas said he wanted to stay in Cleveland. Thursday, his 15-game “career” in Cleveland was over as part of a massive on-the-fly rebuild by the Cavs.

“I don’t (want to be traded),” Thomas said. “I’m tired of being traded. That’s not a good thing, but I just want to be where I’m wanted. I like it here. It hasn’t been as planned, but I definitely want to be here. We definitely have a real chance to win an NBA championship, and I want to be a part of that.”

Oops: He’s off to L.A. as the Lakers improved their overall cap situation with an eye toward next year and the year after.

It says here the Cavs got more athletic in their wheeling and dealing but you wonder if they have enough outside shooting to get this job done. Still, if you saw LeBron James play on Wednesday night, you know anything is possible.

Our buddy Jon Wallach of 98.5 wasn’t happy with the Cleveland moves, tweeting, “Cleveland stuck it to the Celtics twice today. They just got better and, if Isaiah goes off, took the Lakers’ first round draft pick out of that 2-5 range for this summer. Damn.”

Greg Monroe signed with the Celtics last Thursday and while the team didn’t make a deal at the deadline, buyout candidates (Joe Johnson redux? He was traded by the Celtics as a rookie) will be out there so this roster is not set for the stretch run.

The team LeBron drafted for the All-Star Game has been hammered by injuries, knocking four players out of the game — DeMarcus Cousins (torn Achilles, out for season), Kevin Love (broken bone in hand, out 6-8 weeks), John Wall (knee, out 6-8 weeks) and Kristaps Porzingis (torn ACL, out for year.)

Not nice

Super Bowl champion LeGarrette Blount apparently doesn’t like some of the treatment he’s gotten from Patriots fans since the game.

He tweeted: “I’m just gonna let all these pats fans in my DMs and commenting on my pics know that my block button is getting used heavily! Especially when they are calling me a B**** and more. (Bleep) not gonna fly with me! We don’t need fans like that and neither do they! No room for it!”

He’s right.

Big pickup

In a major deal, the Yankees acquired Russell Wilson from the Texas Rangers for future considerations. Yes, THAT Russell Wilson.

Wilson, who could have played baseball, will never play baseball but will come to camp as a motivational source.

Said Yanks GM Brian Cashman: “We’ve admired Russell’s career from afar for quite some time. This is a unique opportunity for us to learn from an extraordinary athlete who has reached the pinnacle of his profession. After talking to a number of our players, there is a genuine excitement in having Russell join us for a short time in camp. We are all looking forward to gaining insight into how he leads teammates toward a common goal, prepares on a daily basis for the rigors of his sport, and navigates the successes and failures of a season.”

Coming Sunday, a quick primer on baseball spring training with a look at the Red Sox and the AL East.


Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com.


Sports columns Patriots/NFL Red Sox/MLB Celtics/NBA Bruins/NHL