IT’S OFFICIAL. Well, almost official.
The Bruins are not suffering any after-effects of losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on home ice. There is no hangover.
If you have visited this space before, you know I’ve brought up the concept of the hangover, which can take place if you win or lose in the previous year’s playoffs. The thrill of victory or agony of defeat (apologies to ABC) can carry over until the start of the next season.
No such problem for your Bruins, who are a couple of video reviews away from being at least 5-0-1. As it is, they are 5-1-0. The Lightning, picked by many to win the Cup, come to town Thursday night.
Riding four goals from David Pastrnak, the B’s overcame a poor second period and bounced the Ducks in Monday’s matinee. To date, they haven’t lit the world on fire on offense (16 goals in six games), but, with each goalie playing three games, they have yielded just 10 goals in the six games.
Jaroslav Halak played Monday as the Tuukka Rask-Halak rotation continued, has allowed five goals in three games, the fifth on his mishandling of the puck in the game’s closing minutes Monday. Both goalies have a shutout. The two have given up two goals in the two home games.
“We have a lot of work to do but we’re excited to climb that mountain,” Boston’s Brandon Carlo said before Monday’s win.
The only negative you can really find is the physical condition of David Krejci, who left Monday’s game with a lower body injury. Remember, he missed the opener of the four-game road trip that opened the season.
Too much icing
Pastrnak’s third goal came after four straight icings by the Ducks — three of them by Hampus Lindholm, their best defenseman. The Bruins switched the side of the faceoff (a new NHL rule) for the fourth faceoff, Pastrnak scored and Andy Brickley said on NESN, “You almost feel like Anaheim deserves this.”
Pastrnak, who recorded the 25th four-goal game in B’s history (four of them by Phil Esposito) had plenty of time to score a fifth goal, but it didn’t happen. Believe it or not, the Bruins have never had a player score five goals in a game. Think about that.
Bruce Cassidy didn’t play to the crowd. He didn’t send Pastrnak out with goalie John Gibson pulled late in the game. The win was far more important to the coach.
The Bruins lost a member of their historic family late last week with the passing of Ted Green. The rugged defenseman will always be known for lying on the ice looking up into space when Wayne Maki fractured his skull with a chop on Green’s head. But Green was as rugged as they come and a classy guy loved by many around the NHL.
You know the Patriots, who brought Ben Watson back again Monday, would have a better offense if Rob Gronkowski was around. Of course, Tom Brady would reap the greatest benefit. But Brady also supports the big fella’s decision.
Gronk’s a TV guy now.
“Look, I love that guy. I am so happy that he’s enjoying his time. I am happy that he’s enjoying his life,” Brady said Monday on WEEI. “He seems to really be doing a lot of great things. He knows how I feel about him. I want what is best for him. He’s the only person that can make those decisions.
“I don’t lobby for those things. I have a great relationship with him. He has given actually a hell of a lot to our team already over the course of a long period of time, and I think people should be very appreciative for what he’s brought to the team and what he’s brought to the region. I think he’s a very special guy. He’s just in a different phase of his life.”
In his “different phase,” if you missed it, Gronk stated during his Fox TV debut the following on Julian Edelman: “Let me tell you something about Julian Edelman: He calls himself The Squirrel. You know why he calls himself The Squirrel? Because he is a squirrel.”
And Edelman is NOT one of the top 25 receivers in the NFL, according to league writers in a poll that apparently produced some silly results). Brady called it “bogus.”
“For me, he’s a spectacular player and he will be in the Patriot Hall of Fame, and he could be a Pro Football Hall of Famer too at some point,” Brady says. “He does a lot of things a lot of other players in the NFL can’t do. He’s just a spectacular player. That is definitely kind of a bogus vote in my view. He is a spectacular player, one of the greats in the NFL, no doubt.”
Speaking of Edelman, John Smoltz, calling the Astros-Yankees series, said Yankee Brett Gardner reminds him of Edelman, saying that Gardner could be a slot receiver in the NFL.
Confidence? Overconfidence? Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, after his return from mononucleosis, led the J-E-T-S to their first W-I-N Sunday. He’s glad the Patriots are coming to the Meadowlands next Monday, he said.
“Perfect,” he said. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want to play the best. It’s great.”
Monday, Bill Belichick said he watched some of that Sunday Jets win and said, “Darnold clearly made a lot of good throws and he’s a big, strong guy that’s athletic in the pocket, and they have a lot of confidence in him, as they should. He knows their system well and ran it well, and they made big plays defensively. Did a good job on the running game, as they usually do. It’s an aggressive team that pursues well and tackles well. So, it was a solid effort all the way around.”
The Patriots didn’t play Sunday, but saw the Chiefs lose to create a two-game gap between the teams expected to lead the AFC. You really have to wonder if there really is a team that can keep the Pats from the Super Bowl.
The Celtics really don’t know what to do about Tacko Fall. The fans love him and he presents some interesting possible uses at 7-foot-6. That said, the Celts made a move to keep him around by juggling things to give him a two-way NBA contract. That keeps the friendly giant in the organization and allows the team to allow him to continue his development in the G-League in Portland, Maine.
Monday, the Celtics exercised their $9.9 million option on Jayson Tatum, for the 2020-21 season.
We give you the quote of the weekend, when Reggie Jackson, asked about Giancarlo Stanton again getting hurt and having to sit out Game 2 of the ALCS, said, on MLB Network Radio, “(Bleep), he’s been out all (bleeping) year. How the (bleep) could he be hurt?” he laughed and said, “This isn’t on-air, is it?”
Jackson immediately found Stanton and apologized — and said Stanton understood. “I’d just spent several days with him during his rehab (from a knee injury) and he graciously accepted my faux pas,” Jackson said. “Please know this was said to belittle the question, not with intent or malice.”
Finally, QBs Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are now a combined 14-2 so far this season.
Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.