THE BRUINS are out west. The Red Sox are down south. The Celtics are on a break. The Patriots are still basking.
A Sunday look around the sports landscape.
• Jaroslav Halak pitched a shutout in Friday night’s Bruins trip opener at Anaheim. It was his fourth shutout of the season, raising his record to 15-9-4, with a 2.35 goals against average and .923 save percentage. As of now, he gets my vote as the Bruins’ Seventh Player.
• Great Dwight Evans piece by Steve Buckley of The Athletic: With the Harold Baines addition to the Hall of Fame opening the doors for Evans and others, Evans said, “I’m happy for Harold Baines. I truly am. There’s no, ‘Well, if he got in then I need to get in’ from me. There’s none of that here. None of that. Harold is such a nice man, such a quiet man. I have nothing bad to say about him. That’s why I avoided the calls.”
…Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid (he’s still working) pulled their collusion suit against the NFL amid talks of a hefty settlement. Given Kaepernick’s actions since he was booted from the league, count on much of his money going to good causes.
…Count Kyle Van Noy among the many of us who were stunned the Rams didn’t adjust to what the Patriots were doing on defense in the Super Bowl. “I couldn’t believe that either. They really didn’t do — not one wrinkle. I was like, ‘What the hell?’ They’ve got so many good players, they’ve got so many things they’ve done all year, and the one play they gave us which was a wrinkle was the B-Cooks (Brandin Cooks) screen that hit for a little bit. And that was it. … or maybe too, we were playing so good they were like, ‘(Expletive), we don’t know what to do.’”
…Almost hard to believe and a tribute to the coaches for the success they’ve had, but David Krejci is the only Bruin who had played in every game through Friday night.
…The Pelicans fired GM Dell Demps in the midst of the Anthony Davis mess. What does that mean regarding Davis’ future (and the Celtics?)? Who knows.
…More Kaepernick: former NBA commish David Stern said there’s no way Kaepernick would have been banished from the basketball league. Stern told Bloomberg the NBA encouraged players to make their causes known. “As we were digging out of a terrible hole for us — in the late ’70s and ’80s, when there was a fair amount of racism exhibited about players — we felt as a matter of policy we had to promote our players and show that they were real people,” he said. “And it worked.”
…From @SoxNotes: “Rick Porcello is the only AL pitcher to throw 150-plus innings in each of the last 10 seasons. In 2018, he was 16-5 with a 3.70 ERA against teams other than Toronto. He also went 3-for-7 with 2 doubles, becoming the first Sox pitcher in the DH era to record multiple XBH in a season.”
…With this being the weekend of the Andre Dawson Classic in New Orleans – black schools in a showcase in honor of Black History Month (he attended Florida A&M) – we bring you a great where are they now on The Hawk. First of all, hard to believe he’s 64 now – but even harder to believe he is a funeral director in Miami. Writing in AARP The Magazine, Dawson, owner and operator of Paradise Memorial Funeral Home, says “This work has taught me tomorrow is not guaranteed. I’ve learned how to help people transition through the most difficult period of their lives … I’m proud of what I did on the baseball diamond. But this is who I am now.”
…Sox manager Alex Cora says Steven Wright, still trying to make it back from knee surgeries, will work mostly out of the bullpen this season. Says Wright: “I don’t think I’m ever going to feel 100 percent like I did before I hurt my knee. But it’s just trying to get as close to that as we can and staying consistent with it.”
…The Flyers traded for Cam Talbot on Friday – and Talbot will be the eighth goalie to suit up for Philly this season.
…Xander Bogaerts on the Sox’ trip to the White House: “Once it gets closer to the date I’ll give you guys a better answer on that.”
…The Celtics hit the break at 37-21 – three games under where they were after 58 games last season.
…Mookie Betts, who will make $20 million this year and has another year of arbitration rights before potential free agency, sees what’s happening on the free agent market and says, “It’s definitely something that’s not good, especially with (Bryce Harper and Manny Machado),” Betts said. “There are a bunch of guys that haven’t signed. I don’t want to speak for them regarding free agency and how they’re handling it, but I think it’s definitely not a good thing. You could probably make an All-Star team with the free agents that are still out there. We definitely need to get those guys to spring training.”
…The official scoresheet from Wilt Chamberlain‘s 100-point game will be auctioned off and is expected to go for at least $100,000.
…Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald asked some Hall of Fame voters about Rob Gronkowski‘s chances if this is indeed the end of his playing career. They pointed to yes, but not right away. “His stats aren’t as high as some of these other guys (who are in). But there’s no doubt he’s the most complete tight end of his era. But with his stats, there might be some discussion on whether he’d be a first ballot guy, or not,” Terez Paylor of Yahoo! Sports said. “I can see it playing out where he might have to wait a little bit. But he’s done enough to wear a jacket. Rob Gronkowski will be a Hall of Famer one day.”
…Daisuke Matsuzaka, still pitching in Japan, suffered an injured right shoulder when a fan shook his right hand too vigorously.
…Bogaerts on Betts: “Mookie’s my favorite player.”
…Remember when it looked like the Bruins might be able to take advantage of a Blues fire sale? St. Louis changed coaches and the season was in the tank, so Brayden Schenn and others were said to on the move. The Blues, 20-21-5 after losing in Boston Jan. 17, are 9-1-0 since and have won their last eight to move into a playoff spot. Vladamir Tarasanko has come alive and this team is tough.
…While some speculated David Price switching from No. 24 to 10 was a precursor of Evans’ number being retired, WBZ’s Dan Roche tells us it’s for his son, Xander, the X the roman numeral for 10.
…Isaiah Thomas made it back to the court Wednesday night, scoring eight points in 13:07 in his return for Denver from hip surgery.
…From Evan Drellich, now ex-NBC Sports Boston: “Red Sox paid about $85 million in revenue sharing in 2018, sources said. Marlins received about $65 million. Red Sox lost money on an operational basis in 2018, but that does not include profitability of NESN, which they own, or franchise value appreciation.”
…The Indians’ Trevor Bauer is the latest baseball player to have his feelings hurt at the arbitration table. “They spent the last 10 minutes of the case trying a character assassination,” Bauer said Thursday. “I learned that giving to charity is a bad thing. I learned that agreeing with someone on a podcast just for the sake of argument that I was worth $10.5 million ... should be the definitive answer why I’m not worth $13 (million).” He won at $13 million and says he will sign only one-year deals going forward.
…Chris Sale wants to stay with the Red Sox beyond this year, but you have to wonder which way the Red Sox will go on a pitcher who will turn 31 at the start of the 2020 season. “I don’t have time to worry about that,” Sale said Wednesday. “We’ve got another championship to go for and that’s where my head is at. That’s where my head has always been at. Those are the things that I feel have personally helped me be successful. It’s not worrying about any of that. I get the ball. I throw it until it’s taken away from me and four days later, I do the same thing. That’s my plan.”
…Cora says he thought of Dustin Pedroia as he watched Thomas’ return to the NBA. “It’s funny because I was watching some highlights from the NBA yesterday and Isaiah Thomas comes out and I thought about Pedey,” Cora said. “You know, it’s a slow grind I guess. Hopefully, it pays off. ... We all know what he can bring at the plate and defensively. He makes us better. Looking forward to work with him and take care of him. Hopefully, he’ll be leading off in Seattle the first game of the season.”
…A NESN mock draft had the Patriots taking tight end TJ Hockenson, from Iowa, as a replacement for Gronk. “We had the Patriots selecting Hockenson’s teammate, Noah Fant, in the first two mocks, but Hockenson is a better blocker and a more complete player. With most expecting Rob Gronkowski to retire, Bill Belichick replaces the future Hall of Famer with the best tight end in the draft.”
…Reminder: I will be appearing on Ken Cail‘s WTPL/WEMJ show – Ken will be in Fort Myers for the week – Monday at 1:05.
…From column pal and long-time sports scribe Lyle Spencer the other day: “James Harden has 176 more FGA and 97 more FTA than any other #NBA player.”
…Joe Flacco in Denver. Whattya think?
…Former Red Sox righty Doug Fister announced his retirement this week after 10 years in the majors. He finishes 83-92 with a 3.72 ERA.
…From ESPN’s Jeff Passan: “Kyler Murray will return $1.29 million of the $1.5 million signing bonus money the Oakland A’s gave him last year. He forfeits the remaining $3.16 million due March 1. The A’s will put him on the restricted list and retain Murray’s rights, but they don’t get a comp draft pick.”
…Davis to the Celtics? No? Not so fast. “I never said Boston wasn’t on my list.” Asked if the Celtics are on his list, he said, “I never said Boston wasn’t on my list.”
…Daniel Theis had an off night shooting Wednesday but is still 20-for-27 from the field and 6-for-8 on 3-pointers in the last four home games.
…Odell Beckham Jr. signed a long-term deal with the Giants, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be traded. Wouldn’t he make a perfect target for the remaining years of Tom Brady?
…The Hartford Yard Goats are the first professional team to ban peanuts and crackerjacks from their venue – a nod toward allergic reactions.
…Yes, the Knicks put Kevin Durant‘s picture on their season ticket renewal pamphlet. Yes, they removed it.
…Don’t you get at least a slight feeling the Yankees will be there on either Harper or Machado?
…Ryan Spooner got traded again – this time from Edmonton to Vancouver.
…The game is meaningless, but check out that collection of talent in Charlotte at the NBA All-Star Game. This is a special era in the Association.
…Jorge Posada is reportedly set to go to work for old friend Derek Jeter in Miami – as a special advisor.
…From Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal: “In one of those crazy twists, Wayne Gretzky‘s son Trevor, now an actor, not baseball player, is in hockey movie with Mario Lemieux‘s daughter Alexa, currently a film student, called ‘Odd Man Rush.’ Howard Baldwin is exec producer.”
…Finally, Sale on Craig Kimbrel still being out of work: “It’s crazy to me. I don’t want to get too far into it with the politics of baseball and all this stuff, but he’s as good as it gets. He 100 percent makes any team better that he plays for. It’s crazy to think that there really hasn’t been a whole lot of traction with him. I think with half the league just showing up for checks, it doesn’t help — not trying to win, those kind of things. Obviously your market kind of goes down a little bit. He’s earned it. You’d just like to see better for him. He’s put in the time, he’s put in the effort, he’s put it on the line. It’s time for somebody to do that for him.”
Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.