Top-10 Boston Bruins of the 21st Century

Who are the Top-10 Boston Bruins?

By Dan Rubin 

So, as par the norm, I’m going to bring up the rear with my predictions and thoughts on a topic. But, as they say, we saved the best for last.

Most of you might not be aware that, yes, Boston did have a hockey team this decade before 2008, and, yes, they were actually pretty good. The Bruins, in fact, were one of the best regular season teams since the turn of 2000. That did not, obviously, translate to playoff success, winning only the Stanley Cup in 2011, as the most recent flag bearers for the state of Massachusetts. And while the Bruins are certainly the toast of the town, it wasn’t always like this, even though they were a good team.

Indeed, the Bruins can be broken down into two categories – pre-Lockout and post-Lockout. The pre-Lockout successes hinged on one formula backed by a player you’ll see on the list. The post-Lockout Bruins traded that player and rebuilt their organization on the fly, suffering a couple of bad years in there. But that’s what makes the turn of the century so fun to analyze and so fun to dissect.

Here are the nominees, a little bit more in-depth than Noonan and Lindberg, because you probably haven’t heard some of these names and some of them need explaining as to why they are where they are, OK?

Honorable Mention:

Boston had a number of players who were great one-year wonders. They traded for guys to fill out a solid roster but never committed to them for the long haul. Guys like Sergei Gonchar, Bill Guerin and Mike Knuble. They all played for Boston and were solid additions, but they all fled town after their contracts expired, or they were traded when the Bruins front office realized they couldn’t resign them with a cheap owner nickel-and-dime-ing along the way. After the Lockout, this attitude changed with the salary floor and cap, forcing the Bruins to spend money and manage contracts better than before.  Needless, to say it paid off.

That attention to tenure is why you won’t see guys like Dennis Seidenberg or Nathan Horton on this list. They are great players, but they didn’t do it over too much. It’s possible they make a revised list in a couple of years (Horton, especially), but I’m basing this on how big of an impact the players made on the organization for an extended period of time, and how good the team would’ve been without them. If you remove Horton, the Bruins are still a great team, but that discounts how much they belong on this list.

Also, it’s worth noting guys like Marco Sturm, who were brought here to replace big name guys, and, even though they weren’t as good, they were every bit the part they needed to play. They had a number of guys like that, and, once again, they left town.

And, finally, the one-year wonder goaltenders. These guys didn’t have the tenure to stick into our list because, let’s face it – the Bruins have never been big on goaltending.  Andrew Raycroft put up solid numbers but didn’t play long enough in Boston to warrant a Top 10 rating. Also, Tuukka Rask might be the best goalie the Bruins ever had, but he’s neither done it, nor been consistent enough to be considered in this list.

So here are our Top 10 Bruins of the past decade. There are a ton of guys to choose from, all of which were good, some of which were great.

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Daily Noontime – June 30, 2011

It just wasn't David Ortiz's night on Wednesday!

It’s the FINAL day of June, which means, July is right around the corner, duh! Any who, here’s the Daily Noontime for Thursday June 30, 2011, enjoy! 

Headlines: 

* Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona decided to put David Ortiz back in the lineup on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, but that didn’t work out.

* Yet again, Red Sox pitcher John Lackey pitched a decent game, but ended with a loss in the loss column. That’s the usual stuff, right?

* According to sources, NFL rookies are eager for some football, but also want their paychecks too.

* Thursday will be an interesting day, as players and owners get set to join NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for some more talks.

* The NBA players and owners will have a few more hours on Thursday, but really, the clock is ticking toward negotiating a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement).

* It was another down day at Wimbledon, as Roger Federer blew a lead and lost his match.

Games to Watch: 

* Milwaukee at New York Yankees (MLB) – 1:05pm eastern

* Boston at Philadelphia (MLB) – 1:05pm eastern 

* Chicago White Sox at Colorado (MLB) – 3:10pm eastern

* Texas at Houston (MLB) – 8:10pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

It must have been an honor for FC Barcelona to meet the President of the United States, right? 

Top-10 New England Patriots of the 21st Century

By Andy Lindberg

Who makes the list?

Well my Red Sox top-10 of the 21st century got lit into a few times, which I was happy to see, because it means people are reading and looking at the website.  However it is now my great pleasure to create even more of a fervor with my top-10 Patriots of the 21st century.  The bottom line is, with lists like these when you can only pick ten players, you’re leaving out some great athletes.  That’s the challenge of creating such a list.  No matter who you put on there, people will always desire another player or two who were left off the list.

Honorable Mentions: Corey Dillon, Logan Mankins, and Randy Moss

10 Rodney Harrison: Harrison came to New England and immediately won two rings.  He had 317 tackles from the safety position and brought a mean streak to New England that had opposing receivers quaking.  Harrison shut down Peyton Manning on numerous occasions, including in the playoffs.

9 Kevin Faulk: This is the pick that will probably catch the most heat.  However, Faulk was indispensable for the Patriots in the past 11 years.  While it seems his tenure is done now, he was extraordinarily reliable and executed his role fluently as the 3rd down back and return man.  Faulk is a threat as a runner and coming out of the backfield as a receiver.  In his New England career, he has averaged 4.2 yards per carry.

8 Ty Law: One of the members of the original Law Firm (Law and Lawyer Milloy) Ty Law picked off 16 passes in the five years he played for New England this century, including a pick-six off Rams’ QB Kurt Warner in Super Bowl 36.  Law was the shutdown corner the Patriots missed so much after he left.

7 Asante Samuel: Samuel didn’t leave New England on the best of terms, especially after dropping an interception in Super Bowl 42 against the Giants that would have clinched New England’s fourth title of the decade, but he did win two rings and picked off 22 passes in five years for New England, including 10 in 2006.  Samuel had opposing quarterbacks consistently trying to take advantage of Samuel’s hyper-aggressive play, but were unable to do so.  Here’s to hoping Devin McCourty emerges as the next shut down corner in New England.

6 Vince Wilfork: Big Vince has been with the Patriots for seven years now and has already won one ring, has been to two Super Bowls, and has made three Pro Bowls.  Running up the middle is not a viable option for many teams against New England, as the big fella sits tough.  Wilfork is a cog in the 3-4 system, and is arguably one of the best nose tackles New England has ever had, if not the best.

5 Richard Seymour: What has happened to New England’s pass rush since the trade of Seymour should be answer enough to how important and effective Seymour was for the Patriots.  He spent eight years with New England and won three Super Bowls, as well as racked up 39 sacks for the Patriots, including pressuring the quarterback into poor throws on countless occasions.

4 Matt Light: Light played in four Super Bowls with New England (to this point), while protecting the blind side of one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play professional football.  Given the importance of the pass rush teams have placed on defenses over the past decade, Light’s job became harder and harder with the players he had to guard annually, and he did so in an exceptional manner, making three pro-bowls and one first team all-pro at left tackle.

3 Tedy Bruschi: Bruschi was long a staple of the New England defense, manning the inside of the linebacker corps for 13 years, a long time for any football player, let alone a linebacker.  One of my favorite Bruschi stats was having intercepted four consecutive passes and having brought them all back for touchdowns from 2002 to 2003.  Hardly a sack artist, Bruschi was the epitome of tough.  It seemed like he never made a poor play and rarely missed a tackle, something we see all too much of in today’s NFL, where wrapping up is an afterthought.  If Bruschi got to a ball carrier, that ball carrier was going down.  Bruschi overcame a stroke and a hole in his hear to win the Comeback Player of the Year in 2005 after it looked like his career was over and won three Super Bowls with New England.

2 Willie McGinest: Willie played with the Patriots for six years this century, making his mark with three Super Bowl victories.  He racked up 38.5 sacks from his outside linebacker spot in those six years, and his presence was sorely missed after he left, with New England still unable to rush the passer effectively.

1 Tom Brady: There really should be no argument here.  Brady took New England to three Super Bowl titles in four tries, including beating the 14-point favored “Greatest Show On Turf” in his first year as a starter after replacing the injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001.  Brady is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and holds the record for touchdown passes in a season with an even 50 in 2007.  In his time with New England this century, he has amassed a 111-32 record as a starter with 261 touchdown passes.  Keep in mind that’s all with having missed the entire 2008 season after suffering a catastrophic knee injury in the first quarter of the season opener against Kansas City.  Brady also happens to be a two-time NFL and Super Bowl MVP.  We may never see another quarterback even remotely close to Brady in New England in our lifetimes, so enjoy him while you still can.

Top 10 Boston Celtics of the 21st Century

A majority of the 2008 NBA Champions made the Top 10 List, but exactly, why?

By Matt Noonan 

It’s officially my duty as the Noontime Sports basketball guru, (technically a “guru”), to break down the Boston Celtics from 2000 to 2011. There are indeed so many players to consider for this particular Top-10 list, but really, I think I’ve identified the best members of the Green and White.

So, similarly to our good friend, Andy Lindberg, I have provided you, the reader with a list of 10-names, as well as short, quick synopses too.

Top 10- Boston Celtics of the 21st Century

10.) Brian Scalabrine – “Scal” deserved to make this particular list, especially since he was a “fan favorite.” He may have not been the best player to sport the Green and White, but when the exuberant red head ran up and down the floor, it was always entertaining.

9.) Antoine Walker – “Toine” was a true troublemaker, but also a competitor. He never won a NBA championship, but one has to wonder, what exactly will he be remembered for the most, especially in Boston? Hmm… I’d have to say his dance moves and complaints.

8.) Walter McCarty – Similar to Scalabrine, McCarty was a fan favorite. He played a majority of his career in a Boston uniform, but his best season was during the ‘03-‘04 campaign, as the forward finished the regular season with 605 points, 137 three-pointers, 62 free-throw points, 239 rebounds, 124 assists and 72 steals.

7.) Kendrick PerkinsA majority of the so-called, “Celtics Nation” was brought to tears this past February, which was when Boston traded their “big man” to Oklahoma City in exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic. The Celtics never recovered from their “blockbuster” trade, as they finished the season in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. However, while Perkins could have helped the team in the post season, (it’s hard to determine that theory), he indeed will be remembered for being a member of a starting-five that never lost a playoff series.

6.) James PoseyThe ultimate “sixth-man,” Posey played an important role during the ’07-‘08 season, as well as helped Boston earn its first NBA title in 22-years. Posey finished the ’07-’08 season with 545 points, 114 assists and 322 rebounds.

5.) P.J. Brown He may have not been a member of the Celtics for a long time, but Brown ended his career by winning a championship, so that’s sweet, right? Brown’s defense, leadership and intensity played a significant role against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Piston and Los Angles Lakers in the ‘08 NBA playoffs.

4.) Rajon RondoAt first, it didn’t seem like Rondo was the right person to lead the Celtics to victory. Although, Rondo has excelled under the guidance of head coach Doc Rivers and his veteran teammates. Rondo is considered one of the top point guards in the league, but seriously, he needs to work on his shooting.

3.) Kevin GarnettGarnett displayed his love and passion for the game, as well as embraced “Celtics pride,” en-route to Boston’s 17th NBA championship. His leadership and guidance played a significant role the past few seasons, as he has helped Glen Davis and Rajon Rondo improve their games.

2.) Ray Allen Acquired on Draft Night in ‘07, Allen came to Boston poised to win a championship. Currently, Allen holds the record for most three-pointers in the NBA.

1.) Paul Pierce – Pierce’s long wait for a title came in ’08 against the Los Angles Lakers, as he, Allen and Garnett, as well as a few other role players, captured the NBA title on June 17, 2008. Pierce was also named the Final’s MVP too.

Top 10 Boston Red Sox of the 21st Century

Dave Roberts' steal jump-started the greatest comeback of all time.

By Andy Lindberg

In one of Noonan’s grand schemes to get you, the fair reader, involved, he has initiated a top-10 voting spree.  The readers (you) must vote for those who you feel are most worthy of being named Boston’s top-10 athletes of the 21st century, i.e., from 2000 to this very day.  My responsibilities to you are the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.  I will give you a name, followed by a very short reason why.  I feel you are all big boys and girls out there, and thus need no more instruction.

Top-10 Boston Red Sox of the 21st Century

Honorable mention: Dustin Pedroia.  Pedey will be on this list very, very soon.

10. Dave Roberts.  A short stint to be sure, but without The Steal, the Red Sox go home and the Yankees punish St. Louis for the 2004 World Series win.

9. Derek Lowe. Lowe went 21-8 in 2002, threw a no-hitter, saved 42 games for the Sox in 2000, but most importantly, won the clinching games of the 2004 ALDS, ALCS, and World Series.  2004 playoffs: 3-0, 1,06 ERA after being relegated to the bullpen.

8. Nomar Garciaparra.In a very hard decision, Nomar makes this list.  In 2000 he batted a ridiculous .372 and hit over .300 in 2002 and 2003.  There hasn’t been a fixture at shortstop in Boston since.  What might have been if only Garciaparra could have stayed healthy?

7. Trot Nixon. Hall of Famer?  By no means, but Nixon brought a grit and “never say die” attitude to the Sox for seven seasons in the 21st century, including whacking 118 homers and knocking in 471 runs during that span.

6. Keith Foulke. He only spent three years in Boston, but he only needed one to make this list.  In 2004 he sported a 2.17 ERA and 32 saves during the regular season and wrecked his arm pitching in 11 games that postseason, including finishing all four games of the Word Series (in which he should have arguably been named the MVP).  He never pitched the same again, but gave everything he had and then some for a title.

5. Kevin Youkilis. It’s interesting to see Youkilis here but he’s a proven winner with two rings in his time in Boston from a rookie in 2004 to now.  He has won a Gold Glove, two titles, and has brought stability to virtually every single spot in the lineup when asked, and has hit well in every single spot in the lineup.  Youk is all about the team and it has shown.

4. Manny Ramirez. Manny’s antics get him knocked back to number four, but his impact was undeniable; two Championships, 274 homers, 868 RBI, a 999 OPS and a .312 batting average in eight years with Boston.  For a time, he was the best right-handed bat in the game next to Albert Pujols.

3. Curt Schilling. Schilling spent four years in Boston and won two World Series’ with them, retiring after the 2007 Championship.  He promised to end “an 86-year old curse” and delivered.  In only four years with the Sox, he won 53 games.

2. Pedro Martinez. The only reason Martinez isn’t #1 is because two of his Cy Young’s came before 2000.  In 2000 Pedro went 18-6 with an astonishing 1.74 ERA.  How he ever lost six games is a testament to how weak the offense was.  He went 20-4 in 2002 with a 2.26 ERA (losing the Cy Young to Barry Zito), and went 14-4 in 2003 with a 2.22 ERA.  Martinez led the league in strikeouts in 2000 and 2002.  In five years with Boston this century, he won 75 games and struck out 1,119…in FIVE years.

1. David Ortiz. I was surprised I gave the top spot to Papi, but it had to happen.  In his nine years with Boston he has hit .288 with 308 homers and 980 RBI.  He hit 54 bombs in 2006, breaking the Red Sox club record and has twice led the league in RBI.  Most importantly, he has accumulated walk-off hit after walk-off hit, none more prevalent than in the 2004 playoffs against the Yankees.  In that series alone, he batted .387 with 3 homers and 11 RBI in seven games.  Ortiz left Minnesota a castoff in 2002, but will leave Boston one day as a legend.