Daily Noontime: Monday, March 9th, 2020

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s Monday – where did this past weekend go?

The good news about today is the weather: it is going to be gorgeous, so make sure to get outside and enjoy the sun.

Let’s kick-start a new week – well, a new work week, to be exact! – with a brand new Daily Noontime. Have a wonderful day, everyone, and remember to smile, too.

The Boston Celtics did not play their best basketball on Sunday as the Green and White were edged by the Oklahoma City Thunder, 105-104, at the TD GardenGordon Hayward led the Celtics with 24 points while Jayson Tatum added 19 points, five rebounds, and three assists. Marcus Smart recorded a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Boston will attempt to return to the win column tomorrow – that would be Tuesday, March 10th, to be exact – when they visit the Indiana Pacers for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

As of this morning, the Celtics remain locked in the third position in the Eastern Conference but need to find their groove down the stretch in order to catch the Toronto Raptors for the second spot in the upcoming NBA playoffs.

Hayward told reporters after his team’s loss to the Thunder that the Celtics were not going to blame the setback on Kemba Walker, who turned the ball over with 8.5 seconds remaining. Instead, Hayward told reporters that the Celtics “lost this game together.”

After a successful road trip down south, the Boston Bruins fell apart at home on Saturday, losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 5-3. Tuukka Rask denied 20 of 24 shots in the setback while Charlie McAvoy tallied one goal and one assist.

Boston will visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Boston Red Sox will play another spring training game this afternoon against the Atlanta Braves with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Boston edged the Minnesota Twins on Sunday by a score of 7-6 after splitting two games on Saturday with the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays.

And just in case you were wondering, we’re roughly two weeks away from the start of a brand new season, which seems crazy, right?

According to Jeff Borzello of ESPN, Harvard University‘s Seth Towns will compete for another team next season as a grad student – he is considering multiple programs, including KansasVirginia, and Syracuse. Towns has not appeared on the court this winter due to an injury – he also missed last season, too, but was named to the Lou Henson Award watch list, though.

The Holy Cross women’s basketball team will host Lafayette College this evening in the Patriot League quarterfinals. The winner will advance to Thursday’s semifinals. Holy Cross has won three-straight contests, including its final game of the 2019-20 regular season.

Yale University secured the top seed in this weekend’s Ivy League men’s basketball tournament while Princeton University is the number one seed in the women’s tournament.

The Ivy League tournaments will begin on Friday, March 13th and conclude Sunday, March 15th.

Daily Noontime: Monday, February 17th, 2020

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By Matt Noonan| @NoontimeNation

Happy Monday, everyone!

Hopefully, everyone is having a wonderful morning (and end to their long weekend), and ready for a great week.

It is time to kick-off a brand new week with a brand new ‘Daily Noontime.’

As usual, have a wonderful day, smile, laugh, and eat a cookie – you deserve it!


The Boston Sports Scoreboard

  • The Boston Bruins scored their third-straight win yesterday, beating the New York Rangers, 3-1. Patrice BergeronCharlie Coyle, and Charlie McAvoy each lit the lamp and will be counted on Wednesday, February 19th when the Black and Gold visit the Edmonton Oilers for an 8:30 p.m. puck drop.
  • The Boston Celtics are off until Friday, February 21st when they begin the second half of their season in Minnesota to face the Timberwolves.

The Noontime Headlines (and Links)

  • The NHL Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, which means the Bruins may want to acquire an additional piece or two for a Cup run. (WEEI.com)

  • Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum represented the Celtics last night in the NBA All-Star Game. (NESN.com)
  • What if Xander Bogaerts convinced Mookie Betts to come back to Boston next season? It could happen, right? (MassLive.com)

  • John Henry and Sam Kennedy finally explained why they traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers(Boston Globe)
  • Kevin Pillar may not be Mookie Betts, but he certainly will be a nice addition to the Boston Red Sox outfield this season. (Boston.com)

  • The Las Vegas Raiders seem to be VERY interested in signing Tom Brady to a two-year deal. (247Sports.com)

VIDEO OF THE DAY: It’s ‘Music Monday’ so let’s dance to an 80’s version of “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys.

Daily Noontime: Friday, February 7th, 2020

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Happy Friday, everyone – we made it to the end of the work week!

Sure, it is cloudy outside our window, but luckily the snow (and slush) has disappeared. It’s going to be a rainy morning before it gets quite chilly this weekend, but next week should be a bit warmer – something to think about.

Anywho, have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and enjoy time with family and friends!


The Boston Sports Scoreboard

  • The Boston Bruins will enjoy another off day before hosting the Phoenix Coyotes tomorrow afternoon at the TD Garden. Puck drop is scheduled for 3 p.m.
  • The Boston Celtics return to the hardwood this evening to host the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 p.m. Boston will not feature any new players in their line-up as they did not make a trade yesterday at the NBA Trade Deadline.

The Noontime Headlines (and Links)

  • Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said they could not find a trade yesterday prior to the deadline. (Boston Globe)
  • A “We want Tacko!” chant broke out last week when the Celtics were playing the Golden State Warriors(Boston.com)

  • The XFL begins this weekend and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones is the face of the league. (ESPN.com)

  • The XFL hopes to capture the attention of football fans during the end of winter and early spring. (NPR.org)

  • Jake DeBrusk apparently trolled Charlie McAvoy after he scored his first goal of the season on Wednesday. (NESN.com)
  • Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred gave a hint about how the league will discipline the Boston Red Sox for sign-stealing. (NBC Sports)

VIDEO OF THE DAY: We didn’t share any links about Tom Brady and where he will be playing next season – the mystery continues – but apparently Colin Cowherd seems to know where the six-time Super Bowl champion will be playing next fall. 

Daily Noontime: Thursday, February 6th, 2020

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Greetings Thursday – how the heck are you?

From a quick glance outside our window, you look cold, rainy, and a bit snowy, too. But that’s OK because like they say in Disney’s Frozen, “the cold never bothered me anyway.”

Have a wonderful day, everyone, and remember to smile, laugh, and sing your favorite song (even in the office!).


The Boston Sports Scoreboard


The Noontime Headlines (and Links)

  • The Tuesday night blockbuster deal between the Boston Red SoxLos Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins has hit a snag due to health concerns of Brusdar Graterol(NESN.com)
  • What are some of the baseball experts saying about the Mookie Betts (and David Price) trade? Well, for starters, one person thinks the Red Sox will be “haunted by this trade.” (Boston.com)

  • Tom Brady shared on Instagram that he plans to play in the Super Bowl next year and not wear a blazer like he did this past weekend. (ProFootballTalk.com)
  • Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Patrick Mahomes, and others will be names you will hear a lot about this offseason. (The Ringer)

  • Charlie McAvoy’s goal drought finally conclude last night – it only took 51 games this season for the defender to locate the back of the net. (WEEI.com)
  • Today is the NBA Trade Deadline, so many Celtics fans want to know if Danny Ainge will make a move? (Celticsblog.com)

VIDEO OF THE DAY: Its ‘Throwback Thursday’ which means its time to sing, “Let It Go” on a rainy, snow, and gross day outside! 

Flaherty: Is Tuukka Rask’s The Right Goaltender For Boston?

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Tuukka Rask has been up and down in the postseason, but can he eventually put it all together to lead Boston to a Stanely Cup? (PHOTO CREDIT: SportsOnEarth.com)

By Dan Flaherty (@TheSportsNotebo)

It was the moment that defined the Boston Bruins’ recently concluded series with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Charlie McAvoy gets pulled down. The obvious penalty goes uncalled and leaves Steven Stamkos wide open. The Lightning star promptly rips the goal that tied Game 4 past Tuukka Rask. And the series essentially ended there, and the questions rose anew about whether Rask is the right man in net if this young Bruins team is going to win a Stanley Cup next season or beyond.

Critics of Rask point to moments like the Stamkos goal in Game 4. They’re not being unreasonable.

In the immediate aftermath of that particular goal, I looked toward my friend, who I was watching the game with and said something to the effect of how it wasn’t a bad play by Rask, but one that if you have Stanley Cup aspirations, you need your goalie to step up and make.

That’s not the first time such sentiments have come up with regard to the Bruin goalie. Consider the recent history:

  • It wasn’t Tuukka’s fault that Boston lost to Ottawa in the first round of last year’s playoffs. The Senators defense made them a better first-round opponent than anyone gave them credit for—as evidenced by the fact Ottawa Senators took eventual champion Pittsburgh to double-overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. But Rask was outplayed by counterpart Craig Anderson.
  • It wasn’t Tuukka’s fault that Boston dropped a seven-game series to Montreal Canadiens in 2014, ending the best Bruins season in recent memory. They must have set a record for most shots to hit the pipe in a single playoff series, which is a sure sign that it’s not your year. But Rask was undeniably outplayed by Carey Price.
  • And it wasn’t Tuukka’s fault for the infamous collapse in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals, when the Chicago Blackhawks scored two goals in the final two minutes and celebrated on the Garden ice. But like the Stamkos goal this year, it was an area where it’s reasonable to hope for your goalie to bail out the defense in the closing minutes.

Good but not good enough would be the simple summation of the bill of indictment drafted by the Rask critics. Particularly given that his $7.5 million annual salary makes him higher-paid than any goalie still playing and third-highest in the league overall.

I see the argument of the anti-Rask forces, but the question has to be asked about what exactly the point of their criticisms are. If it’s simply that Tuukka still has unfinished business on his resume before he can be considered in the pantheon of all-time greats, I agree. But if it’s something deeper—like cutting loose his salary and going with Anton Khudobin, I’d have to sharply disagree.

Any litany of Tuukka’s shortcomings has to be balanced with a litany of his postseason successes:

  • Save percentage is a great stat and I rely on it, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. A good example is Tuukka’s 89.9% save rate in the first-round series win over Toronto. If you just look at the numbers, that’s not good. But if you watched the series you saw how many shots were coming at home from point-blank range. The bigger story was how often Bruin defenders were beaten to a good spot near the net—and how often Rask bailed them out.
  • There aren’t many goaltenders good enough to single-handedly win you a playoff series. But that’s what Rask did in 2014, in the first-round series win over Detroit.
  • Even fewer goaltenders can do what Rask did in 2013, which was to essentially shut down the potent Pittsburgh Penguins lineup, filled with quite a few of the same players who won the last two Stanley Cups. Boston’s sweep of Pittsburgh in that ‘13 Finals was defined by Rask’s superiority.

What these successes (above) illustrate is that while Tuukka Raask may have some spots on his postseason resume, he’s not the NHL equivalent of David Price. Tuukka doesn’t fold up in the biggest moments, he just hasn’t quite gotten over the hump.

So the question that has to be asked of Rask critics is simply this: do you think it more likely that Rask will finally have the one great postseason where he takes it start to finish and wins a Stanley Cup. Or, on the other hand, if the Bruins do move on, that we’ll find that Khudobin won’t be able to handle a full-time workload and we’ll have a full-scale goalie mess on?

I think the answer to that question is self-evident.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. All we know for sure is that Tuukka Rask isn’t the second coming of Patrick Roy or Martin Broduer when it comes to playoff performance. But Rask is still better than an awful lot of goalies who have won Stanley Cups.

Dan Flaherty is the owner of TheSportsNotebook.com and the author of Great 1980s Sports Moments