Tag Archives: Red Auerbach

Noonan: The Ups And Downs Of Boston Sports

Bobby Valentine has spiced things up in Florida! (Photo Credit: Boston Herald)

By Matt Noonan 

It’s been a while since a dark, stormy cloud drifted over the city of Boston.

For the past few weeks, Bostonians and New Englanders have appeared aggravated and disgusted with their four major professional sports teams because they’ve either struggled or disengaged.

Yet, let’s take a step back and realize that these particular days will pass because Boston is still technically the “City of Champions,” especially since all four major sports teams have won at least one championship in the past 11-years, right?

So, without further ado, let’s take a stroll downtown and check in with the Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox, who’re currently stealing the spotlight from the New England Patriots, who ended their season a few weeks ago in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Thoughts on the Sox: It’s way too early to deem the upcoming Boston Red Sox season a failure, especially since it’s only been two days of pitchers and catchers.

Manager Bobby Valentine has done a rather decent job with the club over the past few days, and appears eager to help everyone improve, especially Daisuke Matsuzaka, who according to the Boston Globe, played catch with his skipper on Monday. However, the highly touted pitcher isn’t expected to return the Fenway Park bump until midseason, as he’s currently recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Carl Crawford seems focused and determined to improve his performance from last season, despite ending the year with 129 hits, 29 doubles, seven triples, 56 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. Also, he struck out 104 times at the plate, too. Yet, similar to Matsuzaka, Valentine doesn’t want to push his leftfielder back into the lineup because he’s currently recovering from surgery on his left wrist.

Finally, a majority of the Sox position players have already arrived in Fort Myers, which is a hopeful sign that they’ve moved on from their chicken and beer rituals from last season. Boston is expected to conduct their first full team workouts on Thursday, and I’m sure after it concludes, we’ll have plenty to discuss around the water cooler in regards to David Ortiz to Cody Ross to Jason Varitek.

The aging Boston Celtics: Literally two weeks ago, I was sitting in the TD Garden watching the Green and White face a Memphis Grizzlies squad that probably should have won this particular clash, especially because they’re younger, quicker, stronger and faster. Although, Kevin Garnett denied the Grizzlies of a much needed win by turning in 22 points and nine rebounds, which helped Boston escape with a 98-80 victory.

Although, ever since that particular day, Boston has endued a 2-6 slump, which includes two losses to a struggling Detroit Pistons team that’ll most likely miss the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Can Danny Ainge salvage the Boston Celtics season? (Photo Credit: Flickr)

The Celtics are a complete mess, and need something or someone to spark their offense and defense, but what exactly should they do?

Should team president Danny Ainge create a blockbuster move or keep the roster intact?

What would Red Auerbach do? OK, that maybe the wrong thing to ask, but really, what would the former coach do in this particular situation?

It’s hard to determine what will happen over the next few weeks, but it’s pretty certain that a change is needed, especially if Boston plans to contend for some hardware in June.

The Bruins need to score goals: Similar to the Celtics, the Bruins are struggling.

They’ve lost two of their last three contests, and registered a goose egg (zero) on the scoreboard for the sixth time this season this past Sunday when the Minnesota Wild blanked them, 2-0 on national television.

However, Boston can salvage their current six-game road trip with wins in St. Louis, Buffalo and Ottawa, which might turn some frowns upside down.

Various reports on Tuesday and Wednesday confirmed that Nathan Horton is expected to remain sidelined, while Rich Peverley continues to be hampered by a knee injury. Also, Shawn Thornton has been battling an illness, which could prevent him from playing against the Blues on Wednesday.

Although, despite the various injuries, as well as bumps and bruises I think, Patrice Bergeron summed it up perfectly when he told the media that his teammates aren’t expecting the front office to locate a “savior” to assist the Bruins, who’re currently on par to snag the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

I don’t think a drastic change is necessary for this particular squad. What Boston needs to do is focus on scoring the first goal, and capitalizing on it. They also need Tim Thomas to keep his mind on hockey, not politics or social media.

The Bruins will be fine, but I’m not ruling out a potential trade that could help Boston in May and June.

Bruins-Lightning Game 7 Observations and Thoughts

Tim Thomas and Boston can celebrate the Eastern Conference Finals victory!

By Dan Rubin

The city of Boston awoke on Saturday to 85-degrees, sunny skies, and the second day of a mini-heat wave unfelt in months. Pollen cascaded from trees, allergies kicked up, and little kids took to their fields to play baseball, softball, and pickup games of basketball.

Sweat began cascading off foreheads as air conditioners settled into windowsills, months after they went into storage in collective attics and basements.

But yet Boston is still frozen. It’s a giant sheet of ice that hasn’t been cleaned since 1990 and some of that sweat isn’t caused by moving furniture and doing yard work; it’s gathering under pads, gloves, and skates and yes, it’s almost June, but this is still hockey season.

The 2011 Stanley Cup Finals drops the puck on its first faceoff on Wednesday, and for the first time in 21-years, the Boston Bruins are prominently involved. The New England region is gripped with hockey fever, and spoked-B is appearing on t-shirts and hats of casual fans. Season tickets for 2011-2012 are sold out, and people are ready, after 39 years, to fill Lord Stanley with “chowdah” and Sam Adams.

Some thoughts to close out the Prince of Wales Conference championship and begin gearing you up for the trip to logging country and British Columbia.

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Noonan: Rivers is Back, But Where do the Celtics go from here?

Doc Rivers is back with Boston, but what needs to happen next?

By Matt Noonan

After Wednesday’s Game 5 loss to the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers was greeted by the usual group of media members, who always have something to interesting to say about the men dressed in Green and White. He sat down at the podium and calmly congratulated the Heat on their victory, but also, he mentioned how proud he was of his team’s effort.

In fact, he even stated, “I’m a Celtics,” which brought smiles to many New Englanders faces.

Rivers is indeed a Celtic or a special part of the franchise’s history, as he officially inked his name on a brand new, five-year, $35 million contract on Friday. So, no need to worry about the future of Doc Rivers, he’s coming back to Boston, so relax.

Yet, while the coaching situation is all set, the next question is what will team president Danny Ainge do with his aging and ailing squad?

Will he wheel and deal, just like he did this past season when he sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City?

Will he test the free agent wire and pick up some intriguing veterans, such as Jamal Crawford, Tyson Chandler or Caron Butler?  

Possibly, he’ll try and wake up his former head coach Red Auerbach and ask for some advice?

No matter what, Danny Ainge will need to make some changes, especially since the window of his modern day “Big-3” is practically over.

Paul Pierce looked incredibly flustered this season, Ray Allen wanted the ball more and Kevin Garnett realized, he’s not 21-years old.

Pierce, Allen and Garnett will go down in the record books as “All-Stars,” no matter what happens. If they win another championship together, well that’d be great, but if not, they certainly brought the spirit of basketball back to the city of Boston.

Yet, while Pierce, Allen and Garnett slowly fade away and walk off into the sunset, one has to wonder, who will Ainge find to replace them? He already has a tremendous point guard in Rajon Rondo and needs to find the right pieces that will compliment his efforts.

Should the Celtics take a chance and attempt to bring Dwight Howard to Boston?

Should they wait another year and go after Chris Paul or Ben Wallace?

Perhaps, Danny and company would be interested in welcoming back Eddie House next season, who happens to be an unrestricted free-agent this summer.

No matter what, Ainge, Rivers and the entire front office needs to make some changes this summer; otherwise, they’ll fall behind the eight ball. Boston will still be competitive next season, but will certainly be second fiddle to Chicago, Miami and New York, who all have talented young players.

All in all, the Celtics do need to make some changes pronto; otherwise, they’ll experience Game 5 relapses and continue to lose the fourth quarter due to their legs.

Boston Knocks Out The Philadelphia Demons

The Bruins officially ended the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers nightmares on Friday.

By Matt Noonan 

Do you remember what happened last May? Do you? In case you forgot or choose to ignore an important historical moment, allow me to assist.

Last May, Boston experienced an epic collapse, which forced the Black and Gold supporters to watch a 3-0 series lead go down the drain and into the Charles Rivers. The Philadelphia Flyers rallied during the remaining four games of the semi-final series to beat Boston, 4-3.

Philly’s “stud-like” comeback went down in the history books as one of the greatest sports moments in the history of sports.

One year later, the Bruins defied gravity and exercised every remaining demon alive, as they officially swept the Flyers in four games. Yes, they actually beat their nemesis that embarrassed them last year at the TD Garden during Game 7, boy, isn’t payback fun?

Beating Philadelphia was what Boston needed to do and well, they did it. They took care of business and now, the city is celebrating.

Fans in the Hub are raising their glasses and toasting to the city’s most recent success, a Boston Bruins win, but not just any win, it’s a win against Bobby Clarke’s 21st Century sons.

Perhaps the Boston Symphony Orchestra will line up on Cause Way Street on Saturday afternoon and play the TD Garden fan favorite, “Zombie Nation?”

Possibly Mayor Thomas Menino is preparing a speech that he will deliver to the team and its fans on Monday? Hopefully, he’ll get all the names right this time!

Also, somewhere Red Auerbach is lighting up a cigar in honor of the Bruins most recent achievement.

The win against the Philadelphia Flyers is exciting, exuberant and awesome feeling, but while the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning is right around the corner, it is certainly appropriate to stand up and cheer, but don’t scream too loud.

Boston hasn’t won any championship or Stanley Cup as of recently, but beating the team that completely humiliated them last year, certainly calls for a celebration.

So while the Bruins celebrate this joyous occasion, as well as join together in their own rendition of “Happy Day’s” while in the locker room, just know that every Bostonian and New Englander will sleep a heck of a lot better these days because the “Nightmare on Causeway Street” is officially over.