Daily Noontime: Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone – hope you are doing OK this morning (or whenever you are reading this post!).

I’ll do the best to brighten your mood and take your mind off the coronavirus (COVID-19) – I know there is a lot of news and announcements being shared, so allow me to do my very best to change the subject to sports.

Did you watch last night’s Boston Celtics game? If not, I am happy to report that the Green and White defeated the Indiana Pacers, 114-111, and secured a spot in the upcoming NBA playoffs.

Jayson Tatum netted 30 points in the win while Gordon Hayward finished Tuesday’s game with a double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds.

Boston will compete against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday before returning home Friday to play against the Washington Wizards.

Patrice Bergeron and Matt Grzelcyk each netted one goal last night as the Boston Bruins topped the Philadelphia Flyers, 2-0.

With the win, the Black and Gold improve to 44-14-12 overall while the Flyers slip to 41-21-7.

Boston has now won three of their last four outings and will head to New York on Friday to skate against the Buffalo Sabres at 7 p.m.

Last night’s win over the Flyers marked the 50th time Tuukka Rask has recorded a shutout. He stopped 36 shots in his team’s 44th victory of the 2019-20 season.

“It’s a great milestone,” Rask said, via Lauren Campbell of NESN.com.

The 2020 Boston Red Sox season is quickly approaching, which means its time for a prediction. Sports Illustrated believes the Sox will finish third in the American League East Division with a marvelous record of 81-81.

As you (and others) know by now, this weekend’s Ivy League basketball conference tournament has been canceled, which was not the news many student-athletes (and fans) wanted to hear.

“This whole situation is unprecedented,” said Ivy League executive director, Robin Harris, via Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe.

It is unfortunate, but you have to give the Ivy League some credit for not just protecting its student-athletes, coaches, and team representatives, but also its fans, too.

Other leagues, organizations, and teams have begun announcing changes to its upcoming sports schedules, including the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association (CIAA), which canceled its remaining winter tournaments.

The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) announced an update on its website this morning that “the NESCAC Presidents met and concluded unanimously that conference competition, including conference championships, will be canceled for the 2020 spring season.”

We should expect more cancelations and changes to upcoming games over the next few weeks, including the possibility of no fans at future professional games, too.

We’ll be back tomorrow, but in the meantime remember to smile and know we will all get through this together!

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: Friday, January 17th, 2020

Daily Noontime Social

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

It’s back, everyone – the Daily Noontime has officially returned and is not going to disappear anytime soon!

We’ll have some fun with our Monday through Friday post, sharing news and links, along with some videos, podcasts, and music, so we hope you’re ready for the re-vamped (and 2020 version of one of our oldest and favorite) posts.

So, enjoy our first of many Daily Noontime‘s – as always, thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend, everyone, and we will be back next Monday, January 20th, 2020!


 The Boston Sports Thursday Scoreboard 


The Noontime Headlines (and Links!)

  • Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask ‘goes on injured reserve with concussion.’ (ESPN.com)
  • Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams says the “pressure’s really on (the San Francisco) 49ers.” (ProFootballTalk.com)
  • With Carlos Beltran out of a job with the New York Mets, one local outlet claims the organization has ‘no one but themselves to blame for this mess.’ (New York Daily News)
  • Google became the fourth tech giant to reach the market’s BIG milestone behind Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. (New York Times)
  • Joe Burrow‘s father claims his son would be just fine with quarterbacking the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020. (ESPN.com)
  • Members of the CLNS Media discuss if the Boston Celtics have the best chance for success compared to the Bruins, Boston Red Sox, and New England Patriots(CLNSMedia.com)

Video of the Day: Colin Cowherd receives some insight on the upcoming AFC and NFC Championships from former NFL head coach Jeff Fisher.


Stay connected with Noontime Sports on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

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

Daily Noontime – March 5, 2012

Rajon Rondo recorded a triple-double against New York on Sunday! (Photo Credit: USA Today)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Good Monday to everyone! Let’s kick-off a brand new work week with some kick-butt news and headline from the city of champions, Boston!

* The Boston Celtics extended their current winning streak to four games, as they defeated the New York Knicks on Sunday, 115-109 in overtime. Rajon Rondo once again ignored the ongoing trading rumors by finishing the game with 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists, while Paul Pierce paced the Green and White with 34 points. New York’s Jeremy Lin finished with 14 points, five assists and four rebounds. Boston will conclude its five-game circuit on Tuesday when they host the Houston Rockets for a 7:30pm tip-off.

* The Boston Bruins have dropped two of their last three, as the New York Rangers defeated the Black and Gold on Sunday, 4-3 at Madison Square Garden. Derek Stepan netted the go-ahead goal at 12:21 to secure the win for the Rangers, who snapped a one-game losing streak. The Bruins will return to the ice on Tuesday when they face-off against the Maple Leafs in Toronto.

* According to reports – Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has yet to make any announcement on Tuukka Rask, who sustained a lower-body injury on Saturday against the New York Islanders. However, once Sunday’s game concluded against the Rangers, the Bruins announced that they should have a better gage on the goaltender’s injury, as well as his status on Monday, (when news becomes available, we’ll link it on the blog).

* Finally, various reports on Monday have confirmed that eight more men have announced that they were abused by a former Boston Red Sox clubhouse manager, who is now dead. For more information on this particular story – CLICK HERE.