Thursday, May 27, 2010
Well the obvious answer to that is Tim Thomas. He's expendable. The Bruins have a cheap, young goalie in Tuukka Rask. This is a lay-up. The Bruins need to trade Thomas for just about anything, even if it's below fair value. Other teams know the B's want to trade him, and he has a deal that will last until 2013.
As much as I love him, it would be really liberating to trade Chara, freeing up $7.5 million in cap space. But that makes him difficult to trade. Fortunately, this upcoming season will be the last year on that deal. He's a phenomenal defenseman, a Norris candidate every season, but that's too much money to spend on an individual player who isn't scoring 40 goals a year.
Do I want to get rid of Marc Savard? No. Is he tradeable? Yes! He doesn't make much money, and the Bruins have depth at center. The B's have a lot of playmaking forwards, but very few play-FINISHING forwards. Savard's an assist guy on a team devoid of goal scorers. What's the point? If the price is right, Savard is tradeable.
In fact, EVERYONE is tradeable, except Rask. It's unimaginable that any team could offer enough to get Rask, a young, successful goalie making $1.25 million. 15 Bruins made more than that this season.
I would love to see Michael Ryder traded. He's just awful. The two or three sparks of brilliance only illuminate his inconsistency. He gets $4 million. He's a member of Claude's Think Tank. The puck finds his stick, and he always tries to settle it. It could be a perfect pass or rebound, and he'll take a second to give it a think. Meanwhile, the goalie's moved into position and opposing defensemen have honed in on the puck.
The Bruins should take just about anything to dump Ryder.
So in summation, everyone but Rask can be traded. Everyone but Thomas might have to stay. Thomas has to go. Rask has to stay. Other than that, move based on what you can get.
This team needs top to bottom change, so don't be afraid to make as many deals as you can.
Normally ascending to 3rd place is hardly something to be be proud of. But to do it by sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays on the road changes things. The Sox got yet another Quality Start as John Lackey went 6.1, allowing only 2 runs despite the 8 hits and 4 walks he allowed. He held the Rays to 1/14 with runners in scoring position.
He was helped by a Sox offense which surprisingly knocked around Matt Garza. Beltre hit 2 homers, and Ortiz hit his 10th of the season. He hit his 10th of last season on July 8th. Beltre was 4 for 6. He also had a triple, and knocked in 6 runs.
While Jason Varitek's offensive production has expectedly dissipated (he's hitting .250 in May), it's probably not coincidental that he's been a consistent presence behind the plate, and the starting pitchers have excelled. I'll reluctantly give him half of an assist for the recent quality of starting pitchers. But in the end, pitchers still have to pitch.
Sox now sit in 3rd, 3 games behind New York in the loss column, and 6 behind TB. But they host the 19-28 Royals for 4, then the barely above .500 Athletics, then they play the abysmal Orioles. So this is a good time to compile some wins and chip away at some deficits.
Matsuzaka vs. Brian Bannister tonight.
I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill. I don't want to sound pessimistic. But I'm noticing some alarming coincidences here. Game 3 of the Bruins/Flyers series, the B's blow Philly out of the water, and everyone assumes the series is over. Game 4, and although the Bruins are never out of it, they're never really in control. They need to score late to force an OT, but they're outplayed in that extra period, and lose. Then Game 5, the Bruins get blown out by the Flyers.
Now what matters is that the Celtics have two remaining games to avoid repeating what their ice-skating, known-for-choking counterparts did a few weeks ago.
What's scary though, is just like the Bruins losing David Krejci, the Celtics have some potential injury-related complications to deal with. Glen Davis was concussed. Rajon Rondo might be dealing with something. KG seems to be playing through something, and not playing well. And the NBA will need to rescind one of Perkins' technicals in order to keep him in the lineup.
Let's mention officiating. Game 5 was ridiculously tight, most remarkably when Perkins had two technicals called on him, which were both quite insane. He missed more than half the game, which meant a downgrade in defense, and the loss of his 3 remaining personal fouls. But was that enough to give Orlando such a lopsided win? NO! So I don't want to hear any bitching about the officiating beyond the possible Perkins suspension.
Ray Allen shooting 3/11. KG only scoring 10 points. Getting outrebounded 43 to 26. These are the kinds of reasons the Celtics lost. But also give some credit to Orlando. Howard had 21 points and 5 blocks, Nelson had 24. Reddick had 14, and the bench kept the pressure on the Celtics, combining for 38 points.
Now it was a bit freakish. The Magic came out of the gates and lit up from beyond the arc. That kind of stretch will be hard to duplicate. That gave Orlando that initial lead. All Orlando had to do was not blow it.
So the series comes back to Boston, where hopefully Kendrick Perkins will be allowed to play. He received his 6th and 7th technicals of the postseason last night, which would mean automatic suspension. Unless the NBA rescinds the calls, which they should.
But the Celtics need big men to foul Howard and limit his scoring. Sheed seems hurt, Davis definitely is hurt, and the C's are depending on the NBA to do the smart thing to allow Perkins to return. That's not a pleasant situation to be in.
Orlando has momentum, but momentum's only as good as your next shot. Unlike the Bruins, the Celtics are essentially winners. I've a reasonable amount of faith in the players in green and white. But if hurt, especially if Rondo and KG are hurt, this could be one of the ugliest springs in Boston sports history.
Game 6 Friday night.