Monday Replay: Patriots Win Big, Red Sox Playoffs, and Worcester Pro Hockey Camps Opening Are The Talk of the City

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We begin the Monday Replay with the New England Patriots and their 38-7 thrashing of the Miami Dolphins. New England was led by running back James White, who had a 22 yard touchdown run and a 14 yard TD reception. Quarterback Tom Brady finished the game going 22 of 35 for 274 yards and three touchdowns.

Brady was intercepted twice, and in an odd coincidence the last time he threw two picks in a game was week 14 last season, also against Miami.

Patriots 2018 first round pick Sony Michel finally had a good game, rushing for 112 yards on 25 carries, and scored a touchdown on a 10 yard carry in the fourth quarter. I’d say it will be interesting to hear what sports talk radio has to say about Michel now, but undoubtedly it will be an over exaggeration.

Michel has had two poor games and one very good one. Do you know what we can determine about his NFL career from those three games?

Absolutely nothing.

*****

The Boston Red Sox have finished their regular season with a 108-54 record and now have to wait until Friday to start their American league Divisional playoff series, against either the New York Yankees or Oakland A’s. Those two teams will play in a winner-take-all game on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

In an only tangentially related story, Sunday morning I had someone correct me when I called Oakland’s MLB team “Athletics”. The man, who looked old enough that he should have known the answer, said they were just the “A’s”. I laughed and said to him “if only you were carrying an electronic device that could show you what the correct answer is”, and walked away.

I was tempted to ask if he knew the Athletics also played in Kansas City and Philadelphia, but I thought maybe he’d enjoy that surprise if he decided to actually look up what the “A’s” were really called.

*****

The Bruins preseason schedule is over, where they went 5-1-2 and had a +3 goal differential. When the “big boys” were out there the team looked fine, and when the team was filled with bottom liners and try-out guys the team looked, well, kind of like you’d expect.

Try-out forward Lee Stempniak led the team in preseason scoring with six points (2g,4a) and that is probably enough for him to be offered a contract for the season. His depth scoring will be a good addition to the club, but his veteran leadership and dressing room presence might be the determining factor over fellow PTO’er Daniel Winnik. It seems unlikely the Bruins will sign both of them.

Their goaltending has looked decent in the preseason, with Providence bound Dan Vladar going 2-0 with a 2.50gaa and .929save% in 60 minutes of play. Jaroslav Halak has also looked good, going 1-0 with a 2.98gaa and .924save% in just over 60 minutes of game time.

Tuukka Rask didn’t see much action in the preseason but by all accounts looked fine when he did play.

*****

Not being a huge basketball fan I missed that the Boston Celtics had open training camp last week and didn’t include them in the schedule below. I spend so little time doing anything with basketball I had to Google some information, and my browser crashed a couple times trying to get schedule information from the NBA’s site. It’s almost as if my computer thought I was being intentionally redirected there and stopped it.

While I don’t watch basketball much it was good to see the highlights of Gordon Hayward’s return to action after breaking his leg last season. The Celtics were a pretty good team without him last season, and it will be interesting to see what he and Kyrie Irving can do this year, provided both can stay healthy.

As if it matters, the Celtics lost to the Charlotte Hornets 104-97.

*****

The biennial Ryder Cup was this past weekend, and Team USA made it worthwhile to get up for the 2am EDT start here on the east coast on Friday winning the morning fourballs 3-1, but that was pretty much the high point for the squad as they were absolutely dominated by Team Europe in a 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 defeat.

Team USA never recovered from Friday afternoon’s 4-0 whitewash in the foursomes, and then when they lost 3-1 in the Saturday morning fourballs it was just about all over. A split of the Saturday foursomes have Team USA a hill too big to climb to retain the cup.

Team Europe went on to win the Sunday singles 7 1/2 to 4 1/2.

I’ve mentioned several times that I wasn’t happy with USA Captain Jim Furyk picking Phil Mickelson. While he’s a legend Mickelson has not played well, and in his two Ryder Cup matches this time around that showed as Mickelson was on the wrong end of two lopsided scores of 5&4 and 4&2.

*****

There was a little bit of PawSox/WooSox news this week as the Worcester City Council voted to approve a loan authorization for $100.8M for the new ballpark. As many expected would happen, longtime City Councilor Konnie Lukes voted against the proposal. Councilor Matt Wally recused himself because he works for a company that has financial interest in the move of the PawSox.

This vote was seen as a formality, and based on my understanding of the project it’s the last vote the City Council will need to take on the matter.

One other tiny bit of news came out of the vote, and that’s the PawSox/WooSox have committed to hiring Worcester residents. Assistant City Manager Kathy Johnson indicated that talking about what kind of jobs would be available to residents was premature at this time, mostly because the ballpark won’t be open until 2021.

*****

The big news from the Worcester Railers is part of their training camp roster has been announced by the ECHL. On the list of returning forwards is Barry Almeida, Woody Hudson, Tommy Kelley, and Dylan Willick. The new forwards on the roster include Josh Anderson, Bryan Arneson, Tyler Barnes, Nick Bligh, Trent Durocher, Nick Sorkin, and Tommy Tsicos.

For defensemen Connor Doherty, Kyle McKenzie, and Tommy Panico are returning, with newcomers Pat Condon, Tyler Mueller, Tyler Palmer, and Alexis Vanier joining them. The Railers also have two new goaltenders in camp, Ryan Hubbard and Charlie Millen.

All the newcomers are on either ECHL player contracts or try-out contracts, but as ECHL contracts aren’t guaranteed it’s as if there’s no difference provided in the end the Railers end up under the salary cap.

Bridgeport also assigned four players to Worcester: goaltender Mitch Gillam, forward Josh Holmstrom, and defensemen Tyler Mueller and Ryan MacKinnon. It’s a safe bet we’ll be seeing more players assigned from the Sound Tigers soon.

There was a surprise transaction when it was announced Jordan Kwas was released from his ECHL contract on Sunday. He joins forward Malcolm Gould as players that didn’t make it as far as training camp. Perhaps more on those two transactions later.

Training camp for the Railers opens on Monday, October 1st.

*****

The Worcester Blades opened three days of training camp last week at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, culminating in their first preseason game on Saturday against the Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays.

I had plans to attend the game but didn’t due to a scheduling conflict, so I have no details of the game except to say the Blades lost 6-0 after it being even after 40 minutes. Former Northeastern University and Boston Blades forward Rachel Llanes scored for the Vanke Rays.

On Sunday the two squads met again, this time at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough but once again it was a loss for the Blades, dropping game two 2-0.

The Blades indicated on Twitter that they will be making their regular season roster announcement sometime this week.

HAVE SOME LINKS
From Sports Illustrated:
NHL Goalie Equipment Continues to Shrink, Premium on Scoring

From NHL.com
NHL helping women pursue officiating

From The Toronto Star:
Ben Johnson’s 1988 Olympic drug test contains altered lab codes and hand-scrawled revisions. And almost no one has seen it until now

From Sports Illustrated:
The Everlasting Legacy of Melissa Ludtke, Who Dared to Join the Boys Club of the Baseball Press

From OilersNation.com
Cherish Your Father

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
Monday:
No games

Tuesday:
Celtics vs Cleveland, TNT, 8pm (preseason)

Wednesday:
Bruins at Washington, NBCSN, 7:30pm

Thursday:
Bruins at Buffalo, NESN, 7pm
Patriots vs Indianapolis, FOX, 8:20pm

Friday:
Red Sox vs TBD, TBS, time TBD (AL Divisional Playoff Series)

Saturday:
Red Sox vs TBD, TBS, time TBD (AL Divisional Playoff Series)
Railers at Maine (in Exeter, N.H.), no TV/radio, 7pm (preseason)
Celtics at Cleveland, NBATV, 7:30pm (preseason)
Revolution vs Atlanta United FC, Univision, 7:30pm

Sunday:
No games

PARTING SHOT
It was announced last week that the Carolina Hurricanes would be wearing Hartford Whalers jerseys a couple times this upcoming season in games against the Boston Bruins. Social media being what it is, the announcement put many hockey fans into angry overdrive against the plan.

I’m one of the very few people who will read this posting that actually went to New England Whalers games when they were in the WHA, and went to Hartford Whalers games when they moved to the NHL. And I’m going to be totally blunt here:

Get over it.

The Whalers moved because the Hartford Civic Center was a dump and couldn’t support an NHL franchise, and there was little public and private support for a new arena. Many years later, not the-named XL Center is still a dump and there is still little public and private support for a new arena. The dream of an NHL team moving to Hartford to become the Whalers again is just that; a dream.

*****

If you liked this article it would be great if you shared it on your social media.

For local sports tidbits during the week you can follow me at @210Darryl on Twitter. Feel free to pass along any news and/or links you’d like, but remember if you have protected your tweets and I don’t follow you I won’t be able to see you tweet at me.

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