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The Latest Sports News
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 18:56

Nascar Nationwide Series Preview: Texas

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Date:  Friday, April 12th

Time:  8:30 ET

Venue:  Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas

Laps:  200

Miles:  300

TV Coverage:  ESPN2

Radio Coverage:  Performance Racing Network (PRN)

 

Past Winners:

2012 Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 126.301 mph

2011 Carl Edwards, Ford, 147.884 mph

2010 Kyle Busch, Toyota, 140.753 mph.

2009 Kyle Busch, Toyota, 144.096 mph

2008 Kyle Busch, Toyota, 151.707 mph

2007 Matt Kenseth, Ford, 126.671 mph

2006 Kurt Busch, Dodge, 129.984 mph

2005 Kasey Kahne, , 126.746 mph

2004 Matt Kenseth, Ford, 115.482 mph

2003 Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 117.891 mph

2002 Jeff Purvis, Chevrolet, 102.136 mph

2001 Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 126.212 mph

2000 Mark Martin, Ford, 108.130 mph

1999 Mark Martin, Ford, 127.417 mph

1998 Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 120.174 mph

1997 Mark Martin, Ford, 122.993 mph

 

 

On Friday night, the Nascar Nationwide Series will compete in their sixth race of the season at Texas Motor Speedway.  The race will be the O’Reilly 300. 

The inaugural Nationwide Series event at the track, took place on April 5th, 1997.  Mark Martin drove to victory that day.

Two races in the history have been won from the pole position.  They took place in 2009 with Kyle Busch, and in 2011 with Carl Edwards.

 

Dale Earnhardt Jr returns to the series this weekend, driving his JR Motorsports #88.  The track is the site of his first victory in the series on April 4th, 1998.  Trevor Bayne will also be running the event this weekend, while he won his first race at this track on November 5th, 2011.

The race will be sure to see a lot of side-by-side and exciting racing.  The track is famous for close finishes, as well as tight turns coming up off the corners.

 

The series will move onto Richmond International Speedway on April 26th.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 18:07

Week 1 National League Headlines

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Week 1 Storylines National League

Demotion of Carlos Marmol- Marmol has always been an interesting storyline for Cubs fans with his antics as the closer. Marmol has had many great outings with the Cubs but on the flipside has had his share of hiccups. Marmol started off the season with a sub-par outing, started with a strikeout of Garret Jones on a full count. Then, Marmol hit McCutchen and the Pirates were off to races. The Cubs ended up winning the game but most fans were unsettled by his performance. Marmol finally hit a tipping point last night against the Atlanta Braves when he came into the game with a one run lead. Marmol then proceeded to give up the tying and winning run to cause Dale Sveum to demote him from the closer role.

The Emergence of Jeff Samardzija- Samardzija has taken the role of ace by storm and has proven his value each and every start last season and opening day vs. the Pirates. On opening day Samardzija pitched eight solid innings only giving up two hits. He coupled that outing with nine strikeouts and kept the Pirates off-balanced with his devastating fastball, slider and split-finger fastball. As long as Samardzija stays healthy throughout this season I see no reason for him not to be a dominant ace and one of the top pitchers in the National League.

Upton Brothers- Justin Upton is on an absolute tear through the first week of the season. He already is batting .400 through 30 at bats with 6 homeruns and 9 runs batted in. His brother BJ on the other hand is in a funk only batting .103 through his first 29 plate appearances. Once BJ gets back into form this team is going to be very dangerous. The Braves record through their first 8 games is a very impressive 7-1 with a dominant bullpen and offense. This team will most definitely be seeing October baseball.

Follow me here on CLNSRadio.com or @RobBestWiller on Twitter. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 16:36

Red Sox option Iglesias to Pawtucket, active Drew from DL

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The Boston Red Sox shortstop situation just got a little more interesting on Wednesday with activation of Stephen Drew from the disabled list and Jose Iglesias being optioned down to Triple-A Pawtucket after a hot start to begin the season.

Many Red Sox fans didn’t want to see Iglesias be sent down but with Drew finally over his concussion problems and a rehab completed it left Iglesias in a limbo. On top of that, backup utility infielder Pedro Ciriaco was already on the current roster and with the lack of versatility that Iglesias has it hurt his chances even more.

Drew, who was signed to a one year contract during the offseason is expected to man the shortstop position for this season and will likely provide some pop in the bottom of the lineup while playing solid defense. He does have the ability to leadoff or hit second in the lineup as well if Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia or Shane Victorino need a day off or are slumping.

In six games so far this season, Iglesias hit .450 with nine hits in only 20 at bats and had at least two hits or more in four of the six games played. Expect him to play shortstop for the Pawsox regularly and it will be interesting to see if he can continue to his offensive rage in the minor leagues over the coming weeks.

It is possible to see Iglesias back up in the majors in the near future if there is another injury to either Ciriaco or Drew although this demotion won’t sit well with Boston fans but it maybe is the best situation for other sides going forward.

Follow our our CLNS Red Sox coverage on Twitter all season long here: https://twitter.com/clnsredsox

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 16:27

Game Preview: Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics

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-Brooklyn Nets (45-32, 21-17 on the road) @ Boston Celtics (40-37, 27-12 at home) TD Garden, 8:00 pm on ESPN/WEEI Officials: Scott Foster, Sean Corben, Josh Tiven Line: Boston -3.5 (193) Get Tickets to Tonight’s Game at the TD Garden

With 5 games to go the Nets are fairly well entrenched in the 4th spot in the East.  They're 3.5 games behind Indiana, and 3 ahead of Chicago.  The Celtics have just about locked up the 7th position, but still have an outside shot to catch the Hawks for 6th, as they trail by only one in the loss column.  The Nets lead the season series 2-1, but the two squads haven't met since late December.

PROBABLE STARTERS

Brooklyn Nets

PG: Deron Williams

SG: Joe Johnson

SF: Gerald Wallace

PF: Reggie Evans

C: Brook Lopez

 

Boston Celtics

PG: Avery Bradley

SG: Paul Pierce

SF: Jeff Green

PF: Brandon Bass

PF: Kevin Garnett

 
INJURIES

Keith Bogans,DOUB (Back)

Paul Pierce, PROB (Ankle) Rajon Rondo, OUT (Knee) Jared Sullinger, OUT (Back)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Final Test?: With the playoffs looming and the Celtics position unlikely to change, this could be the last time we see a serious effort from Boston in the regular season against a quality opponent. Round two of the new "big" starting lineup: Garnett, Bass, Green, Pierce, and Bradley haven't even played a full game on the court together this season.  As a unit they look to build on their impressive victory over the Wizards on Sunday. Budding rivalry: Back in November the Nets brought an end to Rajon Rondo's double digit assist streak when he was kicked out of the game for fighting with Kris Humphries, and Brooklyn easily defeated the Celtics at the Garden.  Boston then returned the favor in the national spotlight by blowing out the Nets on their own floor on Christmas Day.  What's in store for tonight?

NOTES

The Nets haven't won the season series from Boston since 2006. Brooklyn rankings:  Pace: 88.5 (29th), Off Rtg: 108.1 (8th), Def Rtg: 106.2 (16th) Boston rankings:  Pace: 91.7 (16th), Off Rtg: 102.8 (25th), Def Rtg: 102.9 (6th)
PREDICTION

Lately the Celtics seem to be in the position where they are trying to play just well enough to stay ahead of the Bucks, and only winning games when they really want to.  They clearly were not that interested in beating the Cavs last Friday (no Pierce or Garnett), but then seemed to have designated Sunday's contest with the Wizards as a necessary victory.  My guess is this is one they'd like to have.

Boston Celtics 98, Brooklyn Nets 88

 

Follow Mark on twitter @LucidSportsFan

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Wednesday, 10 April 2013 15:26

Report: Patriots Sign Sanders to Offer Sheet

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 The New England Patriots have reportedly signed Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free-agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, according to Adam Schefter.

Schefter stated on Twitter that the money offered to Sanders won’t “scare” the Steelers from matching the offer sheet, but they might be content taking the Patriots third round draft pick. The Patriots offer is reported as a one year deal worth approximately $4 million.

Sanders, who was selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 2010 draft out of SMU set career highs in catches and yards last season at 44 and 626 respectively. Overall, he has 94 catches for 1,290 yards and 5 touchdowns in his career.

The Patriots have a need at wide receiver after losing Wes Welker to the Broncos. Brandon Lloyd, who was brought in last season by New England was released after one season with the team. Another option at wide receiver was Julian Edelman, a seventh round pick by New England in 2009, but he has yet to resign.

It seems the Bill Belichick values Sanders more than a third round pick in this year’s draft, and he’s hoping Sanders can bring great value and production to a team depleted at wide receiver.

Boston Globe Celtics say they will be ready for the playoffs - Gary Washburn examines the team's mindset with the post season just ten days away. 

Boston Herald Celtics make big plans - Steve Bulpett discusses Boston's new larger starting lineup. Nets offer chippy test for playoffs - A playoff like atmosphere is expected in the Garden tonight.

WEEI Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and the Celtics consistent inconsistency - Ben Rohrbach breaks down what we can expect from the veterans.

CSNNE Green, Pierce a dynamic duo for Celtics - A. Sherrod Blakely looks into what the two of them can do on the floor together.

NESN Celtics Fans May Be Overconfident About Potential Playoff Matchup With Knicks (Podcast)

ESPN Boston Celtics bench players settling in - Greg Payne wonders if a regular rotation will take shape.

Metro West Daily News Celtics Tuesday practice report: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce recover well from respective returns - Scott Sauza reports. 

Mass Live Doc Rivers asking opposing coaches for help as he seeks to improve new Boston Celtics starting lineup - Jay King has the story.

Hardwood Houdini Nostalgia Meets Disappointment: A Season In Review

Celtics Blog Boston Celtics know how to talk the talk, will they walk it too? - Can they "flip the switch" again this year?

 

Follow Mark on twitter @LucidSportsFan

As the stretch run of the NBA season approaches, the Miami Heat have proven their point by  challenging history. The New York Knicks have taken advantage of resting teams while amassing a 12 game win streak. The Boston Celtics have been fighting injuries to their aging veterans.

Very few match-ups arouse NBA fans like Celtics vs Heat. However, their final meeting of the season will likely be less than inspiring play. Miami Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra has made it clear that the Heat have made their point and are now taking Doc Rivers and Greg Popavich philosophy of rest over wins.

Dwyane Wade is fighting another nagging knee injury and Chris Bosh has the flu. LeBron James is fighting exhaustion from another MVP season. According to ESPN, the Miami Heat are going to continue to rest their super-stars during the stretch run.

From ESPN Heat Meter:

"unless he gets dramatically better," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before Tuesday's game. "It is something we talked about," Spoelstra said. "I don't know if we will bring him around everybody."

Unless Coach Spoelstra is emphasizing 'injuries' for rest to avoid a fine, Wade's nagging knees should be a concern for the young coach. D-Wade has worked around deteriorating knees for years.

On the 'other side' of the rivalry, the Boston Celtics have arguably had more debilitating injuries than any other team in the NBA. With the loss of Jared Sullinger, Leandro Barbossa and Rajon Rondo, the Celtics have had to rework their entire philosophy and the pressure has really fallen upon the tired legs of their aging veterans, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Pierce has suffered from a buffet of bumps and bruises including, a neck injury and ankle issues. As the season has progressed, Garnett has been plagued by leg issues again. He currently is suffering from a foot injury that has been rumored to be bone spurs. Garnett has complained of pain when doing such ordinary tasks as driving a car.

Pierce told ESPNBoston yesterday that his health is improving.

"It's getting better," Pierce said. "I'm getting treatment, doing the necessary things I need to do to be better. It's doing a lot better."

As for the future, the Captain says that Coach Doc Rivers will be calling the shots when it comes to playing time as the season winds down.

"I'm going to leave that up to Coach," Pierce said. "Maybe I'll talk to him, talk about these last five games, depending on how my body feels, depending on the seeding situation we're in. We'll figure something out."

Doc Rivers will not disclose his plans for resting his veterans but, yesterday he did assure the media that he does have a solid-secret plan.

"Obviously, we have to take care of our position," Rivers said. "But, for Kevin, rest is always important, and Paul as well. But, other than that, we've thought about (resting them), we've talked about it."

As the Celtics prepare for the playoffs, the immediate focus is avoiding the Miami Heat in the first round. The Celtics will take on the Heat this Friday and it's unclear who will be in uniform for their final meeting of the regular season. Though the stakes are lessened as the playoff seeding is all but locked up, bragging rights and fan enthusiasm remain high any time these two rivals meet.

Will we see a watered down roster for Friday? With Doc keeping his plan top-secret, I guess we will just have to wait and see. Stay tuned to CLNS Radio for more news regarding the last 5 games of the regular season.

 

 

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The Boston Celtics continue their home-stand tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. CLNS Radio and CelticsBlog will have all your post-game coverage.

Immediately following the game, the Celtics Post Game Show will go live. Tonight's hosts will be Ty Ray, Mike "The Scotsman" Munger" and Daniel Baker.

As always, the guys will be hanging out in the CelticsBlog chat-room, and taking your calls throughout the entire broadcast.

Call into the Studio: 347-215-7771 | Listen Live | Join the Chat

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Wednesday, 10 April 2013 02:24

Tim Whitehead Fired: What's Next For Maine Hockey?

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After 12 seasons on the job as the University of Maine's hockey coach, Tim Whitehead was relieved of his duties today, much to the joy of everyone in the Pine Tree State. The Black Bears have been progressively worse in the Hockey East, ticket sales are down, and students are becoming less and less interested in a losing program.

The next question for UMaine is, "Where do you go from here?" I have some ideas on who the next hire should be and bring Maine hockey back to where it should be: The top.

Jim Montgomery- Head Coach, USHL Dubuque Fighting Saints

This hire would be a popular one with the fans. Montgomery is a former Black Bear having played with UMaine in the early 90s. He was the NCAA Tournament Championship MVP in 1993, when the Black Bears went 42-1-2 in a very dominant season.

Montgomery would later play six seasons in the NHL before entering the coaching field. Montgomery is currently the head coach and general manager of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL and has success at that position winning the 2011 USHL Championship in the team's second season of existence. Montgomery has experience as a coach on the college level as an assistant coach at Notre Dame and RPI, but he is ready for a head coaching gig now.

Montgomery spoke today about the possibility of returning to Orono as a head coach, saying,

“As an alumnus of the University of Maine hockey program, I have a lot of pride and effort and sweat put into that great program. I would like to look at the opportunity to lead the program back to national prominence.

He's interested, but is UMaine? He would be a very popular pick.

Steve Kariya- Assistant Coach, WHL Portland Winterhawks

Another former player makes this list and its a well known name in Black Bear hockey lore. The Kariya's, Paul, Steve, and Martin, have all been successful during their playing time with the Black Bears, but its Steve Kariya that has a coaching career now and has an outside shot at the job.

Steve Kariya was the captain of the 1999 National Champion Maine Black Bears, but his NHL career didn't turn out like his brother, Paul's did.

Steve is now an assistant coach of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, a junior hockey league based out of the western provinces of Canada and the Pacific Northwest. However, he has only held that position since the beginning of March and this is his first coaching position, so, its very unlikely that Maine would hire him, but it couldn't hurt to kick the tires.

Greg Cronin- Assistant Coach, Toronto Maple Leafs

This pick would be a blast from the past. Many UMaine fans pine for the years when Shawn Walsh was on the bench and with a Greg Cronin hire, they could very well get it.

Cronin was an assistant for four seasons under Shawn Walsh and was the interim head coach when Walsh was banned from coaching for one year. During that time, Cronin led the Black Bears to an appearance in the Hockey East Championship game where they would eventually lose to Providence.

Cronin spent six seasons behind the bench at Northeastern to mostly losing seasons before heading to Toronto to be an assistant with the Maple Leafs. Cronin has the experience at the college level and could bring some of that much needed Shawn Walsh magic back at the Alfond Arena.

Norm Bazin- Head Coach, UMass-Lowell

Maine could take the same route they did when they first hired Tim Whitehead by taking UMass-Lowell's head coach. Norm Bazin, a former UMass-Lowell Riverhawk, has quickly turned the UMass-Lowell program right around by winning their first ever Hockey East title and clinching their first ever Frozen Four berth. So, yeah, he's a good coach.

 

Very, very unlikely that Maine even takes a look at him. Bazin used to play with the Riverhawks and has turned the program in the right direction. Bazin doesn't leave for anything.

John Tortorella- Head Coach, New York Rangers

I think its a rule that I have to have a way out there pick and this one is mine. 

If John Tortorella ever wants to get out of the NHL game, and if the rumors are true about him being on the hot seat, look no further than Maine. Tortorella used to play with Maine and is a coach full of fire and energy that could give this team a much needed spark.

Although he is a Stanley Cup winning coach, he has no experience in the college level, but it wouldn't be hard to recruit players to Maine, just flash them your Stanley Cup ring and they are yours.

However, Orono, Maine, although a great college town, cannot compete with New York City at all. Torts has too much fire to step away from the NHL game right now, plus I don't believe the Rangers would part with their head coach.

If you ask me, Montgomery has the inside track at getting this position. He is an up and coming coach and really wants to be there, but anything can happen at this point. Whoever they hire, Maine fans are just hoping to bring the National title back to Orono and the Black Bear program back to the national stage.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 00:35

LSU offensive lineman Faulk visits Patriots

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Photo courtesy of CBSSports.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass.—According to a report from Allyson Bullock of NESN.com, the Patriots recently visited with LSU offensive lineman Chris Faulk. This story was first reported by Aaron Wilson of Scout.com.

Last season was one that Faulk would have liked to forget. After recording 4.5 knockdowns and playing 67 snaps in Week 1 against North Texas, the junior from Sidell, LA suffered a “season-ending right knee injury while practicing for the Tigers game against the Washington Huskies in week two, according to his LSU football profile.  Even though the knee injury dampened his junior campaign, it did not diminish what he had done the prior two years.

2011 was an especially notable season for Faulk. Then a sophomore, he appeared in all 14 games, starting 13 of them at the left tackle position. He was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after he posted 12.5 knockdowns in 69 plays, making his presence known in the Tigers’ 38-7 win over Tennessee. He also accomplished an impressive feat not recorded in the game statistics, playing every snap in five games that season (Oregon, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and BCS National Championship Game). For his efforts, he was named to the SEC All-Conference team at the conclusion of the season, an impressive honor given the SEC’s immense talent pool.

At the NFL Combine, he was bothered by a knee injury that sidelined him for most of it, according to Wilson’s report. He did however manage to bench 225 pounds 25 times. He could be a tremendous asset to New England given his size and his football background at LSU. His familiarity with a winning tradition does not hurt matters either.

 This is the second LSU product to visit New England, with the Honey Badge (Tyrann Mathieu) being the first. It is clear that LSU has a seemingly endless talent pool, and now the Patriots must decide if they want to make that pool one of their resources come draft day.

Tuesday, 09 April 2013 22:26

MLB Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Week 1

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We are just over a week in to the MLB season and it's been action packed. Players being put on the DL and others who are reaching for the stars. Chris Davis started the year off with a home run in each of the Orioles first four games and is leading the league with 17 RBIs in just seven games.  Many other high draft picks have yet to find their swing as J.VottoM.TroutMiguel CabreraM.Kemp, and J.Hamilton have a combined total of 0 HRs through their firs week of games. In fantasy baseball, it is important not to be too concerned early on. The MLB season is long and that makes for a long fantasy season with games every night that can change a players fortune. This early in the season, if you are quick enough, you will be able to find cheap high end replacements off the waiver wire. It is important to note that these high end, early season players who are off to a hot start, can disappear in a matter of a week. On the other hand, a smart addition now, may become the corner stone for your team, so be careful and always go with your gut.

 

C- Jonh Buck (NYM)- As I right this, Buck's popularity grows. He has been the top catcher so far, after week 1, and has shown some power in the passed as he had 20 HRs in 118 games with the Blue Jays in 2010. He's a smart early pick up at catcher, although it wouldn't be smart to drop a top name for him at this point.

 

1B/3B- Mark Reynolds (CLE)- If the league you are playing in doesn't count strike outs, he is a monster power hitter. Very capable of getting 30 HRs and 80 RBIs, he has started off strong this year with 2 doubles, 4 HRs and 7 RBIs on just 7 hits. This shows his power is where it needs to be this early on in the season.

 

1B/2B- Daniel Murphy (NYM)- Not a player that will be a power hitter, but he will be able to show value with his speed and batting average. He had 40 doubles and 3 triples last year and already has 2 doubles, 1 triple and 2 HRs in 7 games for the Mets. His duel position is also a huge boost.

 

1B- Kendrys Morales (SEA)- Many fantasy players seem to have Morales as an after-thought. Before breaking his leg back in 2010 with the Angels, he was playing some top quality baseball, then missing 2011, he was left behind. He has now found new life in SEA where he is batting DH and is being quite productive in almost all categories except SB. He is owned in 62% oh Yahoo! leagues, but his popularity is on the rise, take note.

 

3B- Chris Johnson (ATL)- With F.Freeman being put on the 15 day DL this weekend, Johnson will be given all sorts of chances to succeed and play his way in to the starting line up. Johnson had 3 singles on 4 at bats on Monday as he looks to build on this performance.

 

3B- Nolan Arenado (COL)- Keep and eye out for Rockies 3B Arenado. He is just waiting for his chance to shine in the bog league. If and when he gets the call, expect a huge inflation. Pick him up and store him if you have an N/A spot or a free spot in a deep league.

 

OF- Daniel Nava (BOS)- He has homered in back to back games for the Sox and will be seeing more playing time if his bat keeps up. Nava has never proved anything much in MLB yet, but his 4 game hit streak with a decent spring training batting average of .327, he isn't a bad deep sleeper.

 

OF- Chris Young (OAK)- Young has been on a steady decline over the passed couple year with the Diamondbacks, but he looks to have found new life in Billy Beane's Moneyball Oakland system. Young, who also has a hit in all 4 of his games to date, has shown power in the passed, and it's anyone's guess if his swing is coming back.

 

SP- Dillon Gee (NYM)- I think D.Gee will surprise a lot of people this year, and his first outing was a good sign. He allowed one run, on 3 hits, with 4 strike outs over 6.1 innings. He is one to snatch up if you have an empty spot because of an injury in your rotation.

 

SP- Justin Masterson (CLE)- Masterson is finally showing his worth to the CLE organization. I personally drafted Masterson late in drafts as a deep sleeper since he has always had good potential, but if his first two starts of the year are any indication, Masterson is in for a career year.

 

SP- J.A Happ (TOR)- Happ had a nice start to his career in PHI before being a bargaining chip for teams. Happ made the team as one of the last starters and beat out former ace Ricky Romero. He has the stuff to be a 2/3 starter in the MLB, is this the year that he shows how good he can be?

 

RP- Jim Henderson (MIL)- Axford is simply not getting the job done and Henderson is the one that is doing the most with his opportunity. Henderson recorded his first save of the year on Monday and looks to have won the closer role.

 

RP- Kyuji Fujikawa (CHC)- Fujikawa was light up for 3 earned runs on saturday against the Braves, but don't expect Fujikawa to be scared next outing. He is the closer for the Cubs so he has lots of value.

 

RP- Joaquin Benoit (DET)- There bas been a closer by committee approach so far for the Tigers to start this season but Benoit is the best bet to have a legitimate shot at closing duties.

 

Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed my waiver wire week 1 segment!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to tweet me @phillipbeneteau

Tuesday, 09 April 2013 22:13

Careless Whispers - On Demand 4-9-13

Will you look at this!  It is Tuesday and you know what that means!  That's right, Matt Rury and Calvin Chamberlain are back again with Careless Whispers at 9 PM EST!  Not only is this the hottest show on the NEW CLNS Radio, but it's also the coldest show on CLNS Radio.

Red Sox, NBA and business as usual tonight!

Find out what that means tonight!  Call them if you must, at (347)215-7771.

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Recently, we saw Rajon Rondo shooting around before a Boston Celtics game. Today, Jared Sullinger took to the practice floor in a surprise session of free throw shooting. It's a terrific sign to see Jared Sullinger shooting around with his teammates. When I spoke to him on Friday night, he told me he was feeling well and was ear-to-ear smiles. I certainly didn't expect to see Ben Rohrbach posting videos of 'Sully' shooting around today though. I guess the warm weather has everyone in a good mood and more motivated.

 

Tuesday, 09 April 2013 21:23

Bruins sign Seth Griffith to entry-level deal

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Photo courtesy of the London Knights

BOSTON—According to DJ Bean of the Big Bad Bruins Blog on WEEI.com, the Bruins and center Seth Griffith have agreed on a three- year entry-level deal.

Griffith was taken in the fifth round (131st overall) by the Bruins in last year’s draft.  Prior to joining the Black and Gold, he spent three years with the London Knights of the OHL. His best season came in the 2011-12 campaign when he tallied 45 goals and 40 assists for 85 points in 68 contests. His sophomore campaign was equally as impressive as he notched 22 goals and 40 assists for a total of 62 points.

In three years with the Knights, he recorded 69 goals and 81 assists in 153 games played. Griffith also   put on a stellar performance this season as he notched 33 goals, with 48 assists for 81 points in 54 games.  As a reward for his efforts, he was given the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy, which is given to the OHL’s top-scoring right wing.

Griffith should provide some depth and scoring punch at the center position and as a result, this is a great move by the Bruins. He should be able to make an impact once he gets to Boston and one of the more overlooked aspects of this is that they did not have to trade for him. They just simply (as simple as a player acquisition gets) signed him to a contract and received his offensive firepower without giving away anything in return.  I think that this move will pay big dividends for the team in the long run.

Tuesday, 09 April 2013 20:02

Soderberg agrees to terms with Boston Bruins

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Photo courtesy of NESN.com

BOSTON—According  to a report from hockey journalist  Kirk Luedeke , the Bruins and center Carl Soderberg have agreed to a three-year contract.  In Ludedeke’s initial report, the deal was not official. However, he tweeted the following earlier this afternoon.

“Done deal- Soderberg to Bruins happening & expect him in next 7 days (give or take).”

The 27-year-old was acquired by Boston in 2007 in exchange for goalie Hannu Toivonen. However, the former 2004 second-round pick (49th overall)  of the St. Louis Blues had rebuffed the Black and Gold’s chances to sign him up until this point.  As Luedeke indicates, Soderberg is eligible to join the Bruins this season and can play in the postseason as well. This is in agreement with the rules of the International Ice Hockey Federation . The rules indicate that the Swedish League has seven days to deny Soderberg leave from the country. As Jimmy Murphy from ESPNBoston.com indicated today via Twitter, a portion of this process is complete.(You can read his story here.)

“According to my source, Soderberg's release from Linkoping has been finalized but release from Swedish Ice Hockey Association isn't yet.”

The Malmo, Sweden native finished with 31 goals to contribute to a total of 60 points in his second year with Linkoping, which was tops in the Swedish Elite League. Now, he brings his tall stature (6-3) and uncanny scoring skills to the Bruins, and as Luedeke notes, Soderberg has “a wicked shot and release” in his arsenal.

He should be fun to watch, especially in the postseason, as the Bruins gear up for a tough road ahead.

Tuesday, 09 April 2013 19:46

Source: Orioles sign Cale Iorg to minor league deal

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According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Baltimore Orioles have signed shortstop Cale Iorg to a minor league contract. Iorg, who is the son of former major leaguer Garth Iorg, will report to AA Bowie after being released by the Detroit Tigers at the end of spring training.

The Canadian-born infielder was drafted in the sixth round (211th overall) of the 2007 draft by the Tigers, and spent six years in the organization, reaching AAA Toledo in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Following the 2008 season, Iorg was ranked as the third best prospect in the Tigers system, but offensive struggles and injuries have hampered his career to this point. He is still known as an excellent fielder, and will provide the Orioles with organizational depth at the Double-A level.

Iorg suited up for Team Canada in this year’s World Baseball Classic, posting a 1-for-11 line in the tournament. Following Canada’s elimination, the 27-year old returned to Tigers camp until he was told that he was traded to the Orioles at the end of camp. For unknown reasons, that deal fell through, and the Tigers decided to release Iorg, making him a free agent. After a couple of weeks of free agency, the Orioles reached out to confirm that they still had interest, and the sides agreed to a deal.

 

For the latest MLB news and rumors, follow Chris Cotillo on Twitter @TradeDeadliner.

You can find Cale Iorg on Twitter @EuSouCI.

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Smack Talk Sports will end its run on CLNSRadio.com with a Patriots draft preview and more offseason talk with Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com (@FieldYates) who will join Sean Bakke and Chris Hogan tonight at 7:30 PM.

 The hosts will also discuss with Yates the recent signing of DT Tommy Kelly.

The Red Sox are off to their hottest start since 2006 so Bakke and Hogan will review the first week of the MLB season including Opening Day at Fenway Park yesterday.

Chris Hogan will also preview the start of the season for the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday, whom he will be covering for CLNS Radio this season.

 As always they will take your calls at 347-215-7771 Press "1" to come on the air.

                                                Listen Live Here!

"Like" Smack Talk Sports on Facebook.

Follow Sean on Twitter @CLNS_Sean

Follow Chris on Twitter @HoganReports

Boston Globe Celtics, MCCA will discuss application for All-Star Game - Gary Washburn looks into the possibility of an NBA All-Star game in Boston in the near future.

Boston Herald For Randolph,it's no big deal - Steve Bulpett examines the emergence of Shavlik Randolph as a contributor off of the bench. 

CSNNE Wilcox, Randolph stepping up for Celtics - A. Sherrod Blakely discusses what the backup centers have added to the team lately. 

ESPN Boston Bloody good play for Shav - Chris Forsberg gives his take on Randolph's recent success as well. New first unit in focus - Sunday's game marked the debut of what will likely be the playoff starting five.

CBS Boston Paul Pierce wins second Red Auerbach Award - It was announced before Sunday evening's game. 

Celtics Hub In praise of Brandon Bass - The power forward has had a difficult season, but has shined lately.

Celtics Blog Nobody wants the Celtics in the 1st round - Like the Captain said, they'll be a very difficult matchup.

Celtics Life Paul Pierce says the Celtics are "as tough to beat as anyone in the East." Is he right?

Huffington Post (AP) Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2013 Includes Rick Pitino, Bernard King, Gary Payton, Jerry Tarkanian - Two former Celtics are headed to Springfield.

 

Follow Mark on twitter @LucidSportsFan

 

Tuesday, 09 April 2013 00:43

Bruins Offense Comes Alive

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The ailing Carolina Hurricanes visited North Station on Monday night and this would be a prime opportunity for Boston to regain some of their confidence. Wearing their all black alternates, the Bruins took to the ice welcoming back Alternate captain Chris Kelly, who was making his return from a broken tibia.

The first half of the opening frame did not start well for the B's, as Carolina dominated play and out shot the Bruins heavily. Despite being outplayed, at the 10:00 minute mark, the Bruins somehow saw themselves up 2-0.

Rich Peverley would get the scoring started when he gathered his own shot for a nice wrap-around goal, beating Justin Peters just 3:51 in. It would take the Bruins just over 4 minutes to tally their second goal. Brad Marchand would score his first of two on the night as he cleaned up some garbage in front of Peters. The goal would mark the end of Peter's night, as he gave up 2 goals on 4 shots.

Brad Marchand would net his second at 17:20. Jaromir Jagr and Dennis Seidenberg would each get an assist on the play, the second of the evening for each player. Despite the Bruins starting to control play in the second half of the period, the Bruins went into the room out shot 18-9. They were opportunistic, worked hard, won some good battles, and were rewarded with a 3-0 advantage.

The B's picked up in the second where they had left off, coming out with effort and intensity. A nice pinch along the boards by Andrew Ference would be rewarded when a Dennis Seidenberg wrister went off his back side and in at 3:57. This was Seidenberg's first 3 point game since he was playing for Carolina, 4 years and 1 day prior.

Jordan Caron would score his first of the season on a back hander at 10:29, again a clean up goal that was a product of grit and effort. This period was a solid 20 effort from the black and gold. There was a good pace and Tuukka continued his stellar play, making a few key saves. The 'canes got their share of chances, each team registering 12 shots in the period. Carolina still held a significant advantage in shots on the night, entering the 3rd they were up 30-21.

You could tell when the third started that Bruins were feeling a little too comfortable. They continued the theme of being out shot, but it was the lack of crisp play or a sense of urgency that was worrisome. Luckily, Tuukka continued to stand on his head.

The Bruins should have gotten a wake up call when a weird play where the puck went straight up in the air and landed on Rask was almost a goal. A review confirmed the call on the ice, no goal. Then, 22 seconds later, the 'canes would continue to battle and get on the board when Patrick Dwyer found an opening five hole. Just :45 later, Drayson Bowman would cash in for the second goal of the night, beating Tuukka Rask. The play continued back and forth until at 16:46 Nathan Horton would put the Bruins back up by four goals.

Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand looked like they were creating some chemistry, and Jagr tried on three different shifts to set up "the little ball of hate" for the hat trick. There was no doubt it was Tuukka Rask who was the first star, but it was nice to see the Bruins finally open up a six-pack on someone, even if it was the lowly Hurricanes. The negative was that they allowed 42 shots on the night, beating the previous high this season faced by Rask. The Bruins power-play went 0-2, again looking improved at times with Jagr on the ice, and sometimes looking pretty bad.

Next up for the Bruins will be a clash with the point needy New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night. The Devils are currently 2 points out of a playoff spot, and will be looking to get back in at the expense of the B's. Expect another tight game, low scoring, with a lot of stellar defensive zone play. Puck drops at 7:30.

Until next time, Let's Go Black and Gold!!