Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ides of March Sports Chowdah- Manning Bolts Colts; Thomas Holds off Leafs Late; Turco-ish Delight Coming to Boston? 76ers Halt C's 2nd Half Win Streak

BOSTON BRUINS- It was no doubt a weekend to forget for the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins. Not only did the B's drop Saturday's home game against the Islanders and Sunday's nationally televised game against the NY Rangers, Boston is expected to be without the services of goalie Tukka Rask after he was injured in Saturday's game. The B's announced on Monday that they expected Rask to miss anywhere from 4-6 weeks with a lower-abdomen/groin strain.

So with the goaltending depth chart for Boston beginning and ending with Tim Thomas, the Bruins headed to Tornto on Turesday night hoping to break their 2-game skid. For the Leafs, this would be the first home game under new head coach Randy Carlile.

Although the Leafs would get out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a Carl Gunnarson goal, the Bruins were able to tie it up at 1-1 with a tally from Jordan Caron.

Toronto would briefly re-take the lead on a power play goal from John-Michael Liles early in the 2nd before Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly would score about 40 sconds apart to give Boston their first lead of the evening. However, about midway through the 2nd the Leafs tied the contest up at 3-3 thanks to another power play tally- this time from former Bruin Phil Kessel.

But in the closing minutes of the 2nd, the Bruins would break the deadlock with another goal from Caron followed by Tyler Seguin's second goal of the evening to make it 5-3.

The Leafs would shave the Boston lead to just one goal late in the 3rd thanks to a Mikhail Grabovski goal, but the Bruins would hold off the Leafs for the 5-4 win and a 5-0 lead of the season series.

Tim Thomas stopped 25 of 29 shots faced while Jonas Gustavsson allowed in 5 of the 33 shots he faced on Tuesday night. Toronto had four power play opportunities and converted on two of them while Boston went 0 for 2 with the man advantage.

The Bruins next game will be on Thursday night against a suddenly very relevant Buffalo Sabres, who are tied with the Washington Capitals for the 9th spot in the Eastern conference and just two points behind Winnipeg for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern conference [still trying to wrap my noggin around the fact that Winnipeg is back, but in the EASTERN conference- NANESB!].

Thursday night's game at the TD Banknorth Gargen gets underway at 7:00 ET and will be televised on NESN and MSG networks.

OTHER BRUINS NEWS- Veteran goalie Marty Turco has cleared NHL waivers and will join the Boston Bruins to releive Tim Thomas in the final month of the regular season.

The option of calling up Anton Kudhobin from Providence wasn't a viable one since he's still nursing a wrist injury. With the trade deadline having passed last week, the Bruins were left having to resort to scouring the waiver wire.

Turco's most recent NHL experience came during the 2010-2011 season with the Chicago Blackhawks where he appeared in net for 29 games with a 3.02 GAA. After a stint as an in studio analyst for the NHL Network, Turco signed a short term contract with Red Bull Salzburg of the Erste Bank Hockey League in Austria in December 2011.

Because Turco was signed by Boston after the trade deadline, he will not be eligible to join the Bruins postseason roster.

NFL- After 14 seasons, including two Super Bowl appearences, QB Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts have parted ways. At a press conference alongside Colts owner Jim Irsay, an emotional Manning bid the organization farewell as speculations already ramped up about a possible destination for the veteran free agent QB.

Manning was due a $28 million bonus this week if he was to remain with the Colts. While Indianapolis was reluctant to stake their franchise on the well-being of Manning's neck, Washington, Tennessee, Miami, Seattle, the Jets and Arizona are all reportedly interested in Peyton's services and are well aware of the risk a big money contract with him entails.

Manning was drafted out of the University of Tennessee as the first overall draft pick by the Colts in the 1998 NFL draft. This season, the Colts have a 2-14 record, once again giving them the first overall draft pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL draft.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS- The Pittsburgh Steelers released veteran WR Hines Ward after 14 seasons, it was announced last week. In a statement, Ward said he was disappointed that he could not remain with Pittsburgh but repeated that he was determined to play in the NFL in the upcoming 2012 season.

Ward was a 3rd round draft pick out of Georgia in 1998 and the Steelers all-time leader in receptions and recieving yards. Both Ward and Jerry Rice are the only NFL wide recievers with at least 1000 career receptions and 2 Super Bowl victories.

RED SOX- Non-roster invitee Justin Germano pitched a pair of shutout innings in Boston's 3-3 tie with Toronto. The game was halted after 9 innings because the split-squad Blue Jays had run out of players by then.

The Red Sox will next travel to Jupiter, FL to take on the defending World Series Champion St Louis Cardinals. Josh Beckett is scheduled to get the start against the Card's Jamie Garcia.

CELTICS- While the second hald of this abbreviated NBA season seemed to be getting off to a much better start for the Celtics than the first half, Boston had a chance to take sole posession of 1st place in the Atlantic Division with Wednesday night's head-to-head matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers at Philly.

76ers guard Evan Turner had a career night, with 26 points for Philly in a 103-71 rout of the Celtics. This is the C's first loss since the All Star weekend, but it still cost them a shot a first place. They'll return to the Garden on Friday night to take on the Portland Trailblazers on Friday night- tipoff is at 7:30 and the game will be televised on Comcast Sports New England.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NBA- As bad as Wednesday night's thumping from Philly was, one could always feel better knowing that the vaunted LA Lakers pissed away a 21 point lead to the lowly Washington Wizards to lose by a final of 101-106 on Wednesday night.

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