Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Embarrassment of riches

With the Patriots win over the Broncos on Sunday, they've become AFC East Champs for the 9th time in the last 11 years and sit on top of the AFC; but that's not really anything that we selfish and spoiled  incredibly fortunate New England area sports fans care about.  We care about winning the big one and that just got even more difficult with the loss of Andre Carter Sunday.  It's hard to imagine this defense could be any worse but Carter was the Patriots' best and only real pass rusher.  But they find a way to win games, and the one thing that separates them from most other franchises is the fact they don't make dumb mistakes and don't go into slumps.
Do the Patriots really have a legitimate chance of winning the Super Bowl?  Well, watching them beat the Broncos (which is a big PHEW, by the way.  I couldn't have taken the embarrassment) makes me optimistic and pessimistic.  The Broncos ran all over the Pats in the first quarter but the Pats made some adjustments, got some opportunistic turnovers and capitalized.  And watching teams that I feel are better than the Pats get beat this weekend makes me more optimistic; BUT there are teams out there with offenses as good or nearly as good as the Pats but with better defenses.  I feel like the Pats would beat the Steelers and Ravens and Texans more often than not and, therefore, have a solid chance to go to the Super Bowl; but getting there and losing is of no interest to me.  I certainly have concerns about their chances of beating Green Bay and New Orleans; in fact, I don't like their chances.  So while I'd rather have the Pats win than lose regular season games; it doesn't do that much for me knowing we're likely not going to win the Super Bowl.

On to your defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, who continue to look like the best team in the NHL.  Even when they don't play well, they win.  Look at their goal differential, plus 48, which makes my alter ego shut up a little bit.  The alter ego worries that not having a sniper could be a problem.
Did you enjoy that absolute beat-down of the Flyers late last week?  I know they've lost a couple of key players but that game wasn't even as close as the score.  And then on to beating the Habs last night, which makes up a little bit for losing a home-and-home to them earlier this season, which came at the end of the Bruins 3-7 start.  Can you imagine the Bruins' record if they'd started the same way they've played over the last 22 games (19-2-1)?  Or if their other #1 line of Krecji, Horton and Lucic was clicking all the time?
I really don't have too much to say -- their play and record speaks for itself -- other than to put in a plug for Patrice Bergeron, who I argue has gone overlooked as one of the best two-way players and best defensive forwards in the league.  At the very least he should finally be nominated for, if not win, the Selke this year.  Here's a brief two-minute video showing the goal and a brief conversation.  The video I want showing the goal from a couple of angles and slowed down isn't available.

Here's a bonus video for you folks who can't get enough Gronk...Gronk at TD Garden.

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