Friday, May 20, 2011

Who Is Ras-I Dowling?

Ras-I Dowling was born in Chesapeake, Virgina on May 9th 1988. Dowling's father Larry is a huge boxing fan and decided to name his son after Ras-I Bramble, formerly known as Livingstone Bramble. Larry Dowling would take it even further by making Ras-I's middle name Luis after Jose Luis Ramirez.

Growing up Ras-I was a fan of defensive backs Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson, both of whom played cornerback and safety in The NFL.

As a senior in high school Dowling had 60 tackles and 2 interceptions as a defensive back. He also had 14 receptions with four TD's as a wide receiver. Ras-I would commit to play at The University of Virginia, just a 3 hour drive away from his hometown.

Over his first three college seasons Ras-I played in 32 out of a possible 35 games. At just under 6'2" he has tremendous size for a corner back. Despite being bigger than the average DB Dowling's 40 time of 4.46 shows that he has the speed as well. Even though thought Ras-I missed almost his entire senior season at Virginia, the stats he posted in his first 3 years show what he's capable of. From his Freshman to Junior years Ras-I posted 144 tackles, 8 interceptions, 36 passes defended, and a sack.

Ras-I's senior campaign was riddled with injuries, he suffered a right knee injury, then a hamstring, then after going through all that his college career ended with a fractured left ankle. NFL scouts looked at this and labeled him as injury prone, but this was the only year that was seriously affected. As a result of a shortened senior season, Ras I Dowling dropped out of the first round in the 2011 NFL Draft and was picked 33rd overall by The New England Patriots.

Belichick on Dowling:
"We really felt that Ras I Dowling was a good pick for us there. Big corner, good tackler, been in a good program in Virginia. He's a guy who played in a system pretty similar to what we've run and a very impressive kid."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Patrice Bergeron To Return In Game 3

According to multiple sources Patrice Bergeron will return for Game 3 of The Eastern Conference Finals. Patrice missed two games after suffering a mild concussion in the final game of the ECSF against Philadelphia. Before the concussion, 25 year old Bergeron lead the Bruins in points and lead all forwards for time on ice.

Rookie standout Tyler Seguin will remain in the lineup despite originally being just an injury replacement. It will be interesting to see how the lines work out, but many speculate that both the Recchi-Bergeron-Marchand line and the Ryder-Kelly-Seguin line will go unchanged. I'm thinking that Thornton get's the scratch with Peverley moving to the 4th line with Paille and Campbell.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

David Ortiz Appreciation: Part 1.

Does everyone remember when David Ortiz was first brought to Boston? No? Well then let me take you back.

Gordan Edes, Boston Globe, January 21, 2003:
David Ortiz passed a physical in Boston Saturday and has agreed to a one-year deal for a sum in the vicinity of $1 million. Ortiz, a lefthanded hitter, batted .272 with 32 doubles, 20 home runs, and 75 RBIs last season for the Twins, numbers comparable to those posted by Brian Daubach. But with Daubach arbitration-eligible, the Sox elected to sign the 27-year-old Ortiz, who was released by the Twins in December.

The story goes that David was having dinner at a restaurant in The Dominican Republic when he ran into Red Sox' ace Pedro Martinez. The two spoke for a bit and Ortiz told Pedro that he was released by Minnesota and was available. After the dinner Pedro quickly called the Red Sox front office and lobbied for them to sign Ortiz.

At the start of the season David Ortiz was struggling. He hit .212 with 1 HR and 6 RBI's in the month of April and The Red Sox were 2 games over .500. Even though Ortiz wasn't making much the fans were starting to grow tired of Ortiz.

Ortiz had a more productive May as his average raised to .333 and he posted 8 doubles. The month was also more successful for the team as a whole, The Red Sox were 10-5 for the month and were 7 games over .500.

June was even better for Ortiz as he started to rake in the RBI's, but David still wasn't showing the HR's. Through 53 games David had only hit 4 homers. No one was complaining about his production because all the other numbers were there, but fans were starting to ponder how good this guy could be.

In July Red Sox fans would find out just who David Ortiz was. David would hit 8 HR's and triple his season total, he would also continue to be an RBI machine. The 27 year old Ortiz was now hitting .288 with 12 home runs and 54 RBI's. By season's end The Red Sox would be heading into the Playoffs as The Wildcard. Boston now had a 3-Headed Monster of Garciaparra, Ramirez, and Ortiz. Add in 3x Cy Young Award Winner Pedro Martinez and it seemed like The '03 Red Sox were a team of destiny... but we all know what happened.

In 2004 David Ortiz entered the season with high expectations, and boy did he live up to them. At the All-Star break Ortiz was hitting .305 with 23 HR's and 78 RBI's, that was his season totals just 2 years earlier. By season's end The Red Sox would have 2 players, Ortiz and Ramirez, with 40 HR's and 140 RBI's. Boston entered the postseason with revenge on their minds.

After a 1st round sweep with Anaheim, The Red Sox found themselves in the deepest hole in sports. They were down 3-0 against the New York Yankees, in MLB history no team had ever come back from that deficit. Down 2-0 in the 5th inning of an elimination game Boston was seemingly playing for just pride. Orlando Cabrera hit an RBI single before Ramirez walked to get the bases loaded, Ortiz hit a double to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. The 6th inning would have New York score 2 more, then Boston would tie it in the bottom of the 9th, The Fenway Faithful were headed to overtime. In the bottom of the twelfth with no outs and Ramirez on first, David Ortiz would hit a walk off 2 Run HR to save The Red Sox collective life. The game ended at 1:22 AM.

16 hours later Boston and New York would play Game 5, and somehow it would match the drama of the night before. Down by 2 in the 8th David Ortiz stepped to the plate with no outs and homers to cut the lead in half. The rest of the lineup would play a little small ball to get it tied for extra innings. Bottom of the 14 came and the game was still tied... and guess who was due up? Is this getting old yet? With two outs and two on David Ortiz would do it again, a single to center field scores Damon and the series heads back to The Bronx.

Following a convincing Game 6 victory Boston would show up to Game 7 with confidence. Boston would homer 4 times, including one by Ortiz, and hammer the Yankees to a 10-4 victory. The Red Sox were headed back to the World Series, but they already knew that the leagues top 2 teams just played. Boston would sweep St. Louis for the first World Championship since 1918. David Ortiz was the MVP of the series with New York, the best series comeback in Baseball history.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Red Sox Over The Hump, Looking Ahead.

After failing to top .500 in their series against Toronto, The Boston Red Sox leave The Bronx with a 3 game sweep to sit pretty at 20-20. Bucholtz, Beckett, and Lester all got wins in the series but it was the heart of Boston's lineup that pushed them into high gear. Over the 3 game series Gonzalez, Youkilis, and Ortiz have combined to hit .270 with 5 HR's 7 BB's and 11 RBI's.

Boston will now come home. The Red Sox' next 7 games will be in the safe confines of Fenway Park. They'll play 4 games against Baltimore and Detroit before hosting a three game series with The Chicago Cubs for the first time in 93 years.

The last time The Chicago Cubs came to Boston was the 1918 World Series. Boston won the series 4-2 behind 23 year old Superstar George "Babe" Ruth. The Great Bambino threw a complete game shutout for a 1-0 victory in Game 1. In Game 4 he allowed 2 runs in 8 innings but had a triple in the 4th which scored 2 and The Sox won again.

Everyone knows that Boston would trade Babe Ruth to New York that offseason, and they all know it was a horrible deal. Everyone also knows that the curse that followed has now been broken, but on Friday May 20th Boston will host The Chicago Cubs in Fenway Park for the first time without their precious Babe Ruth.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bergeron Out With Mild Concussion.

After a hit from Philadelphia's Claude Giroux, Patrice Bergeron has been diagnosed with a 'mild concussion'. Bruins are reporting that this concussion is less severe that his last against Carolina, that one had him out for a month.

Rookie Tyler Seguin will get his first ice time in the NHL Playoffs.

Patrice Bergeron is arguably The Bruins best overall forward, it's unlikely that they can overcome Tampa Bay in the ECF without him. Chris Kelly, Greg Campbell, and Tyler Seguin will have to fill in to overcome the loss of Patrice. Hopefully for Boston home ice will be enough to get them past The Lighting to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tim Thomas Saves The Day.

Last night The Bruins skated away with a 3-2 win over The Flyers. At 14:00 in the Overtime Period David Krejci fired a missile past Boucher, but Krejci wasn't the hero of the game.

In 74 minutes of ice time Tim Thomas logged 52 saves, including a streak of 44 straight after allowing 2 goals in the opening minutes. Thomas was at his finest in the 3rd period. In the last 20 minutes of regulation Boston was outshot 22-7 by Philadelphia but not a single puck would sneak past the soon-to-be 2 Time Vezina Trophy Winner. Simply put: Tim Thomas was impenetrable.

Post Game Comments

Coach Claud Julien:
He was by far the star of the game tonight. He made some outstanding saves, especially when they started coming at us and they had some unbelievable scoring chances... he stood tall and made some great saves. If it's not for Tim we might not be standing here tonight with the win. That's what goaltenders do for you in the playoffs, that's what you want to see to help build confidence in you're team... when you know the goaltender is there to bail you out it gives you confidence... Tim gives you that.

Tim Thomas:
As the game went on i was just trying to work hard to build up to get myself into the game. By the time the 3rd period rolled around i started to feel really good. Fortunately i was feeling good at the right time because they got some shots and some opportunities...they kept me busy for the 3rd period.

The series will continue with Game 3 in Boston on Wednesday. The Bruins will look to take a 3-0 lead in the series.

Boston will enter Wednesday's game as the only team in NHL History to advance this far into the Playoffs without a single Power Play Goal... another credit to just how valuable Tim Thomas is to this Bruins team. At times #30 has been asked to carry Boston... and since Game 3 versus Montreal? I'd say he's done it.