As a new semester storms in, let’s look at the winners and losers of the sports world. This week’s winners and losers brings us to Boston.
Winner: Boston Bruins
The Bruins have been rolling into the new year with points in each of their last thirteen games (9-0-4), giving them a firm grasp of second place in the Atlantic Division, and giving the third best record in the Eastern Conference.
As a team that was expected to be on the playoff bubble this year, it is surprising to see Boston bound for the postseason with half of the season still remaining. Their emergence as a potential cup contender comes with the breakout of youngsters across their roster. Defenseman Charlie McAvoy has 24 points so far in his rookie campaign. He has solidified what had become an aging backend that lacked offensive prowess.
At forward Danton Heinen is soaring in his first season, compiling 31 points which rank third among NHL rookies. Jake DeBrusk, meanwhile, has chipped in a solid 23 points in to begin his NHL career. The insurgency of these newcomers into the lineup has created a perfect balance of youth and veterans that has led to success for the Bruins. A team that was thought to potentially need a rebuild is now rising, and is ready to contend again after just a few subpar years.
Winner/Loser: Boston Celtics
On the court, the Celtics have been dominant this season, leading the Eastern Conference (34-11). They are one of the few teams that has a realistic chance of going to the NBA Finals this June.
Off the court, however, they have been off the mark involving recent headlines. The team originally planned to play a tribute video for Isaiah Thomas on the same night that they were going to retire Celtics legend, Paul Pierce’s number. Thomas, who was traded to the Cavaliers this summer, will play his first game against his former team that night. This bothered Pierce and his former teammate, Rajon Rondo. Pierce said Thomas’ video should not happen on his night, while Rondo asserted that Thomas does not deserve a video at all.
As Rondo and Pierce pointed out, honoring Thomas’ three seasons that did not yield a championship lessens the significance of the accomplishments of some Celtics greats. Sure, Thomas was a tremendous player for the Celtics and valuable to the city of Boston. But, for one of the winningest organizations to honor him for such a short tenure seems to be too much. And to do it on the same night that they wish to celebrate Paul Pierce’s career would take away from the importance of his accomplishments.
Eventually, Thomas agreed to decline a video tribute for that night, meaning the Celtics will not have to worry about upsetting Pierce or causing any further turmoil. But all of these complications have caused them unnecessary trouble in the media that could have been avoided.
Loser: Boston Red Sox
Although many stars remain among MLB’s free agents, so far the Red Sox’s offseason has been underwhelming. Boston finished first in the AL East last season, largely because of lefty ace, Chris Sale. When it came to the playoffs, the Astros made quick work of them as they lasted just four games in the ALDS.
Not only do the Red Sox need to do more to go deeper into the playoffs in 2018, but they will also need to improve if they hope to win the division again. The Yankees added the reigning NL MVP, Giancarlo Stanton, and solidified their starting rotation this winter. Along with this, the continuing rise of young players in the organization could make New York deadly this season.
This puts immense pressure on the Red Sox to counter some of the Yankees’ moves, but they still have not made a big splash. With virtually the same team as last year returning, they will be tough to beat, and should make the playoffs. But in order to go any further, they need to take another step. If they sign J.D Martinez, fans can most likely look at the offseason with a positive outlook. Still, Martinez may not be sufficient to allow them to contend for a title.
Dylan Barrett is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.