The days get colder, the nights get frosty, the trees become gold and orange and red, and our streets and highways fill with buses full of leaf-peepers, clogging traffic to look at, you know, trees.
I always loved that at the very time the outside is losing all of its green, the Green are inside the Garden heating up. Rather poetic I think.
In celebration of the winter sports season finally being in full swing, today we talk sports over green tea. Many health benefits, I’m led to believe.
This week’s teatime was done during the Celtics’ season opener with Cleveland, so I was vaguely distracted. Also: maybe it’s the loss of sunlight making us grumpy, but our list of people deserving smacks upside the head is growing. Just an observation…
M: So, as I write this, the Celtics are up 72-63 against the Cavs in their season opener. GO GREEN! They’re back.
S: DAMN IT, I HAD A BETTER OPENING COMMENT. We need to coordinate this better… but yes, go Celtics.
M: What was yours?
S: So, dude, I know my knowledge of the subject is minimal, but I hear tonight’s a big night for your boys in green, yeah?
M: Yeah, kinda big. Thanks for paying attention, S.
S: Look, I don’t care about basketball AND I live 2000 miles away. Cut me some slack.
M: And now, the Celtics are up 72-65. Also, the Denver Nuggets are a team to watch. They’re really good
S: Yay, that’s good! The Cavs have Shaq now, right?
M: Yes, they do. You know, you can’t tell these things for certain from one game, but as expected, the Celtics look good. Lots of talent on the team– it’s all about pulling it together and staying healthy.
S: Makes sense. Did the bench guys get more playing time in preseason? Is that how it works, and then the starters get their usual time once the season starts?
M: Usually. Every team will do it differently though. I know our starters got more time in the early preseason, then rested them in the last few games.
S: And did I read somewhere something about Big Baby getting suspended?
M: If you hadn’t, I’d be shocked. Here’s what happened. He broke his thumb to the extent that he required surgery while riding in a car this weekend. And he’s suspended indefinitely because there are things he’s not supposed to be doing per the terms of his contract. I do know that Wyc Grousbeck (the Celtics’ owner) is SERIOUSLY pissed off right now. Where’s that quote? “I’m not going to call him ‘Big Baby’ anymore. He’s Glen. He needs to act like Glen. We’ll decide what to do once I talk to him, once we talk to him today.” That’s one pissed off owner.
S: Wow, jeez. What was he doing?
M: Um. So the Waltham Police say the fight was about “an interaction” between Davis’ friend and Davis’ girlfriend, and then the friend punched Davis and Davis fought back, and then they pulled over and went on to beat the shit out of each other.
S: That’s ridiculous.
M: Yes. You can understand why management might not be too thrilled. And I will say I’m not too pleased either.
S: Um, yeah. That seems like it would be a pan-sports sentiment.
M: Anyway, they look strong enough against the Cavs tonight– and that’s a big deal, since last season the Cavs went 39-2 in Cleveland– and their home opener is tomorrow night against the Charlotte Bobcats.
S: What’s the score right now?
M: 80-71 with about 8.5 min left in the game. The Celtics took over in the 2nd and haven’t really let go of the lead since. Their bench has been VASTLY better than the Cavs’, outscoring them 26-8 so far. That bench… that bench is dangerous. I have the love for that bench.
S: That’s pretty fantastic.
M: Yes. I’m really looking forward to this season. Shall we move on to something a little less one-sided? I even have a great segue.
S: Fantastic, let’s.
M: I already told you about this moment, but maybe our readers will enjoy.
S: OH. This is GREAT.
M: I checked my phone quickly after leaving the gym. Maybe a little too quickly. I saw KG had received the first technical foul of the season. And I suddenly had a second and a half of panic about the penalty kill. But then I realized, wait, it’s the BRUINS that have penalty kill problems. Basketball doesn’t even have penalties. They have fouls. So… nice job with the crossed wires in the brain. But there you have it: penalty killing.
S: Penalty killing!
M: And the biggest news on the Bruins PK these days is Daniel Paille. I think we agree Paille is a good acquisition?
S: Definitely. You know, the kill it hasn’t looked half bad the last game or so.
M: Of course the other side of “not half bad” is that it implies that the penalty kill can be up to 49% bad. But it doesn’t take a genius to notice a change. It’s cleaner and faster-moving. We have moved up from being ranked 27th to 23rd, I believe.
S: Within one or two games, that’s fairly significant, and I’m pleased. I’m also happy that our depth is becoming apparent yet again.
M: I would love to see the same kind of improvement on the power play, as that is still flailing around both on the ice and in 27th place in the league, but I am not complaining.
S: No. Baby steps. Baby steps are good. It’s a long season. Gotta say, I’m pretty happy Brad Marchand has gotten up and gotten right in to smack talking guys that are way bigger than him.
M: What do we think of Krejci’s dry spell ending? I mean, I don’t think anyone was particularly worried.
S: I was really happy he potted the game-tying goal against Ottawa. Not scoring to start the season can really get inside a guy’s head – I don’t think Krejci’s very high-strung but that streak goes on any longer, and it gets inside someone’s head. So I’m glad he broke it.
M: Jack and Brick have been reminding us of the psychology of the cold spell every time Krejci’s been on the ice. Yeah, I think it was a timing thing from his hip recovery. I mean… we knew he’d score at SOME point. All in all, I’m impressed that the team has been able to continue improving in the absence of Lucic and Savard.
S: Yeah, and there’s the depth thing again. The new guys have really stepped up, the old guys have dealt well with their increased playing time.
M: Ah yes, the “old” guys, like the ancient veteran Patrice Bergeron at the creaky age of, what, 24?
M: DAMN IT CELTICS. 83-79. HOLD IT TOGETHER, BOYS.Their shots just stopped falling in.
M: Now Celtics lead by 6 with 3:30 to play.
S: They can do it!
M: Paul Pierce has a double-double, by the way. Good way to start the year.
S: Very cool. That’s… two regular baskets and two threes? Maybe?
S: What’s a double-double?
M: [stares at computer screen incredulously]
S: Sorry, my lack of knowledge is showing.
M: Wow. Just… wow. So, first of all, “regular baskets” are field goals, and a double-double is when a player has double digits in any two of rebounds, assists and points. Double-digits in rebounds and points, in this case. A triple-double is when a player has double-digits in all three categories.
S: OH. Wow, okay. Yeah, that is pretty good.
M: 87-83 with 1:16 left.
S: Speaking of winning, did you hear that the Maple Leafs finally won one?
M: I heard people complaining that TSN wouldn’t shut up about it.
S: Ha, well…
M: Komisarek has now had two pucks bounce off him and into his own goal.
S: They lost, what, 8 in a row to start the season? That was pretty bad.
M: Obviously my loathing is justified.
S: I KNOW. I am so gleeful about it.
M: AND THEY WIN! The 2009-2010 Celtics are UNDEFEATED.
S: AWESOME. I LOVE THAT FEELING.
M: And they beat the Cavs! In Cleveland! Only two teams did that last year. Final score: 95-89. And Kevin Garnett told Cheryl Miller in his post-game interview that she smelled good.
S: What a badass. That’s clearly pretty awesome. I’m impressed.
M: I also want to add that by the end of the game both KG and Pierce had double-doubles. I LOVE MY BOYS IN GREEN. It is time for the 18th banner. No doubt.
M: So apparently the baseball playoffs are still going on, which is a surprise to me at least. So… the World Series? I think if anyone needs to guess who we’re rooting for, they need to leave the blog IMMEDIATELY.
S: Oh LORD. Can we cheer against both teams? Can we cheer for the stadium to collapse or a meteor to hit it or something?
M: See, I like the Phillies. If any team has to repeat, I’m fine with it being them. Their fans are questionable, but I don’t mind them.
S: Can you believe I’ve encountered some Sox fans who are actually CHEERING FOR THE YANKEES in this series?
M: I don’t understand how people can get upset with pink hats when there are frauds like that wandering around Fenway. If you’re a Red Sox fan, you don’t cheer for the Yankees in the World Series. Period.
S: Hm, I’m actually ok with some of the Phillies’ pitching staff, too. Cole Hamels and Pedro are pretty ok.
M: Will you like them more if they beat the Yankees?
M: They can win your heart. And YES. Pedro. I am thrilled for him.
S: Okay, so, other sports, because this is struggly for me – Patriots?
M: 5-2 going into the bye week. Not too shabby. Wes Welker. Also: in case you did not hear, last weekend they were in England.
S: Despite the potential offense those Brits might have taken to their name/mascot/whatever!
M: Well, the Buccaneers were also there and it could be argued that they did more damage to the British Empire.
S: Ahaha, true, but buccaneers weren’t openly defying the IDEA of the British Empire the way the patriots were.
M: Well, the American revolutionaries weren’t anti-imperialist, they were anti-imperialism-over-them. The impact of seafaring pirates impact on a naval mercantile economy like the British over the course of centuries was profound. But we do have historical record of the American revolutionaries’ ideology of rebellion, yes, which has had tremendous impact worldwide.
S: I love US.
M: Oh, Brandon Tate talk too.
S: What about Brandon Tate?
M: That he might play.
S: Oh, fantastic.
[At this point we both got wildly distracted because, you know, we’re us, and that was it.]
A HEARTY “GOOD ON YA” TO…
The Celtics— Here’s to a great season ahead of us. Let’s bring that beautiful championship trophy home to Boston where it belongs!
The Patriots–For being such gracious and wonderful (and handsome) ambassadors this past week. Also for winning the game.
Daniel Paille, Brad Marchand, and Vladimir Sobotka— For stepping up when the Bruins needed you and being such great guys to have around.
The Bruins Penalty Kill Unit— For finally starting to, you know, kill penalties.
The 2004 Boston Red Sox— For making our dreams come true five years ago this week. You’re still our heroes.
The NHL–For suspending Steve Ott, for some game misconduct but really because he’s Steve Ott. Unfair, and unethical, but hardly unjustified.
The NBA replacement refs— for doing a better job than the normal ones during the lockout this preseason. As someone who watches all 4 major pro sports, trust me: the NBA ones are the worst. Complain about the wobbly strike zones, complain about non-called cheap shots, complain about incorrect penalties, but none of them compare to the sheer ineptitude of the NBA referees. And players and coaches get a hefty fine if they say they were wrong about something. The replacement refs were professional and relatively very fair. Thanks, guys. Can we see you again soon?
The Phillies— Kill, boys, kill. SWEEP THE LEG.
SMACKS UPSIDE THE HEAD TO… (long list this week)
Steve Ott— For being Steve Ott. Brave Steve, knee-seeking missile, ladies and gentlemen.
Scott Hartnell— For being a poodle. (And thumbs up to Brad Marchand for pointing it out to him.)
The suggestibility of the human brain— Because the media has decided that OMG THE CELTICS ARE OLD DECREPIT CRUMBLING OLD MEN AND OH DID YOU KNOW THEY’RE OLD, it’s all anyone sees, and they’re overlooking one of the best collections of talent in professional sports.
Glen Davis— Hope Wyc Grousbeck puts him in a Vulcan death grip and cockpunches him.
Gary Bettman, David Stern, Roger Goodell, and Bud Selig: You all suck and everyone hates you. But you don’t care, do you?
Steve Pagliuca, partial owner of the Celtics– For using footage from the Celtics’ 2008 championship in his ads for his Senate campaign. Don’t make it politics, douchenozzle.
The Yankees— As they [insert vomiting noise] head into the World Series, may they all come down with particularly crippling pubic lice infestations.
The Montreal Canadiens–They’re coming to town next week. We are READY.
The Edmonton Oilers–For having a confirmed case of H1N1 the week before they come to Boston to play the Bruins. Message: blame Canada.
Influenza— FUCK YOU H1N1. Also: cancer.
Photos courtesy of AP Photo, AP Photo/Mark Duncan, unknown Flickr user, Mary Schwalm, Jeff Rich