Getting through the post-football season blues should be easy for Boston sports fans
Are you lost without pro football? Right now, nearly every sports fan in America has that Dec. 26 feeling in the pit of their stomach. But in Boston, where the sports calendar never truly turns over, we have more than a few things to look forward to in the next few months:
Another Bruins Cup run
It’s awfully difficult to make it back to the Cup Final a year after getting all the way there but not winning it.
Here’s the recent history: The 2010-11 Flyers lost in the second round of the playoffs. The 2011-12 Canucks lost in the first round. And the 2013 Devils did not even make the postseason.
The Bruins will most definitely be playing meaningful hockey this spring as they currently own the second most points in the Eastern Conference. But will Tuukka Rask be hot once again? Will the B’s make a big trade before the March 5 deadline and/or find a replacement for defenseman Dennis Seidenberg? Will the line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith continue to wreak havoc on the league?
These intriguing questions will be answered just a few short months from now.
Red Sox raise the banner
Remember two years ago when Kevin Millar and Pedro Martinez led that awkward toast to Fenway atop the home dugout? This year’s April celebration will be much better. Boston’s home opener will take place on April 4 against the (who else?) Milwaukee Brewers.
It’s a Friday. The game starts at 2:05 p.m.. A World Series banner will be raised. It will be spring … Prepare your livers.
The Red Sox begin their World Series championship defense on Monday, March 31 at 3 p.m. in Baltimore against the Orioles. The storylines on this day will likely include how grumpy David Ortiz is, how John Lackey let himself go in the offseason (again), how John Farrell is losing control of the clubhouse, how Koji Uehara was a “one year wonder” and how Jon Lester “just isn’t right.” This is what Red Sox fans do. Even in the wake of a title. It’s good to have baseball back.
The 118th Boston Marathon will take place on April 21, 2014. It will, unquestionably, be the largest field in the history of the race. It will, unquestionably, be the most emotional day on Boston’s 2014 calendar.
It’s February. For the uninformed, March is next.
Outside of Suzy in Sales’ gambling pool, always won by Suzy in Sales, the NCAA basketball “madness” rarely attacks the mental stability of the majority of those in the Hub. There’s a chance that could change this year. There are plenty of UMass grads working and living here and the Minutemen are currently having their best season since the John Calipari/Marcus Camby glory years. UMass is currently slated as a six or seven seed, depending on who your bracketologist is. Harvard should also once again be in the mix.
In this era of mid-majors making the Final Four, who’s to say the Minutemen or the Crimson couldn’t play Cinderella this March? The tournament cranks up on Thursday, March 20 … Prepare your livers.
The Olympics start this weekend! Opening ceremonies are this Friday!
Remember how fun the U.S. men’s hockey team’s run to the gold medal game against Canada was four years ago? Well, it could most certainly happen again.
Ryan Miller is back in net (though Jonathan Quick will be in there plenty). Zach Parise, Joe Pavelski and Patrick Kane will be fun to root for. Bruins fans will have to deal with “liking” Phil Kessel, again, for a couple weeks anyway. Team USA’s first game is Thursday, Feb. 13 against Slovakia. The fun begins at 7:30 a.m.. Prepare your … na, I’ll stop.
Rooting for ping-pong balls
Tuesday, May 22, 2007 was a dark day in the history of the Boston Celtics. That day in Secaucus, N.J., Adam Silver pulled the Celtics logo out of an envelope, revealing that the C’s, who had perfectly tanked the 2006-07 season, weren’t getting Kevin Durant or Greg Oden but were instead getting the No. 5 overall pick. Things, of course, worked out for the green. But the rebuilding process would have been much easier had the Celtics had Durant fall into their laps. This year, on Tuesday, May 20, the Celtics will likely have a great chance at a top overall pick. Will the ping-pong balls fall the right way? The C’s are certainly due. In fact, the team with most titles in NBA history hasn’t had the top overall pick in a draft since 1950.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS