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The Red Sox were off to a 2-9 start.  The Celtics couldn’t stand themselves up at the end of the regular season.  The one bright spot Boston had was the most unlikely of heroes- The Bruins.

But now in late April, it’s a great time to be a Boston sports fan.  The Red Sox have crawled out of whatever rock they were living under to go from that dismal 2-9 start to a 10-12 record.  Over the last 9 games, their starting pitchers have an ERA of just over 1, a pleasant surprise to the Fenway Faithful, not to mention the bats starting to come alive.

The Celtics are waiting for their next opponent, as they swept the New York Knicks with ease in the first round of the NBA postseason.  And with the Big Shamroq on his way back to the court, they could be singing McFadden and Whitehead by next week.

Game 7 was forced by the Montreal Canadians, but the Bruins are bringing the battle back to home ice tonight in hopes of moving on in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

Best chance for success?  Has to be the Bruins.  They have too much talent to not do well this postseason, and once they clear Montreal, their momentum is going to help them melt the ice under their opponents.

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New Favorite in Town?

AP Photo

The big, bad Bruins secured a #3 seed in the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinals, and will face off with the Montreal Canadians in hockey’s biggest rivalry. The physical play between the two teams during the regular season has fans and experts alike wondering what brand of hockey we will see in the first round starting on Thursday.

Typically, playoff hockey is a much faster-paced game, played with more finesse and intensity.  The focus of the intensity could shift towards the penalty box, however, which is just what hockey could use.

In Boston, the media attention is fixated on the miserable 2-9 start by the Red Sox this season, their worst in decades.  Page two is cluttered with panic over the Celtics staggering into their postseason run.  Just the other day on ESPN’s Sportscenter, they used a new graphic called the “Panic Meter” to judge how Boston fans should react to their teams’ dismal records.

Why are people overlooking the Bruins?  This could be hockey’s greatest playoff match-up in years.  The Bruins and Canadians combined for 14 goals and 154 penalty minutes in a single game in mid-February.  Now play that out over a 7-game playoff series.

Bruins goalie, Tim Thomas, just set a season record with a .938 save percentage, averaging 2.00 goals allowed per game.  Last year’s run was halted by a wrist injury to David Krejci—and maybe getting beat four games in a row by the Flyers, when they were up 3 games to none.

The Bruins are back, and they’re hungry for the Cup.  The puck drops at 7:10pm on Thursday for the first game of the series, and from the get-go, I think this series as potential to appease those fans worshiping the Panic Meter in Beantown.

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Lester pulled early - noontimesports.com

The Boston Red Sox, the team to beat in the 2011 season according to almost all baseball experts across the board, is off to an 0-3 start this season.

All three loses have come at the hands of the reigning American League Champion Texas Rangers, who swept the Sox in the opening series.

The Sox bats, led by David Ortiz and his two home runs-already twice as many as he hit all of last April-have been somewhat quiet, being outscored 26-11.  Manager Terry Francona moved the batting order around in all three games, mixing up righties and lefties in an effort to find where his hitters are most comfortable.

During Spring Training, the Red Sox knew there were some issues in the pitching department that needed to be addressed, but did they think their starters would get off to this dismal of a start?  Jon Lester and Clay Buccholz, 0-1 records each, were top Cy Young Award candidates last year, and the once shut-down closer in Jonathan Papelbon came in today in a non-save situation, and gave up two hits, a run and a walk.

Can the Red Sox recover?  Yes, it’s three games into the season, let’s hope the rust is shaken off and they can kick it into gear against the Cleveland Indians.

 

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The Religious Studies department at Emmanuel College has changed its name to Theology and Religious Studies. With this title, the philosophical and analytical analysis of religion can now be recognized.

Being a Catholic Liberal Arts institution, EC students are introduced to a well rounded department focused on the education of religious studies. Students are required to take at least two religion courses to further their knowledge of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and more.

These courses, however, cover more concepts than just the beliefs and histories of world religions.

Photo Credit: Emmanuel College

In courses such as Love and Justice: Christian Ethics, Intro to Religious Studies, Sexuality and Relationships and Philosophy of Religion, there is more discussed than just the traditions of religions.

Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Department Chair Reverend Thomas Leclerc M.S. mentions on behalf of Emmanuel College that,” theology has been a constitutive part of what has been traditionally considered the liberal arts.”

Four new faculty members have been hired for the department. This newfound Theology and Religious Studies department has been revamped and, with their new title and selectivity of faculty, will most likely thrive and better the education of Emmanuel College students.

According to Fr. Leclerc and fellow faculty members, the Theology and Religious Studies department is the latest positive  attribution to the success of Emmanuel College.

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Jason Varitek giving Alex Rodriguez the business.

Opening Day for Major League Baseball is on April 1st.  The Boston Red Sox are at the tail end of their Spring Training schedule, and with just 3 games left, their record is 11-18.  A $205 million payroll this season is quite a tab for a round of mediocrity.

Spring Training is a time to work out players and gear them up for the season, not worrying about statistics.  But now that the club is getting closer to April 1st, using pitchers and hitters as they would in the regular season, the Sox have dropped 10 games in a row.

What can we expect from the Sox this season?  With former All-Stars at all but 2 positions in the field, this season should be as big as 2004 or 2007.  Adding Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Bobby Jenks have easily been the biggest moves of this offseason, and as the Sox say in those corny black-and-white NESN commercials, “we’re all in” for some baseball into October.  Looking forward to a big year for Red Sox Nation.

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(top-left, clockwise) Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins

The Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics and New England Patriots are some of the most well-known teams in the nation, and there has to be a reason, right?  Wrong.  There are ten reasons.

1.   The four teams have combined for 26 playoff appearances in the past 10 years, bringing 6 championships back to Beantown.

2.   Size matters.  Zdeno Chara, captain of the Bruins is 6’9” (over 7 feet tall with skates) and weighs 255 pounds-the biggest man in NHL history.  Vince Wilfork, ex-Mack truck now-defensive lineman for the Patriots is 6’2” and 325 pounds.  Also listed at 325 pounds, is Shaquille “The Big Shamroq” O’Neal-he just happens to be 11 inches taller.  And not to be outdone in the nickname department, David “Big Papi” Ortiz is 6’4” and 230 pounds.

3.   Boston sports have some of the best rivalries in the wide world of sports.  The Red Sox and New York Yankees have steamrolled catchers, charged mounds and even thrown coaches to the ground in their heated battles.  The Bruins and Montreal Canadiens just combined for over 150 penalty minutes in a single game before the Bruins won, 8-6.  The Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are the two greatest franchises in the NBA, and have combined for 17 championships a piece in the 65 years since the league was founded, and have met in 2 NBA Finals in the past 3 years, splitting the difference.  And it seems like the New England Patriots have had a target on their back since their Super Bowl takeover starting in 2001.  They’ve been accused of spying on other teams’ practices and receive daily scrutiny from the national media-mostly complaints on how the quarterback’s hair is too long and sexy.

4.   Welcome to College Hockeytown, USA.  Host of the annual Beanpot Tournament between BC, BU, Harvard and Northeastern, and home to the NCAA Division I Champions 10 different times.  If pro sports aren’t your thing, you’ll never have a bad time watching some good old-fashioned college hockey.

5.   In 2012, one of the most famous buildings in all of sports will be immortalized, becoming a national landmark.  Fenway Park, or ‘The Chapel’ as its congregators commonly refer to it, is truly the mecca of baseball.  From the Green Monster in left field, to the how-to guide published by the head groundskeeper titled “The Lawn Bible,” walking into Fenway Park is like the feeling you would get seeing Star Wars for the first time and Christmas rolled into one big bundle.

6.   Boston fans mean as much business as their players do.  In no other city will you hear a “U-S-A” chant when the boys are facing a team from Toronto or Montreal on their home turf, court or ice.  We know to keep our hands and feet out of the way if a foul ball is in play, and we know that if someone is up against the boards to pound the glass til their head spins.  Maybe its unfair that all of our teams play with an extra 25,000 players?

7.   The Boston Bruins advertising campaign is easily the best in sports today.  If you haven’t seen the videos, here’s one of their best: “Never Date Within The Division”

8.   Even our politicians are diehards!  Who could forget Mayor Thomas Menino’s shout out to Jason Varitek for “splitting the uprights?”  Or Senator John Kerry expressing his support for “Manny Ortez?”  Or was it “David Ortez?”  Either way, you’re wrong, guy.

9.   Because the Yankees suck!

10.  Because we love that Dirty Water….

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David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez during a spring workout - AP Photo

by Jon Hardacker

After missing the playoffs last season by six games, the Boston Red Sox are looking to reclaim the American League East division with their strongest team maybe since the historic 2004 season.

With injuries to key starters like Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron, Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia, seeing the full team back in action this spring could not have come soon enough.  Adrian Gonzalez was acquired from the San Diego Padres, and is four months removed from right shoulder surgery, which he says it getting better every day.

With superstition being just as big a part of baseball as a hot dog on a cool summer night, no one wants to speculate how the Sox’s season will fare.  But with their full team chomping at the bit, expectations are high.

“It’s great,” said Pedroia. “Everyone’s excited, too. It makes you hungry. We haven’t been out there in a while together, too. It’s going to be fun. We’re all pumped up about it.”

How are their chances at winning the first World Series of a new decade?  With one of the most consistent pitching staffs in the Bigs, and an offense as intimidating as a pack of grizzly bears, I think this season could be one for the books.

 

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