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home : sports : regional August 1, 2014

1/9/2013
New England Pro Roundup: Patriots Expect Tougher Time Stopping Foster

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Vince Wilfork expects to have a tougher time stopping Arian Foster this time around.

The New England Patriots defensive tackle faces the Houston Texans running back for the second time this season on Sunday in the AFC divisional round. Foster rushed for just 46 yards in the first meeting.

The Patriots won that game, 42-14, on Dec. 10, but the Texans focused on their passing game after falling behind 28-0.

Wilfork said Tuesday the Patriots always try to make the opposing offense one-dimensional. But he called Foster a threat as a receiver as well as a runner.

Foster rushed for 140 yards last Saturday when the Texans (13-4) beat the Cincinnati Bengals 19-13 in a wild-card game. The Patriots (12-4) had a bye.

BRUINS: Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg drove by the TD Garden on Tuesday morning on his way to Boston University, where a handful of his teammates have been skating to keep in shape while waiting for the NHL season to start.

"I got a really good feeling imagining going out on the ice and getting excited about being able to play again," he said. "I'm so excited to be here."



LTK

After spending much of the NHL lockout playing in his native Germany, Seidenberg flew back to Boston on Monday after hearing that NHL players and owners had reached agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement that would end the lockout after almost four months. The NHL players association must still vote to ratify the deal; both sides are hoping to officially open training camps later this week to prepare for a 48- or 50-game season that would start Jan. 19.

"Every day I was sitting on my computer, looking at the news, looking at the rumors," Seidenberg said. "I was hoping for something to happen."

Seidenberg joined about a dozen NHL players on the ice in a practice run by former BU star Mike Grier. Among the Bruins taking part on Tuesday in the two-hour workout were goaltender Tuukka Rask, defenseman Johnny Boychuk, and forwards Shawn Thornton and Brad Marchand.

Lucic said he opted not to sign with a foreign team, choosing instead to recover from the last two, long seasons.

Now, he said, he knows he has some catching up to do.

"It was rest that I feel I needed," he said. "I've built up a lot of nagging injuries that I've been trying to take care of. Hopefully, I'll feel better this season."

The Bruins, who won the Stanley Cup in 2011, lost in the first round to Washington last season.

HANRAHAN: In Boston, new Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan visited Fenway Park for first time in his life Tuesday.

Hanrahan, a fan of baseball history, arranged a guided tour -- complete with a contingent of media following close behind. He started with the home clubhouse, walked out to left field to see behind the wall where the manual scoreboard is operated, then scaled the wall to check out the view from the Green Monster seats.

"I thought, 'This place is amazing,'" he said. "A lot bigger than I thought it was. Obviously a ton of history here."

And the Red Sox expect Hanrahan to add to it.

Boston, which acquired him in a trade with the Pirates in December, introduced him on Tuesday at the classic ballpark.

"It's a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be," Hanrahan said. "Obviously, they've put some money into it over the years."

Hanrahan, 31, who went 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA and 36 saves last year in Pittsburgh, has his work cut out for him in Boston. The Red Sox finished 2012 at 69-93, last in the American League East. They have not been to the postseason since 2009 when they were swept by the Angels in the ALDS.

In his last two seasons, he helped lead a bit of a baseball renaissance in Pittsburgh, where attendance and interest jumped at PNC Park. Though the Pirates faded in both seasons down the stretch, he still posted 76 saves and a 2.24 ERA.

He also recorded 128 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .205 batting average in that span, and was named a National League All-Star both seasons. He and Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel are the only pitchers to collect at least 35 saves and post an ERA under 3.00 in both seasons.

"I think any baseball fan wants the chance to play here," he said, while also noting Boston's rivalry with the Yankees. "They want a chance to play in that other place in New York (too). As a baseball player, and a fan, you want to experience that and I'm excited to get that feeling this year."

Along with Angel Stadium, Target Field (Twins), and U.S Cellular Field (White Sox), Fenway is one of the four ballparks the right-hander has never pitched in.

Last season, Red Sox relievers posted a combined record of 21-21 with a 3.88 ERA, better than only three other American League teams. The total of 35 saves -- better than only the Blue Jays' 29 in the AL -- was one behind Hanrahan's total for the season.







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