Reflecting on Mitchell Miller and the Bruins amid other currents of sports consciousness

Streaming is now commonplace, the everyday delivery method for music, movies and television. Even the almighty NFL is in on it with Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime. Here is my streaming service, a sports awareness streaming.

These are some of the themes that riddled my brain, starting with Boston as a winter sports wonderland with the dreamy starts of the Bruins and Celtics:

1. When they woke up on Saturday, both residents of TD Garden possessed the best records in their respective leagues. That wasn’t expected that much from the Celtics, the Bruins. So it’s a shame that the Spoked B’s stellar start, who entered the skate with the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night with a franchise-record 10-0 on home ice, was marred and overshadowed by the Mitchell Miller muddle.

Aside from the embarrassing fiasco of signing the would-be bully boy who used the N-word while hunting a developmentally disabled black classmate and was forced to reverse the decision two days later, is for Black and Gold Everything went well. All.

The return of centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, who took a break in his native Czech Republic last season, were coups in the trophy hunt. New coach Jim Montgomery appears to have been nominated for the Jack Adams Award for the NHL’s Best Bank President. Injured stars Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy made early returns, scoring on their debuts. Goalie Linus Ullmark has turned into his compatriot Henrik Lundqvist.

Miller’s failed move was unnecessary, and now we await the conclusion of the independent investigation the team commissioned, conducted by former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Instead of just focusing on the unbeatable Bruins playing a role, we’re wondering if heads will be rolling over the Miller train.

2. It’s not just Mac Jones, this season the NFL’s scoring is down. I’m here for that. The average NFL game averaged 46 points last season, the sixth-highest in league history. This year it is 43.9. In 2020 it was almost 50 points per game (49.6), the highest ever. You’ll have to go back to 2017 to find out when the score was last this low (43.4).

The proportion of three-and-out trips this season is 20.8 versus 19.6. The touchdown percentage in the red zone is down from 58.5 percent to 57.3 percent. It’s good for the game to have a better balance between offense and defense, especially with rules so heavily geared toward offense and actually fighting quarterbacks that they’re all but forbidden.

3. Has there ever been a more over-the-top debate than the one we’ve had in baseball about batsman-designate? I’ve heard very little about non-National League pitchers this year as DH has rightly become universal. We’ve seen bifurcated baseball for almost 50 years for no real reason. Only baseball has been able to pass off dysfunction as a whimsical “charm” for so long.

4. Congratulations to the 106-win Houston Astros for defending the honor of baseball’s most sacred product – the regular season – by defeating Dave Dombrowski’s third NL wildcard Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. You can’t sell the sanctity of your regular season as the core of your brand and then crown an 87-win team that lost eight of their last 12 by making the playoffs. A third wild card with 19 fewer wins than the Fall Classic opponent, who won the World Series in the dock’s inaugural season, would have been anathema.

5. Speaking of the MLB playoff format, baseball should look to give division winners who earn a bye in the division series a bigger advantage in these breezy best-of-five affairs. The bye teams were scheduled to host four games in a 2-1-2 format. Otherwise just wake me up when September ends.

6. Why does the NBA feed the incessant and tasteless narrative that tanking is much more common in their league? The issue is back in the limelight with the emergence of French generational talent Victor Wembanyama, whom LeBron James called “an extraterrestrial” and comments from NBA commissioner Adam Silver calling the possibility of a European football-style relegation a draconian solution.

For teams in certain markets that are not desirable for free agents or stars seeking trades, the draft is the only way to acquire transformational talent. The hand wringing and bead clenching while refueling is exaggerated. Going back to MLB’s Astros, do you think any Houston fans regret the three 100-plus seasons they stringed together from 2011-2013 to build their team? Teams massage their competitiveness when needed because it works.

The NBA needs to stop feeding itself into the racially tinged narrative that basketball’s win adjustment is much worse. It is not. Perhaps the NBA should just let Ivy League executives euphemistically call tanking “analytics.” MLB switched to a draft lottery to try to prevent teardowns. The inaugural MLB draft lottery will be held at the winter meetings next month and determine the top six picks.

7. It didn’t go unnoticed in these parts that a long-running Major League Soccer stadium saga has come to an end as the Revolution continues its quest for a privately funded soccer stadium with little help from Pols.

New York City FC has struck a deal for a 25,000-seat stadium in Queens. New York Mayor Eric Adams was instrumental in getting the project, which is set to open in 2027, across the finish line. NYCFC, which has been trying to get a soccer-specific stadium since 2012, has occupied Yankee Stadium.

The stadium persecution of the revolution continues even longer with no concrete end in sight. Speculation has it that the Kraft family, owners of the Revolution, are eyeing a location on the Everett-Boston border near the casino. Previous plans for the city’s Frontage Road site, lots near the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, and the former Bayside Exhibition Center site in Dorchester have all fizzled out in recent years.

The Boston area is long overdue for a football-specific stadium that transports the revolution from Foxborough and makes the team more accessible. But it is a goal of revolution that requires a lot of support. So far the service has been lacking.


Christopher L. Gasper is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @cgasper.



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