So the Bruins finally make the Kyle McLaren trade, and vault to the top of the newspapers. I first heard of the trade while in my car and tuning in WEEI where Greg Dickerson was filling in for Ted Sarandis and at the time had Lenny Megliola with him. They were relaying word from the national “experts” who were saying that the Bruins had made a really nice deal here. A few callers I heard disagreed, but it was hard to tell if they really knew their hockey, or just wanted to whine about Jacobs/Sinden/O’Connell. Kevin Paul Dupont analyzes the trade in some detail. Steve Conroy details the trade in a smaller article for the Herald. Dan Hickling has the story for the ProJo. So now that he’s out of town, will the truth come out about why he wanted to get out of town? In the Conroy article, McLaren says it wasn’t a personal thing he held against the Bruins, but that he was hurt by their contract offer that would’ve given the team the option of sending him to the minors. I’ve heard quite a few rumors as to why he actually wanted out. Some have a similar theme, involving his wife and young child. These are all third party accounts, so it’s hard to put any details out without risking being dead wrong and looking like a fool. Frustrating, yes. As for the actual game, Dupont and Conroy also file game stories of the 4-1 Bruins victory. Conroy’s notebook garners player reaction to the deal.
A couple of Patriots made their way to San Diego for the game. They’re the focus of a few stories this morning. Michael Felger and Jim Donaldson catch up with Tom Brady, who is ready for next season to begin. A couple good looks at what a competitor he is. Dan Shaughnessy updates us on a few Patriots, but of course ends the article with a zinger from Terrance Shaw. Dan also gives us the transcript of a brief one-on-one with Brady. In the Globe’s Super Bowl notebook, Lawyer Milloy knows changes are coming, and says ”I don’t like the image of someone else holding up our trophy. It’s not going to leave me with a good feeling.” Felger has a Patriots notebook in which he also chronicles Milloy’s words, and gets a few word with Richard Seymour as well. It’s likely good that Patriots captains on each side of the ball (Brady and Milloy) are out there, sounding ticked off and hungry to get back at it. It sets a nice tone going into next year. Special Teams captain Larry Izzo tells Hector Longo he isn’t happy sitting at home watching the playoffs, either.
As for the Super Bowl matchup, Gerry Callahan starts off noting what this game does to the nation, and then goes into the “semi-annual Super Duper Super Bowl Quiz.” Dan Shaughnessy does what he does best…chronicle the failures of a franchise, this time instead of the Red Sox, it’s Tampa Bay. Reads like a chapter out of Curse of the Bambino. I’m shocked he didn’t work in the phrase “The curse of Doug Williams.” Nick Cafardo has another look at Jon Gruden, while Michael Smith looks at Bill Callahan. Chris Price has a shorter Gruden article for the Metro. John Altavilla notes the ties between Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson from their days with the Vikings. Kevin Mannix notes the success Gruden has had with both Gannon and Johnson. Ron Borges looks at a couple of Raiders carrying steel onto the field. George Kimball looks at Rich Gannon as the key to the Raiders success. (Really?) Smith also looks at Raiders linebacker Napoleon Harris. John Altavilla also has a look back at the first Super Bowl. Cafardo looks at Gruden’s younger brother Jay Gruden, who is not only a Bucs offensive assistant, but an Arena League coach and player, owning 4 rings from that league. Kimball’s Raiders notebook ties up some loose items, while Mannix does the same with his Bucs notebook. Keyshawn Johnson is the subject of a Jeff Jacobs column. Steve DeOssie comments on media controversy at the Super Bowl. Leigh Montville picks the Super Bowl winner.
Jeff Horrigan and David Weber report on a somewhat weird story. A couple of websites that were used to “trash” Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino were recently ordered taken down by MLB. The creator of the web sites also does PR work for Dan Duquette’s Sports Academy, though I think its 100% safe to say Duquette had nothing to do with this. The headline writer to this story seems to be trying to be a bit dramatic, almost pointing the blame at Duquette, when the rest of the story doesn’t bear that out. But you can be sure that some nitwit in the media will be running with the angle that Duquette hates Theo and was really behind these sites. (D&C already went in this direction this morning.) Not in this story is the fact that the guy who created the sites, John F. Flynn, of Brookline has spent the last several weeks posting almost constantly to some of the larger Red Sox bulletin boards, Sons of Sam Horn, the Projo Red Sox board and the Red Sox usenet newsgroup, angering many of the participants there. His messages? While Flynn in the article “insisted he had nothing to do with the insulting comments”, his messages on these boards would lead to you believe otherwise. They almost all mock Epstein and Lucchino, and were so constant and inflammatory that many on the Usenet group had “Killfiled” him, so as not to even see his messages anymore. Could Flynn have been acting under Duquette’s orders? I doubt it, though I guess anything is possible. I’ve had a little correspondence with Flynn in the past, and his recent behavior puzzled me.
On actual Red Sox news, Michael Silverman updates us on the signings of Dave Nilsson and Hector Almonte. Steven Krasner and David Heuschkel also chime in on the news. Gordon Edes says Shea Hillenbrand is still here, and just might end up being an important part of this team. From yesterday, John Tomase weighs in on the David Ortiz signing.
Steve Bulpett reports the Jim O’Brien is not happy with the inconsistencies his club is showing. Frank Dell’Apa also says the Celtics need to get the big defensive stops. Michael Muldoon says hurry back, Antoine. In Bulpett’s notebook, Paul Pierce is among those who comment on Walker’s Rick Pitino imitation on the sideline.
Bill Griffith tells you how to plan your Super Bowl Sunday so as to get the most out of the viewing experience. John Madden flip-flops again in Jim Baker’s column about his comments at the end of last years Super Bowl when he said the Patriots should kill the clock and go to OT. Now he says he’ll “say that for the rest of his life.” In The Week That Was, I’m tired of “On Location” broadcasts that don’t offer much. Bob Baker of the LA Times profiles Bill Simmons, linking to some of his most popular columns.
FSNE has Celtics/Nuggets at 7:30. ESPN2 has Michael Jordan’s last game in Chicago with Wizards/Bulls at 8:00. They follow that with Nets/Lakers at 10:30. ESPN Classic has a Bill Parcells SportsCentury feature at 8:00 & 11:00.