New and improved Bruins? After three games of Mike O’Connell? That’s what Kevin Paul Dupont says. He likes what he saw last night. Stephen Harris adds that last night the Bruins confidence was higher than it had been in months. A good night for Mike Knuble, who won the seventh player award, then went out and scored the winning goal. Frank Dell’Apa, Rich Thompson and James Murphy report on the night for Knuble. Karen Guregian writes about O’Connell trying to get the players to buy into what he has to say. Dan Shaughnessy is proud of the “classy” Bruins fans. Joe McDonald writes that Mike Sullivan is the likely head coach of the Bruins next year. Thompson also writes about Steve Shields’ performance between the pipes last night. All notebooks deal with Sergei Samsonov and how far away he is from returning. Dupont’s notebook says he is “a ways” away still. Harris’ notebook adds a Hackett injury update. McDonald’s notebook has an interesting tidbit about where Joe Thornton stands during the National Anthem.

Celtics as lost five in a row for the first time under Jim O’Brien, who was especially short and curt during this postgame remarks. Shira Springer and Mark Murphy relate that the Celtics played better, they just didn’t have enough to pull out the win. Phil Miller of the Salt Lake Tribune notes that in beating the Celtics, the Jazz also broke the Celtics record of 19 straight years with a winning record. Too bad their picture with the story identifies Kedrick Brown as “Mark Brown”. Speaking of Kedrick, Jim O’Brien must be reading here (kidding) as Kedrick’s been playing again. Last night was more flashes, 6 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Part of the reason Brown has been playing though, is the absence of Tony Delk, who lost his father to a heart attack. The two missing Tony’s is the subject of Springer’s notebook. Murphy’s notebook is similar.

In a move to bolster the youngster’s confidence, Jeff Horrigan reports that Grady Little has named Casey Fossum as his fourth starter. This allows him to face the Devil Rays in his first start. David Heuschkel writes about the nasty pitcher Trot Nixon spent the winter facing. Tony Massarotti writes that it looks like the old Nomar is back. Bob Hohler reports on the battle for the utility position. I think we all know Lou is going to start the season in Pawtucket…and that’s what Horrigan reports in his notebook. Hohler’s notebook says John Burkett doesn’t mind being named the fifth starter. In Sean McAdam’s notebook, he tries to figure out the opening day lineup, which Grady Little says will contain four lefties.

This lead-in to the Red Sox discussion board on cracked me up:

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy is getting worried because the clock is ticking and with one week until opening day, Pedro's contract situation still has not been resolved. He thinks Pedro is not going to be happy if the season starts with this issue still in limbo.

I’m sure Dan is losing sleep at night over this. Several people have already expressed their opinion on the topic. You can as well.

Michael Felger and Tom Curran both report from the first day of the offseason conditioning program, and chat with Tedy Bruschi about Tebucky Jones and the new additions to the team. Ron Borges reports on NFL Europe going ahead with plans to play, he also again mentions that the Patriots would’ve been the 7th playoff team last year. Finally, almost in passing, he mentions the signing of Fred McCrary. Kevin Mannix reports from the owners meetings, and comments on proposals to add another playoff team and for overtime play.

Bill Griffth reports on the Spanish Beisbol Network, a rapidly growing venture. He also has various other media notes. If you want to read Jim Baker’s column about the NCAA TV ratings, you’ll have to pay your five bucks…Ron Borges fans take note, you can hear Ron do color commentary on Boxing tonight on NESN at 8:00.