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Michael Felger reports that David Patten is facing surgery. Eric McHugh starts the countdown to the battle of the Bills. Rich Thompson has Bobby Hamilton’s thoughts on the two Bills. Michael Parente says that the Patriots have high hopes for burner Bethel Johnson. Ian M. Clark looks at how the Patriots young receivers have stepped up. Glen Farley looks at how players select jersey numbers. Jim McCabe makes his NFL Picks. Football Outsiders provides a midseason AFC report. Christopher Price catches up with a few Patriots as they head out of town.

Another edition of “Ask Nick” is in the books. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. (When does it become “Ask Mike” (Smith)? On the heels of last week’s comments about irresponsible websites and message boards is this comment from this week’s edition:

A lot of people try to come off as media or media experts and they don't know the first thing about the subject.


Speaking of Michael Smith, he delivers a nice piece today looking at the Patriots draft from this year. A really good in depth at how the Patriots go about scouting and selecting players. Interesting was this statement:

And speaking of Robertson, the Patriots never were serious about trading with Chicago for the No. 4 pick and selecting him.

Hmmm. I think I remember someone from the Globe calling Belichick all sorts of names (a “liar” was perhaps the tamest.) and insisting that the Patriots were desperately trying to trade for Robertson. Who are you going to believe? The guy who is down there every day, or the guy who seems to only be around when things are going bad? (True or not, that is the perception.) It’s also amazing to me that all the nasty personal attacks made on Belichick after week one have all been swept under the carpet and ignored. (Are you there, Kevin Mannix?)

Going back to “Ask Nick” for a moment, check out his response to an emailer who praising the Patriots draft and their potential for the future. (It’s the last question in the mailbag.)

A: Just be careful. How many teams have back-to-back great drafts?

The Bruins remain winless at home after a 5-5 tilt with the Sharks. Stephen Harris. Joe McDonald and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell sum up the action from the Fleet. Ron Indrisano and Karen Guregian look at Kyle McLaren in his return to the FleetCenter. He hold no grudges against the city or team. Steve Conroy looks at the homecoming of Niko Dimitrakos. Conroy also looks at the tying goal by Sergei Samsonov. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at Martin LaPointe assigned to the Sergei line. McDonald’s notebook says it is only a matter of time before Joe Thornton and Glen Murray start scoring goals. Harris’ notebook looks at the play of Felix Potvin last night in giving up five goals.

Actual conversation on WEEI yesterday discussing the tragic death of former Sox prospect Dernell Stenson:

Dale: He was shot multiple times and then run over.
Neumy: Foul play suspected?
Dale: (stunned silence followed by) Usually when someone is shot multiple times it’s pretty hard for them to run themselves over with their own car. I think it’s pretty safe to say there was foul play involved.

Jackie MacMullan talks with Bruce Hurst, who while not interested in the job of Red Sox manager, has his opinions on the opening and who would be a good fit for it. Michael Silverman reports that the Sox are on the hunt for a second baseman. John Tomase says that Terry Francona is clearly a better candidate than Glenn Hoffman. The “New Hampshire Primaries“? Yup. That is the name of NH’s new baseball team. Howard Bryant has a pay column on the Red Sox managerial search. He says the team already has it’s “managers” in Lucchino and Epstein.

Get your Celtics links at Fox Sports Net New England.

Bill Griffith wraps up all the action from Monday night and Tuesday morning with the Patriots, and has a number of other items of interest. Jim Baker reports on the NFL Network in his pay column. Matt Ashare writes about Dennis and Callahan.

FSNE has Celtics/Nets at 7:30. ESPN has Timberwolves/Magic at 8:00 and Blazers/Sonics at 10:30.