A fairly busy day as the sports world gets back to work. There will be an NHL season this fall, as a tentative agreement was reached between the two sides to end the work stoppage. The Red Sox begin the second half of the season tonight against the Yankees, and there are Celtics, British Open and Tour De France updates as well.

Pretty much right from the time he went on the air at 10:00 am yesterday, Dale Arnold was talking about the impending end to the NHL work stoppage. He referenced an article by Russ Conway which outlined many of the points that the new agreement would be built on, and had Conway on the air once the tentative deal became public. He and co-host for the day Rob Bradford kept up with the news throughout the show, referencing sources such as Eklund’s Hockey Rumors and TSN in Canada. Dale also announced that he will be doing a column for Eklund’s Hockey Rumors in the fall when the site is re-designed.

The newspapers today are of course filled with articles on the new agreement, and really the new league that will be created as a result. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Steven Harris have details on the tentative deal, which will run for six years. Bruce Berlet says that this can only be good news for hockey fans. Kevin Paul Dupont says that it will take time for the fans to come back and for the sport to fully recover from having lost an entire season. Karen Guregian writes on a topic that has become a common theory in this area – that the Boston Bruins should be one of the teams to benefit the most from this new system. James Murphy says the news of the deal was being met with cautious optimism by the Bruins. Joe McDonald says that the Bruins players are just happy to know that they will be on the ice this fall. Douglas Flynn also talks to some local players about the return of the NHL. Steve Conroy says that even though the owners got the better of the deal, no one can say that they were “winners” in this affair.

The Red Sox begin the second half of the season tonight facing the same opponent they opened the first half with…the New York Yankees. David Heuschkel looks at how the Red Sox have thrived despite so much controversy over the last few years, a lot of it can be attributed to bringing in players who can handle it here, as well as an ownership that is willing to listen. Dan Shaughnessy looks ahead to the ancient rivals once again locking horns this weekend and says anything could happen. Just a few weeks after saying the Red Sox were going to win the division in a landslide, (a fact he does admit to), he fits all his usual stuff in this column…Babe Ruth, He Who Must Not Be Named, and pops in this paragraph:

This year the Sox come into the weekend with a small lead, but events of the last two weeks have reduced the Nation to a legion of doomsayers. If the Red Sox don't stop the onrushing Yankee tide this weekend, it's going to start to feel a little like 1978 around here, and that is never a good thing.

A legion of doomsayers? I’m guessing Dan is listening to WEEI too much again. Michael Silverman looks at the Sox getting back to work tonight at Fenway. Sean McAdam has six questions he’d like answered as the Red Sox go into the second half of the season. Chris Snow says that the second half will be decided by pitching, he turns in an extensive article looking at all facets of the Boston pitching staff. Alex Speier looks at some of the “brushfires” the team has had flare up in their clubhouse in recent weeks and notes that this will be an interesting two weeks for the team. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that the Red Sox need to get their house in order and get some momentum. He mentions their problems, the grousing about Schilling, the fact the David Wells is an “idiot” and not the good type in the Damon mode, and says the Yankees could be in first place come Sunday night thanks to their “spirited comeback”. They were never really all that far out…

James Whitters looks at the memorial service for Ruth Pesky. Michael Muldoon has an article on NH’s own Chris Carpenter, who started the All Star game for the National League. Jon Couture writes that we should be prepared to hold on for a wild ride in the second half of the season. Silverman looks at Curt Schilling heading to the bullpen. David Borges examines the bullpen getting boost with the addition of Schilling and Chad Bradford. Adam Kilgore looks at the Yankees, who are in good position despite having so many things happen in the first half of the season. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on the Red Sox bullpen getting a boost. Silverman’s notebook observes that the Sox will be playing more home games in the second half of the season.

There are plenty of Red Sox/Yankees articles in the New York papers this morning as well. Check them out over at the New York Sports Headlines page.
Steven Morse has another review of Bronson Arroyo, this time for a show he did at Avalon last night. We’ll see if Arroyo does as well on the mound tonight against the Yankees. Rick Massimo reports on Peter Gammons’ Hot Stove, Cool Music hitting Fenway Park on Saturday night following the Red Sox/Yankees game.

Steve Bulpett says that Delonte West’s rant against his teammates following their first summer league loss the other day may have been a start of something the team really needs…leadership. FSN had a very good segment last night with Greg Dickerson sitting down with Celtics rookies Gerald Green and Ryan Gomes. The latter was especially impressive in the interview, showing a humility and willingness to do whatever it takes to make the team and contribute. He was extremely well spoken and appeared mature. Green was enthusiastic and also talked a lot about working hard. It was interesting to view the contrast between the two in terms of just age…Green looked fresh out of high school, while Gomes has the demeanor and poise of someone who’s been through four years of college. But again, FSN and the Herald deserve credit for sending people out there to cover the events of this week. Good job. Bulpett’s notebook looks at the Hornets showing some interest in former BC guard Troy Bell.

Bob Ryan has a column on Colin Montgomerie returning to the British Open, and event in which he has never contended. Jim McCabe makes his picks for the Open. I checked with Bill Griffith at the Globe, (so he deserves credit for this) and TNT will be showing its portion of the Open in “widescreen digital” (16:9) on the HD tier. It’s not true HD, but this is a step up from a conventional broadcast.

Bonnie DeSimone has the Tour De France update, with Alexandre Vinokourov winning yesterday’s stage, but still trailing Lance Armstrong overall. Dennis and Callahan had some good talk about Armstrong in their 8:00 hour yesterday, noting the toughness and determination of Armstrong, which is really unlike any other athlete in a singular sport than we’ve seen in this generation. He’s also taken this French event, and made it relevant here in the United States.

John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at Ed Berliner getting a new deal from Comcast, All Star game coverage, Jon Meterparel doing BC football and rising and falling stars. I wonder if Molori would’ve been so quick in his praise for Joe Buck and Tim McCarver had he known that they were likely involved in the “advertising” of the HHRYA banner during the game – which turned out to be an ad for Chevy. The Register examines this controversy.

Cheers to the gang over at Sons of Sam Horn, who moved the hugely popular board over to a new server and domain this week. While there were a few hiccups in service yesterday on their first day, anytime you move a board and date of that size, you’ve got to expect some snags. The new board looks great and they’ve got some nice things planned for the future.

NESN has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00 (ESPN2 Nationally) TBS has Braves/Mets at 7:00.