BeDeviled Once More

For the Bruins, the hits just keep on coming. Last night featured their latest setback, a 3-2 loss to the Devils. The winning goal came from Alexander Mogilny with just 31 seconds left. As has been the case often this season, the Bruins led this one for much of the game, only to collapse in the third period. Kevin Paul Dupont and Stephen Harris have the game recaps from New Jersey. Mike Loftus had coach Mike Sullivan asserting yesterday that it is still not too late to save the season. Dupont’s notebook looks at the next move for Shawn McEachern, who has cleared waivers and is looking for a new team. Harris’ notebook looks at Andrew Raycroft, who despite the loss, has looked much better in the last couple games. There is also an update on former Bruins and Devils coach Pat Burns, who is battling liver cancer. Harris also has a bit on the president of the World Anti-Doping Agency making some hard accusations about the NHL.

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider looks at the stagnant offense sans Charlie Weis, which is lacking in creativity. He has the Kansas City GM disputing that it is the playcalling, but rather the injuries, and also has a look at Ty Law returning to Foxboro this Sunday. Nick Cafardo also has a look at the return of Law, who doesn’t like talking about his foot, and his aware of the fact that he could very well be facing free agency once again this offseason with an 11 million dollar bonus due in March. Eric McHugh says that even with all the injuries that the Patriots have faced this season, there still is no way the defense should be this bad. Michael Parente notes that the injury bug has hit the Jets even harder than the Patriots. Bob Ryan has a look at former BC quarterback and Patriots draft pick Jack Concannon, who died on Monday at the age of 62.

Cafardo’s notebook reports on surgery for Duane Starks, who was described by his surgeon as having “one of the most messed up shoulders he’d ever seen”. Felger’s notebook and Parente’s notebook look at Mike Cloud being released, which should signal that either Corey Dillon or Kevin Faulk, or both, should be ready to play this weekend. McHugh’s notebook has Tim Dwight saying that the four interceptions by Tom Brady on Sunday were not all the QB’s fault.

Gordon Edes says that the market may be showing that Scott Boras wasn’t all that far off the mark in his initial contract demands for Johnny Damon. Michael Silverman reports on Boras preparing a special report for the New York Yankees, explaining how Damon would solve their leadoff and centerfield gaps. Rob Bradford notes that the Red Sox certainly do not seem to be in a hurry with their GM search. Joseph P Kahn takes a look at Manny’s luxury condo which is up for sale. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) also looked at the unit and talked to a resident there who said Manny has been happy with the Red Sox and Boston, but wants to be traded because the Red Sox have made so many efforts to get rid of his contract. Edes reports on spring training tickets being put on sale this coming Saturday.

David S Bernstein has a more extensive look at what the Red Sox are planning to do around the Fenway area. Certainly more than what we’ve read in the pages of the Globe.

Mark Murphy looks at Delonte West as he prepares to take on one of the idols of his youth, Allen Iverson tonight as the Philadelphia 76ers come into town. Shira Springer reports that Tony Allen was able to go all out in practice yesterday as he continues to make strides in his return from knee surgery. Mike Fine and Michael Muldoon each examine the testy at the moment Mark Blount/Doc Rivers relationship, which seemed to come to a head last Friday night. The latest BSMW Full Court Press looks back at the loss to the Magic, where fourth quarter execution seem to be sorely lacking. Murphy’s notebook reports that Blount is accepting his role of coming off the bench, and not looking to be traded. Fine’s notebook looks at Al Jefferson, the morning after his concussion against the Magic.

Jeff Sullivan has a bit on Bill Griffith, who he pegs as the nicest guy you’ll ever want to meet. I can agree 100% with that statement. Griffith is a guy who I think is incapable of making enemies, which makes him very rare indeed in the media business.

The New York papers are full of MLB free agency talk, of Devils/Bruins, of Patriots/Jets, and plenty of other news from the world of sports. Check them out on the New York Sports Page. If the California bay area is your interest, head on over the Bay Area Sports page for free agent news from the Giants and A’s, and news of the Raiders claiming Lenny Walls before the Patriots could get their hands on him.

FSN has Celtics/Sixers at 7:30. ESPN and ESPN2 have another night of college basketball doubleheaders.

Not Magical

Even with Mark Blount back on the court, and playing against a team that they have dominated the last few years, the Celtics could not put together back-to-back wins, and fell to the Orlando Magic last night 87-83. Shalise Manza Young has the story in the Providence Journal from TD Banknorth Garden. Peter May and Steve Bulpett also have game stories in the Globe and Herald respectively. Lenny Megliola also has a look at the ugly loss for Boston, which dropped their record on the season to 5-8.

Tony Massarotti, floating in a columnist-style role today, says that the Celtics upcoming road schedule is one that could make this another dark, dreary winter for Boston fans. The Orlando Sentinel has coverage on the game from the Magic point of view. May’s notebook looks at the return of Mark Blount to the playing ranks last night. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce being supportive of Blount and what he is capable of bringing to the team. Young’s notebook has more on Blount getting the message that Doc Rivers sent him Friday night.

Michael Felger has his Patriots Report Card, and continues on a theme he was hammering away at on his ESPN Boston Radio show yesterday…the Patriots have dealt with injuries of this quantity each of the last two seasons. Why aren’t they dealing successfully with them this year? The grades are tough, the highest being one B, and that was for special teams, which as Felger points out, it’s never a good sign when your punter is singled out for good play. Steve Grogan also grades his former team’s performance over at Michael Parente also has a report card on the team, and is a bit easier on the club in terms of grading. He notes that this is a team in search of answers, answers which aren’t coming easy for this team this year. Tom E Curran says that there is no bandage that can cure what ails this current edition of the Patriots.

Alan Greenberg notes the Patriots struggles against good teams, a pattern that has held throughout the season, as the club is 2-5 against teams with winning records. That should also tell you the strength of their schedule, if 7 of their 11 games thus far have been against those good teams. It also tells you that they are 4-0 against losing teams. Jonathan Comey says that the Patriots could enter the postseason with the worst defense ever to make the playoffs – but could still make noise. Chris Kennedy says that opponents simply do not fear the Patriots any longer. Steve Buckley (subscription only) writes that the Patriots have experienced the full range of emotions this season. He also notes that if it happens, we can count on this team losing with dignity. Albert Breer says there is no quick fix to the Patriots issues. Jerome Solomon notes that the schedule just gets easier from here on out, and that the Patriots can hope that the worst is behind them.

Steven Krasner has Coach Belichick’s thoughts on his team’s struggles, which extend to all areas of play. Amalie Benjamin notes that the inability of the Patriots to mount a pass rush has hurt the secondary and by extension, the entire defense. John Tomase looks at one cornerback who has become available, former Boston College player Lenny Walls, who has completed his rehab from a groin injury and is now out on the market after being released by Denver. Benjamin’s notebook looks at Tedy Bruschi getting a few plays off in Kansas City. Krasner’s notebook says that the remaining schedule looks much easier from here on out for New England. Breer’s notebook has at least one Patriot finally acknowledging that the injuries are catching up with the team.

Dan Shaughnessy files a “thoughts” column today, with such deep gems as the following:

What's up with Mark Blount?

Can't wait for Gerald Green's next NBA Rookie Diary entry in Sports Illustrated.

He Who Must Not Be Named going to the Dodgers? Simply too good to be true.

If the Globe does go to an online subscription format for their columnists as is being discussed, (and the parent NY Times already does this.) I’m sure the fans will be quickly lining up to shell out their money to get such pearls of wisdom. He takes a shot at Bob Kraft – no doubt a retaliation for Jonathan Kraft mentioning a Globe columnist with issues on the WBCN pregame this weekend. In mentioning the Josh Beckett trade, Dan Shaughnessy/Larry Lucchino says:

Could the trade have been any sweeter if Theo were still on the job?

One paragraph from Shaughnessy does deserve space here:

Job well done to Billy Griffith, Ron Indrisano, Marvin Pave, Judy Van Handle, and Tito Stevens, longtime Globies settling into well-deserved retirements. Every loss is a blow to our institutional memory and simply cannot be replaced.

Jeff Jacobs also does a version of the thoughts column, and he can actually string together entire paragraphs! Again, don’t email me, Dan.

Gordon Edes says that Jim Beattie could have the inside track to the Red Sox GM position. The Projo tells us not to bet against Jeremy Kapstein being used to bridge the gap as an interim GM. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that the Red Sox GM search should wait until they deal Manny Ramirez. Any new guy who comes in and trades Manny will have have to deal with that action the rest of their tenure, better to do it now, and not burden a new guy with that. Better yet, Callahan suggests that they let Kapstein or Bill Lajoie fill the spot for a year until one of the young guys is ready to take over.

Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox have plenty of holes to fill as they head into the winter meetings next week. Michael Silverman has the Red Sox checking their to-do list in preparation for those meetings. Manny and Johnny Damon head that list. Michael Silverman looks at agent Scott Boras’ attempts to drive up the market for Johnny Damon with his 10 section manifesto on his client which compares his durability to Cal Ripken Jr and his leadoff abilities to Rickey Henderson. David Borges notes that Josh Beckett was enough to make highly touted Hanley Ramirez expendable. Frank Phillips and Raphael Lewis in the Globe look at lobbyists helping the Red Sox get public money for improvements to the Fenway area. Silverman’s notebook looks at Billy Wagner choosing the Mets.

The New York Sports News page has coverage of the Mets landing Wagner, plus their pursuit of Manny. There are also some Jets articles as they prepare to play the Patriots this Sunday. The Bay Area Sports page has more MLB hot stove and NFL coverage.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the losses and frustration continuing to mount for the Bruins. Stephen Harris looks at the Bruins trying once again to shake things up a bit, this time with the callup of veteran winger Dan LaCouture of Natick, and Shawn McEachern and Colton Orr being placed on waivers. Burrell’s notebook has more on these moves.

OLN has Bruins/Devils at 7:30. ESPN and ESPN2 run college basketball doubleheaders tonight.

Kansas City Barbeque

Even an eternal optimist as myself has to be depressed after that Patriots performance in Kansas City yesterday. Really, I don’t know what more to say than that.

The Patriots Game Day Rear View looks back at the debacle in Kansas City, with resignation for the future.

Mike Reiss keeps on blogging, providing updates from the Belichick press conference today and he’ll have quotes from the locker room soon as well.

John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at Andrea Kremer’s interview with Tedy Bruschi and has rising and falling stars from among the Patriots pre and post game shows.

The Jets are up next for the Patriots. You can do a little newspaper scouting of them over at the New York Sports News page.

The football team around here that might be generating the most excitement at the moment is the UNH Wildcats, who romped to a 55-21 win over Colgate Saturday in the first round of the 1-AA playoffs. Mike Zhe and Allen Lessels look at the next opponent for UNH, the Northern Iowa Panthers.

Chad Finn is back with another edition of Touching All the Bases, with a healthy dose of Josh Beckett.

FSN has Celtics/Magic at 7:30. ABC has Steelers/Colts at 9:00.

Shopping Day

Just a few quick links today.

Get your Patriots stories at the Patriots Daily Links page.

Nice of Ron Borges to use the death of Steve Belichick to take a few shots at the coach of the Patriots. If anyone had a remaining doubt that Borges really is a miserable human being, this should dispel them. (Heck, even Dan Shaughnessy wrote a terrific article on Steve and Bill Belichick yesterday.)

The Patriots/Chiefs game is previewed on the Patriots Game Day page.

The Red Sox finalized the deal for Josh Beckett, and even expanded it so that they received setup man Guillermo Mota. Get all the stories on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

I recently gave an interview with the website. It was posted today.

Bill Griffith has his final SporTView column today with a look at going back to Northeastern to work with Joe Castiglione on his Sports Broadcasting classes. You’ll be missed in the pages of the Globe, Bill.

The New York Sports News and Bay Area Sports pages both have sports stories from those regions.

Celtics Fall Before King James

The Celtics made a few runs last night, but in the end, LeBron James and the Cavs proved to be too much for Boston as they lost 115-93 in a game that was closer that the final score would indicate. Shira Springer and Mark Murphy have recaps of the game, in which James scored 36 points and teammate Larry Hughes added 26. The Celtics had three players score over 20 points, Ricky Davis leading the way with 27, Paul Pierce had 24 and Mark Blount had 21, but it wasn’t enough, as no other Celtic scored more than 6. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a few articles on the game, including a look at a mature Ricky Davis, something that wasn’t seen during his Cleveland days. Mike Fine has more on the new Ricky. Murphy also looks at Davis keeping his cool at his old stomping grounds last night. Springer’s notebook and Murphy’s notebook each look at the hip injury Delonte West suffered last night after being undercut while going in for a layout on the fast break. Both articles also look at Doc Rivers’ history with the Cavs, which contains some interesting trivia.

Michael Silverman says only a bad report from the doctor can now derail the Josh Beckett to Boston trade. David Borges talks to Beckett and Mike Lowell’s manager with the Marlins, Jack McKeon, who says that the Red Sox are making out like bandits in this deal. Chris Snow has more on the deal, and looks at who the Red Sox might target next. David Heuschkel also looks at Beckett and addresses the injury concerns surrounding the young power pitcher. Jeff Jacobs also has an in depth look at Beckett and the trade to Boston. Jackie MacMullan is concerned about Beckett’s blisters.

Tony Massarotti has five steps for the Red Sox to follow in order to have success this offseason and for 2006. Number one on the list is keeping Manny. Gordon Edes wonders what to make of the fact that Theo Epstein is still apparently hanging around the Red Sox offices, and about the “book” that agent Scott Boras sent to teams outlining the value of Johnny Damon. Alex Speier says that the Red Sox are back in business. Peter Schworm looks at a Tufts University course on “The Analysis of Baseball: Statistics and Sabermetrics”. The Projo notebook has a few Red Sox related items. Silverman’s notebook reports that Manny has targeted the Angels and Mariners as teams he’d like to play for.

There is also a ton of Red Sox stuff in the New York papers. Go to the New York Sports News page for links.

It was laughable hearing the Big Show crew tear into this trade. Glenn Ordway played both sides of the fence, setting himself up to be right either way in the future. He told us he’s not knocking the trade, but that “there is something missing in this kid’s makeup”. He also told us that the Red Sox didn’t give up anything for 2006, but might have given up an awful lot for 2009, 2010 and 2011, and that if Ramirez and Sanchez become stars, this trade doesn’t look so good. But he would make this deal. But Red Sox fans are lemmings lining up behind this deal right now…my head is still aching from all the back and forth…from one guy. I don’t care if you knock the trade, there are reasons you can question it, but don’t play both sides solely so that in the future you can come back either way and say “As soon as the trade was made, I said….”

In fact, let’s turn to one of our esteemed message board posters who has been doing his online impression of Ordway. This pretty much sums up yesterday’s Big Show:

Alright, BACK HERE on the Box Show, I'm the BOX O, and we're going to get into this Red Sox trade for Josh Beckett right now and obviously on the surface this looks like a great deal for the Red Sox right now. The fact is that there are not alot of premier pitchers out there right now that they were going to get out there, but they did get this guy right now. Here's the question now, here's what you have to ask yourself if your the Red Sox right now, here's the question: if this guy is so good, and all indications are that he is a Very good pitcher, a VERY good pitcher right now, then how come he was available for two prospects? THAT'S what you have to be asking yourself if your the Red Sox right now. If you have a 25 year old pitcher that could potentially be an ace on your team, why are you getting rid of him for prospects out there? Inotherwords, if you are Florida WHY ARE YOU MAKING THIS DEAL? That's what you have to be asking yourself right now and I think I know. First of all, you have to do this deal if you are the Red Sox. You AB-SO-LUTE-LY HAVE TO MAKE THIS DEAL if you are the Boston Red Sox right now. If I am GM, I make this deal in a minute. IN a MIN-UTE I make this deal out there. However, HOW-EVER, you have to wonder if this kid is available because of some fundamental problems in his makeup. We've heard the whispers from our mooooooolllees that this kid is a hothead, that this kid is a hothead that has a habit of losing his temper out there. He's also missed a fair share of games with blisters last year and you know that the fans in this town will not, will NOT tolerate an important piece of the puzzle missing games with blisters out there. Will NOT tolerate it. They won't. This town will NOT tolerate missing games with borderline injuries right now. They AB-SO-LUTE-LY will not tolerate it out there. So I like this deal. I like this deal ON THE SURFACE, but people are telling me that there may be more to the story than we are seeing right now and it will be VERY interesting to watch how this thing unfolds for the Boston Red Sox organization right now.

(thanks, “Box Score”)

Nick Cafardo has a look at Mike Vrabel making the move to inside linebacker and doing so in seamless fashion. His move there is a big reason for hope down the stretch for the Patriots defense. Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider has a look at Deion Branch, who has been a team guy his whole career, but is looking at a huge payday after the season, and hopes that it is with the Patriots. Michael Parente looks at the Patriots preparing to play Kansas City and their improved defense. Eric McHugh talks to 1960 Heisman Trophy winner Joe Bellino who played for Steve Belichick at Navy about the passing of the longtime assistant. Cafardo’s notebook looks at the new, balanced, Kansas City Chiefs.

Stephen Harris looks at the Bruins handling the criticism being sent their way for their dreadful start. Kevin Paul Dupont notes that slump talk is still dominating the Bruins. Tim Bresnahan says that Mike Sullivan shouldn’t be the fall guy for this club. Harris’ notebook has more on the player accepting the blame.

FSN has Celtics/Hawks at 7:00. NESN has Bruins/Maple Leafs at 7:00. ESPN has Suns/Rockets at 7:30.

Sox Steal Headlines, Ace

The Red Sox continue to make headlines, as word got out last night from Peter Gammons that they had agreed in principle to a deal that would bring 25 year old pitcher Josh Beckett to Boston along with third baseman Mike Lowell in exchange for prospects Hanley Ram

Pats Make it Two in a Row

Thanks to everyone who helped out in the 2005 BSMW Fall Fund Drive. I’ll be selecting the prize winners over the next couple days and notifying the winners.

Just a few items this morning as it’s another busy Monday here.

You can get a lot of your Patriots coverage on the Patriots Daily Links page, with all the headlines from the Globe, Herald, Projo, Reiss’ Pieces and stories from yesterday’s win over New Orleans. The Bob Ryan piece on Bill Belichick and his dad is top notch. Michael Felger also did a good job on this. Rob Bradford had a very good article with Belichick recalling the strike of 1987 when he had to piece together a team of replacement players.

Scott’s Shots weighs in with a monster edition from the weekend, including some WFAN/WEEI comparisons, some Deadspin observations, Sunday night sports shows recaps and a number of other items.

John Molori’s Media Blitz talks with Ted Sarandis about BC Basketball and his departure from WEEI, Talks with Dan Shaughnessy about being the villain in the Theo Epstein departure and Bill Griffith’s plans at the Globe.

On the other BSMW Blogs, check out the Patriots Game Day Rear View, Celtics Full Court Press and Bruins Power Play, all of which were updated in the last day.

As noted by Ben yesterday, this piece from Murray Chass in the New York Times yesterday is certainly suspicious and curious. Chass defends Larry Lucchino, talking to the candidates who turned down the Red Sox, noting that they were sure to say that it was for family reasons, not Lucchino that they turned down the club. The suspicious part is of course that the Times is part owners of the Red Sox and appears to have been used as another PR outlet for the club to do some damage control.

You can also check out the NY Sports News and Bay Area Sports for NFL roundups from around the league yesterday and coverage on the Rangers extended the Bruins losing streak.

Sunday Morning Alert

The Artist formerly known as the Boston Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, crosses into the mainstream with today’s feature by Warren St. John in the New York Times Fashion & Style section. In Scott’s Shots, Dave Scott has a brief comment on the topic.

While you’re over at the New York Times, Murray Chass, in the role of the late Johnie Cochrane, continues his defense of Larry Lucchino. I’d like to avoid any references to any type of cartel, and its likely just a relationship between the two, but, either way, I found it a little unusual to have a column like this in a New York paper. The rough equivalent would be a column from Gordon Edes defending George Steinbrenner’s, or even Randy Levine’s, handling of Joe Torre. Certainly, I could picture Edes providing a synopsis of the goings on in New York but to dig this deep into the topic (including interviewing the candidates who declined the opportunity) in order to make sure everyone is clear that it had nothing to do with Lucchino fuels further questions regarding the Sox administration’s overall emphasis on “spin control” (which, if I’ve correctly digested all the ink spilled on the topic, was the underlying reason behind Theo Epstein’s departure).

A few other notable links from today: (from Bruce)

Tony Massarotti reports that the Red Sox are bidding against the Rangers for Marlins ace Josh Beckett.

BSMW Game Day previews today’s Saints/Patriots game. Check in with Mike Reiss for updates throughout the day. Jim McCabe has a look at the season of turmoil for the Saints. Tom E Curran has a profile of Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

CBS4 WILL show the Colts/Bengals game at 4:00 after all. They just announced it on the Patriots Gameday Show at 11:30.

Mark Murphy has a good profile of Celtics guard Delonte West this morning. Check the BSMW Full Court Press for recent Celtics commentary.

The BSMW Power Play has thoughts on the recent Bruins trade of Dave Scatchard.

Check the New York Sports News and Bay Area Sports for newspaper coverage from those areas.

Celts Pull One Out

As the Boston Sports Media Watch Fund Drive winds to a close, you can never forget the best nation in the world, the do-nation. Never too late to donate.

The Celtics picked up their fourth win against five losses last night at home against the winless Toronto Raptors. The 0-9 Raptors have some talent but enough weaknesses that a Celts team with weaknesses of their own could scratch out a win. Paul Pierce, Ricky Davis and Mark Blount were relatively consistent in leading the C