While the Celtics were putting the finishing touches on their win over the Philadelphia 76ers last night, word starting trickling out that the Bruins had stolen the evening with a blockbuster of a deal. They traded their captain, 26 year old Joe Thornton, in an effort to shake up and remake a team that has been a disaster thus far this season. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says Mike O’Connell took an alternate route, instead of firing the coach, he’s been firing players. Stephen Harris notes that the deal came as a shock to Thornton, who had just finished dinner with his parents. Joe McDonald and James Murphy also report on the deal, the prize of which for Boston is 26-year-old defenseman Brad Stuart, whom Kevin Paul Dupont says could be a top four defenseman. Dupont, as you recall has been a harsh critic of Thornton over the years, and seems very pleased with the deal, he says that only “Teen angels, fanboys, and stat geeks will mourn Thornton’s trade last night to the Sharks.”

Jackie MacMullan feels that Thornton was just too laid back to lead the Bruins to glory and compares his trade to that of Nomar Garciaparra. Karen Guregian notes that the team decided to fire Joe instead of coach Mike Sullivan in response to the team’s dreadful season thus far. Douglas Flynn notes that if things don’t improve after this deal, Mike O’Connell might have his own job to worry about. The BSMW Power Play weighs in on the deal, with reflections on Thornton and the possible motivations of the Bruins for making the trade. Dupont’s notebook looks at the lack of optimism around the club prior to the trade. McDonald and Harris also each report on Jonathan Girard’s decision to retire after discovering his body could not stand up to the rigors of hockey.

There’s plenty of Thornton talk out in the Bay Area, including in the San Jose Mercury News, which is included on the Bay Area Sports page.

Had it not been for the trade of Thornton, the Boston sports world likely be talking excitedly about the coming out party of Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins, who singlehandedly led a charge on the glass, and helped the Celtics to a 110-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Perkins totaled 19 rebounds along with 12 points, 4 assists and 2 blocked shots last night. Shira Springer hopes that Mark Blount was taking notice of the standing ovation that Perkins received when he fouled out with 2:57 remaining in the game last night. Scott Souza says the Perkins provided a shot in the arm to a team that really needed one last night. Steve Bulpett and Shalise Manza Young also report on the huge night for the 21 year old Perkins, who recorded career highs in nearly every category and gave Celtics fans something tangible to put their hope in.

Peter May wonders if this is a hiccup, or a sign of things to come from Perkins. He notes that on the night that the Bruins traded Jumbo Joe, perhaps their Causeway street roommates saw the emergence of another Jumbo, this one in green. Tony Massarotti also looks at the glimpse of progress that we saw last night and urges more patience, as well as to keep Perkins in the starting lineup. The BSMW Full Court Press is ecstatic over the play of Perkins, who has been a favorite of the site since his rookie year. They’re especially pleased that the huge night came after Gary Tanguay made a public plea for Doc Rivers to keep Perkins on the bench. Get the view from the city of brotherly love over at Philly.com. The notebooks all look at Tony Allen getting ready to rejoin the active roster. Springer’s notebook says that Rivers considered activating the second year guard for last night, but decided to give him another practice first. Bulpett’s notebook says that Allen is looking forward to getting on the court tomorrow night against the Bulls. Young’s notebook has more on Allen.

Michael Felger and Nick Cafardo look at Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who isn’t about to let last weeks dreadful four interception performance against the Chiefs get him down. Dan Pires says that Heath Evans’ days as a featured back could be drawing to a close with Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk getting closer to a return to action. John Tomase looks at the Patriots continued struggles on third down. Christopher Price has a look at locker room cut up Corey Dillon. Michael Parente and Tomase have more on Dillon as he gets close to returning.

Felger has a look at PR expert Monty Beisel, who allowed his frustration to get the better of himself yesterday, and embarrassed himself in the Patriots locker room. The BSMW Patriots Gameday has some midweek thoughts on the club, as Greg looks back at the Chiefs game(which he attended) and tries to figure out what is ailing the club (besides injuries) at this time. Tom E Curran looks at the rough season for the Jets, who have been decimated by injury and are in a free fall. Alan Greenberg looks at the return of Ty Law to Foxboro to face his old teammates and coach. Chris Kennedy also looks at the return of Law. It is also the topic of Parente’s notebook. Elsewhere, Eric McHugh’s notebook looks at why Tom Brady’s throws seemed consistently high on Sunday. Cafardo’s notebook looks at the backfield coming back together, Tomase’s notebook looks at a possible setback for Matt Light in his efforts to return this season. Curran’s notebook has more on Law’s return.

The New York Sports News page has several more articles on Law’s return to Foxboro as well as stories on the Thornton trade and MLB free agency.

Jonathan Saltzman reports that the Red Sox are going to court in order to attempt to keep possession of the ball that was used to record the last out of the 2004 World Series. I think this action is petty and pathetic and not the goodwill PR that the organization needs at this time. This story is actually one PAGE ONE, above the fold on the Boston Globe. Can you say mouthpiece….? Seriously this is just incredible to me. Not only that the Red Sox would take this action, but also to ensure that it appears on the front page of the Boston Globe. It just smacks of arrogance. What do they take us for? They truly have no shame.

Michael Silverman says that talks between the Angels and Red Sox are heating up over a possible Manny Ramirez trade. Can you imagine Manny and Vladimir Guerrero in the same lineup? Tony Massarotti has Carl Yastrzemski strongly endorsing Jim Rice for the Hall of Fame.

Stan Grossfeld has a feature on former Patriots coach John Mazur, who is in ill health, battling Parkinson’s disease and is unable to pay his medical expenses, his 74 year old wife is having to work in order to help cover some of their expenses.

NESN has Bruins/Senators at 7:00. TNT has Spurs/Mavs at 8:00 and Lakers/Jazz at 10:30.