Two in a Row!

The Celtics finally managed to win two games in a row, becoming the last NBA team to achieve that simple mark. They defeated the Utah Jazz 101-89 at TD Banknorth Garden and now sit at 11-14 as they prepare for a tough five game West coast road trip next week. Shira Springer says that the win made for a happy locker room following the game and heading into a bit of a holiday break. Steve Bulpett notes that a few in-game corrections brought about this win for the Celtics. Shalise Manza Young notes the strong play of Delonte West in his first game back from the concussion of Saturday night as a key in the win for Boston. Mark Murphy has more on the play of West, who filled up the box score with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists 3 steals and 2 blocks on the night.

Murphy also looks at rookie Gerald Green remaining patient and saying that his game has improved three seasons worth since he arrived here. Peter May has a look at Utah coach Jerry Sloan, who has been at the helm of the Jazz since 1988, and isn’t yet used to having a young, struggling team. You can check the Salt Lake Tribune for more on last night’s game from the Utah perspective. Ron Chimelis reports that the grandson of Dr. James Naismith wants to sell the original rules of the game of basketball, which was invented by Naismith for $10 Million dollars. The notebooks focus on Tony Allen, who has apparently suffered another setback from his knee injury and was not in uniform last night. Springer’s notebook reports that Allen could be “shut down” for an unspecified period of time. Bulpett’s notebook says that Allen will give it a go at practice today to see how the knee reacts. Young’s notebook has more on Allen as well as the return of West.

Michael Felger has a look at how veteran cornerback Artrell Hawkins has stepped in off the street and filled the hole at safety for the Patriots who had had a revolving door at the position since losing Rodney Harrison. Michael Parente has more on Hawkins. Cafardo has more on Hawkins role in the new Patriots four corners defense. AP writer Howard Ulman also has a look at Hawkins. Tom E Curran has a look at the Patriots receiving duo of Deion Branch and David Givens and how the pair compliments one another nicely in terms of style.

Alan Greenberg analyzes how Tom Ashworth and Nick Kaczur have filled in for Matt Light, who was finally placed on IR last night, ending his season. Nick Cafardo looks at Tom Brady and Richard Seymour being named to the AFC Pro Bowl team. Chris Kennedy has more on the duo being honored with their third and fourth appearances respectively.Felger looks at Adam Vinatieri’s streak of 100 point seasons being put in jeopardy this year. Eric McHugh looks at the Patriots offense getting back in gear.

Cafardo’s notebook has more on Matt Light being placed on IR. Curran’s notebook looks at the strangely empty injury report for the Patriots. Felger’s notebook has more on the Patriots Pro Bowl selections. Parente’s notebook also looks at that topic.

Chris Snow and Michael Silverman look at the exit of Johnny Damon from the Red Sox and how this leaves with team with a gaping hole. Tony Massarotti notes that the Red Sox ship seems to be sinking and that this ownership group is setting a bad pattern of letting players leave because of an unwillingness to pay them. Bob Ryan says that we should remember that Damon didn’t owe the Red Sox or Boston anything, he was a free man to take the best offer, which is what he did, and we should remember all that he did for the team while he was here. Gordon Edes insists that it didn’t have to end this way. Up to a few days ago, even the Yankees didn’t think they had a chance at Damon. The Hartford Courant has a whole section of articles devoted to Damon to the Yankees.

Silverman reports that John Henry passed on a final chance to keep Damon in Boston. Rob Bradford says that it is time for plan B for the Red Sox, but we’re not sure what that is at this point. Alex Speier writes that the Red Sox are going to have to act quickly to avoid a winter of discontent among their fan base. Jimmy Golen writes on the Red Sox facing life without Johnny. Garry Brown looks at the huge hole facing the Sox in center field. Ron Chimelis has no idea what the master plan is.

Joe Haggerty also writes about the impact of the bearded one leaving Boston. Lisa Wangsness talks to fans angry about Damon leaving for the Evil Empire. Bill Reynolds says Damon will no longer be the fair-haired boy in Boston. Silverman & Massarotti talk to Bronson Arroyo and Terry Francona about the loss of Damon. David Borges wonders just how this all came to take place in this manner, Damon to the Yankees. Steve Buckley (subscription only) looks at the spin going on from the Red Sox after Damon’s departure. Art Martone has more on the Red Sox and their insistence that they will be fine despite having no center fielder, leadoff man or shortstop at the moment. Chad Finn gets a shot from the Globe of listing out some possible replacements in center.

Check the stories and reaction from the big apple on the New York Sports Pages. Also, David Scott has a special Damon edition looking at all the media coverage of the events of yesterday.

Snow’s notebook has newly signed Rudy Seanez hoping to make amends for his last, brief stop in Boston. Silverman’s notebook has the Red Sox expressing interest in Kevin Millwood.

Stephen Harris looks at the importance of the Bruins next two games against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell notes that Glen Murray misses his linemate and friend Joe Thornton, across the country in San Jose. Mike Loftus and Harris look at Brian Leetch feeling snubbed by the USA Olympic Hockey selections. Harris’ notebook has winger Marco Sturm heading for his third Olympics with Germany.

NESN has Bruins/Maple Leafs at 7:00. TNT has Cavs/Bulls at 8:00 and Mavs/Kings at 10:30. ESPN has the Las Vegas Bowl of BYU/Cal at 8:00. ESPN2 has the Poinsettia Bowl of Colorado St./Navy at 10:30.

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Damon Heads To NY

The Red Sox lost a little more of their Idiot culture last night, as Johnny Damon agreed to a contract with the New York Yankees. It was yet another PR blow for the Red Sox this offseason, and you’ve got to wonder how they’re going to try to soften it.

You can check the links from around New England on the Red Sox Daily Links page. You can also get the reaction in New York on the New York Sports Pages.

Michael Felger has his Patriots Insider, which today has a look at Mike Vrabel who has made a seamless move to inside linebacker. He also has a number of other items, such as speculation among insiders that Bill Belichick’s contract might actually run through 2008. Felger admits that that is just a guess, however. Nick Cafardo’s Midweek Report has a look at the offensive line, which has been in transition all season. Plenty of snide comments from Cafardo about the “secret” methods used by the Patriots coaches. Eric McHugh says that the Patriots defense is looking more familiar to what we’ve seen in the past. Michael Parente says that we will see a “different” Jets team this Monday night. Tom E Curran looks at Deion Branch doing some work in the community.

Cafardo’s notebook reports that a Matt Light return this season is “iffy”. Felger’s notebook looks at Patrick Pass winning the Pro Bowl fan voting at fullback. McHugh’s notebook says that this week will be a normal week of preparation for the Patriots.

Bob Ryan has a look at the Celtics as they attempt tonight to end their distinction of being the only team in the NBA not to have won two games in a row this season. Mike Fine has a look at how the Celtics are dealing with the loss of Dan Dickau and having Delonte West banged up again. Stepping to the forefront has been Marcus Banks. Steve Bulpett looks at the progress Banks is making…with Doc Rivers right in his ear. Banks says all the right things in admitting that he needs the guidance from his coach. Peter May has more on Banks and the tough love he gets from Doc Rivers.Michael Muldoon also has a look at Banks and his strong return to the Celtics. Bulpett’s notebook has Delonte West shaking off the cobwebs from his concussion and practicing with the team. Scott Souza has a look at the Celtics youngsters as they struggle to find some consistency.

Yesterday afternoon on WEEI, Glenn Ordway proclaimed that Ricky Davis “sucks”. The BSMW Full Court Press swings into action on this proclamation.

FSN has Celtics/Jazz at 7:30. ESPN has Toledo/UTEP in the GMAC Bowl at 8:00. ESPN2 has a College basketball triple header, with games at 6:00 (St John’s/Duke) 8:00 (Illinois/Missouri) and 10:00 (Arkansas/Texas Tech) FSN has North Carolina/Southern Cal at 10:30.

Damon to Yankees.

Dan Roche of CBS4 is reporting that Johnny Damon has agreed to a four year deal with the Yankees.

The following is also on the top of the main page for Boston.com:

BREAKING SPORTS NEWS: The Boston Globe’s Gordon Edes is reporting that centerfielder Johnny Damon has agreed to a 4-year contract with the Yankees. The agreement is contingent on Damon passing a physical. –Developing

I suspect the Extra Bases and Clubhouse Insider blogs will be updated soon.

Check in on the Red Sox Daily Links page, as the feeds get updated as stories are added.

The New York Sports Pages might be worth keeping an eye on as well. Jon Heyman of Newsday already has the story up – Four years, $52 Million.

As you might expect, SoSH was overloaded when I went there to check reaction.

Celtics Battle Warriors

The Celtics bounced back nicely last night after their dreadful loss in Chicago on Saturday night. At TD Banknorth Garden last evening the 14-10 Warriors were in town, and the Celtics rose to the occasion, especially in the fourth quarter, as the defeated Golden State 109-98. Shira Springer notes that an alley-oop from Paul Pierce to Ricky Davis with just under seven minutes left in the game really sparked the Celtics onto the win. Steve Bulpett credits the work on the offensive glass, which netted the Celtics 27 second chance points as a key to the game. Shalise Manza Young adds that the Celtics did everything that Coach Doc Rivers could’ve asked of them last night.

Steve Buckley (subscription only) has a look at big Al Jefferson, who while sometimes displaying the game of a man, is still just a 20 year old kid. Buckley notes Jefferson’s burning desire to be a great player. Peter May says that it all comes down to rebounding, which is about effort. So it would seem that on the nights that the Celtics put forth the effort, they’re successful. So why have they still not won two games in a row yet this season? Lenny Megliola says that the Celtics are in disarray, and the blame starts with the head coach. Bill Reynolds says that it is obvious that the Celtics (and Bruins) just don’t count in the way that they used to anymore. The point guards remain banged up for the Celtics. Buckley looks at Delonte West, who was still a little dizzy after his fall in Chicago on Saturday night. Bulpett reports on Dan Dickau undergoing achilles tendon surgery today.

Springer’s notebook reports that training camp invitee Will Bynum is having a terrific season in the NBDL.She also looks at the health of the Celtics point guards. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce urging patience, as he realizes it will take time for his young team to learn to play together. Young’s notebook has more on the point guard issues. You can get a look at the game reports from out west on the Bay Area Sports Page.

The Patriots are coming off their biggest win and best performance of the season, and are still looking to improve before hitting the playoffs. John Tomase says that for the final two games it is going to be business as usual, with no plans to rest starters extensively. Jerome Solomon says that this is just another week at the office for the Patriots, despite next Monday’s game having no real impact on the standings. However, even Bill Belichick has to smile at the improvement of the defense. Joe McDonald notes that the Patriots are hitting their stride, but they have not hit their peak just yet. Alan Greenberg writes that Bill Belichick may have finished his shopping already, but he’s still got plenty on his list when it comes to his team. Chris Kennedy has more from Bill Belichick, insisting that this will be a normal week of preparation. Howard Ulman of the AP also says that rest isn’t part of the plan this week.

Jonathan Comey says that it was hard to see this kind of turnaround happening, but it has happened…the Patriots are their old selves. The BSMW Game Day Rear View takes a look back at the Tampa game, and says that we’re in for another interesting January. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) writes about the pressure that will continue to be on Peyton Manning and the Colts, even though a perfect season is no longer on the line for them. He says that the Patriots performance on Saturday coupled with the Colts struggling in a game they were trying to win, has to breathe new hope into New England fans. This was a very good column from Callahan, who shows again that when he writes sports, he’s pretty darn good. Dave Goldberg says we could very well be headed for Pats/Colts III. Eric McHugh notes that while the Patriots may not be looking ahead to the playoffs, the fans and media certainly are. Karen Guregian looks at Tedy Bruschi, who appears to be finally all the way back to vintage Tedy after missing the first part of the season.

Solmon’s notebook looks at Patrick Pass winning the fan Pro Bowl balloting at fullback. Tomase’s notebook has Bill Belichick savoring the play of his team from Saturday. McDonald’s notebook has more on Bruschi’s improvement, which has come as no surprise to his teammates. McHugh’s notebook looks at some goals and milestones a few individual Patriots could reach in the final two games.

Follow the Jets this week as they prepare for the Patriots on the New York Sports Pages.

Kevin Paul Dupont looks at the USA Hockey team being announced, with no Bruins making the squad. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris look at coach Mike Sullivan choosing to give his players some more rest rather than cracking the whip on them.

Tony Massarotti says that Tony Graffanino accepting arbitration has sort of put the Red Sox in a bind, as they do not know exactly what they’ll do with him. He also reports that the deal with reliever Rudy Seanez is all but a formality now, and that he should officially be a member of the team this week. David Heuschkel doesn’t seem to think it is a done deal just yet, as he reports on the Braves making an offer as well. The Globe notebook reports that Wade Miller will not be back with the Red Sox next year, and looks at other items of business the team has going currently. I’m ignoring a column from He Who Must Not Be Read simply because it’s not worth my bandwidth to link to it.

The issue of whether Wendi Nix and her employer, channel 7 face a conflict of interest now that her husband Ben Cherington is a Co-GM of the Red Sox is a topic that has generated quite a bit of discussion as of late. John Molori’s Media Blitz explores this topic and talks to Nix about how she feels about the matter.

ESPN has the New Orleans Bowl, with Southern Miss/Arkansas St at 8:00. OLN has Avalanche/Predators at 8:00.

No 16-0 for Indy

Purely an unscientific guess here, but I think that households across New England yesterday fell on one of two sides while watching the Colts play the Chargers. One part wanted the Chargers to put an end to all the undefeated season talk right then and there for the Colts. The other part, and I believe the larger segment of the two, wanted the Colts to win that game and their next two and finish at 16-0 going into the playoffs. Now I certainly know quite a few people who wanted nothing more than the Colts to do down yesterday. But I think the majority of New England fans were looking forward to a second round matchup between an unbeaten Colts team and a Patriots squad that seems to be finding itself at the right time. The game still has a very good chance of happening, but a little bit of the lustre will have been taken off of the game now that the Colts no longer will be unbeaten. In fact, there’s a good chance they lose next week in Seattle as well. The Globe had Nick Cafardo report on the Colts game yesterday, and he looks at the Chargers managing to make the Colts a bit of a one dimensional team, for a day at least.

So what do the feelings of New England fans mean? Did our desire to see the Colts go undefeated mean that WE wanted to be the ones that had a chance to ruin this dream season for Indianapolis? Or were we hoping that the pressure of being 16-0 and being in the playoffs would cause the Colts to feel a bit more strain and increase the Patriots chances of the upset? Does the loss really change anything? Not in the big picture. As noted, it simply takes some of the lustre off a possible second round meeting between the two clubs. It would still be a huge game should it come about, but it has been slightly tarnished by yesterday’s results.

For the Patriots, Michael Felger has his Report Card for Saturday’s 28-0 win over the Buccaneers. Jerome Solomon looks at the Patriots being able to turn things around in their last three games and takes a peek at the postseason picture. Tom E Curran says that it is just about set in stone that the Patriots will be hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round. Alan Greenberg notes that the Patriots timing appears to be perfect in putting things together just in time for the postseason. Michael Parente agrees that the Pats are peaking at just the right time. Jim Donaldson looks at the Patriots treating another division title as no big deal.

Albert Breer says that feeling is still that the Patriots season will come to an end with that second round game in Indianapolis, but that he wouldn’t bet his loose change on it. John Tomase notes that as usual, it is the little things that count, he lists out some small things that were being done wrong earlier in the season, and notes the changes now. Bill Burt says that any Super Bowl hopes that the Patriots still harbor will need to be based on their defense playing as it did Sunday. Christopher Price lists out his 10 things that we learned from Saturday’s game. Dan Shaughnessy says that the Patriots are going to beat the Colts in the playoffs. The signature of his column reminds us that he also predicted that the Red Sox would run away with the division this season. Tomase notes that the Buccaneers didn’t quite look as good as Bill Belichick made them out to be.

Shira Springer looks at another critical point of the season coming up for the struggling Celtics, who lost by 32 points in Chicago on Saturday night. Mark Murphy says that getting consistent on defense is the Celtics biggest problem right now. Also in Springer’s article and in a note from Steve Bulpett is the news that Dan Dickau suffered a ruptured achilles tendon in Saturday night’s loss. The Herald also has Ricky Davis doing a great deed for the community.

Steve Conroy has a look at the Bruins, who also lost Saturday night. He notes that the B’s have problems with their first line, goaltending and getting off to slow starts, but he also insists there were some positives in the 3-0 loss to the Flames. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the eight day NHL trade embargo for the holiday might be too much for the Bruins and some of their players to bear. Be sure to check out the BSMW Power Play Bruins Blog, where they are looking for your opinion on what the Bruins need right now in order to improve.

Tony Massarotti reports that Tony Graffanino is leaning toward accepting salary arbitration and remaining with the Red Sox. He also reports that the Red Sox and Cleveland have not had substantive trade talks involving Coco Crisp for weeks now. Rob Bradford examines what makes Crisp attractive to Boston.

Michael Vega and Jeff Goodman report on Boston College’s 80-53 win over Texas Southern yesterday. Lenny Megliola says that a visit from Texas Southern was just what the doctor ordered for BC. Goodman’s notebook looks at Akida McLain getting in sync for the Eagles.

Check out the New York Sports Pages and Bay Area Sports Pages for more NFL, NBA and Hot Stove baseball talk.

FSN has Celtics/Warriors at 7:30. ABC has Packers/Ravens at 9:00. ESPN2 has Pepperdine/Kansas at 7:00 and Indiana/Charlotte at 9:00.

BSMW SporTView – 12.16.2005

Welcome to the second edition of BSMW SporTView. Last week, the feedback was positive, though a couple people expressed a wish to have a chart of sports events this weekend rather than having me go over each event in the blog entry. The result is the chart to the right below. You can leave it in the entry, or if you click on it, it will pop up into a separate window, which you can leave open on your computer for quick reference. You could also print it out to keep near your TV for the weekend.

Football widows beware, this marks the NFL’s first weekend of Saturday/Sunday coverage.

Jim McCabe and Jim Lazar have their weekend NFL picks. You can also check the selections of the Globe sports writers. Double D and I.M. Bettor also look at the action.

Patrick Hanrahan and Steve Britt file fantasy columns.

Ira Miller in the San Francisco Chronicle has a great column looking back at the snow game, and how it changed the lives of so many people involved.

Over the weekend, you can check in on the Patriots Daily Links Page and Game Day Rear View as well as Reiss’ Pieces for Patriots updates.

Be sure to also check in on the following:

Red Sox Daily Links Page

BSMW Full Court Press – Good stuff on WEEI’s efforts to talk Celtics this week.

BSMW Power Play – Create a Bruins wish list.

Sports Media Reporters from around the country:

    Note: some of these may require free registration. The easiest thing to do is use the FireFox browser with the BugMeNot extension…it will fill in all that stuff for you.

  • Richard Sandomir, NY Times – Show Proves Less Knicks Is More, More or Less.
  • Bob Raissman, NY Daily News – Media now mum on Tiki’s sked.
  • Neil Best, NY Newsday – Giving MNF a proper send-off.
  • Phil Mushnick, NY Post – Tenacious Tom.
  • Bill Conlin, Philly.com – Caught in Spin Cycle.
  • Jim Williams, Washington Examiner – A-Team tackles Skins-Boys
  • Ed Sherman, Chicago Tribune – BMW to drive off with Western sponsorship.
  • Barry Jackson, Miami Herald – The good, bad and ugly of ’05.
  • Michael Hiestand, USA Today – ABC alters studio complexion with celebrity guests.
  • Larry Stewart, LA Times – ESPN’s Smith Stays Close to USC.
  • David Barron, Houston Chronicle – Astros’ new road voice won’t be named till ’06.
  • Tom Hoffarth, LA Daily News – SI writer ready to own up to his story.
  • Chris Zelkovich, Toronto Star – Skating’s TV figures in death spiral.

Anyone else think that it is curious that all four major New York papers have a sports media columnist, while both major papers in Boston have cut theirs in the last year or so?

Media Bits from This Week:

This week’s sign of the apocalypse: Bill Simmons, the ESPN Page 2 Sports Guy appeared on WEEI with Dennis and Callahan on Tuesday morning. They were able to joke about Simmons referring to them as “Aryan monoliths” in the past. The appearance was to promote Simmons’ local book signings this week. Simmons then spent Wednesday with Michael Felger on ESPN Radio Boston.

If ESPN Radio Boston just had a better signal, I’m convinced they would take some listeners from WEEI. In fact, if I were to create a “plan to beat WEEI” (perhaps a future column) the item at the top of the list would be to get a station with signal strength. This week, The Drive with Mike Felger was very good, with Simmons one day, and Bob Ryan on another. They served as a welcome respite from soap opera sports radio.

The WEEI/Mike Adams studio “takeover” was mildly amusing at times, downright annoying at others. What gets me is that some apparently weren’t sure if this was a stunt or not. The station spent weeks setting this up. How about Butch Sterns giving the story attention on the FOX25 news? Not like Butchie has anything to gain from giving the station some more pub.

Good job Butch, you’ve just earned yourself more Big Show appearances in the coming weeks. Maybe you can put another addition on your house. You did say that WEEI paid for your last one, right?

Trust me, it’s no coincidence that Wednesday marked the end of the fall ratings book. Nice little soap opera/publicity stunt that the station pulled to try to make a final push to close out the period. Can’t blame them, and as I said, it was mildly amusing at times. Only Mike Adams could pull something like that off for that length of time over a show.

The 2006 WEEI Whiny Awards will be held on February 28th at TD Banknorth Garden.

Wednesday afternoon’s Big Show segment with Jamie Most, which had Glenn Ordway telling stories from his days doing Celtics games with Jamie’s father Johnny Most, was a true highlight of the week. Great memories and sound clips from my youth, including Johnny setting his pants on fire, and trying to pronounce the names of Yugoslavian players over in Madrid in 1988.

Rob Bradford is kicking butt and taking names at the Lawrence Eagle Tribune. It doesn’t always get noticed because of the ET’s weird online publishing schedule, but he has been at the front of every story this offseason, including an exclusive with John Henry, the fact that the Red Sox hired a consultant to examine Lucchino’s role with the team, the Sox being interested in Jeremy Reed and today’s story about a Coco Crisp trade with Cleveland being contingent on Nomar signing with the Indians.

Finally the Boston Globe Reader Panel sent out the following questionnaire recently:

The Boston Globe and Boston.com are considering launching a special online section called Sportsplus in early 2006. Sportsplus would be the essential resource for news, opinions and discussion about New England's sports teams, produced daily by the country's best sports writers.
Would potentially include:

a) Daily columns by Bob Ryan, Dan Shaughnessy, Jackie MacMullan or other Boston Globe sports columnists
b) Sports feature stories, pre-game and post-game analysis
c) Sports articles from opposing teams' newspaper web sites
d) Daily Blogs such as Reiss's Pieces, Extra Bases and Net Minders
e) Game-time Blog by Boston Globe reporter
f) Blogs by players and managers
g) Opportunities to submit questions and comments directly to Globe sports writers
h) Monthly online chats with sports writers from The Boston Globe
i) MP3 recordings of live interviews
j) An email that alerts you about the subjects of new articles
k) A scrolling banner on the Sportsplus home page that highlights key articles or breaking news
l) Access to archived articles from The Boston Globe, including organized collections of articles
m) Access to archived photos from The Boston Globe, and the ability to create your own photo gallery, screen saver or electronic greeting card
n) Poll other subscribers on subjects chosen by you
o) Opportunities to attend live interviews of players, coaches and managers
p) Opportunities to attend live player panel discussions
q) Opportunities to be in the audience during NESN broadcast tapings
r) Venues for subscribers to meet at games

If this potential product were launched, the exclusive content and access provided through Sportsplus would be available for free to those who subscribe to The Boston Globe printed newspaper. Others could subscribe to Sportsplus for a low monthly or annual fee. Those who do not subscribe to The Boston Globe printed newspaper or the Sportsplus section of Boston.com would no longer have access to Boston Globe sports columnists or the other benefits noted in the previous question through the main Boston.com web site. Based on a fee of $5.95 per month, or $49.95 per year for access to Sportsplus, what would you do?
--------------------------------------------------------------------

More from Paidcontent.org.

While there are some intriguing ideas here, I don’t see this going over very well should it be implemented. In fact, some people may rejoice that they can no longer read certain columnists…

The Globe Ombudsman might be a good person to contact to voice your opinion on this.

Pats, Brady Prepare for Bucs

The Patriots continue their preparations for tomorrow afternoon’s game with the Tampa Bay Bucs. John Tomase has a mini-feature on Pats receiver Deion Branch. Tomase also breaks down one pass play between Branch and Tom Brady to show how in sync the two are with each other. Jim Donaldson says to put your money on Tom Brady playing tomorrow. Michael Parente also reports on Brady and whether he is going to play tomorrow.

Ian M Clark notes that the weather won’t be all the chilly for the Bucs tomorrow afternoon, perhaps taking a small advantage away from the Patriots. Christopher Price looks at the Patriots defense appearing to round into form at the right time. Tony Massarotti looks at the Patriots success in December in recent years and how this year could follow the same pattern. Massarotti looks at Tom Ashworth preparing to make the move to left tackle if needed. Albert Breer looks at the strong work of the offensive line behind the leadership of Dante Scarnecchia.

Fluto Shinzawa has a look at the Tampa Bay defense, which is simple, yet constant and very effective. Tom E Curran has a look at Tampa QB Chris Simms and how the youngster making his 10th career start tomorrow is playing like an old veteran. Alan Greenberg looks at Jon Gruden’s first return to Foxboro since the snow game. Eric McHugh has more from Gruden on Foxboro and the snow game. Hector Longo also has a look at Gruden and his many faces.

Tomase’s notebook has Vince Wilfork expecting that the crowd will be loud at Gillette tomorrow. The Globe notebook looks at Tom Brady’s preparations for tomorrow, and the depth on the offensive line. Curran’s notebook says that the signs seem to indicate the Brady will play tomorrow. McHugh’s notebook looks at what the Bucs can expect from Doug Flutie if he is called upon to play tomorrow. Parente’s notebook has Wilfork spending a little extra time in the film room as of late.

Kevin Paul Dupont and Steve Conroy each report on the Bruins beating the Minnesota Wild last night 3-2. Conroy has a look at former Bruin Brian Rolston, now thriving in Minnesota. Dupont’s notebook looks at injured defenseman Nick Boynton making the trip with his teammates. Conroy’s notebook has Mike Sullivan sitting down veteran defenseman Jiri Slegr.

Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer each look at Raef LaFrentz this morning, as the Celtics big man has been struggling and demoted to the second unit. He’d would like a little clearer definition of his role from coach Doc Rivers. Scott Souza has more on LaFrentz. On the other hand, Mark Blount’s stock has been rising as of late, and Bulpett also has a bit on him. Rob Bradford says that the Celtics have dealt for troubled stars in the past, could Ron Artest be another? Springer’s notebook has more on Blount and his return to the starting lineup, where he is being paired with Kendrick Perkins. Bulpett’s notebook looks at the difference a little defense can make for the Celtics.

Michael Silverman reports that the Red Sox are still looking at trying to get in on the Miguel Tejada trade talks, but that the Red Sox don’t want to give up a pitcher and prospect in addition to Manny Ramirez. He also looks at Larry Lucchino’s appearance on WEEI yesterday where he had some strong words for the Herald. Lenny Megliola wonders when Theo is going to let us know if he is coming back or not. Dan Shaughnessy has a look at Bill Mueller leaving Boston and how with all the other events surrounding the Red Sox, this got almost no attention. Joe McDonald has a piece on Kelly Shoppach working hard this winter in an effort to win the backup catcher spot with the Red Sox behind Jason Varitek. Dom Amore has Mike Myers trying to recruit Johnny Damon to join him with the Yankees. Steve Buckley (subscription only) looks at how Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer both played baseball in the New England Small Conference Athletic Conference.

Scott’s Shots has reader reaction to the Pete Sheppard email from last week. John Howell looks at Phil Simms, who would like to keep his family life private, but that is something hard to do when you’re a retired NFL QB now working in TV, and your son is a starting NFL QB. The Globe’s Sports Media column for this week is by Mark Blaudschun and it looks at WEEI naming Mike Adams to the evening slot.

Be sure to check back this afternoon for this week’s edition of BSMW SporTView. It should be up around 2:00.