Monday Links and Weekend Highlights

John Molori reported over the weekend that 7NBC is about to hire Larry Ridley, who is currently working for WSVN in southern Florida, to fill their full time sports anchor opening.

John Tomase writes that with a playoff berth all but assured for the Patriots, they’ve got five major areas to work on between now and the start of the playoffs. Mike Reiss talks to a number of national NFL experts about how the Patriots have looked thus far, and what their potential is for the rest of the season. Alan Greenberg has a look at Asante Samuel, whose work and film study continue to pay off for the 25-year-old cornerback in the form of interceptions and better tackling this season. Ron Chimelis says that Monday Night Football just isn’t the same now that it doesn’t have the “premier” game each week.

Yesterday, Ian Clark pondered just what we have in the 4-1 Patriots. Michael Parente says that chemistry is a big part of the Patriots success thus far this season. Hector Longo had a piece on Salem, N.H., native Nicholas Krippendor, whose job these days is trying to make sure that the Patriots become China’s team. Bill Reynolds had a look at how Lawrence Taylor was really responsible for the evolution of the left tackle position in the NFL.

Shira Springer has Doc Rivers looking to trim the number of injuries he has on his team, as well as cutting the roster down a little bit to clear some room. Steve Bulpett has Rivers saying that Delonte West will be used mostly as a “2” guard this season. The BSMW Full Court Press is back in operation for another season, under a new steward. I’d like to thank Jon Duke for his work in the past on the page (He’ll still be a contributor, but has moved onto another opportunity.) and welcome Mike Martin aboard as the new editor of the site. We hope to have the first edition of a Celtics roundtable discussion posted sometime today on the site.

Mike Fine had a piece on Gerald Green, who spent much of his summer in various basketball camps, trying to improve his game. Peter May had Rivers saying that Green might not yet be ready for prime time minutes. Bulpett’s NBA notes had a look at Larry Bird, who has his hands full trying to deal with Pacer Stephen Jackson and the rest of his club. May’s Basketball Notes also looked at the Pacers, but at former Celtic Orien Greene, whom the Pacers are very impressed with. In a couple quick looks at the Luke Jackson trade from Saturday, May said Danny Ainge has always been a Jackson fan, while Bulpett noted that the trade will save the Celtics some money.

Bob Ryan enjoyed the Mets’ sixth inning explosion last night. Michael Silverman has the A’s once again missing out on postseason magic.

Tony Massarotti’s Baseball Notes has us preparing for another offseason arms race. Dan Shaughnessy had a look at the Tigers once again being among the elite teams in baseball. Nick Cafardo’s Baseball Notes looked at what 2007 might hold for Barry Bonds in terms of where the slugger might play what should be his last season in baseball. The Orioles were mentioned as a possibility.

Sunday’s Globe notebook reported on the firing of Steve Lyons by FOX after Friday night’s game in which the former Red Sox infielder “made made what the network deemed insensitive racial remarks” on the air during the telecast. Michael Hiestand and Richard Sandomir have more on the Lyons firing, with the former article including reaction from Lyons who feels he was not given a chance to explain himself to Fox executives.

Fluto Shinzawa reports on the struggling Bruins trying to shake things up early in the season and find combinations that are going to work. Karen Guregian says that the Bruins have not followed their stated plan to be a team that is tough to play against for 60 minutes. Douglas Flynn had the Providence Bruins being built this year more as a breeding ground for future stars rather than a stash of veteran NHL retreads. Kevin Paul Dupont’s Hockey Notes had some early impressions of the young season. He notes that this “new and improved” Bruins club looks an awful lot like last year’s edition thus far.

Versus has Lightning/Hurricanes at 7:00. FOX has Mets/Cardinals at 8:00. ESPN has Bears/Cardinals at 8:30.

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Weekend Watch – Bye Week for Patriots

This is a weekend to broaden our horizons. Check out some other NFL teams. Watch some postseason baseball. Maybe rake some leaves before what happened to Buffalo this week (Over a foot of snow) happens to us.

The Patriots are in the bye week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix of the team, Patriots All Access is on Saturday night at 7:00 and Sunday morning at 10:00 on WCVB channel 5. This week’s edition features the following:

  • An extended one-on-one conversation with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
  • Bill Belichick examines the effectiveness of the Patriots run defense vs Miami on the Belestrator.
  • And with the bye week upon us, Corey Dillon, Rodney Harrison, Tully-Banta-Cain and Bam Childress compete to see who is the best Madden game player on the team.

Keep up with any Patriots news from the weekend on the Patriots Daily Links page.

CBS has the NFL doubleheader this weekend. Here’s the weekly maps to check who will see what game: CBS Early Game, CBS Late Game and Fox Single Game.

Here’s your College Football TV Schedule to plot out your Saturday viewing with. For the Florida/Auburn game Saturday night, ESPN is employing their “Full Circle” coverage. (See Larry Stewart’s column in the Los Angeles Times linked below)

Weekend Viewing Highlights

Friday
Celtics/Cavs Preseason Hoops, 7:30-FSN. Mets/Cardinals NLCS Game 2, FOX-8:05

Saturday
NASCAR, Bank of America 500, Noon-NBC. A’s/Tigers ALCS Game 4, FOX-4:30. Mets/Cardinals NLCS Game 3, FOX-8:05. Bruins/Islanders NESN-7:00,

Sunday
Giants/Falcons, FOX-1:00, Texans/Cowboys, CBS-1:00, Jets/Dolphins CBS-4:15. Raiders/Broncos NBC-8:15, A’s/Tigers ALCS Game 5 (if necessary) FOX-4:40, Mets/Cardinals NLCS Game 4 FOX-8:05.

Full listings can be found in the Globe Weekend Sports Guide.

Notes and Observations

With the Patriots signing Dan Koppen to a new contract extension this week, it gives some members of the media a chance to display how hypocritical they really can be. Check out Michael Felger’s questions to Koppen as chronicled by John Tomase. The question in particular that galls is this one “Why sign early and not maximize value as a free agent? Could you have gotten more on the open market?” Felger is the same one who has been railing on about how the Patriots should’ve “locked up” Deion Branch and Adam Vinatieri and others before their contracts became an issue or they hit free agency. Now that the Patriots have done this with Koppen, locking him up before he hits the market, Felger appears to be questioning why Koppen wouldn’t be smart enough to wait for free agency. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…that’s how things work apparently. What’s more, it appears that the perception from the media is that if a player re-signs with the Patriots, he must be taking a below-market deal. That idea was thrown out there several times on Thursday, with Felger even proclaiming on FSN that the Patriots are lucky that they have players willing to do this. Did Koppen actually take a below-market deal? Mike Reiss was the only one who seemed to try and figure out whether this was actually the case. And are the Patriots “lucky” to have players like this, or do they seek them out?

Congrats to Tony Massarotti who was officially promoted to the position of general columnist at the Boston Herald. He had been tackling sports other than baseball recently and I actually thought his promotion had already happened. It’s good to see a solid guy working his way up at the paper.

As noted by David Scott this morning, the Hartford Courant has switched the roles of David Heuschkel and Jeff Goldberg. Heuschkel will now cover the Lady UConn Huskies basketball team, while Goldberg moves to the Red Sox beat. In the article making the announcement in the paper, Heuschkel notes the demands of covering the Red Sox, and decided it was time to take on a new and different challenge. At almost any other paper moving from an MLB beat to a womens college basketball beat would be a demotion, but with the incredible popularity and success of the UConn women, this is at the very least a sideways move. Goldberg has filled in on the Red Sox beat in the past and done a very credible job. I look forward to reading him on a daily basis next season.

First, Football Outsiders teamed up with FoxSports.com. Now, Cold, Hard Football Facts will be working with MSNBC.com, which will be running a package of Cold, Hard Football Facts content looking at teams playing in NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast each week. The package will include a story related to the game, along with a local recipe and beer from one of the participating cities.

They’ll also be running more CHFF features from time to time. The first feature is here.

I’d like to thank Steve Burton for my best laugh of the week. On Thursday’s Big Show on WEEI, the panel was discussing various “risky” activities that athletes engage in which might make owners nervous and want to prohibit them from doing contractually. Carrying a gun was discussed and someone brought up the Second Amendment – the right to bear arms. So they were attempting to state that athletes have a constitutional right to carry a licensed gun. Burton then very earnestly chimed in regarding Cory Lidle “He had a license to fly a plane – that’s a constitutional right too!!”

Site Announcement

We’re gearing up for the next BSMW Fall Fund Drive, which will take place next month. We’re looking for individuals or businesses that might be interested in donating prizes that can be given away to contributors to the drive. So far we’ve received a few books, as well as gift certificates and cards. The grand prize is going to be a Sling Media Slingbox, which I will be purchasing for the winner of the drawing held at the end of the drive. If you’re interested in donating a prize, please contact me at funddrive@bostonsportsmedia.com.

Now, onto our weekly media links from around the country:

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt reports on CN8’s expansion in the local sports coverage scene, as the cable giant tries to use it’s own station to try and compete with the big guns of local sports coverage. David Scott looks at NESN letting go a pair of anchors, and also examines the growing trend of writers leaving newspaper to go to work for internet sites. John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at New England getting a taste of ESPN’s “The Contender 2” show with a fight being taped in Providence at the Dunkin Donuts Center. John Howell examines how Cory Lidle’s death has really put the spotlight on his last interview with Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN. He also looks at some Patriots and NFL ratings in the Connecticut area.

New York

Phil Mushnick says again that you just can’t believe what you hear from TV sports announcers, though you’re expected to take it as gospel. Think the pitch speed readings on TV this postseason have been a bit high? Richard Sandomir examines why that is. Neil Best prepares for more late nights of baseball watching. Earlier this week he also had a piece on Mike Francesa lamenting his final words to Cory Lidle. Andrew Marchand reports on FOX adding Joe Girardi as a pregame analyst for the World Series. Marchand’s Memo of the Week praises ESPN for the Bill Buckner/Mookie Wilson Outside the Lines program last Sunday. Bob Raissman looks at FOX facing some dismal ratings numbers for postseason baseball. Jane McManus reports on sports coming to MTV with a high school football documentary and a highlights show created with a nod to the old ABC “Wide World of Sports.”

More Eastern Columns

Aaron Bracy spent some time in the FOX production truck prior to the Eagles/Cowboys game last Sunday and reports back to us what the experience was like. He has links to Philadelphia writers remembering Cory Lidle in his blog entry for today. Laura Nachman has more media reaction to Lidle’s tragedy this week. Michael Hiestand looks at ABC/ESPN gearing up to take on NASCAR broadcasts again starting next season. The networks also announced that Brent Musburger(!) will serve as the studio hosts for the broadcasts. Hiestand has a couple other interesting items in that column as well. Michael McCarthy says that live, on-site NFL pre-game shows are not leaving themselves enough of a safety net…the potential is there for an ugly incident. Jim Williams looks at the BETJ show “The Christies Committed” starring Doug Christie and wife Jackie. Chris Zelkovich looks at Canadian golf fans losing out as TSN fails to come to an agreement with the Golf Channel.

South

Dave Darling looks at ESPN’s PTI turning five later this month…an eternity for ESPN shows. Jim Sarni leads his extensive column off with FOX promoting the BCS (which they will broadcast) by showing the standings each week in their NFL postgame show. Barry Jackson reports on the rivalry between WQAM and 790 the Ticket getting ugly with a lawsuit between the parent companies of the stations over former Dolphin Troy Stradford breaking a non-compete agreement and switching stations in the course of a month’s time. David Barron reports on Sunday’s Texans/Cowboys game where fans will be able to send messages to servicemen overseas thanks to the radio broadcast being streamed online. He also has some interesting numbers for how NFL teams do ratings-wise in their local markets. Pittsburgh is tops with a 48.2. Barry Horn looks at the curious decision by Texas and Oklahoma to decline the offer to have their game moved to ABC’s prime time Saturday Night Football telecast.

Midwest

Ed Sherman has Ken Harrelson gushing over the idea of Lou Piniella becoming the next manager of the Cubs. Judd Zulgad reports on the latest moves by the Twins in their process of bringing their radio broadcasts in-house. Dan Caesar looks at the Cardinals finally getting in a LCS where they’ll get the lead broadcast team from FOX. Bob Wolfley looks at former Wisconsin coach Barry Alverez joining FOX’s BCS coverage.

West Coast

Larry Stewart looks at ESPN gearing up for another “Full Circle” college football presentation on Saturday with the Florida/Auburn game. He also has a piece on USC’s Brandon Hancock, who had his playing career cut short with an injury in August, but who is getting a jump start on his broadcasting career by landing a role on the team’s radio broadcasts. In that article, Stewart has a Petros Papadakis update. Jay Posner reports on Ted Leitner extending his 27 year run as a Padres broadcaster by a couple more years. John Maffei notes that Matt Vasgersian is drawing a lot of interest around baseball for his services in the TV booth. Joe Davidson has Sacramento Kings announcers Gary Gerould, Jim Kozimor and Grant Napear discussing the proposed downtown arena for the team and the ugly possibility that the franchise could move if the arena doesn’t get built. Jim Carlisle looks at LCS games being pushed to cable on FX, and how next season MLB will have a different look on TV. Michael Lev reports on FOX having troubles with their Fox Box during the USC-Washington game last weekend, and how they scrambled to try and resolve the situation.

NESN Trimming Back

David Scott reports on NESN quietly letting go two of their anchors. He also looks at more newspapers writers jumping to internet jobs, a trend that seems to be growing quickly. He winds things up with his usual assortment of notes and observations.

John Molori’s Media Blitz has a look at ESPN’s “The Contender 2” coming into New England this weekend with a fight between Peter Manfredo, Jr. and cross-town rival Joey Spina. He also reports on 1510 the Zone landing the Boston College Hockey broadcasts and Revolution announcer Brad Feldman and Revs goaltender Matt Reis finding themselves in the roles of villains down in DC.

The Patriots Game Day Roundtable will be posted as soon as I get my portion of the answers back to the boss.

Mike Reiss and John Tomase report on the Patriots taking care of some business during the bye week, inking center Dan Koppen to a new five year contract. Michael Felger has an interesting look this morning at Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees, and suggests that Eric Mangini’s defection to the Jets may have actually been a good thing for the Patriots. Dan Shaughnessy looks at the relationship between Bill Belichick and Tony LaRussa.

Mark Murphy notes that the Celtics are still at the stage of trying to find an identity, and while there have been impressive stretches in the first two preseason games, especially from rookie Rajon Rondo, it is still October, and the team is more sizzle than steak at this point. However, Shira Springer seems convinced of the rookie’s skills, saying that “the Celtics have someone special in Rondo” and that “Rondo is for real.” Murphy’s notebook has Doc Rivers being patient as Delonte West works his way back from injury.

Michael Vega and Steve Conroy report on Boston College’s impressive 22-3 domination of Virginia Tech on ESPN last night.

Check back later for media links and a weekend preview…

Getaway Day

Karen Guregian looks at Tedy Bruschi, almost a full year since returning from his stroke. He talks about how some (Hello, John Dennis!) were critical of his return and how he had to push through all that, but still has some lingering feelings of animosity towards those critics. Eric McHugh has a report card on the Patriots for the first five games of the season.

Alan Greenberg looks at Jabar Gaffney as the former Florida wideout looks to fit in and contribute to the Patriots remodeled receiving unit. John Tomase has a look at cornerback Chad Scott, who has brought size and toughness to the cornerback position for the Patriots this season. Bob Duffy has a piece on fullback Heath Evans, whom he says is more of a full back, because he really has the full assortment of skills that is perfect for the Patriots. Guregian checks in with Tom Brady before the QB heads down to NY to spend a few days with girlfriend Bridget Moynahan.

Albert Breer has Bill Belichick talking about what happens when a QB gets a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage. It’s not always the fault of the passer. Shalise Manza Young looks at why play in the red zone is so much quicker and condensed, with little room for error. Ian Clark has the Patriots players looking forward to having a few days off. Michael Parente has more on the players eager to get out the door and start their mini-vacation. Glen Farley details what some of the various Patriots players intend to do with their time off.

Tomase’s notebook has Richard Seymour addressing the state of the team and their title hopes. Mike Reiss’ notebook has Vince Wilfork talking about the Patriots run defense, of which he is a key ingredient. Young’s notebook has more from Evans speaking on the evolution of the fullback position.

The Celtics moved onto Toronto for their second preseason game last night and dropped a 118-112 overtime decision to the Raptors. Rookie point guard Rajon Rondo was once again the story of this game, as he scored 29 points to the lead the Celtics, including hitting a three pointer at the buzzer in regulation to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Mark Murphy’s notebook looks at the small lineup that Doc Rivers had on the floor for much of the fourth quarter and overtime last night. Shira Springer looks at Doc Rivers choosing to rest Wally Szczerbiak and Theo Ratliff last night with the early back-to-back schedule. The Toronto Star has a game story from Doug Smith, and also a quarter-by-quarter recap of the game on their website.

Mark Murphy looks at center Michael Olowokandi, who says that his increased energy on the court thus far is simply due to being more healthy, rather than any motivation stemming from facing the possible end of his career. You can get these links as well as a preview of the centers position for the Celtics over on the FSN Nothing But Net Celtics blog.

The Bruins are still trying to put their pieces together to form a coherent team, and there will be stumbles along the way. They took a step back last night in Atlanta, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Thrashers. Fluto Shinzawa and Stephen Harris have the game stories. Shinzawa’s notebook and Harris’ notebook each look at goaltender Hannu Toivonen being struck by a puck in the throat during a morning shooting drill.

Chad Finn offers up 10 Half Formed Opinions for you.

The Cory Lidle tragedy dominated the airwaves nationally yesterday and will likely do so again today. Check the New York city coverage on the New York Sports Pages. Locally Gordon Edes and Nick Cafardo as well as Tony Massarotti get player reaction to the news, with Massarotti checking in with Curt Schilling via email. Dan Shaughnessy also has a column on the tragedy.

Michael Vega has a look at BC quarterback Matt Ryan.

ESPN has Virgina Tech/Boston College at 7:30. NESN has Bruins/Blues at 8:00. FOX has Cardinals/Mets at 8:00.

Gators in the Water at Foxboro

Bill Barnwell examines a theory espoused by Bill Simmons in a recent column that rushing quarterbacks have a shorter shelf life than pocket passers – only five or six years. The results – backed by plenty of data – are pretty interesting, especially if you’re looking into making a QB pickup in fantasy football.

The Patriots will likely use some of their bye week time to get Tom Brady more familiar with his new receivers. That would include newly signed Jabar Gaffney, who says his wife is a big Brady fan. Shalise Manza Young has a look at the Florida product, who was a late cut by the Eagles in training camp this summer after signing with them as a free agent. Dan Pires has more on Gaffney, the latest Florida Gator receiver to end up with the Patriots. Glen Farley says that Troy Brown’s numbers thus far underscore the lack of depth in the Patriots receivers which highlights the need for someone like Gaffney to step in and produce.

Another receiver from Florida is trying to make a bigger impact with the Patriots, that being rookie Chad Jackson, who talked to the media for really the first time this season yesterday. Mike Reiss has Jackson saying that health is the only thing that has held him back thus far. John Tomase has a bit stronger of a take on the topic, with a tale of maturity issues and Jackson’s agent defending his client against the speculation that he’s holding himself back. Albert Breer has Jackson saying all the criticism aimed towards him is crazy. Michael Parente has Jackson hoping to feel better after the bye week.

Eric McHugh examines the Patriots success in converting fourth downs thus far this season, where they are six for eight in that area. Steve Buckley has a piece on Rodney Harrison, who will enjoy the bye week with a few days of being a couch potato, resting his body on the couch. Christopher Price has Bill Belichick seeking out lessons and advice from many of the great coaches and managers in sports. Buckley also talks to Rosevelt Colvin, who has a few days of yard work and home repair projects in front of him for the bye week. Glen Farley has the Pats saying that the bye is coming at a good time.

Young’s notebook has Belichick proclaiming his allegiance to Tony La Russa and the St. Louis Cardinals. Tomase’s notebook has more on Gaffney. Reiss’s notebook, which is quite extensive, leads off with more from Belichick on La Russa. McHugh’s notebook has Belichick giving high marks to Laurence Maroney despite the rookie only picking up 38 yards against the Dolphins. Parente’s notebook has more on Belichick rooting for the Cardinals in the MLB playoffs.

Yeah, it’s only the first preseason game, and LeBron James didn’t even play for most of it, but those of you who watched the Celtics knock off the Cavaliers last night 109-93 had to come away impressed with what you saw from the team, especially from rookie point guard Rajon Rondo and second year guard Gerald Green.

Mark Murphy’s notebook says that the Celtics weren’t too concerned with who was or wasn’t on the floor for the Cavs, they’re trying to build their own identity and made a decent start towards that last night. Shira Springer reports on Kendrick Perkins’ offseason progress as well as what happened on the court last night in Cleveland for the Celtics.

Mike Fine also has a look at Perkins, who knows what his role is going to be with the Celtics. Mark Murphy has a look at Gerald Green, who spent the summer growing up at John Lucas’ summer camp in Houston and has come into training camp a totally different player and person. Jim Fenton has a look at Sebastian Telfair. (It was funny hearing Mike Gorman refer to him as “Bassie” on the telecast last night…I think I’m going to need time to adjust to that.)

Bud Barth reports that Hannu Toivonen will get his second straight start in new for the Bruins tonight. Karen Guregian has a look at Marc Savard, who will be facing his old club tonight in Atlanta.

Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has more on Toivonen getting the start again. Guregian’s notebook has Zdeno Chara ready to serve as protector for any of his teammates.

Gordon Edes has the tale of Red Sox scout Ernie Jacobs, who urged then-scouting director Wayne Britton to draft a kid named Albert Pujols. The Projo has a article with no byline that picks from Rob Bradford’s story in the Eagle-Tribune yesterday about Bronson Arroyo plotting his return to Boston. Jon Couture thinks that we might make too big a deal over certain managers and their importance to teams.

NESN has Bruins/Thrashers at 7:00. FSN has Celtics/Raptors at 7:00. FOX has Cardinals/Mets at 8:00 and FX has A’s/Tigers at 8:00.

Pats Say Bye for Now

Greg Doyle has a second look at the film from the Miami game.

Michael Felger has his weekly report card and seems to suggest that the Patriots are a house of cards, “making do” with a team geared around defense, but not thinking it can last. Ian Clark also hands out some grades heading into the bye week. Christopher Price has his 10 Things we Learned from Sunday.

John Tomase looks at the the difference a year makes. Last year at the bye week, the team was 3-3 and really struggling to come together. This year’s team seems well ahead of where that club was. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots heading into the bye week in good shape, with a chance to rest up for a few days. Albert Breer says that while this team has had its problems thus far, things could be a lot worse. Price says that the AFC East race is over. Rich Garven says this team has the grit to go a long ways. Michael Parente says they’d never admit it, but the Patriots are in great shape heading into the bye week.

Karen Guregian has the Patriots and their foes both complaining about the state of the Gillette Stadium field. Mike Reiss also has a look at the playing field, which stands to get more use in the coming weeks as a movie (The Game Plan) will be shot in the stadium.

Guregian also looks at Rodney Harrison showing signs on Sunday of coming back into form. Breer has a look at the trust that Tom Brady has in Troy Brown, and how the receiver has lived up to that trust thus far this season. Eric McHugh has more on Brown, a week after playing primarily defense, coming back to lead the team in receptions. Bill Burt also looks at Brown.

Reiss’ notebook has the Patriots signing free agent receiver Jabar Gaffney, who caught 55 passes for the Texans last season. Tomase’s notebook has Stephen Neal denying the rumor that he’s going to jump into the Ultimate Fighting Championship ring in the offseason. McHugh’s notebook has Mike Wright making the most of his time on the field.

Craig N Laidis has Jerry Rice congratulating UNH receiver David Ball on breaking his NCAA 1-AA touchdown reception record.

The Celtics play their first preseason game tonight, tipping off against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Shira Springer has Doc Rivers looking at this game as a chance to evaluate how the work put in during camp thus far has effected his club. Steve Bulpett has Rivers looking at players tonight, one of whom will be Ryan Gomes, who appears to have the early track on the power forward position. Bill Doyle has Sebastian Telfair ready to blossom at the point for the Celtics. Bulpett’s notebook has the Celtics trying to free some playing time in the preseason by making a cut or two possibly as soon as today.

Rich Thompson has Wayne Primeau providing an early spark to the Bruins third line. Kevin Paul Dupont has Marc Savard talking about adjusting to Boston and the progress of the Bruins special teams. Thompson’s notebook has B’s coach Dave Lewis saying he’s going to keep rotating the goalies in net.

Rob Bradford has Bronson Arroyo sending a “special” message to Curt Schilling, and also saying his plan is to re-sign with the Red Sox once he is a free agent again. David Borges has some final grades for the Red Sox.

Lenny Megliola rambles about jocks behaving badly.

Keep up with the latest Yankee soap opera on the New York Sports Pages.

Here’s a look at some of the weekend TV ratings for the Boston market. Looks like viewers enjoyed the Yankees loss on Saturday. The Bruins ratings were highest in the males 18-49 group, where they peaked at a 2.3 on Friday and a 2.1 on Saturday.

ratings100906.jpg

FSN has Celtics/Cavs at 7:00. FOX has Tigers/A’s at 8:00.Versus (the old OLN) has Flyers/Rangers at 7:00.

Weekend Watch – Columbus Day Weekend Edition

It’s a long weekend for many out there, and here in New England, the leaf peepers will be out in full force. Be prepared to drive 15mph through any scenic areas.

Football and the MLB playoffs dominate the airwaves this weekend, but the Bruins drop the puck to open the season tonight on NESN. It will be interesting to see what the viewership for the new-look club is like. For the rest of your sports viewing, the Globe has a pretty handy weekend sports guide which has almost all your basics covered. If you’re looking for what programs are available in HD, check the HD Sports Guide.

Here are your NFL coverage maps for the weekend: CBS Single Header, Fox Game 1 and Fox Game 2. (Pretty much just one game being seen nationally there.)

Peter King continues his streak of offering the worst fantasy football advice I’ve ever seen. He clearly doesn’t get the concept. Sorry Peter, I’m not going out and grabbing Bruce Gradkowski OR Damon Huard, even though they’re both very available. (Edit – As usual, I’m an idiot. I guess I have more problem with the ridiculous reasoning that King uses to make recommendations rather than the picks themselves.)

It’s not often that someone beats Mike Reiss to a Patriots story, but John Tomase did it this week with his report on Ellis Hobbs’ broken wrist. The Herald blog is overshadowed by the tremendous job that Reiss has done with his Reiss’ Pieces blog, but Tomase and Albert Breer do a pretty solid job themselves on The Point After.

Speaking of Patriots blogs, MassLive.com has a pretty good one themselves, Eye on Foxborough is written by Dan Lamothe and takes a lighter approach to coverage of the team, while still covering all the major stuff.

Our own BSMW football blog, Patriots Game Day will be updated over the weekend to give updates before and after the Miami game. You can check the newspaper and blog entries on the team on the Patriots Daily Links page.

For the view from South Florida this weekend, you can check coverage in the Miami Herald, in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Dolphins in Depth weblog.

This weekend on ESPN’s Outside the Lines Sunday Jeremy Schaap interviews Bill Buckner and Mookie Wilson about the 20th anniversary of the infamous play in the 1986 World Series game six.

Excerpts from the show:

“It just amazes me. I don’t quite get it… To me, that is part of sports, and it bothers me a little bit. I don’t think that is what sports is all about, and I don’t know if it is sending a good message to young players, you know, if you make a mistake that you are going to be criticized for 20 years.” — Bill Buckner, on the lasting image of his error 20 years later

“It baffles my mind that people want an autograph picture of that situation… I have taken a lot of heat with this thing, and I might as well get something out of it.” – Buckner, on fans paying for an autograph photo of the play

“I just think that I am a little bitter towards some of the things that have happened there. I think with the way I was treated there in the media, there is still just a little bitterness there.” – Buckner, talking about Boston

The show airs at 9:30 AM on Sunday.

Correction: The ratings numbers as reported on Tuesday need one adjustment. The rating for Sports Final was actually 3.0 – the number reported (5.9) was for the CBS4 news, which started at 11:30 – the time in which Sports Final normally airs.

Media Columns from Around the Country:

New England

John Howell has Dan Patrick talking about the steroid accusations that came from the Jason Grimsley confidential federal affidavit as revealed by the LA Times. Patrick was told three of the five names on the list back in June, including Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, but could not confirm his information, so never took it public. David Scott spent an evening at the BU College of Communication undergraduate class alongside ESPN ombudsman George Solomon. Speaking of Solomon, he had a column this week agreeing with viewers that the T.O. coverage from last week was just too much. Susan Bickelhaupt examines the challenges that broadcasters face in determining what information they can reveal ahead of time on the air after they meet with coaches and players prior to calling a game. John Molori’s Media Blitz has a source claiming that Red Sox announcer Jerry Trupiano knew all along that 2006 would be his last season with the club.

New York

Phil Mushnick notes that this year’s postseason baseball has seemed to bring out the worst in the announcers thus far, as several of them have said things that are just…stupid. (I’m really liking the Post’s new website, by the way.) Andrew Marchand has Five questions with Peter Gammons (and two more in the Post’s blog). Marchand’s Matchup of the Week looks forward to the time when we won’t have to suffer through having Chris Berman do play-by-play on postseason baseball. Richard Sandomir had a terrific piece yesterday on L.A. Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who remembers his days covering the Brooklyn Dodgers. Sandomir also has a piece on Tommy Lasorda and how the former Dodgers manager is being used a a baseball pitchman in a series of ads designed to encourage fans to watch the MLB playoffs even if their favorite team isn’t involved. Bob Raissman looks at Paul O’Neill crafting an excuse for the Yankees, perhaps without even realizing it, on the “Al Yankzeera’s postgame show” yesterday afternoon. Neil Best watches Joe Morgan as he goes through the preparation of analyzing both the Mets and Yankees games for ESPN earlier this week. He finds that Morgan is actually much more enthusiastic and passionate about the game than he comes across as on the air. Jane McManus looks at twin brothers Tom and Jerry Caraccioli (Tom used to work for the Red Sox) writing a book on the 1972 US Olympic Hockey team, which has been overshadowed by the 1980 edition, but was a story in their own right.

Mid-Atlantic

Aaron Bracy has ESPN’s Steve Phillips and Joe Morgan talking about the enigma that is Phillies outfielder Pat Burrell. He also looks at some Philadelphia sports radio ratings and has some reader feedback on his media blog. The Philly media is going to be focused on the return of Terrell Owens to the city this weekend, Laura Nachman has Jimmy Johnson saying that the Cowboys present more receiving threats other than Owens. Jim Williams has Capitals play-by-play man Joe Beninati eager for the new NHL season to start. He also reports on Cal Ripken Jr getting set to join the TBS broadcast crew for next season’s Sunday baseball game of the week. Michael Hiestand talks with
Frank Caliendo, who has been doing impersonations of other TV sports figures on the FOX NFL Pregame show. He also looks at the Sharpe brothers both not only making it in the NFL, but also making it as TV analysts.

South

Barry Jackson looks at a potential battle over broadcast rights to the Dolphins. He also looks at a few examples where it appears that local teams have tried to influence coverage of themselves. Jim Sarni looks at the aggressive coverage of the Panthers provided by WQAM, and has a number of ESPN related notes. David Barron reports on Paul Maguire returning to Texas to call the Texas/Oklahoma game Saturday with Brad Nessler and Bob Griese. He also looks at some of the inaccuracies of NBC’s Friday Night Lights program on his 4 DVRs, No Waiting weblog.

Midwest

Judd Zulgad says the ESPN made a poor decision in putting Steve Stone on the radio broadcast of this week’s Twins/A’s series instead of front and center on the TV telecasts. He says Rick Sutcliffe wasn’t up to the task. Bob Wolfley looks at ESPN’s decision to bump the Wisconsin Badgers off ESPN to ESPN360. Earlier in the week he had numbers and reaction from the Packers appearance on Monday Night Football this week. Ed Sherman looks at the task that Dan Kelly has in following Pat Foley in the Blackhawks radio booth. Former Hawk Ed Olczyk will be working with Kelly in the booth. Jeffrey Flanagan reports on some changes in the Royals broadcasting teams.

West Coast

Larry Stewart notes that the Raiders, despite having a terrible season thus far, are still getting good ratings in the Los Angeles market. This despite the fact that it seems that LA is more of a Chargers town. Stewart also says that there are plenty of reasons to stay home and watch television this weekend. Michael Lev looks at the Ducks locking up analyst Brian Hayward to a new extension and also announcing that 10 of their games will be show in HDTV this season. John Maffei has Al Michaels glad to be in San Diego to call the Chargers/Steelers game this weekend. Jay Posner has more from Michaels on the game and his transition to NBC after so many years at ABC. Jim Carlisle examines the move by CBS to bring Nick Faldo aboard their golf coverage and jettison Lanny Wadkins. Joe Davidson looks at Barry Bonds continuing to shun the media and hand out updates on his own terms.