A busy day today with Patriots coverage as well as the Celtics pulling out a win in New York and being rumored to be a player in the Allen Iverson sweepstakes. The Red Sox go West to meet with Scott Boras and Bruins rookie Phil Kessel might be the second Boston rookie this year to find himself in the fight of his life.

John Molori has an interview with Jackie MacMullan, the fine columnist for the Boston Globe. She talks about her background, getting into the business, challenges she has faced over the years and her philosophy on sports writing.

Patriots

Michael Felger has his weekly Patriots report card and two of the students, the receivers and the offensive line flunked out against Miami. Ian Clark also has a report card and in his version, the O-Line also has a failing grade while the receivers are barely above flunking out.

Gerry Callahan says that the Patriots have wasted a year of Tom Brady’s prime, having not given him the weapons and tools he needs on offense to make things run smoothly. This was all stuff Gerry was talking about on the radio yesterday. Callahan often takes the opposite tact of many writers who appear on WEEI. Guys like Steve Buckley will write a controversial story the day they are scheduled to appear on WEEI so their story will be the center of attention. Gerry takes what he’s already talked about on the air and make it into a story for the next day’s paper. Jim Donaldson says that Sunday was the beginning of the end of the 2006 season, which he says most certainly will not end in a Super Bowl title.

Albert Breer says that those who cry that Sunday was “just one game” are missing the overall picture of how the Patriots have been playing over the last month. Christopher L Gasper looks at how critical the loss of Vince Wilfork would be to the Patriots if he is out for any length of time. Joe McDonald says that the Patriots are doing what they do best, putting last week behind them and focusing on this week’s opponent. Lenny Megliola says that streaky play is common in the NFL, we’ve just been spoiled by the Patriots of recent years. He says there is still time to right the ship.

Rich Garven says that usually when December rolls around the Patriots are hitting their stride, this year he says they need to find some pride, take some pride in their work or else they might have only one game in January. Alan Greenberg says that the Patriots can pretty much forget about getting a first round bye after their performance on Sunday. Michael Parente has Bill Belichick trying to put the loss into perspective, noting that his team is still 9-4 and in good position.

Steve Buckley looks at Tom Brady keeping an even keel and refusing to blame his teammates for the debacle in Miami. He compares Brady to Tim Wakefield not blaming Josh Bard early in the Red Sox season when the latter was having trouble catching the knuckleball.

Chad Finn has a First and 10 thoughts article on the Patriots/Dolphins game.

Breer’s notebook leads off with more on the injury to Wilfork. Gasper’s notebook has a look at how second year man Ellis Hobbs is still learning about life in the NFL. McDonald’s notebook has more on the questions surrounding Wilfork’s status for this week.

Celtics

The Celtics ran out to a 30 point lead last night at Madison Square Garden, and barely managed to hold on, eventually winning 97-90 over the Knicks. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 31 points while Al Jefferson had 14 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.

Shira Springer has the Celtics managing to hold the fort last night getting the win. Mark Murphy notes that the Celtics had just enough big plays to hold off the Knick rally down the stretch. Desmond Connor says that the Knicks and Celtics have a ways to go to renew their rivalry of the 70’s and 80’s. I experimented with a live blog of Celtics/Knicks last night for the FSN Nothing But Net Blog. It’s clearly a concept in progress. Get the game stories from the enemy perspective on the New York Sports Pages.

Bob Ryan looks at just what any team is in for should they acquire Allen Iverson. Bill Reynolds says that the Celtics have offered Theo Ratliff, Al Jefferson, Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair to the Sixers for Iverson.

Murphy has a few Celtics offering mixed opinions on the new basketball being used, which the league announced is being scrapped at the beginning of the new year. Springer has more on the league going back to the leather ball after receiving complaints from players on the composite ball.

Murphy’s notebook has the players aware of the AI trade rumors, but doing their best not to pay any attention to them. Springer’s notebook has more on the trade discussion and how it is effecting the team.

Red Sox

Michael Silverman reports on the Daisuke Matsuzaka negotiations with Scott Boras and the Red Sox holding separate press conferences last night in California to say they’re still working on getting something done. Gordon Edes has the Red Sox taking the fight to Boras after being frustrated at the lack of movement in the negotiations.

Nick Cafardo says that Boras’ demands are way out of line and not fair to his client. Nick with an anti-agent article? What universe did I wake up in this morning? Jon Couture also has a look at the Red Sox preparing a “record offer” for Matsuzaka and stressing how important it is to get the job done.

Mike Fine says that Theo Epstein still has time to set the 2007 Red Sox up in good position. A blog entry from Michael Silverman reports that the Red Sox will be inviting another Japanese pitcher to spring training, 38-year-old Masumi Kuwata.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa and Kevin Paul Dupont (with a NESN video) report on the condition of Bruins rookie Phil Kessel, who was hospitalized yesterday. David Scott takes a look at Steve Burton reporting that Kessel has been diagnosed with testicular cancer. He also looks at what promises to be a crazy day in Red Sox coverage. Karen Guregian has more on Kessel’s medical battle.

Shinzawa’s notebook and Guregian’s notebook each look at Hannu Toivonen working his way back into the goaltending mix for the Bruins.

NESN has Bruins @ Candiens at 7:30. Versus has Sabres @ Devils at 7:00.

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