A busy day today in the world of Boston sports, unfortunately, it’s not all good times.

Steve Bulpett reports on the shocking death of Celtics great Dennis Johnson at the age of 52, and gets reaction from his teammates from those great 80’s teams. Shira Springer looks at the death which shocked and saddened many around the NBA. Desmond Connor says that there are players with more natural talent than Dennis Johnson, but they don’t compare to him. Lenny Megliola has a farewell to the player Larry Bird called the best he ever played with.

Jackie MacMullan has a tremendous piece on DJ, and how he always rose to the occasion when it mattered most. Bulpett also has a very nice appreciation piece on Johnson, and how his memory will stand forever in the Celtics pantheon. Mike Szostak remembers DJ for his free throws, socks and playoff performances. Tim Weisberg says that Johnson provided himself to be two things over the course of his career, a fighter and a winner. The Herald has a page of reaction to DJ’s death from friends and colleagues.

I’d like to give a nod to Big Show producers Andy Massaua and Brett Erickson, as well as the whiner line callers, for the tribute to DJ in that segment of the show yesterday. It got a little dusty in my car in those minutes yesterday. Well done guys.

The hosts of the show did their best on the topic, but it was a day in which Glenn Ordway would’ve shone with his stories of the 1980’s Celtics. Pete Sheppard did a good job of leading the discussion, but Larry Johnson and Steve Buckley weren’t always up to the task. When Cedric Maxwell was on the show and mentioned that he had just talked to Gerald Henderson, Johnson asked if they had talked about “that great game where Bird stole the ball” and passed it to DJ…Maxwell gently reminded him that neither he nor Henderson were with the Celtics at that point.

Bulpett has Danny Ainge feeling OK that he didn’t make a trade before yesterday’s deadline.


Mike Reiss reports that Corey Dillon has asked the Patriots for his release, which will be granted and he intends to retire. However…Albert Breer reports after talking with Dillon’s agent, that the running back will see what other opportunities are out there in the NFL during the free agent period. In either case, it appears that Mike Felger won’t have to fear going by #28 locker anymore.

If you’re curious about who the experts think that the Patriots might draft in April, stop by the Patriots Game Day page, where Scott Benson has compiled six of the more accurate mock drafts together into one sheet and tried to come to some sort of consensus on the players the Patriots would be interested in.

Eric McHugh looks at the apparent decision by Tedy Bruschi to return for another season with the Patriots.

Red Sox

A cynic might think Curt Schilling is pretty mad that DJ died yesterday and pushed Schilling off the headlines and airwaves. After his announcement on the Dennis & Callahan show that he would file for free agency this fall, WEEI had been all Schilling talk prior to the news that Johnson had died. Many callers and most of the hosts were of the opinion that the Red Sox were making a mistake in not extending Schilling now.

Gordon Edes looks at the decision by the Red Sox not to extend Schilling until after the season. Jon Couture says that there is just no point in the Red Sox rushing to sign Schilling at this point. Jeff Horrigan has Schilling a little irked by the “business decision” made by Theo Epstein and the Red Sox management. Steven Krasner has more on the Red Sox decision not to extent Schilling. Tony Massarotti examines the Red Sox wait and see tactic with Schilling. Jeff Goldberg notes Schilling’s resolve to test the free agent market next fall after the Red Sox decision. Joe Haggerty looks at Schilling being set to walk after 2007.

David Scott reports from Spring Training with a look at the goings on yesterday, as well as a look at the FSNNE operations in Florida.

Krasner has a look at Daisuke Matsuzaka taking a heavy workload early on in camp. Massarotti says that the Red Sox are OK with the latest Manny Ramirez drama. Haggerty has Manny’s mates, including Mike Lowell support him. Horrigan has teammate reaction to Manny.
Dan Shaughnessy tells us that covering the Red Sox is like doing layups on an eight foot rim. There’s always something going on which makes it so easy he can do it in his sleep. Which he apparently does pretty often.

Edes’ notebook has Daisuke Matsuzaka dreaming about the Red Sox signing Ichiro Suzuki after the latter becomes a free agent next fall. Horrigan’s notebook has Matsuzaka extending his bullpen session to 103 pitches. Most pitchers at this stage are throwing 35-40 pitches. Krasner’s notebook says that Manny won’t be going to the car auction tomorrow after all.


Stephen Harris reports that a new contract for Marco Sturm is all but done. Fluto Shinzawa has Peter Chiarelli surprised that none of his colleagues made a deal at the recent GM meetings.