The Bruins continue to struggle offensively, and see their playoff position weakening with each game. Last night the Bruins fell to the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Garden, 3-1.

Steve Conroy says that the Bruins continue to give the same workmanlike effort, but their biggest problem remains the scoring. John Powers says that if the Bruins miss the playoffs, they’ll look back at this one as a wasted chance.Douglas Flynn says that the Bruins are downright offensive these days. Bud Barth says that this is the Bruins worst and most prolonged scoring slump in 17 years. Tony Lee says that not even the Lightning could get the Bruins back on track.

Stephen Harris notes that the Bruins margin of error for making the playoffs is now very slim indeed. Mick Colageo asserts that the Bruins, if anything, are trying too hard to break out of their offensive woes. Mike Loftus agrees that the Bruins certainly aren’t making things easy for themselves.

Conroy’s notebook has a trio of Bruins trying to get back for the final few games – Patrice Bergeron, Manny Fernandez and Andrew Alberts. Powers’ notebook has the trio taking the ice at morning skate with their teammates. Flynn’s notebook has more on the three injured Bruins. Barth’s notebook has more on the Bruins offensive struggles. Bob Stern’s notebook says that Tim Thomas looked solid, despite the loss.

Red Sox

OK, so I enjoyed Tony Massarotti‘s column today about his getting up close to the knuckleball. So shoot me.

One of the reasons Massarotti wanted to see how difficult it is to track the knuckleball was because for most of the last 6 1/2 seasons, Doug Mirabelli has been Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher. That era appears to have come to an end with the release of Mirabelli yesterday afternoon. Art Martone says that Mirabelli was in the right place at the right time for his career here in Boston. Nick Cafardo says that while the Sox have decided Kevin Cash is the better option for now, the move really highlights the value of Jason Varitek as the main man behind the plate for the Sox. Massarotti also reports on the Sox releasing Wake’s catcher yesterday. Joe McDonald says that yesterday was a public changing of the guard, as Mirabelli had been penciled into the starting lineup and then taken out.

I’m pretty sure that only in Boston could this much coverage be given to the release of the backup catcher.

Steve Buckley has a look at Bartolo Colon, who made his debut for the Sox, and looked pretty good doing it. Buckley says that size truly doesn’t matter for Colon. Massarotti says that Red Sox officials were surprised by Colon’s arm strength in his outing yesterday. Buckley writes about the Yankees and Rays going at it again yesterday. Joe Haggerty has Jason Varitek looking ahead to what might be the final contract of his career. Maureen Mullen has former Red Sox #1 pick Rick Asadoorian trying to make it as a reliever with the Dodgers.

Goldberg’s notebook has more on the release of Mirabelli. Cafardo’s notebook looks again at the starting debut of Colon for the Red Sox. McDonald’s notebook notebook has the Sox brass impressed with what they saw from Colon. Massarotti’s notebook has Francona and Epstein sitting down with Coco Crisp.


Shirley Coshatt on the BSMW Full Court Press exclaims that Celtics Pride is back! Jackie MacMullan says that it is sure nice to have the Celtics back among the ranks of the contenders. Gerry Callahan says that while Kevin Garnett continues his march to join the all time Celtics greats, two stand above everyone else – Larry Bird and Bill Russell. Of those two, Callahan says Russell is the greatest winner ever. Mike Fine talks to Cedric Maxwell about comparing this season to Bird’s rookie season, when the Celtics went from 29 wins the season before to 61 wins when Bird arrived.

Peter May has Doc Rivers trying to conserve his team by forgoing the traditional practice sessions for almost a week. Scott Souza says that the team can benefit from these days off. Jeff Horrigan says that the Celtics defense is what sets this team apart. Jeff Clark offers up a primer of playoff basketball for newbie Celtics fans.

Yesterday’s Big Show was a perfect example of the sports acumen of the typical WEEI caller. Cedric Maxwell was talking about Larry Bird’s playing days, and how even Bird wouldn’t have asked the coach to have an extra practice, as Kevin Garnett apparently did earlier this week. An irate caller demanded to know how in the world Maxwell could possibly know what Bird was like day-to-day in his playing career. Maxwell simply answered “I was on the team.”


Christopher L. Gasper reports on how cornerback Lewis Sanders jumped at the chance to join the Patriots as a free agent this offseason. Mark Farinella writes about the apparent end to Troy Brown’s Patriots career. John Tomase reports that Brown is already getting offers from teams, but has a stipulation that the team he joins not be on the Patriots schedule next season.

Mark Blaudschun has the 11th ranked (in the ACC) Boston College Eagles stunning Maryland in the first round of the ACC Tournament last night.