Celtics Prepping for Opener in Cleveland

The Celtics start their regular season with a nationally televised game in Cleveland tomorrow night against LeBron James, Shaq, and the rest of the Cavaliers.

 Paul Flannery wonders if this is the end of the line for the big three. Bill Doyle says that this might be the last hurrah for the 30-something Celtics. Dan Duggan has one of those 30-somethings, Ray Allen, saying that he is in the best shape of his life coming into the season.

Bill Doyle has Bob Cousy saying that Rajon Rondo is the most important piece of the puzzle for the Celtics. Julian Benbow has rookie point guard Lester Hudson hoping that he can contribute to the Celtics’ title hopes. Jim Fenton has Eddie House finding a home with the Celtics.

Steve Bulpett has a look at Rasheed Wallace, who he says is a perfect fit for the Celtics. Bill Simmons though, is not a fan of the signing, and is not looking forward to watching Wallace and all he brings each night.

Gary Washburn has the Cavs looking to come together as a team this season. Duggan gives us a Celtics Scouting report.

Murphy’ notebook has Ray Allen back at practice after getting stitches following and errant Kendrick Perkins elbow. Chris Forsberg reports that the Celtics have decided to do away with the morning shootarounds on game days.

Misc

Fluto Shinzawa has Blake Wheeler much more upbeat after his role in the Bruins win over the Senators on Saturday night. Stephen Harris has the Bruins grinding out some good results.

Michael Arace and Kyle McCarthy have the Revolution clinching a playoff berth with their 1-0 win in Columbus last night.

Mark Blaudschun says that BC’s loss to Notre Dame on Saturday wasn’t as bad as it might’ve seemed at first. Steve Conroy has BC coach Frank Spaziani not wishing to hear any of that talk. Blaudschun says that we still don’t know who the best team in the country is.

Peter Abraham has Johnny Damon looking for a new contract in 2010.

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Patriots Have A Jolly Old Time

The Patriots took care of business in Wembley Stadium yesterday, routing the toothless Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35-7.

Chris Warner has a few observations from New England’s second straight stress-free victory.

Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots finding the end zone just as easy to get to on that side of the Atlantic. Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots showing the British what they’ve been showing Americans for years. The ProJo has Brandon Meriweather and the Patriots defense leading the wayin this one. (Anyone else having trouble opening more than one Projo article? Even though I’m registered, I can only open one article on their site and the rest come up blank. I’ve tried both IE and Firefox)

You’ll be hard pressed to find mentions of yesterday’s game on the Times of London sport page. I had to look a few times before I saw the box NFL game preaches to converted, where the writer says that “Wembley Stadium was about the worst place in Britain in which to judge the success or otherwise of the project.” The project being whether the NFL would be viable in Europe. Nick Szczepanik says that Brady wasn’t at his best yesterday, but the Buccaneers played their role as fall guys. Yesterday, John Harlow had a profile of Brady in the Times.

Christopher Price has 10 Things We Learned Yesterday, and Mike Reiss has 10 quick hits from yesterday. Tedy Bruschi has five observations from the game as well.

Ron Borges has the Patriots the last two weeks doing “what Super Bowl-contending teams should do: Destroy two sorry teams.” Dan Shaughnessy calls yesterday’s game a “ghastly unfolding of the obvious.” Bill Burt says that the 2009 Patriots officially have an identity now – tough and talented. Jim Donaldson says that no matter where they play, the Patriots are still the Patriots, and the Bucs are the Bucs.

Breer has Brandon Meriweather once again the key on defense with a pair of interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown. Karen Guregian has Meriweather delivering with big plays, and showing promise that he could be the key playmaker on defense that the Patriots need on that unit. Brian MacPherson says that the Patriots defense is finally starting to look like a Bill Belichick defense once again. Reiss has more on the strong play of Meriweather.

Albert R. Breer in the Globe has Tom Brady taking another step forward in his return to form yesterday. Borges has Brady once again good enough to get the job done. The Projo has London fans seeing a good Tom Brady, but not a flawless one yesterday.

Shaughnessy has Sam Aiken and Brandon Tate each getting a shot at being the third wide receiver. Guregian has Adalius Thomas back on the field, but once again submitting a quiet performance. Reiss says that this game was a bonding experience for the Patriots. The Projo has the Patriots feeling that the trip brought them closer as a team.

Hector Longo has his two-minute drill, with Jerod Mayo one of his “now shows” for yesterday. He says Mayo ” still can’t cover anyone.” Guregian says that the Meriweather pick 6 was a good way to start the day for New England. The Metro tells us  What went right and wrong yesterday.

Rapoport says that the carnival-like atmosphere made for a good time. Mark Woods says that the NFL accomplished their goal despite the blowout.

Gasper’s notebook has Wes Welker putting in another strong game. Rapoport’s notebook has more on Welker, and also has Ty Warren believing he’ll be good to go after the bye week after he suffered an ankle injury yesterday.

Tom Curran Says Farewell to PFT, Hello to CSNNE.com (Updated)

In a blog post this afternoon on ProFootballTalk.com, Tom Curran said good-bye to that site, and announced officially that he is heading over to Comcast SportsNet New England where he will be covering the NFL and the Patriots for the new CSNNE.com, which I’m hearing is set for an official launch on Monday, November 2nd.

I had gotten a few emails this week asking why Michael Felger’s columns and Patriots Report Card were not on the CSNNE site this week, and I’m told that they were just sort of re-organizing and getting caught up before the official launch.

So it looks like the lineup for the site will be Felger and Curran with Sean McAdam and Kevin Paul Dupont said to be soon coming aboard, and Art Martone editing. They will also be hiring a Celtics writer.

That’s a pretty good lineup.

Update: I’m hearing now that Dupont is staying at the Globe. As I mentioned in an earlier post, leaving the Globe, where he had been since the 1970’s would’ve been a huge leap for Dupont. I’m not surprised he’s remaining put.

Your Friday Megalinks

Here we go with the Friday megalinks. Of course, there’s the Weekend Viewing Picks which contain the sports viewing for the weekend. Let’s do the links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate on whether to move up the start of the World Series considering National League Champions Philadelphia Phillies have to wait for a week to play.

ESPN Ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer talks about too much talking, too many errors and scheduling dilemmas at the Alleged Worldwide Leader.

In today’s Sports Business Daily, John Ourand writes about the dispute between Dish Network and two FSN regional sports networks regarding NHL games.

Terry Lefton of the SBD speaks with an NFL official about the league’s international efforts.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell looks at how Michael Vick is doing in the NFL to date.

The Big Lead explores the latest developments in the Steve Phillips affair.

Robert Littal in Black Sports Online tries to determine a winner in the Deadspin vs. ESPN fight.

Ed Berliner is critical of the media for reporting the Steve Phillips affair.

Jason Whitlock in FoxSports.com has a whimsical look at Steve Phillips and other affairs that have brought down men in sports.

Dan Levy of On The DL speaks with Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio about his acting out against ESPN on Wednesday.

Speaking of Deadspin, the site has a good story from Dashiell Bennett exposing a group trying to out an anti-cable TV lobbying group as one being backed by… cable TV.

SportsbyBrooks has an interesting take on why Deadspin felt the need to take on ESPN.

The Sports Media Watch says NASCAR continues its ratings downfall.

SMW says the NLCS ended on a high note for TBS.

And SMW notes that Fox got good ratings for Game 5 of the ALCS.

Steve Lepore of Puck The Media says NHL Network will begin airing a new pregame show starting Monday.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says Tennis Channel has a new host for its original “Destination Tennis” show.

HHR Media has round 5 of blog recaps of Blogs with Balls 2.0 in Las Vegas.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe also talks with Deadspin’s Daulerio about pushing the envelope in the wake of the Steve Phillips affair.

Kristine Leahy of WEEI.com has The Five.

Bill Doyle from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has quotes from Reggie Miller and other members of TNT’s NBA crew about the Celtics and the NBA.

The fearless leader of Boston Sports Media Watch, Bruce Allen, notes that Tom Curran is leaving NBCSports.com and heading to Comcast SportsNet New England’s revamped site.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has some suggestions for TBS and Fox for their MLB postseason broadcasts.

Newsday’s Neil Best feels adding instant replay reviews to MLB is not a good idea.

Neil writes that Fox has brought a low key approach to this year’s American League Championship Series.

Neil also has a couple of peeves from last night’s ALCS Game 5.

Neil weighs in on the Deadspin vs. ESPN fight.

Neil notes that the NFL made its TV debut some 70 years ago.

Neil writes that WNBC-TV is trading places with Mike Francesa’s Sunday night show and the late local news.

I put in a lot of links to Neil today as we’re in the final days of Newsday being free as it goes to a subscription model next week.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post blames the on-air locker room mentality at ESPN for the Steve Phillips affair. That’s a big stretch, Phil.

Liz Sadler and Dan Mangan of the Post find Steve Phillips’ mistress and are quite mean to her.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News says Tim McCarver was on his game last night. I beg to differ, but Raissman seems to have inexplicable manlove for McCarver.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says last night’s win by the Angels in ALCS Game 5 had to please Fox Sports executives.

Pete hears from TNT’s Doug Collins, Reggie Miller and Chris Webber about the upcoming NBA season.

In the Baltimore-centric Press Box, Dave Hughes from DCRTV writes that only one Charm City sports radio station is picking up listeners while the other three are lagging far behind.

Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner talks with TBS’ Cal Ripken about the upcoming World Series and the Nationals’ manager search.

Jim also recaps the appearance by the General Manager of the inappropriately DC NFL team on his weekly radio show.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks with Fox Sports Detroit’s Greg Kelser about the Pistons.

Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wants baseball to expand instant replay reviews.

Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers in sports media and business.

Ed writes that the Chicago Tribune will be revamping its print sports section.

In Chicago Now, Sarah Spain has a good and extensive interview with MLB Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest Bud Selig.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a local sports radio host might be jumping ship.

Dan writes that the market newcomer in the sports radio wars is expanding on its lead on its more established competitors.

South

Barry Horn from the Dallas Morning News finds it hard to see Texas A&M on TV this season.

Barry lists the Dallas-Fort Worth sports winners of the Lone Star Emmy Awards.

Barry says some Cowboys fans prefer the teaming of Thom Brennaman and Troy Aikman as opposed to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

David Barron from the Houston Chronicle says Texas A&M is a hard sell to TV.

In the Daily Oklahoman, Mel Bracht lists his top 10 college football games of the week.

Mel talks with Oklahoma City Thunder voice Matt Pinto who enters his second season of calling games with the team.

Mel also has his weekly notebook.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News gives love to ESPN’s College Gameday for going to Utah this week.

Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune just wants baseball to get its calls right.

John Maffei from the North County Times says it wasn’t easy for Fox to move up the start times of World Series games.

Jim Carlisle in the Ventura County Star talks with a couple of NBA analysts about the Lakers.

Jim is not shocked that other markets are beating Los Angeles as far as MLB Postseason ratings are concerned.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says Joe Buck had an up and down night calling Game 5 of the ALCS.

Diane writes that Turner Sports’ focus now shifts to the NBA.

In the Los Angeles Daily News, Tom Hoffarth has Fox’s Joe Buck wanting to give TBS’ Chip Caray a hug.

Tom has his media news and notes.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says TBS’ MLB crew made the Fox crew sound great in comparison.

William Houston in his Truth & Rumours blog writes that the Maple Leafs coaching job along with the media scrunity can make grown men cry.

That’s it for today.

Patriots Head Out On Business Trip Overseas

The Patriots left on their “business trip” to London yesterday, as they get ready for Sunday’s game in Wembley Stadium against Tampa Bay.

Chris Warner, the Patriots Daily Worry Wart has a few concerns for Sunday. Greg Doyle gives us some First Impressions on the Bucs.

Monique Walker has a look at what went into the preparations for flying the entire team, plus all their equipment, over to London for this weekend’s game. Mike Reiss has the Patriots focused on football this weekend, and not the sights around them. Ian R. Rapoport notes that the Patriots are the most popular NFL team in the United Kingdon, and not just because they have ‘England’ in their name.  Mark Farinella has more on the team’s preparation for their weekend in London. Carolyn Thornton has the Patriots vowing that this trip will be all business. Tedy Bruschi, along with Reiss, also says that this trip is all business for the Patriots.

Jim Donaldson has former Patriots kicker John Smith, who grew up playing soccer in England, serving as the team’s ‘ambassador’ this weekend. Mark Woods has more on Smith’s connections to England and the Patriots.

Dan Duggan looks at Laurence Maroney and BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the new 1-2 punch at running back. Jim Fenton has Maroney ready to take care of business against the Bucs.  Rich Garven examines how the Patriots have used a mixture of veterans and youngsters to remake their secondary. Rich Thompson has rookie long snapper Jake Ingram going his job in anonymity, which is just how it should be. Christopher Price gives us five things to watch for on Sunday afternoon.

Thomas Grillo reports that this trip hasn’t been a big seller among Patriots fans.

The Globe notebook has Laurence Maroney preferring to just stay in the U.S. to play football. Duggan’s notebook has linebacker Rob Ninkovich making his second trip to play in London. The Projo Patriots journal has more on Ninkovich. Fenton’s notebook has the road trip already underway for the Patriots. Farinella’s notebook has Jerod Mayo feeling almost fully recovered from the knee injury suffered in the season opener.

Bruins

Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins putting forth another good effort last night, but falling in the shootout to the Flyers. Stephen Harris says that the final outcome seems less relevant then how the Bruins played for 65 minutes last night. Joe Haggerty has a few things we can learn from last night.

Dupont’s notebook says that despite all their injuries, Brendan Shanahan is not likely on the Bruins radar. Harris’ notebook says that the injuries to Milan Lucic and Marc Savard could jeopardize their Olympic hopes.

Misc

Julian Benbow has Doc Rivers pleased with what he’s seen from his club thus far. After being a starter in the postseason, Glen Davis is back to being a reserve. Mark Murphy has a look at the adjustment for Big Baby. Paul Flannery examines five things we learned about the Celtics in the preseason. Bill Doyle has Reggie Miller picking the Celtics to win it all this season.

Bob Ryan is impressed with the LeBron James film “More Than A Game.”

Alex Speier looks at why the Red Sox have no regrets about the J.D. Drew contract. He puts it in a way that I think even Glenn Ordway can understand.

Mike Fine and Amalie Benjamin have Tim Wakefield on the road to recovery, and not thinking retirement.

Chad Finn looks at how the messy Steve Phillips case was made even more salacious by sites like Deadspin.com.

Charity Notices

Here are a couple of sports-related charity items involving the Patriots and Celtics:

The 2nd Annual New England Celebrities Tackle Cancer Gala To benefit the Joe Andruzzi Foundation

November 2, 2009  

MANSFIELD, Massachusetts –  The Joe Andruzzi Foundation will host the 2nd Annual New England Celebrities Tackle Cancer event, to be held on Monday, November 2, 2009, at Christina’s, in Foxboro, Massachusetts. 

The Joe Andruzzi Foundation was established in 2008, to lead the fight to tackle cancer through support of cancer research and provide assistance to cancers institutes, patients and caregivers to help ease the burden cancer treatment places on lives.

After a decade in the NFL, former New England Patriots lineman Joe Andruzzi was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, ending his NFL career in 2007, and forcing him to face his own mortality.  Now, over a year in remission, he and his wife, Jen, are becoming leading spokespersons in the fight against cancer.

“The Joe Andruzzi Foundation is committed to helping others fight the toughest fight of their lives,” said Joe Andruzzi.  “My family and I are grateful for the care that I received and want to help others.  Since we started the Foundation last year, we have met some wonderful families, doctors and researchers who are making a difference in the fight against cancer,” Joe Andruzzi added.

The 2nd Annual New England Celebrities Tackle Cancer event marks the fourth event hosted by the Foundation.  Since its inception, the Foundation has raised $300,000.  

A full roster of Patriots players, both past and present, are expected to attend the event.  This year’s Honorary Committee will include:

  • Tom Brady, New England Patriots
  • Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
  • Kevin Faulk, New England Patriots
  • Stephen Neal, New England Patriots
  • Dan Koppen, New England Patriots
  • Logan Mankins, New England Patriots
  • Matt Light, New England Patriots
  • Nick Kaczur, New England Patriots
  • Vince Wilfork, New England Patriots
  • Wes Welker, New England Patriots

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Tickets-for-Charity® Offers Celtics Fans Premium Seats for All Home Games – at the Same or Better Price They Typically Find Elsewhere – While Benefiting Leading Charities 

 October 22, 2009 – Boston, MA – Tickets-for-Charity® is now offering Boston Celtics fans a new way to access high-demand seats to catch this season’s action at the TD Garden. For the same or better price they typically find elsewhere, Celtics fans can now access fantastic Celtics seats on www.ticketsforcharity.com while benefiting the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and many other leading charities of their choice. 

Tickets-for-Charity first kicked-off its Charitable Sale™ program with the Shamrock Foundation for select ’07 and ’08 playoff games and has since expanded the unique collaboration this year to offer premium lower level seats for all home games at the TD Garden. This season’s Celtics are poised to make a run at another NBA Championship with powerhouse players Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce and new acquisitions Rasheed Wallace and Shelden Williams. Tickets-for-Charity invites fans to visit www.ticketsforcharity.com or call 1-866-567-4576 to find the Celtics seats they want for home games ranging from Opening Night to highly-anticipated match-ups against the Lakers, Cavaliers and Magic. 

In addition to the Boston Celtics, Tickets-for-Charity offers sports and music fans the opportunity to access great seats on www.ticketsforcharity.com to see some of the biggest names in entertainment and sports, from Boston Bruins and Red sox games to John Mayer, Jimmy Buffett and Robin Williams – all while benefiting leading charities, including Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Feeding America and many more.

Patriots Set To Take Off To The Old Country

The Patriots will head out to London later today as they get ready for Sunday’s game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Over on Patriots Daily we’re Trading Places with not one, but two Bucs bloggers. Jeremy Gottlieb goes around the league and isn’t impressed with Rex Ryan or the Washington Redskins.

Ron Borges wonders how Adalius Thomas will respond to his benching. For some reason he also feels the need to insult the intelligence of Jonathan Wilhite calling him a guy who “seems unable to tackle a math problem let alone someone with a football.” What’s that all about? Monique Walker has Thomas ready to go if active on Sunday. Karen Guregian says that the anger was just dripping from Thomas yesterday as he answered questions about his benching. Mark Farinella agrees that it wasn’t hard to sense Thomas’ true feelings yesterday. Mike Petraglia has Thomas airing it out yesterday. Glen Farley has Thomas with more questions than answers.

Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots needing someone to step up into the receiver role behind Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Brian MacPherson has the Patriots giving youngsters Brandon Tate and Terrence Nunn the next shot at being the team’s third wideout. Dan Duggan has Tate ready and willing to step up if given the chance. Shalise Manza Young says that Tate’s long wait to get back on the field is finally over. Andy Vogt says that it is time for the Patriots to see what Tate can do. Christopher Price has Tate and Nunn awaiting their chance.

Hector Longo claims that Joey Galloway is just the latest in a long, long list of wide receiver busts put out on the field by the clueless Belichick. Even in an article mostly praising Belichick and the Patriots, Tony Massarotti needs to remind us “Does this mean Belichick is perfect? No, no, no. A thousand times no.”

Jennifer Toland has the Patriots ready to take off on their U.K. voyage. Mike Reiss has the Patriots focused solely on football for this trip. Duggan says that this trip will be all work for the Patriots. The Projo has Gary Guyton an unlikely, humble leader of the Patriots defense. Kerry Byrne looks at why Tom Brady is at his best in the cold.

Rapoport’s notebook has Darius Butler missing practice with an ankle injury yesterday. Walker’s notebook has more on Tate being ready to go. Young’s Patriots journal says that Thomas’ status for Sunday is unknown. Farinella’s notebook has the Patriots essentially holding auditions in practice this week for the third receiver role. Vogt’s notebook has more on Thomas. Farley’s notebook has more on the young receivers. Toland’s notebook has Thomas moving on from his benching.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa has Patrice Bergeron and the Bruins stepping up for a solid 3-2 win over the Predators. Stephen Harris has the banged-up Bruins delivering last night. Mick Colageo has the Bruins getting back to what had made them a success last year. Jim Fenton has the shorthanded Bruins getting the win.

Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins still in need of a health boost. Steve Buckley says that last night’s effort was a good sign for the B’s. Mike Loftus has the Bruins able to piece together a lineup to beat the Predators.

Stephen Harris has Marc Savard the latest Bruin to be placed on the  long-term injury list. Matt Kalman has Steve Begin making his first goal with the Bruins an important one.

Shinzawa’s notebook has more on Savard’s broken foot. Harris’ notebook has new Bruin Daniel Paille contributing an assist in his first game. Loftus’ notebook has Paille happy to get a chance to play.

Misc

Julian Benbow has the Celtics tuning up for their season opener with a win in Ohio over the Cavs. Mark Murphy has a little skirmish breaking out between Sheldon Williams and Mo Williams. Murphy has a look at Leon Powe’s reunion with his former team.

Michael Silverman says that Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman could be a target of the Red Sox. Amalie Benjamin and Peter Abraham have Tim Wakefield going through surgery yesterday.

Bob Ryan looks at why Notre Dame doesn’t want to play Boston College in football anymore.