Pete Sheppard Out At WEEI

It appears that Pete Sheppard has done his final sports flash for WEEI’s Big Show.

From Regan Communications (PR firm for Entercom New England) today:

Statement Regarding Pete Sheppard from Entercom New England Vice President and Market Manager Julie Kahn and Vice President of AM Programming Jason Wolfe

“As we continue to operate in challenging economic times, it is with regret that we announce today that we have eliminated Pete Sheppard’s position as sports anchor on the Big Show. We’d like to thank Pete for his outstanding work with WEEI over the last ten years. He played a major role in our growth, and helped “The Big Show” become one of the top radio shows in the country. We wish Pete the best of luck in his future endeavors and remain extremely grateful for all his contributions over the past decade.”

Too bad for Pete. He was the one guy on that afternoon show who actually had some passion for sports. The elimination of his position also raises the question of what happens to Patriots post game shows next season, and who becomes the standard “fill in” host for Ordway.

If this really is a economic layoff, and I don’t have reason at this time to believe otherwise, what would prevent Sheppard from becoming just another rotating fill-in co-host or flash guy in the future? Or does he surface at 98.5?

Sheppard had signed a multiyear contract with WEEI back in May of 2007, so it doesn’t look like contract negotiations gone bad here.

The Boston Radio Watch fellow says that Curt Schilling called in and said he won’t come back onto the WEEI airwaves until Sheppard is rehired. 

Glen Ordway stated on the air that the company has decided to outsource the flash updates for the Big Show, similiar to what they’ve done to other shows (Dale & Holley) in the past.

Approval Ratings – Pete Sheppard (BSMW)

Sheppard out at WEEI (Boston.com)

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Quiet Time For Boston Sports

It doesn’t happen too often, but we’re in a real quiet time for the Boston sports scene. The Patriots are done, the Red Sox are a few weeks away from spring training, and the Celtics and Bruins are trudging through the tedious regular season. Add to that the fact that sports were on the back-burner for the last week or so with all the election talk, and it’s been actually a slow time for sports.

Mark Farinella says that the Patriots are in a decline just like they were during the Pete Carroll era, and Carroll was fired, so he wonders why there is no talk of firing Belichick. (Yep, slow sports day.) He wonders if Robert Kraft still has the fire to win, and puts the onus on him to get things turned around down in Foxborough.

Albert Breer says that Dean Pees may soon join Josh McDaniels in Denver.  Ron Borges says that Pees will find Mike Nolan a tough act to follow if he chooses to go to Denver. Tom E. Curran offers a mea culpa of sorts on his speculation that Matt Patricia could end up in Denver. Ian R. Rapoport says that it appears that Floyd Reese will be sticking around as well.  Mike Reiss wonders if Jared Odrick might be a good choice for the Patriots to draft at # 22.

Over on Patriots Daily we’ve put together as complete a list of the NFL Key Offseason Dates as we could find.

Red Sox

Amalie Benjamin has Jonathan Papelbon and the Red Sox avoiding arbitration with a one-year, $9.35 million contract. John Tomase says that the deal is a tremendous bargain for the Red Sox. Steve Buckley says that Papelbon is made for Fenway. Rob Bradford looks at what is ahead for Papelbon and the Red Sox. Sean McAdam looks at Papelbon’s climb up the salary ladder.

Alex Speier has a look at outfield prospects Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish. Joe McDonald and Daniel Barbarisi have the Red Sox also agreeing to 2010 contracts with Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez.

Mike Fine begins his spring training previews with a look at the starting rotation. Gordon Edes says that the Red Sox will need big production from David Ortiz and Victor Martinez this season.

Celtics

Gary Washburn has ex-Piston Rasheed Wallace making his first trip back to Detroit as a member of the Celtics. A. Sherrod Blakely has Wallace hoping to replicate his Detroit success here with the Celtics.

Chris Forsberg has Kevin Garnett returning to practice yesterday in anticipation of returning to the lineup on Friday. Scott Souza has Garnett running, shooting, and doing a lot of talking. Frank Dell’Apa has Garnett believing that the Celtics’ cautious approach to his recovery is paying off. Jim Fenton has Garnett the last Celtic off the court yesterday. Steve Bulpett says that even with the full practice, Doc River says there is no way he will play KG tonight in Detroit.

Jessica Camerato has Eddie House talking about the art of sharpshooting. Bulpett’s notebook says that the return of KG won’t solve all the Celtics recent problems.

Bruins

Brendan Hall has the Bruins getting a little rest after a rough stretch of travel and games. Kathryn Tappen says that the Bruins will get through this tough stretch. Rich Thompson says that goal tending was the biggest problem against the Senators. Matt Kalman has a Bruins mailbag.

Celtics Home Woes Continue

The Celtics started last night strong, but lost their way in the second half when Rasheed Wallace got into foul trouble, and the Celtics had no one to match up with Dirk Nowitzki (37 points). The result was a 99-90 loss at the Garden for the Celtics, their third straight home loss.

Scott Souza says that the Celtics have no excuses for what happened last night. Frank Dell’Apa says that the Celtics’ wounds were self-inflicted in this one. Mark Murphy says that as the Celtics are the best road team in the NBA, they must really hate their home life. Robert Lee says that the Celtics just had no answers for Nowitzki. Bill Doyle says that Kevin Garnett can’t return fast enough for the Celtics. Jim Fenton has the Celtics dropping their seventh game in their last eleven, and remaining in a rut. Chris Forsberg says that defense was the problem for the Celtics last night.

Bob Ryan says that the Celtics will turn things around, but right now, their troubles are a lot more than just the absence of Kevin Garnett. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics aren’t taking enough pride in their home court. Jeff Howe says that health is the Celtics biggest priority right now. Paul Flannery has the Celtics still searching for an identity. Jessica Isner has a second-half implosion doing in the Celtics. Rich Levine says that the defense took the night off for the Celtics last night.

Jessica Camerato has Ray Allen reflecting on the meaning of MLK day.

Julian Benbow has Nowitzki really getting hot after Wallace left the game with foul trouble. Bulpett chats with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who isn’t getting fined as much these days, but still making his point about the level of officiating in the NBA. Benbow also has a look at ex-Northeastern star Jose Juan Barea getting his game under control for the Mavericks.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has the Celtics feeling they’ve let opponents get too comfortable at the Garden. Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics knowing that KG isn’t going to solve all their woes. Lee’s Celtics journal has the return of Wallace providing a lift to the Celtics frontcourt. Souza’s notebook has more on the Celtics home woes. Doyle’s notebook has Doc Rivers praising Nowitzki. Fenton’s notebook has more on Wallace’s first game back. Forsberg’s notebook has Paul Pierce saying that his knee his fine.

 Bruins

The Bruins were also bad yesterday, falling apart in a 5-1 loss to the Senators. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins “barely competed” in their afternoon matinée with Ottawa. Steve Conroy has the Bruins crashing on their return from the West coast. Mike Loftus has the Bruins unable to summon any energy yesterday. Rich Garven has the Bruins submitting a lackluster and mistake-filled effort. James Murphy says that this game shows how much the Bruins are hurting. Joe Haggerty has the Bruins just running out of gas yesterday.

Steve Buckley gives the Bruins a pass on this one, given their recent brutal travel schedule. Matt Kalman says that this loss cannot be blamed on injuries of scheduling. Danny Picard has Tim Thomas hearing the boos yesterday. Rich Thompson has Patrice Bergeron returning to the lineup, but being limited in what he could do. Thompson has Daniel Alfredsson scoring the hat trick on the Bruins.

Dupont’s notebook has more on Bergeron’s limited return. Conroy’s notebook has the Senators scoring a goal after Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman collided with a referee. Garven’s notebook has more on this play.  Loftus’ notebook has more on Bergeron.

Patriots/Red Sox

Karen Guregian says that these AFC playoffs show how badly the Patriots defense is in need of a makeover. Mike Reiss thinks Leigh Bodden would be a good piece to keep, but the cornerback is a free agent this offseason. Tom E. Curran speculates that Josh McDaniels might try to steal Matt Patricia from the Patriots. He also looks at the Patriots running backs.

Bill Burt and Steve Krause think that the Jets could have Patriots fans torn this weekend. Albert R. Breer says that the Jets aren’t boasting, since they’ve backed everything up.

John Tomase and Mike Fine say that the Red Sox and Jonathan Papelbon appear headed to arbitration. Adam Hirshfield says that no power could be no problem for these Red Sox.

Ryan, Gammons, Shaughnessy, Lynch Honored by NSSA

Peter Gammons has been inducted in the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame, while Bob Ryan has been named sportswriter of the year for the third straight year. Dan Shaughnessy was named the Massachusetts state sportswriter of the year.

John Madden was inducted to the Hall along with Gammons, and Jim Nantz was named national sportscaster of the year,  his fifth award.

Elsewhere in New England, Mike Lynch was named the MA sportscaster of the year. In Rhode Island, Steve Hyder and Steve McDonald shared the sportscaster of the year award, while Joe McDonald was the sportswriter of the year. In NH, Mike Murphy is sportscaster of the year and Allen Lessels is sportswriter of the year. In Connecticut, Kevin Nathan and Jeff Jacobs were honored, In Maine, it is Clem LaBree and Rich Kimball on the sportscaster side and Peter Warner on the writing side. Finally, in VT, George Commo and Ted Ryan received the awards.

Get the full list here:

Gammons, Madden Earn 2009 NSSA Hall of Fame Inductions (Sports Media News)

MLK Day Top Ten

The Jets and Colts for the AFC Championship? Patriots fans might be rooting for a “Black Sunday” type scenario in Indianapolis next weekend.

Here’s a quick round-up of some articles to check out today:

Saints are the last, best hope for Patriots fans – Christopher Price explains why New England fans might become New Orleans fans the rest of the way.

Rebuilding Isn’t New For The Patriots – Some Bruce Allen guy reminds us that the Patriots have rebuilt themselves four times in the last decade.

Offseason work just beginning – Brian MacPherson looks at the Patriots to-do list this offseason.

Monday Morning Fullback: Twenty observations from a wild weekend – You now get three free sports columns from the Standard Times a month – this effort from Jonathan Comey should be one of them.

Four games, four thoughts – Michael Felger also weighs in on the weekend action.

Wallace’s return a big benefit – Chris Forsberg tells us the return of Rasheed Wallace tonight for the Celtics is a big deal.

Celtics older statesmen hold dear the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – The Patriot Ledger left the byline off this Celtics piece, but it is interesting seeing the history gap between the older and younger Celtics.

Why Papelbon might be making history again – Rob Bradford weighs in on the contract situation of the best closer in Red Sox history.

Bruins lineup still sore subject – Steve Conroy says that the lineup for the Bruins this afternoon is still up in the air.

Bruins finding that Satan’s good on the rush – Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins newest winger settling in quite nicely.  

Be sure to check out Ken Fang’s Monday’s Viewing Picks to make sure you aren’t missing anything today.

Celtics Can’t Catch Up With Chicago

 Here are the Celtics links from last night’s loss to the Bulls.

Scott Souza says that the Celtics looked like a team in desperate need of a rest.  Gary Washburn has the Bulls taking advantage of a tired Celtics team. Mark Murphy has the done in by poor free throw shooting among other things. Robert Lee has the Bulls leading from start to finish in this one. Bill Doyle has the Celtics showing a lot of fatigue in this one. Jim Fenton has the Celtics wrapping up a stretch of six games in nine nights with the loss. A. Sherrod Blakely says that the Celtics energy and shots were both flat all night long.

Frank Dell’Apa notes that with Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace out, it’s been much tougher to get the ball to Kendrick Perkins. Steve Bulpett has the fans paying the price for the brutal schedule stretch for the Celtics. Jessica Camerato says that the Bulls didn’t have revenge on their minds last night. Evans Clinchy says that Wallace sure picked an inopportune time to hurt his foot. Chris Forsberg promises that better days are ahead for the Celtics. Rich Levine says that the Celtics never had a shot last night.

Chad Finn has Celtics legend Kevin McHale weighing in on his former team.

Bulpett has Derrick Rose and the Bulls still adjusting to the loss of Ben Gordon.

Washburn’s notebook has Doc Rivers hoping KG will be back a week from today. Murphy’s notebook also targets the 22nd for the return of Garnett. Lee’s Celtics Journal has Glen Davis’ flagrant 1 foul from Monday being rescinded by the league. Souza’s notebook has the Celtics hoping to get back both Garnett and Wallace next week. Doyle’s notebook has Doc Rivers getting a rare chance to see his younger son Austin play in Massachusetts tomorrow. Fenton’s notebook looks at the Celtics struggles at home this season. Forsberg’s notebook has more on the anticipated returns of KG and Wallace. Blakely’s notebook says that injuries are really starting to take a toll on this team.

Friday Fast Ten

It’s a  busy Friday morning here, just enough time to get you the top articles you’ll need to get caught up on the Boston sports scene. No fluff, no cheap shots, no filler.

Color from Green alum – Chad Finn has Kevin McHale coming to town to cover the Celtics as a TNT analyst.

Zolak analyzes Patriots’ faults – Bill Doyle has 98.5 host Scott Zolak telling us where he thinks the Patriots biggest problems were this season.

Pees out as Patriots defensive coordinator – Shalise Manza Young was the first to break the news that Dean Pees would not be returning as the Patriots defensive coordinator next season. It was originally termed as a firing, though Pees has since stated that his contact is up and that he would not be looking to come back.

With Pepper Johnson, tricky dish gets served – Ron Borges says things could get sticky for the Patriots if Bill Belichick decides to promote Matt Patricia over Johnson.

Brave new world for Bill James and the Red Sox – Alex Speier examines how the game of statistics has changed for Bill James.

Farrell, Sox seek openness from Matsuzaka – Amalie Benjamin has the Red Sox still looking to improve their communication with Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Hermida welcomes spotlight as newest Sox – Daniel Barbarisi talks to one of the Red Sox new outfielders.

Bruins make a statement in San Jose – Joe Haggerty looks at the Bruins 2-1 win in San Jose last night.

Bulls 96, Celtics 83: Boston lacks luster in loss – Scott Souza has the Celtics looking tired last night at the Garden.

Schedule breaker – With the Celtics looking worn out last night, Steve Bulpett says that while the schedule is fair to all the teams, its not always fair to the fans who shell out the money to see their favorite team play.

One last note, the New Bedford Standard Times has gone behind the pay firewall, meaning you’ll have to pony up to read the columns of the fine staff of  Jonathan Comey, Jon Couture, Mick Colageo, Tim Weisberg, and yes, even Buddy Thomas. I went to read Comey’s column this morning titled Pats need to follow a five-step plan and was met with the “Pay Up” screen. I believe the blogs of the S-T will still be freely available, but dead-tree material is now all pay.

Update – got the following note from an S-T staffer: Blogs will remain free, and everyone is entitled to three stories/month for free. If you register with an e-mail address, you can get up to 10… Beyond that, it’s all pay, and there’s no model in place yet for people just to pay for individual stories.