Wilfork Tagged, Nate Set To Debut For C’s

It’s not a great time for quality Boston sports writing and talk. The Red Sox are just getting going, so all we’ve got are the usual spring training profiles, any Patriots article these days is bound to be laced with snark and doom, the Celtics are just coming off a West coast road trip where most of the writers didn’t go with them, and the Bruins are off until after the Olympics.

Here’s what we find this morning:

Set up to go long? – I went back and forth on this Albert Breer piece about the Patriots applying the franchise tag to Vince Wilfork. Breer is a top-notch football reporter and writer, but  has the annoying habit of sometimes talking down to his readers. There is a little of that in here. I like the overall points he’s trying to make, but his manner is a bit off-putting –  spare everyone the “He’s got 7.003 million reasons not to complain.’’

Tag ordeal might have happy ending – Karen Guregian has a more optimistic view of the situation.

Randolph armed, ready for NFL – Jennifer Toland with a nice piece on Holy Cross QB Dominic Randolph, who has gotten plenty of looks from NFL scouts, and who many feel has a good shot at landing with an NFL team.

Patriots Have No 2007 Draft Regrets Thanks to Randy Moss and Wes Welker – continuing his series, Jeff Howe takes a pick-by-pick look at the 2007 draft for the Patriots. Judging by the number of clicks the first two part of this installment have gotten, Howe is doing a good job looking at the Patriots draft record without the hysterics used by others in town.

Bird-Magic documentary on HBO is a winner – Jim Fenton gives his take on the new HBO documentary Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals which screened last night at TD Garden.

Kid stuff high on Doc Rivers’ list – Mark Murphy has a really good feature on how Doc Rivers and his wife balance out keeping up with their four children, plus another that they have guardianship over, while living in two different states.

Celtics’ (re)starting 5 – Steve Bulpett tells us the keys to the stretch run for the Celtics.

The Celtics prepare to add Nate Robinson to the mix – A. Sherrod Blakely with a look at Nate Robinson getting set for his Celtics debut tonight.

Crossroads moment for Ortiz: Past and future loom over slugger – More and more I’m coming to the realization that if I just want to read one baseball writer in town, it’s Alex Speier. There were at least six or seven articles on Ortiz in the morning papers, and Speier has the best and most informative. Again.

Cameron gets the star treatment; Beltre talks about the Fenway turf – Daniel Barbarisi’s extensive Red Sox Journal covers a number of topics from camp yesterday.

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BSMW Poll – Morning Link Preferences

Lately, I’ve made a change in how I present the morning links to you. For years, I got up and tried to get you a link to every single sports story out there in New England that dealt with one of our pro teams, and occasionally college as well. For the last couple of months, on most days, I’ve linked to just what I thought were the ten or so best or most noteworthy stories from that morning.

The feedback that I have received has been positive, as many of you have expressed appreciation at not being subjected to the likes of Shaughnessy, Borges and others on a daily basis, but only when they actually write something worth reading.

But I want to make sure – do you prefer getting just the top stories, or do you like to get everything, and then try to sift the wheat from the chaff yourself?

Vote below, and also please weigh in down in the comment section. This feedback will be of benefit to me as I try and plan the future of BSMW going forward.

Thanks!

{democracy:86}

U.S.A. Upsets Canada, Celtics Fall In Denver

As per usual, we’ve pretty much stayed away from Olympic coverage here on BSMW, but the United States Olympic hockey team pulled a huge upset in the non-medal round of competition last night, stunning Team Canada 5-3.

The game was broadcast on MSNBC, which left a lot of people looking for it, and others looking for an HD version. Wondering why it was put on that secondary outlet rather than on NBC? A couple of reasons come to mind, first, putting it on MSNBC allowed the network to keep commercial breaks at a minimum, keeping the broadcast focused on the ice. Second, while this game was hugely attractive to sports fans, the casual observer of the Olympics probably wouldn’t sit through the entire broadcast, rather, they would be more likely to watch several events over the same time period, such as skating, skiing or whatever. Putting those events on NBC allows the network to keep their attention on their main channel, while knowing that more hard-core sports fans are going to find MSNBC, and appreciate the network sticking with the whole game there.

Stirring win vs. the iron of the sport – Bob Ryan looks at “one phenomenal game of hockey.” One tiny quibble – Bob, do you have to resort to statements like “He was bleepin’ great.” That’s Ordway-esque.

US steel – Kevin Paul Dupont has the game story in the Globe.

What Sox pitchers are working on this spring – Alex Speier looks at the Red Sox top 11 pitchers and what each of them will be trying to improve on during spring training.

Pedroia thinks Sox will rock – Sean McAdam has the Red Sox second baseman feeling that the team’s offense will be better than people think.

Sox will be Hall monitors – Nick Cafardo with a profile of new Red Sox utilityman Bill Hall, who hit 35 homers playing shortstop with the Brewers in 2006.

Contract year or not, same old Beckett – Daniel Barbarisi says Josh Beckett will not allow the final year of his contract to be turned into a public circus.

Reaching into (traveling) bag of tricks – Gary Washburn has the Celtics feeling like they’re heading in the right direction, especially on the defensive end, with Kevin Garnett looking closer to his pre-surgery form than at any point this season.

Nate Robinson improves – Steve Bulpett’s notebook has the Celtics new guard set to join them in time for a game against his old team tomorrow night.

Deficit in Denver too great for C’s – Jessica Camerato reflects on the Celtics loss in Denver, and the previous games on their West coast swing.

Patriots Got Job Done in 2008 Draft With Jerod Mayo Pick – Jeff Howe reviews the Patriots’ 2008 draft, pick-by-pick.

A quick check of sports radio this morning had 98.5’s Toucher and Rich talking Red Sox spring training with Dan Roche in Ft Myers, and Olympics with Shira Springer (Front page Globe story on Bode Miller this morning) in Vancouver, while WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan were all Tiger in the times I listened.

Bonus Saturday Top Ten

Had some time this morning, so I figured I’d put together a few links. You’re probably already sick of the Tiger Woods talk, so there will be none of that in here.

For media, trade deadline tough deal – Steve Bulpett explains why the trade deadline is a tough time for the media as they attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to trade rumors.

Celts continue upward surge against Blazers -A. Sherrod Blakely reports on the Celtics looking like a real contender in a 96-76 dismantling of the Portland Trail Blazers last night.

Allen clearly relieved — and reloaded – Chris Forsberg has Ray Allen putting up another big game (21 points) in the win over Portland.

C’s succeed with different kind of defense – Blakely’s notebook has the Celtics switching up their defensive strategy for last night.

In Rivers, they trust – Gary Washburn explains why Doc Rivers has the total trust and respect of his players.

After Nate: The Celtics following the trade deadline – Paul Flannery examines what Nate Robinson is going to bring to the Celtics on the court that Eddie House didn’t.

Former FB Patrick Pass discusses the Patriots glory days and a possible return to them – Ian Rapoport has the recently retired Patrick Pass talking about being asked about the current Patriots, and why he thinks they’re in good hands going forward.

Good at holding down Fort – Peter Abraham checks in with new Sox reliever Boof Bonser, who hasn’t had to make much of an adjustment in moving over to the Red Sox spring training site.

Lester could prove to be the best of the Red Sox big three – Daniel Barbarisi says the the Sox young lefty could be better than Josh Beckett and John Lackey.

Francona: We all want Beckett here – Gordon Edes has the Red Sox manager backing up Lester’s statement that the Red Sox should sign up Josh Beckett to an extension.

Be sure to also check out Chris Warner’s Q&A With Virginia Tech DE Jason Worilds over on Patriots Daily.

Some Friday Megalinks

Let’s give you some linkage this evening. I’m going to weed out the Tiger Woods previews so this may not be as extensive as past editions. Your Weekend Viewing Picks has your sports viewing including college basketball and Olympic viewing guide.

Let’s get to the links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand tells NBC it’s time to go live with Olympic events.

Seth Livingstone of USA Today says NBC will not be showing the USA-Canada men’s hockey game on the main network relegating it to MSNBC instead. 

Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Daily/Journal says NBCOlympics.com and Yahoo! Sports are battling it out for online traffic this month.

Tripp Mickle of SBD/SBJ writes that NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol sent a letter to his staff Thursday congratulating his employees for beating American Idol in the ratings this week.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says NBC is averaging almost 25 million viewers a night for the first seven days of the Olympics.

Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine says as Americans win gold medals in the Olympics, ratings for NBC keep going up.

Amanda Rykoff in the OCD Chick compares Dick Ebersol’s production of the Olympics to American Idol.

Etan Vlessing of the Hollywood Reporter says it appears that after initially expecting losses, the Canadian Olympic Broadcast Consortium will break even on the Vancouver Games.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell writes that multiple medal-winning skier Julia Mancuso could turn out to be a marketing gold medal winner.

Darren says for sponsors, Tiger Woods’ refusal to set a timetable to return to golf is most troubling.

Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated has the very funny video of Golf Channel analyst Charlie Rymer crying after Tiger Woods make his robotic apology in the Friday afternoon edition of Hot Clicks (scroll down).

Marisa Guthrie of Broadcasting & Cable has various golf analysts reactions to Tiger Woods’ wooden apology.

Anthony Crupi of Mediaweek writes that the PGA Tour’s TV partners will just have to wait for Tiger Woods’ return. 

Gail Sideman writing in the Sports Networker blog says Tiger’s announcement was bad timing as far as public relations are concerned.

The Sports Media Watch looks at how the networks covered the Tiger Woods announcement today.

SMW also has some idle notes.

SportsbyBrooks says Tony Kornheiser has apologized to Hannah Storm for saying she dresses like a harlot.

AJ Daulerio at Deadspin says ESPN has actually banned some of Hannah’s wardrobe.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe defends NBC’s handling of the Olympics.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram also compares the Olympics to American Idol.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, a frequent critic of NBC’s tape delayed Olympic coverage, is begrudgingly learning to live with the delays in the Vancouver Games.

Bob Raissman in the New York Daily News feels Mets manager Jerry Manuel is helpful in feeding the media beast with soundbites.

The Albany Times Union’s Pete Dougherty critiques some of NBC’s announcers at the Olympics.

Ken McMillan of the Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record has some spring training TV schedules. First, the Yankees, the Mets, MLB Network, ESPN and WGN America.

Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News says the first network analysis was kind to Tiger Woods. 

David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun is not happy how NBC has stopped mentioning the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili during its coverage.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com writes in Press Box that advertisers were sad to see Baltimore sports radio host Anita Marks leave last month.

Tim Lemke doesn’t quite understand NBC’s Olympic philosophy.

South

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike will be back in town next month.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says Oklahoma University baseball games will be seen on local cable TV.

Mel says two Australian TV commentators are in trouble for making homophobic comments about US figure skater Johnny Weir.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press wants the tape delayed Olympics coverage on NBC to stop.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is puzzled why Milwaukee is on top of the nation’s ratings for the Olympics.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers.

Ed notes that the White Sox will be part of a new reality show on MLB Network.

Ed also analyzes Tiger Woods’ apology.

Charles F. Rouse of the Kansas City Examiner says Big 12 fans want Brent Musberger and Bob Knight removed from the conference’s basketball games.

Dan Caesar at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the Cardinals could be heading to the FM dial this season.

Dan writes that part-time Redbirds analyst Jack Clark will return for another season on Fox Sports Midwest.

West

Scott D. Pierce from the Deseret (UT) News says the reconstructed arena football Utah Pride have a TV deal in place.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune doesn’t like how the local NBC affiliate is playing coy about the Olympic delays.

Jay writes that Padres voice Jerry Coleman will be working less this season, but be doing more.

John Maffei of the North County Times says the West Coast is to blame for the Olympic delays.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star writes about the Olympics finally beating American Idol in the ratings.

Jim says the Olympics are bringing down the ratings for the Daytona 500 and the NBA.

Over to Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times who reports on Tiger Woods’ apology.

Diane adds that NBC’s Cris Collinsworth was critical of Woods

Phil Rosenthal writes in the Times that MSNBC will put the politics aside on Sunday and air the anticipated USA- Canada men’s hockey game which will be seen live in all time zones.

The Times publishes several readers’ complaints about the Olympic delays to the West Coast even though the Vancouver Games are taking place in their time zone.

Canada

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says it’s no surprise that hockey is tops in CTV’s Olympic coverage.

In Yahoo! Canada, William Houston critiques CTV’s coverage to date.

In his Truth & Rumours blog, William has a few columns in one.

Bill Brioux of the Canadian Press wonders if CTV’s all-out approach for the Olympics is too much of a good thing.

And that will complete the links.

Celtics Beat L.A.

It was a slugfest, but the Celtics fought through and held off the Los Angeles Lakers last night at the Staples Center, 87-86.

Many will point out that the Lakers were playing without Kobe Bryant, but I don’t hear those same people cutting the Celtics any slack when they play without KG or Pierce. Everyone says how deep this Lakers team is (and they are) so this win doesn’t need an asterisk attached to it, especially with the struggles that the Celtics have had as of late.

Don’t write off Celtics yet – Chris Forsberg has the Celtics coming up with a signature win out in L.A.

One more chance for Three – Dan Shaughnessy has Danny Ainge deciding to keep the big three together for one last title run.

Celtics hope Robinson is the answer – Scott Souza with a look at what the Celtics hope that Nate Robinson will bring them.

Back to business for C’s – Paul Flannery has the big three being granted a reprieve many don’t believe they’ve earned.

Lackey gets his first taste of life inside the Red Sox fishbowl – Daniel Barbarisi has the Red Sox big free agent signing checking in for spring training.

The Lackey Effect: Newcomer’s impact on the rotation – Alex Speier with his usual, thoughtful analysis.

Handful of aces good deal – Steve Buckley has a look at the vaunted Red Sox rotation for 2010.

Patriots Must Hope to be Proven Right After Trading Down in 2009 Draft – Jeff Howe revisits the 2009 draft for the Patriots.

Despite complaints, coverage makes sense – Chad Finn defends NBC’s coverage of the Olympic games.

NBC wins its own gold, beating ‘American Idol’ – Bill Doyle has more on NBC’s coverage, which became the first program to beat American Idol in the ratings since 2004.

As this is posted, we’re just a few minutes away from the Tiger Woods press conference, an event Gary Tanguay pronounced yesterday, in all seriousness, as “bigger than the moon landing.” He also said that Tiger is bigger than John Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Week Log: From Melting Pots To Potholes

If the Olympics can be seen as the sports world’s melting pot, they’re certainly one in the blogging world as well. We’ve got an interesting bag of blogs today and things kick off in Vancouver.

Winter Olympics

We’ll start with the almighty buck, as The Sporting Blog has NBC flexing some muscle after the Winter Olympics nearly topped American Idol in Tuesday’s overnights. Ratings are particularly high in Jerry Thornton‘s house and he’s one Masshole that’s not afraid to admit it.

The Crowe’s Nest is tired of all the bitching from live junkies who abhor tape-delayed events. I have to admit that ever since discovering the joys of DVR for $10 a month, nothing broadcasts live in my living room any more. I fast-forwarded through 90 seconds of commercials on Tuesday night,then through a two-minute segment introducing the women’s alpine cross semis, which led into another 90 seconds of commercials. That’s five minutes of my life I don’t have to wish I had back (even if I did give it back watching the men’s figure skating short program). Boston Homer isn’t crazy about having to duck Olympics results all day long but they’re nevertheless thankful for this bridge across the Dead Zone of athletics. Boston Sports Blog thinks NBC’s designation of the 1980 Miracle On Ice as poster child for tape delay doesn’t cut it in a society that has advanced beyond rotary phones and rabbit ears.

Boston Sports Then And Now reminisces of those miracle men from Massachusetts who helped carry hockey to epic heights of popularity after that Lack Placid performance 30 years ago. Back to 2010, where Joe Haggerty has the odds with Russia and the pressure with Canada in his comprehensive men’s hockey preview. Boston Blood Sox bemoans the narrower ice surface of NHL rinks as they take us through a predictable opening night of games. Olympics Blog says the rinks may not be bigger than in the NHL, but the USA team salary sure is. The 2 Man Advantage has Team USA looking sloppy in their 3-1 win over the Swiss. Olympic Hockey Blog doesn’t know what to do with themselves what with all the ESPN analysts exiled to Vancouver. Among them are both Barry Melrose and his crow’s feet, prompting Out Of Bounds to observe how the winter games have empowered some Canadians to say and do whatever they want. Awful Announcing has ESPN fortunate to have its own highly-experienced designated apologist on staff.

Speaking of apologists, Joe Posnanski exonerates the fun-loving Lindsey Jacobellis for her Jacoblunder of four years past and her Truckdriver after wiping out in the women’s snowboard cross on Tuesday. Sportress Of Blogitude is making no apologies for Jacobellis’ sorry performances on the world’s stage. Postcards From Vancouver has Jacobellis as another snag in Vermont’s medal haul after Hannah Kearney started things off so promisingly with gold in women’s moguls. Bode Miller’s Blog has all speed and no tactics making Bode a psyched boy on his way to a bronze in the men’s downhill.

ESPN’s Winter Olympics Blog says it wouldn’t be an international speedskating event without the big oom-pah sounds of Little Beer. Fourth-Place Medal has a good laugh at curling athletes’ expense, but Adam Hirshfield says their skills make for compelling television.

Red Sox

What’s better than watching shuffleboard on ice? Try a truck starting up and pulling away from Fenway Park. I spent a morning doing just that for Boston Dirt Dogs so you wouldn’t have to. And I wasn’t alone. Full Count was there, as Kristine Leahy catches the ephoria on video. Toeing The Rubber was as well, and Cyn is thrilled with the unfolding drama of spring. Then there was ESPN Boston Red Sox, which warns against putting those shovels away just yet. And as the departing truck signifies the coming of spring in Boston, Extra Bases observes that the arriving truck signals the same in Fort Myers.

With pitchers and catchers reporting today, A Very Simple Game tries to lay the media-contrived controversies of a long offseason to rest. Brownie Points reports on John Lackey discreetly slipping into town yesterday. The Bottom Line worries that all those innings in Japan are catching up with Daisuke Matsuzaka as he needs to shut it down for a few days.

Evans Clinchy is in no hurry to see catcher Victor Martinez re-signed before he even throws out his first runner of the season . . . whenever that may be. Touching All The Bases has Josh Reddick’s arm keeping opponents from advancing along the bases even as his bat will keep him from ever getting on. Hit And Run thinks Theo would have preferred Jason Bay in his outfield but he’ll be okay with Mike Cameron as Plan B. Nuggetpalooza crunches some numbers on Cameron.

Prevailing thought has Jonathan Papelbon leaving Boston as soon as he hits free agency, but One If By Land points out that Daniel Bard may one day be just as expensive and just as likely to fly. Gordon Edes has Papelbon trying to emulate Mariano Rivera – both on the mound and at the negotiating table. Surviving Grady thinks Paps would be a nice heir-apparent to Old Mo, but the Bronx may not be ready for him in pinstripes.

Celtics

The second half started off with a passable 95-92 win in Sacramento Tuesday night, but things quickly get tougher. North Station Sports harbors no illusions of miracles for the rest of the season, but they do hope to have the C’s get a win tonight against the Lakers. Green Street has Rajon Rondo noting that tonight’s game isn’t for the NBA championship. Celtics Stuff Live tries to capture the full Rondo . . . in as few words as possible.

Lent hadn’t even started when Mass Hysteria pined for running Jesus out of Boston. After dreaming of all the consideration to be reaped by trading Ray Allen, CelticsBlog feels a little letdown from the possibility of him staying and only Nate Robinson coming to town. As the Robinson trade looms, ESPN Boston Celtics Blog suggests this may be more about Danny Ainge shaking up the C’s by removing another piece of their championship team of two years back.

Bruins

When it comes to this year’s Bruins, most see the glass as four-fifths empty; Michael Felger, on the other hand, sees it as a fifth full and believes they’re in position to go to the next level after the Olympic break. Methinks Felgy may have downed a fifth before getting behind the keyboard on that one.

Bingo Bar Blog has Boston not as much a hockey town as a winning hockey town. When it comes to missing out on signing key players, I’m Just Sayin’ has Jeremy Jacobs as proof that a fool and his money are not always parted. Rink Rap feels the need – the need for speed in the B’s defenseman ranks.

NASCAR

So, it was Super Bowl Sunday for NASCAR in Daytona last Sunday, but this Super Bowl was apparently threatened by female drivers and potholes. Boston.com’s Auto Racing Blog ascribes Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray with saving the Great American Race from making a spectacle of itself. Wouldn’t the spectacle of 43 cars engaged in a nearly-perpetual left turn be more in need of redemption than Danica Patrick standing in the Winner’s Circle?

Unrestricted says the pothole made last Sunday like coupon day at the ammunition outlet store for NASCAR detractors, an analogy that is lost on most of the NASCAR-free world. AOL’s Motorsports Fanhouse calls the incident a super gaffe in NASCAR’s self-proclaimed Super Bowl. From The Marbles has Fox’s coverage with a few potholes of its own.

That’s a wrap. Here’s hoping you can dodge your own potholes and those pesky live updates from Vancouver throughout the week and we’ll see you back here next Thursday.