Friday Quicklinks

There’s a whole bunch on my plate this morning, so here are a few quick links:

The Celtics took out the Hawks last night at the Garden. Check the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

The Bruins dropped another, this time to the rival Montreal Canadiens. Links at BruinsLinks.com.

They’re really doing a number – Chad Finn looks at the enormous ratings success that the Patriots have enjoyed this season.

Packers-Patriots And The Curious Case Of Reporter Greg A. Bedard – My SB Nation Boston media column leads off with Globe NFL reporter Greg Bedard finding himself a target this week.

Walker’s on the rebound  and A last shot for Antoine Walker – Gary Washburn and Ron Borges catch up with former Celtics star Antoine Walker, who trying to get back into the league by toiling the NBA Developmental League.

Orien Greene: Crashing into the NBA – Another former Celtic is also working in the NBA DL, attempting a comeback. The ESPN True Hoop blog has a compelling entry of the former second round pick of the Celtics.

Red Sox set to land Bobby Jenks – Michael Silverman reports on the Red Sox signing the former White Sox closer, and adding a bunch of other bullpen arms.

Why Bobby Jenks and Jonathan Papelbon might be a good fit – Rob Bradford looks at why the pair might make quite a combination in the bullpen.

Bruins lacked focus, effort on road trip – Joe Haggerty looks at the Bruins’ issues.

Around The League – Week 14 – Jeremy Gottlieb goes around the league for PD. Also check out the Matchups Of The Week.

It’s the Price he has to pay now – Ian Rapoport checks in with rookie receiver Taylor Price, the 2010 third round pick who has yet to be active for a game this season.

Get all the Patriots coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.

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Fox Sports And NESN Announce New Digital Partnership

NESN sent around the following release this afternoon. Looks like FOX is attempting something similar to what ESPN.com has done with local sites that have a tie-in to the national site.

December 16, 2010 – FOXSports.com on MSN and NESN announced today a new digital content sharing partnership that will make NESN.com the exclusive provider of New England and Boston sports news on one of the most popular sports web sites in the country. The agreement allows FOXSports.com the right to both publish and directly link to NESN’s sports news content and provides for significant cross promotional opportunities between the two sites.

“The FOX Sports Local websites are the fastest-growing regional sports websites in the country,” said Mike Hall, NESN’s Director of New Media. “We are proud to join the FOX Sports family of local websites to help extend their reach in the northeast while helping NESN to continue to grow our site as the premier destination for fans of New England sports.”

“Providing our readers with the latest news in New England sports greatly enhances FOXSports.com and complements the coverage from all of our existing local sites. We’re excited to partner with the leading sports website in that market,” said Kyle McDoniel, Vice President of Business Development for FOXSports.com.   

Pierce Sinks “Rival” Knicks

ESPN tried its hardest this week to convince us that the Celtics/Knicks rivalry was back. (Of course, the Celtics biggest rival in their division has historically been Philadelphia.) The Knicks, or should I say Amare’ Stoudemire, tried to make it seem like a rivalry last night, but in the end, the veteran Celtics pulled out the win, thanks to a Paul Pierce step away jumper with .04 seconds remaining, giving the Celtics a 118-116 win over New York. Get all the coverage at Celticslinks.com.

Celtics embrace the challenge in thrilling win over the Knicks – Paul Flannery has the Celtics showing True Grit in beating the Knicks.

Paul Pierce plays villain in New York– Chris Forsberg has Pierce giving the Knicks a familiar ending.

Celtics shocked Pierce got off his go-to shot – A Sherrod Blakely has the Knicks allowing Pierce to get off his patented step-back jumper going to his right.

Loss aside, New York passes test– Bob Ryan looks at a moral victory for the improving Knicks.

Scary situation for banged-up Rajon Rondo – Mark Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics point guard rolling his ankle pretty badly last night. Julian Benbow’s notebook also leads off with the ankle.

The Bruins didn’t have the same success last night in the state of New York, losing to the Sabres 3-2.

Bruins lose their cool, game– Kevin Paul Dupont reports on the Bruins losing two leads in the loss.

Bruins don’t answer call – Stephen Harris calls this one a weak loss.

This Bruins loss hurts – Joe Haggerty says that this loss could haunt the Bruins.

Milan Lucic loses it over referee’s non-call – Harris’ notebook quotes a steaming Lucic after the game. The Globe notebook from Kevin Paul Dupont and the CSNNE notes from Joe Haggerty have a flu-ridden Tyler Seguin sitting out in favor of Daniel Paille. If you’re worried about the Seguin scratch, DJ Bean says to Calm down.

Lie Gate – Dan Snapp on Patriots Daily says that commissioner Roger Goodell’s mismanagement of SpyGate is giving the Jets a pass.  While you’re there, check out this week’s edition of the Worry Wart.

Jets, NFL Teams Need to Own Up to Mistakes Instead of Blaming Patriots – Jeff Howe says that this NFL trick of dragging the Patriots into every scandal needs to stop.

Sorry attempt by Jets coach – I like angry Mike Reiss.

Pats have beaten many of league’s top defenses – Robert Lee looks at some of the Patriots accomplishments this season.

Offensive line passes tough tests – While they’ve shut down many of the league’s top pass rushers thus far, Karen Guregian says that the Patriots O-line gets another big test in Clay Matthews. Mark Farinella says that the unit will not take the Packers lightly.

Without Rodgers, Pack would be lacking– Greg A Bedard says that with the Packers QB looking doubtful, it looks like the Patriots will miss another chance to face a top offense.

Coverage is a tall order– Monique Walker looks at the difficulty that Wes Welker and Deion Branch have put on opposing defenses.

 Arrington turns the corner for Patriots – Mary Paoletti has a look at the second year cornerback’s improvement.

Very good now, maybe even better later – Glen Farley says that this team will continue to get better.

New guy on ‘D’ may have to cut in line – Rapoport’s notebook says that the new additions on the defense line are needed right away. The Patriots Journal from Robert Lee and the Globe notebook from Michael Vega each report on Jonathan Wilhite being placed on IR.

Feller: Hard and fast – Bob Ryan remembers Bob Feller, who passed way yesterday at the age of 92.

More Comcast SportsNet News…

Comcast SportsNet New England also announced today that they have hired a pair of new anchors for the network’s SportNet Central all-sports newsroom.

One name is a familiar one, while the other is a newcomer to the Boston sports scene.

Veteran TV anchor and reporter Bob Neumeier will join CSNNE on January 3rd. Neumeier, is of course well known to Boston sports fans as a long-time sports reporter and anchor for WBZ-TV, a radio host at WEEI, and as a national sports reporter for NBC sports.

“Local sports television has changed dramatically since I began my career, and as a regional sports network, Comcast SportsNet offers more coverage than any one in the market. With an extended Patriots post-season run in the offing and a potential historic Celtics season well underway, I could not have picked a better time to join the enthusiastic group at Comcast SportsNet,” said Neumeier.

The second hire is adding Nicole Zaloumis, also as a SportsNet Central anchor.

Zaloumis comes to CSNNE from the Big Ten Network, and prior to that, Fox Sports Northwest, where she anchored coverage of the Mariners and Seahawks. She’s also worked for Comcast SportsNet California. The San Francisco native will start at CSNNE on January 10th.

She was very popular in the Northwest, where they’ve been wondering what happened to her.

These hirings bolster the newsroom at CSNNE, and give local viewers a familar face in Neumeier. SportsNet Central is the best nightly sports news program on local television, far outclassing NESN Daily. With the Boston sports scene as busy and popular as ever, Comcast SportsNet continues to set the pace in sports television for New England.

It appears that Zaloumis may be the replacement for Jackie Pepper, who did not have her contract renewed recently.

The network also announced that they have renewed the contracts of Michael Felger, Gary Tanguay for Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight, and also that of Celtics analyst Donny Marshall.

Comcast SportsNet Goes Old School With 6 Classic NCAA Games

This looks like a pretty cool concept and series of game rebroadcasts from Comcast SportsNet:

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COMCAST SPORTSNET GOES OLD SCHOOL WITH SIX CLASSIC NCAA GAMES FEATURING ALLEN, THE TRUTH, RONDO, SHAQ, BIG BABY & AINGE

BURLINGTON MA – Nearly every player on the Celtics is recognizable, but Comcast SportsNet asks the question – do you remember them before they were Celtics?

Starting Friday, December 17 at 7 p.m., Comcast SportsNet goes old school with six classic NCAA games featuring some of the Celtics biggest names – Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Shaq, Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Celtics GM Danny Ainge.

Friday, December 17

7 p.m.
Ray Allen, UConn – In a 1995 NCAA Regional Final, Ray Allen drops 36 on UCLA. Does UConn make the Final Four?

11 p.m.
Paul Pierce, Kansas – Paul Pierce shows the scoring touch that produced 20,000 NBA points, lighting up Arizona for 27. One team goes on to win the National Championship, the other goes home.

Saturday, December 18

Noon
Paul Pierce, Kansas (replay)

2 p.m.
Rajon Rondo, Kentucky – In a double overtime tourney thriller, Rajon Rondo leads his Wildcats into battle against the Spartans of Michigan State. As with the Celtics, Rondo is always the center of the action.

4 p.m.
Shaq, LSU – The Diesel gives basketball fans a preview of what is to come with a dominating performance against the Illini in 1990.

8 p.m.
Glen Davis, LSU – Big Baby has charged his way into Boston since his arrival in 2007. Perhaps he opened Danny Ainge’s eyes with this standout performance against Texas in the 2006 Atlanta Regional Final.

Sunday, December 19

4 p.m.
Danny Ainge, BYU – Back in the day, Ainge was a standout basketball and baseball player. In this 1981 Regional Semifinal against Notre Dame, Ainge proves why basketball was the right choice. This NCAA tourney classic is considered by many to be one of the greatest tournament games ever played.

Patriots Start Packers Prep

The Patriots return to the practice fields today as they begin to get ready for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night.

A win for the Patriots, coupled with a Jets loss to the Steelers would give the Patriots the AFC East title and a first round bye.

Patriots’ young defense hitting its stride – Karen Guregian looks at the improvement of the New England defense over the last 10 quarters.

Do You See What He Sees? – Charles P. Pierce in Sports Illustrated has a feature on Wes Welker.

They Took A Pass– Greg A Bedard looks at the Patriots decision to pass on Clay Matthews in the 2009 draft. Tom E. Curran says that the Patriots missed the boat on Matthews.

Tom Brady-Deion Branch 59-Yard Touchdown a Perfect Play and 19 Other Patriots Thoughts – Jeff Howe touches on 20 things regarding the Patriots.

Patriots no super team … just yet – Mark Farinella has a bucket of cold water to throw on you.

First Impressions – Green Bay Packers – Greg Doyle offers some thoughts on the Packers.

Moore was in right place at right time – Brian MacPherson’s Patriots Journal has Eric Moore making the most of his opportunity. The Herald notebook from Karen Guregian has Robert Kraft with praise for this Patriots edition. Shalise Manza Young’s notebook in the Globe has more from Kraft.

Another Link In The Chain– Bob Ryan compares the New York Knicks to the Boston Bruins. An apt comparison, really.

Celtics: High marks for first quarter – Chris Forsberg has a Celtics report card.

Kevin Garnett showing his game has returned – Dan Duggan looks at the return of the pre-2008 KG.

The resurrection of a rivalry – Peter May goes through some Celtics-Knicks history. Practice notes from Chris Forsberg have the Celtics incredulous about this talk of a rivalry with the Knicks.

Aging team, hard reality – Michael Silverman looks at a horrible offseason for the Yankees.

This offseason, the Red Sox rule – Almost a companion piece, this one from Daniel Barbarisi.

Theo Epstein set up to help ’pen – Scott Lauber’s notebook has the Sox GM looking to make some bullpen moves. Peter Abraham’s notebook has more.

Boston Bruins could move up ladder in NHL’s Eastern Conference with another strong week – Mike Loftus looks at a big week on tap for the Bruins. Steve Conroy‘s notebook agrees.

Better Than 2007? Lets Hope.

The way the Patriots offense has been running as of late, the comparisons to 2007 are inevitable. Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti spent quite a bit of time yesterday rehashing the 2007 team, and their ultimate failure on the biggest stage.

While it might seem easy to just compare to prolific offenses which happen to have the same quarterback, in reality, this 2010 group is a very different offensive unit than the record-setting group of 2007. While this team isn’t as explosive down the field as the 2007 team, in many ways they’re a more balanced offense, and likely to hold up better against an all-out pressure defense like the one the Giants employed on them.

Patriots better than perfect – Gerry Callahan thinks that this team is better than the 2007 team. Even Dan Shaughnessy is in awe of this team.

Making The Grades – Patriots at Bears – Jeremy Gottlieb weighs in with his weekly grades. See other report cards from: Ron Borges | Kirk Minihane | Mike Reiss | Mike Felger

Attention to detail puts Patriots in position to succeed – Brian MacPherson notes that it is the little things that set the Patriots apart.

 Devin McCourty escapes big injury – Ian Rapoport’s notebook delivers a sigh of relief to fan worried about the rookie standout. It’s possible he may miss some time, but his rib injury doesn’t seem serious. Michael Vega‘s notebook in the Globe has a look at the TD play to end the first half against the Bears. The Patriots Journal from Brian MacPherson also looks at that play.

Red Sox negotiating murky bullpen waters – Mike Fine has the Red Sox still trying to get the bullpen nailed down. Peter Abraham compiles a Red Sox wish list.

Yankees’ loss is Red Sox’s gain – Gordon Edes says that Cliff Lee’s decision to sign with the Phillies makes the Red Sox offseason even better.

Sox can expect good old days with Crawford – Sean McAdam explains why Carl Crawford should still be a top player at age 35.

Kevin Youkilis on Steve Gorman Sports – The Red Sox third baseman is on a 75-minute podcast with Steve Gorman of the Black Crowes.

Satch: Rajon Rondo beyond compare – Steve Bulpett has Satch Sanders making a comparison between the Celtics point guard and Bill Russell, in terms of having a specific skillset.

seegsboston – Former WBZ-AM sports reporter Alan Segel has been blogging.