Celtics, Bruins Impressive Out On The Road

The Celtics and Bruins were both victorious out on the road last night, with the Celtics posting a 115-93 win in Northern California over the Golden State Warriors and the Bruins scoring a 3-1 win over the Flames in Calgary.

Rondo leads Celtics over Warriors, 115-93 – A. Sherrod Blakely has the birthday boy leading the way for the Celtics with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Paul Flannery says we got a look at what it would be like if Rondo played in the Western conference every night.

Ainge ‘looking for help’ – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics director of basketball operations looking to add to his team before tomorrow afternoon’s trade deadline. Nick Underhill looks at some possibilities for the Celtics. Rich Levine says that the Celtics need to add something to get them through this stretch of injuries.

Shaq unlikely to play on trip – The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has the big man back home in Florida, rehabbing his injury. The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has Marquis Daniels’ future still uncertain.

Refreshed Thomas, Bruins douse the Flames – Fluto Shinzawa has a rested Tim Thomas leading the Bruins to victory.

Lucic, Krejci regaining their form – Joe Haggerty has a pair of key Bruins stepping up their games.

Milan Lucic’s pair perfect bookends to victory – Steve Conroy’s notebook has the big forward with a pair of goals last night. The Globe notebook from Fluto Shinzawa has Rich Peverley fitting in nicely with his new team.

Carl Crawford says he’s a base-stealer, and always will be – Rob Bradford has the Sox outfielder planning on remaining aggressive on the basepaths with his new team.

Red Sox, umpires come together – Joe McDonald has the Red Sox putting their issues with certain umpires aside for the new season.

Pitchers eat up K rations – John Tomase with an interesting look at the K Rate on the Red Sox staff.

Evolution of a pitcher: Jon Lester finds his groove – Brian MacPherson kicks off a three-part feature on the Red Sox lefty ace.

A year later, prospect Ryan Westmoreland’s comeback moves forward – Alex Speier has a feature on the Red Sox prospect a year into his recovery from brain surgery.

Sign of respect on manager? – Peter Abraham’s notebook has the Sox picking up the two-year option on Terry Francona’s contract. The Red Sox Journal from Brian MacPherson has  Matt Albers looking for a spot on the roster. The Herald notebook from John Tomase has more on the Sox and the Umps.

Devin McCourty Won’t Change Jersey Number for Superstitious Reasons and 19 Other Patriots Thoughts – Jeff Howe has 20 items, mostly about the Patriots rookie star.

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Pete Sheppard Speaks Out

In a Facebook chat yesterday, former (and future?)  WEEI personality Pete Sheppard spoke out about his experiences dealing with 98.5 The SportHub program director Mike Thomas, saying that Thomas will not return his calls, and has even banned Sheppard from doing commercial voice-overs on the station.

Shunned Sheppard launches Facebook fury – Jessica Heslam has more on the chat.

Sheppard also said that he has had conversations with WEEI program director Jason Wolfe recently, though nothing seems to be on the verge of happening.

The Celtics return from the All Star break tonight with a game in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors.

Making the 18th Green – Steve Bulpett has 18 keys to the Celtics winning their 18th banner.

Green still have a ways to go – Gary Washburn has the Celtics focused on a stronger second half to the season than what we saw last season.

Celtics, Rockets deal for Battier not happening – For about an hour last night, Twitter was buzzing over a Marc Stein report that the Celtics were talking to the Rockets about swingman Shane Battier. A. Sherrod Blakely says the deal isn’t happening.

Battier, of course, would be an absolute perfect fit for the Celtics right now, but their lack of trade chips makes a deal virtually impossible for them to make. Julian Benbow looks at the Celtics needs for healthy bodies.

Kevin Garnett won’t change his style – Jackie MacMullan has a look at the swagger that KG brings to the Celtics.

Doc planning to keep Shaquille O’Neal off the court – Mark Murphy’s Herald notebook has the Celtics coach planning on sitting Shaq for this entire West coast trip.

Red Sox lineup cards all on the table – Ron Borges, John Tomase, Steve Buckley and Scott Lauber each try to figure out the best starting lineup for the Red Sox.

How David Ortiz might find life against lefties – Rob Bradford looks at what Big Papi is doing to improve his fortures against left-handed pitchers.

‘Pen moves should give Red Sox relief – Joe McDonald has the rebuilt Red Sox bullpen looking like a strength of the club.

Unassuming Adrian Gonzalez enters spotlight – Gerry Callahan looks at the humble new superstar of the Red Sox.

Andrew Miller hopes fog is lifting – Gordon Edes has a look at the still-promising lefty.

Rodriguez admires kid’s glove – The Globe notebook has A-Rod impressed with Red Sox minor league shortstop Jose Iglesias. The Red Sox notebook from John Tomase has Gonzalez swinging off a tee for the first time since his shoulder surgery.

I’m still wondering why NESN hasn’t yet created a reality series from Fort Myers called “Globe Condo.” You can see the hijinks and hilarity that ensues when Peter Abraham, Nick Cafardo, Dan Shaughnessy and others share a company-owned condo for two months during spring training! Huge ratings!

Is anything else brewin’? – Kevin Paul Dupont thinks that the Bruins could still use some tweaks.

Peverley brings skill up front – Stephen Harris thinks that the center acquired from the Thrashers has star potential.

NFL owner’s scorn bodes ill – Ron Borges looks at how hard line owners like Jerry Richardson could make the NFL work stoppage a complete disaster.

Finally, Some Friday Megalinks

Ok, I have some time to do some blogging this evening and I figure I’ll do the Friday megalinks, something which has been sorely lacking here. Let’s get cracking on the links.

As always, you can check the Weekend Viewing Picks for all of your weekend in sports and primetime TV.

Now let’s do your linkage.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate whether the U.S. Army should be throwing $7 million at sponsoring NASCAR.

Speaking of NASCAR, Hiestand talks about Fox using a new camera at the Daytona 500 that can pick up heat fluctuations.

At Quickish, Dan Shanoff feels the new Captain Blowhard project at ESPN.com will succeed.

Andrea Morabito of Broadcasting & Cable looks at Fox Soccer Channel extending its rights deal with Major League Soccer.

Ryan Ballengee of NBC’s Pro Golf Talk says Golf Channel’s Jim Gray was clearly in the wrong to interrupt golfer Dustin Johnson during the 1st round of the Northern Trust Open. Following Gray’s interview with Johnson, the reporter got into a heated argument with Johnson’s caddie which led to Golf Channel removing him from the broadcast for the rest of the weekend.

Emma Carmichael at Deadspin finds an excerpt from a 1990 book which recounts an incident where former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Mario Soto found a way to get revenge on Jay Mariotti.

Dan Fogarty at SportsGrid notes that Tony Kornheiser is wary of blogs and the internet in general. Whatever. Mr. Tony really shouldn’t be talking anymore.

Sports Media Watch notes that the PGA’s Pebble Beach National Pro-Am got a big ratings increase from last year for CBS.

Steve Lepore at Puck The Media says gets info from NBC Sports how Hockey Day in America will be presented on Sunday.

Awful Announcing has the video of an awkward interview between TNT’s Craig Sager and Washington Wizards rookie John Wall.

Joe Favorito says the New Jersey Devils are bringing fans closer to the game by allowing them to live tweet during games at the game and bring bloggers and broadcasters into the mix.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says a new ruling regarding the use of likenesses could allow athletes to go after video game manufacturers.

Fred Hickman, formerly of CNN, ESPN, YES and Fox Sports Net, has launched his own media training company for athletes. The question is, will Fred actually show up for his training sessions? Fred’s reputation proceeds him.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn at the Boston Globe wonders what’s going on at WEEI?

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette also discusses the WEEI lineup changes.

Newsday’s Neil Best notes that New York Mets tickets are selling well despite the team’s troubles on and off the field.

The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir looks at a new Broadway sports play being produced by the same people who brought “Lombardi” to the Great White Way.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Times attacks ESPN for allowing its personalities to sign endorsement contracts.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News says Mets owner Fred Wilpon is not ducking questions about convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff.

Pete Dougherty from the Albany Times Union says NASCAR has to learn to be able to take punches when people like Tony Kornheiser make silly statements about their sport.

Pete has a composite Spring Training TV schedule.

In Press Box, Dave Hughes from DCRTV.com says the effects of the Orioles leaving the CBS Radio-owned sports station are still being felt now.

Dave talks with former Baltimore Sun sports media writer Ray Frager who’s now the managing editor at the CSN Baltimore and CSN Washington websites.

South

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says NFL Network will be all over the Scouting Combine next week.

Tom Jones from the St. Petersburg Times talks about Kornheiser’s NASCAR comments and other sports media issues.

The Chattanoogan previews ESPN’s new documentary on Tennessee’s first African-American quarterback.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Fox will have plenty of storylines for Sunday’s Daytona 500.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that the late Dale Earnhardt still casts a big shadow over NASCAR.

Kirk Bohls from the Austin American-Statesman says the traditional Texas-Texas A&M Thanksgiving Night football game might be moved to accommodate the Big 12’s TV contract.

Mel Bracht in the Daily Oklahoman talks with Turner Sports’ Kevin McHale about the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk competition.

Mel has his media notebook featuring Fox Sports MLB primetime games.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter from the Cincinnati Enquirer says former Reds teammates Eduardo Perez and Barry Larkin are reunited at ESPN.

Micheal Zuidema at the Grand Rapids (MI) Press talks with an area native who covers NASCAR for the Motor Racing Network.

Lewis Lazare of the Chicago Sun-Times looks at how Comcast is bringing NBC to work together with its sports networks.

Neal Justin of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes that the Minnesota Twins have gone all-cable with its new TV deal with Fox Sports North .

Dan Caesar from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that the whole Albert Pujols contract dispute with the Cardinals has become a feeding media frenzy.

West

The Salt Lake Tribune notes that Fox Soccer Channel will pick up a couple of Real Salt Lake MLS games.

John Maffei at the North County Times marks the 25th anniversary of the great movie, “Hoosiers”.

John talks about how NASCAR’s Super Bowl takes place at the beginning of the season, not at the end.

Jim Carlisle from the Ventura County Star says the new Los Angeles Lakers channel to be run by Time Warner Cable is a gamechanger.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times talks about Jim Gray’s dismissal from the Northern Trust Open.

Tom Hoffarth at the Los Angeles Daily News says the Time Warner-Lakers deal will have far-reaching effects.

Tom catches up on the two weeks in sports media and has his extensive media news and notes.

Tom also writes about Jim Gray being sent home by Golf Channel.

Jon Wilner from the San Jose Mercury News has an extensive look at the Pac 12 TV negotiations.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail notes that CBC’s announcers for the Heritage Classic differ on how the game will affect Montreal and Calgary down the line.

The Canadian Sports Media blog notes that curling is back on TSN this weekend.

And we are done.

Celtics Enjoying Best Season Ever on CSNNE

Here is some information passed along by Comcast SportsNet New England:

The Celtics are on pace to set multiple ratings benchmarks on Comcast SportsNet New England this season. The team is on track for the highest-rated season in the network’s 30-year Celtics history. Through 46 games this season, Comcast SportsNet is averaging a 4.7 rating, which equals an estimated 188,000 New England homes, a 42 percent increase over the 3.3 average rating posted this time last season. Comcast SportsNet is on pace to shatter its previous season-high rating record of 3.5, posted during the 2008-09 season. Since Comcast SportsNet purchased the network in 2007, ratings for the Celtics have increased 176 percent.

During the season, Comcast SportsNet has set all-time highs for a single regular season game telecast, season opener telecast, as well as pre-game and post game shows.

Highlights from the season include:

  • Highest rated regular season telecast in history – 7.5 rating (estimated 300,000 New England homes) on November 17, 2010
  • Highest rated post-game show in history (including playoffs) – 4.9 rating (196,000 New England homes) for New England Ford Dealers Celtics Postgame Live on January 5, 2011
  • Highest rated pre-game show in history (including playoffs) – 2.6 rating (estimated 104,000 New England homes) for Celtics Pre-Game Live presented by Ace Tickers on February 10, 2011
  • Highest rated first telecast of the season – 5.6 (224,000 New England homes) for Celtics vs. Cavaliers on October, 27, 2010
  • 110 percent increase in Celtics Postgame Live – 2.4 vs. 1.2.
  • 32 percent increase in Celtics Pre-Game Live – 9 vs. .7.
  • Two telecasts surpassing a 7.0 rating (only one other in network history)
  • Eight regular season telecasts surpassing a 6.0 rating (previous high – two games in 2008-09)
  • 146 percent increase with females 25-54 on 2010-11 telecasts – 2.36 vs. .96

During the season, Comcast SportsNet has shared 11 telecasts with national networks ESPN and TNT and Comcast SportsNet’s telecasts, featuring 30-year telecast tandem Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn, have out rated the national competitors by 88 percent.

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With the NBA All Star Game this weekend, look at what some of the seats around the Staples Center are going for:

Friday Quicklinks

Wrapping up a brutal week, here’s a few quicklinks for today as we head into the holiday weekend:

What signal is WEEI sending? – Chad Finn tries to sort through what has been a tumultuous week for WEEI, looking at whether the station is trying to get younger, what’s next for Dale Arnold, and what the Felger factor has been. You can also chat with Chad at noon today.

Big Show undergoes really big changes – Bill Doyle has more on the changes this week at WEEI.

Live chat with Jason Wolfe at noon – Here’s your chance to let the VP of Programming for WEEI know what you think of his changes this week.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons Unveils Details Of New Sports/Pop Culture Site – John Ourand of Sports Business Daily reports on a new website venture for the former Boston Sports Guy.

Bill Belichick puts on good show – Karen Guregian with a look at tonight’s Patriots All Access, which features a lot of behind-the-scenes items from Patriots coach at the Pro Bowl.

The Crawford Effect: Why new Sox superstar’s biggest impact could come from his glove – Alex Speier looks at why the Red Sox need Crawford’s defense as much as his offense.

What’s out there for the C’s? – Peter May looks at what could be available on the trade market for the Celtics.

Distraught Arnold Wishes He Left WEEI When He Had The Chance

Like many, I tuned into the start of the Dale & Holley program yesterday to see what Dale Arnold would say about the announcement that Michael Holley would be moving to afternoons alongside Glenn Ordway, and the report in the Boston Herald that Arnold would be relegated to fill-in duty.

The first segment of the show was played straight, there was talk about the Bruins game, and then Dale said he would talk about his situation following a quick break. When the show came back, Arnold told the story from his perspective – after Monday’s show, a day in which Michael Holley was off, Jason Wolfe approached him after the show and asked to speak with him. He told him about moving Holley to the Big Show, and then that Arnold’s role would be changing as well.

Arnold said that Wolfe told him his new role would consist of working year-round on Sunday mornings, and serving as the “first guy off the bench” in the fill-in hosting role among the WEEI shows. That apparently also includes play-by-play for the Red Sox and Celtics, as Arnold will do some games for each team. Dale said that the only thing about that new role that appeals to him is the increased play-by-play duties.

Dale then said that he very much regrets turning down NESN’s offer three years ago to do the Bruins games full time. He said that at the time, he turned down the offer out of loyalty to WEEI, where he had just signed a new five-year contract.

Arnold was clearly disappointed and distraught with the decisions, and I can’t really blame him. His show was the one WEEI program I always listened to. It didn’t matter the co-host, Andelman, Neumeier, Holley, I always listen to WEEI from 10-2. Arnold has his detractors and haters (just look at the comment section for the previous post on this site), but I’m not one of them. I think some of criticisms levied at Dale are absurd. He’s a pro. He handled this situation like a pro, expressing his disappointment, yet keeping things in check for the most part.

Glenn Ordway made a somewhat odd comment during his show yesterday, expressing hope that “some outlet” would hire Dale to do play-by-play full time. The options would be limited, as there are only four choices – WEEI (Celtics and Red Sox radio) 98.5 FM (Patriots and Bruins radio) NESN (Bruins and Red Sox TV) and CSNNE (Celtics TV). Most of those slots are pretty solidly filled for the foreseeable future, with the possible exception being the Patriots radio team, which can’t have too many more years left in them. (Gil Santos is 72, Gino Cappelletti will be 77 next month)

I’ll have more in the WEEI situation as time goes on, including in tomorrow’s SB Nation Boston Media column.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, Pete Sheppard promises to have a lot to say about the WEEI situation on Monday.

WEEI host Dale Arnold ‘shocked’ – Jessica Heslam also examines Dale’s comments.

WEEI’s Arnold discusses diminished role – Chad Finn with more from Dale.

In a shakeup, WEEI will pair Holley with Ordway – Finn reports on Holley’s move to The Big Show.

The Celtics were looking shaky in the third quarter, trailing the New Jersey Nets by nine points at home. They turned up their defense in the fourth quarter and ended up posting a 94-80 win in their last game before this weekend’s  NBA All Star break.

Pierce bounces back as C’s top Nets – Scott Souza has the Captain leading the way with 31 points for the Celtics. Chris Forsberg has Pierce bouncing back big from his 0-fer on Sunday.

Home is sweet again for Celtics – Paul Flannery has the parquet settling the Celtics into a win. Rich Levine has more on home court helping out the Celtics.

Bill Russell is monument-al – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics already planning a statue of Russell.

Perkins not the answer in middle for Celtics – Buddy Thomas thinks Kwame Brown, among others, would be a better fit at center for the Celtics. No, really.

West’s return is delayed, but Pierce is fine – Frank Dell’Apa’s Globe notebook has the Celtics holding Delonte West out until after the All Star game. The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has Pierce looking for a three-point repeat this weekend. The Enterprise notebook from Jim Fenton has more on the home court advantage, and the MWDN notebook from Scott Souza has the Celtics All Stars ready for L.A.

The interview du jour in papers is Jacoby Ellsbury. There is Dan Shaughnessy | Steve Buckley | Brian MacPherson | Mike Petraglia | Gordon Edes | Tony Lee |Sean McAdam all weighing in on the Red Sox outfielder.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is also a popular subject: Peter Abraham | John Tomase | Alex Speier | Gordon Edes

Post-Papi, why not Pujols? – Gordon Edes explores the far-fetched notion that the Red Sox could pursue the Cardinals superstar as a replacement DH for David Ortiz.

Varitek Shows Saltalamacchia The Ropes At Catcher – Dom Amore has the Red Sox with both youth and experience behind the plate. Tomase’s Red Sox Notebook has more on the catching.

Albert or Adrian: Which superstar will perform better during his next contract? – Alex Speier compares the two first baseman to determine which would be the better signing.

Free thinking from Lester – Peter Abraham’s notebook has the lefty looking to limit walks this season.

Deadline hangs over Bruins’ heads – Steve Conroy has the Bruins needing to make a move, soon. Mick Colageo says that the clock is ticking.

Droppin’ the gloves on the B’s – Michael Felger talks Bruins. WARNING– there is also a lot of Spygate talk within.

McCourty hopes this is only the beginning – Tim Britton has the Patriots cornerback talking about his rookie season, and the future.

Good report on Gostkowski – Greg A Bedard has the Patriots kicker saying he’ll be ready to go this fall.

Desperate WEEI Shakes Up Lineup

This afternoon Glenn Ordway was touting a “major announcement” to be made at 5:20. Most of these “major announcements” are little more than announcing a new weekly guest to the program, or something along those lines.

Today’s announcement however, is legitimately big news. After years of having the format of Glenn Ordway and two rotating co-hosts, Ordway announced that starting February 28th, the Big Show will add Michael Holley as a permanent co-host alongside Ordway. The name of the show will remain the same, and there will still be a whiner line. It is unclear whether there will be a third rotating co-host each day, as Ordway simply said that others “will be in and out of here all the time.”

The question was left then – what will become of the Dale and Holley show? This was not announced on the show, but The Inside Track at the Boston Herald reports that the duo will be replaced by former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni and weekend WEEI (and WGAM AM)  host Mike Mutnansky.

The track reports that Dale Arnold will be relegated to “fill in duty.”

These moves are clearly in reaction to the ratings gains made by 98.5 The SportsHub in the last year. The odd thing is, the Dale and Holley show was the only one that was still consistently beating their 98.5 competition.

WEEI was hamstrung however, by the salaries of their talent. They couldn’t make a move in the morning, with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan making big bucks, and Ordway is a fixture in the afternoons. I believe Holley’s contract was due sometime this year, so this move seems to be a promotion of sorts for him.

These are some big moves. I can’t wait to read all of your reactions to them.

WEEI Announces New Drive-Time ‘Dream Team’ (weei.com)