Celtics Get It Done In the End, Beat Knicks In Game One

It was a bit of a struggle at times, but the Celtics made enough big plays down the stretch to beat the New York Knicks 87-85 on a Ray Allen three-pointer with 11 seconds to go. Get the complete coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

Celtics Ray-se the roof – Mark Murphy says that this game was about revival, and it was more than just Ray Allen breaking out of a month-long funk. Tim Weisberg says the Celtics still have work to do. Peter May has the Celtics weathering the storm.

The resurrection of Jermaine O’Neal – Doc Rivers said O’Neal (12 points, 4 blocks) was the key to the game for the Celtics. Paul Flannery has more on the veteran center giving the Celtics what they needed. More on O’Neal from Jessica Camerato | Monique Walker | Greg Payne | Dan Duggan

No upsetting developments here – Gary Washburn says that it is encouraging that the Celtics could get the win on a night they were ripe for an upset. Chris Forsberg says Doc Rivers deserves credit for some late-game plays. A. Sherrod Blakely notes that shutting down Amar’e Stoudemire down the stretch was key.

Green contributes in the clutch for Celts – Camerato’s notes have the forward making some big plays of the bench. The Celtics Journal from Kevin McNamara has the TD Garden a tough place for the Knicks to play. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has the Celtics with a familiar look on the winning shot. The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has Paul Pierce pressuring the Knicks into key mistakes.

Bruins now face deficit, character test – Joe McDonald says that we’ll see what the Bruins are made of tonight. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins are running out of time.

Situation same as it ever was – Kevin Paul Dupont says that Claude Julien is unlikely to change things until it’s too late. Joe Haggerty says Julien needs to stop with the predictable and open things up.

Next goal key as Bruins must do their best impression of Canadiens – DJ Bean says that the Bruins absolutely have to jump out in front tonight.

Zdeno Chara makes the trip – Steve Conroy’s notebook has the captain making the trip, though his status is still unknown. The Globe notebook from Nancy Marrapese-Burrell also reports on Chara.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia key contributor in Red Sox win over Blue Jays – Karen Guregian has the young catcher getting it done yesterday.

For Jacoby Ellsbury, no time like the present to reclaim leading man role – Alex Speier says it might be time to restore Ellsbury to the top of the batting order.

Francona turns to Bard in a jam – The ProJo Red Sox Journal has Francona bringing his flamethrowing reliever into a game in the middle of the inning for the first time yesterday. The Herald notebook from Michael Silverman has Jon Lester finally having success in April. The Globe notebook from Peter Abraham has Ellsbury with his team-leading third home run yesterday.

2010 Patriots: What the Film Revealed – The NY Times 5th Down blog has been reviewing film of each team from the 2010 season. It’s the Patriots turn today.

Behind the Beantown beat – The ESPN Front Row blog has an interview with ESPNBoston.com senior editor David Lefort.

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Let’s Do Some Friday Megalinkage

Last week, I could not do the megalinks as I was traveling in between two offices. Yesterday, I seemed to get that out of the way so it appears that I’m free to do the megalinks today. I hope I can give you a full set.

As usual, there’s a full set of Weekend Viewing Picks for sports and primetime programming. You can take them or leave them. Choose wisely.

Now to the linkage.

National

At USA Today, Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate ESPN’s new endorsement policy. New guidelines on ESPN reporters and anchors endorsing products were issued this week.

The St. Petersburg Times’ Eric Deggans writing for the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center applauds the new ESPN policy.

Jessica E. Vascellaro and Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal report that Comcast wants to become a bigger player in cable sports through its NBC division.

Emma Bazilian of Adweek says NBC Universal’s new CEO wants to make Versus a true challenger to ESPN.

Austin Karp of the Sports Business Journal notes that the NHL’s ratings on Versus are making gains as the playoffs begin.

A story from Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated grabbed a lot of buzz yesterday. Richard reports that NFL Network’s Draft guru Mike Mayock would replace analysts Joe Theismann and Matt Millen in the Thursday Night Football booth and Gus Johnson might replace play-by-play man Bob Papa.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says having both the Knicks and Rangers in the postseason should raise the profile of MSG Network this Spring.

ESPN’s Front Row blog looks at the network’s preparation for the NBA Playoffs.

Marcus Vanderberg of SportsNewser notes that ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose returns from his suspension this Saturday.

CNBC’s Tom Rotunno says interest in the New York Knicks in the NBA Playoffs is driving the secondary ticket market.

All Access notes that a San Francisco country station has flipped to FM sports talk.

Alan Bastable of Golf Magazine talks with CBS’ Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo about last Sunday’s exciting final round of The Masters®.

To the Biz of Baseball where the great Maury Brown says MLB’s revenues have grown significantly from 1995 through 2010.

Bob’s Blitz has the video of Comcast SportsNet New England’s Joe Haggerty pushing a Canadiens fan out of camera range during a live shot after last night’s Habs-Bruins game.

The Crossing Broad blog isn’t a fan of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia superimposing ads behind the goal during the Sabres-Flyers series. I noticed Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic doing this too during the Rangers-Caps game on Wednesday.

The great Steve Lepore from Puck The Media likes NHL Network’s pregame efforts for the playoffs, but notes they could do better.

Sports Media Watch says Versus had good ratings for the opening night of the NHL Playoffs.

SMW tells us that Versus hit an all-time viewing high for the 2010-11 NHL regular season.

SMW says NBC had a mixed bag for its NHL regular season viewership.

SMW writes that ESPN will update its graphics and opening theme for the NBA playoffs.

Elie Mystal from Above the Law rips ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson for his thoughts of the Barry Bonds trial. Thanks to The Big Lead for the link.

Joe Favorito explains why he’s no longer writing for The Huffington Post. I’ve been hearing strange dealings going on there since it started a relationship with AOL earlier this year.

Brian Packey at Awful Announcing says the voices of the Sacramento Kings gave a tearful goodbye as they signed off following what could be their last game in California’s capital.

Dave Kohl at Major League Programs talks about MLB celebrating Jackie Robinson Day today.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe writes on how 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich scored a big coup by getting Charlie Sheen on their station after his Boston show earlier this week.

Bill Doyle from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette talks with Boston Bruins radio voice Dave Goucher.

Richard Sandomir from the New York Times discusses the new endorsement guidelines for ESPN personalities.

Stuart Elliot from the Times says ESPN and MasterCard are teaming up to produce a series on soccer that will be show in Latin America.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post continues his vitriol against everybody and everything in sports television.

The Post’s Justin Terranova has five questions for MSG New York Rangers analyst Joe Micheletti.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union talks with MSG Rangers voice Sam Rosen.

Pete says the Rangers’ playoff opener on Wednesday scored well for MSG Plus.

Ken McMillan from the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record notes that Versus and NHL Network will air the IIHF World Hockey Championships.

Laura Nachman notes that a local sports radio personality will jumping on board with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia for a midday gig.

Peter Van Allen of the Philadelphia Business Journal writes that Saturday is going to be a big day for the Delaware Valley sports fan.

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog notes that the Capitals got big ratings in their playoff opener.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner also talks about the record ratings for the Caps.

Jim says with higher expectations for the Nationals, MASN’s ratings for the DC MLB team should rise with them.

South

Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times rightfully criticizes Pittsburgh personality John Steigerwald for his horrific column on Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan who was beaten into a coma by two Los Angeles Dodgers fans earlier this month.

Barry Jackson from the Miami Herald says by ESPN/ABC choosing the 76ers-Heat series over Knicks-Celtics proves the drawing power of LeBron James & Co.

In the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, ESPN’s Rachel Nichols pays tribute to a former boss.

Steve Gorten from the Sun-Sentinel says ESPNU will air three videos produced by the Miami Hurricanes’ website.

Nate Allen from the Helena (AR) Daily World says ESPN is in town for the Arkansas spring football game.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that Hall of Fame Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton will be speaking about his colorful career at Texas A&M.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says a new era in Oklahoma Sooners broadcasting begins on Saturday.

Midwest

Nice to have George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal in the megalinks again. He says fans without a rooting interest will have plenty of choices to watch in the NBA Playoffs starting tomorrow.

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer discusses a new book on the 1961 pennant-winning Cincinnati Reds.

John says several well-known Cincinnati and national personalities were on hand last night to roast a local restaurant legend.

And John writes that from here on end, the Reds will be seen in high definition on Fox Sports Ohio.

Michael Zuidema from the Grand Rapids (MI) Press notes that a local lawyer by day also serves as minor league baseball team’s radio analyst by night.

The Indianapolis Star notes that last Sunday’s IndyCar race on Versus barely registered in the ratings opposite The Masters®.

Ed Sherman at Crain’s Chicago Business has some Windy City broadcast news and notes.

Ed says Notre Dame and Northwestern plan to meet on the gridiron again.

And Ed has this week’s winners and losers in sports business and media.

Will Buss of the Belleville (IL) News-Democrat says Fox Sports Midwest and AT&T U-Verse are haggling over 17 St. Louis Cardinals games.

Dan Caesar from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says despite not making the playoffs, the St. Louis Blues still set a ratings record for Fox Sports Midwest.

Sam Mellinger at the Kansas City Star says with a new rights deal in hand, the Big 12 became a big money player.

West

John Maffei of the North County Times writes that San Diego State University is concerned that the Mountain West Conference is falling behind in national TV exposure.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says the national NBA television analysts like the Lakers’ chances to repeat as champs this year.

In his notebook, Jim says The Masters® drew in the viewers.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at how quickly Kobe Bryant’s homophobic slur transcended sports.

Jon Wilner from the San Jose Mercury News looks at the bidders for the Pac 12 TV rights.

George Schroeder with the Eugene (OR) Register-Guard says the Pac 12 is going to get rich very quickly thanks to some TV network.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says a throwaway radio comment had Winnipeg laying down the welcome mat for the Phoenix Coyotes.

And we will end the megalinks there.

Celtics/Knicks Middle Of The Pack, Price-wise

I should actually say they are middle of the pack at the TD Garden. As you can see below, the games at Madison Square Garden are fetching the highest prices of any first round series – by far. The games in NY are averaging an astonishing $541 per seat, while games in Boston are averaging $243.

Canadiens Shut Out Bruins in Game One

The Montreal Canadiens stuck early last night, and it stood up the rest of the way as they blanked the Bruins 2-0 to take game one at the Garden of the opening round playoff series between the two clubs. Get all the coverage at BruinsLinks.com.

Nice to see that Dan Shaughnessy has the bus to loserville all warmed up and ready to go this morning.

Some breaking news from Sean McAdam this morning, as he reports that Adrian Gonzalez and the Red Sox have agreed to a 7-year, $154 million extension, which is expected to be announced this afternoon. McAdam was the first of the locals to break the story, which while expected, is still very welcome news.

Bleu, blank, et rouge – Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins coming up empty in the opener. Amanda Bruno has a lifeless power play among the Bruins failings last night.

Bruins need to shed loser’s mentality – Joe Haggerty says that the Bruins need to raise the bar of their own expectations.

Canadiens get the first goal, sit back and win – DJ Bean has Montreal doing exactly what it wanted to last night.

They didn’t go bump on this night – Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins did not play their game last night.

Ex-Devils Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta leave burn – Steve Conroy’s notebook has a pair of former Stanley Cup champs coming up big for the Habs.

Time to get down to business – Peter Abraham says that the slow start of the Red Sox needs to end now.

Curt Young not restless – Scott Lauber has the new pitching coach still settling in. Maureen Mullen has Young taking the slow start personally.

Should Celtics train a new top dog? – Jackie MacMullan wonders if the Celtics should look to Kevin Garnett more in the final seconds rather than Paul Pierce.

No stop sign: Green means go – Julian Benbow with a mini-feature on Jeff Green, who got a taste of playoff experience last season, and plans to make an impact this season.

Celtics’ regular-season report card – Mark Murphy grades out the Celtics.

Team expects big postseason impact from Shaquille O’Neal – Dan Duggan’s notebook has the Celtics expecting that the big fella will be a contributor. The Globe notebook from Frank Dell’Apa says that the Celtics will have a better idea of Shaq’s status today.

A ‘winning’ moment for 98.5 – Chad Finn looks at the Toucher and Rich show scoring an exclusive interview with the elusive and reclusive Charlie Sheen.

Bruins And Celtics Open Playoffs (Just In Time For Red Sox Fans) – In my SB Nation Boston media column, I round up the playoff coverage of the Bruins and Celtics, and in the spirit of the new partnership between WEEI and SB Nation, I give you my opinion of the move of Mike Adams to the Big Show:

In a brilliant move, WEEI program director Jason Wolfe astutely read his audience perfectly, and responding to their wishes, moved the incredibly popular Mike Adams into a role with the new-look powerhouse afternoon drive show “The Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley. Adams’ hilarious comedy and pinpoint knowledge of all things sports will compliment the reasoned and insightful Ordway as well as the nuanced pearls of Patriots insider knowledge that Holley brings to the program. This is truly a win for all involved, especially the listeners, who will be treated to a show that will rival the very best that any station has put out in the history of radio.

What? You’ll just have to read the rest.

Will This Year Be Different For The Bruins?

Playoff hockey begins tonight at the Garden for the Bruins, as they begin their first round series with their hated nemesis from the North, the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins playoff futility is well-documented. Can this team put the scars of last year’s playoff nightmare behind them? We’re about to find out.

Put on repeat: Bruins will beat Habs – Joe McDonald says that the Bruins have what it takes to go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. His colleague James Murphy, in a sidebar on that page, picks Montreal in six games in this series. Murphy provides a scouting report on the series.

Boston Bruins have what it takes to prevail over Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoffs – Mike Loftus sees the Bruins winning in five games.

Playing Physical, Staying Disciplined Among Five Keys for the Bruins to Beat Montreal – Douglas Flynn looks at what it will take for the Bruins to win this series.

Bruins, Canadiens match up once again – Steve Conroy takes the Bruins in six.

Inside the Bruins: ‘B’ must stand for business vs. archrivals – Mike Colageo has the Bruins in five.

Devils president: Yes, the Bruins can! – Bill Burt has Lou Lamoriello saying that the Bruins have what it takes.

Hockey pluck – Fluto Shinzawa runs a feature on Bruins rookie Brad Marchand, who has never been short on talent or feistiness.

A growing season for Seguin – Shinzawa also looks at the rookie year for the #2 overall pick, and says that “the sexy parts of Seguin’s game didn’t overcome his shortcomings in grit, determination, courage, and hockey sense.” Ouch.

Tuning In: Third round would be a first for Goucher – Bill Doyle has the Bruins radio voice hoping to call a conference final for the first time.

Thomas ready to take on the Bell Centre – Joe Haggerty’s CSNNE notes have the Bruins goaltender raring to go against the Montreal Canadiens. The Herald notebook from Steve Conroy has Thomas not afraid of playing in Montreal. The Globe notebook from Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has Tomas Kaberle looking forward to his first playoff series since 2004. The Patriot Ledger notebook from Mike Loftus has Gregory Campbell up for his first postseason action.

Comcast SportsNet is expanding their Bruins coverage during the playoffs with special SportsNet Central Extra shows after all 7 p.m. face offs and expanded SportsNet Central coverage at 10 following 7:30 p.m. face offs. Joe Haggerty, along with Mike Giardi or Kevin Walsh, will travel to all road games.

Michael Felger will anchor and Tony Amonte will provide analysis on all Chevrolet SportsNet Central Extra shows from Comcast SportsNet’s Ace Ticket studio on Causeway Street (home games) or its Burlington, MA studio (road games).

The Most Unlikely Impact Player – Tony Allen – yes THAT Tony Allen, is the featured subject of a story in the Wall Street Journal.

What makes Knicks dangerous for C’s? – Chris Forsberg is very scared of the New York Knicks.

Was this Celtics season a success? – Paul Flannery calls the Celtics “The most fragile team in the league” while looking back at their regular season. I’m assuming he means physically.

Celtics, Knicks ready to show who’s best – Steve Bulpett has the two teams preparing for their playoff series. Peter May says that this is not a rivalry.

Scrubbing up for the playoffs – Monique Walker’s notebook has the Celtics bench beating the Knicks bench last night. The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has Jeff Green getting pleny of work in the last two games. The postgame notes from Chris Forsberg have Sasha Pavlovic showing some fire last night.

Getting better . . . really! – Sean McAdam has Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan insisting that his team is improving.

Why Carl Crawford believes routine will end his slump – Alex Speier has the Red Sox outfielder sticking with what he knows will eventually work.

Lowrie plays himself into lineup – Brian MacPherson has the infielder’s .480 batting average in the early going compelling his manager to put him in the lineup.

No blame game for Daisuke Matsuzaka – Gordon Edes says that the pitcher’s struggles are his own fault.

Lackey’s turn will be skipped – Peter Abraham has the Red Sox choosing to skip John Lackey’s spot in the rotation, and have him make his next start in Oakland, where he’s had a history of success. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has David Ortiz a bit worried over the team’s start. The Red Sox Journal from MacPherson has the Red Sox not panicking just yet.

Red Sox Still Cannot Break Through, Now MLB-Worst 2-9

In what is quickly becoming a lost month, the Red Sox fell once again last night, this time losing 3-2 to the Tampa Rays. The Red Sox are now an MLB-worst 2-9 on the season. Catch up with the full coverage over at RedSoxLinks.com.

If you think tonight is the night they put things together, just remember John Lackey and his 15.58 ERA is starting for the Red Sox.

When does it stop being early for Red Sox? – Alex Speier wonders when we can officially worry about the season being in jeopardy from this horrific start.

Red Sox just not good enough – Michael Silverman notes that “Even when they play a crisp, clean game, the Red Sox still cannot catch a break.”

Jed Lowrie makes case – John Tomase has the infielder making his case to be a full time starter. Steven Krasner has more on Lowrie.

A Sox fan growing up, Fuld’s Fenway debut was simply special – Christopher Smith looks at Durham, N.H. native Sam Fuld getting the chance to live out his dream as a member of the Rays.

Manny Ramirez deserves spot in Hall of Fame – Jonathan Comey swims against the current on this one. I thought it odd on Sunday Night Baseball that Orel Hershiser said he would vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire for the Hall of Fame, but not Manny.

Crawford not frustrated by slump – Maureen Mullen’s CSNNE notes has the outfielder confident he and his teammates will break out soon. The Globe notebook from Michael Vega has Kevin Youkilis taking a night at DH. The Herald notebook from Michael Silverman has a hesitant throw from Adrian Gonzalez allowing the deciding run to score for the Rays. The Patriot Ledger notes from Mike Fine looks at the difficulties of communicating with Daisuke Matsuzaka. Brian MacPherson’s Red Sox Journal has Dice-K remaining in the rotation.

Julien behind the 8-ball – Kevin Paul Dupont says that these playoffs are make-or-break for Claude Julien. Joe Haggerty says that failure is not an option for Julien.

Breaking down Bruins vs. Canadiens: Who has the edge? – DJ Bean predicts Montreal in six.

Bruins forward Milan Lucic thrives in playoff atmosphere – Mike Loftus says that Lucic has always been a factor against Montreal in the post-season. Steve Conroy says that the playoffs are Lucic’s time to shine.

Tim Thomas pushes doubters aside – Joe McDonald has the Bruins goaltender making believers everywhere.

Zdeno Chara delivers on hit – Conroy’s notebook has the Bruins captain confirming that he has spoken to the Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty. The Globe notebook from Fluto Shinzawa has Nathan Horton prepping for his first playoff series. The Patriot Ledger notebook from Mike Loftus has Chara unconcerned about his reception in Montreal.

The revitalization of Kevin Garnett – Paul Flannery looks at the bounceback year from Kevin Garnett, who has played better than most thought possible this season.

Danny Ainge offers uniform response on Celtics – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics boss more confident heading into this playoffs than he was last year at this time.

Celtics not lacking confidence – Gary Washburn excited about starting the playoffs. A. Sherrod Blakely says that the Celtics will need to get “gritty” against the Knicks.

Bill Belichick gets taste of Jake Locker – Ian Rapoport reports on the Patriots hosting the Washington QB on a two-day visit.

Globe outsources online-comment screening – Dan Kennedy looks at Boston.com’s new commenting policies.

Sox Can’t Keep It Going

The Red Sox were unable to sustain any momentum they may have started with Josh Beckett’s sparkling performance, as they got bombed by the previously hapless Tampa Rays 16-5 at Fenway Park last night. Get all the depressing coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

The Celtics made the decision to concede the #2 seed in the East, and rested their “Big Four” last night. The result was a 95-94 OT loss to the Washington Wizards. The Celtics got a couple of good individual performances from Jeff Green (20 points, 15 rebounds) and Jermaine O’Neal (15 points, 13 rebounds 5 blocks) but also lost guard Delonte West to another ankle injury. Get the Celtics coverage at CelticsLinks.com. The Celtics will face the New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.

Celtics have gone soft – Gerry Callahan says that Danny Ainge only screwed up by trusting that his four All Star players could actually act like professionals.

Game 1 return goal for Shaq – The Globe notebook has Shaquille O’Neal expected to be ready to begin the playoffs. A. Sherrod Blakely has Jermaine O’Neal giving the Celtics a taste of what they’ve missed.

Dice-K  reaction renews eerie memory – Mike Fine says that the postgame reaction from Daisuke Matsuzaka reminded him of a similar poor outing in the 2007 playoffs.

One hundred starts later, the Daisuke Matsuzaka mystery remains unsolved – Rob Bradford says that we still don’t know what Dice-K is.

Bruins report card – Stephen Harris has a regular season report card for the Bruins.

Task force – Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins eager to move forward after their epic playoff meltdown last season.

Sitting Seguin needs to be among impact players – Mick Colageo says that sitting down the first round pick seems to confirm “the troubling reality that this wunderkind may not be made of the right stuff.”

Pats’ BenJarvus Green-Ellis training like a champ … a boxing champ, that is – Ian Rapoport has the Patriots running back training in the gym run by Muhammad Ali’s former trainer Angelo Dundee.