Tribute to Lake Placid, 33 years ago today

It’s the story of the greatest team ever.

Sports_Illustrated_Miracle_on_Ice_cover

And they defeated the Russians 33 years ago today.

Continue reading Tribute to Lake Placid, 33 years ago today

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Thoughts on Minihane to Morning Show, NFL Combine, NBA Trade Deadline

I half expected to tune into 93,7 FM this morning and find John Dennis gone. Instead, both Dennis and Gerry Callahan were there, and they were joined by Kirk Minihane, who, as Chad Finn reports, will be the third host, and not a flash guy.

Entercom couldn’t really fire either Dennis or Callahan due to contractual obligations, so instead they added a third voice into the mix. I think we can expect Minihane to challenge some of the redundant thinking of D&C, though how vociferous he is with it is questionable. I don’t think for instance, we’ll hear him using the attack mode he used on Alan Siegel over the Boston magazine piece. He can’t do that, and be able to work with those guys each day.

So what changes will we see? Hopefully he’ll insert some reality into the conversations, make things a bit less one-sided on that show.

Speaking of challenging D&C, Alex Speier did a masterful job of it yesterday, making Callahan in particular look foolish, all very politely, and Callahan still had the gumption to claim victory after the call was over. Speier, by the way, again has the best read of the day with his piece on super-prospect Xander Bogaerts.

So what’s next for WEEI? Does Mike Adams have cause for concern over his position? Nights aren’t a priority for the advertising/ratings factions, but he does perpetrate the “old” image of WEEI, especially against the younger Adam Jones on 98.5. Management seems enamored with John Saucier, but I fear a show with him full-time would wear on one real quick.

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It’s time again for the NFL combine, and all the local outlets will be sending out their football personnel to the event.

Why?

It’s not to really cover the NFL prospects who are working out, though some reporters do more on this angle than others. The reason most of them are there is for the media availability of various Patriots and NFL people. But what do we really learn? Anything? I don’t recall off the top of my head any reporting from the combine that gave us any insight into what the Patriots will do at the draft. It’s interesting to follow on Twitter, I suppose, but there’s so much repeat material out there it’s tiresome to sort through to find anything of real interest.

I guess I’m just amazed that the combine has become the media event that it has, and that the local outlets, none of which are swimming in cash, keep sending their entire squads out there.

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The NBA trade deadline is this afternoon at 3:00pm ET. Either Danny Ainge is going to blow up the Celtics, or he’s not going to be able to do anything. It’s very hard to believe that Ainge will be able to keep his key pieces, and also add a piece that is going to increase their chances of being a contender this season.

I tend to think the Celtics will not make a major move, but it won’t be because of lack of effort from Ainge. Of course, I thought the same thing two years ago when the Perkins/Green trade went down.

The guy who is probably going to have any move first is Adrian Wojnarowski. @WojYahooNBA He has become the Adam Schefter of the NBA, breaking news from all over the league, usually ahead of just about everyone else.

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Shoot, I was really hoping Dan Shaughnessy was going to write a column finger-wagging the Patriots over Alfonzo Dennard.

Kirk Minihane To Join “Dennis And Callahan” Full-Time

John Dennis is safe (for now). Chad Finn is reporting Kirk Minihane will be joining Gerry Callahan and Dennis on the “Dennis and Callahan” morning show on WEEI, not as a sports flash anchor, but as an equal voice on the program.

From Finn’s report:

Minihane, whose informed, unfiltered opinions have helped him earn a following as a weekend host (most often paired with Dale Arnold) and fill-in on various WEEI programs, will be an equal voice on the program.

He has also emerged as a popular columnist for WEEI.com, a role he began in 2009, and hosted the Hot Stove Baseball Show along with Rob Bradford and Alex Speier during the Red Sox’ offseason.

Minihane will not handle the “Sports Flash” updates that were the domain of past, less prominent third voices such as Jon Meterparel, who left in October after more than a decade on the program, and Kevin Winter, who was fired February 12, just six weeks after replacing Meterparel.

Finn notes it is unclear whether or not the show will be entirely rebranded. Murmurings of more changes to WEEI’s lineup have been rampant since Glenn Ordway was fired last week. Earlier this month, Entercom, WEEI’s parent company, conducted focus groups to gauge public perception of their personnel. The group session reportedly skewered Dennis and Callahan along with Ordway.

As far as the change, the initial take here is that, while polarizing, Minihane is compelling as a personality. He typically has something to say, and it’s usually not idiotic (or racist … or misogynistic …or just generally offensive).

Ryen Russillo‘s day, it appears, is not yet here. More analysis to follow from Bruce Allen.

@Hadfield__

Bird’s Rookie Year — Game 60 vs. the Jazz

Celtics (44-15) vs. Utah (20-42)
February 20, 1980
Salt Palace

The Celtics’ February road trip included a homecoming of sorts for Pete Maravich and Jeff Judkins.

Pistol Pete’s career had been derailed in Utah and nearly ended on an unceremonious note when Jazz coach Tom Nissalke relegated him to the bench for seven weeks and put the basketball in the hands of new star Adrian Dantley.  Judkins grew up in Utah and played his college ball there, too.  Before overpowering the Jazz to the tune of a 105-98 victory, the Celtics were greeted at the airport in Salt Lake City by 30 friends and relatives of Judkins, practiced at his old high school, and ate a dinner served by his mother.  The former University of Utah standout went on to deliver 19 points on 7-9 shooting in his return home, while Maravich’s uneven tenure with the Celtics continued with a DNP-Coach’s Decision.

Pete Maravich_John Havlicek
In an interview conducted last week with Marshall Terrill, a co-author of Pete Maravich: The Authorized Biography of Pistol Pete, Terrill touched on some of the difficulties Maravich encountered at the end of his tenure with the Jazz:

Nissalke felt like he couldn’t build a winning team around Maravich who was 31 at the time.  While his game was still graceful, he no longer was as explosive…. His knee injury from a Jan. 31, 1978 game against the Buffalo Braves never healed properly, and he wasn’t he same player.  Defensively, Maravich had no lateral movement and didn’t pull his weight on that end of the court.  Nissalke felt Maravich, despite the fact that he was still a draw in the league, was a liability and benched him.  That deeply wounded Maravich’s pride.  He said of that period that he was “mentally crippled” and felt like he was wasting away on the bench.

Maravich was a very emotional person where it concerned basketball and took everything personally.  He suffered many sleepless nights (he was a notoriously light sleeper) as a result.  It seemed as if Maravich represented the Jazz’s past while Adrian Dantley, who was averaging 29 points a game, represented its future.  It was a changing of the guard moment for Pete and I think he and the Jazz organization realized he needed a fresh start someplace else.

Dantley poured in 31 points and 8 rebounds against the Celtics while Maravich watched from the bench.

*Maravich and Auerbach really shine after the 2-minute mark*

After the Celtics signed Maravich, the organization opted to have the Pistol train away from the confines of the team.  Terrill continues:

Maravich was very unhappy with the way the Celtics treated him during his rehabilitation and wrote about it extensively in his 1987 autobiography, “Heir to a Dream”.  He felt the only way to get into playing shape was to play.

For the first two weeks he was in Boston, he never saw any of the other players.  He practiced in another gym away from the team with Mike Cole, who worked in the promotions department.  Maravich wrote: “The team’s actions didn’t make any sense to me. When I pressed for an explanation I was told they needed to bring me into the system slowly. That’s when I remember feeling as though I was some kind of alien or a disease for which they needed to find a cure.”

Though Maravich didn’t play, Bird finished with 33 points and Rick Robey scored 20 and pounded the glass for a career-high 21 rebounds.  Behind a 14-point second quarter, the man who stole the show was, per Bob Ryan in the Globe, Jeff Judkins:

The hometown kid, who played his high school ball at Highland High and his college ball five minutes away from his house at the University of Utah, came within a basket of equaling his season’s high as he paced a 34-point Celtic second quarter that turned a 32-24 one-period advantage into a lead that peaked at 60-44 on a Gerld Henderson jumper with 54 seconds remaining in the half.

Even without Dave Cowens, the Celtics never trailed or relinquished their lead after Larry Bird scored to put Boston ahead, 4-2.  Cowens was still recuperating from an injury to the big toe on his left foot, but the Celtics had surprised the Association by playing terrific basketball without their premiere low post defender, winning ten of the thirteen games without Big Red.  Bob Ryan detailed their play without Cowens:

Having lost their best defensive player when Cowens went down, the Celtics have shifted the emphasis to offense in his absence.  The team had outscored opponents by a 119.7-108.2 margin in those 12 games, four times breaking 130 points.  The defense hadn’t been all that bad either, with only Phoenix (135 on 60 percent shooting) breaking 111 against the Green and White.

It helped, of course, that Larry Bird had averaged just under 25 points during Cowens’ absence.  Five months into his rookie season, and Bird had recorded double-doubles in 57 of his first 60 NBA games.  The team stepped up to fill in the holes from the loss Cowens’ production: Rick Robey, averaging thirteen points per game, and Eric Fernsten, who went from nearly but cut to contributing eight points per game, both helped ease the loss of the big man from Florida State.

In other Celtics news, Will McDonough reported that the organization was looking for other alternatives outside of the Boston Garden and beyond the proposed sports complex in East Boston.  The team, he reported, looked into relocating to a city known for its incredible eats at Kelly’s Roast Beef:

The Celtics and the Boston Garden have been involved in very sensitive negotiations in recent weeks concerning a new lease.  The Celtics, whose current lease is up at the end of the year, are trying to build their own arena in Revere.  But it certainly won’t be ready in time for next season, so they are interested in a short- term deal.  The Garden’s management, which is making a legitimate effort of their own to rebuild the arena, wants a long- term arrangement.

The C’s looked to build a new winning streak on Saturday in Denver and go for the series sweep against the Nuggets.  With the Celtics landing in Denver on Friday, there were cheers a good 1800 miles away over in New York — Lake Placid, to be exact — as the United States Olympics hockey team defeated the Russians, 4-3.  To this day, it’s the last tape-delayed American Olympic hockey game ever aired on television.

 

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Sports Media Musings: Now And Then, Then & Now

Before You Ask Which Way You’re Going, Remember Where You’ve Been

As Glenn Ordway approached his final hour hosting “The Big Show” last Friday night, the competition and primary parties responsible for his unemployment (well, besides Ordway himself), “Felger and Massarotti,” reflected on his career, his exile, and the business in general. Along with Chris Gasper, Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti gave a very appropriate response to the Guest Street Shakeup that rocked the sports media landscape here in Boston.

Media criticism often becomes problematic. We purvey analysis of other people’s, uh, analysis. And I fear, at times, we obfuscate the truth — that writing and sports commentary is hard. The segment, which was as meta as a Quentin Tarantino film, echoed these sentiments; providing an introspective view of the hopes and fears of two hosts, who, evidently, comprehend the ephemeral nature of success in broadcast media. And from my Ivory Tower, it appeared the salient points were that Ordway’s extraordinary run will likely never be replicated in this — or any — market, and that the profession, in any form, is a tough, unforgiving industry.

Here are highlights from the segment (a friendly hat tip to the guys over at Sports Rantz for the transcription):

Michael Felger: And he’s been on the air with that show almost twenty years? I mean, probably over half of it, he was number one. And, it wasn’t all that long ago that he was still number one. And yes, we’ve had a good run here the last couple of years. But, what are [Ordway and Holley] now, I — you know, second to fourth… third, fourth, second, somewhere in that range. It’s not like they went to last [place]. And I just — from a personal level? Good God, I’m gonna be number one for twenty years, and then I’m third? And that’s tanking? And you’re out of a job? I don’t feel like being congratulated at all. That scares the crap out of me.”

Tony Massarotti: I mean, in this business, to do that, for that length of time, is borderline unheard of, really. It’s extraordinary, and again, the — look, in this business, okay, you’re exposed. On a regular basis, every day, for twenty hours a week, and I’m not making a pity party. That’s the job. That is what the job is. And so, some of you love him, some of you hate him. Fine… but don’t disrespect the ability, is all I’m saying. And that’s how I look at it. So, I have tremendous respect for his talent, and again, I feel indebted.”

 Quick Musings

I hate when people take up two parking spaces! A little consideration please! #unosportstonight

— Gary Tanguay (@Gary_Tanguay) February 20, 2013

1.) Truth be told, I was going to wait until Friday to post my weekly media column, but then Gary Tanguay practically #begged #me #to #write #something by abusing the hashtag, “#unossportstonight.” Look, I post nonsense all the time on Twitter (sorry!). I get it. But I don’t tweet about Tom Brady then use the #Celtics hashtag. I mean, am I missing something? Will Tanguay’s crusade on double-parking be a topic of conversation on “Sports Tonight?” (Note: I’d thoroughly enjoy it if it was). In the history of social media, I’d argue Tanger needs a Twitter training seminar more than any other user. That said, next to Jose Canseco, Gary’s my favorite follow. (I’m not sure what that says about me.)

2.) I have high hopes. I really do. But I’ve written many press releases in my day, and the transparency oozing in WEEI’s release about the Mike Salk hiring was alarming.

“I’m especially excited to talk Bruins hockey. I grew up a rabid Bruins fan and have great memories from the old Boston Garden. My wife might not know it yet, but our 1-year old daughter will be wearing a lot of black and gold in the future.”

Maybe I’m too cynical and Salk is just ecstatic to talk Bruins. More likely, however, is that the Entercom brass’ mindset is still saturated with paranoia about the backlash caused from their sparse (Read: Awful) coverage of the B’s. (Again, I personally enjoy Michael Holley and have a hopeful outlook about the new program. I think they’ll be a formidable duo that will scare their competition … and sooner rather than later)

3.) Will Leitch had a thoughtful piece about the Bleacher Report, content aggregation (*NESN*) versus real journalism and analysis, over at Sports On Earth. 

What I think really rankles about B/R is that it was a reverse engineering enterprise from the get-go: It was created by business people trying to game the system, the type of people who refer to all work as “content.”

Naturally, the column upset a few of the high-profile writers at Bleacher Report (which Turner Sports recently purchased, and subsequently replaced SI.com as CNN’s primary sports publication partner with). Specifically Dan Levy, who is terrible and can’t comprehend the stigma associated with his employer (even though he would totally take a similar stance if B/R weren’t the ones writing his paycheck). But Leitch is more than fair; in fact, he does well to credit the younger writers who bust their humps to earn “badges” or whatever the hierarchy at Bleacher Report is using to measure productivity. The column is worth your time. 

4.) Speaking of the Bleacher Report, Erik Frenz will be contributing to the Boston.com as a blogger on a part-time basis this offseason (and beyond). Frenz, who is the lead writer for the AFC East Blog at the Bleacher Report, tells me his responsibilities there will remain the same. With the addition of Baxter Holmes to the Celtics beat, it appears the Globe‘s free site is making efforts to bolster their presence on its blogs … A wise move.

5.) ESPN announced it will be launching Nine for IX, a spin off of their critically acclaimed 30 For 30 documentary series, which, will specifically focus on women in sports using in-depth storytelling. The tagline is: “About Women. By Women. For Us All.”

 

WEEI names Mike Salk as new afternoon drive co-host

WEEI sent out the following press release this afternoon, confirming Chad Finn’s report from last week:

BOSTON – WEEI 93.7 FM announced Tuesday that Sudbury native Mike Salk will join Michael Holley in afternoon drive, weekdays from 2-6 p.m., beginning in mid-March. Salk joins WEEI from 710 AM ESPN in Seattle, where he’s co-hosted the midday “Brock and Salk Show” since April 2009.

Salk helped grow the “Brock and Salk Show” exponentially the last four years. As of this past September, the show ranked No. 1 with the station’s core demo of men 25-54. Salk also was a frequent contributor to 710 ESPN’s website and will do the same, in a variety of ways, for WEEI.com. He also has been a part of the ESPN Radio network since 2007, hosting “SportsCenter Saturday” and serving as a regular fill-in host over the past few years.

Salk is no stranger to the Boston sports talk radio scene, having worked at 890 ESPN Radio Boston from 2005 until 2009. He primarily served as co-host of the station’s midday show with Bob Halloran, and he also was the station’s Red Sox beat reporter, covering every game of the team’s run to the 2007 World Series.

“For a kid who grew up rooting for Boston’s sports teams, I can’t wait to get behind that microphone and connect with the most avid sports fans in the country,” Salk said. “From the best play-by-play in radio to their breakthrough work with the Jimmy Fund, WEEI is still the gold standard in sports talk radio.

“I’m especially excited to talk Bruins hockey. I grew up a rabid Bruins fan and have great memories from the old Boston Garden. My wife might not know it yet, but our 1-year old daughter will be wearing a lot of black and gold in the future.”

Added Salk: “Teaming up with someone as hard-working, gifted and passionate about his craft as Michael Holley makes this situation even better for me returning home. I can’t wait to get to work.”

Said Holley: “Mike is energetic, has a tireless work ethic, and believes in having a show that is accessible to all audiences. I’m looking forward to sharing some of the talks we’ve had with our listeners. I think that they’ll find the new show to be fast, fun and smart. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what a tremendous blessing it was to work with Glenn Ordway for nearly three years. It didn’t take us long to develop a bond, and I believe that mutual respect could be detected on the air. I anticipate a similar connection with Mike.”

Said Jason Wolfe, VP of Programming for Entercom Boston: “Mike Salk has a proven record of success, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him back home to Boston. He’s a very skilled broadcaster, a fun personality and a passionate sports fan. I’m really looking forward to the new dynamic that he and Michael Holley will provide on a daily basis.”

Celtics Get Back To Work With Trade Deadline Fast Approaching

The Celtics begin the post-All Star Break portion of their schedule tonight in Denver. With the NBA trade deadline coming up on Thursday, the Celtics team that next plays in the TD Garden could look a lot different from the one that last took the court there. Then again, it could look just the same.

It’s clear no one really has an idea of what’s going, what with the dozens of reports, rumors and rebuttals out there. Some say a Kevin Garnett for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan is entirely viable and only needs KG’s approval. Others say the teams haven’t discussed it past casual talks. Another says the Celtics discussed a Rajon Rondo for Dwight Howard deal prior to Rondo’s ACL injury. Some think that one should’ve been made, while others say absolutely not.  A Brandon Bass/Jeff Green for Josh Smith deal has also been floated out there. Others say the Celtics have no pieces to make a major deal.

The Celtics will likely make some sort of move, even if it is minor, just to get some bodies onto the roster. With Rondo, Sullinger and Barbosa out for the season, the team needs players just to practice. They did sign Terrence Williams to a ten-day contract yesterday.

Well-rested Pierce key to a Celtics second-half run – If no major deals are made, A. Sherrod Blakely says that Paul Pierce not playing in the All Star game could be a bonus for the Celtics.

Avery Bradley sets himself apart with defense – Mark Murphy has a nice mini-feature on the Celtics guard and his defensive mentality.

Remember, people – that Rondo guy is pretty good – Ryan Hadfield says that we shouldn’t be so quick to say the Celtics are better off without Rondo.

What will Danny do? – Chris Forsberg says that the Celtics boss has some huge decisions to make this week.

For Mike Napoli, a new outlook at a new position – Alex Speier has the veteran returning to his roots.

Cornerstone at the hot corner? – Joe McDonald has Will Middlebrooks hoping he’ll be a mainstay with the Red Sox for a long time.

Red Sox cast for 2013 assembled with winning personalities – Gerry Callahan loves the new personalities on the team.

Red Sox assign Pedro Martinez to help Felix Doubront, Rubby De La Rosa – More Pedro, please.

Vega’s football journey comes full circle – The Patriots officially announced the signing of defensive end/linebacker Jason Vega from Northeastern and the CFL. Mike Rodak has a feature on Vega’s career path.

Aqib Talib best choice to tag – Ron Borges thinks that if the Patriots use the franchise tag at all, it should be on Talib, not Wes Welker or Sebastian Vollmer.

So what’s the next shoe to drop at WEEI?