Fortnight From Hell

(Thoughts on this season that wasn’t from guest blogger Bob Ekstrom. Reach him at bob02878@yahoo.com.)

I have to give it to Bruce for being our first responder, trying to restore order to the chaos and carnage of last Sunday. Now it’s up to the rest of us to dig out of our personal rubble. For me, it was a hellish fortnight that began when I realized the road-warrior Giants were the designated visiting team in Super Bowl XLII, this being an even-numbered year. Then, Johan Santana signed with the Mets eight weeks after the Twins asked for Jon Lester’s medical records, a leading indicator that a trade for the Coco Crisp package was imminent. Days before the Super Bowl, the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol, thereby providing Kobe Bryant with newfound passion and earning him comparisons to our beloved Tom Brady. I never want to see those two names in the same sentence again, but it does seem plausible that Phil Jackson will break the tie with Red Auerbach yet. To kick it all, my son decided to paint his new room in Patriots blues, reds, and grays, courtesy of Lowe’s. It seemed we were tempting fate by immortalizing a perfect season upon his walls before perfection was achieved.

At about 6:30 Sunday night, the Patriots lost the coin flip and didn’t see the ball until his bedtime. Then, all hell broke loose.

Since Sunday night, I’ve searched for my therapy in front of the radio, rather than turning to websites or newsprint. Airwaves carry the voice of the real fan, and some were bound to express my sentiments. But now, I no longer want to hear that the Giants outplayed the Patriots. I saw that for myself. It doesn’t help me get over the fact that the Patriots should not have been outplayed, that the better team did not win. It may be sour grapes, but I’m a fan before a writer. Vic Carucci feels my pain, even as Logan Mankins says there are more important things than football. Are you kidding? Christopher L. Gaspar has Coach Belichick not dwelling on this one, either. Hey, I need these guys to be in the dumps until I’ve gotten up. Mike Vrabel and Dan Koppen understand that.

I also don’t need more complaints about the FG that was never attempted, or an O-line that provided as much resistance against the Giants’ rush as those turnstiles at the T do to the commuter rush. The bottom line is that our team got the footing for victory with 2:42 remaining, then ceded it. The end came 1:27 later, when a potential fourth-and-fifteen morphed into a first down with the Eli-to-Tyree catch, now preserved in Super Bowl lore as The Escape. 18 games, 58 minutes, and 45 seconds of perfection fell by the wayside when Rodney Harrison could not make that football do the same.

Karen Guregian puts Sunday’s loss in its quantitative perspective, but she also goes one better in addressing the emotional damage it could inflict on New England’s future. I’m down, but not that down. As one Giants fan pointed out in a call to WEEI this week, it took a super-human effort and all the bounces to set this team back. Already looking forward, Mike Reiss suggests that Randy Moss could be franchised, making the offense seemingly as potent next year. And, as they did after a fourth quarter defensive meltdown last year, Belichick and Scott Pioli should have one marquee defensive acquisition up their sleeves this year. Unfortunately, it might not involve keeping Asante Samuel.

Like my fellow Pats’ fans, I’m still alive, and if this one didn’t kill us, maybe it will make us stronger. For the time being, I’m still not ready to go into my son’s blue, red, and gray room quite yet.

Advertisements

A New Beginning

Sometime over the next week or so, BSMW will be offline for while. We’re moving to a bigger and better server, and also getting a re-design. The current front page has been here since 2004, making it pretty ancient in terms of design.

The new look is quite different, so I’m warning you now, though there will be many familiar aspects remaining, plus some new features.

During the time that Bostonsportsmedia.com is offline, the message board will still be up and running, as it is hosted on a different server and on a different domain. My email will also remain up and running, so you can continue to contact me as normal.

Patriots Daily will still be running, (and will be a good place to check for status updates) but Scott’s Shots and the BSMW Full Court Press will be down while BSMW is down, and possibly longer as there will be more configuration needed for those sub-sites. The Links sites will all remain up and running.

I’ll try to keep you posted as I get more information about the timing of the changes.

The Celtics held off the Los Angeles Clippers at the Garden last night to maintain their perfect record against the Western conference. Check the stories at CelticsLinks.com

The Bruins next play tomorrow night in a rematch with the Sabres. Check Bruinslinks.com for more.

Things seem to be getting back to football matters finally, as John Tomase and Mike Reiss look at some offseason decisions facing the Patriots.

Even down in Philly they’re not taking kindly to Senator Arlen Specter’s antics regarding the NFL and Spygate. Will Bunch says that the situation is even worse than it appears on the surface.

Spring Training actually starts next week, a stark reminder that the baseball season is soon upon us. We’ve still got spots open on the BSMW Travel Club trip out to California with the Sox as they take on the A’s in the Oakland home opener. It’s a great chance to get an early start on spring. We’d like to get the trip wrapped up by the end of next week, (the 15th) so if you’re thinking of going, please contact us using either the booking form or you can email TravelClub@bostonsportsmedia.com. You can also call Sun Valley Travel directly, just mention you’re interested in the BSMW package.

CSN Goes HD Full-Time, HBO Drops INFL

Comcast SportsNet, the home of the Boston Celtics on TV, announced today that the network will have a new full-time HD channel on Comcast systems.

Depending on your location, if you are a Comcast HD subscriber, you should see the new channel at 852 or 779.

This means now that all Celtics road games will be telecast in high definition, starting with Friday night’s game against the Timberwolves. CSN notes that they are also “working with all cable operators to make HD road game telecasts available to all consumers.”

In addition, there will now be Celtics On Demand, featuring live game replays (posted for 24 hours) and original Celtics content, available to all Comcast subscribers.

Comcast SportsNet will telecast 34 remaining home and away Celtics games in HD along with Celtics Pre-Game Live, Celtics Post-Game Live, Celtics Now and Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight as well as other programming. To celebrate the launch of Celtics’ away games in HD, Comcast SportsNet is sponsoring a fan appreciation night tonight when the Celtics host the Los Angeles Clippers at TD Banknorth Garden and giving away certificates for two HDTVs at the game.

——-
After 31 years on the air, HBO has pulled the plug on the venerable Inside the NFL series.

HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg, who joined the network’s sports division one year after the debut of INFL, announced today that the season finale of Inside the NFL, which is set for tonight and will recap the New York Giants Super Bowl victory, will mark the final edition of the program on HBO.

Inside the NFL has been a hallmark program for three decades on HBO,” said Greenburg. “It has been a terrific franchise. But the television landscape has changed quite a bit over the last 30 years and we have to recognize the realities of the business. I’m not sure we had more than one competitor when the show launched in 1977.

“We wish NFL FILMS, our partner for the past 31 years, all the best with continuing the great tradition of Inside the NFL.”

While no further details were released, you’ve got to wonder if the NFL Films rights got to be prohibitively expensive for HBO, and if NFL Network has plans for creating a similar program using those highlight packages.

——-
Per the Globe today, a funeral Mass for Keith Ryan will be said at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Paul Church in Hingham.

Calling hours will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday in Downing Cottage Funeral Chapel in Hingham.

The note also states that the family is awaiting further tests regarding the death of Ryan.

B’s, C’s Fall

Both the Bruins and Celtics were in action last night and both fell short in the end.

First, the Bruins dropped a 4-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Banknorth Garden. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins played fairly well, but the Sabres played with desperation. Fluto Shinzawa has the Sabres making a statement with their play last night.

Rich Thompson notes that a couple of “gray area” goals did in Tim Thomas last night.

Harris’ notebook has the Bruins looking into a new concussion treatment plan for Andrew Alberts and Patrice Bergeron. Shinzawa’s notebook has a look at a rough night for Dennis Wideman.

Celtics

Out in Cleveland, playing without Kevin Garnett once again, the Celtics defense took the night, losing 114-113 to LeBron James and Cavs. Peter May is pretty harsh on the Celtics after this one, probably because he hasn’t had a whole lot to complain about thus far this season. Steve Bulpett has the Celtics hard on themselves for their performance on the defensive end.

May’s notebook has Ray Allen open to the idea of going to the All Star game as an injury replacement. Bulpet’s notebook has Paul Pierce and LeBron James taking different approaches to the fourth quarter of games now.

Patriots

On Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp wonders if he might have to give up his Patriots merit badges.

Yeah, we’ll do some Patriots links today. Limited. Nothing from the Herald. I didn’t see anything of value in there anyway, at least from browsing the headlines. And we certainly won’t be looking over Dan Shaughnessy’s picked up pieces from the Super Bowl. You guys are all on your own for those links.

Christopher L. Gasper has Bill Belichick already moving on to the 2008 season. Joe McDonald also has Belichick taking a forward-looking approach to things. Glen Farley has more from Belichick on moving on. Jeff Howe also has Belichick looking ahead, rather than behind.

Shalise Manza Young can’t quite figure out the Man of mystery that is Bill Belichick. Tania deLuzuriaga and Laurel J. Sweet report on Willie Andrews getting busted for pot possession yesterday in Lowell. Gasper’s notebook has Belichick explaining his walk off the field with a second left on Sunday.

Gordon Edes and Amalie Benjamin report on the Red Sox re-signing Bobby Kielty yesterday, a move that would seem to indicate that the Sox are still planning on trading Coco Crisp.

Donaldson Checks in at HDH, Buy Simmons’ Moss Jersey on eBay

A couple of notes to pass along here.

If Tina Cervasio is really headed to a TV station in New York, then it’s only fair that we take one of theirs. Meet Julie Donaldson, your new WHDH Channel 7 sports anchor. Donaldson comes over from SportsNet New York, and is also a former Miss Florida USA.

No word yet on if she’s bumping someone out at HDH, though Dave Briggs has been spending an awful lot of time on Comcast SportsNet as of late…

After wrestling with the decision as to whether he should take it home and burn it, you can now buy Bill Simmons’s Randy Moss Jersey on eBay. The money is going to The Jimmy Fund.

Still Not Moving On Yet

Nope, not ready yet.

After a quick glance at the headlines, I’m still not ready to read articles like Time for classless Belichick to eat some humble pie.

Why would I be interested in reading a piece of bile like that? Is it going to enlighten me in any way?

Nope, it’s just another guy who has been lying in the weeds waiting for this opportunity to unleash his stored up venom on the Patriots and Belichick.

I probably shouldn’t have even linked it, as many of you will click on it, and the writer will feel like he’s on track for his long-awaited Pulitzer.

Look, I said it on Sunday night, and I’ll say it again. Give the Giants all the credit in the world. They won this game. They imposed their will on the Patriots. This was no karma coming back to bite the Patriots, or any comeuppance for past actions. You suggest that, and you’re insulting the New York Giants. By eagerly jumping on the chance to insult Belichick and the Patriots, these clowns are really insulting the Giants.

I will pass along this article that was sent to me overnight, Gregg Patton tells us that ” It’s still New England’s dynasty. The Giants are just passing through.”

Over on Patriots Daily, Christopher Price checks in with a season-ending edition of Inside Gillette, examining the future of a number of key Patriots contributors.

We’ll also give the always steady Mike Reiss some link love on his piece looking at the offseason decisions looming for the Patriots.

Jessica Heslam reports that the game was a huge ratings winner for FOX25.

Check the rest of the Patriots stories from today on PatriotsLinks.com.

Celtics

Kevin Garnett is still feeling the effects of his abdominal strain, and may miss his return to Minnesota as the end of this week. Julian Benbow says that it is just as well, as the Timberwolves have made no plans to honor the player who was the face of their franchise for over a decade and is the teams career leader in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. Tim Weisberg says that thus far, the Celtics have been able to take their injury woes in stride. Mark Murphy has the Celtics taking some lessons from the Patriots demise, knowing that the Championship torch is now being passed to them to run with.

Bill Doyle has a look at Rajon Rondo, and how his quick mind and feet are huge assets to the Celtics. Interesting that the start of the article talks about stealing signs from the opponents…no outrage? It’s been 15 years since Johnny Most passed away, but he is still remembered by all that heart him. Shirley Coshatt remembers Most today on the BSMW Full Court Press. The Celtics are out in Cleveland tonight to take on the Cavs, Peter May examines how LeBron James is a one-man show out there, keeping the Cavs in the race all by himself. The Herald has two articles tagged as notebooks today, one with an update on Kevin Garnett and his injury and the other on Brian Scalabrine, who is expected to start for Garnett again tonight.

Bruins/Hockey

Stephen Harris has the Bruins secretly harboring Stanley Cup dreams for this season. Barbara Matson profiles Czech import Vladimir Sobotka, who has made an impact in 23 games with the Bruins, despite not scoring a goal.

In the Beanpot last night, Jeff Horrigan and Fluto Shinzawa report on Harvard reaching its first final since 1998, while Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and John Connolly have BC knocking off BU for the right to face Harvard in the final.

Rich Thompson has Northeastern coach Greg Cronin apologizing for his team’s performance last night. Connolly’s notebook and the Globe notebook each look at Ted Donato getting his Harvard squad into the final.

Moving On…Sort Of…

For those of you interested in revisiting the events of last night, Scott Benson has a look at the loss and what the future holds for the Patriots over at Patriots Daily.

David Scott also has a post mortem edition of Scott’s Shots, looking at the aftermath of the loss.

If you really want to get into the stories of today, I can refer you over to PatriotsLinks.com or even to the New York Sports Pages.

After an extremely fitful night of sleep, I’m not quite ready to move on, but I’ll get there eventually. I’m not ready to turn on the television, or visit any newspaper or sports web site (especially ESPN). Sports radio is off the agenda as well. Seems like the sane thing to do.

February is going to be a pretty busy month here at BSMW, as I’ve got a few things planned for what is traditionally a slow sports month. Stay tuned for more details…

Go Celtics.