Rob Nikoleski hosted Sports Sunday

Rob Nikoleski hosted Sports Sunday and quoted FDR as the reason to keep on talking sports during wartime. Highlights of the Red Sox 2 inning game today were followed by news of Fred McCrary signing with the Patriots as reported by the Naples Daily News, he then talked about the Len Pasquarelli article that mentioned Belichick and Haslett planning on getting together at the owners meetings. Highlights of the women’s and men’s NCAA games followed., including Rick Pitino and Louisville getting knocked out. After the break, NCAA women’s hockey highlights were followed by selection Sunday for the men’s NCAA. Bruins highlights from last night were followed by “Reid between the lines” where Levan comments that Mike O’Connell must be trying to save his own job by making the move of Ftorek this week. Ftorek’s baffling moves on a team trying to come together for the playoffs might’ve been the last straw. A new season begins under coach O’Connell. So they’re 1-1 in the new season, Reid says that sounds a lot like the old season…

Jeff Horrigan joined the show from Florida, and Casey Fossum was the topic. He has no control, might be psychological now, it isn’t physical. Can’t control his fastball. He’s lost his confidence, even though they’re trying to reassure him that his spot in the rotation is assured. Horrigan says he could be feeling the pressure of being the holdup in a trade for Colon. Lowe is also struggling this year, but Horrigan isn’t worried, the sinkerball pitchers need more work for their sinkers to really get working. Lou Merloni…might be putting pressure on him self by thinking about his situation as well. They like Adrian Brown as a pure centerfielder to back up Damon, he’s likely in, and Damian Jackson might be more versatile than Merloni. Hillenbrand pretty much off the trade market. Opening day will likely see Millar at first with a lefty pitching. Crowded situation shouldn’t be a problem, since all these guys are used to being platoon and backup players. Nikoleski ended the program talking about the NCAA games this week in Boston and how experiences this week remind us of the things he feels makes this country so great.

Sports Xtra with Gene Lavanchy hopes to take your mind off the war, but then promised Gerry Callahan in studio with Jackie MacMullan to debate whether the merits of playing the NCAA tournament. Highlights from said tournament led off the events of the day. More on the Bruins and the coaching change from this week was the topic of a feature by Gary Gillis. Kevin Paul Dupont and Lyndon Byers were in studio to talk about the Bruins coaching change. Dupont feels all the changes in Phoenix were enough to do Ftorek in. Byers says you can’t convince him that the Bruins aren’t a good team, they just didn’t have the right direction. Joe & the boys now need to step up. Byers really likes this group of coaches, says Sullivan is going to be a “superb” NHL coach someday, likes having Cheevers there. Dupont thinks they get a nice boost now and will get another when Samsonov comes back. This time makes a lot of nutty mistakes. The fans have had enough and want to see some real production. Byers says O’Connell has done nothing but good moves here, he likes the defensemen they brought in. O’Connell is a fan of the team, Byers said repeatedly. The teams needs to be more proactive. Byers is going to be in a new sitcom, created by Michael J Fox. He plays a goon hockey player.

Jackie MacMullan and Gerry Callahan were in next, Callahan went on an political and war diatribe that can be heard any morning on D&C.

Rene Rancourt was a guest of Sports Final with Bob Lobel. Rancourt was on to talk about the controversy surrounding the Montreal fans booing the National Anthem. He stated strongly that the fans were wrong to do so, and thinks it was more a booing of George Bush, rather than of the USA as a whole. Rancourt, who sings the anthems for the Bruins, hopes that the Boston fans don’t retaliate during the singing of the Canadian anthem. Andy Brickley came in to talk Bruins, but said the Montreal booing “smacks of ignorance and arrogance”. Brickley says the short bench length of coaches in the NHL is brutal. Despite past success, the players weren’t responding to Ftorek. Why didn’t the Bruins make the move sooner? Things had gotten a little better, but after the team played really poorly against a team in Phoenix that wasn’t so great, that was enough. Why the second time being fired with under 10 games? Perhaps they know Ftorek really feels the pressure, but the situations were totally different. Will the spikes of the new coach and Samsonov be enough to bring them to the second round? First, Brickley says he doesn’t think Samsonov will be fully ready to play even if he does come back. He likes what he saw in Los Angeles, even though they blew a three goal lead. A feature combining snips from movies (it is Oscar night) and Red Sox highlights was up next. Great feature. Very funny.

Red Sox and Fossum talk was up next, Jerry Remy and Alice Cook were in Florida, Lobel started by putting up Fossum’s spring training numbers. 1-3, 16.05 ERA. It was followed by a clip of Fossum in an interview with Gordon Edes admitting he’s feeling the pressure. Cook says the team remains in his corner, Remy says his stuff still looks really good, but he isn’t hitting his spots. He’s putting too much pressure on himself. He just isn’t relaxed enough to pitch effectively. As for Hillenbrand, he wants to be here, and is likely the best defensive first baseman they have, he’s determined to show that they shouldn’t have thought of trading him. Platooning players can be a juggle for the manager, but usually someone steps forward and claims the job. Pitching…all teams need pitching, but with the Red Sox you wonder about the starters with Fossum struggling, and we don’t know how the bullpen is going to work. Pedro is the best he’s ever seen. Everything revolves around him.

Michael Smith was up next to talk about the Patriots and the signing of Fred McCrary. Smith says this is a move to save face after losing Edwards. Not as good a receiver as Edwards, but a solid blocker, can catch pretty well. This is saving face after losing out on all the fullbacks that were out there, Richie Anderson, Lorenzo Neal, etc. The Jets loss of Coles is good for the Patriots, their need at cornerback might not be as pressing. The division has lost Peerless Price and Coles, so the Patriots can benefit from that. They touched on the Celtics, unforgivable sin in losing to the Nuggets. Struggling heading into the playoffs. Can’t take NJ, Philly is tough, they should hope to try to get Indiana in a first round matchup.

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