Rough night for the locals.

Rough night for the locals. An ugly 81-73 loss for the Celtics and a 5-4 OT loss for the Bruins.

You can read about the Celtics loss over at Fox Sports Net New England.

The Bruins had three leads and couldn’t hold any of them, continuing their struggles against the mighty Atlanta Thrashers. The Thrashers are to the Bruins what the Bulls are to the Celtics. Nancy Marrapesse-Burrell and Steve Conroy have a look at the breakdown in Atlanta. Kevin Paul Dupont has a one-on-two interview with goalies Felix Potvin and Andrew Raycroft for tonight’s edition of SportsPlus on NESN. Conroy’s notebook looks at Byron Dafoe, not happy with his backup role in Atlanta. Marrapesse-Burrell’s notebook looks at a critical hooking call against Nick Boynton last night, and Patrice Bergeron’s impressions of his first Patriots game.

Even though they will be interviewing more candidates, it appears more and more like Terry Francona is the clear frontrunner to be the next Red Sox manager. Jeff Horrigan & Tony Massarotti team up to look at the process. Bob Hohler also tabs Francona as the front runner and throws the name of Larry Dierker into the mix as well. Dierker is a guy I thought they would interview all along. Hohler concludes by saying the chances of ARod coming to Boston are very slim. Though he may never be a Red Sox, Dan Shaughnessy lays the groundwork for the build-em-up-and-then-tear-em-down campaign that would be sure to be waged in Boston should the Sox ever land Rodriguez. The article recalls a visit to Harvard by the Rangers shortstop, a visit that shows the intellectual, inquisitive nature of ARod. No, nothing bad or negative in there, but then again, he doesn’t play for the Red Sox yet, either. David Heuschkel investigates these ARod-to-Boston rumors. He concludes that where there is smoke, there’s fire. Shaughnessy has a brief sidebar with Larry Lucchino commenting quickly on Nomar’s contract status. Jeff Horrigan reports that Andy Pettitte may be making a visit to Boston soon. I would not count on the Sox being able to sign Pettitte. I don’t think he has any interest in coming here. Besides, as revealed on Dennis & Callahan yesterday by the Texas writer, Pettitte’s wife wants to go home to Houston and she apparently has a big say in the matter.

J.J. Stokes got on the practice field yesterday and naturally all eyes (and pens) where on him. Ron Borges looks at Stokes and how he knew he was done early in Jacksonville. Alan Greenberg says this is a good position for the 6-4 receiver. Hector Longo also looks at the addition of Stokes. Michael Felger has a look at Matt Light. You haven’t heard his name too often this season, and that’s a good thing. What are the odds of Keyshawn Johnson ending up with the Patriots? According to Tom Curran, pretty good. He looks back at comments made by Belichick about Johnson in the past and you can see that the coach thinks very highly of the skills and ability of the erstwhile Tampa Bay receiver. Buddy Thomas though, thinks Johnson is just a loudmouthed schnook. (Apologies to Henery Hawk) Mike Reiss looks at Bobby Grier, settled in with the Texans. Steve Buckley looks at a repentant Deion Branch, who acknowledges that he screwed up by getting the taunting penalty Sunday night, and likely cost his team points. He says he’s learned his lesson and that it will not happen again. Says Buckley:

But it does send out a powerful message about what's happening behind the scenes with these 2003 New England Patriots. When a player is willing to point fingers at himself three days after a victory, it says a lot about the team's mission statement.

Eric McHugh looks ahead to the Texans. He notes that since Tom Brady took over as QB, the Patriots are 9-0 against teams who entered the game with a losing record. Glen Farley looks at the collection of throwback jerseys in the Patriots locker room. Rob Bradford says that the Patriots have taken the heat off the Red Sox. Borges’ notebook looks at a $7500 fine from the league for Eugene Wilson. Felger’s notebook says the Patriots still have interest in Dedric Ward. Curran’s notebook has more on Stokes.

NESN has Bruins/Capitals at 7:00. TNT has Spurs/Mavs at 7:30 and Magic/Suns at 10:00. ESPN has TCU/Southern Miss. College football at 7:30. ESPN2 has Red Wings/Blue Jackets at 7:30 and Rangers/Avalanche at 10:00.