Another edition of (somewhat) quick

Another edition of (somewhat) quick links…

Bob Ryan has a look at Bill Belichick, who had himself quite a press conference yesterday, ending with a nice zinger to the reporters gather. Ryan says Belichick has certainly grown and changed from his days in Cleveland. He enjoys a good joke here and there, and a few players give glimpses of that. If you look at the pres conference transcript, you gotta wonder though if that was the “B” pool of reporters. Where do they come up with some of those questions? Michael Felger has a look at Rodney Harrison, who has been a hit with the team right from the start. Carolyn Thornton has an article on Tedy Bruschi, coming off the best regular season of his career. Glen Farley has a look at Mike Vrabel. Rich Thompson has Vrabel giving credit to Romeo Crennel. Michael Parente looks at the recent success in the running game for the Patriots. Mike Reiss looks at Charlie Weis’ hiring of a high powered agent and whether that will help him achieve his goal of being a head coach in the NFL. Alan Greenberg says that if Crennel leaves, his replacement could be 32-year-old Eric Mangini. Michael Smith also looks at who the replacements from within could be. Steve Buckley’s pay column tells us that the Patriots players are saying all the right things. Howard Bryant’s pay column looks at these “New” New England Patriots. He tells us:

In a micro sense, the Patriots merely are this season's powerhouse now trying to complete the title quest. Taking a longer view, the Patriots have entered the early stages of something major - completely reinventing the franchise. The result is a new world order unseen by many a sports team.

He goes on to tells us that the old days of futility under Pat Patriots are a thing of the past. Parente’s notebook leads with a look at the AFC. Felger’s notebook looks at the Dolphins (apparently futile) interest in Scott Pioli. Thornton’s notebook says there is plenty of work to be done before the next game.

Gordon Edes recounts the events that led to the death…or should we say coma… of the ARod to Boston deal. (and the downfall of the Boston Dirt Dogs website.)

Mark Blaudschun looks at former Pats coach Pete Carroll, happy to be on the West coast, and Pete admits that it’s where he should stay. He wasn’t meant for New England. Mike Shalin looks at tonight’s B.C./Colorado San Francisco bowl. (10:30, ESPN2) Michael Vega looks at some similarities between the two teams.

The Celtics links…or should I say link…can be found at Fox Sports Net New England.

The Bruins aren’t worth linking to…

There may be links in this space tomorrow on New Years day. There may not be. You’ll have to come to find out.

The Patriots start the post

The Patriots start the post season in unfamiliar territory…as favorites. Michael Felger looks at this new position for the team, which comes with increased expectations. The team however, continues to have tunnel vision in regards to their approach and goals. One person who does not consider them a favorite is Ron Borges. Writing for MSNBC, Borges picks the Titans as his choice to come out of the AFC. His reasoning?

Can the Patriots go all the way when their margin for error seems so slim? I think not. A Super Bowl title would put the Pats' winning streak at 15 games in a row, an unlikely occurence in any circumstance, but particularly so in this day of NFL parity.

That’s pretty much his entire argument. They can’t do it because it’s impossible to win 15 games in a row in the NFL. A specious argument at best. He says they struggled to beat Denver, and only beat the Titans because “Tennessee was not playing its best football yet.” Right. And the Patriots were? That victory over the Titans was following a loss to the lowly Redskins. It kicked off the current 12 game winning streak. Also, just when did the Titans play their best football? Was it in December, when they lost to the Jets and Colts, and then beat the Bills and Texans — by a combined five points? As for barely beating Denver, the Broncos were 6-2 at home this year. One of those losses was to the Patriots, who were without 2/3rds of their defensive line. Richard Seymour and Ted Washington both missed that game. Oh well. Like I said yesterday, I actually prefer the Borges approach. Disrespect the Patriots. They love that. I think I’ll also pull one of my all time favorite Nick Cafardo quotes out for reflection. This was obviously from the beginning of the season.

I don't think I've ever seen a team do so much to help a competing team within the division get so good so fast. The Bills were in ashes just two years ago. The trade to Buffalo of Bledsoe, sparked their offense. Their offseason moves to revamp their defense has worked well, and taking Milloy away from the Patriots has made them a worthy contender. We don't even know what Willis McGahee can do yet. It didn't take long thanks to a little help from the Patriots.

We still don’t know what Willis McGahee can do yet. Whatever it is, I just don’t think it is more than Travis Henry can do. Alright, back to the present. What? More from Nick. Just one more today. Enjoy.

Don't forget, Buffalo re-tooled there when Tom Donahoe came in. They got rid of a lot of expensive vets and brought in younger guys. They won three games. Then when they thought they had a chance to get back into it, they traded for Bledsoe, spent about $22 million of their cap dollars on defense, and got Lawyer Milloy as the cherry on top with about $3 million top spare. That's why I've always felt Donahoe is the best at what he does in the league.

What is it exactly that Donahoe does better than anyone else in the league? 17-31. That’s Buffalo’s record since Donahoe took over. Don’t try to say that he had to rebuild when he got there. If you make that argument you must also remove Belichick’s first year 5-11 mark with the Patriots and his early Cleveland years as well. Those were rebuilding projects. Before anyone gets upset at me here, I’m merely pointing out Nick’s record here. Sort of like he does whenever he trots out Belichick’s career record. Lest you think I’m just picking on one writer, I haven’t forgotten the borderline slanderous comments made by Kevin Mannix the week after the first Buffalo game either. Those will resurface at some point here as well. Am I picking on these guys merely because they were wrong in their assessments? No. We’re all wrong at times. It’s the smugness of these comments, along with a stubborn refusal to admit what has happened here which results in these quotes resurfacing. Yes, yes, back to the links, I promise.

Michael Smith says Bill Belichick is coach of the year, hands down. Tom Curran says we likely don’t have to worry about Scott Pioli going anywhere soon. Gerry Callahan has a pay column in which he says the Patriots have it all, motivation, preparation and home field. Eric McHugh gives us the best and worst of the 14-2 regular season. Jim Donaldson looks ahead to the playoffs, noting that the Patriots are a cut above whomever they have to go against. Nick Cafardo looks at Brian Billick and the Baltimore Ravens, who have made plans all the way to February 1st. Tom Curran has 10 quick questions with Troy Brown. Hey I had a Green Machine, too. Felger’s notebook looks at the interest in Crennel and Weis, and Smith’s notebook also carries that theme.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris have the details of the Bruins 3-1 win over the Capitals last night. Both the Globe and Herald notebooks focus on defenseman Shaone Morrisonn.

Celtics also got a win last night, by the score of 100-91 over the Golden State Warriors. Links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

Bob Hohler looks at the return of Brian Daubach to the Red Sox. Dan Shaughnessy has a “clearing out the desk drawer” column. On the subject of the Red Sox, one thing he says is

People in the A's front office think Keith Foulke made a mistake coming to Boston. Maybe that's sour grapes, but some fear he won't react well to the fallout that comes when a Sox closer blows a save against the Yankees. It takes a specific mentality (think Dennis Eckersley), and some of the A's believe Foulke is too sensitive. I tend to agree, but then again, I didn't think David Ortiz would help.

While I don’t like the Foulke assessment, I have to give Dan a smidgen of credit for the Ortiz comment. I don’t think others at his paper could make that kind of statement. (Can you imagine: “Then again, I thought Tom Donahoe was a genius.” Didn’t think so.)

Bill Griffith has a look at the Patriots playoff in Prime Time and a bunch of other assorted media notes. John Molori looks at Glenn Ordway’s new WEEI deal.

14-2. 12 victories in a

14-2. 12 victories in a row. Just think about that for a moment. Savor it. Now erase it from your mind, because as Coach Belichick is fond of saying, everyone is now 0-0. Kevin Mannix has the Patriots Report card, and as he points out, the most important thing coming out of the game Saturday is that Tom Brady is A-OK. Tom Curran says the Patriots now play without a safety net, and hopes they do not meet the same fate as the ’99 Jacksonville Jaguars. Ron Borges frets about the Patriots next opponent, it seems no matter who they play next, that team is comparable to the ’85 Bears. Jonathan Comey concurs, noting that the Broncos, Ravens and Titans all pose upset threats to the Patriots. But you know what? In this instance, I might actually prefer Borges’ approach, which is in stark contrast to many of the on-air media personalities in Boston, who already have the Patriots in Houston, and who are openly discussing making their travel plans for Super Bowl week. This space often gets accused of wanting the local sports media to be nothing more than cheerleaders for the local teams, which is certainly not the case. While I’ll hammer those who are clearly working an agenda against teams or personalities associated with those teams, I’m also going to admonish those who go too far the other way, and start making the Patriots out to be unbeatable and a lock for the Super Bowl. Words to the wise: Remember Pittsburgh. Don’t act like the Pittsburgh media did in January of ’02. Remember some of the ridiculous columns coming out of the Steel City that week? How they sounded like a complete bunch of yahoos? Don’t go there. The good thing in all of this is that you can be assured that the Patriots themselves are not buying into the hype. You won’t catch any players or coaches talking about anything other than the next game directly in front of them. The media would be well advised to do the same thing. The other argument that I hate is the one that states that this season will be a “abject failure” if they do not win it all. That all that was accomplished this season will be “ruined” by a playoff loss. That’s a crock.

The story that will be commanding a lot of ink during this bye week will be the interviewing of Patriots assistants Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis for head coaching jobs around the NFL. Michael Felger leads off the coverage with reports of interest in both coaches, as well as in GM Scott Pioli. Mike Reiss has a bit more on specific teams that could be interested, most notably the Bills as they’re within the division. Alan Greenberg has a look at the interest, as well as in the team’s preparation work this week. Christopher Price looks at the potential loss of Crennel and Weis. Nick Cafardo also reports on potential interviews, and claims that Crennel has received permission to interview “in Atlanta” for the Falcons job later this week. That flies in the face of other reports, which would have teams coming to New England to interview the coaches, something that makes much more sense for the Patriots, who would then lose less time with their staff in preparation for the next game. Felger’s notebook looks ahead to potential opponents, and also has a look at the playing field at Gillette which is decidedly chewed up. Nick Cafardo devotes an entire article to the condition of the field, and how the Patriots claim it is to their advantage. I also love how in the last paragraph Nick has to remind us that Drew Bledsoe stepped in for Tom Brady during the Pittsburgh playoff game. We haven’t forgotten, Nick.

The Celtics suffered their worst loss of the season last night, a 105-82 setback in Los Angeles. The Hack-a-Shaq strategy fell short for the Green. Details and links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

Stephen Harris says that a blockbuster trade is not going to cure the ills of the Bruins. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks back at a dismal 4-2 loss in Tampa on Saturday night. Harris’ notebook has Felix Potvin wanting more playing time.

Stop the presses…I think this might be the first day this offseason that has no had a Red Sox article in either of the major Boston papers.

NESN has Bruins/Capitals at 7:00. FSNNE has Celtics/Warriors at 10:30.

Here are some Sunday Links

Here are some Sunday Links from Len.

The Patriots rolled 31-0. Kevin Mannix says it wasn’t a trap game. It was a statement game. Tom Curran goes through the symmetry of the whole 31-0 loss in week 1 with the 31-0 win in week 17. Did any local writer mention that in game 1 Brady had 0 TDs and 4 INTs while he had 4 TDs and 0 INTs in game 16? Tom Brady says in his press conference that his leg is fine contrary to what Deion Sanders was saying on CBS. That hit brought back memories of the injury in the 2001 AFC Championship Game at Pittsburgh. More quotes from the Patriots from Patriots.com.

Bob Ryan dusts off the Brady/Montana comparisons while Don Banks says his MVP vote is going to #12 and Banks also has four Patriots on his all NFL team. Mike Vrabel is included in that four. Banks is the only national writer who gives Vrabel his due. Even the local writers overlook Vrabel who lacks the color and flash of Tedy Bruschi. Ron Borges will rain on your parade if you believe in the hype that Brady is in any way deserving of an MVP vote.

The Drew Bledsoe obituary was written by close friend of the family Borges. Borges must be the official writer for the ex-Patriots. Milloy tells him that he

Yesterday’s Tom Curran article about

Yesterday’s Tom Curran article about “The Teflon Donahoe” contained a factual error. (I’m kicking myself for not catching it.) He stated that Donahoe:

Skates, even after signing fat Sam Adams to a $32-million contract in the offseason.

The error was pointed out on the KFFL Patriots board, (one of the top Patriot message boards) and Curran himself responded and corrected himself.

...You're right, I screwed the Adams thin (sic) up bad...he signed an 11.7M deal...Spikes signed for 32M and that obviously was the # kicking around my head...it certainly doesn't do a whole lot to advance my argument when i'm off by 21M and I'll get that correction in...(I stand by the fact he's fat -- and the other points in the column, though) ...one clarification, when I said "he has his defense carping about his offense" i didn't mean he asked them to do that, i meant that it has come to pass...probably could have worded it better.

Refreshing to see a guy say he messed it up…publicly. He also made the correction in his notebook today. Other writers would instead whine about “irresponsible websites” and the like…if contacted by email, they would tell the emailer that he’s sure that they’re at the top of their field…

Another edition of quick links…Michael

Another edition of quick links…Michael Felger and Alan Greenberg have looks at Lawyer Milloy, who is still talking and taking his shots. Mike Reiss speculates on how the fans will react to Milloy. Tom Curran looks at the downfall of the Buffalo Bills this season, and the men who will likely take the fall for it, head coach Gregg Williams and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Nick Cafardo plays the “what could’ve been” game with Rosevelt Colvin, even if Colvin won’t play it with him. He compares him to Tony Conigliaro among others. Michael Smith looks at the success the Patriots defense has as a group, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Michael Parente wonders how it was possible that the Bills beat the Patriots. Felger’s notebook looks at Eugene Wilson’s fine from the Dallas game being rescinded. Smith’s notebook looks at the combined efforts of Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk.

Gordon Edes reports on the “totally, totally dead” Alex Rodriguez trade. Tony Massarotti also has a look at what Tom Hicks is saying now. Art Martone & Sean McAdam play “True or False” regarding the ARod deal. Bob Ryan says the Red Sox might just be better off without making the trade. Nick Cafardo says Terry Francona will bring the clubhouse together, no matter who is in it. Massarotti and Edes also report on the Sox signing of Pokey Reese yesterday.

Celtics links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris have the details of the Bruins latest tie, a 1-1 deadlock with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Andy Nesbitt and Michael O’Connor have Andrew Raycroft lamenting the one goal he did allow. Harris’ notebook says Sergei Samsonov’s return could be just around the corner. The Globe notebook looks at Rob Zamuner finally chipping in.

Quick Links today, as time

Quick Links today, as time is short. Michael Smith turns in a feature article on Lawyer Milloy, who is finally just now starting to get comfortable in Buffalo and as a leader of the Bills. A well done piece, free of much of the nastiness and bitterness you might expect. There is still some there of course, but Milloy will be rooting for the Patriots in the playoffs, and he even has some compliments for Bill Belichick as a coach. He’s still doesn’t like how Belichick and the Patriots do business though. Tom Curran has better watch his back. He writes about the NFL mob figure known as “The Teflon Donahoe” and how he continues to skate from any harsh judgment despite a lengthy record of miscalculations. Curran needs to watch his back as there are plenty of Donahoe minions out there, who won’t hesitate to defend his honor and see that his record continues unblemished in the court of public opinion. Why?

...scrutiny will come later rather than sooner since Donahoe is a reliable and cooperative media source.

Michael Felger looks at the cult of Bill Belichick. Michael Holley ponders just why these Patriots are so good…talent is a conclusion he comes to. Something the team doesn’t get enough credit for. Christopher Price says short term thinking has meant success for the Patriots.

Gordon Edes says today’s 5:00 PM deadline for the Arod trade is no big deal. Tony Massarotti agrees. How’s this for going out on a limb here…nothing will happen today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day.

Celtics links are over at Fox Sports Net New England.

Two wins in 15 games for your Boston Bruins. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Steve Conroy look at the latest setup, a 4-2 loss to the Rangers.

Bill Griffith looks at the Joe Namath/Suzy Kolber incident.

Thank you Denver. No need

Thank you Denver. No need to listen to everyone fret about a possible three way AFC tie now. The Patriots have their first round bye, and now all that is at stake with the Buffalo game is the # 1 seed. That and a little revenge. Bob Ryan says life is good for Patriots fans right now. What have we done to deserve this? I’m predicting most talk show fodder regarding this team in the coming weeks will be regarding which assistants will be leaving for head coaching jobs. (And how Belichick and the Patriots will cope without them in coming seasons.) Romeo Crennel appears to be a lock to be gone next season. Tom Curran says Crennel will not be saying no to any head coaching opportunity that is offered to him. (Even Arizona Romeo? Say it ain’t so.) Crennel also heads the forward to Kevin Mannix’s report card for the week. All “A’s” and “B’s” this week for the Pats. Nick Cafardo looks at all the quarterbacks that the Patriots defense has consumed this season. Alan Greenberg looks at another Patriots opponent grumbling that they could’ve beaten the Pats. Ron Borges looks at the job Bill Parcells has done getting the Cowboys back to the playoffs. Michael Felger says the Patriots really need the bye week, but they’ll worry about that after taking care of some business they have with the Buffalo Bills. Michael Parente runs some numbers regarding the Patriots defense. Jim Donaldson wonders how good the Patriots would be if they actually had some Pro Bowl caliber players. Jonathan Comey says the Patriots have all the pieces. Ian M. Clark says another week, another hero for the Patriots. Curran’s notebook looks ahead to the Bills. Felger’s notebook looks at how Rodney Harrison is dealing with his Pro Bowl snub.

*Yawn* Tom Hicks has a deadline. I’m sure John W. Henry appreciates his feet being held to the fire. Gordon Edes and Tony Massarotti report on the latest in this tired drama. Vin Sylvia says anyway this deal goes, it’s a win-win for the Red Sox. Michael Felger says Curt Schilling has his eye on Drew Bledsoe’s old digs in Medfield.

The Celtics pulled off another fourth quarter comeback, beating the Sixers 87-84. The links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

Russ Conway looks at the seemingly inevitable crash course the NHL and the Players Association are embarking on. A more informative piece than you’re going to find from any of the Boston writers. Stephen Harris looks at recent comments from Jeremy Jacobs that are only hurting the ability of his team to make deals. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at Ted Donato’s impact on the Bruins. Harris’ notebook has Harry Sinden saying the Bruins need to get more physical.

Ron Borges has a look at how John Ruiz will likely be regaining the WBA Heavyweight title, simply because Roy Jones Jr will not fight him again.

ABC has Packers/Raiders at 9:00. NESN has Bruins/Rangers at 7:00.

Here are some “Guest links”

Here are some “Guest links” mostly courtesy of reader Len. (I’ve added a few of my own.)

Rich Thompson interviewed Joe Namath BEFORE the bottle of Jack Daniels last night. In addition to liking Vodka and Suzy Kolber, #12 likes another #12, Tom Brady. Michael Felger has the game story and the Pats looking for redemption next Saturday. Kevin Mannix has the story of the start by David Givens over Troy Brown and the emergence of Givens. Felger’s NFL Notebook is interesting. He has a breakdown of home games next year including Bengals, Ravens, 49ers, Seahawks, and Indy. Mark Cannizzaro blames Chad Pennington’s stinkbomb for the Jets loss.

Pick 5
The “Magnificent” Chad Pennington.

Cannizzaro picked the J-E-T-S on WEEI earlier in the week. Steve Serby (another NY Post writer) says RAC scored huge points with the Giants Ernie Acorsi last night. Charlie Weis did not. You’ve got to love the back page of the NY Daily News. Rich Cimini calls it Chad’s first slump and has a story on how bad his teammates feel for him.

Nick Cafardo has a good Pats Notebook and explains how Law has earned his salary but Woody could be tagged and dealt. Bob Ryan says the Pats always find a way to win. Frank Dell’Apa has something on the forgotten man, Antowain Smith. Smith was huge last night and he’s looking forward to more against his old team next Saturday. Rick Gosselin looks back at the 1994 Browns, which he notes boasted some of the brightest football minds ever collected together. Ron Borges lauds the Patriots defense, but he also claims that they clinched a first round bye with the victory last night…something any educated fan knows is not the case. Clark Booth says Keith Foulke will be a dud, Terry Francona a lousy manager, that the Patriots are too cocky, and laments the loss of Curtis Martin.

A-Rod, A-Rod, and more $-Rod. We’re all sick of it. Gordon Edes is not optimistic. Jeff Horrigan tells us that $-Rod is incensed. Do yourself a favor and read Mike Lupica today. Lupica may have a huge ego, but he nails this thing and Boras and the PA for what they are. John Harper of the NY Daily News says A-Rod still really wants this deal to happen and compromises are being made to get it done. Funny how the internet and NY papers are covering this better than the Boston media including whiners like Tony Mazz and the Globe contingent. Doug Mirabelli is staying. Bob Hohler has the story.

Bill Griffith has a look at how athletes and team management chatting with fans on websites is sending a message to the mainstream media. WBZ’s “Sports Final” will continue this theme by having Steve Silva of BostonDirtdogs.com and Eric Christensen of the Sons of Sam Horn website on the program.

BC could be the worst 8-1 team in the country. Michael Vega has the story on a home overtime win over Kent State before 4,272 fans. PC is off to a 4-1 start with quality wins over Alabama and Illinois. PC’s Rob Sanders has also helped Vin Baker fight off his demons. Kevin McNamara has the story. PC takes a holiday breather with a home game against Central Connecticut (did they beat UMass earlier in the month?).

Sports on TV today. Phantom Gourmet gives it a metza metza. 1:00 pm football on WBZ-4 has Miami-Buffalo while Fox-25 gives us Cowboys-Giants. 4:00 pm is bad with Eagles and 49ers. Best football is ESPN game tonight with Denver at Indy. A Denver win get the Pats a bye. Celtics are on FSNNE at 6 pm. College Basketball has St Johns vs GA Tech on NESN. GA Tech has not won a game by less than 25 points and St Johns just fired Jarvis. I smell a blowout.

The ARod trade is dead.

The ARod trade is dead. Long live the ARod trade. Larry Lucchino issued a statement last night saying the trade is dead. Peter Gammons reported last night that members of the Red Sox organization were puzzled by that statement from Lucchino, and that talks were in fact, ongoing. In any event, things sure seem to have gone too far to go back now. This is the downfall of being as open as this ownership and management group is. At this point, even though I wasn’t originally in favor of this trade, there has been so much talk and hype and things put out there that I’m almost going to feel betrayed if ARod is not playing in Boston next year. This has been built up, and dragged on, publicly now for an extended period of time. Obviously it’s not just the Red Sox who have put this story out there, but for all the criticism the Patriots get for not giving out information, I prefer their under-the-radar approach to doing business. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised when the Rosevelt Colvin and Rodney Harrison signings were announced last offseason. No one really knew the the Patriots were talking to those players until they were here and signed. It was like getting a surprise a gift. This Red Sox situation is more like someone teasing you with the promise of a reward or gift, and each day you’re expecting to get it, but they don’t have it with them, or they need to finish working on it first, or put you off in some other way. It would’ve been better had they said nothing at all, and just surprised you with it when they had it all ready for you. Of course, I realize something of this magnitude cannot be kept under wraps, totally. But I’m feeling really strung along at this point. Yes, I think the deal will still happen, but its all almost anticlimactic at this point. Mostly I’m just sick of the whole process.

This whole process has had Red Sox nation in a tizzy. The popular Sons of Sam Horn board, frequented by Red Sox personnel such as John W Henry and Curt Schilling has had to close its doors to visitors, because of incredible traffic demands, allowing only registered members to even view the board. Schilling called into WEEI yesterday to lay a smackdown on Tony Massarotti and Sean McAdam, neither of whom covered themselves in glory when talking about the Internet. Massarotti at one point said stuffily that if players want to talk to the fans via the Internet, then they can also promote their charities on web sites, hinting that this was something a power that the press has over the players. McAdam mocked fans who he says have a “slavish devotion to the team”.

Michael Silverman says that the ARod trade is not dead. Sean McAdam says that the Rangers have made some concessions that could make the deal still possible. Gordon Edes says ARod is still hopeful that a trade can be worked out to the Red Sox. Bob Ryan attempts to assess who is really at blame for the snags in this deal, he says it’s not Gene Orza. Jim Donaldson in fact, says Orza was right in how he handled the deal. Bob Hohler says the parties involved will not challenge the Union. Jeff Jacobs says the Union is tougher to beat than the Yankees. Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News has a piece for the Globe saying that the union gap is too wide to be bridged. Steve Buckley looks at what would happen if Nomar and Manny are still with the Sox next year. Tony Massarotti says the Red Sox roster is a mess. Jeff Horrigan says ARod could make up for the loss of Babe Ruth. David Heuschkel looks at the possibility that the ARod trade is dead. Mike Shalin looks at fans expressing their displeasure with the Union’s actions outside the New York office. The Herald notebook looks at the Red Sox interest in Pokey Reese. Jim Donaldson looks at decisions the Sox have to make on eight arbitration-eligible players. Ken Fratus also looks at the Sox interest in Reese.

Nick Cafardo looks at the matchup and rivalry of Chad Pennington and Tom Brady. Paul Kenyon says the Patriots/Jets rivalry has gone from nasty to one of mutual respect. Alan Greenberg looks at the important of having Troy Brown back for Tom Brady. Christopher Price looks at the job done by the offensive line this season. Rich Thompson looks at the two Patriots named to the Pro Bowl, Ty Law and Richard Seymour. Michael Smith also has a look at the two veterans. Michael Parente looks at the Patriots new long snapper, Brian Kinchen. Ian M. Clark has a piece on Rodney Harrison, who wasn’t named to the Pro Bowl, but is only concerned about winning at this point. Thompson also has an article on Tom Ashworth, who has been learning on the job this season. Parente has another piece on the Pro Bowl selections. Curran’s notebook has more on the Pro Bowl. Thompson’s notebook has more on Kinchen. Parente’s notebook leads with more on Ashworth.

The Bruins are probably grateful that the all this other coverage is overshadowing their dreadful 5-0 loss to the Flames last night. Stephen Harris and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell have the gruesome details. Joe McDonald says it was just brutal. Kevin Paul Dupont says the Bruins need help. Joe Gordon looks at Andrew Raycroft getting pulled last night. Dupont also says the NHL is optimistic about getting a new CBA done. He’s also wondering if Mike Sullivan has lost his team. Gordon also looks at Flames goalie Jamie McLennan, who registered the shutout last night. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook says the 5-0 loss was not the fault of Raycroft. Harris’ notebook doesn’t have quite as much good news regarding the CBA. McDonald’s notebook looks at Raycroft, being unofficially named the number one goalie.

Celtics links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

Bill Griffith looks at a few broadcasting milestones coming up, and has Jim Baker promising parting shots in his final column this Sunday.

FSNNE has Celtics/Jazz at 7:30. ESPN has Pistons/Pacers at 8:00 and Sonics/Spurs at 10:30.