The ARod watch continues. No

The ARod watch continues. No news as of yet. WEEI says the sides are not even talking today.

Christopher Price reports on Antoine Walker’s return to the FleetCenter last night in the first story published at BSMW under the new page: “The Press Box”. The page will serve to provide an online home to stories from writers that used to appear on the website of the Boston Metro. This is likely a temporary arrangement to allow their stories to appear online until they get their own page up and running.

In other news, WEEI sent out an email this morning announcing the news that Glenn Ordway has signed a new five year contract with the station. The email reads in part:

We have just signed Glenn Ordway to a new 5-year contract with WEEI, locking THE BIG SHOW in for, what is setting up to be, the most exciting five years in Boston Sports history. This solidifies our daytime line-up with multiple year deals in place for Glenn as well as Dennis & Callahan and Dale & Neumy.

Red Sox Nation is abuzz with the A-Rod trade on the horizon and Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke strengthening the pitching staff. The Patriots are poised for an exciting post-season and the Celtics are making moves that scream for Sports Radio discussion. I am pleased to tell you that WEEI is gearing up to bring you quality programming to match all that is happening in the world of sports.

Glenn and I have had many discussions over the past months while working out his contract. As a former Program Director, Glenn is uniquely qualified and an active participant in sculpting the on-air content of his program. We talked about the tremendous success of programming features like the Whiner Line, The Whiney Awards, Patriots Monday and regular guests like: Peter Gammons to complement the wide variety of "sports insiders" who co-host The Big Show. We also planned the enhancement of WEEI's Jimmy Fund Radiothon (1.1 million raised in its second year) and the newly developed Junior Jocks program that funnels money for sports programs directly to the neediest kids in Boston's Boys and Girls Clubs (over $30,000 raised to date in year one.)

Glenn's tremendous ratings speak for themselves in quantifying his success. Over the past four years Glenn has been #1 in WEEI's target demo of Men 25-54. We thank you for listening and for telling your friends about The Big Show and WEEI.

Ask Nick is up for another week. Last week he compared Tom Brady to Bill Russell. Check out this entry from last week’s mailbag:

Nick, I love your mailbag. I have always been a fan of Bledsoe and was sorry to see him go, but I think it's time to recognize the treasure we have that is Tom Brady. He's dramatically improved over the past two years, and all he does is win and rally his teammates week after week. He's got some pretty impressive records/stats already. Where would you rank him among Boston's all-time players right now, and also at the end of his career (assuming his career progresses in the same direction)? Thanks for responding!
Alvin Lin, Cambridge

A: Special. He's really special. I think now you have to start talking about him in the Bird, Orr, Havlicek, Ted Williams, Russell context. Believe me, I'll get a zillion e-mails from older fans who will take me to task for putting him in the same place as Russell, and I'm really not because Russell won multiple championships. But he's certainly above most of the great big stars who have come through Boston because he's won a championship. Before I get too carried away and dig a deeper hole for myself, let's see what he does with his career from here. He's a winner. He's a great person, which is very important to me, which is why I have so much respect for Bledsoe. I've had the honor to cover a lot of great athletes and people in the last 27 years of sports writing and Tom is right up there of people I respect as an athlete and as a person.

This week apparently Nick feels differently on the matter. This entry is from the mailbag today:

Remember Celtic Bill Russell wasn't about "stats" - just winning? Why then, isn't the same metric similarly applied to Tom Brady - whose leadership and 4 come-from-behind victories this season with relatively weak talent around him ought to make the case for NFL MVP?

-- Derek Larsson, Ashland

A: I think Tom has received a great deal of notoriety for his accomplishments over a short career. Please, don't compare him to Russell. Please. Not even close.

I don’t get it. Is it possible to compare Tom Brady to Bill Russell and then *not* compare him to Bill Russell?

The drama continues. Today may

The drama continues. Today may be one of the least productive work days across New England since…well, since the week of the Red Sox/Yankees ALCS. The Players Union has stepped in and flexed its muscles, rejecting the proposal made by the Red Sox and Alex Rodriguez to his contract. Some feel this is nothing more than a PR stunt by the Union, who wish to show that they have authority and power, and that eventually this deal will still get done. Other think this is a deal breaker. Who to believe? In any event, the Internet will be a busy place today as people will constantly be checking in for the latest. Gordon Edes says that Bud Selig, who wants this deal to go through, may approve it anyway, and force the issue to an arbitrator. He also talks with Curt Schilling, who is never bashful about speaking about these things. Schilling believes it is wrong for the Union to go against the wishes of a player in this manner. Michael Silverman says all sides are still motivated to make this deal happen, and chances are “better than even” that it still will. Sean McAdam says the Commissioner may step in today, allow the trade to go through, and then attempt to iron out the differences.

According to sources close to the Commissioner's office, Selig intends to step in today and attempt to broker an agreement with the players' union that would allow the trade -- terms of which have been agreed upon by the Red Sox, Rangers and Rodriguez himself -- to go through. Selig will either try to work out an acceptable compromise or, if he cannot, convince the union to reverse its decision. If he cannot, sources say he is willing to take the case to an independent arbitrator in an attempt to overturn the ruling.

Jack O’Connell also has a look at the situation. Tony Massarotti says the price for signing Nomar goes up every day that this drags out. The situation is giving him leverage. Dan Shaughnessy knows Gene Orza and says he really is a likeable fellow, he just happens to be playing the Grinch to all of Boston. Gerry Callahan has a pay column for the Herald, and he takes on the Union noting that they are only about money, not what is in the best interest of the game.

A-Rod says he wants to win, and the union responds the way it always responds: Getting paid $25 million a year is winning, you ignorant little worker bee. It is the objective. And who cares what's best for the game of baseball? This is all about one thing and one thing only: making Marvin Miller proud.

Bob Hohler has an interesting look at how this situation is a ‘perverse irony’ and the opposite of what the Union is actually supposed to be doing for its players. The Union was formed to facilitate the ability of players to go an play in the cities that they wanted to play. In this instance, Rodriguez wants to play for Boston, Texas has given the permission for it, and yet the Union is blocking it. Hohler also looks at Magglio Ordonez, who would be a great fit here, and actually spends his winters working out with ARod. The Projo notebook has a look at the ESPN comments of Kevin Millar. It also says the Sox have a deal in place to acquire outfielder…and Nomar buddy…Jay Payton. Don Amore says the Yankees are keeping an eye on what the Red Sox are doing, even in the midst of making their own moves. John Tomase says that ARod needs Boston more than we need him.

The Celtics had a HUGE win over Antoine Walker and the Dallas Mavericks last night. All the links are over at Fox Sports Net New England.

Mike Reiss looks at a score that Ted Washington has to settle with Jets center Kevin Mawae. Washington’s agent claims that Mawae was responsible for the broken leg suffered by Big Ted in the first meeting between these clubs. Some great quotes in here, both from Washington’s agent and Mawae himself. Michael Felger also looks at this bitter matchup. Michael Smith looks at the improvement in the Jets since the last time we saw them. Pro Bowl selections are announced today, and Tom Curran looks at possible Patriot honorees. Michael Parente looks at the difference Chad Pennington has made in the Jets since his return from injury. Glen Farley looks at Patriots backup tackle Brandon Gorin, who is a “basketball junkie”. Mike Lowe looks at the Patriots quest for home field advantage. The notebooks have a lot of focus on Ken Walter. Smith’s notebook looks at the punter breaking his silence. Parente’s notebook looks at how a week off might’ve benefited Walter. Reiss’ notebook and Curran’s notebook also both lead off with Walter. Felger’s notebook has a look at the possible Pro Bowl selections.

Kevin Paul Dupont wonders what’s wrong with Joe Thornton. Steve Conroy looks at big time rookie Patrice Bergeron. Conroy’s notebook looks ahead to tonight’s matchup with the streaking Flames.

NESN has Bruins/Flames at 7:00. TNT has Mavericks/Timberwolves at 7:30 and Suns/Trailblazers at 10:00.

Michael Holley has an entertaining

Michael Holley has an entertaining and informative article about Ty Law and Tyrone Poole, both of whom he says deserve to go to the Pro Bowl. Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider looks at Charlie Weis, who has been having his name associated with head coaching rumors around the league. Weis is not concerning himself with those rumors, rather, he is focusing on the task at hand. Nick Cafardo looks at the vaunted AFC East which has turned out to be a dud. Michael Parente says the Patriots remember what Chad Pennington did to them last season, and look to not have a repeat performance. Eric McHugh looks at the Patriots offense. Glen Farley looks at a compressed week of work for the Patriots. Jim Donaldson doesn’t agree with the NFL’s policy for interviewing minority coaching candidates. Alan Greenberg looks at bad news for the Patriots…the Dolphins are likely to have a new coach next season. I’m not all that concerned, as a friend of mine pointed out, the Dolphins struggled up here in the cold with Jimmy Johnson and Don Shula coaching them as well. Felger’s notebook looks at another long snapper for the Patriots, as Sean McDermott had to be placed on IR. Parente’s notebook looks at the disturbing possibilities if the Patriots, Chiefs and Colts all finish 13-3. Mike Reiss’ notebook has an update on Deion Branch.

Gordon Edes reports on a meeting in New York with the Players Association looking at the proposed A-Rod contract restructure. He also floats the name of Magglio Ordonez coming to the Sox as part of a Nomar deal. (Newsday says that deal is already in place.) Sean McAdam says the clock is ticking and the Sox have until noon tomorrow to finish the restructuring of the deal. Michael Silverman looks at the blockbuster deal inching forward. Jack O’Connell says there is no turning back now. Edes looks at a few megadeals in baseball history. Dan Shaughnessy tells us who he voted for on his Hall of Fame ballot. Kevin Gray says Mark Bellhorn is a defensive upgrade in the infield for the Sox. Silverman also has a look at Bellhorn. Hohler’s notebook has Kevin Millar manning the welcoming committee for A-Rod. Howard Bryant’s Boston Uncommon looks at how the Red Sox misjudged the market price of Miguel Tejada, and looks at the Red Sox compared to the Yankees as far as resources and spending.

Antoine Walker returns to the FleetCenter tonight. The links are at Fox Sports Net New England.

Lenny Megliola looks at the Boston GM’s keeping things interesting for their fans.

FSNNE has Celtics/Mavs at 8:00. (ESPN nationally)

A busy day and evening

A busy day and evening for the Boston Celtics, get the details on the trade, on #31 being raised to the rafters and the Celtics 116-95 loss to the Timberwolves at Fox Sports New New England.

A “D” for the running backs and a “C” for the offensive line, otherwise all “A’s” and “B’s” for the Patriots on Kevin Mannix’s report card this week. Ron Borges wonders why Bill Belichick chose to take the hard line with Richard Seymour, considering the concessions he made for Larry Izzo when Izzo’s father died earlier this season. How predictable was that article? Alan Greenberg wonders if the incident will cause Seymour not to re-sign here when his contract is up in two years. Tom Curran notes that:

Yesterday, a noted writer from the region's biggest newspaper said of Brady, "I'm still not convinced."

Hmm. I wonder who that was. Curran then goes on to make the case for Brady, and concludes that:

Tom Brady is far from the perfect quarterback. But he's a great deal closer to it than a lot of the other ones manning huddles in the NFL.

Is that a clever play-on-words by Curran there? Mike Reiss wonders if we’re going to see Deion Branch this weekend. Dan Pires and Michael Parente also take a look at the repercussions of the Seymour benching. The Patriot offense oftentimes gets overlooked, or criticized as a weak link on the team, but Michael Smith says the group doesn’t take a backseat on the road to the postseason. Bill Reynolds is still trying to get used to the idea that the Patriots are the best team in football. Rich Thompson looks ahead to the New York Jets. Jim Donaldson blasts NFL celebrations as “self-indulgent”, “self-aggrandizing”, “over the top” and knocks them for doing something outrageous just to get attention. All qualities and things a columnist would never show or do, right? (Not saying this Donaldson column is an example of that, just speaking in general.) Curran contrasts how Jim Haslett handled the Joe Horn situation to how Bill Belichick handled the Richard Seymour situation.

Parente’s notebook has the Patriots focused only on beating the Jets. Thompson’s notebook has more on Seymour, as does Curran’s notebook. Reiss’ notebook has still more on Seymour and a brief bit on NFL tiebreakers.

Tony Massarotti says you can count on Alex Rodriguez coming to the Sox. He doesn’t call it a “done deal”, but says it’s impossible to believe anything contrary to that. Bob Hohler & Gordon Edes report on the “gaining momentum of the deal. Jeff Horrigan assures us that one way or the other, this will all be resolved very soon. Sean McAdam says the Red Sox have to find some young pitcher to send to the Rangers before the deal can be made. Paul Doyle gives us the book on A-Rod. Gordon Edes looks at who might be possibilities to fill holes for the Red Sox if Manny and Nomar are both dealt. The notebooks look at the likely acquisition of Mark Bellhorn from the Rockies, who would play an infield role. The Globe, Herald and Projo all look at the six year veteran.

Both Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Steve Conroy look at the Bruins getting back to basics. Douglas Flynn looks at Peter Laviolette rejoining the NHL coaching ranks. Conroy’s notebook looks at Sergei Samsonov healing up.

Bill Griffith looks at another record setting ratings week for the Patriots. John Molori has visions of shortstops dancing in our heads.

NESN has Bruins/Canadiens at 7:30.

Steve over at Dirtdogs says

Steve over at Dirtdogs says the Alex Rodriguez trade is a 100% done deal.

Celtics also made a big deal today, trading Tony Battie, Eric Williams and Kedrick Brown to the Cavs for Ricky Davis, Chris Mihm and Michael Stewart. Marc Stein looks at Ricky Davis moving to the Celtics.

Ten in a row for

Ten in a row for your New England Patriots. Michael Smith looks at the Patriots hanging 10. Michael Felger looks at Belichick pulling out the motivational stops to push his team to victory. Tom Curran looks at the Patriots keeping their eyes on the big prize. Alan Greenberg and Michael Parente also have the details of the 27-13 win over Jacksonville in another snowy Sunday at Foxboro. Michael Holley says this team has something to please everyone, as they are a team for all people. Jim Donaldson looks at the Patriots dominance in the snow. Ian M. Clark says a good run just keeps getting better.

Yesterday marked the return of Troy Brown to the field, Bob Ryan Karen Guregian, Michael Parente and Carolyn Thornton look at the Wide Receiver, who caught one of the two TD passes thrown by Tom Brady yesterday. Kevin Mannix, Mike Reiss and Nick Cafardo look at the benching of Richard Seymour to start the game, a move that lit a fire under the star defensive lineman. Dan Ventura looks at the Patriots getting off to a good start with Brady hitting Daniel Graham for a TD on their first possession of the game. Carolyn Thornton looks at a day Tyrone Poole won’t soon forget…his teammates won’t let him. Nick Cafardo and Rich Thompson also have a look at the afternoon by Poole. Paul Kenyon and Jim Baker look at the return of Ken Walter, who wasn’t all that bad. Tim Weisberg looks at the Patriots passing game…something they stick with no matter the weather. Joe Burris looks at what little effect the snow had on the Jaguars. Gus Martins says Rodney Harrison and the Patriots were only concerned about one score yesterday, and it wasn’t the late TD they gave up to the Jags. Paul Kenyon looks at the return of Marc Edwards to Gillette.

Parente’s notebook has more on Seymour’s benching. The Standard Times notebook looks at the homefield advantage of the Blade. Felger’s notebook looks at the development of Daniel Graham. He says that Bethel Johnson’s inactive status was not believed to be a disciplinary move, while Smith’s notebook believes it was disciplinary in nature. Curran’s notebook also looks at the benching of Seymour. Reiss’ notebook looks at the hand injury suffered by Deion Branch.

Bob Hohler and Jeff Horrigan report that the Manny for Alex Rodriguez talks are still ongoing, and gaining momentum. Gordon Edes gives us an update on the happenings at the Winter Meetings. Tony Massarotti, Sean McAdam look at what impact Miguel Tejada signing with the Orioles could have on the Red Sox and Nomar. Hohler’s notebook looks at he A’s interest in Scott Williamson. Horrigan’s notebook says Williamson can choose if he wants to remain with the Sox as a setup man, or be traded somewhere where he can close, or start. McAdam’s notebook looks at the options at second base for the Red Sox.

The Celtics retire Cedric Maxwell’s number 31 in a halftime ceremony tonight. Get all the links at Fox Sports Net New England.

Dan Shaughnessy attempts to be positive about all things in Boston sports. He can’t pull it off.

FSNNE has Celtics/Timberwolves at 7:00. ABC has Eagles/Dolphins at 9:00.

Friday before a big weekend

Friday before a big weekend in Boston sports. Nick Cafardo looks at Patriots fans championing the cause of their team to national writers. He doesn’t understand why it is so important to them. Either way, he says, it doesn’t matter to the team, they don’t pay attention to that sort of stuff. Yesterday’s edition of Ask Nick was pretty mellow. He did compare Tom Brady to Bill Russell in the course of answering one of the questions. Michael Felger has a look at Tedy Bruschi, who deserves a Pro Bowl slot. Tom Curran looks at Rick Lyle and Anthony Pleasant, two grizzled veterans caught up in the youth movement. Alan Greenberg has a look at Tyrone Poole, who has been outstanding opposite Ty Law this season. Michael Parente looks at the challenge of stopping Fred Taylor. David Pevear examines the untraditional “Bill Ball”. Ian M. Clark looks at the cast of characters at linebacker for the Patriots. Tom King says that while the Patriots don’t really have a star featured back, the ones that they do have know their roles. Glen Farley looks at Adam Vinatieri, who is adjusting to a new holder, and now a new long snapper. Vic Ketchman of the Jaguars Official website names the Patriots the “team of the decade”. Rick Gosselin and the Dallas Morning News took a poll of 14 NFL executives and asked them to list the top coaches in the league. The winner: Bill Belichick.

Felger’s notebook looks at some “some form of remuneration” for fans who were unable to get to the game on Sunday. Cafardo’s notebook looks at a relatively healthy Patriot squad headed into the weekend. Curran’s notebook looks at Bill Belichick – longest-tenured coach in the NFL in terms of continuous service in the league. Parente’s notebook has more on that topic.

The baseball hot stove talk continues, unabated. Michael Holley though, takes a few moments to remember Nomar. He isn’t gone yet, but it seems a foregone conclusion at this time. It will be strange to see Nomar in any other uniform. A very poignant piece by Holley. Michael Silverman has a transcript of his interview with Pedro Martinez. As this is a media site, the section in which Pedro talks about his media silence is interesting. Here is a small section of it:

Q. You don't seem to like Yankees writers too much.
A. Boston writers are tougher. Boston writers are a lot rougher than New York writers. At least New York writers write in favor of their team all of time, not against them.
Q. So what happened this year - you didn't talk to us for most of the year?
A.Why? Because you guys misused my quotes. When all of you know I've been honest and always explain everything I spoke about in the proper way. (Some of you) somehow manage to write the things the way we meant them but evil people, evil writers - they have to be evil to try to misuse a person that's never done any harm to anybody, to try to make him look like an (expletive) in front of so many good fans, someone that has earned his respect by doing his job, by being so cooperative with all of you, being misused like I was. It made no sense for me to keep talking when I did the best I could. I was the biggest translator you could ever get when Manny didn't want to speak, when guys didn't know how to speak. So many players came up in the big leagues when I was there, and I picked up quotes from other players to give to you. Nobody took that into consideration to try to make me look like a greedy (expletive) in front of the fans.

The Winter Meetings kick off this weekend, and Tony Massarotti says there has perhaps never been an offseason weekend so anticipated as this one is. The face and fortunes of the Red Sox could be forever changed this weekend. I’m not so certain that any of the rumored moves will happen, but what do I know? Sean McAdam says the ARod deal seems to be falling apart. David Heuschkel says the odds are still great than 50% that the deal will get done this weekend. Jeff Horrigan looks at items on the docket for the Sox in these Winter Meetings and the rest of the offseason. Gordon Edes says Keith Foulke will choose soon the team for which he will play next year. Michael Vega has a Red Sox notebook in which he looks at the Yankees recent moves, has quotes from Roger Clemens about the Sox and looks at the battle for the 5th starter spot in spring training.

This is a bit off topic, just my own thoughts…Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens get lumped together sometimes because they both live in Texas, played for the Yankees and are great friends. I think Pettitte showed a lot more class and integrity during this whole free agent period than Clemens was ever capable of. Pettitte said he’d only pitch for the Yankees, or closer to home, he went to Houston, where he lives in the offseason. Not Toronto, not Boston, but kept his word and went home to Texas. He reportedly got a huge offer from the Red Sox, but never seriously considered it because “he would not do that to Yankee fans”. You could only have wished that Clemens gave Sox fans the same consideration. He chased the money instead.

Celtics links, including Antoine Walker going off on Danny Ainge can be found at Fox Sports New New England.

Good news: Bruins didn’t tie last night. Bad news: They lost to an awful Capitals team. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Steve Conroy have the details. More bad news: Sergei Samsonov injured again. The Globe and the Herald notebooks look at the sprained knee suffered by the winger.

Bill Griffith looks at Nomar’s call to Dale & Neumy earlier this week, and assorted other items.

FSNE has Celtics/Raptors at 7:30. ESPN has Sonics/Pistons at 8:00 and Mavericks/Lakers at 10:30.

My apologies for the lack

My apologies for the lack of links yesterday, I was unable to log into my publishing server all day, as they were making some changes.

Is this Manny/Nomar/ARod thing getting old yet? It’s a complicated process, no doubt about it. I’m just getting impatient and wish it would either get done, or fall apart. It seems to be dominating the interest not only of fans and media types, but even of the Red Sox themselves, who have plenty of other business to be taking care of. Such as Pedro, who according to Michael Silverman, wants to stay with the Red Sox for the rest of his career, and would like that to be taken care of before opening day. That is just one item in a wide-ranging interview with the Sox ace, who also touches on ARod, Manny (“He’s cuckoo”) and the Boston media. Gordon Edes reports that John Henry and Tom Hicks will meet, likely this weekend at the Winter Meetings and try to finish this deal off. Peter Gammons said yesterday that it doesn’t look like the deal will get done, and the Sox might find themselves having to mend fences with Nomar….or still trade him and then sign Miguel Tejada. Kevin Gray takes a few moments to examine the whole situation and what the moves would bring to the Sox. An uncredited story from the ProJo has the writer looking at why the owners have likely soured on Nomar. Jack O’Connell looks ahead to the Winter Meetings. Tony Massarotti has more on the deal with the Rangers and also looks at the Sox still trying to close the deal with Keith Foulke. (Does anyone think he’s coming here?) Bob Hohler has a nice piece on David Ortiz, who has talked with Manny a few times this offseason. Buddy Thomas isn’t too concerned with the big move, he’s starting a campaign to get Miguel Cairo, who he says could be a real difference maker.

You may have seen this yesterday, but if not, it’s worth a look. ESPN.com has a look at what Boston writers were saying at the beginning of the season about the Patriots and what they’re saying now. As you might imagine, Ron Borges figures prominently into this piece. Michael Felger says the Patriots, thanks to Belichick, are one of the few teams in the league that actually take things one day at a time. Tom Curran has a great look at Mike Vrabel, who he feels is worthy of post season award consideration. Mike Reiss says that the Patriots lack of scoring at home isn’t a concern. Alan Greenberg looks at the key injuries and concerns that are now affecting special teams. Michael Parente also looks at the makeover by necessity on Special Teams. Glen Farley says the team needs to improve on offense. Michael Smith wonders where the Patriots would be without Tom Brady. He then wonders if that would make him the MVP. Felger’s notebook leads with the return of Troy Brown to the practice field. Curran’s notebook looks at the job of replacing Lonie Paxton. Reiss’ notebook also looks at the return of Brown, while Parente’s notebook has a look at the return of Larry Centers. Smith’s notebook talks with Marc Edwards about the Jaguars.

The Celtics won their third consecutive game last night with a 126-112 pasting of the Seattle Sonics. Get the links at Fox Sports Net New England.

Another game, another tie for the Bruins. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Steve Conroy have the details of the 1-1 deadlock against the Panthers. Both the Globe and the Herald notebooks look at Coach Mike Sullivan’s decision to sit defenseman Jeff Jillson last night.

NESN has Bruins/Capitals at 7:00. TNT has Pistons/Cavs at 7:30 and Hornets/Suns at 10:00. ESPN has Red Wings/Blackhawks at 9:00.

Was that sports radio yesterday,

Was that sports radio yesterday, or an all day session of the whiner line? You had fans calling all day to rip on the Patriots and the Krafts for not getting all of the snow out of the stadium, and you had Nomar calling up Dale & Neumy to voice his displeasure with how the Red Sox have handled his situation and their flirtation with Alex Rodriguez.

Tuesday means Kevin Mannix has his Patriots report card. Mostly A’s, with the lowest grades, C’s, going to the receivers, offensive line and special teams. Michael Smith reports that long snapper Lonnie Paxton suffered a torn ACL in the win Sunday, and could be out for the season. They’re trying to determine if he can continue to play with it, or if he’ll need to be placed on IR. Tom Curran gives two reasons for the success of the Patriots, their coaching continuity and their preparation. Alan Greenberg says the Patriots just win. Period. Whatever the weather, whatever the circumstances, they adapt and do what they have to do. Ron Borges says the Patriots have a formidable home field advantage. He looks at the other AFC contenders and how they might fare coming to Gillette in January. Rich Thompson says the Jaguars will be a tough opponent this coming Sunday. They’re just starting to hit their stride. Mike Reiss looks at how Willie McGinest and Mike Vrabel have set the edge for the Patriots on defense. Michael Parente says that Belichick and the Pats really want three more wins to close the season and gain the homefield advantage.

More on Sunday’s win…David Pevear looks at the Patriots clinching the AFC East in the snow. Eric McHugh says the rest of the AFC had better get used to this. Glen Farley looks at the Valley Forge like atmosphere at the stadium Sunday. Bill Burt writes about the celebration powder that covered Foxboro. Hector Longo looks at the defense stepping up yet again. Tom King looks at another freeze-up by the Dolphins. McHugh also has a look at Antowain Smith answering the bell on Sunday. Ron Hobson looks at Brooks Barnard’s debut. Farley also looks at the efforts to remove the snow and the effect it had on everyone. You can also get the thoughts of Kent Thaler on the game as well.

Curran’s notebook looks at how the new look secondary has supported the run much better this year. Reiss’ notebook has a look at the kicking game in the snow. Parente’s notebook looks at the probably return of Larry Centers. Thompson’s notebook has a look at the effort on special teams Sunday.

Nick Cafardo looks at Nomar going on the offensive and talking to Dale & Neumy on WEEI yesterday, in an attempt to get the word out that he wants to stay here and isn’t happy to read in the papers about a possible trade. Smart move by Nomar…get the fans on your side. Was this his idea, or did his agent push him to do this? Either way, Nomar shows that he cares and now has publicly said he wants to be here. What effect that has, we’ll see. Jeff Horrigan looks at the Red Sox gearing up for a big push for ARod. Dan Shaughnessy looks at the huge offseason arms race between the Red Sox and Yankees. He’s not 100% sure that Nomar really wants to be here, even after the WEEI appearance. He also believes the Red Sox aren’t that convinced, either:

Garciaparra is scheduled to make $11.5 million in this final year of his contract with the Sox. Tellem told the Sox it would take more than $60 million over four years to keep him, according to a Red Sox source. This misreading of the market served only to push the Sox harder in the direction of A-Rod. Now Garciaparra and his agent are telling us how much Nomar likes it here, which flies in the face of the shortstop's actions in dealings with the Boston front office. We all know that Nomar plays hard every day, but the new ownership has seen no demonstration of Nomar's love of the Boston baseball experience.

He adds that Red Sox officials “rolled their eyes” when appraised of the comments by Nomar’s agent that the Red Sox were disrespecting Nomar.

The Celtics put together a convincing 102-80 win in Utah last night. Get the links over at Fox Sports Net New England.

The Bruins had yet another tie last night. Kevin Paul Dupont says it’s official: the team is in a slump. Stephen Harris and Joe McDonald have further details on the 2-2 tie with Ottawa. Douglas Flynn, Andrew Mahoney and Joe Gordon look at the effort by Andrew Raycroft which kept the game at a tie. Sergei Zinovjev is the subject of the notebooks, as he appears headed back to Russia. Dupont’s notebook, Harris’ notebook, and McDonald’s notebook all look at the center’s likely move back his homeland after being demoted to Providence over the weekend.

Bill Griffith looks at more huge Patriots viewing numbers over the weekend.

A quiet night on the TV sports landscape. ESPN has the Jimmy V classic with Providence/Illinois at 7:00 and Arizona/Texas at 9:00. FSNNE has Temple/Arizona State at 10:30.

An amazing day at Foxboro.

An amazing day at Foxboro. The snow “fireworks” were something never to be forgotten at a football game. The on-field action wasn’t all that bad either, with the Patriots clinching the AFC East and a playoff berth. Michael Smith says it doesn’t stop there for this Patriots team, who have their eyes set on much bigger sights. Michael Felger looks at clinching of the AFC East and agrees that the team is looking beyond this accomplishment. Tom Curran opens with Rodney Harrison, glad to have come East and joined a winner. Alan Greenberg says a blizzard buried the Dolphins yesterday, and it had nothing to do with snow. Mike Reiss notes that Bill Belichick has loftier goals…and trust in his team to reveal them to them. Michael Parente looks at the nature supplied confetti that celebrated the AFC East title. Kevin Thomas looks at the Patriots taking care of business.

Michael Holley says the Patriots didn’t have to rely on someone else to get into the playoffs this year, they did it themselves. Kevin Mannix gives props to the defense and the home field advantage. Nick Cafardo looks at the Miami offensive attack, totally shut down and out by the Patriot defense. So much for the “tremendous advantage” of Ricky Williams. Bob Ryan looks at Brooks Barnard, Weather Channel nerd. Jim Donaldson celebrates the Patriots and their 12-0 whitewash of the Dolphins. Ian M. Clark says it was snow problem at all. Dan Pires says there are celebrations still to come for this team.

Michael Vega looks at a crucial play in the game, the INT return for a TD by Tedy Bruschi. Jim Baker looks at the debut of Brooks Barnard. Kevin McNamara also has a piece on the rookie punter. Michael O’Connor looks at Antowain Smith, who though battered a bit himself, handed out plenty of punishment of his own. Frank Dell’Apa looks at a motivated Rodney Harrison. Rich Thompson looks at a steady though unspectacular performance from Tom Brady. Michael Parente looks at the offensive struggles of the Patriots. Kevin McNamara says the offense did its job…just stay out of the way of the defense. Joe Burris looks at the tough ground game slugged out by the Patriots. Nick Cafardo looks at a huge game by the defense. Jeff Goodman wraps up the snowy action from Foxboro. Damian Vega goes inside a frustrated Miami locker room. Bill Burt had a feature yesterday that looked at the ownership tenure of the Krafts.

Paul Kenyon looks at the rough travel to the stadium, and tells tales of those who had long walks to the game. He also looks at the task of clearing the snow from the stadium and parking lots. Michael O’Connor looks at the effect of the snow on the fans. Andy Nesbitt also looks at the snow in the stadium and surrounding it. Bob Ryan looks at the unexpected snow showers after the Bruschi touchdown. Steve Solloway looks at the “cool fireworks”. Tim Weisberg writes about the Patriots and fans avoiding being snowed in. Mike Reiss says the snow is lucky for the Pats.

Smith’s notebook looks at the likely return of Larry Centers. The Standard-Times notebook looks at the snow, the rookie and the holder. Parente’s notebook looks at plenty of work for the rookie punter. Felger’s notebook looks at another fumble for Kevin Faulk. Curran’s notebook looks at a rumbling Antowain Smith.

If nothing else, the Red Sox flirtation with Alex Rodriguez has at the least served the purpose of flushing out Nomar and getting him to say whether he wants to be here or not. Tony Massarotti talks with Nomar, who says the only uniform that he wants to wear in his career is that of the Red Sox. Shira Springer talks with the agent for Nomar, who says all this recent trade talk is a slap in the face to Nomar. Another member of the Red Sox who is feeling disrespected these days is Tony Cloninger. Gordon Edes talks with the pitching coach, who has been told that Dave Wallace is the favorite to continue in that position. Alex Speier has a look at the journey that led to Terry Francona being manager of the Red Sox. Another article better than anything you read in the Boston papers.

The Celtics coughed up another double digit lead last night, but this time recovered to post a 116-111 win over the resurgent Denver Nuggets. The links are Fox Sports Net New England.

Kevin Paul Dupont looks at the improvements the Bruins need to make the rest of the way. Stephen Harris looks at the tie against the Flyers on Saturday night. Dupont’s notebook looks at continued shuffling of line combinations.

John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at LT’s comments, some 1510 ramblings and some criticism of Fox25′s Butch Stearns.

NESN has Bruins/Senators at 7:00. FSNNE has Celtics/Jazz at 9:00. ABC has Browns/Rams at 9:00