A College Hoops Town

Has Teddy Sarandis been hosed off yet? Has he even fallen asleep?

Since Doug Flutie left the Heights some two decades ago, attention toward the local collegiate sports scene has been scattered at best. There was the UMass hoops team Final Four run with John Calipari, a few upset wins by BC over Notre Dame, especially the David Gordon game in 1993, and of course, there’s the Beanpot and BC hockey won a national championship in 2001.

For the most part, any support garnered outside of the alum is bandwagon in its purest form. Who could actually name a UMass player on this year’s team?
Well, for those not already on board, the bandwagon train is officially leaving the station, as BC defeated Syracuse, 65-60, Saturday at Conte Forum. It was easily the most-important win of the season and was also nationally televised.

Mark Blaudschun has the game story for the Globe. BC alum Bob Ryan was also there and writes that it was “the most anticipated BC home game in 38 years.”

Really don’t have a problem with Ryan covering the Eagles, despite being a diehard fan and supporter. Morally speaking, unlike many of his co-workers at the Globe, Ryan ranks in the top one percent ethically in the country. Heck, Michael Vega’s wife use to work at Boston College and may still. He has been the BC beat writer at the Globe for around 10 years.

Mike Shalin has the BC story for the Herald. He also has a notebook with Eagles coach Al Skinner touting Craig Smith for Big East Player of the Year.

After this win, Skinner should have National Coach of the Year sealed up, meaning other higher-profile programs will likely be looking at him come season’s end. However, with the Eagles moving to the ACC next season, there aren’t many programs in better shape. However, there are programs that pay their coaches more money.

Moving on, we have lots of Red Sox stories. Dan Shaughnessy looks at Bronson Arroyo and Alex Rodriguez being linked. Dano didn’t actually mail this one in, so his Red Sox book on last season must be finished. Or maybe he just ran out of stamps. Chris Snow says the Sox will issue 500 World Series rings, while Snow and Gordon Edes team up on a notebook that includes a Wade Miller update and some fluff comments from Terry Francona on Byung Hyun Kim, who alas, is back for another year at more than $5 million.

Edes also has his weekly notes leading off with Jose Canseco and another piece in today’s Globe focusing on Edgar Renteria. The ProJo’s Steven Krasner also writes about Renteria, as does David Heuschkel.

The Herald has several Sox stories, too. Karen Guregian has a Jason Varitek feature, while Jeff Horrigan has another Renteria story. Tony Massarotti also leads off his weekly notes with Canseco.

The ProJo’s Jim Donaldson has a column on Adam Vinatieri talking with a Marine stationed in Iraq moments after the Patriots received the Super Bowl trophy. Perhaps the day’s best read here.

On 1510 the Zone, Scott Gilefsky and David Frank have an interesting show tonight at 6 p.m., with Doug Ames, who actually isn’t Canseco’s agent but has been traveling with him during the promotion of his book, and a parent who wasn’t allowed into their son’s hockey game last week stemming from the altercation at the Northeast/Malden and Shawsheen Regional Tech. game a few days earlier.
Gilefsky and Frank are lawyers and will take the legal angle on these stories and others.

Interesting note on that high school brawl. The Herald ran the story on the front page, while despite knowing about it before the Herald did, the Globe didn’t write anything on it. The powers-to-be were not pleased about this and more than one person was chewed out.

And finally, if anyone still cares, Kevin Paul Dupont checks in with the NHL and the nitwits that be.

Bruschi Goes Home

Tedy Bruschi returned home from the hospital late yesterday afternoon. Nick Cafardo, Michael Felger, and Tom Curran all have the story. All three contain quotes from medical experts speculating about Bruschi’s future. In the Globe, Stephen Smith writes about the possibility of returning to a normal life after suffering a stroke.

Cafardo also has a brief notebook with items about the Patriots’ assistant strength coach leaving for a promotion with the Jets, minor surgeries for two members of the defense and the next steps in negotiations with Adam Vinatieri. Yesterday, in his Tip Sheet on ESPN.com, Len Pasquarelli wrote about the increased role that Bill Belichick will likely play in the Patriots’ offense next year. Pasquarelli wrote that Belichick has played a larger role in the offense than has previously been reported. I’m continually amazed at how much better the information on the Patriots seems to be from national writers than the local scribes.

Hockey may not be done yet. Kevin Paul Dupont has the story of talks back on between the players and owners. In a story on ESPN.com, EJ Hradek cites sources saying a deal could be imminent that would un-cancel the season.

Matt Clement is one theme in Red Sox coverage today. Jeff Horrigan and Chris Snow both have Clement stating he is ready for the pressure of pitching in Boston.

Horrigan also has the Red Sox not adding any fuel to the fire, but also not backing down from previous comments about Alex Rodriguez. Does anyone else feel like his addition has added a little bit of hatred between the teams that just wasn’t there before? Maybe it’s just me.

Dan Shaughnessy writes about New York’s new obsession with the Red Sox. Krasner has fans savoring last year’s championship, but still thirsting for more. Dave Heuschkel writes about the value of Jason Varitek to the Red Sox.

Lots of news tidbits in Horrigan’s, Krasner’s, and Snow’s notebooks including the continuing saga of ring-gate. Will the Sox hand out their championship rings in front of the Yankees or not?

Finally, in the first edition of the Power Rankings on ESPN.com, Buster Olney has the Sox ranked at number two behind the Yankees.

Not a lot of Celtics news this morning with the All Star game tomorrow. Shira Springer files an All-Star notebook which has Paul Pierce wanting the opportunity to win a championship rather than pile up All-Star appearances. Springer also writes about Tony Allen’s and Al Jefferson’s appearance in last night’s Rookie Challenge. Steve Bulpett has Pierce happy with the direction of the Celtics. Bulpett also writes about the strong performances of Jefferson and Allen in the Rookie Challenge.

I apologize that this was not posted earlier today. This was my first time compiling the links. I’ll try to get this posted earlier on future weekends. I have a newfound respect for the incredible job Bruce does with this site. If you see anything I missed or want to make any comments, feel free to send me an email at [email protected]

Bruschi Watch, Day 2

First, the Tedy Bruschi updates. Four writers are credited with a 479 word article in the Globe this morning, which tells us that Bruschi had a mild stroke and that his football future is unknown. Michael Felger says that Bruschi showed marked improvement yesterday, and is among the first to bring up the topic of Bruschi’s contract, in which he took less to remain in New England. Tom E Curran has a Patriots source saying that he did not “get the sense” that Bruschi’s condition was life or career threatening. John Altavilla also looks at the condition of the Patriots linebacker and looks at a couple athletes who had suffered strokes and their attempts at comebacks which fell short. Dan Pires has a very nice look at “The Perfect Patriot” as he calls Bruschi. Jennifer Heldt Powell has a quick look at the luxurious quarters Bruschi has at The Phillips House at Massachusetts General Hospital. Michael Parente files an update on Bruschi and also has a number of other Patriots notebook style items. Jim Donaldson says that both Bruschi and former teammate Drew Bledsoe had rough Wednesdays this week. He looks at how quickly things can change, even for the good guys. However in my humble opinion, there’s NO comparison between what happened to those two on that day, and trying to connect the events is ludicrous. It’s just plain dumb. Jennifer Rosinski speaks to a couple fans wishing Bruschi a quick recovery. Felger tries to talk to a number of Bruschi’s teammates about the situation. He also reports on the Patriots raising ticket prices for next season.

Blah Blah Blah

Yesterday was reporting day for Red Sox pitchers and catchers, and there was a lot of talking going on. Curt Schilling was of course front and center of the talk, and he did plenty of it himself to Dan Shaughnessy. He talks about Bruschi, A-Rod, steroids and the Yankees among other things. Jeff Horrigan also has the story, trying to make it more about Schilling’s health and availability to start the season. Karen Guregian says that this season, Schilling is the Sox one and only ace. David Borges looks at Schilling and David Wells – a couple of guys who will never leave the reporters feeling void of material. Guregian looks at Wells, who is getting his first look at the other side of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. Chris Snow and David Heuschkel also each take an extensive look at Wells. Ron Chimelis says that Terry Francona will face a whole new pressure this season. Snow’s notebook has Francona hoping to tone down the war of words between the Red Sox and Yankees. That’s also the major theme of Horrigan’s notebook and Heuschkel’s notebook, though in the latter, it’s more Theo Epstein who is trying to cool things down. Borges’ notebook has an update on Bill Mueller and Kevin Youkilis getting some work at first base.

Ah, excuse me Mr. May, your agenda is showing…

Mark Murphy hands out a midseason report card for the Celtics, with high marks for the most part. Mark Blount and Marcus Banks are the only ones flirting with a failing grade at this point. Mike Fine says that a lot of Mike Fratello has rubbed off on Doc Rivers. Shira Springer has a pair of articles on Celtics rookies this morning, taking a look at Tony Allen and a shorter look at Al Jefferson. Both youngsters will play in tonight’s rookie challenge. Over on ESPN.com. Springer’s Globe colleague Peter May continues his Borges-like agenda against Danny Ainge. He suggests that Ainge just may blow up the “underachieving” Celtics and trade both Payton and Pierce. He again brings up the trade with the Pistons last year which essentially won the title for Detroit, but did get the Celtics Tony Allen. He ignores that Ainge had a pretty terrific draft last year and that the trade for Ricky Davis perhaps wasn’t “the day the music died” after all. Is it a requirement at the Globe to have an agenda against the team you cover? (Borges/Patriots, Shaughnessy/Red Sox, May/Celtics, DuPoint/Bruins)

(non) Hockey Talk

Russ Conway looks at the “flat out disaster” the NHL has put itself into. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the league can be salvaged and fixed and offers a number of suggestions. Stephen Harris fingers Bob Goodenow as the bad guy in this saga. Jim McCabe talks to some ex-Bruins about the cancellation of the season.

Daytona 500

Michael Vega looks at Rusty Wallace’s last chance to win the Daytona 500. Vega also files a notebook on the event which will take place this weekend.

Media – Baker is on the case.

Jim Baker says that with football over and the NHL out of business for the time being, the NBA and NASCAR have the spotlight all to themselves. He has a number of items in this column, including the following reference to a possible WEEI challenger to which I alluded to yesterday:

Bob Neumeier

Bruschi in the Hospital

The scary story this morning is of course the condition of Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who was rushed to the hospital yesterday suffering from severe headaches that left him with blurred vision and according to Steve Burton on WBZ last night, partial paralysis. There still isn’t a whole lot of information out there at the moment, Laura Crimaldi in the Herald has the most information of any of the stories, and also in the Herald, Kristen Munson reports the sobering news that strokes can happen at any age, and this could be what happened to Bruschi. With so little information available, it seems foolhardy to rush to any sort of medical conclusion. The only mention from the Globe is essentially a short AP re-hash from Nick Cafardo. Gerry Callahan castigated the Globe for not having the story on their front page today, yet the same story didn’t even lead their own 8:00 AM sports flash. Go figure. Kevin Mannix writes that Bruschi is the heart and soul of the Patriots and what happened to him last night should be certainly cause for concern among Patriots fans.

Cafardo does have a longer article on Drew Bledsoe, who will be released by the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday. Bledsoe steadfastly contends that he will never be a backup. He also says he’ll be a Bills fan going forward. Michael Felger also has the story, noting that the Bills were forced to release Bledsoe because there was not enough interest on the trade market. We can all still remember Tom Donahoe gloating that he got Bledsoe from the Patriots for only a first round pick, and insinuated after the fact that he would’ve paid even more. Michael Gee (subscription only) says that the Bills really had no choice but to release Bledsoe, who would not serve as a backup. He goes on to state that Drew has always lacked “baraka” during his career. He describes that as an Arabian term meaning a “mixture of luck and predetermined destiny”. Tom E Curran has an article on the Patriots free agents and how the face of the team could change with any of them departing.

Celtics escape mauling

The Celtics survived a late run from the Grizzlies and won the game last night 90-88 on a 15 foot jumper from Ricky Davis with just under four seconds to go. Accounts of the game are provided by Peter May, Steve Bulpett and Carolyn Thornton. The win pushed the Celtics once again over the .500 mark and also puts them in first place in the Atlantic division for the All Star break. Frank Dell’Apa reports on the winning shot from Davis, while Mark Murphy has coach Doc Rivers looking at the play of rookie Tony Allen, who had 15 points, 7 rebounds, a couple steals…and a couple blown defensive assignments. All part of the package you get from a young developing player. Bulpett’s notebook looks at the return of Al Jefferson last night, as the rookie big man got in for three minutes after missing 10 games with a sprained ankle. Buddy Thomas decides to weigh in on the Celtics and he declares that they will not be major players at the trade deadline. May’s notebook and Thornton’s notebook each have Mike Fratello talking about his former player Doc Rivers and how he knew he was coaching material right from the start.

No NHL

The NHL closed up shop for the year yesterday, canceling the entire season. Bob Hohler reports on the unprecedented action of a sports league canceling an entire season. Stephen Harris blames the players for making a bad error in judgment during this process, a position that Kevin Paul Dupont also takes. Harris has Gary Bettman vowing that the league will return and be improved. John Altavilla also reports on the cancellation of the season. Douglas Flynn says there is no logic to this entire situation. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that the NHL has snubbed the most loyal fans in all of sports. Steve Conroy gets reaction from Bruins coach Mike Sullivan, while Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has reaction from other members of the Bruins organization. Conroy also got reaction from Harry Sinden. Fan reaction has been pretty harsh, as Zach Hosseini reports as well.

Sox/Roids

Keith Foulke wanted the ball too. Jeff Horrigan and David Heuschkel report that the Red Sox closer asked for the ball used for the final pitch in the 2004 World Series from former teammate Doug Mientkiewicz, and was rebuffed. Karen Guregian has Mike Greenwell claiming that the 1988 AL MVP award should be his. Greenwell was on Dennis & Callahan this morning and stated that he was aware that Jose Canseco was doing steroids during the time that they were teammates on the Red Sox. He says Canseco offered to help him get stronger, but Greenwell declined. (as also reported in the Guregian article) He also stated that he suspects Mark McGwire did use steroids as well, but doesn’t have proof. Guregian also says that baseball has a lot of sorting out to do when it comes to the record books and what has happened the last decade or so.

Chris Snow looks at an area in which the Red Sox appear to have upgraded themselves during the offseason – the bullpen. Howard Bryant (subscription only) writes about Randy Johnson, who was fired up on his first day in Yankee camp. Dom Amore also has a look at Johnson’s first day. Snow’s notebook has more on Foulke’s denied request for the ball, while Horrigan’s notebook says that the Red Sox are trying to plan their ring ceremony so as not to appear to be rubbing it in the faces of the Yankees.

So how many times will WEEI replay the Jose Canseco interview today? They’ve also made the claim several times (Glenn Ordway and Gerry Callahan have each said it) that besides 60 Minutes, they’ve had the only Canseco on air interview this week. Wrong. Canseco appeared on Fox Sports Radio’s “The Drive” with Chris Myers and Mark Gubicza on Monday afternoon as well as on Tuesday (before he went on WEEI) with Rob Dibble and Kevin Kennedy on the first day of broadcasting for XM Satellite Radio’s MLB Home Plate channel. (Press Release) The WEEI interview was played twice yesterday afternoon, and I wouldn’t put it past them to fill another hour of programming with it today. Kudos to Tony Massarotti who yesterday on the Big Show went after Ordway’s credibility in relation to the interview. (Because of Burton’s relationship with Canseco.) Tony Mazz is one of the few who will actually challenge the great and powerful Big O. Gerry Callahan also defended the interview and Burton this morning, and called anyone who claims to have turned off the interview a “jealous liar”.

Competition?

Another interesting note came in a veiled reference by Eddie Andelman yesterday that a Viacom owned station was considering going to an all sports format. Of course, anything said by Andelman needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but with the Red Sox radio rights coming up for bid, a station could make a big splash by stealing them away from WEEI. One Viacom station is WBCN, which owns the Patriots rights…could WBCN be planning on making a run at the Red Sox as well, and possibly converting to an FM all sports format? The idea is intriguing. A well run FM station that would have the rights to the two biggest sports teams in the area, would certainly be a big challenge to WEEI’s much ballyhooed ratings numbers. They could use the Globe staffers on the air, and hey, Bob Neumeier is available. Maybe Neumy knew something… In any case, this is pretty much all speculation at this point, and currently all signs point to WEEI retaining the broadcast rights to the Red Sox. It’s curious for Andelman to mention it at all given that his excitement over the idea shows his resignation that WWZN is never going to challenge in the ratings.

TNT has Cavs/T-Wolves at 8:00 and Mavs/Suns at 10:30. ESPN2 has Duke/Virgina Tech at 9:00.

Media Madness

Thanks to Tony Massarotti for the on-air order yesterday to publish that Michael Holley will be named Dale Arnold’s co-host for the WEEI midday program starting on March 1st. Whether this is actually true or not, I do not know at this point, but Tony Mazz ordered Bruce Allen to publish that information on his website, so that’s what I’m doing. I did not actually hear the remark, but I’m told it had a bit of an edge to it. Afterwards, Tony made a comment along the lines that he knows that Holley will get the job. (The comment was along the lines of

Ray who?

Chris Bourque, the son of you-know-who, scored the game-winner in overtime as BU defeated Northeastern, 3-2, to win yet another Beanpot. Game stories come from the Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa and longtime Herald college hockey scribe John Connolly.

Others stories from the 53rd annual event include a look at the MVP from former Globe staffer Bob Monahan, a notebook by Shinzawa looking at RPIs and Joe Gordon looking at BC’s win in the consolation game.

There are more Beanpot stories, but like the Boston Marathon and the Regatta on the Charles or whatever it’s called, few sports fans around New England really care. The Beanpot is great to attend, like the other two, but it’s more for the atmosphere than anything else.

Moving on, Chris Snow has a look at Trot Nixon and his hopes for a healthy campaign. Nixon is among the most honest interviews in professional sports and he has some good comments here. Tony Massarotti checks in with a look at the Red Sox ownership and their goals. Over at the ProJo, Bill Reynolds has three mini-columns with the Jose Canseco fiasco leading his piece.

The region’s favorite columnist, Bill Simmons returns to ESPN with a ‘thoughts’ column. Some good laughs as usual. Let’s just hope someone pulls the plug on those cartoons sooner rather than later.

On the Patriots’ front, Michael Felger has a look at offensive line coach Jeff Davidson departing for Cleveland with Romeo.

Bill Griffith has a media column focusing on, who else, Canseco.

Finally, the Courant’s Tom Yantz has a nice look at Providence College hoops second-leading scorer Dwight Brewington, who is 60 percent deaf.

Celtics fall

The Celtics, enjoying a rare Sunday in the local sports spotlight, dropped a close one to the struggling Kings, 104-100. Game stories are provided from the Globe’s Shira Springer, the Herald’s Steve Bulpett and the ProJo’s Carolyn Thornton.

Notebooks were also filed by each of the aforementioned trio, with Springer focusing on Raef LaFrentz, Bulpett speaking with Danny Ainge about possible deals with the deadline 10 days away and Thornton having a sort of State of the Union from Doc Rivers.

And talk about drinking the kool aid. According to the Herald’s Michael Felger, Patriots Personnel Director Scott Pioli turned down Seattle’s offer of five years, $15 million and more power to remain with New England. We can only assume a raise will be forthcoming for Pioli because while loyalty’s one thing, rejecting an offer to more than triple your salary is another.

For those with a few extra bucks lying around, there’s an interesting find on eBay. Former Patriots defensive back Leonard Myers is auctioning off his Super Bowl XXXVI ring, with the bidding starting at $25,000.

The Beanpot is tonight at the Fleet, with BU taking on heavy underdog Northeastern. The Globe’s new college hockey writer, Fluto Shinzawa has a solid feature from the Northeastern angle and a notebook. The Herald’s Joe Gordon also has a preview.

And you really have to read this one. Peter King has more from Freddie Mitchell. Talk about not playing with the full deck. There’s a better chance of Whitey Bulger lining up at receiver for the Eagles next season than this guy. What is he thinking? Koy Detmer?

Finally, Bob Ryan took in Sunday’s college hoop contest between UConn and North Carolina.

Mangini Watch, Day 6

Saturday links by Rich ([email protected])

After today, your Saturday correspondent is going to take few weeks off, and when I return it may be in reduced role, perhaps platooning on Saturdays with another blogger as Bruce expands the staff. Although it is a lot of fun, it is also time consuming, and my non-BSMW Saturday obligations are catching up with me.

After doing the links once a week for about six months, I find it mind-boggling that Bruce has been tirelessly doing it every weekday for almost 3 years. Not to sound like Steve DeOssie (“caller – have you ever played NFL football?!?!”), but it is harder to put one of these things together than you think (or at least than I thought before I did it), so a big tip of the keyboard to Bruce for the incredible amount of time and effort he puts into it.

Celtics
Boston

Adieu, NHL

It appears the NHL season is finished before it ever started. Not sure what’s worse, that it’s the first time a major North American sport has cancelled an entire season or that no one seems to care. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has the Globe story, while the Courant’s Bruce Berlet has a Hall of Famer saying these actions are ridiculous.

For the most part, it was a quiet Thursday for the local sports scene. There’s more on the Eric Mangini front, as a trio of teams vie for his services. Stories are filed from the usual suspects, the Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the Herald’s Michael Felger, the ProJo’s Tom Curran and the Courant’s Alan Greenberg. Curran also rehashes the bizarre he said, he said between some Eagles players, including Donovan McNabb, regarding Sunday’s Super Bowl.

The Red Sox are three weeks away from their Spring Training opener on March 3. One player who won’t be there is Bill Mueller, who’s likely to miss about a month after knee surgery. The Globe’s new beat man, Chris Snow, has the scoop. Jeff Horrigan and Dave Heuschkel have the Mueller news, too.
Horrigan also files a Sox notebook, with Theo Epstein saying no further roster moves are expected. Snow also has a piece on new Sox reliever Matt Mantei.

Meanwhile, Dan Shaughnessy hits on multiple topics, including his yearly rehash on the equipment truck leaving Fenway and some quotes from B.C. hoops coach Al Skinner on the lack of attention his program has received. Gerry Callahan (pay subscription required) writes about Jose Canseco and his soon-to-be-released book, while the Courant’s Dom Amore has more on the steroids topic at Jason Giambi’s press conference yesterday at Yankee Stadium.

Globe media guru Bill Griffith speaks with departed WEEI midway co-host Bob Neumeier in his column. BSMW’s own Dave Scott puts forth the perfect candidate to be Dale and WEEI’s midday mate: “It is I,” says Scott. “And I is it. Moses Malone said that.” Check out the not-so-mad ramblings of Scott’s Shots at:
bostonsportsmedia.com/shots

Mangini Watch

A slimmer selection of Patriots stories today.

The Globe’s