Friday AM Links

The Patriots continue their preparation for Monday night’s game against the New York Jets in the last Monday Night game to be broadcast on ABC. Christopher Price notes that the loss in Miami last year to the then 2-11 Dolphins is still fresh in the Patriots minds and they don’t want a repeat this week. Tom E Curran has a thorough analysis of the Patriots defensive play on first downs this season and how an improvement in that area is probably the single largest reason for their turnaround. Albert Breer also looks at the Patriots success in avoiding giving up the long play as of late. Dan Pires has more on the Patriots resurgent defense. Alan Greenberg notes that the Patriots confidence is building, which as Bill Belichick points out, drives aggressiveness.

Nick Cafardo says that Tedy Bruschi deserves to be a runaway winner of the Comeback Player of the Year award. Who can argue with that? As Nick points out, Tedy could be the comeback player for all time. Ian M Clark examines the Patriots linebacking corps, and sees a whole lot of experience back there which is key to the success of the team. Michael Parente looks at the hard work Josh Miller has put in, which gave him serious consideration for the Pro Bowl for the season he has had this year.

Chris Kennedy’s notebook has Bill Belichick offering up some Monday night memories. Hector Longo’s notebook observes that the Patriots have been on a record run these last three games. Parente’s notebook has Belichick giving credit to Eric Mangini for his role in the defense. In Curran’s notebook, he talks to injured safety Guss Scott. John Tomase’s notebook has Belichick and the Patriots offering condolences to Tony Dungy on the loss of his son. Cafardo’s notebook has Rosevelt Colvin talking about his season and not making the Pro Bowl.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris report on the Bruins 4-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Banknorth Garden last night. Douglas Flynn says yes, that really was the Bruins on the home ice last night. Kevin Paul Dupont believes that for the Bruins to turn things around, it needs to start in net. Mick Colageo looks at the Bruins going with Hannu Toivonen in last night’s first game of a crucial home and home series with Toronto.

Karen Guregian looks at the signs that Alexei Zhamnov could be emerging from his season long slump. Fluto Shinzawa has David Tanabe getting over his disappointment at not being named to the Olympic team. Shinzawa also has more on Alexei Zhamnov. Elsewhere, Burrell’s notebook has Sergei Samsonov talking about getting Zhamnov going. Flynn’s notebook reports on Keith Primeau getting his first goal with the Bruins. Harris’ notebook has Brian Leetch making a statement with his three assists last night.

Gordon Edes reports on the Red Sox pursuit of free agent pitcher Kevin Millwood. Michael Silverman reports that the Sox are after both Millwood and seeking a trade for Troy Glaus. Rob Bradford says that life will go on for the Red Sox, and they were prepared for a Damon departure. David Borges explores why the Red Sox media will miss Johnny Damon. Chris Snow’s notebook and Silverman’s notebook report on the Red Sox signing backup catcher John Flaherty away from the Yankees.

Peter May and Steve Bulpett look at the struggling Brian Scalabrine, who admits that the catcalls from the crowd have started to get to him a little bit. Scott Souza has the Celtics feeling pretty good about themselves going into a short holiday break and onto a long West coast trip. John Howell looks at the broadcasting duo of Heinsohn and Gorman, and how they just keep going and going. Bulpett has a quote from Doc Rivers about Kobe’s 62 point game being too easy, and Bulpett’s notebook has a few notes on the Celtics who are off until Monday night when they play the Sonics in Seattle.

The New York Sports Pages still have plenty of Damon, and also Jets/Patriots and other items of interest.

Check back around noon for another edition of BSMW SporTView…