Short Stop for Edgar

The Red Sox continue their domination of the print and airwaves after having traded shortstop Edgar Renteria to the Atlanta Braves for their top prospect and a whole lot of cash. Chris Snow reports on Renteria’s exit after only a single season in Boston. Michael Silverman & Tony Massarotti report that this was a very costly trade for the Red Sox, who will be paying the Braves an average of $4 million per year for the next three years. Sean McAdam notes that this move ensures that the Red Sox will have a completely new infield next season. David Heuschkel examines further the reasons that led to Renteria’s departure a year after being signed as a prized free agent. Joe Haggerty, Alex Speier and David Borges also report on the exit of Renteria, leaving the Red Sox without an everyday shortstop for the moment, at least.

Bob Ryan has a column on the trade, as he looks at Renteria’s tenure here and the expectations that we, and Theo Epstein had of the shortstop upon his arrival. Tony Massarotti wonders just what is the plan here for the Red Sox, not just as shortstop, but in a lot of areas. Another incident took place last night which had Red Sox fans buzzing about if another high profile shortstop could somehow find his way to Boston. Michael Silverman reports that Miguel Tejada has requested a trade out of Baltimore and one of his preferred destinations is Boston. Gordon Edes also looks at Tejada’s request, as well as the other moves that the Red Sox have made this offseason. Jon Couture says that the team has shown they’re not afraid to shake things up, and they’re really done that this offseason.

The two headed monster of Massarotti & Silverman also report that the Red Sox very well could just go with a two-headed GM combo of Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer. in fact their sources say that an announcement could be made on this decision within the next few days. Kevin Gray reports on Jamie Vermilyea, who the Red Sox selected in the Rule V draft this week from the Blue Jays. He saw Vermilyea pitch for the NH Fisher Cats the last two seasons and tells us what the Red Sox might’ve seen in the righthander. Nick Tavares looks at the moves that the Blue Jays have made this offseason. Art Davidson looks at Holliston native Mark Sweeney landing a two year deal with the Giants. Massarotti reports that the Red Sox may not go much higher than 4/40 with Johnny Damon.

Silverman’s notebook has Bill Lajoie pleased with what the team accomplished at the winter meetings. McAdam’s notebook examines the shrinking market for Manny Ramirez and David Wells. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on that same topic. Snow’s notebook also reports on possible Ramirez destinations.

Murray Chass in the NY Times suggests that Roger Clemens could finish his career where it started, and join Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett in the Red Sox rotation. Before you think how odd it is that a New York paper would suggest this, consider again the NY Times 17% ownership of the Red Sox….There are plenty more Red Sox stories in the New York Sports Pages

The Patriots head into Buffalo on Sunday hoping to come out of the day with a division title and playoff berth in tow. Jerome Solomon says that recording zero tackles last week doesn’t begin to tell you the story of how Richard Seymour actually played and the difference he makes for the Patriots when he is on the field. Alan Greenberg covers the same ground in his piece on the Patriots defensive lineman. Tom E Curran has Seymour expressing a desire that the defense play in more of an attack mode rather than read-and-react. Dan Pires notes that even though Seymour held out at the start of training camp, he still felt confident enough and comfortable enough to call out the fans this week for their quietness in the stands.

Check out the BSMW Game Day page for a preview of the Bills and Patriots. John Tomase writes that the Patriots defense will get a chance to see if they’ve made progress since the last time these clubs met and that it will likely determine the outcome of the game. Christopher Price says that efficiency on third down is what the Patriots are striving for this week. Chris Kennedy examines Artrell Hawkins’ move to safety and the different perspective he is getting on the game from that spot. Ian M Clark notes that each week the Patriots seem to be hurting a little bit less. Lenny Megliola talks to Brady’s quarterbacks coach at Michigan, who says Brady could be President some day.

Eric McHugh says that JP Losman has a long ways to go before he can be compared to Tom Brady, even if they’re both California kids. Michael Parente says that Losman is slowly maturing as a QB and person. Tom King says that Losman could prove to be pesky to the Patriots. Tomase looks at Buffalo’s strong home field advantage. Check out the Buffalo News and Rochester Democrat & Chronicle for more on this game.

Tomase’s notebook looks at the Patriots catching a break in not having to face Eric Moulds this Sunday. McHugh’s notebook says that the Bills will be very wary of Kevin Faulk on third downs. Kennedy’s notebook has Doug Flutie keeping mum on who is is voting for in the Heisman race. Curran’s notebook has Flutie reflecting on the Buffalo scout who convinced the Bills to give him a second shot in the NFL. Parente’s notebook has more on Seymour’s return and the impact it has had on the Patriots defense.

Big Al Jefferson has opened some eyes with his play in the last two games for the Celtics. The challenge is going to be to keep it going for the second year “big”. Peter May notes that the next two nights will present a stern test for the 20 year old, as well as the rest of the Celtics. Mark Murphy has more on the play of Jefferson. Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics trying to break a long streak tonight in San Antonio.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell writes that it is hard to tell just what these underachieving Bruins are trying to do. Stephen Harris says that talk has been cheap all year for the Bruins, their actions on the ice speak much louder as to what they truly are. Bruce Berlet looks back at the courageous attempt by Jonathan Girard to resume his hockey career.

Jeff Jacobs puts together a thoughts column on a number of topics, including the Red Sox shortstop position.

David Scott has a monster edition of Scott’s Shots this week, including a run-in with old pal Pete Sheppard. It is definitely worth a look.

Susan Bickelhaupt has a “Sports Media” column in the Globe, looking at how the NFL is searching for flexibility in how they schedule their national broadcast games.

Check back about 2:00 PM today for a look ahead to the weekend, with listings of sports on TV and Radio and references for the events of the next two days.

Loretta is Second Choice

The Red Sox made one trade yesterday and were working feverishly on a second that would just get Edgar Renteria out of town, even for a prospect. Michael Silverman reports on the acquisition of second baseman Mark Loretta from the Padres in exchange for Doug Mirabelli. Sean McAdam says that Loretta is expected to hit second in the lineup and provide good defense. David Heuschkel also looks at the trade, notes it was a swap of two players who were very comfortable where they were. David Borges feels it’s pretty clear that the Red Sox got the better of this deal. Joe Haggerty has more on the trade, and observations on Loretta, whom some feel lost a bit of his game last year. Tony Massarotti has Tim Wakefield speaking on the loss of his batterymate.

Chris Snow & Gordon Edes team up in the Globe to report on the Red Sox efforts to trade Edgar Renteria, as well as reporting on the Loretta deal. Tony Massarotti examines the work done this offseason by the Red Sox, and says: “So far, so good for the Four Horsemen”. Gordon Edes notes that the Red Sox did not offer arbitration to Kevin Millar, ending his tenure…and and era…on the team. Sean McAdam looks at Scott Boras as he works to get his client Johnny Damon the best deal out there, regardless of who it is from. Rob Bradford looks at the Blue Jays landing AJ Burnett, a pitcher some within the Red Sox organization would rather have had instead of Josh Beckett.

Jon Couture looks at Grady Little getting second chance to prove himself as a big league manager. Borges’ notebook wonders if Kelly Shoppach is ready to take Doug Mirabelli’s spot as the backup catcher behind Jason Varitek. Edes’ notebook examines former Dodgers GM Dan Evans as a possibility for the still vacant Red Sox job. Silverman’s notebook has more on the possible Renteria trade and a number of other items.

There’s plenty more hot stove talk in the New York Papers, as they drool over Roger Clemens being available and look at a possible return for one more year from Bernie Williams.

The Celtics got themselves a 101-87 win over the Hornets in Oklahoma City last night. Mark Murphy cites production from both the starters and the big men off the bench as a key to this victory. Peter May notes that there wasn’t much mystery to this one, the Celtics simply came to play. Darnell Mayberry covered the game for The Oklahoman, and says that the Hornets never stood a chance last night.

Murphy notes that Al Jefferson had a big night for the Celtics off the bench, chipping in 16 points and 9 rebounds as he seems to be rounding into form. Berry Tramel has a bit on the woes this season of former Oklahoma State star Tony Allen. Bill Simmons had a piece on Larry Bird yesterday as it was the legend’s 49th birthday. May’s notebook says that this trip to Oklahoma City worked out better for Paul Pierce and Raef LaFrentz than the last time the pair played here. Murphy’s notebook has Danny Ainge praising Mark Blount and identifying him as the key to the victory last night.

The Patriots continue to gear up for their game Sunday in Buffalo. Jackie MacMullan has a column on Rosevelt Colvin, who is finally getting the chance to show Patriots fans the player he was before his hip injury. I’m pleased to see him playing well, as I can’t forget how many of the “experts” all said repeatedly before the 2004 season how this guy would never play again. Others had called him a free agent bust, or even the worst free agent signing of the Belichick era, as if the injury was something that could’ve been predicted. Still others complained about his slow recovery last year, when it was amazing that he was on the field at all. Albert Breer also has a feature on the Patriots linebacker, who is playing with new life now that he is fully recovered. Christopher Price also looks at Colvin.

Jerome Solomon and Michael Parente look at Artrell Hawkins, who has made the move from cornerback to safety since joining the Patriots and has done a lot to shore up that positive which was a revolving door in the weeks following Rodney Harrison’s injury. Dan Pires and Eric McHugh have articles on David Givens, who is sick of being hurt, glad to be back, and who adds a lot to the Patriots offensive attack. John Tomase says Kevin Faulk is the Patriots secret weapon, a stealth bomber that flies under the radar of opposing defenses. Karen Guregian looks at the patchwork offensive line which has managed to keep Tom Brady upright for the most part this season. Guregian also looks at Deion Branch playing a little Wheel of Fortune.

Alan Greenberg looks at the challenge facing the Patriots on Sunday…Buffalo in December. Greenberg told a funny story on FSN’s NE Sports Tonight last night of leaving the stadium in a swirling storm after a game in the 2001 season when Nick Cafardo’s “big Russian fur hat” was swept off his head, and forever gone. The writers had to link arms to walk through the parking lot to find their cars so they didn’t get separated and lost in the storm. He cited that as an example of how crazy the weather can be there. Tom E Curran says that the Bills appear to have lost all sense of direction this season. Chris Kennedy looks at Buffalo quarterback JP Losman, who seems to follow his own path in life. Bill Burt has a look at former Heisman Trophy candidate and SI cover boy Joe Dudek of Plymouth State College, 20 years after the magazine cover that made him famous. Colts fan Buddy Thomas is puffing his chest out and awaiting his championship.

Solomons’ notebook also looks at the difficulty of playing in Buffalo in December. Parente’s notebook looks at Eric Moulds being in the doghouse of coach Mike Mularkey this week. Kennedy’s notebook has more on this topic. Curran’s notebook notes that the Buffalo defense is much stronger on their home field. Tomase’s notebook has more on Hawkins making the move to safety.

Nancy Marrapese Burrell and Stephen Harris report on the Bruins 4-1 loss to the Avalanche last night. On ESPN.com, Terry Frei has a pretty critical look at Bruins management in wake of the Joe Thornton trade. Harris’ notebook looks at defenseman Nick Boynton being sidelined 4-6 weeks with a broken kneecap. Burrell’s notebook looks at Andrew Raycroft being unable to hold back the Avalanche in his return to net.

TNT has Wizards/Pacers at 8:00 and Rockets/Kings at 10:30. ESPN2 has UMass/UConn college hoops at 9:00. CN8 has Harvard/UNH college hockey at 7:00.

Hot Stove Talk Continues

Rob Bradford has an exclusive interview with Red Sox owner John Henry.

Gordon Edes says that the Red Sox are also shopping Edgar Renteria. David Heuschkel also explores the Renteria rumors. Sean McAdam looks at the Red Sox in the position of being able to deal starting pitching, with both David Wells and Matt Clement being dangled. Michael Silverman says that the Red Sox are getting closer to making an official offer to Johnny Damon, but Jon Heyman in New York Newsday has Damon professing his love for the Yankees.

Lenny Megliola looks at Manny Ramirez as a man hard to figure out. McAdam also looks at things quieting down on the Manny front and more focus being put on Damon by the Red Sox. Joe Haggerty has more on Manny being put on the back burner for now. Silverman’s notebook says that AJ Burnett’s deal with the Blue Jays makes Josh Beckett look like a bargain for the Red Sox. Snow’s Winter Meetings notebook has more on Burnett’s deal with the Blue Jays. Snow’s Red Sox notebook looks at John Olerud calling it a career.

Kevin Henkin is suffering from Red Sox Overdose, and I have to say that I am right there with him.

Get more Hot Stove talk, as well as an update on the NFL labor situation at the New York Sports Page.

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider examines the Patriots incredible record in cold and snow. He also ends the piece looking at Tom Brady and the Patriots success in dome games as well. Nick Cafardo says that the Jaguars could be a very tough first round opponent for the Patriots. Michael Parente writes that the Patriots are not good enough to be overlooking the Bill this weekend in Buffalo. Glen Farley looks at the Patriots looking to get on a roll against the Bills. Eric McHugh looks at Tom Brady’s record as a .500 quarterback in high school. Cafardo’s notebook has more on the lack of noise at Gillette stadium. McHugh’s notebook looks at the Patriots being able to move the ball against the Jets.

Peter May and Mark Murphy report on the Celtics 91-73 loss to the Rockets last night. Jonathan Feigen looks at the night from a Houston perspective. Mike Fine says that Paul Pierce’s early season stats make him an MVP candidate. Moisekapenda Bower looks at Celtics rookie Gerald Green, a Houston native as he adjusts to life in the NBA. May’s notebook and Murphy’s notebook look at Tony Allen having another day in court and then rejoining the team in Houston.

Stephen Harris and Nancy Marrapese Burrell each look at Sergei Samsonov awaiting the results of the tests done to determine the cause of the tingling in his upper body that he experienced over the weekend. Harris’ notebook says that Nick Boynton is likely to sit out tonight’s game in Colorado.

Bob Ryan says that Boston College basketball was perhaps not deserving just yet of such a high ranking (#6 in the country). Michael Vega and Mike Shalin have the details of BC’s 77-70 loss to Michigan State last night. Vega’s notebook and Shalin’s notebook each look at BC looking forward to getting a couple players back from suspension.

FSN has Celtics/Hornets at 8:00. NESN has Bruins/Avalanche at 9:00. ESPN has Heat/Spurs at 9:00.

Slow Progress?

It’s another busy day in Boston sports with more reaction from the Patriots win over the Jets, trade talks heating up around the Red Sox and Manny Ramirez and the Celtics and Bruins out on road trips.

Michael Felger has his Patriots report card, which looks a lot better than some of the previous editions this season. Jerome Solomon says that even though the Patriots are still inconsistent, Bill Belichick is liking his team a whole lot more than he did just a few weeks ago, and looks through the additions and returns to see why. Tom E Curran notes that a couple things were missing in Sunday’s game. The Patriots didn’t give up a long scoring play and didn’t get vastly outscored in the second quarter. Alan Greenberg writes that despite their obvious limitations, this Patriots squad wants to believe that it can make noise in the playoffs. Michael Parente looks at the Patriots attempting to put together some form of momentum as the playoffs draw closer.

The BSMW Patriots Game Day Rear View was encouraged by what the Patriots did on Sunday. Jonathan Comey looks ahead to Wild Card weekend, where he says it is a virtual lock that the Patriots will be hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars. Christopher Price wonders if the Patriots could be back on track with their performance against the Jets on Sunday. John Tomase looks at the impact that the return of Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk and David Givens had on the Patriots offense. He also has a brief bit on what Belichick has dubbed the “Season of Truth“.

Karen Guregian looks at the debate over the quite crowds at Gillette. Chris Kennedy and Greenberg look at Tom Brady being named SI Sportsman of the Year. Kennedy also looks at Rosevelt Colvin’s return to old form. Curran’s notebook has Bill Belichick complimenting Tom Brady for things beyond football as well. Solomon’s notebook looks at the improvement in the ground game with the return of Faulk and Dillon. Tomase’s notebook looks at how the Patriots can actually clinch their division title before the unbeaten Colts clinch theirs.

Gordon Edes and Michael Silverman look at the progress in the talks to trade Manny Ramirez. Both report that at the moment the likely destination is Anaheim, with the Diamondbacks getting involved and shipping Troy Glaus to Boston as part of the deal. Sean McAdam also looks at the efforts to trade the slugging superstar, as well as to trade David Wells. David Heuschkel has more on the Ramirez talks as well as other players that the team could be interested in. Tony Massarotti examines the impact that a trade of Manny would have on the makeup of this Red Sox team.

Joe Haggerty looks at the Red Sox putting their GM search on hold this week while they focus on other business at the winter meetings. Dan Shaughnessy says that Jim Rice may have his best shot ever at making the Hall of Fame this year. Bob Halloran says that despite his greatness, Roger Clemens still lacks a “signature moment” for his career. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that the Red Sox should just let Johnny Damon go to the Yankees if a bidding war starts.

Silverman’s notebook has a number of items, leading off with planned talks between the Red Sox and Damon’s representatives, as well as Damon himself taking place last night. The Herald seems to be backtracking a bit on this, since they earlier claimed that this meeting already took place. However, McAdam’s notebook also reports that the sides were due to meet very soon. Chris Snow’s notebook looks at the Preliminary rosters for the World Baseball Classic as well as a number of hot stove items. Heuschkel’s notebook also looks at players looking to get involved in the WBC.

Peter May and Mark Murphy look at homecomings for Kendrick Perkins and Gerald Green tonight in Houston. Both players hail from that vicinity of Texas and are looking forward to seeing friends and family. Perkins will start and see his first time as a pro in Houston, while Green is still unlikely to dress. Murphy’s notebook has Doc Rivers displeased with his fine from the league, and Tony Allen being arraigned today in Chicago.

Stephen Harris says that it is way too early to be passing full judgment on the Joe Thornton trade, but says that Mike O’Connell can’t be sleeping too securely these days. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the Bruins hitting a few bumps (and bruises) during their time in Vancouver. Harris’ notebook reports on Nick Boynton injuring his knee on Sunday night.

Steve Conroy says that Boston College can’t really complain about being sent to Boise for their Bowl Game. Michael Vega looks at BC freshman guard Tyrese Rice, who has had to put a lot of things into perspective as of late.

John Molori’s Media Blitz hits on a number of sports media items, including reaction from the Thornton trade, WEEI stuff and Red Sox and Patriots commentators.

A curious comment in an “Inside Track” item this morning.

QB/QT Tom Brady seemed a tad chagrined yesterday when he heard about supermodel Gisele Bundchen

12.05.05 Afternoon

A busy day continues…

Patriots game stories: Tom King, Nashua Telegraph. Mike Lowe, Portland Press Herald. Glen Farley, Brockton Enterprise. David Pevear, Lowell Sun. Mike Reiss also has a number of items in his blog for today.

Eric McHugh says that the return of Kevin Faulk gave the Patriots a needed boost on offense yesterday. King says that the victory was really nothing to brag about just yet. Bob Stern says that Brady’s return to form was a foregone conclusion.

Ron Hobson looks at the special draft class of 1995 for the Patriots, of which three players were in attendence yesterday. Lowe looks at Gino Cappelletti passing the torch of Patriots all time leading scorer to Adam Vinatieri. Lowe also looks at the team saying thank you to Ted Johnson for his years of service with the club.

King’s notebook has more on Johnson. McHugh’s notebook has more on Vinatieri.

Red Sox/Hot Stove

The Globe Extra Bases blog is going to be updating from the winter meetings, and might be a good spot to check out over the next few days. Another possibility could be the Herald Clubhouse Insider, but that blog hasn’t been updated since the Beckett trade. If you missed Bob Lobel’s interview with Larry Lucchino on Sports Final last night, you can head to the CBS4 website and view the segment there.

For those of you on the Manny fence, you have two choices in websites to visit. KeepManny.com or TradeManny.com. I prefer the Keep Manny site, in case you’re wondering… (interestingly, on the Trade Manny site, their poll is running 84% to 16% in favor of KEEPING Manny…over 325 votes thus far.)

David Frank has a good profile of Wyc Grousbeck for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Regular Monday Reads:

Chad Finn’s Touching All the Bases.

Sheriff Sully

Cold Hard Football Facts notes that among other things, only five teams are worse than the Patriots (-9) in turnover margin this year, and they are five of the worst teams in football: the Jets, 49ers, Ravens, Rams, Packers and Saints. The Patriots are tied for dead last in takeaways with the 1-11 Texans. It’s impressive , perhaps even historic, that they’re 7-5, and on the verge of locking up a playoff spot, despite an inability to force turnovers. CHFF is also featured in this month’s edition of Boston Magazine.

Peter King’s Monday Morning QB looks at the playoff picture. King also looks at what went into Tom Brady being selected as SI’s sportsman of the year.

FSN Blogs (shameless plug)

Media Miscues from yesterday and today:

  • On Dennis and Callahan this morning, they were talking about how dumb a team would be to pass on Reggie Bush with the first pick of the draft this year, and Callahan says that it would be like the Blazers drafting Sam Bowie and watching Jordan become the player of a generation, and Dennis pipes in “Or like taking Neal Walk over Lew Alcindor” and laughs…

    One problem, Walk was taken second AFTER Alcindor. Even if Walk was a stiff (though he did average 20 pts a game for the Suns one year) the analogy is meaningless, since Milwaukee made the right pick and selected Alcindor with the first pick.

  • The AP story of the Celtics win over the Knicks yesterday incorrectly stated that it was the third win in a row for the Celtics. Sure, they should’ve won that game against the Bulls on Friday night, but they didn’t.
  • Bob Neumeier on “Fifth Quarter” yesterday incorrectly stated that the interception by Ellis Hobbs was the first of his career. It wasn’t. He had his first in the win over Miami.

SI Sportsman of the Year Cover

From SI:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY NAMED SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’S 2005 SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

First Pro Football Player to be Honored Since Joe Montana in 1990;

Second Back-to-Back Boston Sportsman Selection

New York, December 5, 2005 – Tom Brady, the New England Patriots’ quarterback and three-time Super Bowl champion, has been chosen as the 2005 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year for symbolizing in character and performance the ideals of sportsmanship, it was announced by SI Managing Editor Terry McDonell.

The Sportsman of the Year issue, which is dated December 12, 2005, will hit newsstands this Wednesday, December 7. Brady will receive the traditional Sportsman of the Year award, a replica of an ancient Grecian amphora, at a party in his honor in New York on Tuesday night, December 6. On Friday, December 9, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, HBO’s Costas Now will celebrate Brady’s selection and profile other sports figures who shined this year.

“Tom Brady is the consummate winner,” said McDonell. “Against the steepest odds and on the grandest stage, he refuses to believe his team can be beaten. That character extends to his teammates and his fans.”

Brady has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories in four seasons while earning Most Valuable Player honors in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII. He is only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to lead his team to three or more Super Bowl wins and is just the fourth player in Super Bowl history to earn multiple MVP awards. Brady is the only quarterback in NFL history to win three Super Bowls before his 28th birthday.

Six previous Sportsman selections played in or have ties to Boston: Carl Yastrzemski (1967), Bill Russell (1968), Bobby Orr (1970), members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team (1980) and U.S. Women’s World Cup Soccer Team (1999) and the Boston Red Sox (2004). This is also the second time SI has named back-to-back Boston Sportsmen: Yastrzemski and Russell being the first.

Professional football is being honored for the sixth time in the 51-year history of the award. Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula was the last pro football honoree (1993) and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana was the last pro football player named (1990). Late NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle (1963), Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw (1979, with Willie Stargell) and Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Reggie Williams (1987, one of eight Athletes Who Care) were also named Sportsmen.

Pats Jet to Victory

Just another day at Foxboro yesterday, as Adam Vinatieri became the franchise’s all time leading scorer, Ty Law returned to New England as a member of the opposition for the first time, Ted Johnson was honored at halftime by the Patriots, Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk returned to the lineup from injury, and oh yeah, there was a football game as well.

The Patriots improved to 7-5 on the season with a 16-3 win over the hapless New York Jets at Gillette Stadium yesterday. Jerome Solomon says that maybe the return of the cold and snow was just the jolt the Patriots needed. Or perhaps it was the opponent. John Tomase says this would’ve been an impressive win had the Jets not been such as awful team. Tom E Curran notes that the return of a few key players on offense helped to restore the Patriots mojo. Alan Greenberg says there is nothing like a bad team to make a mediocre team look good. Albert Breer says it wasn’t so much the score, or the opponent, but the style of the win yesterday that was encouraging. Long drives, and controlling the tempo were the order of the day. Michael Parente agrees that changes to the defensive game plan encouraged the Patriots players to be more aggressive. Christopher Price lists out his 10 things that we learned from yesterday.

Michael Felger says yesterday’s game plan on defense was more about attack, which is how it is going to have to be if they are to have any chance in the postseason. Yesterday needs to just be the start of a transformation for the Patriots. Ron Borges says that yesterday’s win was certainly needed and an improvement over the recent past. He says that the team is still alive and getting well, which is about as much as we can put hope in at this time. Jim McCabe looks at the shift in philosophy to a more aggressive defense and how it got the job done for the Patriots, who realize it was just one game and they need to keep improving. Shalise Manza Young notes that the attacking style led to the best game of the year statistically for the New England defense. Ian M Clark says that a win over a beaten team like the Jets is still a win. A much needed win as well.

Jim Donaldson looks at “the best ever with the game on the line”, kicker Adam Vinatieri, who etched his name in the Patriots record books yesterday. Dan Shaughnessy looks at Vinatieri breaking Gino Cappelletti’s Patriots career scoring record and assesses his place in Boston sports history. Dan Ventura has more on Vinatieri becoming the franchise’s all time leading scorer. Tim Weisberg says that Vinatieri is certainly the one deserving of breaking this record.

Nick Cafardo has Ty Law reflecting on his career and this tough season with the Jets, only the third losing season that Law has endured in his career. Rich Thompson looks at Law keeping his emotions in check in his first game against his old coach and teammates. The Herald says that the Patriots chose not to fight Law yesterday, going away from him much of the time. Paul Kenyon says that it was hardly a happy homecoming for the former Patriots great. Dan Pires says Ty Law is one of a kind, both on and off the field.

Young looks at Ted Johnson being feted at halftime of yesterday’s game in recognition for his tenacious style of play during his career. Tomase has a very brief report on Johnson being honored by the club at halftime. Reiss has a little bit more on the retired linebacker turned commentator getting recognized for his playing career which ended just before training camp. Mike Parente has more on Johnson being honored by the club.

Karen Guregian looks at Tom Brady predictably bouncing back after his bad game in Kansas City last weekend. Amalie Benjamin pursues the same angle, examining Brady atoning for his performance of a week ago, and how that ate at him during the week. Paul Kenyon says Brady played conservative and smart yesterday, which was the key to coming back from his bad outing last week. Mike Reiss says that controlling the clock and the ball was the goal of the day on offense for the Patriots. Steve Buckley (subscription only) looks at the return of Corey Dillon and how the return of the running game impacts the offense. Greenberg looks at Kevin Faulk also returning for the Patriots and having an immediate impact on the offense as well.

Ventura looks at a big day from Rosevelt Colvin, who had an impact sack and another with a fumble taken away by a penalty on Richard Seymour. The linebacker was a disruptive force all afternoon for the Patriots. Breer looks at the Patriots managing to hold an opposing QB under 300 passing yards for the first time in well…a long time. Curran provides his game analysis, with a look at both sides of the ball plus coaching and special teams. Curran pinpoints a third quarter pass play to Deion Branch as the Key play of the game in the Patriots victory. The Standard-Times dishes out a report card for the Patriots yesterday, with all A’s save for one B. Felger has Richard Seymour expressing disappointment in the docile crowd at Gillette yesterday and in general.

Tomase’s notebook looks at Kevin Faulk playing a key role in his first game in 10 weeks. Solomon’s notebook looks at rookie cornerback Ellis Hobbs holding his own against Laveranues Coles all afternoon, both in play and words. The Projo Talking Points article has a number of notes, quotes and stats from yesterday afternoon at Gillette. The Standard-Times notebook leads with a look at the Pats honoring Johnson at halftime. Parente’s notebook has more on Vinatieri moving to the top of the Patriots record books.

Celtics Also Topple New York

Earlier in the afternoon, the Celtics squeaked out a win over the Knicks, 102-99 in Madison Square Garden. It was another stressful game down the stretch as Doc Rivers continues to attempt to get his young team to learn how to close out games. Shira Springer has the game story, noting that the Celtics had all they could handle just to hold on and win this one against Larry Brown’s club. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics had the advantage of playing the Knicks, one of the few NBA teams more inconsistent than the Celtics themselves. Bob Ryan was also at the game yesterday, and he lends his experienced eye to the proceedings on the court, where the Celtics managed to pull out their first road victory of the season. The BSMW Full Court Press also looks at yesterday’s game.

Tim Weisberg looks at the impact that Kendrick Perkins is having on the Celtics since being inserted into the starting lineup. Bulpett looks at Dan Dickau becoming the Celtics closer, being brought into the end of close games simply to get fouled and shoot free throws, where he is now 13 for 13 on the season. Springer’s notebook has Paul Pierce pining for another chance with team USA. Bulpett’s notebook looks at another strong game for Delonte West yesterday as the second year point guard had 17 points before fouling out yesterday.

Patriots/Jets and Celtics/Knicks are well covered in the New York papers today as well. Check them out at the New York Sports Page.

Bruins Stopped

Nancy Marrapese Burrell and Stephen Harris looks at the Bruins two game winning streak coming to an end in Vancouver last night as the Canucks skated to a 5-2 win. The Boston Bruins Blog Power Play has some more leftover thoughts on the Thornton trade. Mick Colageo also has a good look at the current state of the Bruins as the dust continues to settle on the deal, and we can look and compare it with other blockbuster deals. Burrell’s notebook looks at Sergei Samsonov being sent back to Boston for tests after experiencing tingling in his fingers and arms yesterday. Harris’ notebook has more on this story as well as a budding goaltender controversy.

Hot Stove Heating Up

The baseball winter meetings open up today in Dallas, and the Red Sox will be a center of attention in the baseball world as they explore deals for Manny Ramirez and David Wells. Tony Massarotti says the Red Sox will be looking to do other things this week as well, and has a look at the areas of need for the team. Sean McAdam also looks at the possibilities out there, focusing mainly on deals that could be done involving Ramirez. Paul Doyle also looks at Manny’s options. Rob Bradford says that the Red Sox will be entertaining all offers for their slugging outfielder. Chris Snow has the Red Sox shooting down a story that appeared in the Herald yesterday that said that Johnny Damon and his wife were present for a meeting between Scott Boras and Larry Lucchino. Joe Fitzgerald (subscription only) looks at Johnny Pesky calling off his annual Johnny Pesky Friendship Dinner, a tradition of more than 50 years, citing the need for a break after losing his wife last year.

Steve Conroy looks at Boston College heading to Boise for the MPC Computers Bowl on December 28th. Mark Blaudschun says that the BCS got things right in their our bowl matchups.

ABC has Seahawks/Eagles at 9:00.

New B’s Show Spark

The Bruins said their hellos to their new teammates and then went out and shut out the best team in the NHL, the Ottawa Senators 3-0. Nancy Marrapese Burrell, Steve Conroy and Joe McDonald all have game stories from the Garden. Douglas Flynn says that for the first day anyway, life without Joe worked out OK for the Bruins. Flynn also looks at Natick native Dan LaCouture scoring a goal for the Bruins in his first game for the team at the Garden. Amalie Benjamin looks at the three ex-Sharks settling in for their first game with the Bruins. Conroy also looks at the new trio as they arrived in Boston yesterday and all played well last night. McDonald has coach Mike Sullivan saying that the addition will make the Bruins more of a team, instead of relying too much on one or two players. Flynn also notes that the Garden was full of Thornton jerseys, as the fans showed their support to the former captain.

The win obviously does not mean that the Bruins troubles are cured, but there were certainly encouraging signs. However, the buzz is still on the trade of Joe Thornton, will plenty more opinions and analysis being put out there. Bob Ryan looks at the trade from a number of angles, but all things seem to point to one thing…this was a losing proposition. Karen Guregian says that Mike O’Connell didn’t do a very good job of selling and explaining the trade yesterday. She also has him trying to explain one more time the dynamic of the trade. Mike Loftus says that O’Connell has bet his future with the Bruins on this trade, a theme also pursued by Kevin Paul Dupont. Where now? Mick Colageo says that the Bruins are pretty much starting over right now. James Murphy says that Thornton should have been traded a long time ago. Tim Bresnahan opines that Thornton never really fit in here in Boston. Nick Tavares says that O’Connell and the Bruins won’t win, simply because they don’t know how.

Conroy has Sergei Samsonov expressing disappointment in seeing Thornton go, feeling that the team let him down and he was made an example of. James Murphy notes that day one after Thornton wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been for the Bruins. Burrell’s notebook has O’Connell saying that this was not an easy deal for him to make. McDonald’s notebook reports on the newcomers making their presence felt immediately for the Bruins. Conroy’s notebook has Mike Sullivan saying that Thornton is not being make the scapegoat for the Bruins failures thus far. Colageo’s notebook has more on the reaction from Samsonov.

Check the Bay Area Sports page for more reaction from San Jose, including their look at the Boston media reaction to the trade. The BSMW Power Play was strong yesterday, with thoughts from all contributors on the deal, and some interesting analysis.

Jerome Solomon and Tom E Curran look at second year tight end Benjamin Watson, who seems to be hitting his stride and coming into his own the last few weeks. Alan Greenberg looks at the ups and downs which are the natural part of being a rookie for Ellis Hobbs. Tony Massarotti says that regardless of the on field results, Tedy Bruschi has accomplished far too much in returning to the team for anyone to be saying he has disappointed expectations. Ian M Clark and Chris Kennedy look at Adam Vinatieri preparing to break Gino Cappelletti’s franchise scoring record and how the two of them have formed a bond over the years. Eric McHugh weighs in on Monty Beisel’s un-Patriots-like locker-room rant the other day.

John Tomase has a look at Curtis Martin, who is back to face the club he started his career with yet again. Michael Parente says that we might see a number of bootlegs in the gameplan from Jets QB Brooks Bollinger this weekend. Eric McHugh says that Tom Brady/Ty Law will be a game within a game this Sunday. The Globe notebook wonders if Matt Light is done for the season. Tomase’s notebook has David Givens eager to return to the field, which is also the theme of Curran’s notebook.

The New York Sports News page has plenty more on Patriots/Jets, as well as MLB free agency (Omar and the Mets still really want to talk with Manny) and other news from the world of sports. Be sure to also check out the Patriots Gameday post from Wednesday which had some great thoughts on the Patriots struggles this season.

Jim McCabe and Jim Lazar make their NFL picks for the weekend. I.M. Bettor and Double D also review the action for the weekend in the Herald. Steve Britt and Patrick Hanrahan file fantasy columns, while the Globe tells us who’s hot and who’s not.

Mike Fine has another look back at the Wednesday night performance of Kendrick Perkins, which was noticed for all the right reasons.Mark Murphy says that Perkins needs to continue to receive the big minutes so as to hasten his development. Rob Bradford says that Paul Pierce’s career is starting to resemble that of Allen Iverson…far too often in his career, he’s had to go it alone. Shira Springer says that Tony Allen’s practice yesterday didn’t go as well as the others, putting his return tonight in a little bit of jeopardy. Murphy’s notebook though, still holds out hope that Allen could be activated for tonight’s game against the Bulls. Fine’s notebook is also written with that assumption.

David Heuschkel says that the bidding over Manny Ramirez could heat up in the coming days and could get quite lively. You know my stance…keep him. Convince him that he is wanted here. Joe Haggerty says that the Hot Stove is simmering and provide a nice preview of what to expect at the winter meetings. David Borges looks at the Red Sox picking up a reliever from the Cubs yesterday. Borges also reports that PawSox voice and former 1510 co-host Dave Jageler is a finalist for the Houston Astros #2 radio job. Michael Silverman also reports on the Red Sox picking up Jermaine Van Buren. Gordon Edes tells us that Larry Lucchino had another meeting with GM candidate Jim Beattie. Jackie MacMullan advocates that the Red Sox give the GM job, at least for the year, to Jeremy Kapstein. This is another example of how the Globe/Red Sox marriage puts things into question…I really don’t believe that MacMullan was urged to write this, but the question is still there. Did the Red Sox and Globe do this to shape public opinion for when they do give Kapstein the job? Like I said, I don’t believe they asked Jackie to write something, but the question is always going to be there.

Scott’s Shots is back with a look at the Bruins fallout, a look at things at the Boston Herald, (It’s not pretty, folks) and a whole lot more.

FSN has Celtics/Bulls at 7:30. ESPN has Knicks/Pistons at 8:00 and Cavs/Sonics at 10:30.

So Long, Joe

While the Celtics were putting the finishing touches on their win over the Philadelphia 76ers last night, word starting trickling out that the Bruins had stolen the evening with a blockbuster of a deal. They traded their captain, 26 year old Joe Thornton, in an effort to shake up and remake a team that has been a disaster thus far this season. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says Mike O’Connell took an alternate route, instead of firing the coach, he’s been firing players. Stephen Harris notes that the deal came as a shock to Thornton, who had just finished dinner with his parents. Joe McDonald and James Murphy also report on the deal, the prize of which for Boston is 26-year-old defenseman Brad Stuart, whom Kevin Paul Dupont says could be a top four defenseman. Dupont, as you recall has been a harsh critic of Thornton over the years, and seems very pleased with the deal, he says that only “Teen angels, fanboys, and stat geeks will mourn Thornton’s trade last night to the Sharks.”

Jackie MacMullan feels that Thornton was just too laid back to lead the Bruins to glory and compares his trade to that of Nomar Garciaparra. Karen Guregian notes that the team decided to fire Joe instead of coach Mike Sullivan in response to the team’s dreadful season thus far. Douglas Flynn notes that if things don’t improve after this deal, Mike O’Connell might have his own job to worry about. The BSMW Power Play weighs in on the deal, with reflections on Thornton and the possible motivations of the Bruins for making the trade. Dupont’s notebook looks at the lack of optimism around the club prior to the trade. McDonald and Harris also each report on Jonathan Girard’s decision to retire after discovering his body could not stand up to the rigors of hockey.

There’s plenty of Thornton talk out in the Bay Area, including in the San Jose Mercury News, which is included on the Bay Area Sports page.

Had it not been for the trade of Thornton, the Boston sports world likely be talking excitedly about the coming out party of Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins, who singlehandedly led a charge on the glass, and helped the Celtics to a 110-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Perkins totaled 19 rebounds along with 12 points, 4 assists and 2 blocked shots last night. Shira Springer hopes that Mark Blount was taking notice of the standing ovation that Perkins received when he fouled out with 2:57 remaining in the game last night. Scott Souza says the Perkins provided a shot in the arm to a team that really needed one last night. Steve Bulpett and Shalise Manza Young also report on the huge night for the 21 year old Perkins, who recorded career highs in nearly every category and gave Celtics fans something tangible to put their hope in.

Peter May wonders if this is a hiccup, or a sign of things to come from Perkins. He notes that on the night that the Bruins traded Jumbo Joe, perhaps their Causeway street roommates saw the emergence of another Jumbo, this one in green. Tony Massarotti also looks at the glimpse of progress that we saw last night and urges more patience, as well as to keep Perkins in the starting lineup. The BSMW Full Court Press is ecstatic over the play of Perkins, who has been a favorite of the site since his rookie year. They’re especially pleased that the huge night came after Gary Tanguay made a public plea for Doc Rivers to keep Perkins on the bench. Get the view from the city of brotherly love over at Philly.com. The notebooks all look at Tony Allen getting ready to rejoin the active roster. Springer’s notebook says that Rivers considered activating the second year guard for last night, but decided to give him another practice first. Bulpett’s notebook says that Allen is looking forward to getting on the court tomorrow night against the Bulls. Young’s notebook has more on Allen.

Michael Felger and Nick Cafardo look at Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who isn’t about to let last weeks dreadful four interception performance against the Chiefs get him down. Dan Pires says that Heath Evans’ days as a featured back could be drawing to a close with Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk getting closer to a return to action. John Tomase looks at the Patriots continued struggles on third down. Christopher Price has a look at locker room cut up Corey Dillon. Michael Parente and Tomase have more on Dillon as he gets close to returning.

Felger has a look at PR expert Monty Beisel, who allowed his frustration to get the better of himself yesterday, and embarrassed himself in the Patriots locker room. The BSMW Patriots Gameday has some midweek thoughts on the club, as Greg looks back at the Chiefs game(which he attended) and tries to figure out what is ailing the club (besides injuries) at this time. Tom E Curran looks at the rough season for the Jets, who have been decimated by injury and are in a free fall. Alan Greenberg looks at the return of Ty Law to Foxboro to face his old teammates and coach. Chris Kennedy also looks at the return of Law. It is also the topic of Parente’s notebook. Elsewhere, Eric McHugh’s notebook looks at why Tom Brady’s throws seemed consistently high on Sunday. Cafardo’s notebook looks at the backfield coming back together, Tomase’s notebook looks at a possible setback for Matt Light in his efforts to return this season. Curran’s notebook has more on Law’s return.

The New York Sports News page has several more articles on Law’s return to Foxboro as well as stories on the Thornton trade and MLB free agency.

Jonathan Saltzman reports that the Red Sox are going to court in order to attempt to keep possession of the ball that was used to record the last out of the 2004 World Series. I think this action is petty and pathetic and not the goodwill PR that the organization needs at this time. This story is actually one PAGE ONE, above the fold on the Boston Globe. Can you say mouthpiece….? Seriously this is just incredible to me. Not only that the Red Sox would take this action, but also to ensure that it appears on the front page of the Boston Globe. It just smacks of arrogance. What do they take us for? They truly have no shame.

Michael Silverman says that talks between the Angels and Red Sox are heating up over a possible Manny Ramirez trade. Can you imagine Manny and Vladimir Guerrero in the same lineup? Tony Massarotti has Carl Yastrzemski strongly endorsing Jim Rice for the Hall of Fame.

Stan Grossfeld has a feature on former Patriots coach John Mazur, who is in ill health, battling Parkinson’s disease and is unable to pay his medical expenses, his 74 year old wife is having to work in order to help cover some of their expenses.

NESN has Bruins/Senators at 7:00. TNT has Spurs/Mavs at 8:00 and Lakers/Jazz at 10:30.