Bruins Break Though at Home

The Bruins finally got to play a home game at the TD Banknorth Garden and responded with a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Stephen Harris says that the hockey quality of this one was pretty good, but more importantly for the Bruins it was a win. Fluto Shinzawa looks at the Bruins taking a page from the Patriots defense – bend, don’t break. Joe McDonald has more on the Bruins coming up winners in their home opener. Douglas Flynn says that the Bruins problems aren’t over, but this was a step in the right direction. Bud Barth and Mick Colageo round out the coverage of the Bruins home opener.

Steve Conroy looks at a big night from Glen Murray, who had a pair of goals playing on a line with youngsters Patrice Bergeron and Phil Kessel and provided leadership, setting an example by swarming the Flames back at their own blue line in the final seconds, preventing one last rush from Calgary. Bob Duffy reports on the Bruins getting a solid performance from goaltender Hannu Toivonen. Karen Guregian has owner Jeremy Jacobs preaching patience and urging fans to take a longer term view of the Bruins rebuilding. Duffy also has a piece on senior Bruin P.J. Axelsson, who says opening night with the Bruins never gets old.

Kevin Paul Dupont says that for a night, all the Bruins changes looked good. Dan Shaughnessy even chimes in with a column on the new-look Bruins. Guregian also takes a look at he Bruins answering the bell and rewarding their fans with a good performance on opening night. Tom King says that the Bruins need to prove themselves as a good playoff team in order to totally win fans back.

Harris’ notebook reports on Andrew Alberts suffering a separated shoulder last night. Shinzawa’s notebook looks at Marco Sturn missing the game with a thigh bruise after getting hit with a puck on Wednesday night. McDonald’s notebook has Jacob’s enjoying the somewhat new look of the Garden. Flynn’s notebook has Flames forward Darren McCarty putting in a good word for B’s coach Dave Lewis. Barth’s notebook has Jacobs expressing optimism for the Bruins this season and beyond. Colageo’s notebook has Jacobs also saying that they need to start winning as well.

Rob Bradford checks in with a piece on Celtics rookie point guard Rajon Rondo. He talks to Rondo’s high school coach, who has been around some big-time players and calls Rondo the best of them. Bill Doyle looks at Ryan Gomes, once again trying to prove himself against bigger and more highly touted players. Mike Fine’s notebook has things looking up a little bit for rookie forward Leon Powe after his performance against the Nets. Dylan on the BSMW Full Court Press checks in with a look at the point guard position for the Celtics. These links and a look at the off guards on the Celtics roster, including Paul Pierce, Delonte West and Tony Allen can be found on the FSN Nothing But Net blog.

Mark Murphy examines why NBA players seem obsessed with carrying firearms…in many cases they deem a necessary protection against seeking to do them harm. He has a second part in which he notes that the players wealth and fame make them targets. I would imagine their size makes them easy to spot, too – more so perhaps than over professional athletes.

Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics standing behind Telfair as the victim of this incident. Shira Springer has more on this, as she takes another look at the whole incident, and the Celtics reaction to it. Jim Fenton has more on an interesting few days for Telfair. Mike Fine also looks at the Celtics trying to explain things.

We’ve got another edition of the BSMW Game Day Roundtable lined up where topics include Moss, Turf and other forms of vegetation, including media.

John Tomase takes an in depth look at the key play of the first Patriots/Bills game, a stop of Willis McGahee by Don Davis on 4th and 1. Christopher L Gasper has Doug Gabriel using family to keep him grounded and focused. Paul Kenyon contrasts the Patriots and Bills receivers. Alan Greenberg has more on the receivers, wondering if they’re not very good, or if they’ve been facing good defenses. Tom King says that things have gone downhill since the first play of the season for the Bills.

Albert Breer looks at Dan Koppen planning on taking the offensive line out to dinner to celebrate his new contract. Mark Farinella has more on Koppen and his new contract. Rich Garven has Junior Seau touting Ty Warren. Ron Hobson has Tom Brady and his receivers working hard to establish chemistry on the field.

You might recall Colts President Bill Polian accosting a Jets employee on the sidelines before a recent game, accusing the Jets of cranking up the noise near the Colts. Polian has also already complained about the Patriots turf. Well, Tom E Curran reports that the Patriots have asked the NFL to ensure the safety of their employees from the Colts President on the sidelines during the upcoming Colts/Patriots game as a way to tweak Polian.

Christopher Price and Michael Parente have Stanley Morgan proud that Troy Brown is going to be the Patriot that breaks his receiving record. Chris Ryan has more from Morgan.

Tomase’s notebook has more Morgan on Brown. Kenyon’s notebook has Seau feeling very good about his decision to come to New England. Garven’s notebook has Bill Belichick seeking a boost in third down defensive stops. Mike Reiss’ notebook looks at the great protection Brady has gotten from his line this season. Parente’s notebook has the Patriots prepping for the Bills passing attack. Farinella’s notebook has more on Morgan giving Brown his seal of approval.

Pats Get Dirty

John Tomase looks at Rodney Harrison sitting atop a Sports Illustrated poll as being the dirtiest player in the NFL for the second time in three years. The Herald also lists out some of Harrison’s greatest hits over the years. Dan Pires says that the legend of Rodney continues on.

Michael Parente looks at the Patriots being able to maintain a good balance on both rushing offense (6th) and run defense (8th). Christopher Price has a look at Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Albert Breer has a short bit on how Mike Vrabel ended up filling in at tight end, a spot that has seen him catch eight touchdowns over the last several years. Joe McDonald has an article on punter Josh Miller, who has been outstanding for the last three seasons, certainly making us forget the days of Ken Walter. Alan Greenberg takes a look at Ty Warren, who is enjoying his best season as a pro, and continuing to work harder than ever to get better. Mark Farinella also has a piece on Warren. Ian Clark looks at the Patriots offensive lineman all deciding to grow beards this season as a sign of unity. Jennifer Toland looks at Ellis Hobbs preparing to go up against Lee Evans for the second time this season. David Pevear says that FieldTurf this season at Gillette is still not out of the realm of possibility, despite NFL rules prohibiting it.

Mike Reiss looks at Tom Brady’s claim that the blame for the sack that led to a Buffalo touchdown to start off the season lies with him, having called the wrong protection. Tomase has more on Brady musing about the first play of the season against the Bills. Jeff Howe says Brady is sick of seeing the play, and it makes him sick to watch it. Chris Kennedy looks at how the Patriots and Bills have seemingly gone in opposite directions since a single key play in that first game.

Check out the Buffalo side of things in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and in the Buffalo News.

Tomase’s notebook has the Bills struggling to find consistency thus far this season. Reiss’ notebook has more on Harrison defending himself against the “dirtiest player” label. McDonald’s notebook has Belichick express confidence in his coaching staff, noteworthy since two coordinators were dismissed elsewhere in the NFL this week. Toland’s notebook has Dan Koppen happy about his new deal. Parente’s notebook has Tom Brady learning a lesson from the first play of the season. Farinella’s notebook looks at Brady getting a vote as the NFL’s dirtiest player.

Down 23 points at one juncture, the Celtics behind Ryan Gomes and Leon Powe came all the way back and defeated the New Jersey Nets last night, 94-90 at TD Banknorth Garden.

The game of course, wasn’t the only thing that had people talking about the Celtics yesterday. News surfaced yesterday that point guard Sebastian Telfair had been pulled from Tuesday night’s game against the Knicks in order to be taken to a police station to view a lineup. Telfair had apparently been robbed outside a club, and incident which also took place just hours before rapper Fabolous was shot outside the same club. Mark Murphy and Shira Springer report further on the incident. Lenny Megliola says this isn’t the type of attention that the Celtics need right now as they try to win over the fans for a new season. Kevin McNamara and Bill Doyle also report on Telfair’s drama. Steve Bulpett chastises Telfair, Doc Rivers and the Celtics for not being more honest about the whole situation.

The BSMW Full Court Press has a look at some decisions facing the Celtics very soon.

Second round pick Leon Powe finally got a chance to show what he can do last night, and responded with 11 points and 15 rebounds in 29 minutes of playing time. Steve Bulpett and Peter Stringer each have a look at the rookie power forward. Springer’s notebook has a very brief account of the game. Murphy’s notebook also looks at the action, with the young Celtics impressing late. McNamara’s notebook has more on the impressive play of Powe and Ryan Gomes. Jim Fenton has a profile of Gomes, who always seems to have to be proving himself on the court. In this month’s edition of Boston Sports Review, Megliola has a look at new Celtics COO Rich Gotham.

Scott Van Voorhis looks at new eats available at the Garden this season. Bill Doyle has a look at Tommy Heinsohn marking 50 years with the Celtics.

Also in that Doyle article:

• If you missed the Big Show or any other program on WEEI-WVEI, you can listen to replays at www.weei.com. A couple of months ago, WEEI (850 AM) and sister station WRKO (680 AM) became the nation’s first two radio stations to add PodZinger technology, enabling listeners to use key words to search for particular segments or subjects of interest within hours of their original broadcast — at no cost.

The replays will also enable fans to prove any misstatements that Gerry Callahan, Glenn Ordway or any other WEEI personality make on the air. Comments no longer vanish into the air as soon as they’re made. Now they’re a matter of record.

The Bruins finally get to play their first home game of the season tonight, and Douglas Flynn says that while this isn’t a must-win game for the team, it’s pretty close. Bud Barth has the Bruins hoping that a little home cooking can get them on the right track. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins have a long ways to go to make the Garden a home advantage for themselves. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at how coach Dave Lewis has tried to address the early struggles. Joe McDonald also emphasizes the importance of getting off to a good start at home. Mick Colageo looks at Shean Donovan facing his former team tonight.

Flynn’s notebook has the Bruins trying to create a screen when defending the power play. Harris’ notebook has Marco Sturm questionable for tonight. Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has the Bruins goaltenders looking for improvement.

Ron Chimelis says FOX was right to fire Steve Lyons. Buddy Thomas says that Lou Piniella will be no match for the curse of the Cubs.

NESN has Bruins/Flames at 7:00. ESPN has Cardinals/Mets at 8:00.

Rolling Pats Gather No Moss

Update: We’ve got a roundup of national stories mentioning the Patriots as well as a look at various Power Rankings and where the Pats stand over on the BSMW Game Day page.

Michael Felger says that Randy Moss was not worth the risk for the Patriots. The team would’ve been guilty of a double-standard had they acquired him, and if they weren’t going to extend themselves for Deion Branch, why do it for Moss? David Brown says that the Patriots made the right move in not making a move for Moss. Felger also features a snapshot of “Mr Patriot” – Troy Brown. Mike Reiss sizes up the AFC East after six weeks of play.

Glen Farley notes that of the “Fab Four” of big name players who left the Patriots in the last calendar year, only Deion Branch is having an impact on his new club. Albert Breer looks at Asante Samuel, who takes pride in working hard, getting better and being more physical out on the field. The results thus far have shown it.

All the talk about FieldTurf for Gillette stadium turned out to be for naught. Despite the NESN report earlier, Howard Ulman of the AP noted that league rules prohibit teams from changing from a natural surface to an artificial surface during the season. John Tomase says that the team did explore going to FieldTurf this year.

Reiss’ notebook has more on the field issue, as well as a look at Samuel and at Buffalo digging out from under an early snowstorm. Farley’s notebook looks at the success that the Patriots have traditionally enjoyed following the bye week.

Playing without Captain Paul Pierce once again, the Celtics came short to the tune of 116-108 (AP Story) in last night’s preseason game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. You can pick up some more coverage of the night over on the New York City Sports Pages.

Steve Bulpett looks at Sebastian Telfair’s return to his hometown last night, and also at the rumors of hard feelings between he and his cousin, Stephon Marbury. Telfair did his best to put to rest those rumors. Shira Springer also looks at Telfair’s night in NY. The Celtics play their first home game of the preseason at TD Banknorth Garden tonight. Fans at the game will get their first look at the new High Definition scoreboard that was installed over the summer. The Associated Press has an article on it, and also has team owner Wyc Grousbeck preaching patience when it comes to this young Celtics squad. Bulpett’s notebook has a look at another impressive performance from Rajon Rondo.

Jeff Goldberg looks at Theo Epstein meeting with the media to discuss the offseason and confirming that he has signed his contract with the team. Nick Cafardo has more from Epstein. Jeff Horrigan also reports on the press conference, which touched on a number of topics, but didn’t really go into depth on any of them. Bill Ballou examines the challenge facing Epstein and the Red Sox – develop for the future, but also try to win now. Alex Speier notes that an improved American League will make it tougher for the Red Sox to return to the postseason in 2007. Mike Fine has Terry Francona talking about new pitching coach John Farrell.

Jon Couture examines the Steve Lyons situation, but also announcing in general, the challenges of it, and why the good ones are so rare. Alan Seigel says that the San Francisco Chronicle reporters facing jail time for refusing reveal the source of leaked sealed grand jury testimony are getting a raw deal. Jim Donaldson wonders why college sports have turned so ugly. Stan Grossfeld looks at Duquesne players dealing with the aftermath of last month’s campus shooting.

Stephen Harris says that with 8 of their next 9 games at home, the Bruins need to get themselves on track. Bob Duffy has Bruins coach Dave Lewis offering some praise to his fourth line. The BSMW Power Play is back online, and Mike Dunshee has a look at the early returns on this edition of the Bruins. Harris’ notebook has a look at the start from rookie Phil Kessel, who just needs to work on being able to finish plays a little better.

FSN has Celtics/Nets at 7:30. FOX has Mets/Cardinals at 8:00.

Ramping Back Up into Action

We’ll start off today’s post with a look at some of the ratings from the weekend. The postseason baseball numbers continue to fall below the national numbers…which are also being viewed as disappointing for the FOX network. Nationally, Sunday night’s game between the Mets and Cardinals posted a 6.4/10.

NASCAR continues to post respectable numbers in comparison to the competition, especially as the sport doesn’t get the attention that baseball or football receive. Nationally, the overnights for the Saturday night race were 4.1/7…so the locals numbers weren’t all that far off from the national figure. I’m sure ratings are much, much higher in the really big NASCAR markets.

Sports Final and Sports Xtra fought to a draw on Sunday night.

Note: I’ve not included the Bruins and other NESN/ESPN/Cable programming because they are measured on a separate report which I have not been able to get regular access to.

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Mike Reiss has a profile on Patriots lineman Ty Warren, who has really stepped up in his fourth season with the team, becoming one of the ironmen of the club, and arguably their best defender this season. Albert Breer has a look at Dan Koppen, who is glad to have his contract situation sorted out. Michael Parente has more on the Patriots center, who has been in the Boston area since coming to Boston College as a freshman.

The biggest non-story today for the Patriots will be the trading deadline. Media rumors have the Patriots possibly interested in Randy Moss. I just don’t see anything coming of that. John Tomase talked to Moss’ former teammate Doug Gabriel, who has nothing but great things to say about the enigmatic Moss. Shalise Manza Young also explores the topic of Moss, and has Gabriel praising him up and down. Dan Pires has more on Moss and the possibility of his coming here in a trade.

A NESN report yesterday has the Patriots tearing up the Gillette Stadium surface and replacing with a synthetic surface. Tomase has a look at FieldTurf which is the surface of choice for many modern stadiums.

Coming off the bye week, Rich Garven says the should have their aim focused on earning another bye week…for the first round of the playoffs. Alan Greenberg says that the Patriots are a good, “but hardly great” team and that the next six weeks will say a lot about them. He says that their chemistry and ability to act like a team regardless of the circumstances, might be their best weapon. Mark Farinella has a look at the Patriots getting ready to face Buffalo for the second time this season, and how preparation for a team is different when you’ve already faced them once. Christopher Price notes that it is back to business for the Patriots and examines their record post-bye week in the Belichick era.

Reiss’ notebook reports that Russ Hochstein injured his knee in practice last week, which could limit the Patriots flexibility on the offensive line. He also reports again that the Raiders and Patriots had not talked as of last night regarding Randy Moss or Jerry Porter. Tomase’s notebook has Jabar Gaffney getting comfortable with his new team and system. Young’s notebook looks at some of the fine tuning the Patriots were able to do during the bye week. Parente’s notebook has more on the Moss situation, and also as an injury update.

The BSMW Full Court Press kicks into gear with a preseason roundtable discussion among the panel. Steve Bulpett looks at Michael Olowokandi, who has impressed the Celtics in the early going with his renewed enthusiasm for the game, and while he seemed to be a long shot coming into camp, it now appears that if he keeps going the way he has been, he’s going to make the team. Scott Souza has Luke Jackson hoping to earn himself a larger role with the Celtics. Peter May reports on the never-ending legal saga of Tony Allen, as the case has gotten dragged out once again. Bulpett’s notebook has Doc Rivers scrambling to find a rotation for tonight’s game against the Knicks, as he’s got a lot of players sidelined from various ailments. You can get these links as well as a preview of the Celtics small forwards on the FSN Nothing But Net blog.

The Red Sox named their pitching coach yesterday, as John Farrell will be coming over from the Indians front office to lead the Sox hurlers next season. Sean McAdam has a look at Ferrell, who cited his fire to compete as a reason for leaving the front office and going back to a uniformed position. Nick Cafardo has Ferrell saying that his friendship with Terry Francona was another big factor in his decision to come here. Michael Silverman says Ferrell will be charged with getting the most out of the Red Sox stable of young arms. Jeff Goldberg notes that Ferrell had a big part in rebuilding the Indians talent base. Jon Couture has Theo Epstein saying that Ferrell can do a lot in the game of baseball. David Borges and Alex Speier also have articles on the appointment of Ferrell.

Rob Bradford reports that the Red Sox and Yankees will be engaged in a duel for Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka when his rights come up for bid next month. Lenny Megliola recalls Morgan Magic as Walpole Joe Morgan will be inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame on November 9th. Stan Grossfeld has a feature on David Ortiz playing some whiffle ball for charity. Bob Ryan looks at how Major League Managers need a perfect fit as well as a lot of luck in order to succeed.

Few things were more predictable than the WEEI crew rallying to the support of Steve Lyons yesterday. Listeners were treated to wall-to-wall discussion of the firing, which on the surface is pretty curious. Obviously there is more to this situation. The discussion was at times uncomfortable yesterday as several of the hosts treaded on grounds that they’re pretty shaky on to begin with. Glenn Ordway was even giving out the email addresses of Fox Executives over the air yesterday, asking listeners to voice their support to Lyons. Today Gerry Callahan goes on the attack against FOX, calling them frauds and says that the network was out to ruin a good man and a good baseball analyst. I don’t know how good of a person Lyons is, but in my mind, he wasn’t a very good analyst…

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Karen Guregian look at Bruins coach Dave Lewis drilling the concept of teamwork into his squad yesterday at practice. Mike Loftus says that the Bruins have plenty of work to do to get where they want to be. Guregian’s notebook has Lewis shuffling up some of his lines trying to provide a spark.

Monday Links and Weekend Highlights

John Molori reported over the weekend that 7NBC is about to hire Larry Ridley, who is currently working for WSVN in southern Florida, to fill their full time sports anchor opening.

John Tomase writes that with a playoff berth all but assured for the Patriots, they’ve got five major areas to work on between now and the start of the playoffs. Mike Reiss talks to a number of national NFL experts about how the Patriots have looked thus far, and what their potential is for the rest of the season. Alan Greenberg has a look at Asante Samuel, whose work and film study continue to pay off for the 25-year-old cornerback in the form of interceptions and better tackling this season. Ron Chimelis says that Monday Night Football just isn’t the same now that it doesn’t have the “premier” game each week.

Yesterday, Ian Clark pondered just what we have in the 4-1 Patriots. Michael Parente says that chemistry is a big part of the Patriots success thus far this season. Hector Longo had a piece on Salem, N.H., native Nicholas Krippendor, whose job these days is trying to make sure that the Patriots become China’s team. Bill Reynolds had a look at how Lawrence Taylor was really responsible for the evolution of the left tackle position in the NFL.

Shira Springer has Doc Rivers looking to trim the number of injuries he has on his team, as well as cutting the roster down a little bit to clear some room. Steve Bulpett has Rivers saying that Delonte West will be used mostly as a “2” guard this season. The BSMW Full Court Press is back in operation for another season, under a new steward. I’d like to thank Jon Duke for his work in the past on the page (He’ll still be a contributor, but has moved onto another opportunity.) and welcome Mike Martin aboard as the new editor of the site. We hope to have the first edition of a Celtics roundtable discussion posted sometime today on the site.

Mike Fine had a piece on Gerald Green, who spent much of his summer in various basketball camps, trying to improve his game. Peter May had Rivers saying that Green might not yet be ready for prime time minutes. Bulpett’s NBA notes had a look at Larry Bird, who has his hands full trying to deal with Pacer Stephen Jackson and the rest of his club. May’s Basketball Notes also looked at the Pacers, but at former Celtic Orien Greene, whom the Pacers are very impressed with. In a couple quick looks at the Luke Jackson trade from Saturday, May said Danny Ainge has always been a Jackson fan, while Bulpett noted that the trade will save the Celtics some money.

Bob Ryan enjoyed the Mets’ sixth inning explosion last night. Michael Silverman has the A’s once again missing out on postseason magic.

Tony Massarotti’s Baseball Notes has us preparing for another offseason arms race. Dan Shaughnessy had a look at the Tigers once again being among the elite teams in baseball. Nick Cafardo’s Baseball Notes looked at what 2007 might hold for Barry Bonds in terms of where the slugger might play what should be his last season in baseball. The Orioles were mentioned as a possibility.

Sunday’s Globe notebook reported on the firing of Steve Lyons by FOX after Friday night’s game in which the former Red Sox infielder “made made what the network deemed insensitive racial remarks” on the air during the telecast. Michael Hiestand and Richard Sandomir have more on the Lyons firing, with the former article including reaction from Lyons who feels he was not given a chance to explain himself to Fox executives.

Fluto Shinzawa reports on the struggling Bruins trying to shake things up early in the season and find combinations that are going to work. Karen Guregian says that the Bruins have not followed their stated plan to be a team that is tough to play against for 60 minutes. Douglas Flynn had the Providence Bruins being built this year more as a breeding ground for future stars rather than a stash of veteran NHL retreads. Kevin Paul Dupont’s Hockey Notes had some early impressions of the young season. He notes that this “new and improved” Bruins club looks an awful lot like last year’s edition thus far.

Versus has Lightning/Hurricanes at 7:00. FOX has Mets/Cardinals at 8:00. ESPN has Bears/Cardinals at 8:30.

Weekend Watch – Bye Week for Patriots

This is a weekend to broaden our horizons. Check out some other NFL teams. Watch some postseason baseball. Maybe rake some leaves before what happened to Buffalo this week (Over a foot of snow) happens to us.

The Patriots are in the bye week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix of the team, Patriots All Access is on Saturday night at 7:00 and Sunday morning at 10:00 on WCVB channel 5. This week’s edition features the following:

  • An extended one-on-one conversation with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
  • Bill Belichick examines the effectiveness of the Patriots run defense vs Miami on the Belestrator.
  • And with the bye week upon us, Corey Dillon, Rodney Harrison, Tully-Banta-Cain and Bam Childress compete to see who is the best Madden game player on the team.

Keep up with any Patriots news from the weekend on the Patriots Daily Links page.

CBS has the NFL doubleheader this weekend. Here’s the weekly maps to check who will see what game: CBS Early Game, CBS Late Game and Fox Single Game.

Here’s your College Football TV Schedule to plot out your Saturday viewing with. For the Florida/Auburn game Saturday night, ESPN is employing their “Full Circle” coverage. (See Larry Stewart’s column in the Los Angeles Times linked below)

Weekend Viewing Highlights

Friday
Celtics/Cavs Preseason Hoops, 7:30-FSN. Mets/Cardinals NLCS Game 2, FOX-8:05

Saturday
NASCAR, Bank of America 500, Noon-NBC. A’s/Tigers ALCS Game 4, FOX-4:30. Mets/Cardinals NLCS Game 3, FOX-8:05. Bruins/Islanders NESN-7:00,

Sunday
Giants/Falcons, FOX-1:00, Texans/Cowboys, CBS-1:00, Jets/Dolphins CBS-4:15. Raiders/Broncos NBC-8:15, A’s/Tigers ALCS Game 5 (if necessary) FOX-4:40, Mets/Cardinals NLCS Game 4 FOX-8:05.

Full listings can be found in the Globe Weekend Sports Guide.

Notes and Observations

With the Patriots signing Dan Koppen to a new contract extension this week, it gives some members of the media a chance to display how hypocritical they really can be. Check out Michael Felger’s questions to Koppen as chronicled by John Tomase. The question in particular that galls is this one “Why sign early and not maximize value as a free agent? Could you have gotten more on the open market?” Felger is the same one who has been railing on about how the Patriots should’ve “locked up” Deion Branch and Adam Vinatieri and others before their contracts became an issue or they hit free agency. Now that the Patriots have done this with Koppen, locking him up before he hits the market, Felger appears to be questioning why Koppen wouldn’t be smart enough to wait for free agency. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…that’s how things work apparently. What’s more, it appears that the perception from the media is that if a player re-signs with the Patriots, he must be taking a below-market deal. That idea was thrown out there several times on Thursday, with Felger even proclaiming on FSN that the Patriots are lucky that they have players willing to do this. Did Koppen actually take a below-market deal? Mike Reiss was the only one who seemed to try and figure out whether this was actually the case. And are the Patriots “lucky” to have players like this, or do they seek them out?

Congrats to Tony Massarotti who was officially promoted to the position of general columnist at the Boston Herald. He had been tackling sports other than baseball recently and I actually thought his promotion had already happened. It’s good to see a solid guy working his way up at the paper.

As noted by David Scott this morning, the Hartford Courant has switched the roles of David Heuschkel and Jeff Goldberg. Heuschkel will now cover the Lady UConn Huskies basketball team, while Goldberg moves to the Red Sox beat. In the article making the announcement in the paper, Heuschkel notes the demands of covering the Red Sox, and decided it was time to take on a new and different challenge. At almost any other paper moving from an MLB beat to a womens college basketball beat would be a demotion, but with the incredible popularity and success of the UConn women, this is at the very least a sideways move. Goldberg has filled in on the Red Sox beat in the past and done a very credible job. I look forward to reading him on a daily basis next season.

First, Football Outsiders teamed up with FoxSports.com. Now, Cold, Hard Football Facts will be working with MSNBC.com, which will be running a package of Cold, Hard Football Facts content looking at teams playing in NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast each week. The package will include a story related to the game, along with a local recipe and beer from one of the participating cities.

They’ll also be running more CHFF features from time to time. The first feature is here.

I’d like to thank Steve Burton for my best laugh of the week. On Thursday’s Big Show on WEEI, the panel was discussing various “risky” activities that athletes engage in which might make owners nervous and want to prohibit them from doing contractually. Carrying a gun was discussed and someone brought up the Second Amendment – the right to bear arms. So they were attempting to state that athletes have a constitutional right to carry a licensed gun. Burton then very earnestly chimed in regarding Cory Lidle “He had a license to fly a plane – that’s a constitutional right too!!”

Site Announcement

We’re gearing up for the next BSMW Fall Fund Drive, which will take place next month. We’re looking for individuals or businesses that might be interested in donating prizes that can be given away to contributors to the drive. So far we’ve received a few books, as well as gift certificates and cards. The grand prize is going to be a Sling Media Slingbox, which I will be purchasing for the winner of the drawing held at the end of the drive. If you’re interested in donating a prize, please contact me at [email protected].

Now, onto our weekly media links from around the country:

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt reports on CN8’s expansion in the local sports coverage scene, as the cable giant tries to use it’s own station to try and compete with the big guns of local sports coverage. David Scott looks at NESN letting go a pair of anchors, and also examines the growing trend of writers leaving newspaper to go to work for internet sites. John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at New England getting a taste of ESPN’s “The Contender 2″ show with a fight being taped in Providence at the Dunkin Donuts Center. John Howell examines how Cory Lidle’s death has really put the spotlight on his last interview with Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN. He also looks at some Patriots and NFL ratings in the Connecticut area.

New York

Phil Mushnick says again that you just can’t believe what you hear from TV sports announcers, though you’re expected to take it as gospel. Think the pitch speed readings on TV this postseason have been a bit high? Richard Sandomir examines why that is. Neil Best prepares for more late nights of baseball watching. Earlier this week he also had a piece on Mike Francesa lamenting his final words to Cory Lidle. Andrew Marchand reports on FOX adding Joe Girardi as a pregame analyst for the World Series. Marchand’s Memo of the Week praises ESPN for the Bill Buckner/Mookie Wilson Outside the Lines program last Sunday. Bob Raissman looks at FOX facing some dismal ratings numbers for postseason baseball. Jane McManus reports on sports coming to MTV with a high school football documentary and a highlights show created with a nod to the old ABC “Wide World of Sports.”

More Eastern Columns

Aaron Bracy spent some time in the FOX production truck prior to the Eagles/Cowboys game last Sunday and reports back to us what the experience was like. He has links to Philadelphia writers remembering Cory Lidle in his blog entry for today. Laura Nachman has more media reaction to Lidle’s tragedy this week. Michael Hiestand looks at ABC/ESPN gearing up to take on NASCAR broadcasts again starting next season. The networks also announced that Brent Musburger(!) will serve as the studio hosts for the broadcasts. Hiestand has a couple other interesting items in that column as well. Michael McCarthy says that live, on-site NFL pre-game shows are not leaving themselves enough of a safety net…the potential is there for an ugly incident. Jim Williams looks at the BETJ show “The Christies Committed” starring Doug Christie and wife Jackie. Chris Zelkovich looks at Canadian golf fans losing out as TSN fails to come to an agreement with the Golf Channel.

South

Dave Darling looks at ESPN’s PTI turning five later this month…an eternity for ESPN shows. Jim Sarni leads his extensive column off with FOX promoting the BCS (which they will broadcast) by showing the standings each week in their NFL postgame show. Barry Jackson reports on the rivalry between WQAM and 790 the Ticket getting ugly with a lawsuit between the parent companies of the stations over former Dolphin Troy Stradford breaking a non-compete agreement and switching stations in the course of a month’s time. David Barron reports on Sunday’s Texans/Cowboys game where fans will be able to send messages to servicemen overseas thanks to the radio broadcast being streamed online. He also has some interesting numbers for how NFL teams do ratings-wise in their local markets. Pittsburgh is tops with a 48.2. Barry Horn looks at the curious decision by Texas and Oklahoma to decline the offer to have their game moved to ABC’s prime time Saturday Night Football telecast.

Midwest

Ed Sherman has Ken Harrelson gushing over the idea of Lou Piniella becoming the next manager of the Cubs. Judd Zulgad reports on the latest moves by the Twins in their process of bringing their radio broadcasts in-house. Dan Caesar looks at the Cardinals finally getting in a LCS where they’ll get the lead broadcast team from FOX. Bob Wolfley looks at former Wisconsin coach Barry Alverez joining FOX’s BCS coverage.

West Coast

Larry Stewart looks at ESPN gearing up for another “Full Circle” college football presentation on Saturday with the Florida/Auburn game. He also has a piece on USC’s Brandon Hancock, who had his playing career cut short with an injury in August, but who is getting a jump start on his broadcasting career by landing a role on the team’s radio broadcasts. In that article, Stewart has a Petros Papadakis update. Jay Posner reports on Ted Leitner extending his 27 year run as a Padres broadcaster by a couple more years. John Maffei notes that Matt Vasgersian is drawing a lot of interest around baseball for his services in the TV booth. Joe Davidson has Sacramento Kings announcers Gary Gerould, Jim Kozimor and Grant Napear discussing the proposed downtown arena for the team and the ugly possibility that the franchise could move if the arena doesn’t get built. Jim Carlisle looks at LCS games being pushed to cable on FX, and how next season MLB will have a different look on TV. Michael Lev reports on FOX having troubles with their Fox Box during the USC-Washington game last weekend, and how they scrambled to try and resolve the situation.

NESN Trimming Back

David Scott reports on NESN quietly letting go two of their anchors. He also looks at more newspapers writers jumping to internet jobs, a trend that seems to be growing quickly. He winds things up with his usual assortment of notes and observations.

John Molori’s Media Blitz has a look at ESPN’s “The Contender 2″ coming into New England this weekend with a fight between Peter Manfredo, Jr. and cross-town rival Joey Spina. He also reports on 1510 the Zone landing the Boston College Hockey broadcasts and Revolution announcer Brad Feldman and Revs goaltender Matt Reis finding themselves in the roles of villains down in DC.

The Patriots Game Day Roundtable will be posted as soon as I get my portion of the answers back to the boss.

Mike Reiss and John Tomase report on the Patriots taking care of some business during the bye week, inking center Dan Koppen to a new five year contract. Michael Felger has an interesting look this morning at Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees, and suggests that Eric Mangini’s defection to the Jets may have actually been a good thing for the Patriots. Dan Shaughnessy looks at the relationship between Bill Belichick and Tony LaRussa.

Mark Murphy notes that the Celtics are still at the stage of trying to find an identity, and while there have been impressive stretches in the first two preseason games, especially from rookie Rajon Rondo, it is still October, and the team is more sizzle than steak at this point. However, Shira Springer seems convinced of the rookie’s skills, saying that “the Celtics have someone special in Rondo” and that “Rondo is for real.” Murphy’s notebook has Doc Rivers being patient as Delonte West works his way back from injury.

Michael Vega and Steve Conroy report on Boston College’s impressive 22-3 domination of Virginia Tech on ESPN last night.

Check back later for media links and a weekend preview…

Getaway Day

Karen Guregian looks at Tedy Bruschi, almost a full year since returning from his stroke. He talks about how some (Hello, John Dennis!) were critical of his return and how he had to push through all that, but still has some lingering feelings of animosity towards those critics. Eric McHugh has a report card on the Patriots for the first five games of the season.

Alan Greenberg looks at Jabar Gaffney as the former Florida wideout looks to fit in and contribute to the Patriots remodeled receiving unit. John Tomase has a look at cornerback Chad Scott, who has brought size and toughness to the cornerback position for the Patriots this season. Bob Duffy has a piece on fullback Heath Evans, whom he says is more of a full back, because he really has the full assortment of skills that is perfect for the Patriots. Guregian checks in with Tom Brady before the QB heads down to NY to spend a few days with girlfriend Bridget Moynahan.

Albert Breer has Bill Belichick talking about what happens when a QB gets a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage. It’s not always the fault of the passer. Shalise Manza Young looks at why play in the red zone is so much quicker and condensed, with little room for error. Ian Clark has the Patriots players looking forward to having a few days off. Michael Parente has more on the players eager to get out the door and start their mini-vacation. Glen Farley details what some of the various Patriots players intend to do with their time off.

Tomase’s notebook has Richard Seymour addressing the state of the team and their title hopes. Mike Reiss’ notebook has Vince Wilfork talking about the Patriots run defense, of which he is a key ingredient. Young’s notebook has more from Evans speaking on the evolution of the fullback position.

The Celtics moved onto Toronto for their second preseason game last night and dropped a 118-112 overtime decision to the Raptors. Rookie point guard Rajon Rondo was once again the story of this game, as he scored 29 points to the lead the Celtics, including hitting a three pointer at the buzzer in regulation to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Mark Murphy’s notebook looks at the small lineup that Doc Rivers had on the floor for much of the fourth quarter and overtime last night. Shira Springer looks at Doc Rivers choosing to rest Wally Szczerbiak and Theo Ratliff last night with the early back-to-back schedule. The Toronto Star has a game story from Doug Smith, and also a quarter-by-quarter recap of the game on their website.

Mark Murphy looks at center Michael Olowokandi, who says that his increased energy on the court thus far is simply due to being more healthy, rather than any motivation stemming from facing the possible end of his career. You can get these links as well as a preview of the centers position for the Celtics over on the FSN Nothing But Net Celtics blog.

The Bruins are still trying to put their pieces together to form a coherent team, and there will be stumbles along the way. They took a step back last night in Atlanta, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Thrashers. Fluto Shinzawa and Stephen Harris have the game stories. Shinzawa’s notebook and Harris’ notebook each look at goaltender Hannu Toivonen being struck by a puck in the throat during a morning shooting drill.

Chad Finn offers up 10 Half Formed Opinions for you.

The Cory Lidle tragedy dominated the airwaves nationally yesterday and will likely do so again today. Check the New York city coverage on the New York Sports Pages. Locally Gordon Edes and Nick Cafardo as well as Tony Massarotti get player reaction to the news, with Massarotti checking in with Curt Schilling via email. Dan Shaughnessy also has a column on the tragedy.

Michael Vega has a look at BC quarterback Matt Ryan.

ESPN has Virgina Tech/Boston College at 7:30. NESN has Bruins/Blues at 8:00. FOX has Cardinals/Mets at 8:00.

Gators in the Water at Foxboro

Bill Barnwell examines a theory espoused by Bill Simmons in a recent column that rushing quarterbacks have a shorter shelf life than pocket passers – only five or six years. The results – backed by plenty of data – are pretty interesting, especially if you’re looking into making a QB pickup in fantasy football.

The Patriots will likely use some of their bye week time to get Tom Brady more familiar with his new receivers. That would include newly signed Jabar Gaffney, who says his wife is a big Brady fan. Shalise Manza Young has a look at the Florida product, who was a late cut by the Eagles in training camp this summer after signing with them as a free agent. Dan Pires has more on Gaffney, the latest Florida Gator receiver to end up with the Patriots. Glen Farley says that Troy Brown’s numbers thus far underscore the lack of depth in the Patriots receivers which highlights the need for someone like Gaffney to step in and produce.

Another receiver from Florida is trying to make a bigger impact with the Patriots, that being rookie Chad Jackson, who talked to the media for really the first time this season yesterday. Mike Reiss has Jackson saying that health is the only thing that has held him back thus far. John Tomase has a bit stronger of a take on the topic, with a tale of maturity issues and Jackson’s agent defending his client against the speculation that he’s holding himself back. Albert Breer has Jackson saying all the criticism aimed towards him is crazy. Michael Parente has Jackson hoping to feel better after the bye week.

Eric McHugh examines the Patriots success in converting fourth downs thus far this season, where they are six for eight in that area. Steve Buckley has a piece on Rodney Harrison, who will enjoy the bye week with a few days of being a couch potato, resting his body on the couch. Christopher Price has Bill Belichick seeking out lessons and advice from many of the great coaches and managers in sports. Buckley also talks to Rosevelt Colvin, who has a few days of yard work and home repair projects in front of him for the bye week. Glen Farley has the Pats saying that the bye is coming at a good time.

Young’s notebook has Belichick proclaiming his allegiance to Tony La Russa and the St. Louis Cardinals. Tomase’s notebook has more on Gaffney. Reiss’s notebook, which is quite extensive, leads off with more from Belichick on La Russa. McHugh’s notebook has Belichick giving high marks to Laurence Maroney despite the rookie only picking up 38 yards against the Dolphins. Parente’s notebook has more on Belichick rooting for the Cardinals in the MLB playoffs.

Yeah, it’s only the first preseason game, and LeBron James didn’t even play for most of it, but those of you who watched the Celtics knock off the Cavaliers last night 109-93 had to come away impressed with what you saw from the team, especially from rookie point guard Rajon Rondo and second year guard Gerald Green.

Mark Murphy’s notebook says that the Celtics weren’t too concerned with who was or wasn’t on the floor for the Cavs, they’re trying to build their own identity and made a decent start towards that last night. Shira Springer reports on Kendrick Perkins’ offseason progress as well as what happened on the court last night in Cleveland for the Celtics.

Mike Fine also has a look at Perkins, who knows what his role is going to be with the Celtics. Mark Murphy has a look at Gerald Green, who spent the summer growing up at John Lucas’ summer camp in Houston and has come into training camp a totally different player and person. Jim Fenton has a look at Sebastian Telfair. (It was funny hearing Mike Gorman refer to him as “Bassie” on the telecast last night…I think I’m going to need time to adjust to that.)

Bud Barth reports that Hannu Toivonen will get his second straight start in new for the Bruins tonight. Karen Guregian has a look at Marc Savard, who will be facing his old club tonight in Atlanta.

Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has more on Toivonen getting the start again. Guregian’s notebook has Zdeno Chara ready to serve as protector for any of his teammates.

Gordon Edes has the tale of Red Sox scout Ernie Jacobs, who urged then-scouting director Wayne Britton to draft a kid named Albert Pujols. The Projo has a article with no byline that picks from Rob Bradford’s story in the Eagle-Tribune yesterday about Bronson Arroyo plotting his return to Boston. Jon Couture thinks that we might make too big a deal over certain managers and their importance to teams.

NESN has Bruins/Thrashers at 7:00. FSN has Celtics/Raptors at 7:00. FOX has Cardinals/Mets at 8:00 and FX has A’s/Tigers at 8:00.

Pats Say Bye for Now

Greg Doyle has a second look at the film from the Miami game.

Michael Felger has his weekly report card and seems to suggest that the Patriots are a house of cards, “making do” with a team geared around defense, but not thinking it can last. Ian Clark also hands out some grades heading into the bye week. Christopher Price has his 10 Things we Learned from Sunday.

John Tomase looks at the the difference a year makes. Last year at the bye week, the team was 3-3 and really struggling to come together. This year’s team seems well ahead of where that club was. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots heading into the bye week in good shape, with a chance to rest up for a few days. Albert Breer says that while this team has had its problems thus far, things could be a lot worse. Price says that the AFC East race is over. Rich Garven says this team has the grit to go a long ways. Michael Parente says they’d never admit it, but the Patriots are in great shape heading into the bye week.

Karen Guregian has the Patriots and their foes both complaining about the state of the Gillette Stadium field. Mike Reiss also has a look at the playing field, which stands to get more use in the coming weeks as a movie (The Game Plan) will be shot in the stadium.

Guregian also looks at Rodney Harrison showing signs on Sunday of coming back into form. Breer has a look at the trust that Tom Brady has in Troy Brown, and how the receiver has lived up to that trust thus far this season. Eric McHugh has more on Brown, a week after playing primarily defense, coming back to lead the team in receptions. Bill Burt also looks at Brown.

Reiss’ notebook has the Patriots signing free agent receiver Jabar Gaffney, who caught 55 passes for the Texans last season. Tomase’s notebook has Stephen Neal denying the rumor that he’s going to jump into the Ultimate Fighting Championship ring in the offseason. McHugh’s notebook has Mike Wright making the most of his time on the field.

Craig N Laidis has Jerry Rice congratulating UNH receiver David Ball on breaking his NCAA 1-AA touchdown reception record.

The Celtics play their first preseason game tonight, tipping off against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Shira Springer has Doc Rivers looking at this game as a chance to evaluate how the work put in during camp thus far has effected his club. Steve Bulpett has Rivers looking at players tonight, one of whom will be Ryan Gomes, who appears to have the early track on the power forward position. Bill Doyle has Sebastian Telfair ready to blossom at the point for the Celtics. Bulpett’s notebook has the Celtics trying to free some playing time in the preseason by making a cut or two possibly as soon as today.

Rich Thompson has Wayne Primeau providing an early spark to the Bruins third line. Kevin Paul Dupont has Marc Savard talking about adjusting to Boston and the progress of the Bruins special teams. Thompson’s notebook has B’s coach Dave Lewis saying he’s going to keep rotating the goalies in net.

Rob Bradford has Bronson Arroyo sending a “special” message to Curt Schilling, and also saying his plan is to re-sign with the Red Sox once he is a free agent again. David Borges has some final grades for the Red Sox.

Lenny Megliola rambles about jocks behaving badly.

Keep up with the latest Yankee soap opera on the New York Sports Pages.

Here’s a look at some of the weekend TV ratings for the Boston market. Looks like viewers enjoyed the Yankees loss on Saturday. The Bruins ratings were highest in the males 18-49 group, where they peaked at a 2.3 on Friday and a 2.1 on Saturday.

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FSN has Celtics/Cavs at 7:00. FOX has Tigers/A’s at 8:00.Versus (the old OLN) has Flyers/Rangers at 7:00.