This Is Our December

There’s no better place to break in the new month than right here in New England, and no better way than making BSMW your first stop. I’m Bob, but you can call me Eks. Since this is my debut, let me lead off with a thanks to Bruce and each of you for making me your alarm clock on a busy weekend of Hub sports. With big games on tap every day, this is truly our time of the year.

The Green

If you’re waking to a headache, no, you didn’t drink too much last night. You just watched the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 95-85 win in Miami, when PGA went MIA. Pierce, Garnett, and Allen shot a frigid 20 of 55 on the night and watched a 28-point lead wither to seven with just under four minutes to play. Steve Bulpett says the C’s may have left the gym a bit too early, much like in their earlier game against the Heat in Boston. Marc J. Spears has the back-to-back games nearly taking their toll despite Thursday night’s cakewalk. Tim Reynolds sees Doc Rivers happy for a win against a determined Heat squad, while the Miami Herald’s Michael Wallace says Boston doesn’t need all that extra help the Heat have been providing this season.

Bulpett’s notebook has Heat coach Pat Riley not at all surprised over the Celtics’ 13-2 start this year. Changing direction a bit, rookie guard Gabe Pruitt relates in Spears’ notebook that he is all too familiar with what the Washington Redskins family is going through.

B.C. Eagles

From the rants of Ted Sarandis to the flush of Meterparel, The Heights’ cries for recognition have largely been drowned by the noise of pro sports in this region. Well today, Boston College will have its 15 minutes when a hush falls over all New England as the Eagles take on the No. 6 Virginia Tech Hokies for the ACC title and an Orange Bowl berth. Eric Avidon has QB Matt Ryan ready to vindicate himself after playing poorly for 56 minutes in his first effort against the Hokies’ defense. Steve Conroy has Eagles’ coach Jeff Jagodzinski relishing his team’s role as underdogs. Mark Long says the Hokies are up for the rematch.

Red Sox

The Santana pendulum may be shifting toward the Bronx yet again. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Yankees are willing to throw Philip Hughes into the deal, a move that may just land them the 28-year old lefty. Michael Silverman has Theo Epstein doubtful anything will happen over the weeekend. Paul Jarvey agrees that Santana’s new address won’t be set until the winter meetings begin in Nashville on Monday.

Gordon Edes and Amalie Benjamin say the Twins have been insisting on Hughes all along. And, while Boston might have to up the ante yet again, Joe McDonald won’t be sorry to see at least one Sox player go.

Patriots

Even as T.O. spends his days dropping passes and taking popcorn showers, all the world’s microscope is still focused on Randy Moss’ effort, or alleged lack thereof. Karen Guregian has both Tom Brady and Coach Belichick taking time out of preparations for the Baltimore Ravens this Monday night to defend their beleagered receiver.

Robert Lee has Jaws Jaworski using that ‘B’ word again, expecting the Ravens to copy Philly’s success against the Pats’ secondary. Well, Kyle Boller, we’ve met A.J. Feeley, and you, sir, are no A.J. Feeley. Guregian’s notebook has defensive coordinator Dean Pees admitting to some breakdowns on Sunday night, while avoiding any hint as to how he’ll fill in for the injured Roosevelt Colvin. Lee has fullback Heath Evans grateful for another day in New England.

Odds and Sods

In case you missed it, check out Buckshot Bobby Knight’s cameo in his neighbor’s back yard. You just have to laugh at cameraman-victim James Simpson’s contemptuous pronunciation of ‘cee-lebrity’.

In Miami, the Herald is reporting that police have multiple confessions among the four men arrested in connection with the murder of Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor.

And finally, you put off that Christmas shopping until now, so what’s another day? It’s Super Saturday in high schools across New England, with seven Eastern Massachusetts Super Bowls hosted at Gillette Stadium and Stonehill College, and another six Central / Western Massachusetts championships at Worcester State and Westfield State. Dan Ventura previews the match-ups at Gillette. There’s plenty of good action at a venue near you and remember: the malls will be open all day Sunday.

If you’ve got thoughts or comments, or are just upset that the UMass Minutemen didn’t get any billing, please let me know here.

Payback Tour Continues

It sure seems at times in this early part of the season, that the Celtics are determined to pay back the league for 15 years of mostly being on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Last night on national television, Boston demolished the New York Knicks by the eye popping score of 104 to 59. It wasn’t even THAT close. Nate Robinson hit a three pointer at the buzzer to rescue the Knicks from setting their all-time low for points scored.

Mark Murphy notes that the Celtics were determined not to let up their intensity, no matter what the score was. Marc J. Spears has the Knicks unable to match the Celtics intensity. Scott Souza has the Celtics issuing some retribution to the brash (and now 4-10) Knicks. Bill Doyle says that last night could be the last straw that costs Knicks coach Isiah Thomas his job. Jeff Howe calls the Celtics performance last night “dynamite.”

Steve Bulpett has Glen Davis showing signs once again last night that while his nickname may be “Big Baby,” his game is growing each time he gets on the floor. Jeff Horrigan has the Celtics defense setting the right tone last night. Dan Shaughnessy says that Red Auerbach would love what is happening to the Knicks right now. Horrigan has Eddy Curry of the Knicks shaken up by the death of Sean Taylor this week, as Curry and his wife were attacked by home invaders over the summer this year. The Celtics go into Miami tonight, and though the season is still early, Howe note that the team has had great success thus far this year when playing on back-to-back nights. On another note, David Borges has Andre LaFleur and Jim Calhoun paying tribute to Reggie Lewis with a basketball clinic.

Check the view from New York on the New York Sports Pages. (Hey, that Boston Massacre slogan is kinda catchy.)

Spears’ notebook has Tony Allen missing the game with a right thigh injury. Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics providing and answer to the Knicks talking prior to last night’s meeting between the clubs. Souza’s notebook has the Celtics making their return to TNT last night – where the cool kids in the NBA hang out. Doyle’s notebook has more on the Celtics finally making it back to TNT.

Patriots

Patriots Daily checks in with another look at the current AFC playoff picture.

Michael Felger doesn’t want you to enjoy the Patriots incredible season. He wants you to worry about how the team is going to keep all their players when the season is over. He wonders how deals for Asante Samuel, Randy Moss, Donte’ Stallworth, Vince Wilfork and a top draft pick (from the 49ers) will be possible. Christopher L. Gasper also focuses on the huge payday that Samuel is sure to receive after the season. I’ll give credit to Gasper for working the word “vituperated” into his column – though I don’t recall Samuel really being trashed for his brief holdout this summer.

20 players have scored touchdowns for the Patriots this season. Karen Guregian checks to see who might be #21, which would tie the league record. Troy Brown might be a good choice. Mark Farinella has a look at the veteran trying to see where he’s going to fit in with this team. Christopher Price has Brown excited about contributing to this edition of the Patriots. Glen Farley has more on Brown getting back to work. David Heuschkel also looks at Brown, who has had fun watching this team, but now seeks a piece of the action. Robert Lee has Brown ready to roll.

Guregian has Brian Billick talking about Randy Moss. Billick had coached Moss with the Vikings when the receiver was a rookie. Jennifer Toland says that the Patriots have their work cut out for them against Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense. Dan Pires and Christopher Price have Sean Taylor being remembered. Shalise Manza Young looks at the “bonuses” mentioned in the USA Today article yesterday, which are against league rules.

Guregian’s notebook has the impact of the death of Sean Taylor being felt across the league. Gasper’s notebook has more from Billick on Moss. Toland’s notebook has more on Brown waiting to see how he’ll fit in.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa and Stephen Harris have Zdeno Chara and the Bruins getting ahead and hanging on for a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers last night.

Bill Doyle has Bruins voice Dave Goucher not getting much of a chance to announce goals for the Bruins this season.

Harris’ notebook has Chara playing last night like the great all-around defenseman that the Bruins signed him to be, with two goals and great defense on the Panthers Olli Jokinen. Shinzawa’s notebook has the Bruins being very cautious with Tuukka Rask.

Red Sox

Tony Massarotti has the Red Sox being cautious in their pursuit of Twins lefty Johan Santana, willing to part with almost any of their top prospects, but not willing to give up more than one. Sean McAdam says that while “some positive momentum” has taken place in the talks, a “deal was far from imminent.” Rob Bradford notes that even if a trade gets agreed upon, the team must still work out a new contract with Santana. Amalie Benjamin and Nick Cafardo report that Santana’s agents have not yet begun negotiating with any team. Jeff Goldberg has Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury not part of the trade discussions at this point.

Misc

John Powers has Matt Ryan making history at Boston College. Steve Conroy has tight end Ryan Purvis being named an All-ACC first teamer, joining Ryan and safety Jamie Silva.

With Comcast SportsNet building their promised sports news network here in Boston, David Scott throws out some candidates for the network to bring on.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has CSN and Channel 38 planning to air high school Super Bowls tomorrow.

Race Talk, Trade Talk

The Sean Taylor murder is an example of a story that Dennis & Callahan love to cover, simply because it puts them at their “edgy” best (or worst). For some reason, these two absolutely go full bore on any story that might have an element of race to it. Given their background on this particular subject, you might think this would be an area they might shy away from. However, the truth is just the opposite.

They know that there is going to be added tension when they’re discussing these topics, and they embrace it. Consciously or not, people might stop and listen just to see if they’re going to “mess up” or say anything inappropriate. They’re not going to make that sort of mistake again, so they’re careful, but they still push these issues and milk the tension as much as they can.

They spent quite a bit of time this morning on this Jason Whitlock‘s column about the “Black KKK” which he says killed Sean Taylor. They criticized Dan Le Batard’s column which says that the media is spending too much time on what Taylor did to get himself killed.

More than once this week, John Dennis has referred to their discussions as trying to “advance the story.” I’m a little confused as to how exactly they’re doing that.

Dale & Holley stayed away from Taylor and talked about a possible Johan Santana trade to the Red Sox, based largely on a piece by Charley Walters which has everyone talking today. Walters claims that the Red Sox are now the favorites in the Santana trade sweepstakes. Jon Heyman on SI.com tries to see how the Santana trade talks shake out at the moment.

Jarrett Bell says that the Patriots make it their practice to discipline themselves. Apparently this is a problem, as Bell says it is a violation of NFL policy. Gregg Rosenthal says that there is little chance that the Patriots will rest their starters as the season winds towards the playoffs. David Pevear says that it was a good thing for the Patriots that Chad Brown was still around.

The Media Circus has ESPN’s Ed Werder slightly misrepresenting Tony Romo’s adoration of Brett Favre. John Clayton has his first and ten for this week’s games.

Charley Rosen says that Rajon Rondo and the team defense (which has been a strength thus far) will be the downfall of the Celtics. David Dupree however, says that Rondo and Kendrick Perkins have been just fine for the Celtics. David Picker says that the Celtics are a great example of how quickly a team can turn things around. Mike Fine has a look at the sad legacy of Isiah Thomas with the Knicks. Bill Burt talks to Bill Curley about why the Kevin Garnett/Stephon Marbury duo didn’t work out in Minnesota. Curley was a teammate of theirs on that squad.

Jalen Rose looks at how the East is shaping up thus far.

Wallace Matthews says that the Yankees need to do anything possible to stop the Red Sox. Things really have come full circle in this decade, haven’t they?

Chaz Scoggins has a look at Jon Goode’s new children’s book Pitching with the Papelbons.

An interesting little follow up from Boston Magazine after their feature linked here earlier this week: Charlie Jacobs Backstory.

Bill Simmons did a marathon 7-hour chat session.

Tonight

A very busy night for sports on TV:

7:30pm, NESN – Bruins @ Panthers
7:30pm, ESPN – Rutgers @ Louisville (football)
8:00pm, TNT – Knicks @ Celtics
8:00pm, NFLN – Packers @ Cowboys
9:00pm, ESPN2 – Oregon @ Kansas St. (basketball)
10:30pm, TNT – Nuggets @ Lakers
11:00pm, CSN – Oklahoma @ USC (basketball)

Old Linebackers Don’t Just Fade Away

On Patriots Daily this morning, Bill Barnwell examines how the Ravens trade last offseason for Willis McGahee was actually quite a curious move.

Mike Reiss examines how Bill Belichick and the Patriots put a premium on experienced linebackers in their schemes. Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots linebackers refusing to speculate on what lineup changes might be made after Rosevelt Colvin was placed on IR. John Tomase says that the loss of Colvin creates a big void for the Patriots. Christopher Price says that the Patriots will need to do some shuffling to make up for the loss of Colvin. Rich Garven says that Chad Brown was hanging out, just waiting for the Patriots call when it finally came. Chris Kennedy notes that the Patriots will have some adjustments to make now. David Heuschkel notes that the Patriots versatility prevents the loss of Colvin from being a disaster for the defense.

Christopher L. Gasper has Laurence Maroney refusing to get baited by the media into griping about his playing time. Karen Guregian says that Troy Brown could help out on defense, as well as offense and special teams. Ian M. Clark says that the loss of Colvin will test the depth chart of the Patriots for the first time this season. Douglas Flynn has more on the Patriots depth taking a hit this week.

Guregian has Belichick displaying his admiration for Ravens safety Ed Reed yesterday.

Reiss’s notebook has Kevin Faulk being held out of yesterday’s practice with a sore thigh. Young’s notebook has Maroney reved up to run more. Guregian’s notebook has ESPN’s Ron Jaworski saying that Randy Moss took some plays off on Sunday night. Garven’s notebook has Maroney shooting down any talk that he was benched for disciplinary action in the first half on Sunday. Flynn’s notebook has more from Belichick and Tom Brady on Ed Reed.

Red Sox

Over on the Metro page, I’ve got a little look at the end of Dr. Charles Steinberg Era here in Boston.

Amalie Benjamin has Jon Lester winning the Tony Conigliaro Award. Jeff Goldberg has more on the award for the young lefthander, who battled cancer last offseason and came back to be the winning pitcher in the clinching game of the World Series. Joe McDonald has more on the fitting award for the young lefthander. Paul Jarvey has Lester enjoying the award, and hoping he doesn’t get traded. Joe Haggerty has Lester calling the award a “storybook ending” to the past year.

Rob Bradford says that with or without a trade for Twins ace Johan Santana, the Red Sox are in good shape heading into ’08. Benjamin has the Red Sox working with Clay Buchholz to build up his strength in the offseason.

Celtics/Bruins

Steve Bulpett has Knicks coach Isiah Thomas saying the Kevin Garnett seems to have been made to be a Celtic all along. Marc J. Spears has Reggie Miller not regretting his decision not to come out of retirement and join the Celtics. Buddy Thomas has Paul Pierce as just another piece of the puzzle for the Celtics these days.

Jeff Horrigan has Andrew Alberts fortunate enough to be able to return to the ice tonight after taking the cheap shot in Philly earlier this week. Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins embarking on a busy stretch that will test their goaltending depth.

Brown In. Brown Out. Brown In. Colvin Out.

The Patriots made their long-awaited decision on Troy Brown yesterday, activating the 15 year wide receiver and waiving rookie defensive lineman Kareem Brown.

Also, linebacker Rosevelt Colvin was placed on Injured Reserve, ending his season, while the team re-signed veteran linebacker Chad Brown to take his spot on the roster.

The decision on Troy Brown needed to be done by 4:00pm yesterday, but the team didn’t officially announce anything until nearly an hour and a half later. This left media outlets scrambling to find out what the team was going to do. Bill Burt of the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune was ahead of the field as he posted on his blog right around 4:00pm that the team had told Brown he would be activated yesterday.

After Burt, it was John Tomase on The Point After blog at 5:33 who had the full details of the roster moves the Patriots made. WEEI’s Big Show spent much of the time between 4:00pm and 5:30pm mocking Tomase for his “tea leaves” prediction earlier in the day that Brown would not be a part of this team in 2007. They also kept asking why Tomase and Reiss didn’t have the news yet.

WEEI is the home of “Patriots Monday” is it not? The Big Show hosts Bill Belichick each Monday during the season don’t they? Several key figures on the show host “The Real Postgame Show” following Patriots games right? They couldn’t try and get this information on their own? Oh I forgot, it’s much easier to just mock the fact that others have not been able to get the information rather than actually try and get it yourself.

They went by the word of Bill Burt, which did prove to be accurate, even though they made a little fun of him as well, (mostly by Steve Buckley) to which Steve Burton asked at least twice: “Are you going to see him at the Celtics game tonight?” The Celtics of course, played IN Cleveland last night.

On Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp looks at how the Patriots refuse to be held hostage by media “storylines” – something fans would be smart to do as well.

As big and positive as the news on Troy Brown is, the news that Colvin is on IR is just as big, if not bigger. Mike Reiss and John Tomase report on the loss of Colvin to an apparent foot injury suffered Sunday night against the Eagles. Speculation is already beginning as to how the Patriots will deal with this move on the field. Theories advanced include Adalius Thomas moving outside to Colvin’s slot with Junior Seau becoming the starter inside, or younger players such as Pierre Woods or Eric Alexander getting a shot. Also a possibility is more 4-3 defensive play, with Jarvis Green becoming a starter on the defensive line, and Thomas, Bruschi and Vrabel remaining the starters at linebacker.

Christopher Price says that the triple threat Brown brings value to the Patriots roster. Shalise Manza Young has more on the move to activate Troy Brown and carry seven wide receivers on the roster. Douglas Flynn has the Patriots gaining and losing players on the same day. David Heuschkel also reports on the roster moves from yesterday. Eric McHugh has a Patriots report card from the Eagles game. Michael Parente says that the Eagles game showed that it may not be a cakewalk to 19-0 after all for the Patriots.

Mark Farinella muses about the traffic situation around Gillette Stadium on game days. He also expresses a wish that he didn’t jump on the “blueprint” bandwagon. Tomase comes through with another good Tale of the Tape entry looking back in detail at Sunday night’s game. Jim Donaldson says that America may hate the Patriots, but gamblers love them. The Eagle-Tribune has details of Tom Brady Sr doing a local speaking engagement, with plenty of talk about his son and the Patriots.

Tomase’s notebook has more on the return of Troy Brown. Reiss’ notebook says that it is unclear just where Brown will fit in among the Patriots receiver corps.

Celtics

The Celtics suffered just their second loss of the season, a 109-104 overtime setback to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Mark Murphy says that too many mistakes at key junctures led to the Celtics downfall last night. Peter May says that if Saturday night’s win was a gift, the Celtics re-gifted last night and handed this one to the Cavs.

John Molori has an extensive interview with Celtics television play-by-play man Mike Gorman.

Murphy’s notebook observes, that like everyone else in the NBA, the Celtics were unable to slow down LeBron. May’s notebook has the Celtics recalling rookie guard Gabe Pruitt from the developmental league after suffering a backcourt shortage.

Red Sox

Michael Silverman has the Red Sox actively joining the trade talks over Minnesota ace Johan Santana with plans to “aggressively pursue the two-time Cy Young Award winner.” Gordon Edes reports that some select tickets will be put on sale December 8th, and also has a number of other team notes.

Jeff Goldberg reports on the Sox starting spring training two days early next season to get ready for Japan.

Sarah Green says that this should be the year that Jim Rice gets elected to the Hall of Fame.

Bob Tremblay reviews the Red Sox World Series DVD. (The top one to the right here.) Purchasing either of these collectible DVD’s will help support BSMW. (There was no fund drive this year, as you may have noticed.)

Misc.

Jeff Horrigan has Bruins reaction to the two-game suspension handed to the Flyers’ Scott Hartnell for his cheap shot on Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts. Kevin Paul Dupont has more from Alberts on the hit and the suspension.

Steve Conroy has Boston College right tackle Anthony Castonzo doing his homework on trying to slow down Virginia Tech’s Chris Ellis in this Saturday’s ACC title game. Mark Blaudschun notes that the loss to the Eagles earlier in the season proved to be a launching point for the Hokies.

Conroy’s notebook has BC cornerback DeJuan Tribble hoping to be healthy enough to play in Saturday’s championship game.

11.27.07 Afternoon

Can you imagine the uproar if that Monday Night Football game last night had been played at Gillette Stadium? I’m sure Bill Belichick would’ve been blamed somehow…

Ian Donnis delves a little deeper into the departure of Dr. Charles Steinberg from the Red Sox to the Dodgers. David Scott also says so long to Dr. Charles.

This month in Boston Magazine, John Gonzalez has a feature on Charlie Jacobs, who is fighting to rescue the Bruins from obscurity.

Tom Curran says that the Patriots have the right approach for a perfect season.

Ron Borges lauds Eric Mangini for appearing at a charity event recently, despite his team being 1-8 at the time.

John Czarnecki has figured out how to beat the Patriots.

Jeff Passan says that it time to stop referring to Theo Epstein as “kid, wunderkind, prodigy” and start recognizing him with the appropriate title.

Best GM in baseball.

Bill Simmons relates the experience of taking his two and half year old daughter to her first NBA game.

Eric Wilbur examines the chances of the Red Sox getting involved in the Johan Santana trade market.

Tonight

7:00pm, CSN – Celtics @ Cavs
7:00pm, ESPN – Georgia Tech @ Indiana
7:00pm, Versus – Flames @ Red Wings
7:30pm, ESPN2 – Minnesota @ Florida State
9:00pm, ESPN – Wisconsin @ Duke
9:30pm, ESPN2 – Purdue @ Clemson

The Aura of the Blueprint

Yes, the buzzword is still “blueprint.” Right up there is “aura.”

Over on Patriots Daily, Christopher Price examines how 83 seems to be Tom Brady’s lucky number, first with Deion Branch and now Wes Welker. He also has five things to look for this week, and a stat and quote of the week from Inside Gillette.

Michael Felger has his Patriots report card, and notes that if any team needed the Eagles game plan as a blueprint for beating the Patriots, then their scouts haven’t been doing their homework this season. Ian M. Clark also turns in his grades on the Philly game.

John Tomase doesn’t actually use the word “blueprint” in his column today of how the Eagles nearly beat the Patriots, but the headline writer tossed the word atop Tomase’s article for good measure. Mark Farinella tells us that the Patriots have lost their “aura of invulnerability” after Sunday night. David Heuschkel says that the “aura of invincibility” no longer seems to surround the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young considers the Eagles’ game plan against the Patriots and whether the “blueprint” will be copied by other teams. Bill Reynolds says that the game did take away some of the Pats’ “aura of invincibility,” but says that it is a good thing for the team.

Douglas Flynn says that the Patriots “aura of invincibility” is no longer quite so strong. Clark sneaks in a blueprint reference when he writes about how the Patriots survived a perfect storm on Sunday night. Glen Farley says that Andy Reid may have dropped a blueprint for beating ‘‘the untouchables.’’ AP writer Jim Litke tells us that Bill Belichick will make the “blueprint” irrelevant.

Rich Garven manages neither a blueprint or aura reference in his column today, (what’s wrong with this guy? He’s not following the script!) where he makes the point that the Patriots haven’t lost their ability to close out close games. Hector Longo also bucks the trend and uses neither word in his two minute drill wrapup of Sunday night. It must’ve been an Eagle-Tribune edict to stay away from the chosen buzzwords, as Bill Burt managed to go without them as well. Dan Pires says that come from behind wins as this one and the Indianapolis game only add to the Patriots confidence.

Karen Guregian says that Asante Samuel continues to pile up the potential free agent dollars with every interception he makes. Eric McHugh has Samuel salvaging an otherwise dreadful night for the secondary. Christopher L. Gasper has Adalius Thomas putting his seven seasons with the Ravens – and his much publicized feud with Ray Lewis from earlier this season – behind him as he prepares to return to Baltimore on Monday night. Guregian also says that Thomas considers the subject closed when it comes to Lewis. Ron Hobson has Wes Welker enjoying a career night against the Eagles.

Guregian’s notebook has Randall Gay not planning on missing the Monday night game despite the back problems that flared up in the Philly game. The Globe notebook avoids the word “blueprint,” but they too discuss whether other teams will copy the Eagles’ game plan in the future. Flynn’s notebook looks at the nice game from Jabar Gaffney on Sunday. Farley’s notebook has 20 Patriots now having scored touchdowns this season.

Bruins

The Bruins beat the Flyers last night 6-3, but had another one of their players injured by a cheap shot from a Philadelphia player. Kevin Paul Dupont has the account of the game and of defenseman Andrew Alberts getting injured. Rich Thompson notes that the Bruins offense was a thing of beauty on an ugly night in Philly.

Dupont’s notebook has rookie Tuukka Rask picking up his second win in as many starts in goal for the Bruins. Thompson’s notebook has more on the performance of Rask.

Red Sox

The Red Sox World Series DVD set goes on sale today. If you order through the Amazon link here, you’ll be helping to support BSMW.

Gordon Edes talks to Matt Damon, who narrates the DVD set and has proven himself a true Red Sox fan over the years. Michael Silverman has the Red Sox again being generous with their playoff shares.

Edes’ notebook has the Red Sox reporting a couple of days early for spring training – in part to prepare for the trip to Japan to open the season. He also reports on Dr. Charles Steinberg leaving the team to take a position with the Dodgers – an event I expected a full article to be devoted to.

Celtics

Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics stars can relate to LeBron James having to carry the Cavs by himself. Peter May tells us that the small things that Scott Pollard does on the court mean a lot to the Celtics. Bulpett’s notebook has both Allens on the Celtics sitting out practice yesterday with injury, and it appears Tony will not play tonight while Ray should be available.

Mark Blaudschun says that the Boston College Eagles have a whole lot riding on their Atlantic Coast Conference championship game with Virginia Tech this Saturday. A win and they’re in the Orange Bowl, a loss and they could be relegated to a second-rate Bowl game.

Lenny Megliola has Northborough native Mike Sherman being named the head coach of Texas A&M.

A Few More Links…

A few more links from this morning:

Christopher Price has his 10 Things We Learned Last Night about the Patriots and Eagles.

Jim Donaldson says that there is clearly a chink in the Patriots armor. Steve Solloway says that Patriots fans should be thankful for actually having a competitive game to watch. Dan Pires says that it is not going to be pretty within the confines of Gillette this week. Mark Farinella has the Eagles proving to be no Patsies last night.

Peter King devotes the opening of Monday Morning Quarterback to the Patriots game, and how Wes Welker saved New England last night. Michael Silver has his Monday Morning Rush column, and leads off with a look at Jacksonville QB David Garrard. ESPN reporters check in with The Last Call – a look back at the action of week 12.

From Philly, Laura Nachman has some observations about the Patriots/Eagles NBC telecast. NBC showed Curt Schilling at the game, wearing a Tedy Bruschi jersey, and the Red Sox pitcher weighs in with his thoughts on the game.

Patriots Survive Eagle Attack

(Morning Links provided by David Vidinha. Dave can be reached here)

The Philadelphia Eagles gave the Patriots everything they had last night in Foxboro, nearly disrupting the Patriots journey to an undefeated season. The Eagles made certain there would be no talk of “RunningupthescoreGate” after last night’s game forcing the Patriots’ starters to play a full sixty minutes. The Eagles listened to John Madden’s advice from earlier in the week, “come out and be aggressive”, and aggressive they were, eschewing a field goal early in the game, going for it on fourth-and-one, which led to their first touchdown. Later in the half, they surprised the Patriots, recovering an onside kick. The Patriots showed their true spirit though, ultimately charging back and pulling out the 31-28 victory. Tom Brady’s assault on Peyton Manning’s touchdown record was put on hold last night, instead Brady who was 34-of-54, 380 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, showed why he already holds a 3-to-1 lead over Manning in the only record that matters. With Brady’s performance last night, Michael Felger tells us he has regained the MVP vote from Randy Moss. The Eagles did everything possible to contain Randy Moss, holding Moss to 5 catches for 43 yards, but all that attention left the speedy Wes Welker (13 catches, 149 yards) to post a career game. This is a great way to describe the impact of Wes Welker. Along with Welker, Robert Lee of the Providence Journal has Jabar Gaffney having a “breakout” game.

For all of the talk about a record 22.5 point spread, Vegas surely got this one wrong. It did serve to provide some extra motivation for the Philadelphia players, who were not scared. The big question now, which will surely be debated all week is whether the rest of the league now has a blueprint on how to defeat, or at least disrupt the Patriots. If nothing else, Tony Massarotti says last night’s game proved the Patriots are vulnerable. Jackie MacMullan puts a more positive spin on the meaning of last night’s hard fought victory. No matter what gameplan teams decide to use, ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli says that you “cannot fool Brady”. Don Banks says the Patriots’ narrow victory may serve to help them in the long run.

Asante Samuel’s two bookend interceptions were huge, and ultimately the deciding factors in last night’s game. Jeff Horrigan has Rodney Harrison calling Samuel “the best defensive back in the NFL.” While a majority of the attention will be paid to the Eagles defensive scheme, AJ Feeley, the Eagles back-up QB played a tremendous game with the only tarnishes coming on the Samuel picks.

Within the Herald’s Notebook we learn that Rosevelt Colvin left the game with a foot injury. The Globe’s Notebook has Bill Belichick crediting Asante Samuel with the game deciding interceptions.

Amongst all of last night’s drama, the Patriots have clinched the AFC East, making them the Division Champions and also tying them with three other teams for the fastest to secure the division since the NFL expanded to a 16-game schedule in 1978.

Scott Benson over at Patriots Daily has the Patriots dodging a bullet last night. That plus random thoughts on last night’s victory.

Black Friday

David Scott attempts to figure out why he was asked to appear on Entercom-owned WRKO this morning, and then just as quickly, told it wasn’t going to happen after all.

A few notes from the morning papers today:

It seems that Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and the Globe just figured out that December 29th’s Patriots-Giants game, slated for NFL Network, is not going to be available to Patriots fans who don’t have NFLN on their cable/satellite package or who don’t live in range of WCVB channel 5. The column paints the NFL as the bad guys, and ends with the hope that the league will “do the right thing.”

Michael Felger offers evidence that the Patriots are doing things differently this season than they have in the past when it comes to late-game scores in blowouts.

Christopher L. Gasper and Karen Guregian each file nice pieces on Patriots third year safety James Sanders, who has emerged this season as a difference maker in the secondary.

Hector Longo says that the Patriots had better be prepared for more Pro Bowl snubs this year.

There’s a doubleheader at the Garden today, as the Bruins take on the Islanders in their traditional noon game on the day after Thanksgiving, and the Celtics welcome Kobe Bryant and the Lakers tonight.

Marc J. Spears and Mark Murphy look at the ancient Celtics/Lakers rivalry getting some new juice this season with the Celtics return to contender status.

Over on the Boston Metro webpage, I’ve got a look at another feature that has been brought back with the Celtics new status – The Return of the Sixth (man).

A few media columns from this week:

In the Washington Post, Leonard Shapiro examines the increasing trend of sportswriters leaving publications for television and internet gigs. He credits the late Will McDonough as being one of the pioneers in this.

Michael Hiestand looks over the gamut of offerings available on ESPN360.

Tom Hoffarth offers an extensive list of lowlights from the year in sports media.

Dave Darling looks at backhanded compliments often used by sportscasters while calling games.

The limited reach of the NFL Network is also the subject of columns by Jay Posner, Barry Jackson and David Barron.

Neil Best checks out the new NHL Network instead.