Happy Friday

(Morning Links provided by Guest Blogger Brian. Brian can be reached at [email protected])

With the Pats on their bye week, and Celtics with the night off, it was a fairly quiet night for Boston sports fans, as the Bruins couldn’t steal the spotlight with a victory last night against the Canadiens. But of course we’ll start with our World Series Champs and the Mike Lowell sweepstakes.

Red Sox

Nick Cafardo has a look back at a “relaxing and enjoyable” stay at the GM meetings for Theo Epstein, as he indicates the Sox have made a guaranteed three-year offer to Lowell, but all remains quiet. Cafardo also provides a to-do list for the young GM in the coming weeks. Michael Silverman has more on the Sox “really strong” offer to Lowell, and the Sox options should negotiations break down. Silverman’s Notebook has Theo downplaying his late night meeting with Boras and Co., and the Sox sending Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz down to Josh Beckett’s ranch this offseason to train with him. They might even shoot some deer. The Associated Press reports that 11 current free agents are listed in the highly anticipated Mitchell Report, and also reports on the commissioner’s attempts at open information sharing and honesty at the GM meetings, which obviously doesn’t bode well for one Scott Boras and A-Rod, who thrive on false leverage.

Patriots

John Tomase hands out his midseason awards, with a lot of electrifying moments to remember from the first nine games, and almost all of them involving one Randy Moss on offense. Karen Guregian discusses some holes the Pats might try and fill heading into the home stretch, with a look at some deceiving stats from the first 9 games. Since the majority of us don’t get the NFL Network, we depend on various media outlets to keep us aware of any interesting developments from the mother station. Guregian has Mike Pereira, the NFL’s VP of Officiating, defending the absurd pass interference call on Ellis Hobbs Sunday, as well as the rookie crew, who had extensive NFL Europe experience. His defense of the call is laughable, and a point was made by Mike Felger yesterday that if these are the types of calls the NFL is beginning to make, defenses don’t stand a chance in stopping teams like the Colts or Pats. Sure sounds like someone on the Competition Committee has had Pereira’s ear, no? Robert Lee has Richard Seymour working his way back into playing shape amidst the first real adversity he has faced in his career. The Hartford Courant has the AP article on Don Shula backing off his comments about the Patriots and asterisk talk.

Don’t forget to head over to Patriots Daily for all your coverage of the Pats this weekend.

Celtics

Bob Ryan can barely contain himself with excitement over the Celtics finally being relevant again, reflecting back on the days of the real “Big Three,” even soliciting the praise of some esteemed Holy Cross graduates/Celtics legends (shameless alma mater plug). With the Celtics trying to continue the momentum of the Pats and Sox, Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers sounding Patriot-like in his assessment of the team and where they hope to be come early spring. Peter May’s notebook discusses James Posey’s status for tonight’s game, as well as the Celtics second quarter success early in the season. Bulpett’s notebook has more on the Celts approach with Posey this weekend, as well as high praise for tonight’s opponent, the Atlanta Hawks. Apparently Glen “Big Baby” Davis has a diary in the Herald. Basically exactly what you think you’d hear from a rookie entering the league (trying to find my role, adjusting to NBA life is different than college, etc.) But at least he addresses the fisticuffs between him and Leon Powe last weekend!

Bruins

With the Bruins losing again last night to the hated Canadiens, Stephen Harris has the team frustrated with their inability to score lately. Fluto Shinzawa has more on their struggles as of late, pointing toward a scoreless 5-3 shift in the third period as the prime example. Harris’ Notebook discusses yet another cheap shot taken at the Bruins, this time by Francis Bouillon with an elbow to Aaron Ward’s head as he Bouillon came out of the box, as well as the goalie situation behind Tim Thomas. Shinzawa’s Notebook discusses Glen Murray’s slow start to the season, the Bruins inability to generate power plays thus far, and the contrast in goaltenders between Montreal and Boston. On a more sombering note, Patrice Bergeron addressed the media yesterday for the first time since the gruesome hit he suffered, and Steve Buckley captures the scene, with a visibly weary Bergeron discussing his current state, and pleading for the NHL to address hits from behind to prevent further injuries. Buckley appropriately describes this press conference of the 22 year-old as “not just throwaway words from a garden-variety press conference. This was one of those cases when, suddenly, real life turned the games we love into secondary news. We went through this when Tedy Bruschi suffered a stroke, and when Jon Lester was diagnosed with cancer.” Shinzawa has more on the press conference, detailing the daily struggles Bergeron endures, and has Bergeron coming off as a mature, classy individual who does not hold ill will against Randy Jones for the hit.

Misc

Mark Blaudschun has BC taking it easy before their game with Maryland tomorrow night. Blaudschun has the BC defense playing well amidst the team’s offensive success this season. Steve Conroy has more on the challenges the defense faces tomorrow night. Mark Murphy has a look at the BC hoops team, and has questions that the young team must answer this season.

Kyle McCarthy has even the Revolution getting involved in the fun, capturing their third straight Eastern Conference title last night at Gillette. John Connolly has more on the spectacular goal by Taylor Twellman that lifted the Revs.

That’s all for today, enjoy a weekend of running-up-the-score/spygate-free football, as well as the Celtics in action at home tonight against the Hawks, and traveling to New Jersey to face the Nets tomorrow night. The Bruins square off against the Sabres on Saturday night in Buffalo as well.

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