(Morning Links provided by Guest Blogger, Brian Beaupre. Brian can be reached here)
Well, it’s Wednesday and already the Spygate, handshake, student/teacher talk is at it’s most nauseating. Need proof? Listen to WEEI today for hours of riveting semantics about whether the Pats actually cheated or just “misinterpreted” the rules. I thought that 5-6 weeks of discussing Camera-gate was enough to draw some conclusions, and it would be nice to discuss the actual game this weekend, given we have higher goals than just beating Mangini. Does the impending bad weather serve as the great equalizer in a game that would be dominated by the Pats on a clean track? Does the Jet’s successful defensive game plan from last year come into play this year? Would be nice to talk about these things…but I’ve been around here long enough to know that’s not how it works. I digress…
Mike Reiss discusses the transformation the Pats’ offense has undergone since the days of playing against the Rams in the Super Bowl back in 2001, where the Pats were a grind-it-out team, especially when the weather got worse, and now Brady operates almost exclusively out of the shotgun. John Tomase statistically breaks down Brady’s soon-to-be record setting season. Shalize Manza Young reflects back on the camera circumstances from September, and the ramifications Mangini’s actions have had on both past and future Patriots performances. Jeff Goldberg takes things a bit further into the past, and gives us a brief history lesson about the Jets/Patriots rivalry. Speaking of blasts from the past, Tony Massarotti has a great piece on Drew Bledsoe, and his appreciation for what the Pats and Tom Brady have accomplished thus far. Say what you will about old Drew, but he is a class act and won’t be forgotten by this Pats fan. Although it sounds like Tony didn’t even want to touch his relationship with Belichick. Maybe Ron Borges could chime in with some off-the-record nuggets for us? Dan Shaughnessy also takes a look at the bitter past between Belichick and Mangini, and tells us not to believe the downplaying of the past by BB and Co.
Mike Reiss’ notebook discusses Richard Seymour’s health (remember him?), another Patriots record of turnover differential in sight, Pro Bowl voting, and what seems to be going overlooked in this game on Sunday; that the Pats can clinch the #1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win this weekend. I remember last season when guys like Reiss and Mike Felger made great points about how important home field and a bye were in the playoffs for the Pats during their Super Bowl runs. Funny how they have achieved this goal again, only to be overshadowed by the pursuit of a perfect season…which I’m clearly ok with, but let’s give credit where credit is due for preventing a travel schedule like the one they had last year.
Over at Patriots Daily, Dan Snapp takes a look at the Patriots inclination to pass more, and whether this pass happy approach can remain effective.
Peter May has an interesting look at Doc Rivers sharing the same passion for a championship as his players, never having won one as a player or coach. Mark Murphy has players and coaches reflecting that this season’s crowd at the Garden reminds some people of the old days. Peter May has a look at the Celtics one game away from tying the 1984-1985 franchise record for consecutive home victories to open the season, 12-0. Jeff Horrigan discusses assistant coach Clifford Ray’s influence on the young big men, Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins.
Fluto Sinzawa has a piece on backup goalie Alex Auld and his strong performance against the Sabres on Monday. Stephen Harris has the Bruins talking about their confidence in each other to start the season, and they expected to be as good as their second-best record in the Eastern Conference suggests. That was not a misprint; your Boston Bruins have the second best record in the Eastern Conference. Shinzawa’s notebook discusses the improvement of young Milan Lucic. Harris’ notebook details the struggles of Manny Fernandez, as well as the potential absences and returns for tonight’s game against the Thrashers.
Well when was the last time you saw the Sox this far down on the sports radar in Boston? The Johan Santana talks continue, and amidst reports that the Twins and Sox revived their conversations this weekend, Michael Silverman reiterates, well, that not much has happened since the end of the winter meetings. Gotta love this hot stove stuff, eh? As much as the Twins want to posture about the deals for Santana as insufficient, you would have to believe they will move him somewhere, as I’d like to think the delay is more a product of a brand new GM, who got a lot of difficult decisions put on his plate early in his tenure. I am glad, however, to hear the Sox holding the line with their offer, as much as it hurts to hear the Twins have now shifted their focus to Ellsbury. By the way, $125 for an autograph from Ellsbury? The same week he signs with Scott Boras? Na, can’t be any correlation between the two.
Joe Haggerty over at the Metro caught up with former Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler.
Thanks for checking us out this morning, check out the Celtics tonight at home hosting the Sacramento Kings at 7:30 pm, and the Bruins take on the Thrashers in Atlanta at 7pm. Feel free to shoot me any comments at [email protected]