Bruins Scoring Woes Continue

The Bruins continue to struggle offensively, and see their playoff position weakening with each game. Last night the Bruins fell to the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Garden, 3-1.

Steve Conroy says that the Bruins continue to give the same workmanlike effort, but their biggest problem remains the scoring. John Powers says that if the Bruins miss the playoffs, they’ll look back at this one as a wasted chance.Douglas Flynn says that the Bruins are downright offensive these days. Bud Barth says that this is the Bruins worst and most prolonged scoring slump in 17 years. Tony Lee says that not even the Lightning could get the Bruins back on track.

Stephen Harris notes that the Bruins margin of error for making the playoffs is now very slim indeed. Mick Colageo asserts that the Bruins, if anything, are trying too hard to break out of their offensive woes. Mike Loftus agrees that the Bruins certainly aren’t making things easy for themselves.

Conroy’s notebook has a trio of Bruins trying to get back for the final few games – Patrice Bergeron, Manny Fernandez and Andrew Alberts. Powers’ notebook has the trio taking the ice at morning skate with their teammates. Flynn’s notebook has more on the three injured Bruins. Barth’s notebook has more on the Bruins offensive struggles. Bob Stern’s notebook says that Tim Thomas looked solid, despite the loss.

Red Sox

OK, so I enjoyed Tony Massarotti‘s column today about his getting up close to the knuckleball. So shoot me.

One of the reasons Massarotti wanted to see how difficult it is to track the knuckleball was because for most of the last 6 1/2 seasons, Doug Mirabelli has been Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher. That era appears to have come to an end with the release of Mirabelli yesterday afternoon. Art Martone says that Mirabelli was in the right place at the right time for his career here in Boston. Nick Cafardo says that while the Sox have decided Kevin Cash is the better option for now, the move really highlights the value of Jason Varitek as the main man behind the plate for the Sox. Massarotti also reports on the Sox releasing Wake’s catcher yesterday. Joe McDonald says that yesterday was a public changing of the guard, as Mirabelli had been penciled into the starting lineup and then taken out.

I’m pretty sure that only in Boston could this much coverage be given to the release of the backup catcher.

Steve Buckley has a look at Bartolo Colon, who made his debut for the Sox, and looked pretty good doing it. Buckley says that size truly doesn’t matter for Colon. Massarotti says that Red Sox officials were surprised by Colon’s arm strength in his outing yesterday. Buckley writes about the Yankees and Rays going at it again yesterday. Joe Haggerty has Jason Varitek looking ahead to what might be the final contract of his career. Maureen Mullen has former Red Sox #1 pick Rick Asadoorian trying to make it as a reliever with the Dodgers.

Goldberg’s notebook has more on the release of Mirabelli. Cafardo’s notebook looks again at the starting debut of Colon for the Red Sox. McDonald’s notebook notebook has the Sox brass impressed with what they saw from Colon. Massarotti’s notebook has Francona and Epstein sitting down with Coco Crisp.

Celtics

Shirley Coshatt on the BSMW Full Court Press exclaims that Celtics Pride is back! Jackie MacMullan says that it is sure nice to have the Celtics back among the ranks of the contenders. Gerry Callahan says that while Kevin Garnett continues his march to join the all time Celtics greats, two stand above everyone else – Larry Bird and Bill Russell. Of those two, Callahan says Russell is the greatest winner ever. Mike Fine talks to Cedric Maxwell about comparing this season to Bird’s rookie season, when the Celtics went from 29 wins the season before to 61 wins when Bird arrived.

Peter May has Doc Rivers trying to conserve his team by forgoing the traditional practice sessions for almost a week. Scott Souza says that the team can benefit from these days off. Jeff Horrigan says that the Celtics defense is what sets this team apart. Jeff Clark offers up a primer of playoff basketball for newbie Celtics fans.

Yesterday’s Big Show was a perfect example of the sports acumen of the typical WEEI caller. Cedric Maxwell was talking about Larry Bird’s playing days, and how even Bird wouldn’t have asked the coach to have an extra practice, as Kevin Garnett apparently did earlier this week. An irate caller demanded to know how in the world Maxwell could possibly know what Bird was like day-to-day in his playing career. Maxwell simply answered “I was on the team.”

Patriots

Christopher L. Gasper reports on how cornerback Lewis Sanders jumped at the chance to join the Patriots as a free agent this offseason. Mark Farinella writes about the apparent end to Troy Brown’s Patriots career. John Tomase reports that Brown is already getting offers from teams, but has a stipulation that the team he joins not be on the Patriots schedule next season.

Mark Blaudschun has the 11th ranked (in the ACC) Boston College Eagles stunning Maryland in the first round of the ACC Tournament last night.

TheBigLead.com Reveals Identity

On the heels of the Fire Joe Morgan crew revealing their identities recently, the man behind another huge sports blog, TheBigLead.com has also decided the time has come to tell the world who he is.

Richard Deitsch of SI.com has an interview with 31-year-old Jason McIntyre, a former sportswriter, who runs the site from his home in Brooklyn.

Here is some of McIntrye’s background:

Unlike the FJM crew, McIntyre has a background in sports journalism. He interned at the Greensboro News & Record after graduating from James Madison University in 1996 and then moved to New Jersey, where he held sportswriting jobs at the Herald News and Bergen Record. McIntyre freelanced for ESPN.com’s Page 3 and ESPN the Magazine and had a tryout for Gawker’s sports blog, the precursor to what is now Deadspin.com. He left the Bergen Record for Star magazine in 2004 and went to work at US Weekly in 2005 as a reporter. He has also freelanced for a number of papers, from The Boston Globe to Metro, a free daily newspaper published in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

McIntyre updates the site 10 to 15 times a day, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., and usually answers upward of 75 e-mails daily. He has aggressively courted media members as sources. He says writers forward him stories — often their own — on a daily basis. “I think they e-mail us because we are fair,” he says. “We call it like we see it.”

A quick search in the Globe archives didn’t bring back any results, but I never seem to find what I’m looking for in that search anyway. His online resume lists out all of his experience.

Celtics More Super Than Sonics

The Celtics extended their winning streak to 10 games last night, as they routed the Seattle SuperSonics, 111-82 at the Garden.

Peter May has the game report for the Globe, and notes that even Tim Donaghy could’ve impacted the outcome of this one. However to me, the most startling part of May’s article was when he revealed that Danny Ainge exchanges text messages with reporters (apparently) during the game. I wonder how that goes: Reporter: “omg, did u c that play?” Ainge: “w00t! ttyl” Steve Bulpett says that this runaway win was as humane to the Sonics as the Celtics could manage. Scott Souza says that last night was the lull before the schedule picks up in intensity over the next couple of weeks. Bill Doyle has the Celtics hitting their stride right now with the win streak at 10. Jeff Howe has the Celtics not sleeping on Seattle at the Garden last night.

Jeff Horrigan has Sam Cassell getting a warm welcome from the Garden faithful in his first home game with the Celtics. With Kevin Durant in town, Dan Shaughnessy takes us back to the night of the draft lottery, when Durant could’ve fallen in the Celtics lap, but even that night was initially devastating, it sure seems like things worked out better in the end. Horrigan also has a look at how the way the ping-pong balls bounced worked out well for the Celtics. Mike Fine notes that we might not have the Seattle Supersonics to kick around for much longer.

May’s notebook has Durant carrying a heavy load for the young Sonics. Bulpett’s notebook has the Celtics bringing up another good omen with their 10th win in a row – the first double-digit win streak since the 1985-86 season. Doyle’s notebook says that it sure appears that the Celtics got the better end of the Ray Allen trade with the Sonics.

Red Sox

I’ll give credit to Rob Bradford’s blog for pointing it out to me last night, but Maureen Mullen has a great interview with Manny Ramirez on RedSox.com. Manny talks about his training habits, getting older, and his addiction to the self-help book The Secret, which he says has changed his outlook, and he also talks about his passion for reading in general. Warning: This is not your typical boilerplate “Manny Ramirez is a idiot savant at the plate and clueless in life” type of story. Some of you no doubt will be disappointed.

Tony Massarotti tells us that the Sox could use another starting pitcher. Gordon Edes has a mini-feature on the man they call “The Mayor,” new first baseman Sean Casey. Steve Buckley has Manny and Big Papi serving notice that they might be ready for the season to start. Jeff Goldberg has more on Ramirez and Ortiz heating up in spring training.

Jon Couture notes that Manny Delcarmen is finally coming into his own with the Red Sox. Joe McDonald has the pride of Rhode Island, Roco Baldelli, being placed on the Injured List “indefinitely” with an undiagnosed problem with the muscles in his legs. Buckley has Kevin Cash trying to prove his worth to the Sox. Buddy Thomas says that Joe Girardi isn’t getting off to a good start as Yankees manager. Bob Halloran wonders if the deck is stacked against the Sox this summer.

Massarotti’s notebook has Francona and Epstein planning on meeting with Coco Crisp to discuss his health and situation with the team. Amalie Benjamin’s notebook has Manny and Big Papi getting in some healthy cuts at the plate yesterday. McDonald’s notebook has Clay Buchholz getting back on track with a strong outing yesterday. Goldberg’s notebook also checks out the start by Buchholz. Couture’s notebook though, says that Clay still has some things to work on before the season starts.

Patriots

Christopher L. Gasper reports that the Patriots are prepared to part ways with Troy Brown, who will likely not be offered a contract for next season. John Tomase examines whether Ty Law is likely to sign with the Patriots or the Jets. I agree with his conclusion that the Jets are a more likely destination. Ty Law has always done what is going to put more money in Ty Law’s pockets, even if it is just for one year. You can’t blame the guy. Hell, we all gotta eat.

Bill Burt notes that Matt Walsh has gotten the fame that he has apparently always craved, but wonders if he has the goods to back up his claim to fame. Glen Farley says that the Patriots need to get defensive in next month’s draft.

Bruins/Revs/NCAA

Fluto Shinzawa looks at how the power play has abandoned the Bruins. Stephen Harris has Tim Thomas talking about his recent cutback in playing time. Mike Loftus says that the Bruins need to remember how to score.

Frank Dell’Apa says that the Revs aren’t taking the easy road this month. Mike Biglin has the team heading out on a six-day training trip. John Connolly has Revolution midfielder Jeff Larentowicz ready for a bigger role.

Marty Dobrow has a feature on UMass forward Etienne Brower and his family saga. Mark Blaudschun has a look at BC guard Tyrese Rice. Mark Murphy has the young Eagles unfazed heading into the ACC tournament.

Hazard Pay For Sox Writers?

Sports by Brooks notes that being a Red Sox beat reporter this week has been a job that might entail some hazard pay, with pelicans dive-bombing into windshields and foul balls smashing laptops. Deadspin also picks up the SBB storyline.

Hey, that’s nothing, imagine being in the clubhouse when Roger Clemens was firing bread rolls at reporter’s heads.

Bill Simmons takes a serious turn today, writing about the senseless murder of 17-year-old Los Angeles football star Jamiel Shaw Jr.

Mike Reiss has Ty Law talking about how the Jets have been much more aggressive in pursuing him this offseason.

Chad Finn has 10 thoughts on the local sports scene.

It’s fun listening to Pete Sheppard vigorously defend Randy Moss’ character (granted, it’s in comparison to Pacman Jones) on the Big Show today…especially when you remember the things he said about Moss before he joined the Patriots.

Greenwell Speaks Out on Clemens, Steroids

Nick Cafardo catches up with former Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell, who threw out the first pitch yesterday, and weighed in on the steroid issue. Steve Buckley has more from Greenwell, who says that Roger Clemens deserves to be in the Hall of Fame despite the fact that Greenwell feels he might’ve used performance-enhancing drugs. Joe McDonald has Greenwell saying that he himself was tempted to use steroids, and even looked into it, but his wife (a nurse) convinced him otherwise. Jeff Goldberg has Greenwell firing out on Dan Duquette, and blaming the former GM for his estrangement from the organization for many years. Jon Couture has Greenwell pulling no punches in his discussion with the media.

Gordon Edes has a mini-feature on Bill James, who serves as senior adviser/baseball operations for the Red Sox, and who has a new book out this spring: The Bill James Gold Mine 2008. This book contains new essays and statistical compilations, and is in the same style as much of his earlier work. James has also been interviewed by 60 Minutes this spring.

Tony Massarotti says that it is clear that this trip to Japan is messing things for the Red Sox , who don’t appear to be ready to play regular season games next week. Maureen Mullen has a look at first baseman/outfielder Chris Carter, who is impressing some in camp with his bat and work ethic and would like nothing better than a chance to play in Fenway for the Red Sox. Massarotti also reports that it seems pretty much all but official that Josh Beckett will not be making the trip to Japan. He also reports that MLB is sending an expert to rebuild the pitching mound in the stadium that the Red Sox and A’s will be playing in.

Buckley has Tim Wakefield ready to step in if either (or both) Josh Beckett or Daisuke Matsuzaka are unable to make the trip to the Far East. Joe Haggerty says that Jacoby Ellsbury could be with the Sox to stay this season. Sarah Green says that it is too early to be making snap judgments about the Sox.

Massarotti’s notebook says that the trip to Japan might actually give Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen a break, as the duo has been busy in recent days. Amalie Benjamin’s notebook also says that Beckett is looking doubtful for Japan. Goldberg’s notebook says that Beckett isn’t close to being ready to make the trip. Couture’s notebook says that there has been no official announcement from the Red Sox on Beckett’s status.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa and Steve Conroy have the Bruins offense once again unable to get anything started as they fall to the Senators, 4-1.

Shinzawa’s notebook has Ottawa taking advantage of the absence of Zdeno Chara for the Bruins. Conroy’s notebook has Chara listed as day-to-day for the B’s.

Celtics/Patriots

Marc J. Spears has a look at Paul Pierce, who many feel is playing the best basketball of his career this season, even though the raw numbers might not fully show that. Steve Bulpett has a look at Kendrick Perkins picking up his game recently and becoming a force under the basket. Jim Fenton has the Celtics looking to put together 10 wins in a row for the first time since the 1985-86 season.

Mark Farinella says that there are a number of cracks showing in the Patriots armor right now. Karen Guregian catches up with new Patriot Tank Williams and talks about his nickname, about playing with Pacman Jones, and his playing style. Mike Reiss reports on the restraining order against Randy Moss being dropped.

Kate Augusto in the Globe runs the obituary of John E. Callaghan, a longtime sports anchor for Channel 7, who died on March 5th.

Peter King’s Loose Lips

Peter King appeared on WEEI’s Dale & Holley show today to discuss his recent USO tour in Afghanistan. He talked about the troops, and how they use football and talking about football as a real escape from what they have to deal with from day to day.

King loves to talk, and to tell stories of the people he talks to and his experiences. Today however, he might’ve gone a little too far when he gave out the number of Special Forces platoons in in Afghanistan.

A later caller to the show, who claimed to be connected to the military, criticized King for revealing this type of information over the airwaves and suggested that someone should pull King aside and advise him that he might need to be a little more careful about the things that he talks about on the radio. Dale and Holley agreed with this counsel, with Arnold saying that he would send King an email about it.

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Mike Reiss has this week’s edition of the Patriots Mailbag.

Chris Colston of USA Today looks at how Kevin Garnett has led the Celtics revival.

Bob Ryan‘s story of a “scouting” trip that he took with Dave Cowens in 1979 when Cowens was the player-coach of the Celtics is definitely worth a read.

Don Banks says that Spygate might finally be nearing its end.

Bill Simmons plays “What If” with the NBA of the last decade.

Borges Blasts Globe, Defends Walsh.

In an effort to bring you a “fair and balanced” perspective to the Matt Walsh story in yesterday’s Globe, I present to you a link to Ron Borges’ rebuttal piece posted on ronborges.com.

I bring you this link if only because it’s fun to:

1) See Ronnie bash the Globe.

and

2) See Ronnie defend Matt Walsh – the roommate would never have discovered that Walsh left knives in his bed if he wasn’t using the bed in the first place…by that logic, Walsh could’ve set the bed on fire and it would be roommate’s fault for being in it.

Good times.

I do agree with Ron on one point: Roger Goodell has just done a horrible job managing this situation from start to finish and is one of the main reasons the story just won’t go away. The NFL looks more and more ridiculous everytime the Commissioner opens his mouth as of late.

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Old friend Albert Breer tipped me off to this story down in Dallas, which could be setting an interesting precedent in sports media and blogging.

Apparently the Mavericks and Mark Cuban have banned writers from the locker room whose “primary purpose is to blog.” This includes writers from the local newspapers.

So far, this new edict has only impacted one writer, Tim MacMahon of the Dallas Morning News, who just happened to have been critical of coach Avery Johnson recently.

Cuban, on his blog, Blog Maverick explains that the new policy is simply due to the lack of space in the Mavericks’ locker room, and in the effort of granting equal access to all bloggers.

Right.

Boston Five-Oh

Kevin Henkin on the BSMW Full Court Press chronicles the experience of a Celtics fan at a Bruins game.

The Celtics picked up their fiftieth win of the season last night in Philadelphia, as they knocked off the Sixers 100-86. Kevin Garnett led the way with 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Green, who reached the 50-win plateau for the first time since the 1991-92 season – the last year of the Larry Bird era.

Marc J. Spears has Doc Rivers and the Celtics downplaying the significance of the 50th win, saying that they weren’t aware of it, and that they have bigger goals in mind. Steve Bulpett also has the Celtics quickly distancing themselves from both the Sixers and the accomplishment of 50 wins. Tim Weisberg says that the emergence of Kendrick Perkins as of late has given the Celtics a boost.

In Philly, they were hyped for this one, as Marc Narducci notes that it was the biggest and most animated crowd of the year for the Sixers. Phil Jasner says that the Sixers showed that they aren’t quite ready for prime time just yet. Bob Ford looks at the difference that Kevin Garnett makes for the Celtics. Sam Donnellon says that the crowd for the game last night indicates that the Sixers are arriving. Jasner has Doc Rivers comparing Andre Miller to Andrew Toney.

Spears’ notebook has Sam Cassell trying to shake off the rust that comes with not playing in 2 1/2 weeks. Bulpett’s notebook has Cassell getting graded on a curve from Rivers for his rusty performance last night.

Red Sox

Boston sports media types rejoice! Josh Beckett has a sore back! You can now fully stoke the flames of panic among your consumers! He might not make the trip to Japan!

Gordon Edes and Dan Shaughnessy have Beckett feeling much more sore yesterday than he did on Sunday, which seems to put his availability for the Japan trip in doubt. Steve Buckley says that Beckett will keep continuing to receive treatment, but his status is up in the air. Joe McDonald tells us that Jon Lester might in line to take Beckett’s place at the top of the rotation if the latter cannot make the trip to Japan.

Dan Shaughnessy says that the principals in the proposed Johan Santana trade from the winter were in action yesterday, and they’ve all moved on from the situation. Apparently the media hasn’t. Steve Buckley informs us that talk of this trade will last for years and years because the Red Sox players offered were all so young. Jeff Goldberg has Lester facing off against Santana yesterday, with neither pitcher getting the edge.

Jon Couture has a look at Jacoby Ellsbury and how despite being labeled “the next big thing,” he’s keeping things day to day. He mentions that Ellsbury was named one of the ten “young athletes most likely to become cultural touchstones over the next decade” by the Miami Herald on Monday. Tony Massarotti has Pedro Martinez pitching for a new three year deal. Buckley has former Brandeis pitcher Nelson Figueroa trying to make a return to the Majors. Joe Haggerty looks at the impact that players drafted by the Red Sox in 2005 are already having with the club.

The Globe notebook says that the status of Julio Lugo and Coco Crisp for Japan is also up in the air, as neither player can get on the field this spring. Buckley’s notebook says that with the uncertainty of who will be available, Jon Lester is very much in the running for a start in Japan. McDonald’s notebook has the Red Sox glad that they stood pat on the Santana trade. Goldberg’s notebook has more on the medical struggles of Beckett and Lugo. Couture’s notebook says that the Sox aren’t worried about the one that got away in Santana.

Bruins/Pats/Misc

Fluto Shinzawa has a look at the job that Alex Auld has done recently in stepping in for Tim Thomas. Steve Conroy says that if the Bruins can just score a goal or two, they might get back on track. Tony Lee has a quick look at the ups and downs of Thomas.

Christopher L. Gasper reports that the frivolous $100 Million lawsuit filed against the Patriots by and Ex-Ram player and fans has been dropped. Lenny Megliola says that the Randy Moss story with the Patriots continues on, and with a new deal in place, there are a few more chapters to be written.

Frank Dell’Apa has the Revolution bucking the league trend of going for older, high-priced, high-profile players.

Jeff Goodman has Tyrese Rice going at it alone for the Boston College basketball team.

David Scott reports on the demise of sports radio 790 AM/99.7 FM The Score in Providence.

Glenn Ordway Update

Glen Ordway called into the Big Show shortly after 5:00 to update the situation with his family. He reported that they are now “cautiously optimistic” about his newborn daughter Mia’s chances of having a normal life. She is being treated at Children’s Hospital, where she received the same thermal cooling treatment that Bills tight end Kevin Everett received to lessen brain swelling and trauma.

He also reported that his wife Sarah has been discharged from the hospital and is on her way to recovery.

Ordway acknowledged the overwhelming support that has been shown his family over the past week, including the fact that he has heard from people he never would’ve expected. He said he has been humbled by the entire experience.

He hopes to return to the WEEI airwaves in the next week or so.

Boston Globe, Patriots Mouthpiece? Not So Fast.

This morning’s Bob Hohler report in the Globe about Matt Walsh has predictably sparked much conversation on the radio airwaves and across the internet.

Gerry Callahan this morning effectively dismissed the Globe’s report as simply the Patriots going on the offensive to attempt to discredit Walsh before he talks.

In my mind, there’s a problem with that theory.

Other than Mike Reiss, and possibly Chris Gaspar, who at the Globe has a relationship with the Patriots that would result in the paper publishing a one-sided account in the team’s favor?

If anything, the Globe has shown a penchant in recent years for publishing articles containing the gripes of players and agents against the organization, usually right on the morning of a big game. (A Jackie MacMullan special)

Let me put it this way…do you think that if the Globe found anything in their investigation that they could use against the Patriots or that would put the team in a bad light, that they would hold it back and not report it?

Of course not. They would leap at the chance to publish material of that sort. As reader Jeff pointed out, Hohler is also the one who wrote the curious feature on Patriots backup fullback Kyle Eckel, which included all the dirt he could find, right down to his bottom standing in his graduating class.

If fact, I find it somewhat amusing which paragraph Boston.com used for promoting this story on their sports section:

Amid news that former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh is close to reaching an agreement to tell what he knows, the Globe found that Walsh broke league rules under orders from the Patriots by videotaping opponents’ signals between 2000 and 2002, and could have video recordings to prove it, which has not been previously reported.

Not any of the ones with information on Walsh, but the one that has the Patriots ordering Walsh to break league rules. (Something that has already come out anyway, as the league said Bill Belichick admitted taping signals from the beginning of his tenure in New England.) SI.com’s FanNation does the same thing.

It is clear to me that the Patriots had minimal, if any input into this article. The Globe certainly didn’t serve as their mouthpiece for discrediting Matt Walsh. He apparently has done a good enough job himself of creating doubt in his credibility.