Today’s morning links from guest blogger Brian Beaupre. Brian can be reached at [email protected]
The first weekend in April, and we’re talking about a Celtics magic number, potential Bruins playoff opponents, the Sox out to a fast start after a trip around the world, literally, and the Pats…well, not doing a whole lot other than apologizing. Oh, and we have what could be the most exciting Final Four in years as well. But I wouldn’t be doing a great story justice without starting off with Umass basketball. Read that line again, it’s real.
Unfortunately, the boys from Amherst couldn’t get it done in the losers bracket, aka NIT Championship last night at Madison Square Garden. Michael Vega has the Minutemen coming out swinging last night, but not able to withstand Ohio State in the second half. Matt Gagne has more on Umass unable to sustain their fast start. Vega’s notebook discusses Travis Ford’s future at Umass and rumors he is the frontrunner for the LSU head coaching position, as well as old friend John Calipari saying that the recent suspension of Andre Allen will not distract his team from the task at hand.
The Sox had a day off to rest yesterday as their world tour continues, but get back to action tonight against the Blue Jays in Toronto. With old friend Tim Wakefield getting the nod tonight, Gordon Edes takes a look at Kevin Cash, who now carries the burden of catching the knuckleball and justifying the release of Doug Mirabelli on his shoulders. Joe McDonald has a look at Bobby Kielty’s decision to accept his assignment to the Pawsox, in hopes that the Sox make a move and call his number in the near future. Steve Crowe has more from Rhode Island, with Bartolo Colon taking a big step in putting his name into the starting rotation discussion with an excellent outing last night. Rich Thompson has more on Colon’s outing last night. Tony Massarotti looks at what makes the Sox different from the similarly talented Toronto Blue Jays; experience. Jeff Horrigan has the Sox eager to get home next week for their home opener, but needing to finish off their world tour strong in Toronto. I hate to even give Canseco more pub than he already has, but Steve Buckley takes a shot at Canseco, who apparently hung up on the Big Show yesterday when questioned about a failed business deal with A-rod. I guess Canseco was in Boston yesterday for a book signing, and Amalie Benjamin talks to him about being questioned by MLB investigators the previous day, as well as a request for the Gator’s MVP trophy to be returned to it’s rightful owner. Dan Duggan has more on the absurd yesterday at Borders in Downtown Crossing. Horrigan’s notebook takes a look at tonight’s starter, Tim Wakefield, and his hopes to remain healthy this season with a new batterymate in Kevin Cash. Alex Speier has his sixth and final piece on the Sox player development strategy in the wake of their 2004 championship.
The Celtics magic number to clinch home court throughout the playoffs is down to 1, so with that hopefully a foregone conclusion, the discussion now turns to preparing for the playoffs and how to treat the final 7 games. Julian Benbow has both Sam Cassell and PJ Brown looking to use the final set of games to get in sync with the offense and defense for their playoff run. Mark Murphy discusses the development of Rajon Rondo, and the heated moments that have helped him gain respect with the veterans. Murphy has a quick piece on Pierce most likely out for tomorrow night’s game against the Bobcats, as his wife is due to deliver their first child.
A Bruins post before the Pats? Seems like blasphemy in this town, but with the B’s fighting for their playoff lives, and the Pats soaking it up at the owener’s meetings, I’m going to go with the former. Steve Conroy has the Bruins taking on the Senators tonight in their biggest game of the year, and even though they control their own destiny with a win, some of the players admit to a little scoreboard watching on their off night. Shinzawa’s notebook discusses David Krejci’s return to his junior hockey playing days in Ottawa, as well as the return of Andrew Alberts on Wednesday night. Conroy’s notebook has more on Alberts return to the lineup, Andrew Ference’s potential return to the ice, and red-hot Washington Capitals. Stan Grossfeld talks to Canadiens forward Chris Higgins about concussions and its stamp on hockey players of all ages. Grossfeld expands on the culture of violence in hockey and the perception of concussions with an excellent piece on Patrice Bergeron and his struggles to return from his vicious injury. Grossfeld also gets a rare interview with Eric Lindros, who echoes the sentiment of many former players that respect for the game and other players has diminished with time, and that some of the hits this year would not be tolerated in his day.
Not much going on here, but Guregian’s notebook has a quick interview with Kevin Faulk, who discusses his arrest for marijuana, charity softball tournament, and the Super Bowl. Guregian also touches on the Pats preseason schedule, Brett Favre’s “retirement,” and Chris Henry getting released by the Bengals. Mike Reiss has more from Faulk, as well as the announcement of the Pats preseason schedule this season, woo!
The Revolution opened up their road schedule last night against Chicago, and lost 4-0. Jack McCarthy has more on the loss last night. Frank Dell’Apa has more on last night’s night loss, which started with an untimely and questionable red card, forcing the Revs to play a man down for 83 minutes.
Finally, Nancy Marrapese-Burrell touches on both the Sox and Bruins playing tonight, creating a conflict for NESN, who has moved the Bruins game to CN8 locally at 7:30pm. Buried in the piece is also the announcement that TBS, whose coverage of the playoffs last year was terrible in my opinion, is launching a national baseball package that begins with Sox-Jays Sunday at 1pm. At least FrankTV isn’t premiering in the coming months, so we got that going for us, which is nice.
That’s all for today, have a great weekend, it should be an exciting sports weekend. Shoot me any comments at [email protected]