On A Friday Megalinks Roll

Time for the Friday Megalinks as usual. Let’s get to these while we can.

You can always check out the Weekend Viewing Picks for the sports and primetime viewing for Saturday and Sunday.

Let’s go to the links.

National

USA Today’ Michael Hiestand says we may have not have seen the last of Steve Phillips on TV.

Sports Business Daily Assistant Managing Editor Brian Helfrich talks with three pundits (including yours truly) about ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary series. Thanks to Brian for asking me to participate.

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated talks with some of the TNT and NBA TV staff about the new season.

James Hibberd of the Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed blog writes that the World Series performed well in the ratings once again on Thursday.

Marc Berman at Mediaweek says the World Series lifted Fox to a rare Thursday primetime victory.

Anthony Crupi of Mediaweek writes that the New York Knicks are making a push to get fans into the seats.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell talks about Roger Federer’s new endorsement deal with a chocolate company.

Darren went one-on-one with new Cubs owner Thomas Ricketts.

Maury Brown in the Biz of Baseball says World Series viewership is up almost 50% from last year.

Maury Brown from the Biz of Football says the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are firing back at a radio report that the owners of the team were planning to sell the team.

The Big Lead interviews Big Ten Network studio host Dave Revsine.

The Sports Media Watch looks at Fox’s record ratings for its Week 7 NFL doubleheader.

SMW says CBS saw its lowest ratings for the NFL in Week 7.

SMW writes that Versus continues to see good ratings for the NHL.

And the SMW writes that the World Series is doing well through two games.

Chris Byrne’s Eye on Sports Media has another guest column from former Raycom and NBC Sports football analyst Dave Rowe.

Steve Lepore of Puck The Media has a look at the viewership of each Versus NHL game this season to date.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe profiles New Englander Ryen Russillo who has a regular gig with ESPN Radio.

Bill Doyle from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette talks with long time Celtics TV analyst Tommy Heinsohn.

Here’s Kristine Leahy of WEEI.com with the week ending edition of The Five.

Newsday’s Neil Best says ESPN’s Bobby Valentine was looking forward to working with Steve Phillips before all hell broke loose.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman writes that Fox’s Joe Buck and Tim McCarver spent Game 2 of the World Series complaining about the noise level at the Bronx.

Phil Mushnick in the New York Post feels Buck and McCarver forgot what a “must-win” really means. Whatever.

To ESPN1050 in New York and Andrew Marchand who has five questions for Fox Sports’ Joe Buck.

Lisa Swan of the Subway Squawkers blog properly gets on a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter for complaining about covering the World Series. I’m not a Yankees fan, but I totally agree on reporters, writers and sports radio hosts who complain about their accommodations and/or assignments. No one wants to read or hear whining.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union talks with the great Ian Eagle of CBS Sports/YES/Westwood One Radio/Tennis Channel about his rather sedate schedule this time around. Yes, I’m being facetious.

Laura Nachman writes that the World Series has been a ratings winner thus far.

Rich Hofman of the Philadelphia Daily News says the Delaware Valley loves watching their Phillies.

Dave Hughes from DCRTV.com writes in Press Box that the TV sportscast is slowly falling by the wayside on Baltimore’s newscasts.

Jim Williams in the Washington Examiner writes about the big college football slate on Saturday.

And Jim looks at a DirecTV contest trying to determine the most diehard displaced NFL fan in the country.

South

Barry Jackson in the Miami Herald has some football announcing highlights and lowlights to date.

Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times says ESPN has forced out football analyst Shaun King in the middle of the season.

Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram likes the addition of Ozzie Guillen to the Fox World Series broadcasts.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News says the Metroplex watched the World Series in droves on Wednesday, relatively speaking.

Barry says Fox’s Troy Aikman is gushing over Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin.

Barry writes that the inventor of the Arlington Stadium dot race will be honored next week.

David Barron in the Houston Chronicle notes the increase in World Series ratings this year.

To Jerry Garcia in the San Antonio Express-News who says Fox is anticipating good news with a big market World Series this year.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema from the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says a local sports radio show features hosts who aren’t even in the same studio let alone same area code.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talks with Fox Sports’ Troy Aikman about the Green Bay-Minnesota game and the return of Brett Favre to the area.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his usual winners and losers in sports business and media.

Ed writes that Comcast SportsNet Chicago is canceling its morning show co-hosted by Mike North and Dan Jiggets.

Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune says ESPN is doing a 30 for 30 documentary on Steve Bartman.

Dave van Dyck of the Tribune writes that Ozzie Guillen is behaving during Fox Sports coverage of the World Series.

The Chicago Sun-Times talks with the new owner of the Cubs, Thomas Ricketts.

Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says Brett Favre’s return to Lambeau Field becomes Must See TV on Sunday.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch isn’t a fan of Fox’s policy staying with blowout games.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News writes that maybe the Mountain West Conference’s TV exposure isn’t that bad after all.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune says Green Bay-Minnesota will be seen in most areas of the US, except for San Diego.

John Maffei of the North County Times feels the Chargers are always flirting with a local blackout at the last minute.

Jim Carlisle at the Ventura County Star says Fox has been getting plenty of mileage from Joe Buck.

Jim writes that MLB Network looks back tonight at the 1989 Bay Area earthquake that forced the World Series to be temporarily postponed.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times writes that Fox will be all over Brett Favre’s return to Green Bay in more ways than one.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News learned what it was like to be a sideline mic operator.

In his blog, Tom has a story on Vin Scully misidentifying a home run in the NLCS and no one coming out to correct him during the game.

Tom has his usual media notes.

Canada

William Houston in his Truth and Rumours blog notes that the new ratings system in Canada is being very beneficial to sports programming.

Bruce Dowbiggin at the Toronto Globe and Mail looks at disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy’s failed attempt to get his book published.

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star (and at whom William Houston threw some shots today) writes about the Canadian Olympic Committee’s losing hope on launching its own cable channel.

Only The 10* Best Links Today

Changing things up a little here and for today, I decided to just bring you the best of what out there in the Boston newspapers/websites. If it’s not here, you’re not missing much. (These are not in any particular order)

1) How Welker Became Mr. Reliable for the Patriots - Christopher Price has a look at Wes Welker and why he flourishes in the Patriots offensive system.

2) Meriweather establishing comfort zone - Albert Breer has Rodney Harrison and others talking about the growth and maturity of Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather, who has become the Patriots top playmaker on defense.

3) After red, Heinsohn’s true color is Green - Bill Doyle chats with Comcast SportsNet Celtics broadcaster Tommy Heinsohn, who talks about losing his wife Helen last year to cancer, and about this year’s Celtics.

4) Gotham pity for Pedro Martinez - Michael Silverman has Pedro Martinez feeling, looking and sounding like a winner despite the Phillies 3-1 loss to the Yankees last night.

5) Help Out The Umps - Jeff Jacobs pleads for Major League umpires to get some help from technology in the postseason.

6) Everybody’s in the mix: Doc Rivers can play mad scientist concocting Celtics combos - Mark Murphy with a look at the seemingly endless combinations that Doc Rivers can put out on the court with this Celtics team.

7) After bye, Pats will see Denver copycats - Tedy Bruschi and Mike Reiss take a big-picture look at the Patriots and the rest of the season.

8 ) Effort is there, but this time, goals are not. - Mike Loftus recaps last night’s 2-1 Bruins loss to the Devils.

9) Tenacious Russillo finds his voice at ESPN - Chad Finn catches up with Ryen Russillo, who is happy with his roles at the the Worldwide Leader.

10) Cuban defector Jose Iglesias looks to fill Red Sox’ need - Sean McAdam’s piece on Red Sox shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias, a Cuban defector signed last summer.

(Reluctant addition) A fistful of Bird history - Dan Shaughnessy’s column on Larry Bird’s 1985 barroom fight is noteworthy only for the Cedric Maxwell quotes, which, for the most part, really don’t have much to do with the column’s premise.

Also check out a bye week edition of the Worry Wart by Chris Warner over on Patriots Daily…

*OK, technically there were 12 links here.

Week Log: No Frost on the Pumpkin

Forget the killing frost and stockpiling cases of dry gas for optimal winter performance. Ease up on closing that pool and racing down to Burlington Coat Factory ahead of everyone else. It’s going to hit 70 degrees this weekend and that means it’s NBA time again in Boston. Tossing Batting Practice is thrilled that the return of basketball is no longer a harbinger of cold weather.

The Green got it going on Tuesday, working the front end of an opening night doubleheader. The Crowe’s Nest has the C’s part of the most watched opening night in TNT’s 26 years of broadcasting. The Boston Score sees parallels with the C’s getting their KG on the same night the Lakers got their rings.

Notwithstanding the opening minutes of Tuesday, the season got off to a good start in Cleveland. Celtics Hub has the C’s remaining calm through the Cavs’ initial run that opened up a double-digit first quarter lead. It may have been only the first game, but Green Street says this wasn’t just any opponent on any court. Loy’s Place says the bench turned this one around. Fernsten’s Follies has the C’s bench on a mission to outplay their opponents.

With Ray Allen logging 42 opening night minutes, Red’s Army is already worried that Doc Rivers is leaning on him too heavily. Lex Nihil Novi says the bench should free Doc from the double-negative need to pace his starters.

CelticsBlog says the C’s have to beat the full spectrum of teams, from Cleveland on Tuesday to Charlotte last night. Speaking of which, 59 points would have earned the Bobcats a tie in Foxborough but it’s a hard ‘L’ at TD Garden. NESN’s Tony Lee has the C’s a chatty defensive bunch who practice what they preach. With a 2-0 start, Celtics Central thinks the integration of Rasheed Wallace has been seamless.

LOSCY says that the Lebron-Shaq marriage is heading for rocky times ahead, but it will be just a rearview mirror distraction to the C’s. Celtics 17 sees age and injuries as the only things stopping the C’s this year. As Mikey Adams would say, Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the show?

BallerBlogger has the rundown on Lebron running down Rajon Rondo Tuesday night. Perk Is A Beast thinks there’s only one player taken ahead of Rondo in the 2006 draft that is on his level. Rondo makes it the Big Four, so I’m Just Sayin’ is just sayin’.

CeltsHeads thinks Big Baby needs another sit-down with KG.

Bruins

Ten games into the season, Caveman Strong says the B’s have a lot of work to do. Kathryn Tappen‘s formula in avoiding questions off the ice is to provide some answers on the ice, but she’s still waiting. The Hockey Blog Adventure thinks the next ten games will be better as the new folks fit in. Zdeno Chara tops Black & Gold‘s list of ten bad things about the 2009-10 start, but the View From 311 is that Derek Morris isn’t giving him crisp passes.

Big Bad Blog says that when Patrice Bergeron speaks everyone listens, and he’s helping to get this season back on course. Something’s Bruin is already lusting for the top pick in next year’s NHL entry draft.

Hey, if accounting is not your bag you may agree with Bobby Orr’s Bastard, who says the NHL has it all over the NFL.

Patriots

Things are a little light in Foxborough this week as the Pats get ready for some R&R. PatsPulpit is looking forward to the bye this weekend and the schedule beyond.

BeatPaths claims to be unimpressed with the Pats’ win over Tampa Bay on Sunday, even as they rank them fifth on their quizzical system. Upon further review of the win in London, It Is What It Is thinks Sebastian Vollmer is not ready to take over at left tackle and Adalius Thomas needs this bye week. The Patriot Act takes cold comfort from streaks of non-failure, such as Tom Brady’s intercept-free run of 183 pass attempts that ended Sunday.

Jeff Howe praises Vince Wilfork for pushing aside contract issues and just playing football. Blaug thinks Maine Black Bear alum Brandon McGowan derserves some man love for his play at safety. And Robert Kraft liked England so much that Extra Points has him interested in buying a team there.

NCAAF

Yeah, I know: we gotta do more Eagles. So, sit back, stop complaining, and enjoy this mid-season NFL siesta. It’s gonna cost you some baseball links, though, and on a day after the Yankees lose no less.

BC Heights has five turnovers in South Bend costing the Eagles a chance for their seventh straight win over the Fighting Irish last Saturday. Given that loss, BC Draft plots out every possible scenario for the remainder of the season, with the best having the Eagles winning the FedEx Orange Bowl. Hey, you heard it here first. Eagle All Access wonders if the Eagles can get over their Irish hangover in time for Central Michigan this week. The BC Blog has Chestnut Hill taken aback by the mid-season transfers of Josh Haden and Justin Tuggle. Eagle in Atlanta says Coach Spaziani took a risky stance in handling the Haden transfer.

The Maine Campus has the Black Bears well rested and looking to spoil the No. 19 UMass Minutemen’s playoff chances again this weekend. Alex in Wonderland thinks Harvard’s Homecoming needs some work. Only weeks after the NFL’s Detroit Lions won a game, College Sports Blog has Dartmouth’s Big Green following suit. And finally, Sox & Dawgs reports on the events planned this Saturday in Storrs to honor the memory of murdered UConn CB Jasper Howard.

Okay, we can’t totally resist baseball, as Boston Dirt Dogs puts some old 2004 memorabilia to good use tonight. Go Pedey! Here’s hoping your arm is as vintage as your mouth. See you all next Thursday.

Celtics Maul Bobcats

A night after beating the Cavaliers on the road, the Celtics returned to TD Garden for their home opener last night. Was there any chance of a letdown with the Charlotte Bobcats in town?

I think the score of the 92-59 Celtics win speaks for itself.

Julian Benbow has the Celtics lockdown “D” completely stifling the Bobcats. Mark Murphy has the Celtics starting the home schedule by holding Charlotte to a franchise-low in points.  Couper Moorhead says that the Celtics appear to be defending everything except a title this season. Scott Souza agrees that the Celtics defense was the biggest story of this game. Bill Doyle has the Celtics showing they can get by just fine without the Big Baby. David Willis has the Celtics making the Bobcats look like an overmatched JV team. Jim Fenton has the Celtics using stingy defense to start out 2-0. Robert Lee says that the Celtics have their swagger back.

Bob Ryan says that the Celtics aren’t that good, Charlotte simply didn’t show up last night. Steve Buckley says that Rasheed Wallace doesn’t just look good in the Celtics uniform, he looks right in it, and is is a perfect fit for this team. Bill Burt agrees that Wallace is a perfect fit for the Celtics. Lenny Megliola has the Celtics getting the expected result last night against the Bobcats. Tim Weisberg says that this wasn’t like last year’s home opener, but this is a different team than last year.

Steve Bulpett says that Glen Davis has a responsibility now to learn from his mistake, and put his career and like on the proper course going forward. Gary Washburn says that the Celtics versatility was on full display last night. Paul Flannery has a look at three things we learned from last night’s game. Chris Forsberg says that the defense certainly didn’t rest on the second night of a back-to-back.

Frank Dell’Apa has a look at Kendrick Perkins, who had four blocked shots, and was a force in the paint. Dan Duggan has Perkins flexing his muscle in the win. Jeff Goodman though, is glad that Perkins was on the bench during crunch time in Cleveland the night before.

Duggan looks at how Charlotte coach Larry Brown urged the Celtics to sign Wallace in the offseason. Mike Fine has the Celtics and their fans eagerly adopting Wallace as their own. Forsberg says that Wallace’s Garden debut went well in every way.

Marc D’Amico looks at the keys to the game.

Benbow’s notebook has the Celtics including Glen Davis in introductions, even though he was absent and suspended. Murphy’s notebook has Doc River with a quick hook for Kevin Garnett last night after KG hit the deck in the third quarter. Doyle’s notebook has Sheldon Williams getting his chance with Davis suspended. Fenton’s notebook has Wallace getting a warm welcome. Lee’s Celtics Journal has Williams getting a bigger chance with Davis out.

Patriots

Over on Patriots Daily, Jeremy Gottlieb is going Around the League, and says that he doesn’t mind at all that there is a clear line between the best teams and worst teams in the NFL.

Mike Reiss has a look at how the Patriots have managed to rebuild their defense on-the-fly and still remain a winner.

Adam Kilgore, now on the Patriots beat, has a look at rookie receiver Brandon Tate, who wants to make a big impact now that he is recovered from the knee injury suffered last year in college. Ian R. Rapoport has a look at Tully Banta-Cain, who has been a pleasant surprise since coming back to the Patriots this season, and who wants to stay right here with the team.

Brian MacPherson has Brandon Meriweather’s play last week and all season, drawing attention from around the NFL. Andy Vogt has Meriweather as a star on the rise in the Patriots defense. Shalise Manza Young has a look around the AFC East, where the Patriots are back where they’re used to being – on top. Glen Farley has the Patriots on top of the AFC East despite a spotty rushing attack.

Jonathan Comey has the Patriots fourth in his NFL Power Rankings. Rapoport says that we could be seeing more of Mark LeVoir in coming weeks as well. Reiss looks at the benefits of Dean Pees calling plays from the press box.

Rapoport’s notebook has Brandon Meriweather brushing off his AFC Defensive Player of the Week award, and even praise from his former mentor Rodney Harrison. Monique Walker’s notebook has Meriweather trying to keep things in perspective. Young’s Patriots Journal has Meriweather staying humble. Farley’s notebook has more on Meriweather, who believes his best is still to come.

Where is Ron Borges to scoff and remind us again that Meriweather is closer to Donna Reed than Ed Reed?

Bruins/Misc

Mike Loftus has the Bruins looking to find their groove. Rich Thompson says that the Bruins know exactly what to expect from the Devils. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that that is true of Martin Brodeur as well.

Peter Abraham has Cuban pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman visiting the Red Sox yesterday.

Michael Silverman has Pedro Martinez holding court before his World Series start tonight.

Celtics Opener a Success

The Cleveland Cavaliers came out of the gate smokin’ last night, hitting six of their first seven shots, and running out to a 13-2 lead. A few minutes later, the Cavs led by 14 at 19-5 and 21-7, but the Celtics rebuilt bench led a comeback, and the Celtics took the lead in the second quarter and never looked back in a  95-89 opening night win over LeBron and company.

Frank Dell’Apa calls last night’s win a “a decisive victory and confirmation of the team’s improvement.” Mark Murphy has the Celtics ending an eight-game losing streak in Cleveland with the win. Mike Petraglia looks at what we can take away from this opening night win.

Bob Ryan says that even though this was just opening night, it was a very satisfying win for the Celtics. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics bench was the difference in this one. Chris Sheridan says that the Celtics were the better team in this one.

Gary Washburn has Keven Garnett standing tall in his return, even when flattened by Shaquille O’Neal. Chris Forsberg has KG passing his first regular season test.

Bulpett reports that the Celtics have suspended Glen Davis ‘indefinitely’. After the details of how he injured himself came out yesterday, Ryan says that it is time for Baby to grow up. Washburn reports that Davis will be shelved 8 weeks after surgery on his broken thumb. Robert Lee says that Davis must learn from this incident. Jim Fenton has more on the suspension of Davis. Paul Flannery looks at the big drama from Big Baby.

Murphy says that the Celtics have increased their offer to Rajon Rondo.

The Globe notebook says that there is still hope Rajon Rondo could get an extension before the weekend. Murphy’s notebook has KG feeling good after the game.  

Patriots

Brendon Rosenau takes a moment to remember the 1993 Patriots over on Patriots Daily.

Kerry Byrne takes the Patriots pulse here at the bye week. Monique Walker notes that the schedule gets a whole lot tougher after the bye for the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young says that the Patriots will need to continue to play hard-nose, team football to power through this stretch.

Glen Farley says that despite Tom Brady’s knee being better, he still needs a crutch sometimes – and that crutch is Wes Welker. Ian R. Rapoport has Bill Belichick on WEEI’s Big Show defending the play of Laurence Maroney.

Christopher Price and Mike Reiss have their weekly mailbags.

Misc

Brian MacPherson wonders if new Padres GM Jed Hoyer might trade Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox. Amalie Benjamin has Brad Mills being named manager of the Astros. Sean McAdam has Terry Francona happy for Mills.

Bill Burt talks to Don Zimmer about the World Series. Amalie Benjamin has the Yankees insisting that George Steinbrenner is still a big part of them. Bill Reynolds says that A-Rod and the Yankees have vanquished their postseason ghosts.

Michael Silverman and The Globe notebook have Pedro Martinez and the Yankees meeting once again. Steve Buckley looks at why Boston fans have more to root for in this series than simply for the Yankees to lose.

Kevin Paul Dupont has coach Claude Julien pleased with the play of backup goaltender Tuukka Rask. Rich Thompson has Marco Sturm adjusting to changes in stride. Mike Loftus has the Bruins line changes paying immediate dividends.

Was Jonny Miller a bigger “Curse” Pusher than Shaughnessy?

If you didn’t read Bob Hohler’s column this morning – Really big news - I highly recommend that you do so.

The article looks at some of the media pressure that the Red Sox had to overcome en route to winning the 2004 World Series. It seems that much of that “media pressure” came from an unlikely source: WBZ’s Jonny Miller.

WBZ’s Jonny Miller greeted every new player in the Fens by asking him to declare whether the team’s chronic misfortune was born of some ghostly voodoo risen from Babe Ruth’s grave. His tape recorder whirring, Miller followed up by posing the same question every spring training to every player on the Sox roster: “Do you believe in the curse of the Bambino?’

Miller doesn’t refer to the curse any longer, as he is quoted in the article as ““They took away one of my lines,’’ Miller said of the ’04 Sox. “I can’t ask about the curse anymore.’’

The article notes that Jonathan Papelbon this season called Miller “the most negative person around.”

This seems to fit with some of the lines of questioning Miller has pursued, as chronicled by Hohler.

And when the Sox went on a 10-game winning streak to seize a four-game lead in the wild-card race in early September, it was Miller who stirred the ghosts.

“In the history of the wild card, no team has blown a four-game lead starting Sept. 1,’’ he informed Damon. “Are you confident you won’t be the first?’’

There are plenty of other examples in the article.

Hohler also notes that Miller is a prankster, though some of his stunts have been better than others:

Miller became as memorable in 2004 for his pluck as his perseverance. In February, five months after WEEI’s John Dennis and Gerry Callahan compared a gorilla that escaped from the Franklin Park Zoo to a minority Metco student, Miller welcomed them to spring training by presenting them white pillowcases as if they were Klansmen.

And later:

In September of ’04, with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon filming “Fever Pitch’’ in Fenway’s box seats, Barrymore’s history of teen drug problems inspired Miller to raise a placard that asked, “When Will Drew Be Back In Rehab?’’

All in all, this was a nice “behind the scenes” look by Hohler at the type of coverage and questions that were around the Red Sox prior to the 2004 World Series Title.

Baby Tantrum Could Cost Celtics

The Celtics tip off the NBA regular season tonight with a game in Cleveland against the Cavaliers. The Celtics will be without reserve forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis, who broke his thumb following an “altercation” with a former teammate who was up visiting him. Steve Bulpett was on the story yesterday, and he says it appears Davis was defending himself. It is not known how long Davis will be out, it will depend on whether he needs surgery or not. Frank Dell’Apa has the Celtics tight-lipped about the incident until they get all the facts. The injury is a big blow to the Celtics frontcourt depth.

Dell’Apa has a feature on Danny Ainge this morning, looking at how the former Celtics guard has turned the franchise back into a contender, and how he and Doc Rivers manage to work so well together. Bulpett says that Ainge faces an age-old challenge this season in trying to contend for a title with an aging team. Tim Weisberg says that the Celtics come into this season with a blank slate of expectations. Jessica Camerato has the Celtics set to start out on another title quest. Mike Fine says that if everyone stays healthy (which they haven’t already, see Davis, Glen), this team will win the NBA title.

Robert Lee says that the Celtics believe they are the best this season, and just need to go out and prove it. Lenny Megliola has Paul Pierce savoring the moment with this Celtics team. Bulpett has Doc Rivers looking to be firm in how many minutes he allows his veterans to play this season.  Mark Murphy has Kevin Garnett looking to come back and shine this season for the Celtics.

Julian Benbow has the Celtics excited about the versatility their new hybrid, Marquis Daniels can bring to the club. Weisberg has the Celtics hoping Daniels is a ‘Marquis’ attraction off the bench. Murphy says that Daniels and the rest of the improved bench should make a big difference for the Celtics this season. Lee takes a look at the Celtics’ roster with the starters and key reserves. Scott Souza says that with Davis out, Sheldon Williams will get more time.

Murphy says that when it comes to defense, Kendrick Perkins and the Celtics want to be the best ever this season. Fine has the Celtics eager to get the season started tonight in Cleveland. Chris Forsberg says that the Celtics don’t see age as an obstacle to their success.

Gary Washburn has the Cavaliers full of respect for the Celtics. Bulpett has the Celtics looking at tonight’s game like the first date - setting the foundation for what potentially could be. Paul Flannery has 25 questions about the 2009-10 NBA season. Fine has a number of lists of five about this season.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has the Celtics looking for their first win in Cleveland in five years. Fenton’s notebook has more on Davis’ thumb.

Patriots

Jeremy Gottlieb and Ron Borges have the report cards, the lowest grade is a “D” for the Patriots special teams from Borges.

Jonathan Comey fires back at Patriots critics such as Borges, who focus on the isolated personnel failures of Bill Belichick rather than the overall success.

Albert R. Breer says that despite outscoring their last two opponents 94-7, there is still plenty to be concerned about on this Patriots team. Karen Guregian has the Patriots taking a bye week before heading out on the toughest five-game stretch of their schedule. Rich Garven says that the Patriots will be using the bye week to get better.

Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots offense stepping up and answering the call in the last two weeks. Glen Farley has more on the upcoming schedule for the Patriots. Christopher Price says that we’ll know alot more about this team after the next five games.

Rapoport’s notebook has rookie Pat Chung seeing early action on defense Sunday. Breer’s notebook has the Patriots enjoying their time together on this trip. Farley’s notebook has Sam Aiken stepping up big on Sunday.

Red Sox Anniversary

Do you remember anything about five years ago tonight?

Bob Hohler says that overcoming media pressure (mostly from Jonny Miller and Dan Shuaghnessy) was a big part of what the Red Sox were able to accomplish. Jon Couture says that five years later, the impact of that night is still felt.

Celtics Prepping for Opener in Cleveland

The Celtics start their regular season with a nationally televised game in Cleveland tomorrow night against LeBron James, Shaq, and the rest of the Cavaliers.

 Paul Flannery wonders if this is the end of the line for the big three. Bill Doyle says that this might be the last hurrah for the 30-something Celtics. Dan Duggan has one of those 30-somethings, Ray Allen, saying that he is in the best shape of his life coming into the season.

Bill Doyle has Bob Cousy saying that Rajon Rondo is the most important piece of the puzzle for the Celtics. Julian Benbow has rookie point guard Lester Hudson hoping that he can contribute to the Celtics’ title hopes. Jim Fenton has Eddie House finding a home with the Celtics.

Steve Bulpett has a look at Rasheed Wallace, who he says is a perfect fit for the Celtics. Bill Simmons though, is not a fan of the signing, and is not looking forward to watching Wallace and all he brings each night.

Gary Washburn has the Cavs looking to come together as a team this season. Duggan gives us a Celtics Scouting report.

Murphy’ notebook has Ray Allen back at practice after getting stitches following and errant Kendrick Perkins elbow. Chris Forsberg reports that the Celtics have decided to do away with the morning shootarounds on game days.

Misc

Fluto Shinzawa has Blake Wheeler much more upbeat after his role in the Bruins win over the Senators on Saturday night. Stephen Harris has the Bruins grinding out some good results.

Michael Arace and Kyle McCarthy have the Revolution clinching a playoff berth with their 1-0 win in Columbus last night.

Mark Blaudschun says that BC’s loss to Notre Dame on Saturday wasn’t as bad as it might’ve seemed at first. Steve Conroy has BC coach Frank Spaziani not wishing to hear any of that talk. Blaudschun says that we still don’t know who the best team in the country is.

Peter Abraham has Johnny Damon looking for a new contract in 2010.

Patriots Have A Jolly Old Time

The Patriots took care of business in Wembley Stadium yesterday, routing the toothless Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35-7.

Chris Warner has a few observations from New England’s second straight stress-free victory.

Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots finding the end zone just as easy to get to on that side of the Atlantic. Ian R. Rapoport has the Patriots showing the British what they’ve been showing Americans for years. The ProJo has Brandon Meriweather and the Patriots defense leading the wayin this one. (Anyone else having trouble opening more than one Projo article? Even though I’m registered, I can only open one article on their site and the rest come up blank. I’ve tried both IE and Firefox)

You’ll be hard pressed to find mentions of yesterday’s game on the Times of London sport page. I had to look a few times before I saw the box NFL game preaches to converted, where the writer says that “Wembley Stadium was about the worst place in Britain in which to judge the success or otherwise of the project.” The project being whether the NFL would be viable in Europe. Nick Szczepanik says that Brady wasn’t at his best yesterday, but the Buccaneers played their role as fall guys. Yesterday, John Harlow had a profile of Brady in the Times.

Christopher Price has 10 Things We Learned Yesterday, and Mike Reiss has 10 quick hits from yesterday. Tedy Bruschi has five observations from the game as well.

Ron Borges has the Patriots the last two weeks doing “what Super Bowl-contending teams should do: Destroy two sorry teams.” Dan Shaughnessy calls yesterday’s game a “ghastly unfolding of the obvious.” Bill Burt says that the 2009 Patriots officially have an identity now – tough and talented. Jim Donaldson says that no matter where they play, the Patriots are still the Patriots, and the Bucs are the Bucs.

Breer has Brandon Meriweather once again the key on defense with a pair of interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown. Karen Guregian has Meriweather delivering with big plays, and showing promise that he could be the key playmaker on defense that the Patriots need on that unit. Brian MacPherson says that the Patriots defense is finally starting to look like a Bill Belichick defense once again. Reiss has more on the strong play of Meriweather.

Albert R. Breer in the Globe has Tom Brady taking another step forward in his return to form yesterday. Borges has Brady once again good enough to get the job done. The Projo has London fans seeing a good Tom Brady, but not a flawless one yesterday.

Shaughnessy has Sam Aiken and Brandon Tate each getting a shot at being the third wide receiver. Guregian has Adalius Thomas back on the field, but once again submitting a quiet performance. Reiss says that this game was a bonding experience for the Patriots. The Projo has the Patriots feeling that the trip brought them closer as a team.

Hector Longo has his two-minute drill, with Jerod Mayo one of his “now shows” for yesterday. He says Mayo ” still can’t cover anyone.” Guregian says that the Meriweather pick 6 was a good way to start the day for New England. The Metro tells us  What went right and wrong yesterday.

Rapoport says that the carnival-like atmosphere made for a good time. Mark Woods says that the NFL accomplished their goal despite the blowout.

Gasper’s notebook has Wes Welker putting in another strong game. Rapoport’s notebook has more on Welker, and also has Ty Warren believing he’ll be good to go after the bye week after he suffered an ankle injury yesterday.

Tom Curran Says Farewell to PFT, Hello to CSNNE.com (Updated)

In a blog post this afternoon on ProFootballTalk.com, Tom Curran said good-bye to that site, and announced officially that he is heading over to Comcast SportsNet New England where he will be covering the NFL and the Patriots for the new CSNNE.com, which I’m hearing is set for an official launch on Monday, November 2nd.

I had gotten a few emails this week asking why Michael Felger’s columns and Patriots Report Card were not on the CSNNE site this week, and I’m told that they were just sort of re-organizing and getting caught up before the official launch.

So it looks like the lineup for the site will be Felger and Curran with Sean McAdam and Kevin Paul Dupont said to be soon coming aboard, and Art Martone editing. They will also be hiring a Celtics writer.

That’s a pretty good lineup.

Update: I’m hearing now that Dupont is staying at the Globe. As I mentioned in an earlier post, leaving the Globe, where he had been since the 1970′s would’ve been a huge leap for Dupont. I’m not surprised he’s remaining put.