Bonus Saturday Top Ten

Had some time this morning, so I figured I’d put together a few links. You’re probably already sick of the Tiger Woods talk, so there will be none of that in here.

For media, trade deadline tough deal - Steve Bulpett explains why the trade deadline is a tough time for the media as they attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to trade rumors.

Celts continue upward surge against Blazers -A. Sherrod Blakely reports on the Celtics looking like a real contender in a 96-76 dismantling of the Portland Trail Blazers last night.

Allen clearly relieved — and reloaded - Chris Forsberg has Ray Allen putting up another big game (21 points) in the win over Portland.

C’s succeed with different kind of defense - Blakely’s notebook has the Celtics switching up their defensive strategy for last night.

In Rivers, they trust - Gary Washburn explains why Doc Rivers has the total trust and respect of his players.

After Nate: The Celtics following the trade deadline - Paul Flannery examines what Nate Robinson is going to bring to the Celtics on the court that Eddie House didn’t.

Former FB Patrick Pass discusses the Patriots glory days and a possible return to them - Ian Rapoport has the recently retired Patrick Pass talking about being asked about the current Patriots, and why he thinks they’re in good hands going forward.

Good at holding down Fort - Peter Abraham checks in with new Sox reliever Boof Bonser, who hasn’t had to make much of an adjustment in moving over to the Red Sox spring training site.

Lester could prove to be the best of the Red Sox big three - Daniel Barbarisi says the the Sox young lefty could be better than Josh Beckett and John Lackey.

Francona: We all want Beckett here - Gordon Edes has the Red Sox manager backing up Lester’s statement that the Red Sox should sign up Josh Beckett to an extension.

Be sure to also check out Chris Warner’s Q&A With Virginia Tech DE Jason Worilds over on Patriots Daily.

Some Friday Megalinks

Let’s give you some linkage this evening. I’m going to weed out the Tiger Woods previews so this may not be as extensive as past editions. Your Weekend Viewing Picks has your sports viewing including college basketball and Olympic viewing guide.

Let’s get to the links.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand tells NBC it’s time to go live with Olympic events.

Seth Livingstone of USA Today says NBC will not be showing the USA-Canada men’s hockey game on the main network relegating it to MSNBC instead. 

Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Daily/Journal says NBCOlympics.com and Yahoo! Sports are battling it out for online traffic this month.

Tripp Mickle of SBD/SBJ writes that NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol sent a letter to his staff Thursday congratulating his employees for beating American Idol in the ratings this week.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says NBC is averaging almost 25 million viewers a night for the first seven days of the Olympics.

Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine says as Americans win gold medals in the Olympics, ratings for NBC keep going up.

Amanda Rykoff in the OCD Chick compares Dick Ebersol’s production of the Olympics to American Idol.

Etan Vlessing of the Hollywood Reporter says it appears that after initially expecting losses, the Canadian Olympic Broadcast Consortium will break even on the Vancouver Games.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell writes that multiple medal-winning skier Julia Mancuso could turn out to be a marketing gold medal winner.

Darren says for sponsors, Tiger Woods’ refusal to set a timetable to return to golf is most troubling.

Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated has the very funny video of Golf Channel analyst Charlie Rymer crying after Tiger Woods make his robotic apology in the Friday afternoon edition of Hot Clicks (scroll down).

Marisa Guthrie of Broadcasting & Cable has various golf analysts reactions to Tiger Woods’ wooden apology.

Anthony Crupi of Mediaweek writes that the PGA Tour’s TV partners will just have to wait for Tiger Woods’ return. 

Gail Sideman writing in the Sports Networker blog says Tiger’s announcement was bad timing as far as public relations are concerned.

The Sports Media Watch looks at how the networks covered the Tiger Woods announcement today.

SMW also has some idle notes.

SportsbyBrooks says Tony Kornheiser has apologized to Hannah Storm for saying she dresses like a harlot.

AJ Daulerio at Deadspin says ESPN has actually banned some of Hannah’s wardrobe.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe defends NBC’s handling of the Olympics.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram also compares the Olympics to American Idol.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, a frequent critic of NBC’s tape delayed Olympic coverage, is begrudgingly learning to live with the delays in the Vancouver Games.

Bob Raissman in the New York Daily News feels Mets manager Jerry Manuel is helpful in feeding the media beast with soundbites.

The Albany Times Union’s Pete Dougherty critiques some of NBC’s announcers at the Olympics.

Ken McMillan of the Hudson Valley Times Herald-Record has some spring training TV schedules. First, the Yankees, the Mets, MLB Network, ESPN and WGN America.

Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News says the first network analysis was kind to Tiger Woods. 

David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun is not happy how NBC has stopped mentioning the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili during its coverage.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com writes in Press Box that advertisers were sad to see Baltimore sports radio host Anita Marks leave last month.

Tim Lemke doesn’t quite understand NBC’s Olympic philosophy.

South

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike will be back in town next month.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says Oklahoma University baseball games will be seen on local cable TV.

Mel says two Australian TV commentators are in trouble for making homophobic comments about US figure skater Johnny Weir.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press wants the tape delayed Olympics coverage on NBC to stop.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is puzzled why Milwaukee is on top of the nation’s ratings for the Olympics.

Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers.

Ed notes that the White Sox will be part of a new reality show on MLB Network.

Ed also analyzes Tiger Woods’ apology.

Charles F. Rouse of the Kansas City Examiner says Big 12 fans want Brent Musberger and Bob Knight removed from the conference’s basketball games.

Dan Caesar at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders if the Cardinals could be heading to the FM dial this season.

Dan writes that part-time Redbirds analyst Jack Clark will return for another season on Fox Sports Midwest.

West

Scott D. Pierce from the Deseret (UT) News says the reconstructed arena football Utah Pride have a TV deal in place.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune doesn’t like how the local NBC affiliate is playing coy about the Olympic delays.

Jay writes that Padres voice Jerry Coleman will be working less this season, but be doing more.

John Maffei of the North County Times says the West Coast is to blame for the Olympic delays.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star writes about the Olympics finally beating American Idol in the ratings.

Jim says the Olympics are bringing down the ratings for the Daytona 500 and the NBA.

Over to Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times who reports on Tiger Woods’ apology.

Diane adds that NBC’s Cris Collinsworth was critical of Woods

Phil Rosenthal writes in the Times that MSNBC will put the politics aside on Sunday and air the anticipated USA- Canada men’s hockey game which will be seen live in all time zones.

The Times publishes several readers’ complaints about the Olympic delays to the West Coast even though the Vancouver Games are taking place in their time zone.

Canada

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says it’s no surprise that hockey is tops in CTV’s Olympic coverage.

In Yahoo! Canada, William Houston critiques CTV’s coverage to date.

In his Truth & Rumours blog, William has a few columns in one.

Bill Brioux of the Canadian Press wonders if CTV’s all-out approach for the Olympics is too much of a good thing.

And that will complete the links.

Celtics Beat L.A.

It was a slugfest, but the Celtics fought through and held off the Los Angeles Lakers last night at the Staples Center, 87-86.

Many will point out that the Lakers were playing without Kobe Bryant, but I don’t hear those same people cutting the Celtics any slack when they play without KG or Pierce. Everyone says how deep this Lakers team is (and they are) so this win doesn’t need an asterisk attached to it, especially with the struggles that the Celtics have had as of late.

Don’t write off Celtics yet - Chris Forsberg has the Celtics coming up with a signature win out in L.A.

One more chance for Three - Dan Shaughnessy has Danny Ainge deciding to keep the big three together for one last title run.

Celtics hope Robinson is the answer - Scott Souza with a look at what the Celtics hope that Nate Robinson will bring them.

Back to business for C’s - Paul Flannery has the big three being granted a reprieve many don’t believe they’ve earned.

Lackey gets his first taste of life inside the Red Sox fishbowl - Daniel Barbarisi has the Red Sox big free agent signing checking in for spring training.

The Lackey Effect: Newcomer’s impact on the rotation - Alex Speier with his usual, thoughtful analysis.

Handful of aces good deal - Steve Buckley has a look at the vaunted Red Sox rotation for 2010.

Patriots Must Hope to be Proven Right After Trading Down in 2009 Draft - Jeff Howe revisits the 2009 draft for the Patriots.

Despite complaints, coverage makes sense - Chad Finn defends NBC’s coverage of the Olympic games.

NBC wins its own gold, beating ‘American Idol’ - Bill Doyle has more on NBC’s coverage, which became the first program to beat American Idol in the ratings since 2004.

As this is posted, we’re just a few minutes away from the Tiger Woods press conference, an event Gary Tanguay pronounced yesterday, in all seriousness, as “bigger than the moon landing.” He also said that Tiger is bigger than John Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Week Log: From Melting Pots To Potholes

If the Olympics can be seen as the sports world’s melting pot, they’re certainly one in the blogging world as well. We’ve got an interesting bag of blogs today and things kick off in Vancouver.

Winter Olympics

We’ll start with the almighty buck, as The Sporting Blog has NBC flexing some muscle after the Winter Olympics nearly topped American Idol in Tuesday’s overnights. Ratings are particularly high in Jerry Thornton‘s house and he’s one Masshole that’s not afraid to admit it.

The Crowe’s Nest is tired of all the bitching from live junkies who abhor tape-delayed events. I have to admit that ever since discovering the joys of DVR for $10 a month, nothing broadcasts live in my living room any more. I fast-forwarded through 90 seconds of commercials on Tuesday night,then through a two-minute segment introducing the women’s alpine cross semis, which led into another 90 seconds of commercials. That’s five minutes of my life I don’t have to wish I had back (even if I did give it back watching the men’s figure skating short program). Boston Homer isn’t crazy about having to duck Olympics results all day long but they’re nevertheless thankful for this bridge across the Dead Zone of athletics. Boston Sports Blog thinks NBC’s designation of the 1980 Miracle On Ice as poster child for tape delay doesn’t cut it in a society that has advanced beyond rotary phones and rabbit ears.

Boston Sports Then And Now reminisces of those miracle men from Massachusetts who helped carry hockey to epic heights of popularity after that Lack Placid performance 30 years ago. Back to 2010, where Joe Haggerty has the odds with Russia and the pressure with Canada in his comprehensive men’s hockey preview. Boston Blood Sox bemoans the narrower ice surface of NHL rinks as they take us through a predictable opening night of games. Olympics Blog says the rinks may not be bigger than in the NHL, but the USA team salary sure is. The 2 Man Advantage has Team USA looking sloppy in their 3-1 win over the Swiss. Olympic Hockey Blog doesn’t know what to do with themselves what with all the ESPN analysts exiled to Vancouver. Among them are both Barry Melrose and his crow’s feet, prompting Out Of Bounds to observe how the winter games have empowered some Canadians to say and do whatever they want. Awful Announcing has ESPN fortunate to have its own highly-experienced designated apologist on staff.

Speaking of apologists, Joe Posnanski exonerates the fun-loving Lindsey Jacobellis for her Jacoblunder of four years past and her Truckdriver after wiping out in the women’s snowboard cross on Tuesday. Sportress Of Blogitude is making no apologies for Jacobellis’ sorry performances on the world’s stage. Postcards From Vancouver has Jacobellis as another snag in Vermont’s medal haul after Hannah Kearney started things off so promisingly with gold in women’s moguls. Bode Miller’s Blog has all speed and no tactics making Bode a psyched boy on his way to a bronze in the men’s downhill.

ESPN’s Winter Olympics Blog says it wouldn’t be an international speedskating event without the big oom-pah sounds of Little Beer. Fourth-Place Medal has a good laugh at curling athletes’ expense, but Adam Hirshfield says their skills make for compelling television.

Red Sox

What’s better than watching shuffleboard on ice? Try a truck starting up and pulling away from Fenway Park. I spent a morning doing just that for Boston Dirt Dogs so you wouldn’t have to. And I wasn’t alone. Full Count was there, as Kristine Leahy catches the ephoria on video. Toeing The Rubber was as well, and Cyn is thrilled with the unfolding drama of spring. Then there was ESPN Boston Red Sox, which warns against putting those shovels away just yet. And as the departing truck signifies the coming of spring in Boston, Extra Bases observes that the arriving truck signals the same in Fort Myers.

With pitchers and catchers reporting today, A Very Simple Game tries to lay the media-contrived controversies of a long offseason to rest. Brownie Points reports on John Lackey discreetly slipping into town yesterday. The Bottom Line worries that all those innings in Japan are catching up with Daisuke Matsuzaka as he needs to shut it down for a few days.

Evans Clinchy is in no hurry to see catcher Victor Martinez re-signed before he even throws out his first runner of the season . . . whenever that may be. Touching All The Bases has Josh Reddick’s arm keeping opponents from advancing along the bases even as his bat will keep him from ever getting on. Hit And Run thinks Theo would have preferred Jason Bay in his outfield but he’ll be okay with Mike Cameron as Plan B. Nuggetpalooza crunches some numbers on Cameron.

Prevailing thought has Jonathan Papelbon leaving Boston as soon as he hits free agency, but One If By Land points out that Daniel Bard may one day be just as expensive and just as likely to fly. Gordon Edes has Papelbon trying to emulate Mariano Rivera – both on the mound and at the negotiating table. Surviving Grady thinks Paps would be a nice heir-apparent to Old Mo, but the Bronx may not be ready for him in pinstripes.

Celtics

The second half started off with a passable 95-92 win in Sacramento Tuesday night, but things quickly get tougher. North Station Sports harbors no illusions of miracles for the rest of the season, but they do hope to have the C’s get a win tonight against the Lakers. Green Street has Rajon Rondo noting that tonight’s game isn’t for the NBA championship. Celtics Stuff Live tries to capture the full Rondo . . . in as few words as possible.

Lent hadn’t even started when Mass Hysteria pined for running Jesus out of Boston. After dreaming of all the consideration to be reaped by trading Ray Allen, CelticsBlog feels a little letdown from the possibility of him staying and only Nate Robinson coming to town. As the Robinson trade looms, ESPN Boston Celtics Blog suggests this may be more about Danny Ainge shaking up the C’s by removing another piece of their championship team of two years back.

Bruins

When it comes to this year’s Bruins, most see the glass as four-fifths empty; Michael Felger, on the other hand, sees it as a fifth full and believes they’re in position to go to the next level after the Olympic break. Methinks Felgy may have downed a fifth before getting behind the keyboard on that one.

Bingo Bar Blog has Boston not as much a hockey town as a winning hockey town. When it comes to missing out on signing key players, I’m Just Sayin’ has Jeremy Jacobs as proof that a fool and his money are not always parted. Rink Rap feels the need – the need for speed in the B’s defenseman ranks.

NASCAR

So, it was Super Bowl Sunday for NASCAR in Daytona last Sunday, but this Super Bowl was apparently threatened by female drivers and potholes. Boston.com’s Auto Racing Blog ascribes Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray with saving the Great American Race from making a spectacle of itself. Wouldn’t the spectacle of 43 cars engaged in a nearly-perpetual left turn be more in need of redemption than Danica Patrick standing in the Winner’s Circle?

Unrestricted says the pothole made last Sunday like coupon day at the ammunition outlet store for NASCAR detractors, an analogy that is lost on most of the NASCAR-free world. AOL’s Motorsports Fanhouse calls the incident a super gaffe in NASCAR’s self-proclaimed Super Bowl. From The Marbles has Fox’s coverage with a few potholes of its own.

That’s a wrap. Here’s hoping you can dodge your own potholes and those pesky live updates from Vancouver throughout the week and we’ll see you back here next Thursday.

Celtics/Lakers, Trade Deadline, Branch Wants To Return

There are a number of good topics out there today, as the Celtics are in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers, and will likely have a new member of their team (Nate Robinson). There is also the possibility that Danny Ainge could pull something else off before this afternoon’s 3:00PM trade deadline.

Also, Deion Branch stated his desire to return to the Patriots, which would have to be via trade, as the Seahawks have said they won’t release him. And oh yeah, pitchers and catchers officially report to Fort Meyers today.

Shooting for versatility - For those of you wondering what Nate Robinson can bring to the Celtics and what Danny Ainge is thinking in bringing him here, the best basketball writer in town, Steve Bulpett explains.

What’s deal with Nate Robinson? - Chris Forsberg disagrees with Bulpett, calling this move more of a shake-up than an upgrade.

Doc Rivers lauds Eddie House’s professional approach - Bulpett with a second strong article today as he has Coach Doc Rivers appreciative of all that Eddie House has brought to the team.

Roots tug at Deion Branch - Karen Guregian has Branch talking about how much he still loves coach Belichick (wait, I thought the players hated their coach) and how he would probably be crying at a press conference if he got to come back.

Team’s hands tied on Adalius Thomas - Ian Rapoport explains why the Patriots haven’t parted ways with Thomas just yet.

Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity on WXKS-AM lineup - Jessica Heslam reports that yesterday’s all-staff meeting at Entercom was cancelled, and has a look at the Red Sox spring training plans for various media outlets.

Boof Bonser Has Chance to Be Difference-Maker for Red Sox Out of Bullpen - Tom Caron looks at why a game named Boof could be a big addition to the Red Sox.

Buchholz could have inside track this time - Daniel Barbarisi has Clay Buchholz in a much better position with the Red Sox in 2010.

Lots of managers wished they had Terry Francona’s issues - Mike Fine says that the Red Sox manager might have a myriad of moving parts, but most major league managers would be happy being given what Francona has to work with.

Matsuzaka thrown off schedule by sore upper back - Amalie Benjamin has Daisuke Matsuzaka suffering a back injury while training, which puts him behind the rest of the pitchers a little bit.

Celtics Hold Off Kings

The Celtics once again held a double-digit lead in last night’s game, only to see the young Sacramento Kings come back to take a brief lead in the fourth quarter. This time though, the Celtics had enough to hold off the Kings, who certainly didn’t help themselves with 2-10 free throw shooting in the fourth quarter.

Reserve strength helps Celtics beat Kings - A. Sherrod Blakely looks at how the bench carried the Celtics to the win last night.

Sources: Celtics to land Knicks’ Nate Robinson - Mark Murphy has the Celtics close to obtaining three-time slam dunk champion Robinson, possibly in exchange for Eddie House.

Flights of fancy boost Williams - Julian Benbow with a thorough Celtics notebook, leading off with Sheldon Williams’ quick trip to Russia over the All Star Break.

New York media: Jonathan Papelbon ‘may be closing for the Yankees sooner than you think’ - Dan Lamothe criticizes a New York Post story that took some of the Red Sox closer’s words to mean he’ll be in pinstripes soon.

United Football League Team Officially Arrives In Connecticut - Paul Doyle looks at Hartford landing a UFL franchise, (The former New York Sentinels) which will be coached by Chris Palmer.

What the Pats should do this offseason - The Patriots should hire Tom E Curran right now, because he just has all the answers.

Mailbag is full with talk of Wilfork, FAs - Mike Reiss answers reader questions in his mailbag.

John Lackey: Passionate pitches - Gordon Edes with a feature on the new Red Sox right hander, and how his intensity on the mound should be embraced by Boston fans.

Lowell braces himself for an uncertain spring - Rob Bradford talks to Mike Lowell about getting ready to play baseball in 2010 – no matter where that might be.

Plenty of ‘pen options - Mike Fine checks the bullpen options for the Red Sox.

Also check out Chris Warner’s Q&A with Boston College Linebacker Mike McLaughlin on Patriots Daily as the former Eagle preps for the NFL draft. Good stuff about being a “Mike” linebacker, and from a guy who grew up a Patriots fan.

Today is the day Entercom boss David Field meets with their Boston employees, as reported by Jessica Heslam last week. While Heslam’s story speculated that staff cuts might be coming, Glenn Ordway scoffed at that idea on his show yesterday.

Celtics Go Back To The Grind

The long All Star Weekend is past, and the Celtics look to get back to work as they kick off the unofficial second half of the season with their traditional February West coast swing. With the trade deadline coming up on Thursday, talk continues that the Celtics are trying to make a move to position themselves for making a run at another championship.

What to look for as NBA trade week unfolds - Paul Flannery with a look at the possibilities for this week.

Cavaliers trade rumors increase pressure on Celtics to deal - Robert Lee with a look at whether rumors that the Cavaliers are close to acquiring Amar’e Stoudemire impacts the Celtics thinking in trades.

Celtics point and shoot - Mark Murphy says that the news of the impending Cavs deal does not alter the Celtics thinking.

Celtics better have better half - Gary Washburn has the Celtics focused on an improved second half to the season, no matter what their roster looks like at the end of the week.

Top 10 Red Sox Players With Most at Stake in Spring Training - Michael Hurley runs down a number of players with something to prove over the next couple of months.

Boston’s trek to playoff baseball starts this week - Joe McDonald with a position-by-position look at how the Red Sox should perform in 2010.

Patriots Must Relearn to Perfect Art of Play-Calling - Jeff Howe looks at how Bill O’Brien and the Patriots offensive coaches need to improve on their play calling for 2010.

Questions linger for Brandon Tate - Mike Reiss with a look at the second year receiver, who could be a diamond in the rough for the Patriots.

A good draft for Pats to get defensive - Christopher Price talks to a couple of NFL draft analysts about what the Patriots might be able to get in the upcoming draft.

Thomas happy to be wearing USA sweater - Mick Colageo has Bruins goalie Tim Thomas just happy to be along for the ride with Team USA.

Adam Kilgore Heading Down To D.C.

We’ll lead off this morning with the news that Boston Globe Patriots beat writer Adam Kilgore will be leaving the paper to go down to Washington D.C. and take over the Nationals beat for the Washington Post.

The move is said to be a personal one, rather than a professional one, as Kilgore is taking a job with his former paper, and in a place where he has some personal ties which make the move a good fit for him.

This is a blow for the Globe, as Kilgore has always been a rock steady performer, taking intelligent, reasoned stands, and staying away from the muck-racking which is more and more prevalent in his profession these days.

Now, on to the top links for today:

Wizards, Celts in swap talks - Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the two teams talking about a potential blockbuster trade.

NBC’s universal coverage will be hard to miss - Chad Finn will be among the Globe staff in Vancouver for the Olympics, and he previews the TV coverage in his media column today.

Busy time for Celtics call-in show - Bill Doyle talks to WEEI Celtics postgame host John Ryder about the current struggles of the team, and talks about his career in sports radio.

Red Sox have trucked a long way - Jon Couture notes that as absurd as “truck day” has gotten, it’s a good time to reflect just how far the Red Sox have come.

Mirror, mirror on the wall . . .  – Rich Levine with a detailed look at the Celtics problems, and how to fix them.

Some Celtics trade rumors don’t add up, but an Iguodala deal would make sense - Robert Lee looks through the various trade rumors and advocates a trade for the 76ers André Iguodala.

Hot Peppers talk needs cooling down - Tom E Curran says Patriots fans shouldn’t be getting hot and bothered over Julius Peppers.

After decades in the minors, Johnson looks forward to major role - Joe McDonald has former PawSox manager Ron Johnson looking forward to his first season on the Red Sox major league staff.

Bruins slip Lightning comeback - Stephen Harris reports on the Bruins 5-4 victory in Tampa over the Lightning.

Get to know the new look Red Sox - John Tomase has a position-by-position look at what the Red Sox should look like come opening day.

…and for the NASCAR folk – Wounded knee won’t bury Hamlin - Michael Vega has Denny Hamlin getting ready to race in the Daytona 500 with a torn ACL.

I also wanted to comment on a Boston.com Patriots blog entry this morning. Albert Breer happened to write this one, and while this is going to sound like I’m picking on Breer, he’s not the only one to spout this point of view. In talking about the franchise tag, and whether the Patriots will use it on Vince Wilwork - actually the post is titled Why is Wilfork not tagged yet? - Breer says the following in conclusion:

Remember, what players get upset about isn’t simply being tagged — It’s the violation of the spirit of the tag. The idea of the rule, in the first place, was to keep valuable players (namely, quarterbacks) from arbitrarily switching teams. But it’s become a way of holding players hostage for a year or two, and delaying their big paydays. It’s important, if this negotiation gets to the point where Wilfork must be tagged, a day that’s still likely to come, he doesn’t feel like that’s what’s happening.

C’mon. a violation of the spirit of the tag? Can you tell me the difference between the two scenarios? You’re either “keeping a valuable player” or holding them hostage (unfortunate choice of words, by the way.)

I’ve heard the “spirit of the tag” elsewhere. Do these people forget that this was a negotiated point in the CBA that the players agreed to? So did they agree to it, but never expect the owners to actually use it?

Looking at the other side, was free agency never supposed to be about players arbitrarily swtiching teams? Have they violated the spirit of free agency?

I’m always bemused when the media applauds players for treating things like a business, (Tony Massarotti has been adamant lately that if he was Tom Brady, he’d have no loyalty to the Patriots since he’s not from here, and this isn’t a good place to play and that he should go chase the money elsewhere.) but when a team makes a move within the rules to protect and hold onto a business asset, they’re holding them hostage – at millions and millions of dollars per year.

If the use of the tag really has turned out to be different from its original intention, it will be interesting to see if it is tweaked to be more specific as to its use. Is it changed to only include quarterbacks? Or specific positions (not kickers)?

Week Log: One Flame Extinguished, Another One Lit

Today feels a little like sitting in the middle of a busy intersection. We’ve got a Super Bowl just concluded, both the B’s and C’s on the eve of a winter interlude, and the engines turning over to start a new baseball season. And, of course, the Olympics are torching up tomorrow, which is where we’ll start this morning.
Olympics

The XXI Olympic Winter Games kick off in Vancouver with torch-lighting ceremonies tomorrow night and, as Dan Wetzel reports, there are no snow sightings. Too bad Washington, D.C. didn’t bid on these Winter Games. Boston.com’s Olympics Blog thinks that if airport logistics are any indication, Vancouver will have its snow problems under control in no time.

On the slopes, Bode Miller’s Blog has him grateful for a spread-out schedule that will help him get through all five Alpine events on a bruised ankle. ESPN’s Winter Olympics Blog has Miller comfortable behind the mic working his anti-media shtick. In the rink, Boston Sports Then And Now has Tim Thomas’ play vindicating Team USA Coach Ron Wilson for naming Sabres goalie Ryan Miller his starter. Amid a flurry of team previews, Olympic Hockey Blog takes some time to check out all three Team USA goalie masks.

Enough about the men. Sports Illustrated takes an intimate look – let’s make that lots of looks – at the other half of the U.S. Olympic Team. One Sport Voice says Lindsey Vonn’s recent cover shoot is indicative of Sports Illustrated’s knack for sexualizing woman athletes. Fourth-Place Medal says Vonn is more than a pretty face, as any reader of Sports Illustrated can attest.

Super Bowl

The New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl on Sunday in what is being billed as the most-watched TV event in history, but NBC Sports’ Out of Bounds finds such a claim insulting to M*A*S*H diehards. The Super Bowl was Boston Sports‘ epiphany that the decade of feel-good stories surrounding Boston teams has officially ended.

The Rap Sheet is struck by the Saints’ embrace of victory. Former Patriots FB Heath Evans concludes his stint with It Is What It Is by regaling New Englanders of what it’s like to win a Super Bowl. Michael Hurley views the Saints’ gutsy risk-taking as a further encouragement for Bill Belichick next season. We’re Just Saying finds it poetic justice that the team that put it on the line all season took all the chances in this one, while the one that opted for imperfection during the regular season found it in the Super Bowl as well.

If any team has fallen out of the public’s favor faster than the Patriots, it is the Indianapolis Colts. The fall started with Week 16′s SubsGate, followed by SubsGate II the next week. On Sunday, the Colts were lambasted for questionable play-calling and being out game-planned. Now the great Peyton Manning is under fire for poor sportsmanship. And don’t forget Reggie Wayne, says Pro Football Talk. How Belichickian of them, you might think, but Shutdown Corner says no, Peyton’s indiscretion merely shows how badly he wanted to win. Because Belichick didn’t care about winning, right? Extra Points says Manning handled himself like a pro after the incident. Boston Blood Sox has Manning exposing himself as a fraud in both Greatest QB Ever and Classy Individual categories. Boston Dirt Dogs lays to rest all talk of Manning being better than Tom Brady. Mass Hysteria loves piling on the Colts; even ex-Colts can’t escape their wrath.

Inside Track brings us a behind-the-scenes look at last Sunday’s battle of two titans, as Oprah gets Leno and Letterman in the same room. In what might be a BSMW first, we give you Christian Science Monitor‘s five worst Super Bowl commercials and no, Tim Tebow & Mom are not among them. MediaBiz has the Tebows’ spot getting the least viewers and tells you which one got the most.

Would you throw Megan Fox out of the tub for having clubbed thumbs? Well, Daily Mail has Motorola not wanting to chance it as they bring us a tale of thumb doubles. Google’s Parisian Love ad told Sports Central a sweet story that leaves them wanting for more, while Boston Sports Blog gives them more with a couple of their own versions. Be sure to clear your search history after this one!

B’s / C’s

Have there ever been two groups in more need of a vacation than B’s and C’s fans? The respective seasons of discontent come to a putter-out after tonight’s Bruins game in Tampa, then it’s off to the shop for some tweaking as trade deadlines approach in both the NHL and NBA and the B’s and C’s sit in the waiting area for the Olympics / All-Star breaks to end.

The B’s have put together their first consecutive wins since December after beating both the Canadiens and Sabres. Something funny even happened for The Big Bad Bruins on Tuesday’s way to another shootout loss after blowing a 2-0 lead: the B’s won! The Hub Of Hockey says this is a different team with a contributing Marc Savard on the ice. As the trade deadline looms, Something’s Bruin is shopping Tim Thomas around.

Going the other way, the C’s have dropped two in a row after a modest three-game win streak. Courtside View credits Rajon Rondo for facing the music in the aftermath of Sunday’s loss to the Orlando Magic when his veteran teammates were hard to find. The only thing more eye-gougingly uglier last night than the Hornets’ uniforms to North Station Sports was the Celtics’ performance in New Orleans. I happened to flip this one on right at Tony Lee‘s turning point, as the lights went out on a 12-point lead and my TV went off shortly thereafter. Green Street has the funk now turning 23 games old with no signs of letting up.

Red Sox

By this time tomorrow morning, the 18-wheeler carrying the Sox’ equipment to Florida will be just turning onto Brookline Avenue and spring will be born again. Toeing The Rubber answers the age-old question of how stupid you’d have to be to stand in the cold and watch a truck drive away. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine sees irony in this 1,480-mile truck ride being sponsored by an airline.

Extra Bases already places 50 players at the minor league complex in Fort Myers, and all 50 are in the best shape of their lives. Can the World Series trophy be far behind? Fire Brand Of The American League takes a few pre-spring training moments to reflect on the highs and lows involved in being Red Sox fans.

Utility Lou for one is sick of the cold and finds warmth in the future at shortstop with Jose Iglesias. Until then, we have Marco Scutaro, whom The Bottom Line sees as the next . . . Julio Lugo. A Very Simple Game wonders what the Sox will get among the lot of non-roster spring training invitees this year. Red Sox Monster sees this group as the last frontier of drama, given the talent already assembling in Florida. Fearing an invite extended in Nomar Garciaparra’s direction, Fenway Pastoral says thanks but no thanks.

I, too, will be among the diehards seeing off the truck tomorrow morning so you won’t have to. Look for my fan reactions tomorrow on Boston Dirt Dogs and we’ll see you back here next week. I can almost smell the diesel!

Yet Another Celtics Meltdown

For the tenth time since Christmas day, the Celtics blew a double digit lead, and lost to the New Orleans Hornets 93-85 in a game that was just painful to watch in the second half. This team is in serious need of a jolt.

Bad habits bug Celtics - Frank Dell’Apa has the depressing game story from New Orleans.

Welcome back to the Twilight Zone - Paul Flannery with a look at what’s ailing this team in the third quarter, and why we shouldn’t expect a P.J. Brown type to just be sitting out there on the scrap heap.

Are C’s forcing Danny Ainge’s hand? Chris Forsberg wonders if the Celtics are putting the pressure on their boss to make a move by their uninspired play.

Rolodex of the Mind … beginning with Rondo - Lenny Megliola lets loose with a stream of consciousness.

Boston radio station cuts feared - Jessica Heslam reports that Entercom could be making more staff cuts to WEEI and WRKO.

Turning point near for Vince Wilfork - Mike Reiss says that we’ve reached a key checkpoint of the Patriots offseason, as they can now officially put the franchise tag on Vince Wilfork if they like.

Coordinating the staff - Albert Breer expands on some thoughts by Jason Cole on the Patriots coaching situation.

Kevin Youkilis right at home in Hub - Steve Buckley with a feature on the Red Sox slugger, who now seems like a lifelong native of Boston.

Without Jason Bay, Red Sox May Have to Address Lack of Offense - Tom Caron looks at the offseason changes in the Red Sox lineup.

Buzz back in Bruins - Stephen Harris says that a couple of wins has done wonders for the Bruins confidence.

Check back a little later for Bob Ekstrom’s week log…