Bruins Win Two In A Row? Really?

The Bruins have been awful for a long stretch this season, but they haven’t packed it in just yet. Last night they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in the sudden death shootout for their second win in a row.

Bruins shoot down Sabres, 3-2 – Joe Haggerty has the game story and talking points on this one.

Rask, Paille lead B’s to second straight win – Dan Rowinski on WEEI.com also looks at the victory.

An Ortiz revival and a Lester slump? What the numbers guys say about the 2010 Red Sox – Daniel Barbarisi takes a look at the 2010 Red Sox from the pages of a few books of statistical projection.

Plenty of questions as Red Sox head to spring training – It’s that time again – the annual “Questions heading into the start of spring training/training camp” articles are starting to pour in. Today, Michael Silverman has nine questions about the 2010 Sox.

Jon Lester at top of Red Sox rotation – Silverman gets two links this morning, as he also has a piece on the Red Sox 26-year-old lefty ace.

Rob Leary an organization man – Gordon Edes looks at the new man in charge of the Red Sox spring training schedule.

Rajon Rondo on His Way to Becoming Celtics’ Centerpiece – Liam Martin says that the Celtics point guard is their MVP this season, no doubt about it.

Doc Rivers: Enough talking – Chris Forsberg has the Celtics coach urging his team to back up their words.

Road trip will reveal much about Celtics – Jim Fenton says that the Celtics are in need of a jump start, and the upcoming West coast swing could provide that.

Bill in full charge – Mark Farinella believes that Bill Belichick’s decision not to name any coordinators is solely for the purpose of stiffing the media.

A Mixed Bag on Tuesday

With none of the locals in action last night (besides the Beanpot) it’s a mixed bag of top links this morning:

Why you sign Josh Beckett, today. Curt Schilling weighs in on Josh Beckett entering the last year of his contract, and takes a shot at Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe in the process.

These e-mailers are writing about a wrong – Dan Shaughnessy shares some of the emails he received after saying that Peyton Manning was better than Tom Brady, and then having Manning lose the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Harsh dose of reality – Ron Borges tells us that the window of opportunity is closing for Peyton Manning.

Trading Ray Allen only hope for C’s – Gerry Callahan tells us why the Celtics need to make a move if they hope to be a contender come playoff time.

Who would fit with C’s if they deal Ray Allen? Paul Flannery examines whether either Kevin Martin or Andre Iguodala would be an acceptable return for Allen.

Doc Rivers’ done being nice – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics coach saying that his club needs to do more than just talk about getting better.

Cameron front and center for Red Sox – Mike Fine looks over the reconfigured Red Sox outfield, which now has 37-year-old Mike Cameron as its centerpiece.

The deal is, Thomas will stay put – Joe Haggerty tells us that Tim Thomas isn’t going anywhere.

Super Bowl reminds us of the power of sports – Bill Reynolds says that Sunday was one of those games that “reminded us that sports can be transcendent, have the power to be more than just a game with a winner and a loser. One of those games that remind us what we love about sports.”

Classics like this make familiar title game anything but stale – No, not the Super Bowl, Chris Gasper is talking about the Beanpot…

Celtics Don’t Have Magic, Saints Do

I was ready.

After watching Peyton Manning shred the tough defenses of Baltimore and the Jets in theirs last two games, and seeing how the Colts had been a machine in every game they had tried to win this season, I was ready to join the group-think that had Peyton whipping past Tom Brady and the Colts joining the Patriots as team of the decade.

One killer pick-six in the fourth quarter put an end to all that. That play was more Peyton Manning of 2004 than it was the QB we’ve seen since the AFC title game in 2006. The interception sealed the game for the Saints, who rallied from a 10-0 first quarter deficit to beat the Colts, 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV.

I’m sure Manning wishes his former coach had kept quiet. This was Tony Dungy’s prediction of the game:

“I think they’re going to be so far ahead that people are going to say, ‘Oh, ho-hum, he played a good game, they won by two scores, the Colts won their second championship,’ ” Dungy said of Manning on Thursday. “He’s going to have those rings Sunday night. I don’t think it’s going to be close.”

Whoops. (It wasn’t the only dumb thing Dungy said either, as he also took a shot at Tom Brady and Bill Belichick as well.) The media pack is quick to change direction, now even Ron Borges says that Peyton just a .500 QB when it counts. Hector Longo says Manning doesn’t belong to be mentioned with Tom Brady or Joe Montana. Jonathan Comey offers up some thoughts on the Saints victory. Karen Guregian can’t forgive the Colts for laying down the final two weeks of the season. Dan Shaughnessy takes a shot at himself for his Saturday column stating that Manning was definitively better than Brady. Christopher Price bangs out 10 things we learned last night. Tom E. Curran says that Peyton, Polian and the Colts were afraid of the pressure.

Here are the top links from this morning’s papers and websites around New England:

The Celtics Forced To Face Reality – Paul Flannery assesses the Celtics after a 19-0 Magic third quarter run doomed the Celtics on national television yesterday.

Celtics show the good, bad and ugly against Orlando – Tim Weisberg has the Celtics blowing their ninth double-digit lead since Christmas.

Problem on the parquet – Scott Souza says that only the Celtics can fix what’s wrong with this team.

Their effort not hard to categorize – Gary Washburn explains that the Celtics are just not an elite team right now.

Relaxing the cause of tension – Frank Dell’Apa’s notebook has the Celtics getting too comfortable in the second half of games.

Rask and B’s back in winning ways – Yes, the Bruins actually won a game yesterday. Joe Haggerty gives us the details from Montreal.

Bruins kick ugly Hab-it – Steve Conroy says that the Bruins flirtation with ignominy is over.

Lowrie working very hard to get back on radar screen – Actually from yesterday, but a good Red Sox notes column from Joe McDonald and Daniel Barbarisi.

Gay rings up another – Adam Kilgore has Randall Gay using his experience in New England to benefit his hometown Saints.

A strong sense of entitlement is at play – Ready for another BU-BC Beanpot final tonight?

At Last, Some Reason…

Tom E. Curran shows a little sanity when talking Patriots and putting the “team of the decade” comparisons with the Colts in perspective. He notes that some of his colleagues are letting their facts get a little fuzzy when it comes to this topic.

You may recall the other day when Ron Borges, twisting the numbers to suit his agenda, stated the following:

The Colts have won more regular-season games this decade than the Patriots, won more consecutive games this decade than the Patriots, made the playoffs more often this decade than the Patriots (9-8), reached the playoffs more consecutive years than the Patriots (eight straight) and if they win Sunday will trail them by only one Super Bowl victory this decade.

Borges, was of course spouting the Polian company line, which doesn’t include playoffs in win totals or winning streaks.

Curran acknowledges that Borges is his friend, but does correct him nonetheless.

From 2000 through 2009, the New England Patriots went 126-52. They won three Super Bowls, four conference titles and made it to the AFC Championship five times.

They became the first team in history to go unbeaten over a 16-game regular season and became the first to win 18 in a row in a single season. Only once since 2000 did they finish under .500. And that was 2000.

They won three Super Bowls, four conference titles and made it to the AFC Championship five times. They didn’t go one-and-done in the playoffs until 2009. They finished tied for first place in the AFC East every season from 2001 through 2009. They had one winning streak of 21 games that went from 2003 through those playoffs and into 2004. They had another winning streak of 18 games (2007). They set the record for most consecutive postseason games won (10).

He then compared that to the Colts:

From 2000 through 2009, the Indianapolis Colts went 124-52 (with one game remaining). They won one Super Bowl, two conference titles and made it to the AFC Championship three times.

They set the record for consecutive regular-season games won with 22 in the 2008 and 2009 seasons (a playoff loss in the first-round of the 2008 playoffs prevented them from being able to break New England’s overall record). In their nine postseason appearances, they were one-and-done five times.

He also looks at the money spent by the two teams – another frequent accusation by Borges. It is very close between the two clubs.

——————

Check the coverage of last night’s Celtics win over the Nets at CelticsLinks.com.

Return of Friday Megalinks

Work has been crazy the last few weeks which is why you haven’t seen the megalinks since the beginning of the New Year. I’m hoping next week will be easier.

You have your Weekend Viewing Picks, of course. 

National

Starting with the Sports Business Daily, we have the full roster of spots for Super Bowl XLIV on CBS.

Also from Sports Business Daily, the final ratings from last weekend including the Pro Bowl which was the highest rated sporting event.

Wayne Friedman of MediaPost discusses how CBS is trying to sell even more spots for the Super Bowl.

SportsbyBrooks explores ESPN Radio firing Michael Irvin from his Dallas radio show after three year old rape allegations surfaced this week.

And apparently, Irvin is firing back filing a countersuit against the accuser.

Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi is critical of Lindsey Vonn’s pose on this week’s Sports Illustrated cover.

Erin Whiteside at the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State University says women lose when sports stars become authority figures.

Michael Hiestand of USA Today says the NCAA’s expansion of its men’s tournament is a money grab.

Dave Kindred writing for the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center says Super Bowl week can be the best week and the worst week for a sportswriter.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe says the ratings for Super Bowl XLIV actually might match the media hype.

Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram writes that CBS’ Jim Nantz has an affinity for the New Orleans Saints.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman writes a regular New York sports radio caller was saved thanks to football.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post mourns the late Tom Brookshier.

Pete Dougherty in the Albany Times Union says even the broadcast team has pregame jitters.

Laura Nachman says the Philadelphia CBS affiliate will have a Super Bowl special this weekend.

Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post talks with former CBS Sports producer Frank Chirkinian about the early days of the NFL.

Jim Williams in the Washington Examiner writes that producing the Super Bowl for TV is a team effort.

Tim Lemke looks at Bloomberg Sports’ fantasy baseball package.

South

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes that his CBS Sports colleagues are surprised that Bill Cowher is still on television.

Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the furor over the Tim Tebow Super Bowl advocacy ad shows why athletes rarely take controversial stands.

Tom Jones from the St. Petersburg Times talks with ESPN’s Dick Vitale about South Florida’s basketball program.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News looks at the Michael Irvin firing from ESPN Radio in the Metroplex.

Barry has more on the firing.

Ray Buck in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram also delves into the Irvin dismissal.

David Barron in the Houston Chronicle says watching the Super Bowl in Canada is definitely a different experience.

In the Daily Oklahoman, Mel Bracht writes that CBS’ analysts are leaning towards the Indianapolis Colts.

Mel has the Super Bowl Sunday viewing lineup.

And in his media notebook, Mel writes that the Oklahoma City Thunder are setting ratings records.

Midwest

In the Cincinnati Enquirer, John Kiesewetter says Pete Rose will be Andy Furman’s first guest on Monday. 

Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel feels the Super Bowl could surpass 100 million viewers for the first time.

Ed Sherman has this week’s winners and losers.

Jim O’Donnell of the Chicago Tribune writes that the success of “The Blind Side” came unexpectedly to Memphis Grizzlies TV analyst Sean Tuohy.

Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says CBS is expecting monster viewership if Super Bowl XLIV is close.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also notes that CBS could reach record numbers on Sunday.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret News says last Saturday’s BYU-Utah game had one of the most surreal moments caught on camera.

Jay Posner in the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that the NFL is riding a big momentum wave heading into the Super Bowl.

John Maffei from the North County Times says CBS is bringing back sideline reporters for the Super Bowl.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star tells us that there’s plenty of other sports to watch on Sunday other than the Super Bowl.

Jim writes as CBS’ Jim Nantz prepares to call the New Orleans Saints’ penultimate game on Sunday, he recalls seeing their first.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says ESPN is all over the Super Bowl and it doesn’t even have the game.

Tom Hoffarth in the Los Angeles Daily News speaks with former ESPN’er Larry Burnett who has made a name for himself in SoCal as a play-by-play man.

Tom has more with Larry in his blog.

Tom also has everything you need to know about Super Bowl Sunday.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin in the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that Canadians won’t be able to watch the US Super Bowl ads.

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says the Super Bowl might match the hype.

Gary Mason of the Canadian Press says despite heavy financial losses, NBC expects record ratings for the Winter Olympics.

William Houston of Truth & Rumours writes that after a four year absence, CTV’s Brian Williams looks forward to hosting the Olympics once again.

William notes that one of Canada’s greatest Olympians was snubbed for the Olympic Torch Relay.

And William has one more post on the snub.

And that will do it. Enjoy your Super Bowl Weekend.

Friday Links and Randomness

So is this NFL offseason going to entirely consist of Boston media types tracking down former and current Patriots players to ask them to talk about the demise of the franchise, and ask how poorly they were treated and how everything in Foxborough is just a house of cards?

Just wondering, since that is the early trend thus far. We’ve heard from Richard Seymour, Adam Vinatieri, Asante Samuel, Vince Wilfork, and yesterday, Adalius Thomas. We’ve had David Thomas thrown in our faces like he’s the second coming of Kellen Winslow. (The Dad, not the son.)

There have been a few props thrown the Patriots way, Randall Gay and Heath Evans have spoken positively of their time in New England, and Sean Payton has gushed about Bill Belichick and the Patriots as a model to follow, but their input is drowned out by all the negativity. I’m a little tired of it. I know that the Patriots have a lot of work to do, I don’t need it thrown in my face every time I turn around.

Ratings might match the hype – Chad Finn thinks that this Super Bowl might actually match all the hype that CBS and other outlets are putting into it.

Nantz was there as Saints marched in – Bill Doyle has Jim Nantz recalling attending the first-ever New Orleans Saints game, back in 1967 as an 8-year-old.

Forty-Four Facts About Super Bowl XLIV – Not much that Jeff Howe doesn’t cover here.

Patriots coaching staff in focus – What? Actual Patriots discussion that doesn’t involve the impending demise of the franchise? Thank God for Mike Reiss.

Players own early resolve – Albert Breer has the NFLPA preparing for a lockout in 2011.

Checking in at the V-Mart: A look at Victor Martinez’ value – Alex Speier looks at what the Red Sox catcher might be looking at in his next contract.

Best move for Bruins? None at all – With this season seemingly out of hope, Stephen Harris says that Peter Chiarelli should just stand pat and not make any moves aimed to improve the team this season.

Papelbon sticks to his guns – Brian MacPherson touches on a number of Red Sox-related topics.

Sunday super for Marquis Daniels? – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics forward hoping he might return to action on Sunday.

A program note on ‘biggest loser’ – With the 4-44 Nets in town tonight, Bob Ryan remembers the times the Celtics played the  ’72-’73 Sixers, who finished at 9-73.

Week Log: Sportsual Healing In Order For Boston

A a kid, I remember Jim Rice’s broken hand costing the Sox a World Series title, and Darryl Stingley’s career ending on a preseason gridiron. I watched the corpus erodus of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Bill Walton during what could have been productive years breaking in kids like Len Bias and Reggie Lewis. And how many Cups would a healthy Bobby Orr have delivered to Boston?

Sure, every fan base experiences misfortune, but on reflective days like Tuesday when I first heard David Aldridge‘s report that Celtic Paul Pierce could miss significant time due to a broken foot, it occurred to me that Boston seems to have far beyond its fair share. There are times when misfortune seems to descend like locusts to pick our championship hopes to the bone.

Well, as Celtics Green reports, the news on Pierce proved better than expected, which is good since ESPN Boston Celtics Blog says no one on the roster can replace his leadership and production. Yeah, every game lost to Pierce’s foot is a lemon, but LOSCY is using it to make lemonade.

Nevertheless, there are well-founded concerns across the Boston sportscape. On the hardwood, if it’s not Glen Davis’ right thumb, then it’s Marquis Daniels’ left thumb, or Kevin Garnett’s knee, which Lex Nihil Novi says is keeping the C’s in continuous uncertainty. Celtics Blog has Doc Rivers saying KG still needs more time.

No Boston team has had bigger losses recently than the Patriots. Jeff Howe sees Super Bowl starting QBs Peyton Manning and Drew Brees as a good prognosis for Tom Brady, who looked out of sorts after returning from a missed 2008 season. Extra Points is taking news of Wes Welker’s successful surgery with a grain of salt, recalling how the early returns on Brady’s knee soured quickly. The Rap Sheet reports that WR Brandon Tate’s injured knee is “good.” Mike Reiss says Randy Moss’ toughness is underestimated as he reportedly played with a separated shoulder for much of the 2009 season. Mass Hysteria is miffed that some would confuse Randy’s injury with laziness. Jets DB Darelle Revis, a.k.a. The Mouth That Never Stops, is among the confused, as It Is What It Is has him still maintaining that Moss takes plays off. This guy’s lips seem to spend less time together lately than Tiger and Elan. Pats Pulpit calls Revis a punk, plain and simple.

Then, there are the B’s, a revolving door to the infirmary. ESPN Boston Bruins Blog has defenseman Zdeno Chara playing with a broken pinkie since November. It’s a finger for Mark Stuart too, as Hub Hockey has his Ironman status in jeopardy after a second major injury this season. On a good note, the Boston Bruins website reports that defenseman Andrew Ference will be able to take matters into his own hands again sooner than expected, as it’s been tough for him to watch the B’s. Andrew, you are not alone.

Bruins

Well, Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow on Tuesday, meaning only nine more weeks of hockey for the B’s, who dropped their eighth straight later that night. It was the same old tired story for Stanley Cup Of Chowder: no goals and key mistakes. Among a wealth of one-liners on scoring ineptitude, Joe Haggerty suggests the B’s are in need of a serious set of 9-volt batteries to charge the offense. If that doesn’t work, someone could always use them to light the goal lamp anyway.

Big Bad Blog has the B’s saying their longest losing streak in 54 seasons will soon be a thing of the past. If it isn’t, the Black & Gold may be able to draft Taylor Hall with their own pick. However, Kathryn Tappen says sinking into the bottom-feeders is not an option on Causeway Street.

And forget about mortgaging the future on Ilya Kovalchuk, as Black & Gold says the slumping B’s are more than one player away from climbing out of their Eastern Conference hole. View From 311 implores GM Peter Chiarelli not to panic by renting Kovalchuk. Hey, would you pay $4 million for a guy who can’t light the lamp? Neither would 29 other NHL teams, but James Murphy has Chiarelli declaring Michael Ryder’s availability via trade.

Beanpot

It will be a grudge match of college hockey’s past two national champions, as BC and BU once again play for Beanpot honors this Monday. BC Interruption has the Eagles invalidating claims that this year’s field was wide open after blanking Harvard, 6-0, in the opening round. The Heights had tensions rising between the Eagles and Crimson in the typically high-octane atmosphere of Beanpot hockey. The Hockey Journal calls BU’s 2-1 win over Northeastern a show for the ages. The Boston Hockey Blog has the Beanpot producing yet another unexpected hero in freshman forward Alex Chiasson, who netted the game-winner for the Terriers.

We’re Just Saying laments the Beanpot’s erosion from a must-see event to one reserved for hard-cores only.

Celtics

Sunday’s loss to the Lakers may well be looked back upon as Rock Bottom. The C’s made it two straight wins last night by downing the Miami Heat, 107-102, at TD Garden. Red’s Army has Tony Allen replacing the injured Pierce in the lineup and coming up with the play of the game.

Sunday’s loss may also have been a glimpse of the window shutting, but SportsCenter 5 Overtime is not ready to concede the C’s are too old yet. Celtics Stuff Live tries to enlighten Glenn Ordway on salary issues and restore order to discussions over Ray Allen’s expiring contract. CelticsBlog takes Gary Tanguay to task for his CBA ignorance. Evans Clinchy shows why the math doesn’t work in a potential deal for Golden State’s Monta Ellis. Green Street has Allen at peace with the reality of his situation.

Rich Levine has Rajon Rondo taking another step towards becoming the unrivaled leader of the veteran-laden Green.

Red Sox

Everyone’s still in good health and good spirits on Yawkey Way. Utility Lou defends this winter’s emphasis on pitching and defense by demonstrating that nobody hits good pitching anyway. Full Count contends that the Sox’ problems last season were less about their inability to hit elite pitching and more about their inability against modest opponents. Nuggetpalooza has Jason Varitek no match against the AL’s elite pitching, which is one reason Boston Red Sox Examiner argues that a Joe Mauer extension in Minnesota is far more damaging to the Sox than the Yankees.

One If By Land has newly acquired reliever Joe Nelson filling a niche in the Sox bullpen that’s already filled. Clearing The Bases has Nelson a role model of persistency to inspire some struggling farm hands. NESN’s Boston Red Sox blog thinks the best path for Tim Wakefield to stay healthy and a contributor is as a swingman.

Looking back on the past Hot Stove, Sox Therapy would have traded the Sox’ new kingdom for a Holliday. And Another Thing . . . has Johnny Damon’s divorce from the Bronx a tremendously welcome development in the Sox-Yankees rivalry.

Bloggers, take note as Boston Sports Then And Now is trying to organize the first-ever Boston Sports Blogapalooza. This could be a chance to show the likes of Pete Sheppard and Michael Felger that we can be prodded out of mom’s basement if there’s enough beer and sports talk involved. Stay tuned for more details, and see you back here next Thursday.

Celtics Take The Heat

The Celtics, playing without Paul Pierce, had enough to hold off Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat last night at the Garden.

Frank Dell’Apa has Tony Allen making a big play on Wade with the game on the line, ensuring the Celtics victory. Mark Murphy has the Celtics making the needed plays in the fourth quarter – a welcome change from recent losses. Robert Lee has Rajon Rondo (22 points, 14 assists) taking the lead last night. Lenny Megliola the game bringing out the brilliance of Rondo and Wade (30 points, 13 assists). Bill Doyle says that it was Christmas day all over again for the Celtics. Jim Fenton has the Celtics looking like a happier team after this one. A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics playing their best defense in the fourth quarter last night.

Bob Ryan reminds us how old and broken down the Celtics are, and says that “if” Doc Rivers can get them to the playoffs, the schedule becomes easier on old bodies. Bill Reynolds writes the exact same column. Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers reacting to yesterday’s piece in the Herald about the team chemistry. Gary Washburn pinpoints the Celtics struggles this season as “they aren’t winning consistently and have yet to gain cohesiveness because of injuries.”

Tony Lee says that Doc Rivers has worked wonders with his patchwork lineups this season. Paul Flannery has order being restored at the TD Garden last night. Chris Forsberg has Rajon Rondo’s play speaking volumes after his comments earlier in the week. Rich Levine has Rondo answering the challenge his own words created.

Bulpett has Ray Allen feeling better about his situation after a talk with Danny Ainge. Murphy has Paul Pierce with a sigh of relief after his foot diagnosis. Jeff Howe has more on Pierce. Forsberg has a look at the big play from Tony Allen late in the game. Peter May has Eddie House making a big contribution in Pierce’s absence.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has Kevin Garnett saying that the team’s “bickering” problems are now under control. Murphy’s notebook has KG saying that there is no “finger-pointing” going on with the team. Lee’s Celtics Journal has more on the team’s chemistry issues. Doyle’s notebook has more on Pierce’s sprained foot. Fenton’s notebook says that Pierce will likely miss tomorrow night’s game against the Nets as well.  

Misc

Daniel Barbarisi has Daniel Bard feeling comfortable with his role heading into spring training.

Michael Silverman has Padres GM Jed Hoyer backing off slightly from comments yesterday about trading Adrian Gonzalez.

Stephen Harris  and Mike Loftus both have the Bruins hoping that a change of scenery can change their fortunes. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins are not likely land Ilya Kovalchuk.

Mark Blaudschun and Steve Conroy have a look at Boston College linebacker recruit Kevin Pierre-Louis. Eric Avidon has coach Frank Spaziani putting some building blocks in place.

Back In Business

First of all, I apologize for the lack of a post yesterday. 1) I’m sick and 2) because of recurring problems with the core database, an impromptu migration to a new server took place. Hopefully things will be back to normal.

Let’s get on to the top ten of this morning.

Selfish trend top item on Celtics agenda – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics players saying that their problems this season have not been all physical.

Breaking down the impact of the C’s injuries – Jessica Camerato lists out the eye-popping injury tally for the Celtics thus far this season.

Together again? How Joe Johnson could return – Gary Tanguay attempts to write what he was spouting on the air yesterday, about how the Celtics could sign Joe Johnson in the offseason. Of course, they would need to have Paul Pierce opt out of his contract and then re-sign for a team-friendly deal after Johnson (or another free agent) signs. Seems a bit of a stretch.

Thankfully, rumors of Pierce’s demise greatly exaggerated – Michael Muldoon looks at how rumors were flying fast and furious last night that Paul Pierce had suffered a broken foot.

Bruins stumble against the Capitals – Joe Haggerty says that it is hard to believe that things can get worse for the Bruins than what they are right now.

Red Sox’ Hall hits hard drive – John Tomase checks in with new Red Sox utilityman Bill Hall, who hit 35 homers for the Brewers in 2006, to see if he can regain that form here in Boston.

A day in the life of Dustin Pedroia – Rob Bradford has a look at the offseason training of the Red Sox second baseman.

Plenty of candidates for lone spot in Sox pen – Daniel Barbarisi looks at the pitchers battling for the last spot in the Red Sox bullpen.

Red Sox have plenty of infield depth – Mike Fine says that right now, Boston has a case of infield overkill.

Media Day not much to write home about – Mark Farinella isn’t missing the circus known as Super Bowl media day.

Also check out the 2010 Patriots Daily Senior Bowl Review by Greg Doyle.

Groundhog Day Is Early For Celtics

The Celtics once again held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter on their opponent, yet could not finish the job. This time, it was Kobe Bryant sinking them with a jumper with 7.3 seconds to go, and the Celtics finished their “rivalry week” set of games again Orlando, Atlanta and the Lakers at 0-3.

Julian Benbow has the Celtics upset at a late offensive foul call on Paul Pierce which took away a basket that would’ve given the Celtics a three point lead just prior to Kobe’s shot. Mark Murphy has the Celtics leaving the floor angry after this one. Scott Souza has the Lakers winning a disputed decision on this one. Robert Lee has Kobe doing it once again. Bill Doyle has Paul Pierce and Kobe trading buckets in the closing seconds, but only Kobe’s counted. Jeff Howe has the Celtics unable to finish once again. A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics again collapsing down the stretch.

Bob Ryan says that the fans really needed this win to keep their title hopes for this team intact. Steve Bulpett says that the defense is the biggest problem with the Celtics right now. Tim Weisberg says that these losses don’t doom the Celtics chances, but they are a large warning sign. Mike Fine says that these Celtics are too good to be this bad. Jim Fenton has the Celtics looking for answers after a losing January. Paul Flannery says that this reality check might be just what the Celtics need.

Gary Washburn says that the Lakers, and many other teams, are no longer afraid of the outside shooting of Ray Allen, Eddie House or Rasheed Wallace. Michael Muldoon says that Allen is being paid $19 million to make that final shot, and isn’t getting the job done. He also compares this game to the Patriots loss to the Colts this season. Barry Scanlon thinks that the Celtics may need to trade Ray Allen. Peter May says that the Celtics got what they deserved. Rich Levine says that this was much more than just another regular season loss.

Frank Dell’Apa has Rajon Rondo putting on a show yesterday, especially in the second quarter. Jessica Camerato examines the personal rivalry between Paul Pierce and Ron Artest. Chris Forsberg has the Celtics fourth quarter defense again coming up short.

Steve Buckley says that Kobe Bryant just knows how to win. Lenny Megliola has the killer instinct of Kobe dooming the Celtics. Bulpett has Phil Jackson talking about his edgy relationship with Red Auerbach. Lynn Worthy says that the Lakers are better than their title team of a season ago.

Benbow’s notebook has the Celtics staying united and positive as a group. Muldoon’s notebook has the Celtics unhappy with a few calls down the stretch. Murphy’s notebook has Ray Allen coming up short on both ends of the court on the final two possessions of the game. Souza’s notebook has Tony Allen providing a big spark in the second quarter. Lee’s Celtics journal has former URI star Lamar Odom living large in Los Angeles. Doyle’s notebook has Jackson saying that KG isn’t what he used to be. Fenton’s notebook has more on the charge call on Pierce.  Forsberg’s notebook has more reaction from the Celtics on the loss. Blakely’s notebook has the Celtics flunking their test of three big games.

Patriots/NFL

Albert R. Breer says that the Patriots’ games against Indy and New Orleans this season showed the difference between themselves and the real Super Bowl contenders. Jim Donaldson says that even if the Colts win this Super Bowl, the Patriots are still the team of the decade.

Ian R. Rapoport has several Patriots enjoying themselves in the Pro Bowl yesterday. Mike Reiss has some quotes from the Patriot participants. Rapoport checks in with Logan Mankins.

Christopher Price gives us the most underrated moments in Patriots Super Bowl history. Adam Hirshfield says that taking Tim Tebow would be a real stretch for the Patriots.

Adam Kilgore has Bill Belichick and Tom Brady among those on the all-decade team. Rapoport’s notebook has more on the Patriots honored.

Misc

John Tomase is excited about having the storyline of Josh Beckett’s contract looming over the team this season. John Beattie says that it will be tough for Junichi Tazawa to crack the opening day roster for the Red Sox.

Fluto Shinzawa says that the Bruins need to show more heart. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins are making slow progress.

Ken Fang has a look at the Bloomberg Sports Baseball launch.