Bergeron, Rask Lift Bruins Over Devils

Patrice Bergeron broke a scoreless tie with 18 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Bruins a 1-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. Tuukka Rask pitched the shutout for the B’s.

Here’s your top 10 from this morning:

Bruins make like contenders in 1-0 win over Jersey – Joe Haggerty calls this one “a grimy, playoff-style 1-0 statement win on the road.”

Joe Colborne inks 3-year deal – Steve Conroy’s notebook has the Bruins’ 2008 first round pick coming to terms with the team yesterday. The 6-foot-5, 210-pound center is expected to report to Providence today.

DeFilippo seeks a different style in his next hire – Mark Blaudschun has Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo explaining what he’s going to be looking for in his next mens basketball coach.

A very successful tenure simply had run its course – Bob Ryan says the following of Al Skinner and why he and Boston College needed to part ways: “I had to smile when I saw that St. John’s was interviewing Al. Doesn’t St. John’s understand that Al is the least-hard-working guy in show business, that in the world of Division 1 college basketball, there is absolutely no one like him? In a world of 24/7/365 basketball zealots, Al is Mr. Casual.

Translation = lazy. Ryan is kinder the rest of the way to Skinner, and appreciative for the 247 wins that the coach brought to the program in his 13 seasons.

Patriots brass dines with Tim Tebow – Karen Guregian looks at the “normally discreet and secretive Pats” openly dining with the Florida QB. Smokescreen? WEEI’s ItIsWhatItIs blog has the Patriots taking Tebow with their second pick in the second round in their latest mock draft.

In Foxboro, it’s running back by committee – Robert Lee has Sammy Morris talking about his fellow running backs, and how the Patriots handle them during the season.

Kelly aces his big-time test – Peter Abraham has 20-year-old phenom Casey Kelly looking right at home while facing the Tampa Rays yesterday.

The man in the middle – Joe McDonald says that David Ortiz needs to produce if the Red Sox offense is to thrive in 2010. McDonald looks at whether Ortiz is up to the challenge.

Tazawa has sprained ligament in elbow – Brian MacPherson’s Red Sox Journal updates the status of Junichi Tazawa, and has several other items of interest.

Marquis Daniels a downer – Mark Murphy has the Celtics swingman trying to figure out the cause of his recent poor play.

Bruins Fall To Sabres, Retain Playoff Lead

The Bruins fell to the Buffalo Sabres last night 3-2, but thanks to an Atlanta loss, still hold the final playoff spot by two points.

The big story this morning is Boston College’s decision to fire head basketball coach Al Skinner.

3-2 Bruins loss was Thomas’ last stand – Mick Colageo says that after last night, there is no goaltender controversy in Boston.

Trying times for Thomas – Joe McDonald has Tim Thomas furious after being pulled last night after giving up three goals on 14 shots.

Sturm has his shot, but comes up empty – Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has Marco Sturm failing to convert a crucial penalty shot.

More opportunity lost for the Bruins – Joe Haggerty has the Bruins falling “flatter than Dennis Wideman during one of his trademark stumbles on the ice.”

Run saved a run earned for Red Sox – Jeremy Lundblad examines how placing value on defense projects to pay off in the win column for Boston in 2010.

Manny Delcarmen’s still not all set – Scott Lauber has the Red Sox reliever still trying to correct his mechanics.

Dice-K to make three more rehab starts  – An extensive notebook from Brian MacPherson fills us in on a number of topics.

Sox hope these key batters will be a solid triple – Nick Cafardo talks to hitting coach Dave Magadan about Adrian Beltre, Mike Cameron and David Ortiz, and what he thinks of their work at the plate this spring.

Rivers still sorting out playing rotations – Gary Washburn has Doc River still trying to figure out who to play with just nine games remaining in the regular season.

Patriots should make tight end top priority – Glen Farley asserts that the Patriots biggest need is a young tight end with talent.

Over on Patriots Daily, we’ve got Catching Up With The Offseason, March Edition – a look back at all that happened with the team in the last month.

Did the Patriots turn down a top-10 pick in this year’s draft?

That is the assertion of Albert Breer.

The discussion spawned on Twitter as a result of this post on the Extra Points blogwhere Breer is discussing whether the Patriots made the right move in getting the 2011 first round pick of the Raiders in the Richard Seymour trade. Breer is trying to make the point that the Patriots decision to go with the 2011 pick based on the presumption that there will be a rookie salary scale in place is something that we can’t judge as a good or bad move right now.

That’s fine. Valid point. Breer was challenged a bit on the post on Twitter:

From the PD Twitter account: (Not from me.)

More obvious s***stirring from you with Seymour. Was 2010 pick even on table? And you gloss over potential 2011 rookie cap.

Breer:

Clearly anything not overwhelmingly positive isn’t cool. Plenty of propaganda out there for you. Won’t come from here.

PD:

Ah, the “kool-aid drinker blogging from mother’s basement” take. Original. I don’t want propaganda. I want a straight take…2011 pick maybe worse, maybe better. Rookie cap important detail. No way to know now, but you stoked fire anyway.

Breer:

Wasn’t that exctly what I said? Decision-making based on rookie salary scale sound, final result still unknown. Read it back.

PD:

Tone was trade not worth the risk. “Can still poke holes in decision”, “trade quite a gamble, even moreso”. Was it really? … so many holes: Was 2010 1st on table, or 2nd; No assurance of Raiders’ 2009 record; Seymour likely to bolt from Pats as UFA. And finally, your acknowledgment of rookie cap was glancing, at best. Tried to mitigate by saying 9th pick salary not so bad.

Breer:

Isn’t it, though? They paid for the 10th pick just two years ago, and I’d say that worked out OK. …Curious 2 cite depth of this draft, in explng dec-making, but have turned dwn Top 10 pick in it in uncapped environ.

PD:

Specious argument. Paying 10th pick in ’08 a deterrent to pay less in ’11? And any confirmation yet ’10 first was on the table? Lombardi: http://bit.ly/zjTeB “At first, this deal was being framed around a two in 2010 …but it moved to a one because the Raiders wanted to keep their draft alive next year””

And that’s where the discussion ends. Breer has ignored repeated requests from several users on Twitter to clarify his claim that the Patriots turned down the Raiders 2010 pick in favor of the 2011 one, just so they could be under the rookie salary scale and save money.

If that is true, then the Patriots should be open to criticism, as this 2010 draft is being lauded as the deepest in years, and the team could certainly fill a big hole with the number eight overall pick owned by the Raiders.

But where is the proof? When the deal went down, there were no reports of the Patriots having their choice of picks. In fact, Michael Lombardi of the National Football Post reported at the time (in the link provided in the above Tweet):

At first, this deal was being framed around a two in 2010, but it moved to a one because the Raiders wanted to keep their draft alive next year.

So which is it? Who is worthy of the criticism? The Patriots for turning down a top-10 pick this year, or Breer for throwing something out there to try and quiet a Twitter challenger? If the Patriots actually turned down a top-10 pick in this draft, isn’t that a huge story? One that should be reported further on?

One way or the other, this needs to be sorted out.

Comcast Teams Up With Paul Pierce’s Truth On Health Initiative

This is a little outside the normal niche of this site, but as it does involve a local all-sports outlet, and a prominent local professional athlete teaming up to combat a serious health topic, I thought it worthy of mentioning here.

Boston Celtics captain and eight-time NBA All-Star Paul Pierce today announced that his Truth on Health Campaign, designed to encourage and inspire young people to lead healthier lives, has joined forces with Comcast and Comcast SportsNet to provide an extensive library of easy-to-learn exercise videos for kids.

The exercises, which are presented On Demand in 24, five-to-seven minute episodes, teach kids and families safe, effective and age-appropriate workout routines. The videos will be available through Comcast’s Celtics On Demand feature beginning today.  Comcast SportsNet will premier a 90 second vignette of the exercise routines each week during Celtics Now. Hosted by Michael Holley, Celtics Now runs each Thursday at 8 p.m. and recaps the week’s news on and off the court. 

The vignettes feature Pierce demonstrating a variety of exercises designed to keep kids moving. Episodes include:

  • Backpack Attack – Simple exercises while wearing a backpack
  • Celtic Pride Workout – Work-out routines coinciding with Celtics game performances (example: every time a Celtics player has an assist, do five jumping jacks)
  • Commercial Cardio – Basic calisthenics performed at home while watching TV
  • Rock, Jock & Clock – Basic basketball drills

 The videos will also be housed on Pierce’s FitClub34 from Harvard Pilgrim website, www.truthonhealth.org

The videos, which will be updated regularly, will be shown through Celtics On Demand from Comcast.  Paul Pierce’s FitClub34 content can be found through the On Demand library by selecting the “Get Local” and “Paul Pierce’s FitClub34” or “Sports” category, then “Celtics On Demand” and “Paul Pierce’s FitClub34.”  The segments will also feature information on how to sign up for FitClub34, health and exercise tips and a glossary to help kids learn exercise and health-related terms.

Celtics Whipped At Home By Spurs

Just when we thought that the Celtics home woes might be behind them, Boston gets spanked by the veteran San Antonio Spurs at the Garden last night, 94-73.

Celtics alternate between tantalizing and terrible – Steve Bulpett notes that the Celtics looked great in the first quarter, but then were awful the rest of the way.

Schedule, Spurs worked against C’s – Peter May says that this one game doesn’t undo the positives that the Celtics had going for them in recent games.

Spurs’ second effort sinks C’s – Jessica Camerato looks at a few other items of note from last night.

To the end, a man felled by hatred rose above it – Dan Shaughnessy remembers Darryl Williams, the former  Jamaica Plain football player who was shot on the field and paralyzed in 1979. Williams died yesterday at the age of 46. A very nice piece from Shaughnessy.

A real wingding –  Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has the Boston College Eagles outscoring Yale 9-7 to earn themselves a trip to the Frozen Four.

Red Sox won’t rule out 6-man rotation – Gordon Edes has the Red Sox considering all options when it comes to their starting pitching.

Patience not lost by Red Sox – Scott Lauber has the Red Sox still maintaining their philosophy of patience at the plate.

Hulett, Frandsen battle for roster spot – Brian MacPherson has infielders Tug Hulett and Kevin Frandsen battling for a roster spot that may not even be available.

Buchholz finds a positive solution – Sean McAdam’s notebook ties up a lot of loose items from yesterday.

Looking like the Lucic of old – Danny Picard has Milan Lucic coming into form as of late as he recovers from the high ankle sprain suffered earlier in the season. His resurgence has especially been felt on the power play.

Going outside the region, there has been a lot of buzz locally about a Denver Post articleyesterday on the first year of Bronco’s head coach Josh McDaniels. There is a lot of Patriots-related material in there, including the tidbit that in McDaniel’s first year as offensive coordinator, he and Tom Brady once went three weeks without speaking to each other.

Bruins Torch Flames

The rare Sunday links make an appearance…

Bruins power up, snuff sputtering Flames – Steve Conroy has the Bruins power play finally producing, giving them three goals in the win over Calgary.

Bruins center Marc Savard progressing slowly from concussion – Mike Loftus has the Bruins center speaking  publicly for the first time since his injury.

Myers at head of this class – Kevin Paul Dupont in his Hockey Notes, pushes the Sabres’ Tyler Myers as rookie of the year.

Plenty of obstacles await Celtics in playoffs – Bill Doyle looks at the Celtics chances of winning a title as a three-seed, and notes some of the tough potential first-round matchups.

Finley’s knowledge should help Celtics – Chris Forsberg says that the Celtics are counting on Michael Finley to give them a scouting report for tonight’s game a

 Celtics turning into repairmen – Scott Souza notes that with just 10 games left in the season, the Celtics are still trying to fix things.

Durant has Thunder making noise in West – Gary Washburn’s NBA Notes has Kevin Durant making the Oklahoma City Thunder playoff contenders.

Under smoke screen, Patriots eye USC players – Karen Guregian’s NFL Notes has New England look at several Southern Cal players, and also has Eagles fans not thrilled with Asante Samuel.

On the Cowboy ranch, the key word is ‘stable’ – Albert Breer has an extensive series of NFL notes this morning, starting with Dallas’ inactivity in free agency thus far.

Quick hits around NFL and Pats – Mike Reiss with 10 quick Patriots and NFL items.

For Shoeneweis, a sort of homecoming – Brian MacPherson explains why coming to the Red Sox is something Scott Schoeneweis has wanted to do for a long time.

Anderson getting a do-over with Dogs – Kevin Thomas in the Portland Press Herald looks at Lars Anderson getting another chance in AA, and has some other Sea Dogs notes.

Managerial decisions, from No. 1 to No. 30 – Nick Cafardo’s Sunday Baseball Notes ranks all the managers, and checks in across the rest of baseball.

Marco Scutaro took the long route – John Tomase’s Baseball notes starts with a look at the Red Sox new shortstop.

Celtics Hold Off Kings, Clinch Atlantic Title

Ten Bonus Saturday Links:

Celtics — yawn — win division – Bill Doyle is excited at the Celtics third straight Atlantic division title.

Rondo’s gambles pay off – Chris Forsberg has Rajon Rondo breaking the Celtics single-season record for steals.

Young star is now leading by example – Gary Washburn says that more and more, this is becoming Rondo’s team, something even Kevin Garnett readily admits.

‘Boxing out’ gets new meaning – Julian Benbow’s notebook has the team finding a new way to settle disputes.

Red Sox find a spot for all their starters – Sean McAdam has Terry Francona setting his starting rotation to begin the season.

Decisions left to make – Scott Lauber looks at where every reliever left in camp stands with the Red Sox.

Is David Ortiz still Big Papi? – Mike Fine looks at whether the great clutch hitter in Red Sox history can still be a middle-of-the-order threat.

Scratch Olsen and Reed off the list – Tom E Curran checks in with a few Patriots-related nuggets of information.

Krejci pulling his weight – Brendan Hall has the Bruins center picking up the slack as of late.

Hanging in the balance – Steve Conroy has the Bruins looking to play a more complete game.

Remember, you can also always check out the link sites for the latest and complete listing of sports stories:

CelticsLinks.com

Red Sox Links

BruinsLinks.com

PatriotsLinks.com

The Friday Megalink Thing

Ok, it’s time for the Friday megalinks. Wasn’t able to do them last week and now it’s time to bring them to you while I can.

You can always check your Weekend Viewing Picks for sports and primetime TV.

Now to your links.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks with CBS’ Dick Enberg who will call his final NCAA Tournament game tomorrow before embarking on a new phase of his broadcasting career.

Also in USA Today, sports broadcasting historian David J. Halberstam looks at the large number of veteran play-by-play men, including Enberg, who continue to call their respective sports well into their 70’s and some into their 80’s

And USA Today’s version of Mike and Mike, Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate the value of expanding the NCAA Tournament from its current 65 teams.

Alex Weprin of Broadcasting & Cable says MLB is rebranding its Home Plate channel on Sirius XM Satellite Radio to MLB Network Radio and will simulcast its programs at night.

Multichannel News looks at the life of former NBC Sports and ESPN President Chet Simmons who passed away Thursday at the age of 81.

R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel notes that Spike and UFC have put together a website for their Ultimate Fighter reality series which archives all ten seasons of the show.

Katy Bachman of Mediaweek looks at ESPN launching a New York-centric website.

Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine says the NCAA Tournament steered CBS to an overnight ratings victory on Thursday.

The Nielsen Wire blog notes that Louisville in basketball-crazy Kentucky is the top rated market for the NCAA Tournament through the first two rounds.

Writing for the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Dave Kindred says it’s important to see both sides of the story. 

The Sports Media Watch says Tiger Woods is shooting a new commercial.

Joe Favorito writes that the New York Jets made the right decision in participating in this season’s Hard Knocks program on HBO.

Gail Sideman in Sports Networker provides 5 proactive public relations tips for athletes to prevent them from getting into trouble.

Len Berman has his top five stories of the day.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe compares and contrasts the ESPN and Golf Channel interviews of Tiger Woods.

The New York Times speculates that HBO could be ending “Joe Buck Live” after three mostly lackluster shows.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post isn’t a fan of MLB Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest Bud Selig’s job on steriods.

Over to Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News who writes that the Jets are taking a stab at HBOs Hard Knocks after turning a request last year.

Writing in Baltimore’s Press Box, Dave Hughes from DCRTV.com has the latest on the Charm City’s sports radio ratings wars and other media moves.

In the Washington Examiner, Jim Williams asks his readers which is the best sports radio talk show in DC?

South

The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson looks at an upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on Dolphins running back Ricky Williams.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel takes Florida football coach Urban Meyer to task for verbally attacking one of his colleagues this week.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News has the latest ratings for the sports radio stations and they’re not good for the local ESPN Radio affiliate.

Ray Buck from the Fort Worth Star Telegram says the national media spotlight will be on Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington after last week’s admission that he took cocaine.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes that CBS’ Jim Nantz returns to Houston to call the NCAA Tournament this weekend.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman talks with a national women’s college basketball analyst about Oklahoma’s play in the ladies NCAA Tournament.

In his media notebook, Mel discusses the upcoming season of Hard Knocks and the recent Sports Emmy Award nominations.

Midwest

Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press looks at former Michigan State star Mateen Cleaves who’s hoping to start a new career on TV.

Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the Fox Sports’ NFL analysts’ reaction to the new overtime rules.

In Crain’s Chicago Business, Ed Sherman says WGN-AM has eliminated a long-running talk show in place of more Cubs programming.

Ed also has his weekly winners and losers in sports business and media.

Paul Christian in the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin has a whole bunch of media stories in his Friday column.

To Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who writes about Verne Lundquist’s return to the Gateway City where it’s memorable for a very big reason.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News says despite having two NCAA Tournament games in town last night, CBS beamed the games from Syracuse into the local market.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on a continued contract dispute between a local sports radio station and its morning show. 

And John Maffei of the North County Times says on-air auditions for potential replacements have turned out to be disastrous.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star explores why ESPN and Golf Channel accepted interviews with Tiger Woods and why CBS did not.

Jim looks at how CBS handled the first four days of the NCAA Tournament.

John Scheibe in the Los Angeles Times says upsets have not hurt CBS’ ratings for the NCAA Tournament.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News writes about the new social networking venture by new Angels TV voice and Friend of Fang’s Bites, Victor Rojas.

In his blog, Tom expands on Victor’s venture.

Tom also has his extensive media news and notes.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail previews the CBC mini-series on Don Cherry.

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star is puzzled as to why the Blue Jays have yet to release their TV schedule.

In Truth & Rumours, William Houston says the Don Cherry movie is definitely worth watching.

And that will conclude the megalinks. Have a good weekend

Bruins Step Back After Two Steps Forward

The Bruins looked to be coming together in their prior two games, but last night they reverted to old habits and fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 at the Garden.

A control issue with Woods – Chad Finn examines Tiger Woods’ recent interviews, and says that the disgraced golf star still isn’t being totally candid.

Bruins take another step back against Lightning – Joe Haggerty has the wrap from the Garden.

Bruins ripe for pickings – Stephen Harris says that the Bruins really need to get the #2 pick in the draft (via Toronto’s pick) and get themselves a pure goalscorer – and several will be available.

Opposite night in B’s loss to Lightning – Dan Rowinski says that everything was backward for the Bruins last night.

Bruins’ special teams anything but – Joe McDonald looks at another lifeless series of power plays for the Bruins.

Shawn Crable may be Patriots’ missing piece – Ian Rapoport talks to the former Michigan star, who has yet to play a regular season snap for the Patriots after being drafted two years ago.

Rocket scientist finds his space – In a piece that must’ve been in the works for awhile, Adam Kilgore (who has been on the Nationals beat for the Washington Post for a few weeks now) has a feature on Patriots linebacker coach Matt Patricia.

Patriots’ offensive line hopes to build upon last season’s success – Robert Lee  talks to center Dan Koppen about how his unit can get better than they were last season.

Matsuzaka starts his comeback – Sean McAdam has Daisuke Matsuzaka making his Grapefruit League debut yesterday.

For new Red Sox third-base coach Tim Bogar, success will mean no one notices him – Brian MacPherson looks at how the new coach is preparing for his first season at the hot corner.

Padres slugger could still find his way to Boston – Mike Fine thinks Adrian Gonzalez is still a good possibility for the Red Sox, though the end of the Globe notebook seems to indicate otherwise.

Journey to the D-League, Part 4: The game – Paul Flannery wraps up his four part series on the NBA Development League.

Rough Celtics begin to smooth out – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics making some progress.

Celtics small lineup comes up big – A. Sherrod Blakely looks at the small lineup employed by Doc Rivers against the Nuggets on Wednesday night, and why he might need to use it more over the coming weeks.

Differences between grid & diamond – In a blog entry, Mike Reiss cites access as the main difference between covering football and baseball.

And sort of media-related (For WEEI, anyway):

Congressman Fred Smerlas? It just may happen this fall – The Sun (Hamburg, NY) says that Fred Smerlas is thinking about moving his family to Western NY and making a run at Congress.

WEEI appears to be holding off WBZ-FM in the latest ratings. 98.5’s ratings have gone downhill since the start of the year (though ‘EEI’s have as well). Maybe the WEEI-lite strategy isn’t working.

Week Log: The Tide Is Rising Again

Maybe the Bruins’ wimpy effort last Thursday against the Penguins was the low-water mark in Boaston’s underachieving winter. Since then, the B’s have beaten out the competition for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the C’s have continued on their own renaissance, and hope is rising like the crocuses in my backyard. Well start with the best of the good news.

Celtics

The C’s made it four straight at home with last night’s win over the Denver Nuggets. That’s six of their last eight since hitting their own low-water mark in a 20-point home loss to the Grizzlies on March 10.

Evans Clinchy has the C’s looking more composed now than when they last faced Denver a month ago, and they let the Nuggets know it last night. Gino’s Jungle sees some good things on the court that weren’t there a month and a half ago.

Celtics Stuff Live cites some unexpected play from Tony Allen as a key contributor in last night’s win. The Three-Pointer has Boston’s bench stepping up big as of late. Hardwood Houdini says it may be five months late, but the bench we expected in October has finally arrived in March.

It’s going to take a few more wins against playoff contenders to move any discussion of the C’s legitimacy from Sports Talk Blog‘s heart to their head. With the next six games at home, SportsCenter 5 Overtime says this will be a good test of the C’s ability to hold home court in the playoffs. However, Celtics Blog has Rajon Rondo thinking it’s too late to instill fear in the hearts of visitors coming into TD Garden this spring. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog has Rondo snapping out of his funk and making a triple-double look easy last night.

Remember last year when the Bulls beat Boston on St. Patty’s Day dressed essentially in Celtics uniforms? So does North Station Sports, who warns us that this growing trend of jersey theft can lead fans to accidentally rooting for the wrong teams.

Red Sox

Big Shots starts us off with a pictoral blend of spring and spring training, but down in Fort Myers spring is not in full bloom for everyone. Fenway Fruitgirl is perplexed by Boston’s poor Grapefruit League showing and could use a few wins to please her brain and shut up ESPN. Toeing The Rubber pooh-poohed the whole underwhelming Spring Training affair . . . until Josh Beckett was lights out on the mound yesterday.

The Bottom Line wonders how the Sox can extend both Beckett and Victor Martinez now that the latter has become the top potential free agent catcher in next year’s market. Boston Sports Then And Now brings us the dilemma posed by Joe Mauer’s extension in Minnesota. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine is glad Mauer is staying put.

Mike Lowell is another guy that appears to be staying put, as Clubhouse Insider has his lack of mobility on stage for every scout to see. Full Count brings us Clay Buchholz being plagued by his old nemesis, the baserunner, in a disappointing spring thus far. Keep Your Sox On has Buchholz aging a little in his singing debut. On Subway Squawkers, Lisa claims a hatred of Sweet Caroline even as you know she was singing the chorus while logging her venomous thoughts. So good, so good! Masshole Sports tells Johnny Damon to pick a side already in the Good vs. Evil Empire war being waged within his head.

Fire Brand Of The American League learns the hard way that if you want to cheer in the press box, your pass better be made of cardboard. Sox ownership is fading fast in the estimation of Bingo Bar Blog, which finds the Krafts and Wyc Grousbeck more appealing. Funny, they didn’t mention Jeremy Jacobs. And with the regular season quickly approaching, Surviving Grady says nobody wins with a clean-shaven Kevin Youkilis in the lineup but that appears to be the voters’ choice for Youk’s Opening Night do.

NCAAM

Thoughts From Press Row promises us some excitement tonight and tomorrow in Sweet Sixteen matchups. Jade McCarthy is willing to sacrifice her bracket in the spirit of true March madness.

Down in Kingston, cows aplenty woke up on their backs this morning as fans celebrated URI’s comeback victory at Virginia Tech last night. Rhody is going to the NIT Final Four, and Ram’s Journal says they’ll be right at home in Madison Square Garden. UConn Men’s Basketball bemoans a lost opportunity to travel to Rhode Island as the Huskies dropped 10 of their final 14 games, the last coming Monday in their NIT quarterfinal at Virginia Tech.

Patriots

One thing you won’t see coming out of this year’s NCAA tournament is the Pats’ next corner as Tom E. Curran has Bill Belichick less than wowed by basketball’s foot speed. Extra Points is just as confused as the rest of us while Belichick, in classic Dickensian style, discusses the importance of participation in his offseason training program. The Rap Sheet has Ron Brace working it this offseason, as he looks to fill the void left by Jarvis Green.

The Crowe’s Nest doesn’t think the new rules fully solve the overtime problem, so they shouldn’t solve it at all. On New England Patriots Blog, Mike Reiss has seven NE-related observations from the NFL owners meetings, including the Pats’ award of four compensatory draft picks come April. Pro Football Talk thinks Belichick would do well to extend former compensatory pick Tom Brady before Peyton Manning gets a new contract in Indy.

Bruins

Even after outright wins against both the Rangers and Thrashers this week that have lifted the B’s playoff hopes, the punch in the guts taken by fans last Thursday has tempered enthusiasm. For instance, Jerry Thornton says last week’s no-heart effort against the Penguins smelled of dead woodchuck under the porch, making B’s fans have to decide how long we’ll put up with the smells until someone goes down there to clean it up. ESPN Boston Bruins says the B’s defense is in flux and the Andrew Ference extension leaves them little wiggle room for maneuvering. Rink Rap was surprised by the extension, given Ference’s history of injuries and questionable NHLPA politicking.

If you thought getting a national health bill through Congress was complicated, Kathryn Tappen takes you through the maze in getting some no-brainer legislation enacted in the NHL. Bruins Blog reports the NHLPA hurdle was cleared this morning, making headhunting a punishable offense starting tonight.

Tea Party Throwdown much prefers Tuukka Rask’s calming presence between the pipes to the heart-attack style of Tim Thomas.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

With Boston College getting a top seed in the NCAA Men’s Hockey tournament, BC Interruption asks whether the Eagles are better served with success in hockey or in basketball. JSilver’s UConn Blog gives us the skinny on UConn’s Pro Day. If you watched much Huskies football last fall, you know their lineup was filled with some interesting skills positions.

The Inside Track hears of a new NESN program in development that explores the top MLB cities Sox fans travel to. Joe Posnanski looks back on an eternally long four months in the life of Tiger Woods.

And finally, The Joy Of Sox is livid that 60-something Mick Jagger has gone into the studio to enhance tracks for the Stones’ remastered Exile On Main Street. Kind of like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson going back into the ESPN Classics studio to enhance some missing footage from the 1984 NBA Finals.

Sorry for the late delivery, but I had some computer issues this afternoon. Have a great spring weekend, and we’ll see you next week. In the meantime, I’m on Twitter and Facebook these days.

Celtics Pan Out Nuggets

The Celtics did something rather unusual last night. Most of the season they have struggled at home, especially against quality teams. Last night however, they took care of business, wiping out the Denver Nuggets 113-99 for their fourth straight home victory – astonishingly, their first such streak of the season.

Celtics take care of Nuggets, 113-99 – Bill Doyle says that there is no doubt that this was the most impressive home victory of the season for the Celtics.

Tony Allen provides winning spark – Steve Bulpett has Tony Allen providing an unlikely spark off the bench for the Celtics, putting in 13 points and tough defense in 20 minutes of play.

Dantley gets more knocks than opportunity – Gary Washburn checks in with Adrian Dantley, who has been coaching the Nuggets in George Karl’s absence. Dantley in his playing days was one of the more unique players in NBA history, a 6-5 230-pound low-post machine.

Celts improving their board scores – A. Sherrod Blakely feeds us an assortment of notes from the game last night.

Paul Flannery is in the midst of a four-part series on the NBA D-League, which is definitely worth a read. Here are the first three parts:

Journey to the D-League, Part 1: The ‘D’

Journey to the D-League, Part 2: The Red Claws

Journey to the D-League, Part 3: The players

Lowell’s mobility limited . . . in more ways than one – Sean McAdam has Mike Lowell finding his options limited, both with the Red Sox and with other teams as well.

With Red Sox thin at shortstop, Bill Hall could be a key player – Brian MacPherson looks at a backup who could end up playing a big role for the Sox this season.

Relief for an anxious pitcher – The Globe notebook has Alan Embree looking sharp in a minor league game yesterday.

Carroll admits mistakes with Pats – Mike Reiss has the former Patriots coach talking about his time in New England. Was there any tension in talking to Ron Borges?

Re-signing Ference is a defensible move – Fluto Shinzawa tries to explain why in the world the Bruins gave Andrew Ference a three-year extension.

In the Metro, I’ve got What I’m looking forward to this Red Sox season.

Check Patriots Daily this afternoon for another draft prospect interview.

The bad? Two words. Buddy Thomas.