Celtics Hold Off Magic in Game One

So before I went on vacation, the Bruins had just taken a commanding 3-0 series lead and appeared headed to the conference finals, and the Celtics were tied with the heavily favored (see below) Cavaliers 1-1 in their second round series. 

Did I miss anything? 

Whoops. I’m rather glad I was at the “happiest place on Earth” Friday night instead of front of the television for that Bruins debacle. 

To try and make things up to you following my absence, I’ve got full links today: 

Celtics

The Celtics took a game one victory from the Magic with a 92-88 win down in Orlando. This game wasn’t really as close as the final score indicates, as the Celtics controlled this one throughout. 

Julian Benbow has the Celtics defense strangling Dwight Howard and the Magic right from the start. Mark Murphy has the Celtics defense, not Orlando’s rust from their extended time off, the key factor in the game one Boston win. Robert Lee has the Magic coming up short against their first worthy adversary in six weeks. Peter F. Stringer has the Celtics taking a tag team approach to this one. A. Sherrod Blakely  has the Celtics making the Orlando home court edge disappear with their win. 

Bob Ryan says that first-half defense allowed the Celtics to build a lead that was too much for the Magic to overcome. Paul Flannery has some thoughts on the Celtics slowly morphing from a team of old broken-down has-beens into a team of rugged junkyard dogs. 

Steve Bulpett has Paul Pierce finding his offensive flow after being freed of his mutually abusive relationship with LeBron James in the previous series.  Frank Dell’Apa has Pierce (22 points) making the most of his eight field goal attempts. By contrast, Vince Carter needed 18 shots to score 23 points. Marc D’Amico has Pierce getting three foul shots after being hit and tossing up a shot while behind the three-point-line as the play of the game. 

Gary Washburn has Rasheed Wallace worthy of his postgame Bud Light for his performance yesterday against Dwight Howard. A. Sherrod Blakely says that the playoffs are here, and the Rasheed Wallace that the Celtics hoped they were getting when they signed him has finally showed up. Kirk Minihane cranks out 10 thoughts following this one. Chris Forsberg has his initial thoughts from the Celtics victory. 

Michael Vega has Howard knocked out of his rhythm by the Celtics rotation of Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis and Wallace. Zach McCann has the Magic learning that they’re not going to be able to steamroll through this series like they did the first two rounds. Evans Clinchy says that this game might be a wake-up call for the Magic. Bulpett has the Celtics Tag-team wrestling technique of defending Howard working very well yesterday. 

Gary Dzen has Ray Allen (a game high 25 points) showing flashes of his youth in the game one victory. Ron Borges has Allen’s resolve pointing the way for the Celtics yesterday, and pointing the way towards the guard’s future this summer. 

Benbow’s notebook has Rajon Rondo getting the job done without gaudy statistics. Murphy’s notebook has Kevin Garnett earning praise for his defense on Rashard Lewis (6 points). Lee’s Celtics journal has more on Perkins defense on Howard. Forsberg’s Postgame notes has Pierce picking his spots yesterday. 

Red Sox

John Lackey gave up five earned runs in the first four innings and the Red Sox bats were silenced by spot starter Armando Galarraga in a 5-1 Detroit Tigers victory over Boston. 

Peter Abraham says that the Red Sox played like a team still recovering from their 12-inning loss the night before. John Tomase has the recap in the Herald. Daniel Barbarisi says that Lackey gave them the innings yesterday, but not the results. Richard L. Shook has the Boston bats taking the day off. 

Alex Speier says that the Red Sox run prevention blueprint is failing in startling fashion thus far. Michael Silverman has the Red Sox stumbling in mediocrity sitting at 19-19.  Nick Cafardo says that the Red Sox players and executives are 10 times more frustrated than the fans about how this season is going. 10 times! 

Silverman says that the results have been poor for John Lackey, but the effort is there. Tony Lee has the Red Sox heading for the next stage of their gauntlet in New York. Ian Browne says that starting pitching has got to come through for the Red Sox in New York. 

Abraham’s notebook kindly reminds us that the Yankees have dominated the Red Sox as of late. Tomase’s notebook has Mike Lowell clear that he isn’t demanding a trade, but that he wants to play regularly – even if that is somewhere else. The ProJo’s Red Sox journal has the Red Sox inconsistent play continuing to haunt them. 

Bruins

Steve Conroy says that the Bruins must resist the urge to “blow it up” following their historic collapse against the Flyers. Mike Loftus says that looking back at the season, the end result really isn’t all that shocking. Dan Rowinski looks back at the season in detail. Joe Haggerty says that Marc Savard needs to own up to his game seven mistake. 

Patriots

Glen Farley and Peter Martin have Shawn Crable hoping to finally get on the field for the Patriots this season. Jeff Howe has a collection of unsual factoids about Patriots rookie punter Zoltan Mesko. Mike Reiss has all the rookies back in town today. 

Ken Powers (yup, Ken Powers) has Bob Lobel learning to walk all over again following a diagnosis of spinal stenosis. 

And finally, just because I really enjoy these: 

ESPN's NBA Experts Predictions for Celtics/Cavs

Celtics-Cavs Game 6 Brings In The Viewers

ESPN’s PR department is putting out drips and drabs on the ratings for last night’s Celtics triumphant win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The national overnight rating was 7.1 which was the highest rated NBA Playoff game ever on ESPN.

Locally, Boston came in at 16.9 which is the highest rated playoff game in the market since the 2008 Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 against Detroit (18.4).

Other markets of note, Cleveland’s overnight was 29.4 which was tops across the nation, Orlando was 9.4, Chicago at 7.1 and New York at 6.0.

Not only was interest high in the game, but of course for the maddening LeBron James storyline which only stands to get Brett Favre-like until he decides whether to stay in Cleveland or leave for the Knicks.

Due to a busy personal schedule, I won’t have the megalinks today, but I will post news if something breaks.

NESN Brings In The Viewers For Bruins-Flyers

The results may not have been Bruins fans wanted, but we were definitely watching on Thursday as NESN brought in a 10.3 rating for Game 6 of the Bruins-Flyers NHL Eastern Conference semifinal series. According to the network, that’s the third highest rating for a Bruins game in the channel’s history.

NESN earned a 10.3 household rating in the Boston DMA for last night’s Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Philadelphia Flyers. This is the third highest Bruins game rating in NESN’s 26 year history covering the team behind only last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 7 (14.2) and the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Game 7 (11.2).

NESN’s ratings in the key demographic categories are also impressive, including a 10.8 for Men 25-54 and an 8.0 for Adults 25-54. The Men 25-54 demo rating was #1 in the Boston DMA on Tuesday night while the Adults 25-54 demo rating was second in the market only to American Idol.

By comparison in Philadelphia, the Flyers actually broke an NHL ratings record for the local Comcast SportsNet affiliate averaging a 10.1 rating and a total of 300,000 households.

Game 7 should do well for NESN on Friday. And with the Bruins and Red Sox playing at the same time tomorrow night, NESN’s main channel will carry hockey while NESNplus will air the Red Sox-Detroit game. For game and channel in your area, you can go here.

Week Log: On the Threshhold of Ignominy

To those of you not familiar with Week Log, Thursdays on Boston Sports Media Watch bring our weekly tour of the blogs in and around Boston. It’s coming to you a little earlier today as Bruce enjoys his belated vaca, so sit back and check out some great takes along this off-Broadway of Boston sports. We start with hockey.

Bruins

A week ago, it was money that the on-again-off-again B’s season would extend beyond last year’s magical ride. Back on Friday night, when Mark Recchi netted the tying goal with 32 seconds left in Game 4 and the B’s already up three games to none, I told my son that that was it. The Philadelphia Flyers were officially demoralized and would be laying down in OT. The only problem is that no Bruin scored for the next 134 minutes, and that fortress of an advantage has now been officially squandered. Big Bad Blog has the Flyers only the sixth team in NHL history to force a decisive game after being down 3-0, as the B’s cannot figure out their sudden scoring woes. And Kathryn Tappen is now asking questions that weren’t even relevant last week.

Today is one of those days when loyal fans are supposed to rally and remind each other it’s not over yet. Unfortunately, some of us have been around too long to under-estimate the effect of momentum, nor overlook the fact that the Flyers look entirely like the better team. Remember our confidence going into Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, that just-throw-out-the-first-pitch-because-this-one’s-over air of supremacy we all had? I now have a please-don’t-drop-the-damn-puck-because-this-one’s-over dread of tomorrow night. So does Mike Felger, but then again he’ll settle for the infamy of blowing a 3-0 lead rather than losing to the Canadiens in the conference finals.

All right, time to turn it over to those better able to deal with the stress of day-to-day Bruins coverage.

Ghosts of the Garden is back and has this ugly mess starting in Game 4 when Tim Thomas was not in net and Tuukka Rask was on his knees five times. Masshole Sports thinks the return of Simon Gagne, who got the Game 4 sudden death winner, may have propelled the Flyers to an historic comeback.

After Monday night’s pathetic affair that let the Flyers back in this series, Rink Rap looked at some notorious Game 5 eggs laid by the Black & Gold. Monday’s stinker quickly reminded Boston Sports Blog of this winter’s 10-game losing streak. Something’s Bruin can’t excuse the mess of a hockey team that played with no passion in Game 5.

The consensus is that the Bruins’ effort was better last night, but despite a 31-27 shots on goal advantage, Black & Gold says the B’s perimeter shooting did little to pressure Flyer goalie Michael Leighton. ESPN Boston Bruins Blog has the Flyers shutting down the B’s blueline attack by blocking 30 shots. Stanley Cup of Chowder says last night looked like the regular season B’s we all came to know and loathe. Joe Haggerty has this playoff experience morphing into something bordering nightmarish.

And Here We Go Bruins! offers an interesting feature on traumatic brain injury, a condition that has felled the Flyers’ Ian Laperriere after he took a puck in the face during the first round.

Celtics

Much better news on the shamrock side of town as the Celtics took Sunday’s Game 4 and Tuesday’s Game 5, and it could get even better tonight.

Celtics Central is confident that the ruthless guile meted out by Rajon Rondo in Sunday’s triple double for the ages has never been witnessed before. CelticsBlog has the high tide of Rondo’s game lifting Ray Allen’s boat.

Banner 18? says Tuesday’s win was all about the D and the bench holding the lead. Celtics Hub says Cavs coach Mike Brown must explain why he didn’t keep LeBron James on Rondo for the full 48 on Tuesday night after having success with the strategy in the first half. There’s only so much Lebron and a lot more Pierce to go around, so Red’s Army tells Brown to pick his poison. LOSCY hates LeBrick more than he hates Kobe.

Boston Blood Sox sees two incontrovertible axioms at play in explaining Tuesday’s blowout win in Cleveland. Celtics Stuff Live sees no benefits of short-term memory in trying to figure this series out. Perk Is A Beast sees no reason to have to go back to Cleveland until October. Celtics Green‘s Comments From The Other Side paint a thoroughly beaten city of Cleveland after Tuesday’s humbling loss.

Bingo Bar Blog has ex-ref Tim Donaghy giving the C’s no chance against the Cavs in this economic downturn when the league needs its two biggest names in The Finals. North Station Sports has Donaghy dropping the F-bomb on the NBA’s front office, even going so far as to suggest Commissioner Stern helped the C’s tank a few games during their low-water mark.

Celtics Life issues an apology to Tony Allen but warns that if he re-ups in Boston and resumes his loafish tendenies, he’s free game for future attack. And with assistant coach Tom Thibodeau garnering interest around the league, Green Street says the C’s will have a large hole to fill if he breaks into the head coaching ranks.

Red Sox

The Sox just closed out a 7-3 homestand, which is acceptable in every way other than the two football scores the Yankees dropped on them last Friday and Saturday, but the Sox returned the favor with a football score of their own on Sunday. Confessions of a She-Fan says the series finale was about the starting pitchers; the Sox’ was sterling, the Yanks’ breakable. Subway Squawkers is astounded how we Sox fans want to talk more about A-Rod than our salvaging win.

Toeing The Rubber thoroughly enjoyed some ugly baseball in the opener against Toronto Monday night. The Bottom Line can’t tell if Matsuzaka’s new game plan of challenging hitters is working based on Tuesday’s win against the free-swinging Blue Jays, but Better Red Than Dead says Toronto’s is one lineup for which Daisuke’s nibbling ways could be excused.

The Mighty Quinn Media Machine says the state of home plate umpiring sucks across MLB and it may have cost the Sox a win yesterday afternoon. Tony Lee has the Sox forced to accept a difficult ending to an otherwise positive homestand on account of home plate umpire Dale Scott. Extra Bases offers a graphical analysis of Scott’s calls yesterday, but the most damning evidence yet is his unwillingness to toss David Ortiz after Papi’s demonstrative ninth inning strikeout yesterday.

Seeing both sides of all these blowouts and sweeps makes this a maddenly inconsistrent season for A Very Simple Game, while 4SportBoston calls it a serious identity crisis.

Sox Tea Party can’t remember the last time someone hit one further than Jason Varitek’s bomb on Tuesday. Speaking of which . . . no self-respecting blog can let Mayor Menino off the hook this week, so we offer Boston Dirt Dogs‘ comical image of Tek splitting the Superdome uprights.

Red Sox Monster questions Theo’s thought process in putting the team’s biggest defensive liability right out there behind the plate.

Fire Brand Of The American League gives odds on the next number to be retired at Fenway Park, and they’ve got only one slam dunk in their lot.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the world of Boston sports

With all this ordinary schmuck talk from Tom Brady about balancing time with his family, Jerry Thornton is deeply concerned he’ll be playing third fiddle behind the two Brady boys.

Nothing wrong with a little casual PED abuse among friends, right? Tom E. Curran quotes himself in justifying his reaffirmation of Brian Cushing as Defensive Rookie of the Year.

NESN‘s staff has compiled their Sweet Sixteen of legendary moments from Boston’s greatest sports legends.

And lastly, the Bruins did not have a monopoly on bad news last night as New England Revolution Blog has the injury-riddled Revs getting ousted from U.S. Open Cup competition.

That’s a wrap for today but don’t forget, Week Log is here every Thursday afternoon. And if you’re in the vacinity of TD Garden any time over the next two nights, I know two teams that could sure use your support. Go get ‘em, C’s and B’s!

Mainstream Media Review: BostonHerald.com

As Bruce is on vacation this week. BSMW will be featuring reviews of some of the websites and content from several Mainstream Media outlets this week.

The Boston Herald is firmly entrenched as the second newspaper in Boston, and despite the financial setbacks common in the newspaper industry these days, has remained a solid spot for Boston sports fans to receive the latest news on their favorite teams.

The Herald’s website has been pretty consistent in its look and feel over the last several years. There is a lot of information, but it is fairly easy to sort through. The BostonHerald.com sports homepage gives you the top stories of the day in the top section, with individual sections for ten other sports below that. A widget in the top right allows you to choose from the most recent sports headlines, or the most popular articles from that day. Below that is a window showing a few of their recently updated blogs.

Navigation is fairly straightforward, each team/sport has a link at the top, and when you go to each sub-page, the recent articles are lined up in the middle column top to bottom, with various widgets (team standings, blog links, top articles, etc) scattered in the sidebars.

In terms of the content, the Herald has shown a willingness to experiment. This season for instance, they have pretty much abandoned the typical “game story” in favor of the “Red Sox Recap” which highlights a number of the top storylines from the game, noteworthy stats, quotes, and a peek at the next game. (Not all that unlike what Jon Couture has been doing the last two seasons over at the Standard Times.)  The Red Sox beat is manned by stalwart Michael Silverman, newcomer Scott Lauber, and the controversial John Tomase. Tomase of course is best-known for the “tape-gate” scandal, details of which don’t need to be rehashed here. To his credit, Tomase has attempted to keep his head down and just do his job since coming on the Red Sox beat, but the fallout from the incident continues to taint his converage in the eyes of many readers, some of whom swore off the Herald forever in the wake of the incident.

Football coverage is handled by veteran Karen Guregian and Ian Rapoport, who joined the paper prior to last season, and immediately proceeded to start filling up his blog The Rap Sheet with everything Patriots related (and sometimes not). He’s been a great hire for them – a top-notch reporter who can also have some fun with his job. He’s been refreshing, as unlike many of his colleagues, he doesn’t take shots, and even when people disagree with him, I’ve never seen him get nasty when interacting with readers on Twitter on in comment sections.

The Celtics and Bruins beats are truly the old guard. That’s not meant as an insult. Between Stephen Harris and Steve Conroy on the Bruins and Steve Bulpett and Mark Murphy on the Celtics, there is about 100 years of Boston Herald experience between the four of them. All of these guys are old-school, solid reporters, who do their jobs under the radar, putting the attention on the teams they cover, rather than themselves. Of the four, Bulpett might make the occasional multi-media appearance, but most of the time, these four are just reporting and commenting on the teams they are assigned to.

Columnists include Steve Buckley and Ron Borges, who are both well known to Boston fans, probably for much different reasons.

The Herald attempts to promote breaking news with a yellow banner at the top of the page. Sometimes the news isn’t always “breaking,” but rather the most recent story. The screenshot above is an example of this. The struggles of Victor Martinez for the first month of the season wasn’t exactly breaking news, but instead, they decided to put the banner up to promote a rather nondescript Scott Lauber article on Martinez’s struggles.

The Herald website hasn’t quite embraced technology the way Boston.com has, videos are less common, chats less frequent, and they don’t really have an internet-only side other than the blogs. The content is generally pretty solid, and if you’re a diehard Boston sports fan, the Herald might not be your first stop in the morning, but it definitely should be on your list to visit sometime during the course of the day.

Mainstream Media Review: Boston.com/sports

As Bruce is on vacation this week. BSMW will be featuring reviews of some of the websites and content from several Mainstream Media outlets this week.

Today, we’re taking a look at the sports section of Boston.com and the ties it shares with the Boston Globe sports section.

Boston.com was once the go-to site for pretty much all things Boston sports. For many people, it still is. Several new competitors have muscled into the scene, but Boston.com is still a monster in terms of traffic, and often leads the way in integrating new technologies and methods into its content. It’s constantly changing, being updated and evolving. That’s a good thing. If you’re looking for the very latest breaking news, they generally make it pretty easy to find there.

The sports section is a very busy place, in fact, it can be pretty overwhelming if you land there looking for something specific. (Go ahead, go there right now and find Chad Finn’s Touching All The Bases blog.  Go ahead. I’m timing you.)

The page is broken down into sections by sport, which is nice, but each sub-page is just as busy as the home page. Each team page has their blog in the upper right corner, making those at least easy to find.

Advertising is a necessary evil on websites. I have plenty of it here. We all need to find a way to pay the bills and make some money off the content that is being put out. A problem I have with Boston.com and the Globe site is some of the obnoxious-acting ads that they use. The worst one, to me, is when I’m going through the Boston Globe sports stories in the morning. I like to link to the full-length version, mostly as a convenience to the reader - if I do it, you don’t have to – that sort if thing. Anyway, something is rigged with some of those “Single Page” links so that when you click on them, it doesn’t open the single page version, instead it serves you a pop-up ad. Do it again, and the same thing happens. Finally on the third attempt, your single page article will load. There does seem to be some sort of cap on these, so once you’ve had to do it a few times, it stops and actually loads what you want. Minor thing, but incredibly annoying.

Now, as for the content, I go every day without fail and check out the Globe sports stories. Using that link doesn’t even bring me to the Boston.com/sports side, it’s just the stories from the Globe that morning. For the actual Boston.com/sports site, I can honestly say that the only time I’ve been going there on my own recently – just going to the homepage, not following a link to a specific article/post – is to find Finn’s latest blog entry. (By the way, if you haven’t found it yet, you need to scroll down the right side of the page, find the “Blogs” widget, and scroll down inside that until you come to the link for the blog.)

The Globehas had a lot of staff turnover in the last few years, but columnists Dan Shaughnessy and Bob Ryan are constants. On the baseball beat, Amalie Benjamin and newcomer (via The Journal NewsPeter Abrahamdo a very nice job with the Red Sox, while another holdover, Nick Cafardo takes care of the national beat and Sunday notes. The Patriots are covered by Shalise Manza Young, recently brought over from the Providence Journal, and Monique Walker, with Albert Breer, hired last season, serving as national football writer. The Celtics are covered by beat writer Julian Benbow, with Frank Dell’Apa also a reporter, and Gary Washburn, hired last August as the national guy. The Bruins are covered by Fluto Shinzawa, with Hall of Famer Kevin Paul Dupont taking the NHL beat.

Boston.com has two of it’s own columnists, who generally don’t appear in the print version of the paper. WBZ-FM afternoon co-host and former Boston Herald writer Tony Massarotti is one, and former Globe Patriots writer Chris Gasper is the other. Charles P. Pierce also has been doing quite a bit for them aside from his work for the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, but his contributions on Boston.com are mostly as a blogger. Massarotti’s role has been reduced since he took on the radio gig, but he’s still a regular contributor.

An issue I have with much of the content on the sports pages of Boston.com is tone. I’m making a distinction here between the content published in the Boston Globe and that which appears on Boston.com. The former is generally even-handed and fair. Most of the editorial content on the latter seems to be aimed at “tweaking” the readers. This is especially true for Massarotti, Gasper and the blog entries of Albert Breer. (Is it just me, or is every single blog post that Breer puts up worded in such a way so as to tweak Patriots fans?)  That’s good for stirring up attention and getting lots of comments and page views, but it doesn’t do it for me.

The good part of Boston.com is the sheer amount of content that is put up every day. Beyond the four majors, there are blogs for college sports, high school sports, Eric Wilbur’s Boston Sports blog, a marathon blog, golf blog, and a good soccer blog that not only has Revolution items, but soccer from all over the world.

As previously mentioned, when news is breaking, Boston.com is a great place to head first. The aforementioned Finn, who is an editor for the site, is generally the one posting updates in the various blogs on these breaking news items. For this reason alone, it is a site that is worth checking out regularly. If you can dig and sort through all the noise, there is plenty of other worthwhile content here as well.

Tomorrow: BostonHerald.com/sports.

Two Hockey Notes

As the Bruins and Flyers get ready for Game 5, we have a couple of notes for you.

First, Comcast SportsNet which has been airing a Bruins postgame show while NESN was unable to air any hockey programming during the first four games of the B’s-Flyers series as NBC and Versus called exclusivity, will again air a postgame show tonight. NESN will have tonight’s game, however, Comcast SportsNet has decided to go up against NESN with a postgame show. In addition, CSN will bring out a big gun to lure viewers. Former Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque will join host Michael Felger and analysts Ted Donato and Tony Amonte. Provided there’s no overtime, the scheduled airtime will be 9:40 tonight.

Next, the NHL is crowing about last Friday’s ratings in Boston for Game 4. It’s saying Versus beat both NESN which carried Red Sox-Yankees and TNT which aired Game 3 of the Cavs-Celtics series.

This is what the NHL says in a press release:

The final local ratings for the market are in and Nielsen is reporting that the Bruins beat out both the Red Sox and the Celtics.

The Bruins averaged a 8.3 local rating on VERSUS, the Red Sox a 6.3 local rating on NESN and the Celtics a 4.1 local rating on ESPN.

In terms of households, the Bruin game delivered 200,000 households, the Red Sox game 153,000 households and the Celtic game 99,000 households.

In terms of total viewers, the Bruins easily beat both of the other local teams averaging 328,000 viewers (Red Sox had 223,000 and Celtics had 142,000 viewers).

Nice to see some good news on the hockey front even if the B’s did not come through on Friday.

Mainstream Media Review: NESN.com

As Bruce is on vacation this week. BSMW will be featuring reviews of some of the websites and content from several Mainstream Media outlets this week.

A few weeks ago, I had compared WEEI.com to CSNNE.com to ESPNBoston.com. In that review I noted that NESN.com wasn’t on the same level, content-wise, as those three outlets.

That just might be by design.

It seems to be generally conceded around the NESN.com offices that the aim of the site is traffic. That’s how they make some money from it, and accordingly, they do what is needed to get those high traffic levels.

The site is aiming to target a specific market base, which consists of search engine traffic, casual Red Sox fans and to capitalize on referrals from the TV side. They’ve done very well with that.

Because quick traffic is their aim, the content is different from what you will get from sites that are trying to retain readers longer on the site, engage them and keep them coming back every day. NESN.com’s aim is quick-hitting, often-updating blog posts on the latest items big and small that happen throughout the day.

NESN.com packs a lot into each page, with headlines running down the left hand sidebar, on the home page, each team/sport has its own section of headlines. The right sidebar is a mix of scores, which posts are getting the most comments, links to site contributors and video thumbnails.  There is a lot to take in, but to NESN.com’s credit, it is pretty well organized.

It is generally a young staff at NESN.com, with a number of recent college graduates getting their start in the sports media business with the site. They also take advantage of the veteran NESN on-air staff as contributors, with video segments with Tom Caron,  Jerry Remy, Dennis Eckersley, Peter Gammons and Jack Edwards being featured regularly. Some of the on-air contributors also contribute posts, as when Don Orsillo does a mailbag or Kathryn Tappen writes about the Bruins.

Some of the best writing the site has to offer include up-and-coming Patriots reporter Jeff Howe, Evan Brunell, who was/is a big part of the excellent Red Sox blog Fire Brand of the American League, and veteran Boston hockey writer James Murphy. They, along with others, provide some good original content for the site. Other articles I’ve seen on NESN.com aren’t so original at times. I’ve seen posts that were little more than a bunch of quotes pulled from other sources (once it was even Patriots Daily) and assembled into a post with a few lines of comment around them.

Videos on the site load quickly and come in very clearly and smoothly as you would expect from a multimedia site of this size and scale.

Overall, NESN.com is a good destination if you want a quick look at what is going on in the world of Boston sports, or are bored in the middle of the day and want to look in on some offbeat Boston sports items. It’s a good resource for the video segments from the TV side, and is worth a daily visit, if only to check in to see what they’ve have to offer that you might’ve missed somewhere else.

Tomorrow – Boston.com/sports.

Friday Megalink Action

I wasn’t able to provide the megalinks since last Friday as I had to prepare for a day trip last week so it’s time you get some linkage today.

As usual, you can plan your sports and entertainment viewing with the Weekend Viewing Picks. Now to your links.

Ernie Harwell

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post remembers a story involving the late Ernie Harwell and the late Howard Cosell.

Tim Lemke talks about Ernie Harwell and the legacy that he and other great broadcasters have left behind.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner also pays tribute to Ernie Harwell.

David Mayo in the Grand Rapids Press writes that the love for Ernie Harwell cannot be measured in words.

Lynn Henning of the Detroit News says the Tigers became consolers to fans as they said their goodbyes to Harwell at Comerica Park.

Lynn says thousands of mourners passed Harwell’s body as it lay in repose at Comerica.

Jim Lynch of the News talks with Tigers fans about Ernie Harwell.

The Detroit News has a complete section devoted to Harwell on his life, career and personal tributes.

The Detroit Free Press says Fox Sports will pay tribute to Harwell during its MLB coverage on Saturday.

Drew Sharp from the Free Press says Ernie would have liked seeing the people who came to pay their respects.

And the Free Press also has a special section on Harwell as well.

Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Harwell was beloved by his fellow broadcasters as well.

Bob Mayhall from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat says the Cardinals broadcasters have fond memories of Harwell. 

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says there was more to Ernie Harwell than baseball. 

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times gets area broadcasters to talk about Harwell.

National

Starting with USA Today, sports media reporters Michael Hiestand and Michael McCarthy debate whether politics has a place on sports television. You can weigh in on the topic right here.

Tripp Mickle of the Sports Business Daily writes that cable TV fees helped to bring Madison Square Garden into the black in the first quarter of this year.

Stuart Levine of Variety writes that Fox Sports is preparing to make a concerted bid for the 2014/2016 Olympics, contradicting earlier reports to the contrary. Thanks to Steve Dittmore for the link.

Bill Cromwell of Media Life Magazine handicaps the Olympics US TV bidding, although I disagree with his frontrunners. 

Paul J. Gough at the Hollywood Reporter says ESPN and Univision are hoping for big ratings for the World Cup.

Claire Atkinson of Broadcasting & Cable writes thanks to the Super Bowl, CBS is seeing an ad revenue bump.

Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News reports that Comcast SportsNet Chicago scored with Game 3 of the Vancouver-Blackhawks series on Wednesday.

Dave Kindred at the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center tells us that the best stories sometimes come when it appears there are none.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell doesn’t understand the NFL’s new endorsement deal with Bud Light displacing Coors as its official beer.

Darren notes that Nutrisystem has dropped former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor from its roster in the wake of the story that he allegedly raped and beat up an underaged prostitute.

Joe Favorito says a Bubblewrap PR stunt involving Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter could bring the company some mentions on Fox and ESPN this weekend.

Steve Lepore at Puck The Media notes that Versus continues to rake in the ratings this week.

The Sports Media Watch says this week’s Magic blowout of the Atlanta Hawks failed to draw viewers.

SMW says Suns-Spurs isn’t popular with viewers either.

SMW has local NBA and NHL playoff ratings news.

And SMW has more NHL and NBA ratings news and notes.

Good news from Maury Brown at the Biz of Baseball. Milwaukee Brewers announcer Bob Uecker has been released from the hospital after undergoing heart surgery.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn at the Boston Globe says Bruins fans are comfortable having NESN analyst Andy Brickley calling the B’s-Flyers series on Versus.

Sox & Dawgs has video of NESN’s Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy comparing hair brush sizes during last night’s Angels-Red Sox broadcast.

The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir is dreading this weekend’s Yankees-Red Sox series and the length of games.

Richard compares the 1978 playoff game between the Yankees and Red Sox to this day and age.

Howard Beck of the Times catches up with Bill Walton who had to retire from broadcasting due to a bad back. 

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News contends that an early elimination of the Red Sox from playoff contention is bad for the Yankees and the YES Network.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union goes after Versus for showing highlights of last night’s Montreal-Pittsburgh game that it had just aired, but for me, it worked because I did not see the game, so the highlights were what the doctor ordered.
Pete talks with an HBO Sports staffer who won an Emmy for the 24/7 Mayweather/Marquez series.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner tells us to get ready for 3-D in sports.

South

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald talks with colleague Dan LeBatard about the success of his sports radio show.

At the St. Petersburg Times, Tom Jones says the Tampa Bay Rays could throw a wrench into the MLB’s TV partners postseason plans if the team keeps winning.

David Paschall of the Chattanooga Times Free Press speculates on this fall’s SEC on CBS football schedule. Thanks to Matt Sarz of Matt’s College Sports on TV for the link.

Ray Buck at the Fort Worth Star Telegram says a group of former Cowboys got together this week to shoot a promo for Super Bowl XLV which will be held in Cowboys Stadium in 2011.

David Barron from the Houston Chronicle says it’s never easy for sports talk show hosts to mix politics and sports.

Midwest

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

Jim O’Donnell of the Chicago Sun-Times says former Cub Doug Glanville is branching out by becoming an author.

Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune talks with Versus President Jamie Davis about increasing its reach and appeasing the Blackhawks.

Speaking of the Blackhawks, Phil says the team continues to rake in the viewers.

Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says the TPC at Sawgrass course will look spectacular in high definition during the Players Championship this weekend.

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the Cardinals’ TV ratings are tops among local MLB teams.

Dan adds that there could be some upheaval in one or two of the city’s sports radio stations.

West

Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News tells Utah Jazz fans not to get angry at TNT’s announcers for sounding “pro-Lakers”.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune says Dick Enberg knows he’s been rusty during his Padres broadcasts, but he knows he’ll get better during the season.

John Maffei of the North County Times looks forward to tonight’s premiere of “Friday Night Lights”. I’ve never seen it nor do I intend to.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star has Johnny Miller’s thoughts on what Tiger Woods needs to do to win this weekend’s Players Championship on NBC.

As Mother’s Day approaches, Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News speaks with ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez who balances her job as West Coast reporter with being a single mom of two grown children.

Tom has more on Colleen plus his extensive news and notes in his blog.

Canada

Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star looks into possible on-air changes with CBC Sports and Rogers Sportsnet.

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail isn’t a fan of watching the national anthems on TV.

And William Houston in Truth & Rumours takes a minor shot at Chris Zelkovich, but not as bad as he did last month.

And that will do it for today. Have a good weekend. If anything breaks while Bruce is gone, I’ll post it here.

Headed Out

So, I realize that my timing is not great here, what with the Celtics and the Bruins right in the middle of second round playoff series and the Yankees in town this weekend, but I’m taking a few days off here. I actually left last night, and will be away all of next week as well. Hey, it’s my wedding anniversary, so we’re taking a few days away. We were actually supposed to go away in February, but it was one of those storm days when Logan cancelled almost all flights, and we couldn’t get another one, so we’re going now instead.

I haven’t left you totally high and dry, however, as there will be something scheduled each day that I’m gone, and Ken Fang and Bob Ekstrom will be around to post a few things as well.

The Celtics pick up their playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers with tonight’s game three at the TD Garden. The series is tied at 1-1, and the Celtics look to take control of the series in the next two games. Get all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

The Bruins also are in action tonight, looking to close out their series with the Flyers in game four tonight in Philadelphia, hoping to move onto the conference finals for the first time in 18 years. Check in at BruinsLinks.com for the latest there.

The Yankees are in town, giving the Red Sox another test. RedSoxLinks.com has you covered, although if you’re interested in checking out what they’re saying down in New York about this series, there is also NYYankeesLinks.com.

That should get you through the morning, I’ll see you when I get back.