Doing Some Friday Megalinkage

Now that I’ve learned that I don’t have to travel in between two offices today, I’ll do some megalinks for you.

You can check out the Weekend Sports and Primetime Viewing Picks here. Now to your links.

National

Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks with TNT’s Steve Kerr on the similarities he sees between the Chicago Bulls teams he played on with Michael Jordan and the Miami Heat of today.

Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News breaks news that TNT’s Marv Albert is in talks with CBS to possibly replace Gus Johnson for the NCAA Tournament. Bob isn’t national, but it’s big enough news to be placed here.

In Sports Business Journal, John Ourand and Michael Smith report on how ESPN and Fox came together for the Pac-12 TV contract.

Kimberly Nordyke of the Hollywood Reporter says Oprah Winfrey’s booking of the United Center for her overblown farewell shows has forced the NBA to juggle the schedule for the Eastern Conference Finals.

To Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News who writes that TNT is on a fast track to have its highest-rated NBA postseason in its history.

Mike has a story on the NBC Sports Group signing Saratoga Race Course for horse racing programming in the summer.

Noted FoxSports.com basketball writer Jeff Goodman announces that he’s leaving for CBSSports.com.

Also writing his farewell column is noted hockey reporter E.J. Hradek who’s leaving ESPN.com for the NHL Network.

At the Business of College Sports, Kristi Dosh says despite what rivals’ complaints, there’s nothing unfair about the new Longhorn Network.

Matt Hinton at Yahoo’s Dr. Saturday college football blog notes that ESPN.com really messed up in reporting the death of Alabama offensive lineman Aaron Davis.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell talks with PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem about a faltering Tiger Woods and what it means to the Tour.

Darren explores the new magazine put forth by energy drink distributor Red Bull.

Darren notes that Nike is coming under fire again for factory conditions in Asia.

Steve Lepore at Puck The Media has the ratings for nights 25-28 of the NHL Playoffs.

Dan Fogarty of SportsGrid has audio of a Simmons call into the Tony Korneheiser show this week.

Dan also has video of a deeply subdued Gus Johnson talking to Dan Patrick about his move to Fox.

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy notes that Versus’ Jeremy Roenick gave praise to Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks, two games after calling him “gutless”.

In Publiside, Gail Sideman advises athletes to keep using social media despite some recent incidents where some did not think before tweeting.

In Major League Programs, Dave Kohl reviews the sports media news of the week.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe quotes a WCVB-TV interview with NESN’s Jerry Remy in which he states he expects to return to analyzing Red Sox games on Monday. Remy has been out with pneumonia. Chad also breaks news that NESN’s Kathryn Tappen is being targeted by NHL Network as a possible studio host.

At SB Nation Boston, BSMW Fearless Leader Bruce Allen says the Bruins now have the region’s attention all to themselves.

NESN has Heidi Watney visiting the MLB Fan Cave.

Newsday’s Neil Best notes that Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee actually saw Tiger Woods’ implosion at the Players Championship coming before it happened.

Melissa Hoppert of the New York Times discusses NBC Sports Group bringing Saratoga horse racing into the fold.

The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick hates everything and everybody today, but when is that different from any other day?

Justin Terranova at the Post has five questions for NBA TV’s Kevin McHale.

Ken Belson from the New York Times writes that the famed Melrose Games may leave its Madison Square Garden home where it’s been held for almost a century.

Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says Siena lacrosse fans have a few ways to monitor their team’s NCAA Tournament game against Syracuse this weekend.

Ken says an NCAA Division III Lacrosse Tournament game will be online for fans to listen.

Patrick Berkery from the Philly Burbs papers talks with Comcast SportsNet Phillies analyst Chris Coste.

Dan Steinberg from the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog says the Nationals’ ratings on MASN are way up from this same time last year.

Dan says the DC sports media is firing shots at each other over whether DC NFL Team quarterback Donovan McNabb refused to wear a wristband to help him calls plays because it didn’t look good.

Dan says one DC radio show is sending barbs at Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic over its reporting on the McNabb wristband.

Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says NBC will be all over The Players Championship this weekend.

Jim notes that NASCAR is coming to the Mid-Atlantic region this weekend.

And Jim says the NBA is heating up on both ESPN and TNT.

South

Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times looks at the latest sports media news.

David Barron from the Houston Chronicle talks with the man who’s spearheading ESPN’s Longhorn Network and getting it ready for launch this summer.

Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman has a chat with NBA TV’s Kevin McHale over Oklahoma City’s win over Memphis the other night.

Mel says the Thunder are setting local ratings records.

Mel also has his media notebook.

Midwest

Jeff Bell of Columbus Business First writes that Fox Sports Ohio will be a corporate sponsor of the local sports commission.

The Detroit News says last night’s wild Game 7 between the Red Wings and San Jose Sharks set a ratings record for Fox Sports Detroit.

Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talks about ESPN getting all hands on deck for a special college basketball game on Veterans Day.

In Crain’s Chicago Business, Ed Sherman lists his weekly winners and losers.

Erin Meyer of the Chicago Tribune says the staff of WMAQ-TV is shocked over the death of sports anchor Daryl Hawks who was found in a hotel room as he was to cover last night’s Bulls-Hawks game.

Maudlyne Ihezjerika of the Chicago Sun-Times says another WMAQ-TV sportscaster died under similar circumstances almost a decade ago.

NBC Chicago has a slideshow of Daryl’s career not only at the station, but before he came to the Windy City.

Dan Caesar from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a local sports radio executive’s tumultuous tenure is coming to an end.

West

The Phoenix Business Journal reports that the Arena Football League’s Arizona Rattlers now have a local TV deal.

John Maffei of the North County Times talks about announcers shuffling back and forth between networks.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says TNT’s Charles Barkley’s premonition about the Lakers ended up coming true.

Tom Hoffarth at the Los Angeles Daily News answers real sports media questions from fake readers.

Tom looks at an organization that aids reporters and writers with financial assistance.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin says golf viewership is getting out of red numbers.

We’re going to end it there. Enjoy your sports weekend

Bruins Ticket Prices, Demand Continues To Soar

Free Flowing Friday

Sort of a weird Friday here in May on the Boston sports scene, the Celtics having been eliminated two nights ago, the Bruins with a week off prior to resuming play tomorrow night in the NHL Eastern Conference finals, and the Red Sox with an off night last night before heading into Yankee Stadium for a weekend series.

Going off-format today, and bouncing around a few topics, and passing along a few links and thoughts.

You’ll see in the right-hand sidebar that this year BSMW is again participating the Gillette Fusion Proglide Challenge. Hit the form and fill it out to receive a free razor from Gillette. I’ve got 350 to give away to BSMW readers. Be sure to take the ProGlide Challenge and share your experience on Facebook (Facebook.com/Gillette) or on Twitter  (Twitter.com/Gillette) by using #ProGlideChallenge.

Remy’s words are reassuring – Chad Finn’s media column this morning has NESN analyst Jerry Remy talking about his absence from the booth due to a bout of pneumonia, but that he hopes to be back in the booth on Monday.

The Remy portion of Finn’s column is based on an interview Remy did with channel 5 reporter Bianca de la Garza:

Exclusive: Remy Ready To Get Back To Work

Finn also mentions whispers that the NHL Network is courting NESN’s Kathryn Tappen to anchor studio programming.

The Bruins Are In The Conference Finals, And They Have All Of Boston’s Attention – My SB Nation Boston media column looks at all the Bruins coverage coming at you this week, be it from NESN, CSNNE, VERSUS, NBC or NHL Network.

Sports Media Musings: Jack Edwards Inks Deal, NESN vs CSN, Gus Johnson, & Bill Simmons – Ryan Hadfield of Sports of Boston has been writing occasional media columns, and he looks a variety of topics today, including his admiration for Bill Simmons.

Pulled from the BSMW messageboard, poster 02062 outlines the things  hockey expert Michael Felger has been wrong about thus far in the playoffs:

1. The Peverly-Kelly acquisitions are meaningless.
2. The Bruins “Core” has never gotten out of the 2nd round.
3. Thomas has never “stolen” a playoff game.
4. Playoff goaltending is overrated.
5. Joe Thornton chokes in the playoffs.

Rivers extension ‘basically done’ – The Globe notebook and the Herald notebook both report on a multi-year extension for Doc Rivers to keep coaching the Celtics.

I was actually a little emotional in the final minute of the game Wednesday night as I saw Rivers call his team together, and remain calm while instructing them, even as everything was falling apart so badly. The thought that these were perhaps his final moments on the sideline for the Celtics did not sit well with me. The guy is the best coach the Celtics have had since…who? KC Jones? Bill Fitch? Tommy Heinsohn? Red Auerbach?

Update: Greg Dickerson tweeted at 11:35 this morning that Danny Ainge told him that Rivers and the Celtics have agreed on a new five-year contract.

I refuse to listen to any sports radio talk, be it from fan or host about the Kendrick Perkins trade and its implications on how the season ended. It is impossible for people to rationally look at this trade from either side. Attempts to defend or criticize it come off as hopelessly clumsy by all parties. I was in support of the trade when it was made, I understood why it was made – Ainge had the right idea in mind – he saw that the likes of Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, Andrew Bynun and Paul Gasol were not the biggest threat to the Celtics. It was perimeter players like LeBron James, Luol Deng, Dirk Nowitzki or even Kevin Durant that would give the Celtics the biggest problems in the postseason.

He was proved correct, as Orlando, San Antonio and the Lakers made early exits from the playoffs. The problem was the Jeff Green was not the answer. At least not this season. I saw some encouraging signs in the Miami series, which were mostly mitigated by some horrific turnovers. Green was challenging LeBron, and had decent moments on the offensive end. It wasn’t nearly enough. A lockout could be both good and bad for the Celtics, good, in that if the season is shortened, they may not be as gassed when the postseason arrives, and bad in that if they are going to invest in Green, they need to work with him all summer long.

Age-old problem – Gary Washburn says that you cannot just discard Green this offseason. He looks at what the Celtics will attempt to do to get younger and more athletic. Tim Weisberg discouragingly thinks that the Celtics will simply “compile a collection of bargain-basement filler and once again hope they can keep it all together long enough to make the it to the Finals one last time.” Ugh.

Red Sox’ Gonzalez just an amazing hitter – Dave D’Onofrio looks at the encouraging performace at the plate from the Red Sox new first baseman.

I’m glad Gonzalez has cranked things up, as I was getting a little tired of the “When is Gonzalez going to start hitting home runs?” type of remarks from the likes of Dan Shaughnessy.

Outfield shift working – I’m a sucker for the weekly minor-league notebook that the Globe does. Peter Abraham this week looks at converted pitcher Alex Hassan.

Three off-day thoughts on the Red Sox – Sean McAdam says that Bengie Molina isn’t the answer for the Red Sox, and wonders what they can do with John Lackey.

‘It’ happens: Cal coach says Patriots will love running back Shane Vereen – Christopher Price has Cal assistant head coach Ron Gould comparing the Patriots draftee to Faulk.

Not Kevin Faulk, Marshall Faulk.

From the NFL.com page of Albert Breer:

Albert Breer has covered the NFL since 2005, including two stints in the New England area as the Patriots beat writer for the Boston Herald and the national NFL writer for the Boston Globe. He also was the Cowboys beat writer for the Dallas Morning News and an NFL writer for Sporting News,. In addition to writing for NFL.com, Breer is a reporter on NFL Network’s Total Access and other shows.

Perhaps a minor point here, but this bio is not accurate. Breer was never the beat writer for the Boston Herald. He worked for the Metrowest Daily News, which had a content-sharing agreement with the Herald, which included the Patriots blog (“The Point After’ at the time) after Mike Reiss left the MWDN. While Breer’s work appeared on the Herald website, the actual newspaper had its own Patriots beat reporters. Here is Breer’s own farewell on the blog as the content-sharing agreement was set to expire.

Celtics Season Ended By Heat, Will They Try Again?

After once again leading for most of the night, the Celtics completely imploded in the final four minutes last night as the Miami Heat went on a 16-0 run and eliminated the Celtics 97-87 in game five of the Eastern conference semifinals. The celebration of the Heat following the game was hard to stomach, but the news got a little better later onwhen Doc Rivers announced that he was leaning heavily towards coming back next season.

In the end, just as has been the case the last three seasons, injuries and age were too much to overcome. They just didn’t have anything left in the end, and without changes, that’s not going to improve next year.

It appears that the core will stay intact for another season, and a lockout might actually be to their benefit – if the season is shorter than perhaps the aged ones will not be completely spent when the playoffs come around. Rivers and others mentioned last night the need to add more pieces in the offseason, though it will be a challenge to do so.

While some fans(?) are demanding the firing of Danny Ainge, that’s not going to happen. Despite what Dan Shaughnessy, Glenn Ordway and others would have you believe, Kendrick Perkins would not have made a difference in this series. As Dan Kennedy points out this morning, its hard to make the point that everything went to hell when Perkins was traded when the team went 33-10 this year while Perkins was out rehabbing his knee injury.

Danny Ainge put this team together, as he did the championship team of 2007-2008. He put it all together, keeping just Paul Pierce from the previous regime(s) and putting everything else together himself. He drafted the pieces and acquired the assets that were used to acquire Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. He did it methodically and was open about the plan being to stockpile assets to then be used to acquire the big talent. He followed through on that plan beautifully, and we’ve had a great four-year run in the KG/Allen/Pierce big three era. This wasn’t a guy winning with other people’s players. He put this team together and hired the head coach. He knows what he’s doing.

Jeff Green was a disappointment. Beyond a few flashes, he was terrible. There is no denying that. I would still like to see what he can do with a full training camp and some confidence. Don’t forget that Ainge also acquired a future first round pick of the Los Angeles Clippers in the deal, which might be the most attractive trade asset he currently has. I think we’ve seen the last of Glen Davis in a Celtics uniform. In fact, I think the only three I feel certain that will be back next year are KG, Allen and Pierce. Everyone else is questionable. That includes Rondo, wh0 is the most tradable player currently on the roster. He has a team-friendly contract, and is still young. If Ainge can use him in a mega-deal to acquire someone like say, Chris Paul, I think he does it.

The uncertain labor situation hangs over everything, as the rules on player movement and time frames of everything are up in the air. The small bit of good news on that front is that unlike the NFL, the two sides have been talking pretty regularly. A lockout still seems likely, but I do think David Stern is a whole lot smarter than Roger Goodell when it comes to this stuff. (and just about everything else.)

Get all the wrapup coverage this morning at CelticsLinks.com.

The Red Sox got another stinker from John Lackey, who hinted after the game that he’s been going through a rough time all-around in his life. His wife is battling breast cancer, which would certainly be a major distraction. Get your recap of last night here:

Red Sox Game 37 (@Tor 9, Sox 3) Reloaded

With the Celtics out, the Bruins will now have the spotlight pretty much to themselves. Catch up on the Bruins over at Bruinslinks.com.

Will Tonight Be The End Of An Era For The Celtics?

Battered, bruised and exhausted, the Celtics limp into tonight’s game five against the Miami Heat, facing elimination and likely the end of the line as true championship contenders for this core group.

With the uncertainty of the NBA labor situation, it could be awhile before we see the Celtics play again.

Doc Rivers is too smart to stay – Gerry Callahan says that there is no way that Rivers will return next season as the team enters rebuilding mode. Peter May seems to agree with that assessment.

Celtics have some fight left – Gary Washburn says that the Celtics will not go down without their best effort, and takes a shockingly optimistic view of things. Paul Flannery has it all on the line for Boston tonight. A. Sherrod Blakely looks at the long ,tough road facing the Celtics if they are to get back into this series.

Delonte’s time has come – Jackie MacMullan says that the Celtics will need a huge boost from their backup point guard tonight. Mark Murphy says that a Selfish Kevin Garnett is needed.

Davis is at a loss for an explanation – Monique Walker’s notebook has the reserve forward still at a loss to explain his postseason funk.  The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has West playing through pain. The ProJo Celtics Journal has KG at his worst in game four. The Enterprise notebook from Jim Fenton has more on the struggles of Davis.

The Red Sox just cannot get over that .500 hump. For the fourth time this season they had the chance to climb to that mark, and came up short, including last night’s 7-6 loss in Toronto to the Blue Jays, in which Adrian Gonzalez hit two home runs for Boston. Get all the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

Believe it or not, you still shouldn’t worry about these Red Sox – Rob Bradford says that it still is not time to panic.

As Crawford’s hitting improves, so does his spot on the pecking order – Brian MacPherson has the outfielder meriting an improved position in the batting cages with his recent improvements. John Tomase thinks Crawford is ready for a move up in the batting order as well.

A Molina has caught their eye – Nick Cafardo has the Red Sox reaching out to the representatives of retired catcher Bengie Molina.

In Boston, walk-offs come with price – MacPherson’s notebook has Crawford learning the hard way the price that is paid for walk-off hits. The Globe notebook from Michael Vega has Tim Wakefield set to become the oldest player ever to take the field for the Red Sox.

Giving them their due – Mick Colageo says that Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien deserve respect for sticking with this team and what they believe in.

Goal of Bruins is to bottle up the Lightning – Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that it may be a benefit for the Bruins that they faced Montreal in the opening round of the playoffs.

Thomas, Roloson took roads less traveled – Joe Haggerty with a look at the opposing goaltenders in this series, each of whom took an unconventional route to NHL success.

Saturday night live for Bruins, Lightning – Mike Loftus’ notebook has the Bruins wishing the series was scheduled to start sooner than Saturday. The Herald notebook from Stephen Harris and the Globe notebook from Nancy Marrapese-Burrell both have Patrice Bergeron checking in with his teammates at practice yesterday.

Patriots working out under radar – Mike Reiss has a group of Patriots discreetly working out together.

Groh: Dowling up to task for Pats – Karen Guregian talks to the former Patriots assistant and Virgina head coach about New England’s second round draft pick, Ras-I Dowling.

Patriots’ Sour Relationship With Tom Condon Means Mark Herzlich Unlikely a Future Patriot and 19 Other Thoughts – Jeff Howe with a collection of Patriots and NFL items.

New Patriots running back Stevan Ridley knows how to take advantage of an opportunity – Chris Price talks to the LSU running backs coach about the Patriots third round pick. Ridley himself spoke with Patriots Daily last week.

Jack Edwards, NESN Sign Multi-Year Extension

From NESN:

BOSTON, MA – NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, announced today that Bruins play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with the network. Edwards has teamed up with Bruins color analyst Andy Brickley in the NESN booth since 2005 and is also a regular contributor to NESN’s popular weekly hockey debate and discussion program called The Instigators with Mike Milbury.

 “For the past six years, Jack has been an energetic and important part of NESN’s Bruins hockey coverage,” said Sean McGrail, NESN President and CEO. “We are very happy to extend his contract, and look forward to his passionate presence in the broadcast booth for years to come.”

 Jack Edwards said, “Who has more fun than us? To work with Brick, Naoko, and our NESN production crew is to live the dream. We feed off the energy and passion of Bruins fans across New England and hockey fans all over the world.  We love our work and we love working together. To be part of that, to share the space with people who pour so much of their time and effort into covering this team and this sport, is the pinnacle of my career.” 

A New Hampshire native with over 30 years of sports broadcasting experience, Edwards joined NESN in 2005. Best known for his role as a SportsCenter anchor and NHL play-by-play announcer at ESPN, Edwards has also served as a local sports anchor and as a reporter for ABC’s Wide World of Sports and Winter Olympics coverage. In addition to his work with NESN, Edwards is also a senior partner and executive producer for Fountainhead Production, an independent film and TV production company specializing in HD productions.

Celtics Pushed To The Brink By Heat

At several points last night, the Celtics seemed to have things well in hand, and it looked as if they might be successful in evening up their second round series with the Miami Heat at two games apiece. However, poor execution and tired legs did in the Celtics as they faded badly down the stretch, couldn’t run a successful play at the end of regulation and had nothing left in overtime as they fell to the Heat 98-90. Get all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

The Celtics now face elimination, and quite possibly the end of an era tomorrow night in Miami.

For Celtics, the one that got away – Paul Flannery has Paul Pierce and the Celtics knowing that they beat themselves last night. Jackie MacMullan has inexcusable mistakes dooming the Celtics last night.

Kevin Garnett runs out of paint – Steve Bulpett has KG reverting to his passive, passing game one self in this one, essentially disappearing on the offensive end. (1-10, 7 points) A. Sherrod Blakely has Garnett turning in the worst playoff game of his career. Peter May has more on the costly game four stinker for KG.

Glen Davis: I’ve been bad Baby – Mark Murphy’s notebook has the reserve forward continuing his putrid postseason. The Globe notebook from Gary Washburn has Rajon Rondo’s path to playing last night after the dislocated elbow he suffered Saturday night. The Projo Celtics Journal has Wade and James coming up big for Miami, while the Enterprise notebook from Jim Fenton has more on KG’s disappearing act last night.

Jonathan Papelbon blew a save in the eighth inning last night, but the Red Sox still managed to score a walk-off win in the 11th inning last night thanks to a Carl Crawford double, which gave Boston a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. Get all the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

Carl Crawford in hero’s role – Scott Lauber has the big-money outfielder finally starting to settle in with his new team.

Jose Iglesias returns to where his big league journey began – With the Red Sox in Toronto tonight, Alex Speier has the rookie shortstop returning to the country in which he decided to defect from his native Cuba.

Decidedly tough break – Michael Vega has the bullpen unable to hang on to a lead for Josh Beckett, who was once again brilliant. Rich Thompson has Beckett OK with another no-decision despite throwing seven shutout innings.

Terry Francona’s odd bullpen moves pay off – Mike Fine’s notebook has the manager making a couple of unconventional moves last night. The Globe notebook from Peter Abraham notes that despite last night’s performance, Papelbon has been very good this season. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has Francona actually getting an explanation on a balk call last night. The CSNNE notes from Danny Picard have Beckett getting his fourth straight no-decision.  

Bruins-Lightning should go down to wire – Joe McDonald says that that Bruins will get a very tough test from Tampa Bay.

Why Tomas Kaberle could (finally) make a major difference for Bruins vs. Lightning – DJ Bean wonders if we’ll see the defenseman’s full array of skills at long last.

Seguin ready for playoff action – With Patrice Bergeron sidelined, Joe Haggerty has rookie Tyler Seguin getting ready for his first playoff action. James Murphy has more on Seguin.

They’re big B’s fans. For now, at least. – Beth Teitell in the Globe has the Bruins bandwagon fans coming out in droves. If you’re one of the bandwagon hoppers, the Globe also provides a handy Hockey cheat sheet.

Marcus Stroud sees fresh start with Pats – Karen Guregian talks with the former Jaguars and Bills defensive lineman about what he expects to bring to the Patriots.

Great Weekend For Boston Fans

It was certainly a very good weekend for fans of the local teams, with the Bruins finishing off a four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers to advance to the Eastern conference finals, the Celtics got in the win column against the Miami Heat with a performance from Rajon Rondo that will be talked about long into the future, and the Los Angeles Lakers were swept out of the playoffs in the West.

The question on the Celtics now, is whether they can continue the momentum that game three on Saturday night brought them. A loss tonight still puts the season in peril for the Celtics. Did they expend all their energy on Saturday night? In some ways, it had the feel of a “last stand” – but here’s hoping there is still plenty of basketball to be played for the Celtics this season.

Rondo set to give it a try for Celtics – Gary Washburn has the point guard determined to get on the court for the Celtics tonight, despite the dislocated elbow suffered Saturday night. Chris Forsberg is skeptical about how effective Rondo can be tonight.

Rajon Rondo a different-maker – Steve Bulpett says that Rondo’s mindset as a contrarian works to his benefit.

Celtics showed the fight that made them champions – Tim Weisberg has the Celtics not looking like Shane Mosley on Saturday night.

Rivers praises Green for key effort – The CSNNE notes from A. Sherrod Blakely have the Celtics coach praising the work done by his reserve forward. The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has River’s expecting Shaquille O’Neal to play again tonight. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has Rivers sticking by a struggling Glen Davis.

Why Jose Iglesias figures to make the most of his promotion to the big leagues – Rob Bradford with a look at the rookie shortstop who made his debut this weekend.

Iglesias gives Sox fans a glimpse of what’s to come – Tim Britton has more on the Cuban phenom.

Ellsbury on top of things as hit streak at 17 – Michael Vega has the centerfielder cementing his spot atop the batting order.

Resting B’s can’t lose their edge – Stephen Harris has the Bruins looking to remain sharp.

Many reasons why Lightning aren’t lightly regarded – Fluto Shinzawa looks at why Tampa will be a tough opponent.

Media Roundup: On The Patriots’ Draft, And Michael Felger’s Constant Criticism Of It – If you missed my SBNation Boston Media column from last week, here it is.

 Patriots Daily Q&A With Malcolm Williams – Chris Warner has an interview with the Patriots seventh-round pick, who was watching Netflix when Bill Belichick called him during the draft.

Friday Megalink Action

With me not having to drive in between two offices, I’m able to provide you with the Friday megalinks during the day. And with things planned for me during the day for Saturday, it’s best to get these in now so it can tie you over while I’m gone.

The Weekend Viewing Picks provide your sports and entertainment programming for Mother’s Day and before.

To the links. Lots to get to today.

National

In USA Today, Michael Hiestand and Mike McCarthy debate whether Donald Trump should have pulled out of driving the pace car at this year’s Indianapolis 500.

Mike McCarthy broke news last night that Champion fired Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall over his tweets on Osama bin Laden’s death.

Sports Business Daily looks at the final sports TV ratings from this week.

At Sports Video Group, Carolyn Braff says the Pac-12 Network will take lessons from the Big 10 Network when it launches in 2012.

Cam Martin at SportsNewser notes a new website launch for the National Sportcasters and Sportswriters Association.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell has an extensive look at whether the newest marketing plan by Gatorade can bring the company to new heights.

Cork Gaines of the Business Insider’s Sports Page notes that the new Pac-12 rights deal will immediately pay dividends for two schools.

Ed DeRosa of the Thoroughbred Times profiles Larry Collmus who is the new Voice of the Triple Crown for NBC.

Steve Lepore at Puck The Media has the ratings for Night 22 of the NHL Playoffs.

At SportsGrid, Glenn Davis is keeping track of whether Gus Johnson will stay at CBS or go to Fox.

Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing also has an update on the Gus Johnson saga.

The Nielsen Wire blog has news that will make NBC really happy, the Kentucky Derby is growing in popularity.

Dave Kohl at Major League Programs looks at the college conference rights megadeals and other sports media news that occurred this week.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Pawtucket Red Sox announcer Steve Hyder is very proud of his radio partner Dan Hoard for getting the call to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe says the NFL Network appears to have finally gotten its Thursday Night Football announcing booth down.

Dan Lamonthe of the Red Sox Monster blog in the Springfield Republican chuckles at the “so bad, it’s good” Sullivan Tire ad with second baseman Dustin Pedroia and pitcher Jon Lester.

Newsday’s Neil Best has New York Jets coach Rex Ryan realizing that he’s been doing too many interviews this week.

I’m not sure what Phil Mushnick is saying in today’s New York Post.

Justin Terranova of the Post has five questions for SNY analyst Ron Darling.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes that a local radio personality gets to take his passion for NASCAR to a national level.

Tom Luicci of the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger speaks with Larry Collmus of Monmouth Park who will call the Kentucky Derby for NBC.

Evan Weiner in the New Jersey Newsroom says sports business seems to carry on despite the sluggish economy.

Laura Nachman says Phillies radio analyst Larry Andersen has won a reader’s poll.

Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says Root Sports has a decision to make on its Penguins announcing team.

Mark Madden of the Beaver County (PA) Times also looks at the Penguins announcing situation.

David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun notes that MASN is seeing higher ratings for the Orioles especially among younger viewers.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com has a look at what’s going on in Baltimore and DC sports media in Press Box.

Steven Goff of the Washington Post says the MLS’ DC United and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic have forged a rights deal.

Jim Williams in the Washington Examiner likes how NBC and Versus are sharing coverage of the Kentucky Derby.

South

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is a fan of ESPN/ABC NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy.

Jeff Shain from the Orlando Sentinel looks at Golf Channel’s documentary on the late Frank Chirkinian of CBS Sports. It is a good documentary and airs tonight at 8 and throughout the weekend on Golf Channel.

Joe Biddle of The Tennessean notes that the new NHL TV contract with NBC/Versus gives the league stability, but hurts the younger generation with late starting times.

Jon Solomon of the Birmingham (AL) News says Alabama native Rece Davis returns to report on the recent tornadoes for ESPN and how sports is helping the region to recover.

Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre tells WDAM-TV of Hattiesburg, MS that coaching or TV is in his future. Stay away from my TV, Brett.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle attempts to catch up with two weeks worth of sports media news in one column.

Peter Lim of the Chronicle says two local boxers get their national spotlight this weekend.

Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News takes a look at the control the University of Texas has over the ESPN-owned and operated Longhorn Network.

Mel Bracht in the Daily Oklahoman profiles ESPN basketball analyst Doris Burke of North Providence, RI.

Mel has various sports media tidbits in his weekly notebook.

Midwest

George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal says it was the Big 10 Conference that paved the way for the Pac 10/12 to cash in on its media deals.

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer looks into why the Bengals chose to change play-by-play announcers.

Mike Zuidema from the Grand Rapids (MI) Press has NBC’s Kentucky Derby crew talking the horses in advance of Saturday’s race.

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

Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Kentucky Derby has lost ties to the local area with the departure of race caller Tom Durkin.

West

Bill Husted of the Denver Post writes that ESPN’s Rick Reilly returned to his alma mater in Boulder, CO to give the final commencement address to its Journalism School.

Lya Wodraska of the Salt Lake Tribune says the Pac-12 Network has the potential to give Utah plenty of exposure.

Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star gives us a peek at how the Pac-12 Network might look like when it launches next year.

John Maffei from the North County Times notes that the Pac 10/12 has hit Powerball.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says keeping ownership of its own network is key for the Pac-12 Conference.

Jim talks about Michele Tafoya joining NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says Golf Channel will pay tribute to the late CBS golf producer Frank Chirkinian tonight.

Diane says the Pac-12 media deals show how valuable sports is to television executives.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News notes that the Pac-12 member schools are going to be very rich under the new rights deals.

Tom looks at the very busy week in sports media.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Pac-12 contract means more options for viewers.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail feels Rashard Mendenhall and other athletes should think before they tweet.

The Canadian Sports Media Blog has the ratings for CBC and TSN for the first games of the 2nd round of the NHL Playoffs.

The Toronto Sports Media blog has the April sports radio ratings for the local stations.

And that is going to conclude the Megalinks.

Bruins Power Past Flyers, Take 3-0 Series Lead

The Bruins came out and dominated right from the start, scoring two quick goals, and crushing the spirit of the Philadelphia Flyers en route to a 5-1 victory at the Garden. The Bruins even scored a power play goal, and in the process took a commanding 3-0 series lead. While there will be many comparisons to last year, when the Bruins also took a 3-0 series lead in the second round over the Flyers, most observers insist this is a different Bruins team, which will not allow a repeat of last year. Get all the coverage at BruinsLinks.com.

Here’s a history lesson: This series is over – DJ Bean doesn’t want to sound like a Bruins butt-kisser, but he insists this series is over. Douglas Flynn has the Bruins determined to prove that this year is different. Amanda Bruno says that the Bruins clearly have revenge and payback on their minds. Joe McDonald though, says that the Bruins are focused on this year, not what happened last year. Mick Colageo says that the toughest win still awaits.

Quick start brought the house down – Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins stunning the Flyers with the quick start.

Captain Zdeno Chara anchors Bruins’ win – Stephen Harris has the Bruins Captain setting the tone early and all night long for the Bruins. Barbara Matson has more on the star turn for Chara. Eric McHugh says that it appears that the Big Fella is fully hydrated. James Murphy has Chara focusing on offense last night.

Power play breaks out of 0-for-30 slide – Steve Conroy has the Bruins finally getting that elusive power play goal. The CSNNE notes from Joe Haggerty has the power play slide ending, thanks to Chara. The Globe notebook from Fluto Shinzawa has Shane Hnidy getting the call in place of Adam McQuaid last night. The Bruins Journal from Dan Hickling has the line of Peverley, Ryder and Kelly proving their worth. The E-T notebook from Jeff Hamrick has more on Chara.

Thanks to a rain delay and extra innings, the Red Sox and Angels played until 2:45 this morning, with the Angels pulling out a 5-3 over the Red Sox. The two teams get less than 12 hours rest before playing this afternoon at 1:35. Get all the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

Matsuzaka, Red Sox fall to Angels in 13 innings – Michael Vega has Daisuke Matsuzaka giving up two runs in the 13th inning to finally end things.

What the Red Sox did (and didn’t do) while you were sleeping – Rob Bradford catches you up on things.

Cloud burst drowns Sox – Scott Lauber has the Red Sox emptying their bench and bullpen, and even dipping into their starting rotation after the rain delay.

A second-guesser’s delight – Sean McAdam says there were plenty of decisions to second-guess last night, but narrows it to three.

Lowrie stays in lineup – Eric Avidon’s notebook has Lowrie sticking in the lineup on a regular basis. The Globe notebook from Michael Vega has JD Drew sitting this one out. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has almost everyone else chipping in last night.

Hub to honor Russell with statue – Julian Benbow reports on the announcement that a statue of the Celtics Hall of Famer will be commissioned.

Don’t blame the Kendrick Perkins trade for 2-0 hole and other off-day thoughts – Kirk Minihane sent me a note joking that he and I might be the only people left who support the Perkins trade. He may not be far off.

Celtics need Ticket to ride – Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics need Kevin Garnett to step up his game if they are going to have any chance of extending this series beyond four games.

West expresses himself through art – Jessica Camerato with a mini-feature on how Delonte West uses art as an outlet.

No Psychologist Needed To See Difference In Bruins, Celtics – Jeff Jacobs compares the mindset of the two Boston winter teams right now.

Virginia defensive coordinator says Patriots got a winner in Ras-I Dowling – Christopher Price has a former coach raving about the Patriots second round draft pick.