Bobby V – The Next Rex Ryan? Um, No.

While I admit that I am skeptical of the Bobby Valentine experiment, and can’t say that I was a huge fan of his hiring, I think it’s going a little too far to proclaim him the next Rex Ryan, as I’ve heard several times already.

Is he guaranteeing World Series championships? Is he saying he’s not going to kiss Joe Girardi’s ring?

We know he doesn’t shut up, and he’s already made it a point to tweak the Yankees a couple of times already, but he’s not boasting about how great his team is, and he’s not making promises of championships. Of course, he could do all of that today, and make this entire post void, but for now, the comparison to Rex Ryan is just dumb. Buck Showalter took shots at the Red Sox last spring training, did he become the next Rex Ryan? Joe Maddon has gotten in a tweak or two at the Red Sox, is he the next Rex Ryan?

What this is, once again, is an easy, lazy, hot-button topic for sports radio and TV hosts.

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The Celtics managed a much-needed, if uninspiring 86-83 win in Cleveland last night. Rumors continue to fly about the future of the franchise and what this team will look like in the next couple of weeks, never mind to begin next season. On NBC SportsTalk, Adrian Wojnarowski stated that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers had decided that this team cannot contend this season. Wojnarowski then gave his opinion that Paul Pierce is the most likely member of the big three to be traded, since he had multiple years remaining on his contract.

I can’t really picture Pierce being dealt, but this is Danny Ainge we’re talking about. If they really have determined that this team cannot contend this season, even with possible additions, (Lamar Odom? No thanks.) then the only thing that make sense is to gather as many chips and assets as you can for the future. I think I’m done with Rondo. He’s too inconsistent and moody and just seems to have lost something. In the past, he would’ve treated last night’s game against rookie sensation Kyrie Irving as a challenge, instead, he goes scoreless with 11 assists in 32 minutes, while Irving scored 24 points on the other end.

On an aside – how many times did Glenn Ordway refer to Jermaine O’Neal as “J-Bone” yesterday? 10? 20?

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Not really a great day for links, but here’s the top five today:

Why aren’t these fans in Valentine’s camp? – Nick Cafardo is surprised at all the negative emails and tweets he receives about the new Red Sox manager.

Red Sox have new leader of pack – Joe McDonald thinks that Jarrod Saltalamacchia could become the next Jason Varitek for the Red Sox.

Felix Doubront Hoping to Find Key to Health in His Footwork – Didier Morais  looks at the young lefty who hopes to nail down the fifth spot in the Red Sox starting rotation.

Bruins waste golden chance to take control – The Bruins were shut out 1-0 last night, and Joe Haggerty says they blew a great chance to go up another game in the division.

Welcome to The Grind – Chris Forsberg with a look back at last night’s Celtics win, the style of which figures to be a sign of things to come.

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Not surprisingly, Michael Felger stuck to his guns yesterday when it comes to Cap is Crap, saying that the Bart Scott contract in no way impacts the Jets ability to sign free agents as they can simply restructure other contracts to do it.

Of course, they’re in this situation because they restructured Scott’s contract in a failed bid to sign Nnamdi Asomugha last offseason. It will be a repeating problem, just pushing off problems for another season. By restructuring the contract of D’Brickashaw Fergsuon, which they did this week, as Felger pointed to as an example, they’ve basically committed to having Fergsuon on the roster through 2015, as his “dead money” hit would make it about impossible to cut him. So they’ve created another Bart Scott.

What if certain players, who they want to keep, refuse to re-do their contracts? As it is, if the Jets want to sign any free agents, they need to restructure more contracts.

Bruins Stock Up, Celtics Back In Action

The Bruins made a pair of minor trades yesterday, getting old friend Brian Rolston from the Islanders along with former Boston College star Mike Mottau, and also getting defenseman Greg Zanon from Minnesota.

The moves add depth and experience to specific roles, and we about the best that could be done without sacrificing top prospect Dougie Hamilton. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins are a better team this morning.

In going over the moves yesterday, Michael Felger asked Joe Haggerty what there was to bash the Bruins about. (Maybe he said “bitch about” – I can’t remember exactly.) After needed to think a few seconds about it, Haggerty replied that if anything, it could be that GM Peter Chiarelli didn’t have the chips to make a really major move, but that would be stretching things.

A caller later asked why Felger was looking for things to bash the Bruins about, and suddenly everyone got really sensitive about the topic. Felger insisted he wasn’t looking to bash the Bruins, but he was just asking what the Bruins could be bashed about.

OK.

Then Massarotti piped in “These things always get TWISTED, Mike.”

Yeah, twisted. How so, exactly?

Then again this morning the episode was raised, and for some reason Fred Toucher felt the need to clarify Felger was being tongue-in-cheek about it. Why so sensitive? It’s OK if Felger is looking for things to bash a team about. It’s his M.O.

Felger and Mazz then spent the rest of the show bashing Josh Beckett, another favorite topic of Felger’s. Like most hosts, Felger has a number of “fallback topics.” Beckett is one. The Patriots drafting is another. The NBA/Celtics suck is one, and the Cap is Crap is a tried and true topic as well.

Meanwhile, Felger’s favorite model of NFL team building, the New York Jets continue to be in cap hell, as now Bart Scott, who is supposed to be the Rex Ryan mouthpiece and advocate, is seeking a trade, but the Jets likely can’t get one, since his $4.2 million dollar salary is guaranteed – a move done last offseason when the Jets were frantically trying to move cap space around to make a failed run at Nnamdi Asomugha. And oh yeah, the Pittsburgh Steelers could likely lose Mike Wallace described by Bill Barnwell as possibly the next Jerry Rice or Randy Moss, because of their own cap hell.

But remember – The Cap is Crap.

An aside – Tom E Curran seems to view things the same way:

I don’t get this about Felger. He’s smart, he can discuss topics intelligently, but too often falls back into whatever is going to stir people up, even it if makes him look dumb.

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Meanwhile, the Celtics are set to begin the post-All Star Break portion of their schedule, and hope to welcome back Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox tonight in Cleveland. Kevin Garnett apparently had some strong words for his teammates before the break, we’ll see if the response is here.

The Celtics will be a very interesting team to follow here over the next couple of weeks, as we watch whether they make any moves, and what the moves will be. Does Danny Ainge hold a firesale, hoping to piling up some picks, and take on more expiring contracts, or does he make a bold move in an effort to try and salvage a final run here?

There have been rumors about Rajon Rondo again, (one involves Pau Gasol) and this morning there is word that the Celtics are interested in Michael Beasley. (Jon Wallach on 98.5 this morning said how Beasley has been with 4 or 5 different teams already in his career. He’s played for two.)

Any Rondo deal would be made with the idea of making a run this season, I find the Gasol idea far-fetched, but intriguing. Would they go with Avery Bradley as the point guard? He’s had his moments this season, turning into a dynamic, on-the-ball defender, and making enough jump shots to keep defenses honest.It would be a lot to ask of him, however, and you would expect a veteran PG to be brought in. I still find it tough to believe that Rondo would be dealt, unless Ainge and Rivers feel they need to cut ties, and perhaps make a run at Deron Williams in the offseason. That also seems a longshot.

The Celtics biggest problem this season has been injuries. If they think they can work to get healthy and sneak into the playoffs with the current roster and perhaps a tweak or two, that might be the best option. They’ve shown flashes, but really need a completely healthy roster and a lot of luck in order to have a chance to do anything.

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Word came out late yesterday afternoon that Jason Varitek is expected to retire on Thursday. We can expect plenty of retrospectives and platitudes about the catcher in the days to come, and a couple are out already:

Jason Varitek and the trade that changed a franchise – Alex Speier.

An example of why Varitek was a man of respect – Danny Picard.

What Varitek has meant to Red Sox – Gordon Edes (video)

2011 still lingers, and isn’t going away anytime soon. Michael Silverman says that it isn’t the fans or media that won’t let go, it is the players. Steve Buckley says that this team needs to play game, quickly.

Nick Punto looks ahead, behind – Gordon Edes has the backup infielder in familiar surroundings and hoping to play his way into a bigger role.

There’s a catch with Welker, Patriots – Greg A Bedard looks at where things stand on the Patriots roster.

NHL Trade deadline, Daytona 500, and a Dry Sox Clubhouse

It’s a busy Monday in the sports world, with the NHL trading deadline set for this afternoon, and the Bruins looking to add a piece or two to their roster. Stephen Harris thinks that anything the Bruins do would be minor in nature. Joe Haggerty has a look at some possible targets.

The Daytona 500 was rained out yesterday for the first time in history, and will be run tonight at 7:00 PM.

The Red Sox announced over the weekend that alcohol will be banned from the clubhouse. Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike this morning, called the decision “a PR move.”

SI’s Peter King continues to use his Monday Morning Quarterback column as a bully pulpit to speak on the matter:

g. Lord, who is doing the Red Sox PR? More shooting the messenger after an offseason of ignoring the drinking-in-the-clubhouse-during-games stories from last season. The team never addressed it, except to say it wants it buried and wants everyone to look ahead, not behind. “It’s a new chapter, beginning today,” Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino said at spring training the other day. “Our idea is, let’s write this new chapter. Enough has been said about the last chapter.”

But not by you. Not saying, “It’ll never happen again, and it’s a disgrace it ever happened in the first place.” Whoever in the organization had the grand plan of eliminating the issue by ignoring it and sneering at the media when it was brought up has no idea that such an irresponsible issue doesn’t go away in the eyes of many followers — like me — if you bash people over the head for bringing it up.

Peter, I’m begging you to set the moral compass down, and step away from it.

Airing it out: On the mound and off, Josh Beckett sees no reason to change – Rob Bradford has a long talk with Josh Beckett, who explains why he looks at what happened last year through a drastically different prism than any of his critics. Eric Wilbur doesn’t think Beckett has his facts straight.

Punto, Ross bring World Series experience to the Red Sox – Tim Britton looks at how the Red Sox have added a pair of players with World Series credentials to their clubhouse.

Youkilis ends D&C boycott: ‘It’s a new year – Kevin Youkilis showed up at Dennis and Callahan’s picnic table this morning, and they proceeded to tell him why he was mistaken for avoiding them for years. He also said that despite getting engaged to Tom Brady’s sister, he’s done attending Patriots playoff games, as he is now 0-3. D&C also did their best to provoke David Ortiz this morning, who said he was tired of the media talking trash.

Patriots weigh risk, reward – Mike Reiss thinks that the Patriots need to add an elite athlete to their front seven.

What we learned at the combine: Patriots poised to address weaknesses – Chris Price takes away some observations from the combine.

Janoris Jenkins worth gamble – Karen Guregian thinks that the troubled cornerback could be a big reward type of pick. Colleague Ian R. Rapoport thinks that Alabama safety Mark Barron is a potential perfect fit.