Week Log: Screw the Two, Get Sid The Kid

It’s the game you’ve had circled on your Bruins schedule for the 12 days since Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke cheap-shotted Marc Savard right out of the season. In fact, According to Cameron Frye says we’ve been waiting for it like an expectant mother. Yes, the Penguins come to TD Garden tonight, and there are much more important things to resolve than two points in the standings.

There are those like We’re Just Saying who fear the cost of retribution, feeling every point is vital. But back on March 7, the B’s wagered their self-worth by turning the other cheek to play for the almighty point and came away with neither. What did that do for our vitality? For the past fortnight, their inactions drained the rising tide that was lifting hockey in Boston on the heels of the Winter Classic and Winter Olympics. Now, how is this matter to be made whole?

Well, NHL “disciplinarian” Colin Campbell will be in the stands tonight, so he’s got plexiglass on his side. That leaves Cooke and Savard’s relative equivalent, Sidney Crosby, but it’ll be tricky since Bruins Blog has the league sending in the senior zebras. Jack Edwards says an injury attempt on Crosby would send a beastly message to the NHL that teams have to stand up for themselves because the league won’t. Kirk Minihane says to leave Crosby alone since this beef is with Cooke. Hockey Independent wonders who will be the next victim of a predatory hit given the open season Campbell’s ‘lack of precedence’ ruling has created. Probably not Crosby, as The Grinder has Campbell keeping an eye on “dangerous plays” affecting the league’s young star.

With the lack of any disciplinary action on blindside hits to both Savard and the Panthers’ David Booth, Hockey Journal says the NHL front office is trying to make a right out of two wrongs. The Sporting Blog says Sandra Bullock could have fixed this problem when Booth was blindsided back in October. The Old Bruins Fan says the blame for this mess lies not as much with Campbell or even Cooke as it does with Penguins management.

Blog Of Ice has this a costly 3-3-1 road trip, which included the loss of Savard and ended with Patrice Bergeron taking a puck in the knee down in Carolina. The Hub Of Hockey has the stats to show how much Marc Savard’s loss will hurt the B’s.

Big Bad Blog recounts flaws aplenty in the B’s 3-2 loss to the Devils Monday night, but Something’s Bruin has them opening a much-needed can of whoop-ass on the lowly Hurricanes on Tuesday. That win disappoints Bruins 2010 Draft Watch as Toronto now pulls to within four points of Carolina in the standings. Goodbye, Taylor Hall.

Hub Hockey has Shawn Thornton a healthy scratch in Carolina, no doubt resting up for some vigilante justice tonight. Errrr, don’t count on it says Masshole Sports, who has the Bruins’ goon sounding a bit soft.

NCAAM

We’ll need just two minutes on this college hoops season that wasn’t, as only one New England team has made it to the big dance. Joe Posnanski will take the first minute with his annual picks of the 63 NCAA men’s tournament games in 64 seconds and sadly, Vermont is gone in the first two. Sports Central doesn’t see a return of 2005, when the Catamounts shocked the Orange in the tournament’s first round. However, The BC Blog thinks Vermont is underrated and offers the best chance among this year’s No. 16 seeds to knock off a No. 1 for the first time ever. With first-round action going on right now at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Boston Sports Blog looks back 21 years ago when No. 16 Princeton almost did it to No. 1 Georgetown on this very floor. NESN University has Obama staying with a No. 1, taking Kansas to go all the way, and as a standing President he’s never been wrong . . . in picking national champions, that is.

In NIT roundups, UConn Sports has it a question of heart as Jerome Dyson helped the Huskies pull out a two-point victory over the Huskies of Northeastern. Projo College Hoops has URI’s veterans carrying the load in their win over Northwestern.

Red Sox

There’s a lot of focus on medical issues down in Fort Myers these days. Some good news on the Matsuzaka front, as Gordon Edes has Daisuke actually pitching to a batter for the first time all spring. Call Of The Green Monster bills it as the greatest bullpen session in MLB history.

Ryan Westmoreland’s brain surgery on Tuesday hits close to home for Joe Haggerty, who suffers from the same cavernous malformation and offers a gripping account of living with the condition. Full Count says the success of Westmoreland’s surgery will be measured by the return of his quaity of life, not his return to the field.

Boston Sports Then And Now states their case for keeping Mike Lowell. Despite a great spring, The Bottom Line is that Josh Reddick won’t make an impact this year at the major-league level.

Toeing The Rubber attacks the stereotyping of women as baseball fans who want to show off cute clothes at the park, while Mass Hysteria‘s nightmare of seeing Ronan Tynan in a Red Sox jersey anywhere has come true. Boston Dirt Dogs ushers in the Curse Of The Tenor era.

Celtics

A. Sherrod Blakely sees last night’s win over the Knicks as another in a line of dominant home performances this month, but CelticsBlog thinks it the luck of the Irish that the C’s drew such an easy opponent on St. Patrick’s Day. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog has old friends J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker making their return to TD Garden.

North Station Sports thinks the light switch has been flipped on with these two home games, which mark the first back-to-back double-digit victories since November. Red’s Army has Doc Rivers glowing with confidence over his team and his new guys as things seem to be turning the corner. Green Street has Doc looking to give Shelden Williams somebody else’s minutes.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

Keeping with basketball momentarily, Celtics Stuff Live reacts vociferously to the folly of Bill Simmons running the Los Angeles Clippers.

Sabermetrics geeks rip Jerry Thornton a new one, then he rips them right back. And in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, The Mighty Quinn Media Machine has gone green all week, bringing us among other things the inductions into the Irish-American Baseball Hall Of Fame.

Jade McCarthy says cheering for Tiger Woods will never be the same, but she’ll be glued to The Masters anyway. And Bingo Bar Blog hears some cheers for 98.5 The Sports Hub but isn’t sure why they pose such a threat to WEEI.

Sorry I missed you last week. Sometimes, the day job just doesn’t cooperate. Anyway, enjoy the fight(s) tonight and another saintly celebration tomorrow, and we’ll see you here again next Thursday.

Week Log: Winter Cedes To Spring

There’s something about the two-year period between Olympic games. It sneaks up on me, I get excited for the events, then I never watch enough of them and they’re gone. Suddenly, two years feels like a long time when it lies ahead until the next games.

Well, today we’ll start with one final look back at the games of the XXI Winter Olympics because – well, two years is a long time.

Olympics

The action closed out on Sunday with the U.S. taking 37 total medals to lead all nations for the first time in 78 years. The games left We’re Just Saying with much to feel patriotic about, as America earned medals in both traditional and X Game-type events. Postcards From Vancouver found a lot of emerging patriotism in Canadians too, not to mention an abundance of politeness. Time’s World agrees they were the perfect hosts, but if public intoxication were an Olympic event Vancouver would take the gold. On Olympics Blog, Connecticut luger Megan Sweeney didn’t want to part Vancouver, nor part with her Ralph Lauren outfit.

Around The Oval has the highs and lows of speed skating, while Free Time reviews the incredible highs of freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Forget things skyward says And Another Thing . . ., because the 50K cross-country commands Bob Ryan’s greatest respect.

And ESPN’s Vancouver 2010 looks to Sochi, where 2014’s Team USA will have a hard time surpassing the accomplishments of Vancouver.

Olympic Hockey

This one aspect of the XXI Winter Olympics was so riveting that it needs a section unto itself. Fourth Place Medal captures all the superlatives of the fortnight, including Mittkini Girl getting the nod as Best Fan Of The Games.

On Sports Central, I admit to an indifference toward ice hockey 30 years ago but now see it today as one of many sources of national pride. The Sporting Blog says the gold medal game was one of those occasions where sports has the power to sear memories into history. NESN’s Olympics blog has the U.S. loss setting President Obama back a case of Yuengling. Olympic Hockey Blog fell in love with Ryan Miller’s play, not to mention his big, brown puppy-dog eyes.

Bingo Bar Blog‘s love of watching hockey has been reawakened after the Olympics to the point where they’re going to give the NHL another chance. Jerry Thornton had fun fooling around with hockey in her foxy Olympic days, then awoke this week to the tired and unsightful hag that is the NHL. I’m Just Sayin . . . understands Commissioner Gary Bettman’s public fence-sitting on the impact of the Olympics on the NHL, but says he should be more concerned about securing a legitimate network that will broadcast his games.

Bruins

Boston Sports Then And Now has many B’s returning from the Olympic break disappointed with their homelands’ performances but needing to get in focus quick, as there’s no room for further error. Enough with the somehows says Kathryn Tappen, who wants answers and in a hurry.

Don’t look the way of outsourced help for those answers, as Joe Haggerty has GM Peter Chiarelli’s conservatism like shackles binding him as yesterday’s trade deadline passed. The B’s did land defenseman Dennis Seidenberg and, although the ESPN Boston Bruins jury is still out on the question of value to the B’s, they ruled it a good move for Seidenberg. Bruins Blog brings the inside scoop on Derek Morris waiving his no movement clause, a move that led to his return to Phoenix. With Seidenberg, a left shot, coming and Morris, a right shot, going, Rink Rap figured another shoe would drop. It never did. Bruins 2010 Draft Watch hates Chiarelli’s moves and wants him out of the way if he’s not going to lead. Hockey Independent says the acquisition of rights to Steve Kampfer is nothing in the now and only compounds fans’ ire with Chiarelli.

Boston Sports Blog thinks the only way to cure the hiccup that is Boston’s depressing season is for fans to start wearing bags over their heads.

Celtics

After a disaster of epic proportions against the NJ Nets last weekend, it was back-to-back wins for the C’s in mid-week. North Station Sports suggests that beauty could be found in the 105-100 win in Detroit . . . if you switched off your lights. Maybe your TV, too. Last night was more like what Green Street was looking for, as the C’s won both at home and on the back half of consecutive night games, crushing the Bobcats, 104-80. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog thinks that Gino may have been just what the C’s needed to dance off some inconsistent play of late. CelticsBlog has Nate Robinson joining Gino as fan favorites after each sparked the crowd last night.

Hardwood Houdini says it’s about time Doc Rivers takes some of the blame for the C’s lack of focus and chemistry. Celtics Stuff Live questions Doc on his use of Sheed to close games. And it’s a Baby step forward and a giant one back for Glen Davis, as Red’s Army says nothing is going his way this year.

Red Sox

Yesterday was the first day of actual competition down in Florida, if you call 15-0 and 6-1 wins over college kids competition. Sawxblog is happy to have his old friend Baseball back. Against Northeastern, Adam Hirshfield has Casey Kelly making a decent pitching debut . . . for a shortstop. Against Boston College, it was a rite of spring as Sean McAdam has BP pitcher Ino Guerrero getting in his annual ABs.

Utility Lou is worried about Jonathan Papelbon’s inability to put another pitch in the back of hitters’ minds last year. Peter’s Red Sox Forever‘s mind is on what goes on down under Sox players’ belts.

With the Chilean earthquake shortening our days by something in the order of milliseconds, Masshole Sports wonders if there’s enough time for the Sox to win another World Series. The days are too short for Toeing The Rubber to ever forgive Johnny Damon – pinstripes or not. It looks like the Yankees will lose one Damon and gain another, as Soxy Lady has Matt and buddy Ben Affleck turning to the Evil side. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine eulogizes the career of Rhode Island’s Rocco Baldelli.

Thanks to all you Olympics bloggers who gave us a little extra color and variety over these past three weeks – not that we needed it! I’ve got your cards, and we’ll see you again in the summer of 2012. As for the rest of you, we’ll see you next Thursday.

Week Log: Of Public ‘Thanks’ And Public ‘Sorry’s

Driven by an intense Olympics spirit, we headed north last weekend for some skiing on the final days of school vacation. For my seven year-old, it was his fifth outing – all with me, all in the last 12 months – and, although I was initially cool to the realization, there was no more denying that the child had now become father to the man. I could no longer keep up with him and worse, I had to rely on others further down the slope to look out for his welfare until I got down. Gotta let him fly and take comfort in gold medalists Sean White and Maine’s own Seth Wescott, who thanked their familes for their success. As Snow Zone observes, nothing is better than having them say, “Thanks, Dad, for teaching me how to ski!”

Winter Olympics

More from the slopes, where Bode Miller says the energy he felt on a crazy Sunday are what the Olympics are all about, as he hammered the downhill and absolutely charged it in the slaloms en route to a cool gold in the men’s super-combined. In the women’s giant slaloms, Fourth Place Medal has Lindsey Vonn’s wipeout ruining things . . . for Julia Mancuso and the two skiers’ already frosty relationship. Jessica Isner has Vonn acknowledging she probably peed off Mancuso.

In the rink, Blog Of Ice says even the empty-net goal sealing Team USA’s 5-3 win over Canada on Sunday was great. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman didn’t seem to enjoy things, but don’t buy his Debbie Downer act as Joe Haggerty theorizes he’s positioning future Olympics participation as a League concession in the next CBA. The win, of course, was inspired by Josh Sacco’s Herb Brooks speech, but Bingo Bar Blog suspects the five year-old may be half of a father-son ventriloquist act. Postcards From Vancouver has a raucous Canadian crowd extracting revenge against the U.S. in curling.

In the men’s medal round, both Teams USA and Canada drew a step closer to a gold showdown yesterday. Olympic Hockey Blog has Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller complicating the task for Team USA, while Out Of Bounds has the Swiss getting even in a cheese fondue pong match. Puck Daddy calls out our beloved Mike Milbury as an American Don Cherry after he Eurotrashes Team Russia in the wake of their 7-3 drubbing by Canada, who will now take Zdeno Chara & Co. Rink Rap has the beat-up B’s defenseman turning the corner after Slovakia’s win over Sweden last night. BlogsNH disses the Canadian propensity for falling all over themselves, but will still be very disappointed if Team Canada does not take hockey gold. If they don’t, they could always mint themselves a platinum, as The Dish Rag has Evgeni Plushenko doing after losing to Evan Lysacek in men’s figre skating. And it was another New Englander medaling yeasterday, as Olympics Blog has Connecticut’s Erin Pak getting bronze in women’s bobsled.

Are you a Peacock Puppet? You may be, suggests The Sporting Blog, as NBC has been using us like lab rats to help generate evening viewership.

Celtics

Make it four wins in five post All-Star games for the C’s. Celtics Stuff Live sees the remaining games as a fork in the road, and they’ve extensively analyzed the harder path.

It was Defenseless in Denver on Sunday, as Celtics Central observes that top teams feel confident in beating Boston even when the C’s play well over stretches. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog has the D finally showing up late in Tuesday night’s Knicks game. Celtic Dynasty doesn’t care about the defensive no-show on Tuesday, because a win is a win.

CelticsBlog found it bittersweet watching new Knick Bill Walker skying for his first dunk against the C’s. Tuesday’s game was also the Big Three’s first at TD Garden since the trade deadline, and Green Street has Ray Allen taking the court as nonchalantly as he left it before the deadline. North Station Sports did not expect the Big Three to return intact after their last performance at TD before the All-Star break. Evans Clinchy has Allen taking his game to another level since the deadline passed.

And ProBasketballTalk has Brian Scalabrine paying up after losing his bet with 98.5 The Sports Hub‘s Toucher & Rich.

Red Sox

ESPN Boston Red Sox Blog has less practical joking and more hands-on for John Lackey this spring.

One If By Land laments Boof Bonser’s plight in a bullpen where long relievers are persona non grata. Clearing The Bases braced for an onslaught after suggesting Clay Buchholz would be bullpen-bound, but it never came. Fenway Nation calls Daisuke Matsuzaka the linchpin to Theo’s pitching-and-defense mantra.

Utility Lou has Victor Martinez seeing himself first and foremost as a catcher, which makes his free agency value considerably higher than his runners-caught-stealing percentages. The good news is that, as long as Victor is in Boston, he won’t have to worry about the base-stealing of Jacoby Ellsbury, whom Nuggetpalooza cites as the second-biggest kleptomaniac in the AL last year. Boston Dirt Dogs has David Ortiz in search of some protection. Hang in there Papi, because HardballTalk has Adrian Gonzalez not about to give the Padres any hometown discounts. In the meantime, Michael Hurley has Dustin Pedroia willing to pitch in.

Boston Sports Then & Now looks back on baseball’s last triple crown season.

Odds & Sods

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

Hey, they’re held for hockey, rowing, and even cycling, so Thoughts From Press Row asks, why not a Beanpot for men’s basketball?

Wth six straight starts before the Olympic break, ESPN Boston Bruins Blog says Tuukka Rask’s time is at hand.

Given the damage that a hockey rink has caused to re-sodding efforts, CSNNE’s Boston Red Sox says the jury is still out on the future of pucks at Fenway Park.

In the aftermath of the infamous Tiger Woods presser, Jerry Thornton tells baseball to move over because public apologies are the new National Pastime. Not even MMA is immune to the fad, as old friend Josh Nason from the now defunct Small White Ball brings us Frank Mir’s sincerest act on MMA Madness.

Masshole Sports finds it mind-blowing that #21 is officially being unofficially retired on Yawkey Way, while Blaug offers the Kraft family 30 reasons why Mosi Tatupu’s #30 should be retired. Rest in peace, Mosi.

In another public apology, we took a week off from B’s blogs as – well, they’re not playing and there’s not much on the trade front. The action should pick up again next week, which is when we’ll next talk. In the meantime, I’m available on Twitter and on Facebook.

Week Log: From Melting Pots To Potholes

If the Olympics can be seen as the sports world’s melting pot, they’re certainly one in the blogging world as well. We’ve got an interesting bag of blogs today and things kick off in Vancouver.

Winter Olympics

We’ll start with the almighty buck, as The Sporting Blog has NBC flexing some muscle after the Winter Olympics nearly topped American Idol in Tuesday’s overnights. Ratings are particularly high in Jerry Thornton‘s house and he’s one Masshole that’s not afraid to admit it.

The Crowe’s Nest is tired of all the bitching from live junkies who abhor tape-delayed events. I have to admit that ever since discovering the joys of DVR for $10 a month, nothing broadcasts live in my living room any more. I fast-forwarded through 90 seconds of commercials on Tuesday night,then through a two-minute segment introducing the women’s alpine cross semis, which led into another 90 seconds of commercials. That’s five minutes of my life I don’t have to wish I had back (even if I did give it back watching the men’s figure skating short program). Boston Homer isn’t crazy about having to duck Olympics results all day long but they’re nevertheless thankful for this bridge across the Dead Zone of athletics. Boston Sports Blog thinks NBC’s designation of the 1980 Miracle On Ice as poster child for tape delay doesn’t cut it in a society that has advanced beyond rotary phones and rabbit ears.

Boston Sports Then And Now reminisces of those miracle men from Massachusetts who helped carry hockey to epic heights of popularity after that Lack Placid performance 30 years ago. Back to 2010, where Joe Haggerty has the odds with Russia and the pressure with Canada in his comprehensive men’s hockey preview. Boston Blood Sox bemoans the narrower ice surface of NHL rinks as they take us through a predictable opening night of games. Olympics Blog says the rinks may not be bigger than in the NHL, but the USA team salary sure is. The 2 Man Advantage has Team USA looking sloppy in their 3-1 win over the Swiss. Olympic Hockey Blog doesn’t know what to do with themselves what with all the ESPN analysts exiled to Vancouver. Among them are both Barry Melrose and his crow’s feet, prompting Out Of Bounds to observe how the winter games have empowered some Canadians to say and do whatever they want. Awful Announcing has ESPN fortunate to have its own highly-experienced designated apologist on staff.

Speaking of apologists, Joe Posnanski exonerates the fun-loving Lindsey Jacobellis for her Jacoblunder of four years past and her Truckdriver after wiping out in the women’s snowboard cross on Tuesday. Sportress Of Blogitude is making no apologies for Jacobellis’ sorry performances on the world’s stage. Postcards From Vancouver has Jacobellis as another snag in Vermont’s medal haul after Hannah Kearney started things off so promisingly with gold in women’s moguls. Bode Miller’s Blog has all speed and no tactics making Bode a psyched boy on his way to a bronze in the men’s downhill.

ESPN’s Winter Olympics Blog says it wouldn’t be an international speedskating event without the big oom-pah sounds of Little Beer. Fourth-Place Medal has a good laugh at curling athletes’ expense, but Adam Hirshfield says their skills make for compelling television.

Red Sox

What’s better than watching shuffleboard on ice? Try a truck starting up and pulling away from Fenway Park. I spent a morning doing just that for Boston Dirt Dogs so you wouldn’t have to. And I wasn’t alone. Full Count was there, as Kristine Leahy catches the ephoria on video. Toeing The Rubber was as well, and Cyn is thrilled with the unfolding drama of spring. Then there was ESPN Boston Red Sox, which warns against putting those shovels away just yet. And as the departing truck signifies the coming of spring in Boston, Extra Bases observes that the arriving truck signals the same in Fort Myers.

With pitchers and catchers reporting today, A Very Simple Game tries to lay the media-contrived controversies of a long offseason to rest. Brownie Points reports on John Lackey discreetly slipping into town yesterday. The Bottom Line worries that all those innings in Japan are catching up with Daisuke Matsuzaka as he needs to shut it down for a few days.

Evans Clinchy is in no hurry to see catcher Victor Martinez re-signed before he even throws out his first runner of the season . . . whenever that may be. Touching All The Bases has Josh Reddick’s arm keeping opponents from advancing along the bases even as his bat will keep him from ever getting on. Hit And Run thinks Theo would have preferred Jason Bay in his outfield but he’ll be okay with Mike Cameron as Plan B. Nuggetpalooza crunches some numbers on Cameron.

Prevailing thought has Jonathan Papelbon leaving Boston as soon as he hits free agency, but One If By Land points out that Daniel Bard may one day be just as expensive and just as likely to fly. Gordon Edes has Papelbon trying to emulate Mariano Rivera – both on the mound and at the negotiating table. Surviving Grady thinks Paps would be a nice heir-apparent to Old Mo, but the Bronx may not be ready for him in pinstripes.

Celtics

The second half started off with a passable 95-92 win in Sacramento Tuesday night, but things quickly get tougher. North Station Sports harbors no illusions of miracles for the rest of the season, but they do hope to have the C’s get a win tonight against the Lakers. Green Street has Rajon Rondo noting that tonight’s game isn’t for the NBA championship. Celtics Stuff Live tries to capture the full Rondo . . . in as few words as possible.

Lent hadn’t even started when Mass Hysteria pined for running Jesus out of Boston. After dreaming of all the consideration to be reaped by trading Ray Allen, CelticsBlog feels a little letdown from the possibility of him staying and only Nate Robinson coming to town. As the Robinson trade looms, ESPN Boston Celtics Blog suggests this may be more about Danny Ainge shaking up the C’s by removing another piece of their championship team of two years back.

Bruins

When it comes to this year’s Bruins, most see the glass as four-fifths empty; Michael Felger, on the other hand, sees it as a fifth full and believes they’re in position to go to the next level after the Olympic break. Methinks Felgy may have downed a fifth before getting behind the keyboard on that one.

Bingo Bar Blog has Boston not as much a hockey town as a winning hockey town. When it comes to missing out on signing key players, I’m Just Sayin’ has Jeremy Jacobs as proof that a fool and his money are not always parted. Rink Rap feels the need – the need for speed in the B’s defenseman ranks.

NASCAR

So, it was Super Bowl Sunday for NASCAR in Daytona last Sunday, but this Super Bowl was apparently threatened by female drivers and potholes. Boston.com’s Auto Racing Blog ascribes Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray with saving the Great American Race from making a spectacle of itself. Wouldn’t the spectacle of 43 cars engaged in a nearly-perpetual left turn be more in need of redemption than Danica Patrick standing in the Winner’s Circle?

Unrestricted says the pothole made last Sunday like coupon day at the ammunition outlet store for NASCAR detractors, an analogy that is lost on most of the NASCAR-free world. AOL’s Motorsports Fanhouse calls the incident a super gaffe in NASCAR’s self-proclaimed Super Bowl. From The Marbles has Fox’s coverage with a few potholes of its own.

That’s a wrap. Here’s hoping you can dodge your own potholes and those pesky live updates from Vancouver throughout the week and we’ll see you back here next Thursday.

Week Log: One Flame Extinguished, Another One Lit

Today feels a little like sitting in the middle of a busy intersection. We’ve got a Super Bowl just concluded, both the B’s and C’s on the eve of a winter interlude, and the engines turning over to start a new baseball season. And, of course, the Olympics are torching up tomorrow, which is where we’ll start this morning.
Olympics

The XXI Olympic Winter Games kick off in Vancouver with torch-lighting ceremonies tomorrow night and, as Dan Wetzel reports, there are no snow sightings. Too bad Washington, D.C. didn’t bid on these Winter Games. Boston.com’s Olympics Blog thinks that if airport logistics are any indication, Vancouver will have its snow problems under control in no time.

On the slopes, Bode Miller’s Blog has him grateful for a spread-out schedule that will help him get through all five Alpine events on a bruised ankle. ESPN’s Winter Olympics Blog has Miller comfortable behind the mic working his anti-media shtick. In the rink, Boston Sports Then And Now has Tim Thomas’ play vindicating Team USA Coach Ron Wilson for naming Sabres goalie Ryan Miller his starter. Amid a flurry of team previews, Olympic Hockey Blog takes some time to check out all three Team USA goalie masks.

Enough about the men. Sports Illustrated takes an intimate look – let’s make that lots of looks – at the other half of the U.S. Olympic Team. One Sport Voice says Lindsey Vonn’s recent cover shoot is indicative of Sports Illustrated’s knack for sexualizing woman athletes. Fourth-Place Medal says Vonn is more than a pretty face, as any reader of Sports Illustrated can attest.

Super Bowl

The New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl on Sunday in what is being billed as the most-watched TV event in history, but NBC Sports’ Out of Bounds finds such a claim insulting to M*A*S*H diehards. The Super Bowl was Boston Sports‘ epiphany that the decade of feel-good stories surrounding Boston teams has officially ended.

The Rap Sheet is struck by the Saints’ embrace of victory. Former Patriots FB Heath Evans concludes his stint with It Is What It Is by regaling New Englanders of what it’s like to win a Super Bowl. Michael Hurley views the Saints’ gutsy risk-taking as a further encouragement for Bill Belichick next season. We’re Just Saying finds it poetic justice that the team that put it on the line all season took all the chances in this one, while the one that opted for imperfection during the regular season found it in the Super Bowl as well.

If any team has fallen out of the public’s favor faster than the Patriots, it is the Indianapolis Colts. The fall started with Week 16’s SubsGate, followed by SubsGate II the next week. On Sunday, the Colts were lambasted for questionable play-calling and being out game-planned. Now the great Peyton Manning is under fire for poor sportsmanship. And don’t forget Reggie Wayne, says Pro Football Talk. How Belichickian of them, you might think, but Shutdown Corner says no, Peyton’s indiscretion merely shows how badly he wanted to win. Because Belichick didn’t care about winning, right? Extra Points says Manning handled himself like a pro after the incident. Boston Blood Sox has Manning exposing himself as a fraud in both Greatest QB Ever and Classy Individual categories. Boston Dirt Dogs lays to rest all talk of Manning being better than Tom Brady. Mass Hysteria loves piling on the Colts; even ex-Colts can’t escape their wrath.

Inside Track brings us a behind-the-scenes look at last Sunday’s battle of two titans, as Oprah gets Leno and Letterman in the same room. In what might be a BSMW first, we give you Christian Science Monitor‘s five worst Super Bowl commercials and no, Tim Tebow & Mom are not among them. MediaBiz has the Tebows’ spot getting the least viewers and tells you which one got the most.

Would you throw Megan Fox out of the tub for having clubbed thumbs? Well, Daily Mail has Motorola not wanting to chance it as they bring us a tale of thumb doubles. Google’s Parisian Love ad told Sports Central a sweet story that leaves them wanting for more, while Boston Sports Blog gives them more with a couple of their own versions. Be sure to clear your search history after this one!

B’s / C’s

Have there ever been two groups in more need of a vacation than B’s and C’s fans? The respective seasons of discontent come to a putter-out after tonight’s Bruins game in Tampa, then it’s off to the shop for some tweaking as trade deadlines approach in both the NHL and NBA and the B’s and C’s sit in the waiting area for the Olympics / All-Star breaks to end.

The B’s have put together their first consecutive wins since December after beating both the Canadiens and Sabres. Something funny even happened for The Big Bad Bruins on Tuesday’s way to another shootout loss after blowing a 2-0 lead: the B’s won! The Hub Of Hockey says this is a different team with a contributing Marc Savard on the ice. As the trade deadline looms, Something’s Bruin is shopping Tim Thomas around.

Going the other way, the C’s have dropped two in a row after a modest three-game win streak. Courtside View credits Rajon Rondo for facing the music in the aftermath of Sunday’s loss to the Orlando Magic when his veteran teammates were hard to find. The only thing more eye-gougingly uglier last night than the Hornets’ uniforms to North Station Sports was the Celtics’ performance in New Orleans. I happened to flip this one on right at Tony Lee‘s turning point, as the lights went out on a 12-point lead and my TV went off shortly thereafter. Green Street has the funk now turning 23 games old with no signs of letting up.

Red Sox

By this time tomorrow morning, the 18-wheeler carrying the Sox’ equipment to Florida will be just turning onto Brookline Avenue and spring will be born again. Toeing The Rubber answers the age-old question of how stupid you’d have to be to stand in the cold and watch a truck drive away. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine sees irony in this 1,480-mile truck ride being sponsored by an airline.

Extra Bases already places 50 players at the minor league complex in Fort Myers, and all 50 are in the best shape of their lives. Can the World Series trophy be far behind? Fire Brand Of The American League takes a few pre-spring training moments to reflect on the highs and lows involved in being Red Sox fans.

Utility Lou for one is sick of the cold and finds warmth in the future at shortstop with Jose Iglesias. Until then, we have Marco Scutaro, whom The Bottom Line sees as the next . . . Julio Lugo. A Very Simple Game wonders what the Sox will get among the lot of non-roster spring training invitees this year. Red Sox Monster sees this group as the last frontier of drama, given the talent already assembling in Florida. Fearing an invite extended in Nomar Garciaparra’s direction, Fenway Pastoral says thanks but no thanks.

I, too, will be among the diehards seeing off the truck tomorrow morning so you won’t have to. Look for my fan reactions tomorrow on Boston Dirt Dogs and we’ll see you back here next week. I can almost smell the diesel!

Week Log: Sportsual Healing In Order For Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bruins

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

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

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

Beanpot

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

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

Celtics

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

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

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

Red Sox

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

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

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

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

Week Log: Where The Games Went On

We’re going to open the doors and let in a few more national bloggers than usual this afternoon as we take a brief look at the aftermath of last Sunday’s AFC and NFC conference championships, then it will be back to Boston where no such game was held.

NFL

Neither championship game disappointed National Football Post, which marveled at Peyton Manning’s ability to see Austin Collie in the one, and Jim Nantz’s ability to see through Brett Favre in the other. Sunday did disappoint some bold prognosticators, as The Trenches has the Vikings pronouncing themselves NFC champs, while The Huddle has the Jets doing the same in the AFC. Brings back shades of a cold night in Shea Stadium many Octobers ago, doesn’t it?

Sports Central says it’s all about Manning, who no longer panics when he needs points. John Chandler says Manning has surpassed Tom Brady, much as the Colts have surpassed the Patriots as the AFC’s signature team. Hell, even Indy’s cops are tough – especially if you’re wearing Jets green – as Deadspin will tell you. Speaking of violence, Shutdown Corner has Rex Ryan telling his team to wear their hideous greens with pride and punch out anyone who laughs. Ryan may have penciled himself in as this year’s Super Bowl favorite, but The Rap Sheet has him not so sure about being the next AFC East Division champ.

We’re Just Saying has the NFC Championship with all the elements of a well-written story – one that lived up to expectations. Hot Clicks is thankful for Favre’s season-killing interception because now we won’t have to endure the Brett lovefest for two more weeks, while Boston Sports Blog finds it a most comfortable ending to an intolerable story line. Surviving Grady says the Saints’ plan to brutalize Favre worked. Joe Posnanski reflects on some comical instances where Favre has refused to run in the past, and it makes him ask, Why? The Sporting Blog wonders if all the Favre vitriol is in reaction to the media’s over-the-top fawning over Number 4.

Last, but not least, some good Patriots introspection as Tom E. Curran looks at the D-Line for CSNNE’s Patriots Offseason Game Plan, and Chris Price’s Patriots By Position feature examines the linebacking corps on It Is What It Is. Both are appointment reading.

Bruins

We’re not in a good place here. Eight losses in nine games has The Old Bruins Fan talking about Armageddon. Wicked Bruins Fan laments a frustrating season where the quit is coming too often and way too early in games. I’m Just Sayin’ thinks that if the B’s don’t start playing with more emotion, a change may be needed behind the bench.

The one silver lining to this dreadful stretch for Bruins 2010 Draft Watch is the continued slide of the Toronto Maple Leafs. ESPN Boston has GM Peter Chairelli vowing not to toss in the Toronto first-rounder even as the B’s stay very much involved in the Ilya Kovalchuk sweepstakes. And forget Tuukka Rask, as Joe Haggerty has him also off limits in any trade deadline talks. With so much off the table, Hockey Independent is looking a level lower than Kovalchuk, where they find Hurricanes forward Ray Whitney an attraction. Kathryn Tappen says that, when it comes to trade rumors, there’s no telling what the B’s brass has up their sleeve so forget about it. And for those who believe in the existing corps of B’s, some good news as Tea Party Throwdown sees a change in attitude at Ristuccia of late. Let’s hope it transports itself to TD Garden soon.

Finally, it will be soldier before Bruin for Zach McKelvie, as Kirk’s Call has the frustrated defenseman spending the past four years learning how not to quit and not about to start doing so now.

Celtics

A tough stretch awaits the C’s – four games in five nights, three against title contenders. A. Sherrod Blakely says the C’s are fortunate to be relatively healthy for these games and able to make inroads against both the Cavs and Lakers over the remainder of the season. Rich Levine has the C’s faring well against the cream of the NBA . . . the few times they’ve faced it.

Of all the potential additions the C’s could make at the NBA trade deadline, ESPN Boston Celtics Blog thinks none will be more helpful than the return of Marquis Daniels. CelticsBlog says Daniels’ return might spell the end of Tony Allen’s considerable contributions and make his expiring contract a bigger asset as we approach the deadline. Despite his leading role in trade rumors, Celtic Dynasty wants to see Ray Allen finish his career in Boston.

Evans Clinchy has KG likening himself to a 1976 Ford Pinto upon his return to the lineup. Now hold on. What kind of wheels does KG have, anyway? The last time I checked, Pintos weren’t fit enough to make it to the corner store and tended to explode upon contact, so he may need to rethink that analogy. Celtics Green has KG’s return not worthy of a glowing endorsement on its face, but there’s plenty to encourage them about the modest two-game winning streak.

Green Street has Doc Rivers equating Rajon Rondo’s defense to Brett Favre throwing a football across his body. Mass Hysteria rails against the lack of nickname originality by suggesting a few for Glen – f/k/a Big Baby – Davis. Celtics Stuff Live doesn’t have any ideas for a new nickname and thinks his old one has never been more appropriate, which, by the way, is exactly why he now wants to change it.

Red Sox

It’s all about the ones that were signed and the ones that weren’t. Clearing The Bases says there’s not much difference between recently re-signed Jeremy Hermida and Dustin Pedroia . . . in salary, that is. Better Red Than Dead tells us how the additions of Mike Cameron, Adrian Beltre, and Marco Scutaro will save the Sox 56 runs in 2010 – on paper, that is.

Utility Lou scolds the Sox for using surgery as a bargaining chip with Jason Bay and wonders why they had a change of heart in November. Yet, Full Count has Peter Gammons denying that surgery was a requirment for Bay’s further employment and insisting the Sox had genuine health concerns. Boston Dirt Dogs checks in on the Sox medical staff that let Bay get away

Fenway Nation sees trouble a-brewing with Tim Wakefield wanting in on the starting rotation. Ian Browne says Terry Francona is not about to put the cart before the horse in prematurely setting his rotation. If Circling The Bases had their way, Wakefield would get 54 starts with the rest of the rotation serving as mop-up. When it comes to Wake, Red Sox Monster says Sox fans have taken for granted the one we love.

One If By Land regards a contract extension for Josh Beckett as borderline insane, even for the deep-pocketed Sox. The Bottom Line smooths over some of the ups and downs in Daniel Bard’s 2009 season.

If winter’s here, can Truck Day be far behind? Not for Toeing The Rubber, who is getting worked up about the 2010 season. Closing on a public service note, Extra Bases has the skinny on tickets, which will go on sale starting Saturday.

Thanks to those who have reached out with new material. We said hello to another five Boston-based blogs this week. Keep them coming. I’m at [email protected], or on Twitter @BobEks.

Week Log: From Road Runner To Coyote Across Boston Sports

Moving from season to season is becoming a bit like an episode of The Road Runner and we the fans got stuck with the part of Wile E. Coyote. First, anemic bats and a Jonathan Papelbon collapse fell on our heads like a giant boulder, causing the thin overhang of a Patriots season to dislodge and drop us onto the roadbed of football mediocrity, where the B’s and C’s are the 18-wheeler bearing down on us on their way to a spring disaster. It sure didn’t seem that long ago when we were the Road Runner, but Jerry Thornton says we’ve been stumbling around of late like Martha Coakley supporters wondering how it all went so bad so fast.

Celtics

Right now, the C’s look like the bigger wreck, going 4-8 over the last twelve after turning an 8-point halftime lead into a 6-point defeat at the hands of the Pistons last night. Celtics Green remembers a not-too-distant past when things used to be the other way around in the second half. Even before a 21-13 meltdown in Motown, Rich Levine had the tables fully turned on the C’s third quarter performances this year. ESPN Boston’s Celtics Blog has the C’s getting flustered by the Pistons’ second-half zone defense.

Celtics Town says Rajon Rondo lacked some much-needed aggression in Monday’s home loss to the Mavericks. Evans Clinchy has the C’s once again in crisis mode looking for backup for Rondo. Speaking of which, this stretch has made Red’s Army rethink their position that Nate Robinson would be a detriment to team chemistry.

LOSCY takes a pictoral look back on the underachieving 1-3 week (does that Nets win really count?) that was. Lex Nihil Novi isn’t concerned about anything that happens in the first 65 games. North Station Sports doesn’t want Kevin Garnett rushed back since there will be no banners to hang without him healthy, but Banner 18? is looking for some electricity produced by his quick return to the lineup tomorrow night. Celtics Life acknowledges KG will never be fully healed, but 85% should be good enough for a banner.

Gino’s Jungle is now choking on the words they used to describe how good Perk’s defense is . . . errrr, was. 4 Sport Boston is frustrated with Rasheed Wallace at the moment but anticipates a turnaround in their attitude by season’s end. Big Baby Davis may only be part of the problem, but CelticsBlog recounts an impressive arsenal of episodes – including last night’s heckler-bashing – that have earned him an appropriate nickname. Green Street tracks the evolution of sharpshooter Eddie House.

Bee-beep.

Bruins

Homecoming after an unopportunistic 1-1-1 California swing was less than stellar this MLK Day, as the B’s went down hard to an Ottawa Senators team they’ve owned. Hockey Independent thinks it’s shameful how the B’s and fans left Tim Thomas hanging on Monday, and advises caution to those jumping on the Tuukka Rask bandwagon. The Hub Of Hockey plays the ‘E’ card in excusing the B’s 5-1 loss to the Senators. However, ESPN Boston’s Bruins Blog is allowing for no excuses with the B’s play coming off the West Coast. Big Bad Blog says not all of this swoon can be blamed on injuries and schedule quirks. Despite flatlining on Monday, Kathryn Tappen says the Black & Gold have more positives than negatives ahead, starting with a two-week Olympics break.

There was one noteworthy accomplishment over the week, as we’ve now been able to attach a face to the B’s problems this season: it belongs to Dennis Wideman. Following his coach’s call-out yesterday, James Murphy says it’s now or never for the beleaguered defenseman to step up. Joe Haggerty calls Wideman a poster child for the B’s paralyzing inconsistency this year. Bruins Blog thinks Wideman needs to stay on the ice for some extra work.

Rink Rap debates whether Peter Chiarelli can pull the ultimate trigger and trade Wideman, who was once a centerpiece acquisition in the GM’s rebuilding program. A day after knocking Ilya Kovalchuk as a trade deadline target, Something’s Bruin says Martin St. Louis is more needed and a better bargain.

Finally, Stanley Cup Of Chowder examines the intricacies of Rask’s Winter Classic mask with its designer – right down to the shredded pinstriped jersey.

Red Sox

Despite the lack of a duck boat parade for two years now, Eric Ortiz thinks the Sox couldn’t have a better leader than Terry Francona.

We’ll start with a few early looks up and down the system. Fenway West examines the Achilles’ heels of the Sox rotation. Full Count has the Mariners’ lock-up of ace Felix Hernandez making Theo’s signing of John Lackey look even better. Boston Blood Sox has the media machine at Yawkey Way making the Jason Bay departure look even better.

Bee-friggin’-beep.

The Bottom Line considers the optimal holding period for Jonathan Papelbon. Although the fans still have a muted love for Paps, Red Sox Monster sees Daniel Bard as the shiny new car in the garage. Fire Brand Of The American League puts a price on the heads of the Sox’ top two prospects – Ryan Westmoreland and Casey Kelly. ESPN Boston’s Red Sox Blog is deep in pitching depth down on the farm.

Better Red Than Dead charts a legacy of Sox Hall-of-Famers that makes the Yankees look like pikers. That legacy now includes Andre Dawson (okay, just barely!), although Sports Central doesn’t know what took them so long.

And never mind healthcare reform, as Boston Sports Blog seems to suggest Massachusetts voters went too far in bouncing Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley for her gaff over Curt Schiling’s Yankee allegiance. Boston Dirt Dogs sees a parallel between the Coakley campaign and the Yankees . . . the 2004 Yankees. The Faster Times says Coakley has learned that messing with a Boston sports legend is much worse than messing up his name. WSJ’s The Count calls it the Curse of the Red Sox Gaffe.

The Meat

Schilling may not be aligned with the Yankees, but he apparently is to former WEEI flash guy Pete Sheppard. Surviving Grady has Curt boycotting the station until Sheppard is rehired and also taking back his 38 Pitches blog. Mass Hysteria hopes Sheppard lands on his feet somewhere . . . far from Boston. The Crowe’s Nest says yesterday’s Whiner Line was a classic send-off for Sheppard.

It’s good to bring in some fresh faces. This week, ten blogs got their inaugural linkage here on Week Log, and there’ll be more in the weeks to come as we start up a new MLB season. I could use your help in discovering new blood. E-mail me at [email protected], tweet me @BobEks, or befriend me on Facebook.

Week Log: Eulogy For The Common Team

After watching victories by both the greasy Cowboys and greasier Jets the day before, I couldn’t wait for a Sunday morning shower. Somewhere between the soap and shampoo my wife broke in with good news: a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to sit in the third row on the 50-yard line for the Ravens game at Gillette.

Yeah, it was the third row alright, but of the third tier; and the 50 ended up being the goal line – the same one the Ravens would cross three times in the first 11 minutes of the game. That Musket Fire‘s three biggest plays all came in the first quarter tells you how early this one was over, but there’s nevertheless an extra boost of resilience that comes with being at the stadium, especially when your car is boxed into its $60 space for the afternoon. Like Boston Homer, everyone in Section 306 was dreaming up scenarios whereby the Pats could climb back in this one. Mine required getting the ball back for another score before halftime, but National Football Post says the Pats’ loss of power was never more evident than on the final Ravens final drive of the first half.

Even still, one fourth quarter TD at 33-14 might have made the finish compelling, but who knew this would be the day Belichick decided to stop going for it on fourth down? Blaug was still hopeful even as the FG unit came out but, alas, Stephen Gostkowski let him down. Really, Blaug? Would it have been less painful to lose by 16 points rather than 19? Patriots Daily drops more F-bombs on this effort than a Josh Beckett interview on a night the ace gets lit up.

As I’m just Sayin’ tells it, the problem on Sunday was Tom Brady.The Trenches says the pass rush on Brady was reminiscent of Super Bowl XLII. No Tom, the crowd wasn’t saying mooove!, points out The Boston Score; we really were saying boooo!.

As bad as he was on the field, Sportress of Blogitude has Number 12 worse in the postgame presser. Inside Track points their finger at Gisele for Sunday’s debacle, but Shutdown Corner thinks that’s ridiculous since it is obviously Brady’s do-it-yourself real estate flipping hobby at fault. Maybe TB should start listing properties with Brian Scalabrine to take a little load off his shoulders. Word is that Brady will invest in the Chesapeake region next; seems Baltimoreans have a proclivity for snapping up his every offering.

The Sporting Blog says New England can’t explain away its loss of momentum by the loss of Wes Welker. Sunday reminded Tedy Bruschi of the Week 2 Jets loss, where the absence of Welker resulted in receivers taking longer to get open and Brady holding the ball longer. Pats Fans says Welker’s absence cost the Pats one TD . . . at best.

Hey, is our old buddy Dan Shaughnessy selling us out to hold the national spotlight? Well, in Inside The NFL, he says we have a sense of arrogance and entitlement as he pronounces the Pats’ run (temporarily) over. Peter King, in Monday Morning QB, thinks there’s too much smarts in Foxborough for this to be the end of an era. Bleacher Report says the dynasty isn’t over because it never existed in the first place. Eric Ortiz believes the Pats are one good offseason away from once again becoming feared.

There’s a line of thought that losing this game was the best thing that could have happened to the Pats, since they’re not among the top eight teams who will be restricted in signing free agents in an uncapped 2010 season. Nonsense says ESPN Boston’s New England Patriots Blog, who would prefer the additional playoff experience for the younger players. Patriots Blog argues that 2009 was a rebuilding year and that, going into 2010, they are the top team not restricted by an ability to sign free agents. But the front office will have to do to better than last year, which Jeff Howe calls a total whiff.

In classic Casey Kasem style, It Is What It Is works through the entire 53-man roster to Number 1 and finds five of his top 18 may not be back next year. Patriots Gab renounces the anger of fans who would blow the team up, instead favoring a re-tooling.

So we’ll close with our first look to next year with First And Ten From Foxborough having an underperforming Ben Watson less than enthusiatic about returning. Pats Pulpit puts Stephen Neal and Logan Mankins in the ‘expendable’ category. The Rap Sheet considers the ton of options available if Neal retires. Junior Seau is already gone and Tom E. Curran has him ending a brilliant career with his explosive play on Sunday. On the other end of the LB spectrum, Touching All The Bases sees an unholy union between Adalius Thomas and the NY Jets next year.

Celtics

Good news! Last night’s routing of the Nets in New Jersey keeps alive Rasheed Wallace’s prophesy of a 72-win season. Green Street has the opening tap as the turning point in this one. The real fun began for Red’s Army once the C’s opened up a 36-point lead just before the half. And there’s a distinct inferiority complex woven through Celtics Green’s (formerly Loy’s Place) Comments From The Other Side.

Looks like another 10-14 days for Kevin Garnett. Funny, the pages of my calendar keep turning but KG’s hard-coded prognosis never seems to move. CelticsBlog downgrades his condition to Rusty for the upcoming Lakers showdown. ESPN Boston’s Boston Celtics Blog has the C’s taking pride in their ability to compete without all their horses. Evans Clinchy says the C’s, when healthy, may be a complete team on paper, but they’re not healthy. LOSCY thinks Brian Scalabrine’s expiring big-bucks contract is more of an asset than anything he can bring to the court.

Celtics Stuff Live takes NBA Commissioner David Stern to task for not cleaning up the referee problem that contributed to another C’s loss to the Hawks on Monday. Celtics Central says the only thing flagrantly foul about the call on Glen Davis was the officiating. Perk Is A Beast has die-hard Hawk fans – and, oh yeah, NBA refs – Bennett Salvatore and Marc Davis stepping in to help Atlanta’s cause.

Bruins

Last night’s 4-3 loss in Anaheim started a three-game make-or-break tour of California for the B’s. Big Bad Blog has Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller making the turnaround play in this one. Jessica Isner says the B’s can’t be giving up four goals – two in the third period no less – given the banged-up condition of their offense. Speaking of which, Ghosts Of The Garden has found good cause to give Michael Ryder and his mere ten goals this season a free pass. Rink Rap has last night another case of chemistry problems and goalie puck-handling woes.

New England Hockey Journal wonders whether the post-California season will be a 35-game recovery period or a swagger restored.

Like their Saved By The Bell predecessors, 4 Sport Boston says the B’s have spin-off problems that have thinned the cast even as the show must go on. Caveman Strong blames an inexperienced defensive corps for all three goals in last weekend’s loss to the Rangers.

View From 311 is giddy about the Maple Leafs’ chances of securing Boston the first pick in June’s draft, especially given Phil Kessel’s production of late. There’s not much production on Kessel’s scalp, where According to Cameron Frye says time and karma have been harsh mistresses. Tea Party Throwdown digs up some old clips of Marc Savard’s 90’s do and is happy he can now afford a hair stylist. Onto facial hair, where Something’s Bruin hasn’t seen a stache like Duck George Parros’ since the days of the Super Mario Bros.

Now that we’ve paid last respects to Belichick & Co., I’ll come out of the crossover with much more on the Sox next week. In the meantime, if you’re aspiring to blog on the Pats or know of someone who does, let me know about it. Theirs is the thinnest voice among Boston’s four major pro sports teams. I’m only an e-mail or a tweet away at [email protected] / @BobEks.

Week Log: Happy Birthday, Bloggers

Today is a birthday of sorts as Week Log is now one year old. Not to go all Thanks For Playing on you, but we published 41 editions over the past year, bringing you 1,761 links. We’re now following about 160 New England-based blogs each week.

When Bruce and I first discussed the concept of giving bloggers their fifteen minutes of fame each week, we weren’t sure how it would be received in a region where the mainstream media is both so omnipresent and so talented. But reader support over the past year is testament to the inroads the off-Broadway blogging community continues to make. So, happy birthday already and let’s start off on a different note this week.

NCAAF

Tonight’s BCS national championship game offers a rare chance to lead with college football in our overwhelmingly pro-centric market. The Sporting Blog saw enough in December’s conference championship games to know Alabama will dominate this one. Dr. Saturday has the Crimson Tide D’s ability to get off the field a key in stopping Texas. The Bruce Feldman Blog says Colt McCoy has to be as spectacular in Pasadena as former Longhorn Vince Young was four years ago.

No BCS bowl contenders from New England this year, but a good autumn nonetheless. Boston College fell short in its bowl game against USC, but The BC Blog looks back at ten significant events that shaped the Eagles’ 2009 season. Eagle In Atlanta raves about freshman Luke Kuechly’s play. BC Interruption is less worried about whether David Shinskie will keep his job over new recruit Chase Rettig in 2010 and more worried about who will be catching either QB’s passes.

The season ended better for the UConn Huskies, who beat South Carolina in the Papajohns.com Bowl, 20-7, on Saturday. UConn Sports has the maligned Huskies defense feeling dissed by Gamecocks’ coach Steve Spurrier and rising to the top of their game. Thoughts From A Fat White Guy lived an Amish existence in Birmingham watching his old teammates take home their third bowl victory. JSilver’s UConn Blog thinks the Huskies’ bowl win will be the start of something good in 2010. Sox & Dawgs couldn’t be prouder of this year’s Huskies squad and looks forward to next season when 18 starters return. UConn Football hopes the returning starters can continue the determination they demonstrated over the final four games of 2009 for the full 2010 season.

Patriots

The postseason begins this weekend with the Pats taking on the Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, 1 PM) in Foxborough but, hey, it’s just a formality. Boston Sports Blog has Vegas saying the Indianapolis Colts will win the Super Bowl, while Jessica Isner has Rex Ryan saying the Jets will win.

Patriots Daily looks at some key matchups against the Ravens. First And Ten From Foxborough runs down practice squad moves in light of Wes Welker’s IR’ing. Patriots Gab wonders why The Football Gods hate us. Blaug expects good things from Julian Edelman in Welker’s absence.

The play of Shawn Springs and Darius Butler were two of Musket Fire‘s likes from the Texans game. Pats Pulpit makes a case for why AP Comeback Player Of The Year Tom Brady should also be discussed in MVP circles.

Bruins

Maybe it’s the lingering magic of the Winter Classic that finds me more bullish on the B’s than any other team in Boston at the moment. Yes, it was a win-lose-win week, but the victories that sandwiched a frustrating loss at MSG were fun. Well, the Winter Classic euphoria has worn off for Wicked Bruins Fan, who was more entertained with drink recipes than a loss to the Rangers Monday night. Kathryn Tappen has the B’s avoiding a double disaster Monday, as the news on Patrice Bergeron’s injured thumb was better than expected.

Something’s Bruin lists Bergeron’s thumb as the only ugly after the B’s earned a split of back-to-back games with a win over Ottawa Tuesday night. Stanley Cup of Chowder has the B’s with their foot on the gas until the fourth goal against the Senators, then hitting the cruise control for an easy 4-1 win. The victory did cost the B’s Andrew Ference, whom Hub Hockey dubs Mr. Glass after he injured his groin. He’ll be out six weeks.

View From 311 suggests the addition of Miroslav Satan has had a positive effect on Blake Wheeler, who scored twice against the Senators. Rink Rap wonders if Satan can keep motivated by what could be a last-chance opportunity.

Hard to believe another ten-game set is in the books, but it’s time for The Hockey Blog Adventure‘s last ten look-back, and they see good things emerging on the power play front. Olympic Hockey Blog defends Team Canada’s selection of Bergeron, whose spot appears safe despite his thumb injury.

Celtics

Celtics Blog runs down what they call a solid win last night in Miami, as the C’s see-sawed and alley-ooped their way to an overtime win. Rajon Rondo’s buzzer-beater kind of kills the buzz on LOSCY‘s ways things can get crappier for the C’s.

The news is good regarding Big Baby’s production too, but Red’s Army wonders if his numbers will project out with more minutes. Celtics Stuff Live takes Doc Rivers to the woodshed on roster management that has stunted the development of younger players. Green Street marvels at the way Doc brings out the best in the second unit when he adds a pinch of Ray Allen.

Red Sox

Fire Brand Of The American League says Theo Epstein has backed himself into a corner by signing Adrian Beltre while still holding Mike Lowell in limbo. Now that his contract came in at only a year and an option, Beltre suddenly has intriguing upside in Utility Lou‘s eyes, while Adam Hirshfield says Beltre’s addition gives the Sox more bang for the buck around the diamond. If Nuggetpalooza‘s numbers hold, it figures to be a long, cold April for Beltre. Boston Dirt Dogs has Theo’s bridge complete with the addition of Beltre and Bill Hall.

Speaking of Hall, should the New Year be full of surprises, this is among the first: someone else is paying Theo to take a player off their hands! It appears that Seattle will be sending some cash along with Hall in exchange for Casey Kotchman. Red Sox Monster says Kotchman never got a fair shake in Boston. Full Count gives a full accounting of recent Yawkey Way personnel moves that will shape the Sox for years to come.

38 Pitches, that captain of superlatives, calls Randy Johnson the best pitcher ever upon his recently-announced retirement. Somewhere out there is a gull family whose deceased love one would beg to differ. Finally, And Another Thing . . . weighs in on the perennial most-heated debate in all of sports. Surprisingly, it’s neither steriods nor Tiger’s marriage.

That’s a wrap for now, but help us get our second year off on the right foot by coming back here next Thursday afternoon. If anything comes up in the week ahead, I’ll be a tweet away at @BobEks.