Opinion: WEEI Needs Pete Sheppard

Clearly WEEI is in a state of change, especially in the afternoon time slot. Glenn Ordway is gone, and Mike Salk is set to join co-host Michael Holley in a few weeks. Up the dial on 98.5, Felger & Mazz are killing it in the ratings and it is apparent WEEI is trying to change things up to stay competitive.

Bringing in Salk for Ordway just doesn’t seem like enough — why not bring in a solid third man/flash guy?, why not bring back long-time Big Show flash guy Pete Sheppard?

Sheppard was let go from the station back in January of 2010, which has been widely reported as being due to financial reasons. The 45-year-old has been back on the WEEI airwaves for about a year now, working mostly weekend shifts and lately filling in on The Big Show.

It would seem the station and Sheppard have gotten over what took place three years ago and moved forward. There is no flash guy to work with Holley and Salk – as Mike Adams is not the answer. As WEEI looks to get back some of its listeners, why not bring back Sheppard, a guy who has a loyal following and is entertaining?

Felger & Mazz have a solid flash guy in Marc Bertrand, who isn’t just a flash guy, and actually engages in the show, sometimes challenging what Felger and Massarotti have to say, as well as adding humor to the program.

Sheppard is what WEEI needs. Yes, he is an admitted homer, but a lot of times this creates great radio. He isn’t afraid of confrontation and often gets into heated arguments with callers. He’s had a great deal of experience in the field and is knowledgeable the hometown teams.

Everyone knows how important chemistry is in sports radio. The trio of Felger, Massarotti and Bertrand have it, and it seems from the few shows Sheppard and Holley have done together they have it too. Salk is brand new in town, so he has no experience with anyone, but why not give the three a shot? What does WEEI have to lose?

In today’s day and age good sports radio provides not only good sports talk and information, but a bit of humor and entertainment as well. This is where Felger & Mazz took it to another level over The Big Show. Sheppard could be part of the solution to close the gap.

With WEEI in a state of transition, why not give Sheppard a second chance? This is their chance to rebrand their show and adding Sheppard would give them a humor and entertainment element, which they have lacked, to go along side with Salk and Holley’s straight sports takes.

The ball is in WEEI/Entercom’s court. They are looking to improve their show and compete with 98.5, and as shown in the past few weeks they are not afraid to make big changes, so why not take a chance and bring back Pete Sheppard?

Give Ryan Hannable a follow on Twitter @hannable84

Game 2 without Rondo, Celtics top Kings

The Celtics played their second game without Rajon Rondo and played quite well in their dominant 18-point, 99-81 win over the Sacramento Kings at the TD Garden Wednesday night. It was an extremely balanced attack, with six players reaching double-figures led by Paul Pierce with 16 points. One negative was rookie Jared Sullinger left the game in the first quarter and did not return due to back spasms.

Overall, it was a very impressive performance, granted it was against the Kings and they shot over 50 percent from the floor. It will be interesting to see how long this will be able to keep up as Pierce and Kevin Garnett can’t play big minutes night in and night out and then expect to be at full strength for the playoffs. They will need to get contributions from everyone, like they did on Wednesday night for them to make any run late in the year and potentially win a playoff series.

Up tempo style works for C’s– Baxter Holmes has getting up and down the court quick, and looking to run was one of the ways the team overcame Rondo.

Running without Rajon Rondo– Steve Bulpett also has how pushing the tempo was one of the main keys for the Celtics.

Bradley-Lee backcourt trumps Kings– Chris Forsberg says Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee stepped up big in the win.

You don’t want Demarcus Cousins on the Celtics– Ben Rohrbach has after seeing Cousins play Wednesday night, Celtics fans should not want the team to make a move for him.

Victory of Kings gives Celtics winning blueprint– A. Sherrod Blakely looks at how the team played Wednesday is how they will need to play most of the games the rest of the season as they try and win without Rondo.

A lot of discussion the past few days in the sports media world has been about the article in Boston Magazine for their February edition which came out earlier this week, which was critical of the state of the Boston sports media. The author, Alan Siegal, did a podcast with WEEI’s Kirk Minihane on Tuesday and it is a must listen as Minihane did a fantastic job of challenging Siegal on the points he brought up in the piece.

Bruins continue hot start, more Rondo reaction

The Boston Bruins continued their hot start to begin the shortened season with a 5-3 win in Carolina against the Hurricanes Monday night. David Krejci scored with less than two minutes remaining in regulation off of a beautiful feed from Dougie Hamilton to put the Bruins on top, and then Tyler Seguin added an empty netter to seal the win.

With the Bruins playing four games in six days, backup goaltender Anton Khudobin got his first start of the year and played quite well, finishing with 29 saves. The team is back in action tonight when they host the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden.

Dougie Hamilton to become full-time NHL’er with Bruins– Fluto Shinzawa in his notebook has general manager Peter Chiareli’s announcement that the rookie defenseman will be staying in the NHL all year, which was no surprise to anyone.

Bruins weather storm– Stephen Harris has the Bruins staying tough, after giving up 2-0 and 3-1 leads, to defeat Carolina on the road.

Khudobin strong in winning effort– Joe Haggerty looks at the Bruins goaltender’s performance, who provided solid goaltending giving starter Tuukka Rask a night off.

More of the same as David Krejci’s line comes up big– DJ Bean has the line of Krejci-Seguin-Nathan Horton providing most of the offense Monday night.

The Rajon Rondo story continues to dominate the airwaves and internet, with people fairly split on what to think. Some people feel the team might actually be better without the star point guard, while others feel this is a good time for Danny Ainge to “blow” the team up and make a deal for the future. It seems Doc Rivers wants and feels like he can make a run with the players he has now, but ultimately Ainge, the GM, will have the final say. Most reports say not to expect a major trade.

Personally, the Celtics may actually be a more likable team now. Many people were turned off by Rondo’s attitude and prefer to see the “grit and balls”, “bar fight” mentality from Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Co. The team may even be a better regular season team without Rondo (the stats back it up), but it’s very hard to see the team being able to win a seven game playoff series against some of the dominant teams in the East. Even without Rondo, it will still be an interesting team to watch the rest of the season to see how Garnett and Pierce respond, and how the team fairs without their point guard.

Here are a few more stories, which weren’t noted yesterday:

Time for the Celtics to trade Paul Pierce– Kirk Minihane says it’s time to trade the Celtics long-time captain.

Rondo’s injury hits hard– Jackie MacMullan with a must-read first hand account of her experience on Sunday at the Garden.

Rondo debate rages on– Tony Massarotti gives his thoughts on the situation.

Rajon Rondo and the Celtics’ reality– Chad Finn says the rest of the season won’t be as fun without Rondo as it would have been with him.

Closing the book on Patriots season

Even three days after the Patriots fell to the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game much of the talk in the Boston sports media remains the Patriots and their loss on Sunday. Every play and situation has been discussed, as well as finding common links in the Patriots recent playoff losses. Clearly, both Bill Belichick and Tom Brady deserve some of the blame for the loss, but some members of the media have a hard time in calling out the two for their poor performances on Sunday.

In getting to the AFC Championship game it’s hard to call a season a disappointment, but the way it ended was definitely disappointing. The Patriots did not play their best game and certainly were not 100 percent in health. The team did make some strides over the course of the season, especially on defense, and one would expect the Patriots to be right back in the AFC Championship Game next year with the hope of winning another Super Bowl before Brady’s historic career comes to an end.

Here are a look at some of the better reads from the past few days:

In their biggest game,  the Patriots failed to measure up– Greg A. Bedard is his final game review of the year, a must-read all year, has the team playing their worst game at the absolute worst time.

A five-point improvement plan for the Patriots– Tony Massarotti looks at what the team needs to do this off-season to get to the big game next year.

Patriots lost, but they didn’t fail– Ron Borges puts things in perspective saying things could be a lot worse like being Mark Sanchez in New York, or Scott Pioli in Kansas City.

Patriots roster breakdown– Jeff Howe breaks down the roster and what holes they may have going into next season.

Piecing together Patriots losses– Mike Reiss finds the common threads in each of the recent Patriots playoff losses.

Tom Brady in unfamilar place– Jackie MacMullan looks at Brady’s performance Sunday which was extremely disappointing.

Why Spygate doesn’t matter– Kirk Minihane puts an end to some people claiming Belichick and the Patriots haven’t accomplished anything since Spygate.

Hard to see a scenario where Aqib Talib sticks around– Christopher Price doesn’t think the Patriots cornerback will return next season.

Patriots led their opportunity slip away– Tom E. Curran says the Patriots failed to capitalize on their opportunities, especially early in the game, which ultimately was the reason for their season ending loss.

Belichick not in the wrong following Sunday’s loss

It almost seems like more has been made of what took place off the field following the AFC Championship game Sunday rather than what happened on the field during the game. Much has been made of Bill Belichick denying an interview to CBS following the game, and instead the Patriots having Devin McCourty speak to them. Many have called Belichick a “sore loser” and heavily criticized the coach for failing to give an exclusive interview to CBS, led by CBS analyst Shannon Sharpe.

Some have even said to look for a possible fine to be assessed to Belichick — don’t hold your breath. BSMW confirmed with an NFL media relations representative that Belichick did not violate the NFL’s media relations policy by not speaking with CBS following the game.

This raises the question of why was this made into such a big deal? Belichick sought out Ravens coach John Harbaugh following the game and told the Ravens coach the respect he had for them, something which Harbaugh really took to heart. Following addressing his team briefly in the locker room, Belichick took to the podium to answer questions from reporters for nearly 10 minutes. While he did not elaborate on his answers, that is standard Belichick. What else did people expect, especially following a season-ending loss in the AFC Championship game?

Belichick certainly isn’t the only losing coach in a championship game not to give an exclusive interview to the network which broadcasted the game. It is a very rare occurrence, in any sport, and when it does happen those coaches are often given great praise for doing so. Now, Belichick doesn’t do it and he gets killed for it. Furthermore, in case you missed it, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t give FOX an exclusive interview following their win over Atlanta, so why aren’t the same people who are criticizing Belichick doing the same to Harbaugh?

For whatever reason some people playing in the league, the media and fans in general have a dislike for Belichick. He gets held to a completely different standard than any other coach in the league, and maybe even in sports as a whole. Sure, he isn’t the best coach in the world with the media, but who said that’s required of being a head coach? His main job is to coach football and he is one of the best in the history of the game.

Everyone’s opinion differs on how Belichick handles the media, but whether you agree or disagree, you have to take a step back and say he didn’t do anything wrong by not speaking with CBS following Sunday’s loss. Even some of the best coaches with the media in sports have not spoken exclusively with networks following losses in Championship games and there was nothing being said about them. It should be no different with Belichick.

And let’s be real here, following the Super Bowl in two weeks, does anyone really think the losing Harbaugh brother will do an exclusive interview with CBS? Not particularly, but if they do hats off to them, and if they don’t, no big deal we’ll carry on.

Give me a follow on Twitter at @hannable84.

Patriots-Ravens Round 2

The Patriots may have caught a break with the Ravens beating the Broncos in Denver Saturday, meaning the Patriots will now host Baltimore in Sunday’s AFC Championship. Don’t think it will be an easy win, despite the early line set at -9.5. The Ravens are one of the few teams who have given the Patriots fits in the past and don’t give an inch when going toe to toe with Brady and New England.

In fact, Brady’s two worst playoff games have come against the Baltimore defense. In the teams’ 2010 season playoff matchup Brady was 23-42 for 153 yards, two touchdowns, but three interceptions for a QB rating of 49. in the Ravens’ 33-14 beat down. Brady did not play particularly well in last year’s AFC Championship game where the Patriots pulled put a 23-20 win. He finished 22-36 for 239 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions for a rating of 57.5.

For those keeping track of media member predictions, Michael Felger already gave his, saying the Ravens would upset the Patriots on Sunday. This despite being all over Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco all season long.

For full Patriots coverage visit Patriotslinks.com.

They were nothing special covering kicks– Shalise Manza Young looks back at Sunday’s game and how poor the Patriots special teams played, especially the kick off team.

Patriots report card– Ron Borges hands out his grades from Sunday’s win. For the most part they were very good.

No introductions needed for AFC title game– Tony Massarotti says these teams know each other so well and it always is a one possession game, so the opening line of -9.5 is way too high.

Refresher on Patriots-Ravens– Mike Reiss looks back at the two teams’ matchup from Week 3, but notes a lot has changed for both teams since the game.

Patriots quietly take out any trash talk– Jeff Howe has the Patriots, as expected, not giving in to any trash talk despite what a few Ravens have said.

Why Patriots could beat Ravens– Kirk Minihane says unlike the Houston game, there is a chance Baltimore could pull off an upset Sunday.

Curran: I don’t see Ravens as a threat– Tom E. Curran doesn’t think the Ravens will pose much of a threat on Sunday.

Rondo suspended, Celtics defeat Knicks

Things didn’t look so good for the Celtics when Monday afternoon they learned point guard Rajon Rondo would miss their game with the Knicks after being suspended one game by the NBA for making contact with a game official and failure to cooperate with a league investigation. The incident occurred in Saturday’s win over Atlanta, but the Celtics managed to overcome the loss of Rondo and defeat the Knicks 102-96 Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

Boston was led by Paul Pierce who had 23 points and six assists, while Kevin Garnett added 19 points and 10 boards. The game got chippy in the fourth quarter when Garnett and Carmelo Anthony got into it, jawing at each other on the court. It spewed over to after the game where Anthony reportedly was outside the locker room shouting for Garnett and then Comcast Sportsnet video had Anthony waiting outside the Celtics team bus for Garnett. If there wasn’t already, there is a rivalry developing between the two teams and sure would make for a great playoff series.

Don’t look now but the Celtics have won three in a row and have dramatically turned things around the past three games. All that trade talk can finally be put to bed.

Celtics without Rajon Rondo against Knicks due to suspension– Gary Washburn in his notebook looks at the two storylines off the court — Rondo’s suspension and Anthony looking for Garnett after the game.

Final buzzer ends game, not Garnett-Anthony feud– Dan Duggan looks at the situation which occurred following the game.

Paul Pierce enjoys big stage– Chris Forsberg has another monster night from Pierce, in a game his team really needed him.

Lee, Bradley make dynamic duo on defense in Rondo’s absence– A. Sherrod Blakely looks at how the Celtics made up for being without Rondo.

Potential trade fits for Celtics– Gary Dzen says the proposed trade rumor swirling around the internet would be good for the Celtics.

Get full coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

Alabama and Nick Saban continued to build their college football dynasty Monday night in their 42-14 beat down of Notre Dame. It ‘s their third title in four years and second straight.

Alabama dominates in BCS title game– Christopher Gasper gives his take on the game.


Celtics fall to Memphis for their fourth straight loss

The Celtics are in trouble.

The team continued their trend of looking out of sync on offense and not playing with the energy needed to win Wednesday night in their 93-83 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at TD Garden. Boston got Avery Bradley back from his off-season shoulder surgery, but he played only 20 minutes and scored four points. Rajon Rondo still dealing with a hip pointer, played 40 minutes scoring 11 points and dishing out 10 assists.

Boston is now 14-17 on the season and losers of eight of their last ten. The team is searching for an identity and trying to find players who can play with the same emotion as Rondo, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The next few games are very crucial for the team as they try and right the ship and get back on track.

Celtics are headed for a fall– Dan Shaughnessy, who was all about the Celtics prior to the year, now says Danny Ainge needs to make a big move.

Celtics Rajon Rondo still dealing with hip pointer, not quite up to speed in Celtics loss to Grizzlies– Gary Washburn, in his notebook takes a look at Rondo’s performance, which saw him struggling from the floor.

Rivers: Celtics need Rondo to be an ‘aggressive scorer’– A. Sherrod Blakely says Rondo needs to look to take over games more with his scoring, with Doc Rivers backing that up.

Doc Rivers proves prophetic– Steve Bulpett looks at the Celtics defense saying Avery Bradley can only help so much as the rest of the team needs to step up and play a full 48 minutes.

Celtics’ offense keeps disappearing– Chris Forsberg has a look at the struggling Celtics offense, which only scored 83 points Wednesday night.

Tony Allen: ‘I don’t see the same team from 2008′– Jessica Camerato has Tony Allen’s assessment of the Celtics as he is now with the Grizzlies. He added, “they are missing a lot of pieces.”

A lone Patriots article as they prepare for whoever they may face in next weekend’s divisional round: (Get full coverage at Patriotslinks.com)

‘D’ needs Brandon Spikes to make noise– Karen Guregian says Brandon Spikes needs to get his game back to where it was during the middle of the season.


Pierce, Celtics get past Cavs

Although it wasn’t their best performance, the Celtics were able to get past the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-91 at the TD Garden. Despite the win, there shouldn’t be much stock put into it as the Cavs came into the game with just five wins on the year. Paul Pierced led the charge with a season-high 40 points. Pierce also added eight rebounds and five assists. Rajon Rondo added 20 points and eight assists in the win. With the win the Celtics improve to 13-12 on the year.

The big news of the day came off the court when Doc Rivers announced a change in the starting lineup. Kevin Garnett would move from his usual center spot to his natural position of power forward, meaning Jason Collins would now start with Brandon Bass coming off the bench. Also, Jason Terry will now replace Courtney Lee. It was a move Rivers needed to make in an effort to change things up after losing their third straight game Tuesday night.

Paul Pierce scores 40 vs. Cavaliers- Amalie Benjamin looks at just how good Pierce’s performance was.

No fooling Paul Pierce, C’s– Mark Murphy gives his take on Pierce’s night.

Paul Pierce shaper than ever– Chris Forsberg says this was one of Pierce’s all-tie best.

Captain Pierce leads the way– A. Sherrod Blakely has Pierces stepping up as a captain when his team needed him most.

Wilcox sits vs. Cavaliers, stays positive– Jessica Camerato has Wilcox’ reaction to not playing at all due to the lineup shift.

The Red Sox formally announced the signing of Ryan Dempster at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. Although it may seem like a minor signing, Dempster could be a very nice addition to the back end of the starting rotation next season.

Ryan Dempster adds leadership and character to Red Sox rotation– Nick Cafardo looks at what Dempster brings to the table.

Ryan Dempster delivers– Michael Silverman says innings pitched will be very important for the Red Sox’ newest pitcher.

Ryan Dempster, Sox seek rising tide– Gordon Edes looks back at the 36-year-olds career and what he brings to the Red Sox.

Searching (hard) for how the Jaguars could beat the Patriots– DJ Bean tries to find a way for the Jaguars to beat the Patriots this coming Sunday.

More Patriots-49ers reaction

In what was one of the weirdest, craziest, wildest, and longest game of the year, the Patriots eventually fell to the 49ers 41-34. With the loss the Patriots will likely be the AFC’s No. 3 seed, meaning they will be forced to play on Wild Card weekend and then pending a victory would likely play at No. 2 seed Denver. Much of the sports media and radio airwaves focused on that potential matchup today, and whether or not the Patriots could make it to New Orleans playing two road games. Also, there were the usual day after a loss over-reactions on a number of players and performances.

Other topics looking back at the game included whether or not the loss could be looked at as a positive and a way to to improve upon things going into the playoffs. While the Patriots certainly showed a lot of heart and desire coming back from a 28-point deficit, you certainly would hope and expect they will would never be put in that situation again. Reports from the stadium following the game was that it was a very angry locker room so I wouldn’t want to be the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, the Patriots have some anger to be unleashed.

For full Patriots coverage, visit Patriotslinks.com.

New England loses grip on No. 2 seed in AFC– Shalise Manza Young looks at the Patriots chances as the No.3 seed, and having to play on Wild Card weekend.

Patriots got what they deserved vs. 49ers– Tony Massarotti says San Francisco was the better team Sunday night and deserved to win.

Patriots lost but showed there’s no stopping Tom Brady and Co.– Gerry Callahan has despite the loss he still believes they are the best team in the AFC.

Patriots report card– Ron Borges hands out his grades for the week, most of them fairly average.

Kick team gets the boot– Jeff Howe looks at the Patriots special teams units, who were uncharacteristically poor on Sunday.

Belichick: I thought they fought hard– Tom E. Curran has Belichick’s thoughts following the game.