Week Log: Lightning Crashes

A mixed bag this week. The Celtics’ angel has opened their eyes and brought them the postseason they’ve been wating for, while the confusion still belongs to the Red Sox down the hall. For the Bruins . . . well, an old mother dies.

Celtics

Having unceremoniously dispensed the Cleveland Cavaliers last Thursday, the Celtics are now up two games over the Orlando Magic. North Station Sports starts things off with their belief that playoff success comes down to mental acumen, and while the C’s have mental lapses the Magic are not steel-minded enough to push through the hits they’re taking from Boston.

Celtics Life sees the return of Ubuntu and a hunger for an 18th banner after the opening win against the Magic on Sunday. Tuesday night’s Game 2 was all about Paul Pierce and CelticsBlog says no one personifies the will to win more than him. Celtics Hub points to Game 2 as evidence of why Vince Carter is not up there with Pierce among the best of the Class of 1998. If an idiot like Red’s Army could see Carter is not a clutch player, why couldn’t the Orlando Magic braintrust? LOSCY offers a graphical analysis of how Carter choked at the line. Green Street warns that the C’s cannot rely on missed free throws down the stretch again, as the fourth quarter has been prime time for the Magic in these first two games.

With tens of millions of dollars of payroll at risk and a bevy of ball boys, Celtics Green wonders why Amway Arena can’t pick up a few mops to keep the court dry. From screaming PA fools to cheer sticks to bouncing balls, And Another Thing . . . says it doesn’t get more bush than Orlando. Gino’s Jungle tests the theory that ref Bill Kennedy hates Doc Rivers and the C’s, but the conclusion after Game 2’s performance is that the whole crew was equally egregious to both teams.

Celtics Stuff Live warns the botoxed morons who fill Staples Center with chants of “We Want Boston” that the C’s would be the worst possible matchup for the Lakers. Mocking Mike Mayock lists ten reasons the C’s will win a title this year, and facing the Lakers is among them.

Red Sox

After dropping the last two in Detroit over the weekend, the Sox opened the work week with an improbable split in the Bronx after trailing, 5-0, in both games. Red Sox Monster had Monday’s game poised as one of the great wins of the season . . . until Jonathan Papelbon happened. With the Yankees victory, Subway Squawkers observed how the tables have turned, as the Pinstripers are acting more like the Idiot-era Sox and Boston like Kevin Brown-era cranks.

For Toeing The Rubber, it was almost more painful to watch the Sox win on Tuesday than lose on Monday. The Joy Of Sox recounts the last at bat on Tuesday, with Papelbon on the threshhold of another major meltdown and everything having the desperation of mid-October. Nonetheless, Michael Hurley maintains there is no such thing as a must-win in May. Fenway Pastoral suggests Papelbon may be tipping his pitches; it seems like every time he cocks his arm, he delivers a low-90s fastball with little to no movement on it. Confessions of a She-Fan finds it takes seven Yankees to screw up a ball game.

After last night’s performance against the Minnesota Twins, Boston Dirt Dogs is ready to appoint Clay Buchholz next year’s ace. ESPN Boston’s Red Sox Blog has Buchholz in command of four pitches last night.

Given Mike Lowell’s complaints over his situation on the heels of a bad Sox loss on Monday, Hit And Run With Dan Roche tells him in the same breath to get out of town and to sit tight. No wonder the poor guy doesn’t know whether he is coming or going. NESN‘s Peter Gammons counts as many as nine teams interested in Lowell, including the Florida Marlins. Hey, do you think they’d take Josh Beckett back, too? BoSox Injection welcomes back Big Papi.

Bruins

Do we really have to? Since 2004, I’ve had a phobia of seeing any Boston team gain a 3-0 series advantage because I didn’t want to be the city that let New York off the hook. Now that it’s happened, my fears seem justified. This is a suckiness beyond anything my neurotic tendencies could have imagined. Black & Gold says the B’s may not have wanted to be involved in the worst collapse in NHL history, but they didn’t want to avoid it enough either. In the face of adversity this season, Hockey Independent could always hear the echo when the B’s tapped their empty chests.

The Old Bruins Fan says that, like last year’s second-rounder against the Hurricanes, this series was lost not in Game 7 but in one much earlier. Barstool Sports wonders what made the B’s pull a Cavaliers act and just quit. Jerry Thornton says there’s a time in defeat for handling oneself with class and a calm demeanor, but the aftermath of Game 7 was not one.

Masshole Sports thinks the B’s didn’t lose this series so much as the Flyers just won it. Something’s Bruin says this should have been expected, given the B’s have reeled us in for three straight postseasons, only to throw a series away in the end. Tea Party Throwdown expected elimination much earlier this postseason, and she finds this unexpected playoff run a silver lining.

Tuesday was Break-Up Day, as GM Peter Chiarelli – in his best Duquettian straight face – noted the B’s have spent more days in the second round than all but four teams over the last two years. Stanley Cup of Chowder brings us a Chairelli / Julien tap-dancing act at Break-Up Day. Boston Then And Now has Tuesday’s performance showcasing how a loser mentality on the ice starts with the front office. Kathryn Tappen thinks piecing together a new team better keep the front office off the links this summer.

The Hub of Hockey kicks off its player-by-player final grades by going soft on defenseman Dennis Wideman. As Wideman goes, so go the B’s says Big Bad Blog, but for a good stretch of this past season, Wideman wasn’t going. Rink Rap has Tuukka Rask showing a genuine humility that is a prerequisite for hockey’s most important position. Bruins 2010 Draft Watch doesn’t see the Edmonton Oilers being swayed from Taylor Hall, so B’s fans should get ready for Tyler Seguin next season.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

In the wake of the B’s epic choke (I know, you can’t get away from it!), The Crowe’s Nest offers up their top five most disappointing Boston losses, and all four major teams are covered.

Extra Points has our New England Patriots cracking Forbes‘ list of the ten most valuable sports brands globally. Bingo Bar Blog wants to see NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell slice the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints with the same badge of justice he used to cut up Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

Six States, One Blog has the Revolution getting an ideal opportunity to test three trial players in an exhibition against Portugal league champion Benfica. Corner Kicks has the Portugese squad depleted, but coming up with a victory last night before a patriotic crowd at Gillette. New England Revolution Blog has a sparse distribution of the ball hindering efforts to evaluate the trial players last night.

B’s bloggers: get out the sunscreen, get some rest, and be ready for another great run at the second round next year. We’ll pop in on you from time to time during the summer. As always, you can pop in on me on Twitter or Facebook any time.

Week Log: On the Threshhold of Ignominy

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

Bruins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celtics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Sox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Odds & Sods

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week Log: Blogapalooza!

No one knew what would happen if the Boston community of sports bloggers and podcasters made themselves an easy target by self-assembling. Like the President’s Cabinet in a time of war, this group may be one that is better left ungathered. The fallout from some calamitous occurrence is unthinkable: a major market returned as the sole domain of mainstream journalists! But if you know Joe Gill, you know he is one to push the envelope a little. And so began Blogapalooza.

Granted, such an off-Broadway collection as ours would be more likely taken out by a glass of bad Boston tap water than an air strike, but on Sunday Gill wasn’t risking either. He brought us down into the cellar of The Baseball Tavern where he served free beer to keep everyone away from the water. And for a blogger, the only thing more homey than spending a sunny day in a dark basement drinking other people’s beer is if mom herself were there to pour it into the mug. So, for all his efforts, Joe gets lead-off honors today on Boston Sports Then And Now, where he recounts how Blogapalooza did what it set out to do by uniting the blogging community.

Okay, moving beyond the basement, it couldn’t be a better week for the home teams. Toeing The Rubber called Monday a magical night where good things came in threes, while Boston Sports Blog had Monday’s B’s, C’s, and Sox results looking like an internet address. Since Palooza, the C’s have won their only game, the Sox have taken three straight, and the B’s are on the threshhold of their first conference finals since 1992. We gotta do this more often!

Seems like a lot to pick from, but Bingo Bar Blog tells you that, while an agenda-laced NBA is more about the ratings during its postseason, the pure-driven NHL remains all about the good of the game. All right then, let’s get to some hockey.

Bruins

Get the brooms ready, because the B’s may need them Friday after their 4-1 victory at the Wachovia Center last night put them in command of the Philadelphia Flyers, three games to none.

Saturday’s series-opening sudden-death win on the heels of blown 2-0, 3-1, and 4-2 leads caused Here We Go Bruins to observe these B’s make better chasers than leaders. In what has now become an ironic twist, The Hockey Blog Adventure extols the virtues of having David Krejci in the lineup after his dirty-like-the-morning-shower goal in Game One.

View From 311 can’t resist another Satan pun after Miroslav netted another goal in Monday’s game that was marked by Marc Savard’s alleged biting incident. Masshole Sports thinks that if Daniel Carcillo doesn’t want his finger bitten, maybe he should keep his hands out of the face of a guy coming off a concussion. And if you thought there was any class still left in Philly, Joe Haggerty will sweep it away in his account of the growing animosity between the B’s and Flyers.

Big Bad Blog has Satan getting the game-winner last night on a play that started with Flyer Michael Richards’ over-aggressive hit on Krejci. Blog Of Ice has it a clean hit, but finishing Krejci for the game. Black & Gold has the hit finishing Krejci for the season. Throw in the first period loss of defenseman Adam McQuaid, and Barstool Sports says the B’s simply manned up when under-manned for two two-thirds of last night’s game. Rink Rap calls it a case of Philly throwing the kitchen sink at Boston and coming up with nothing, while Stanley Cup Of Chowder calls it another rock solid performance in net by Tuukka Rask. Something’s Bruin has Rask crushing all Flyers hope.

In certainly the headiest take of the week, Jerry Thornton employs quantum mechanics to explain how one atom proved the difference between playoff outsiders and heirs-apparent to the Eastern Conference finals for the B’s. Bruins Blog conducts an interesting team-building exercise across three Bruins GMs.

Celtics

After seeing the Celtics squanter an 11-point lead in Game One, a split against the Cavaliers in Cleveland never looked so good. Celtics Stuff Live has the 2010 team way ahead of their 2008 NBA champion counterparts in terms of being able to win playoff games on the road.

Celtics Central calls Monday night’s win in Quicken Loans Arena the first shovel of dirt burying the excuses and accusations of the season. And maybe a little on the poor excuse that has been Rasheed Wallace. CelticsBlog reminds us that they called for Sheed to make a positive impact on the Cavs series based on – get this – his compelling need to compete. Celtics Life says Sheed’s only consistency is that he’s consistently disappointing with a penchant for the occasional surprise like Monday night. Nor was Sheed the only contributor. Gino’s Jungle says it’s nice to see Danny Ainge doing whatever he can to help his team win. And with the Cavaliers playing uninspired ball, LOSCY has this now the Celtics’ series to lose.

Celtics Green has the officials living down to expectations of fans who believed the C’s would have to beat five Cavs and three zebras all night. But don’t blame the refs for the disparity in foul calls says Red’s Army, who contends the C’s are intentionally fouling in order to gain some control over the refs.

Celtics Town says that, with his selection onto the NBA’s First Team All-Defense, Rajon Rondo is now officially the C’s best player on both sides of the ball.

Red Sox

The win-three-lose-three-win-three-again Boston Red Sox may be trying to regain our favor, having taken six of the last nine games. One problem: their three losses came on Blogapalooza weekend, and Jonathan Papelbon’s tenth inning meltdown was the only show in town during Happy Hour.

Like the rest of us last Sunday afternoon, 4SportBoston envies Orioles fans, whose team is in a much better position than the Red Sox. I’m Jut Sayin’ slams Josh Beckett for not going the distance on Sunday, thereby leaving the door open for Papelbon . . . to remove it from its hinges. After being swept in Baltimore, A Very Simple Game is looking forward to summer when Theo will be a seller, and to the offseason when he blows the team up.

Better Red Than Dead slams David Ortiz for stranding seven runners on Tuesday night, when the Sox almost lost on account of Big Papi failing to do his only job. If you haven’t checked out Nuggetpalooza‘s weekly The Factors Report yet, there’s some interesting stats and so far, an awful lot of awful on the part of the Sox. Touching All The Bases says this team has been mistake-prone and uninteresting since bidding farewell to Ft. Myers.

BoSox Injection is beginning to come around on Marco Scutaro, who has it all together on the team mentality front. Now if he could just work on that run-prevention thing. Speaking of shortstops, on the eve of Nomar Garciaparra’s retirement party last night in The Fens, Boston Dirt Dogs reminisces through 15 years of No. 5 memories and one theme keeps popping up. Evan Brunell remembers the better times when Nomar was still hitting lasers.

Fenway Pastoral wants to return baseball’s masculinity by replacing pitchers with hitting tees. Maybe Theo could put the extra positional player somewhere in the outfield to help out with run prevention. Sorry, Theo. Six out of nine ain’t cutting it. Sweep the Yankees and we’ll talk next week.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructuring wandering through the Boston sports world

And Another Thing . . . feels like going out and taking a called third strike in honor of announcing great Ernie Harwell, who passed away at the age of 92 on Tuesday. Jack Edwards barely knew Harwell, but he’ll miss him just the same.

Jessica Isner tells us how the Boston Patriots jump-started the career of legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons, who was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame on Monday.

And like the sinking ship’s captain, I’ll be the last one off this week when I look at life on the twilight side of the hill for the hundreds of free agents not scooped up in this year’s NFL draft on Sports Central.

On behalf of Hub bloggers everywhere, I’d like to extend thanks to Joe Gill, The Baseball Tavern, and the many sponsors of Blogapalooza for a well-planned good time. See you a little earlier next Thursday, as Bruce will be away for the week.