Several things to thrash over while waiting for Boss Belichick to admit he may have overreached when he opted for a radical, instant, make-over of his veteran Patriot team when a more subtle transition might have been both more efficient and politic.

Not that weíll hold our breath, mind you. But was cashiering Richard Seymour after chasing away a core cadre of old pros over the off-season really necessary? Or did the mighty Boss, in a burst of beguiling hubris, simply out-smart himself. It happens.

And, while on the subject, did it not seem that Coach Billís obligatory exchange of post-game salutations with the exuberant Jetsí skipper Rex Ryan had all the warmth, charm and wit of Churchillís greeting to Stalin at Yalta? No one can look the other way while he shakes hands with an adversary with quite the graceful disdain of our Foxborough football dean.

Kid Kessel

Itís interesting to speculate how the dowagers of jock journalism would have dealt with the Phil Kessel fiasco if Harry Sinden were still calling the shots for the Bruins. The guess here is that the more shrill of the local divines -- especially those who have not actually attended a hockey game in at least six years -- would have hung Harry out to dry had he not capitulated to the spoiled Kesselís ridiculous contractual demands. But the critics are easier on Peter Chiarelli who is, after all, a Harvard man and therefore enjoys a willing suspension of disbelief in this curiously hung-up enclave.

Kessel would not have been a Sinden favorite. Indeed, Harry probably wouldnít have drafted him given that the kidís distaste for the physical demands and need for grit in his game was well established when he was but a teen.

Kessel is a soft player; and while sometimes they change, he isnít likely to. He will always be a stylish breakaway threat and dangerous sniper but heíll never be close to a complete player. Some teams can live with that. But the Bruins have never been able to manage that rather oxymoronic compromise. Itís in the bloodlines, something Sinden deeply appreciated. Itís interesting that Chiarelli, though hardly a product of the black and gold culture, also understands all that clearly. There was no way he could roll over for the likes of Kessel. Even in these hyper-inflated times, 27 million bucks for 36 goals and an endless reprise of Ice Capade routines is absurd.

Tougher to take is the return Chiarelli got. It would have been a much better deal if he landed the solid defenseman and seventh pick in the draft he thought heíd get when he first talked trade with the Leafs in June. This is not the NFL. Draft choices lower than the first 10-12 picks in Round One are very chancy in hockey. For further affirmation, check the Bruins draft history.

What they finally got for Kessel (two number ones and a two) might be acceptable if Toronto remains an NHL doormat the next two years. But with Brian Burke now in charge of the Leafs, I wouldnít bet the ranch on that. The Bruins could end up getting stiffed. Still itís a deal that had to be done and it remains merely noteworthy that Chiarelli is receiving kudos whereas Sinden would have been mugged.

Tough Tennis

In a sporting world too often blighted by ingrates, delinquents and even felons, the polite canons of sportsmanship that are meant to govern tennis ought to be welcome and appreciated. Still, what happened at the U.S. Open seemed a bit of a stretch. First Serena Williams and then Roger Federer -- both perennial and worthy champions -- got hammered for lapsing into some foul language while blowing their cool on the court. Tsk, Tsk.

Tennis is a tough game. In some ways, none is tougher. To stand out there often in the beastly heat for upwards to five hours mano a mano running each other ragged and giving no quarter is beyond grueling. The next whimp to emerge as a tennis champ will be the first. Among the great champions of all the games, tennis stalwarts, both male and female, rank among the most ferocious competitive tigers to ever play anything anywhere at any time. Which is why these quaint but oppressive tennis rules governing the niceties of deportment are silly.

The fuss made over the tantrums of Williams and Federer along with the fines and rebukes levied against them were ridiculous. Were the Lords of the game fearful New Yorkers would be scandalized by cusswords rising over the heat of battle? All this genteel folderol is a burden for tennis. The game should move beyond such trifles and place the emphasis where it belongs which is on the sheer grit of the people who play the game well. Great athletes cuss. Itís admirable when they donít but they always have and always will.

Moreover, the rulings by officials that provoked the anger of Williams and Federer were truly outrageous. For a foot fault to be a huge factor in the determining of a championship -- which is what ignited Williams -- is like a balk ending a World Series. If it seemed technically correct at the moment itís not the way itís supposed to be.

NFL, or ER

Letís see, now.

The Patriots lose Jerod Mayo and Wes Welker. The Bills lose three regulars on defense. The Bears lose three on offense plus franchise linebacker Brian Urlacher for the entire season. All-starís Chris Samuels goes down in Washington, Walter Jones goes down in Seattle, Donovan McNabb breaks his rib in Philadelphia, Troy Polamalu smacks a knee in Pittsburgh, while itís an ankle that hobbles LaDainian Tomlinson in San Diego. The Chargers also lose four other regulars indefinitely. Giantsí behemoth Chris Canty suffers a knee and misses his much-anticipated return to his former playground, Dallas. Heís one of eight Giantsí regulars presently hors de combat. The Colts have seven likewise disabled. They could be week to week or month to month or whatever.

And so it goes. This is only a very partial list of only the first weekís casualties. The National Football League, where itís all about triage, is back and itís bigger and better than ever.

Seattleís hitting machine

The wonder of Seattleís Ichiro Suzuki was roused again the other night when the matchless Japanese hitting machine turned on a failed Mariano Rivera cutter and slammed a two-run, walk-off homer to jar the Yankees into a bit of a late season slide that has them shuddering as they enter the last fortnight of the regular season.

Ichiroís dramatic blow happened after 1:00 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time. It was seen by few East of the Rockies, made none of the morning papers east of the Great Plains, and promptly faded in the fever of another major football weekend. Itís what often befalls Ichiroís great moments which explains why few realize heís probably the finest player of his times and one of the dozen greatest of the modern era.

With two weeks to go heís hitting .360 and has attained the unthinkable by surpassing 200 hits for the season for the ninth consecutive season, one of the greatest hitting feats of all time. In nine Seattle seasons heís hit .335 averaging 230 hits. Itís stunning.

Ichiro is the Ty Cobb of his times. In fact Cobb is the manís only plausible yardstick. They seem to have much in common including fierce temperament. Ichiro has none of the nastiness, mindless fury, or eccentricities of the old Georgia Peach. But the supremely individualistic detachment, passion for perfection, and intense focus are similar. Like Cobb, Ichiro operates on another plane. In his hands, the bat is a magic wand and he is a sorcerer.

Also like Cobb he is sometimes derided as ĎĎmainlyíí a singles hitter. But Cobb used to say that when he set his mind to it and sensed the need he could hit a home run any old time. And so, it seems, can Ichiro. Just ask Mariano Rivera.

Cardinal beatifies 22-year-old Romanian as 'martyr to chastity'

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- A 22-year-old Romanian peasant has taken a step closer to sainthood as a "martyr to chastity," six decades after she was murdered ...

Maryland attorney general will review church records on child sex abuse

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- In a Sept. 24 letter to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop William E. Lori informed priests and deacons that the ...

People helping people is what attracted actor to 'God Friended Me'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Television audiences may recall seeing actor Joe Morton as Eli Rowan Pope, the father of professional Washington fixer Olivia Pope, ...

Pa. bishops support creating fund to compensate survivors of sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The bishops of Pennsylvania's eight Roman Catholic dioceses are supporting creation of an independent fund to compensate survivors ...

CRS sells fair trade coffee, supporting Mexican farmers and land

Baltimore, Md., Sep 24, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Catholic Relief Services is now offering fair trade coffee beans that will benefit local farming communities ...

The Jesuit who survived the KGB

Vilnius, Lithuania, Sep 24, 2018 CNA.- When Pope Francis visited a former KGB building in Vilnius, Lithuania Sept. 23, Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius ...

Next step toward artificial reproduction violates human fundamentals, ethicist warns

Washington D.C., Sep 25, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Artificial human reproduction appears to be on the horizon with Japanese scientists’ claim to ...

Update: Scandals create outrage, but there is time for conversion, pope says

TALLINN, Estonia (CNS) -- In what is probably the least religious country in Europe, Pope Francis said he is surprised by how many people hold firm to ...

Catholic leaders oppose administration's plan to limit green cards

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic leaders are speaking out against a Trump administration proposed rule announced Sept. 22 that would deny green cards to legal ...

Head of Georgetown Prep urges renewed commitment to being 'men for others'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a letter to the school community, the president of an all-boys Jesuit high school in suburban Washington emphasized the schools' ...

Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...