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Bears VP Tim McCaskey loses battle with cancer

01.31.11 at 6:47 am ET
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Bears vice president Tim McCaskey, the second-oldest of team matriarch Virginia and Ed McCaskey‘s 11 children, died after a 17-month battle with cancer. The team announced his death Sunday night.

McCaskey became the team’s vice president in 1993 after a four-year, part-time affiliation with the club.

Read More: Rumor Mill, Tim McCaskey,

Pacers fire coach Jim O’Brien

01.30.11 at 1:40 pm ET
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The Indiana Pacers have reportedly fired head coach Jim O’Brien after three and a half seasons. The former Celtics coach was 121-169 in his time with Indiana and failed to lead the rebuilding franchise to the playoffs during his tenure.

According to a report from the Indianapolis Star, the team thought about firing O’Brien after a recent 0-4 west coast trip, but decided against it. The Pacers were blown out in Chicago Saturday, which apparently was the final straw for team president Larry Bird. The Star’s Mike Wells is reporting that assistant Frank Vogel will be named interim coach.

O’Brien began his head coaching career with the Celtics when he replaced Rick Pitino in the middle of the 2001 season. He led the Celtics to 49 wins and a surprising run the Eastern Conference finals the following year. O’Brien’s style didn’t mesh well with Danny Ainge, however, and Ainge replaced him in the middle of the 2004 season. O’Brien spent one disappointing season with the 76ers before taking over in Indiana.

Read More: Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers, Jim O'Brien, Larry Bird

Report: Albert Pujols would veto any trade

01.29.11 at 10:33 am ET
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According to ESPN.com, Albert Pujols — who will play for $16 million this year under the option campaign of a seven-year, $100 million deal he signed prior to the 2004 season — would exercise his right to veto any trade proposed by the St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols has the right to block a deal as a player with at least 10 years of major league service time and five consecutive seasons with his current club.

As such, given that Pujols has made it known that he does not want to negotiate a contract extension once spring training begins, the Cardinals face the prospect of negotiating an extension with him prior to the start of spring training or having Pujols test the free-agent waters following the 2011 season.

Pujols is reportedly using the 10-year, $275 million deal between Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees as his point of reference in negotiations. He is coming off a season in which he led the National League in homers (42), RBI (118) and runs (115) while hitting .312/.414/.596/1.011. In his 10-year career, he has assembled one of the most impressive lines in big league history, hitting .331/.426/.624/1.050 with 408 homers and 1,230 RBI.

Read More: Albert Pujols, Rumor Mill, St. Louis Cardinals,

LEEInks List: Top 10 Bruins All-Star Game moments

01.28.11 at 5:00 pm ET
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As Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin prepare to take part in this weekend’€™s NHL All-Star festivities, we take a look back at the top 10 All-Star moments involving the Bruins.

10. 2008 ‘€” Willie O’€™Ree honored

Prior to the 2008 contest in Atlanta, the NHL honored the 50th anniversary of O’€™Ree breaking the league’€™s color barrier with the Bruins as part of a celebration of the league’€™s diversity. O’€™Ree played 45 career games with the B’€™s from 1958-1961.

9. 1991 ‘€” Mike Milbury picks enforcers

Milbury, then coaching the Bruins, stirred up some controversy (we know, shocking) as the coach of the 1991 Wales Conference team when he picked enforcers Chris Nilan (also with the Bruins at the time) and Brian Skrudland over legends such as Guy Lafleur and current stars such as Kirk Muller. Both Nilan and Skrudland ultimately missed the game with injuries, but the incident caused the league’€™s board of governors to change the way rosters were picked, taking the power out of the coach’€™s hands and giving it to a committee instead.

8. 2008 ‘€” Tim Thomas earns the win

In his first career All-Star Game, Thomas picked up the win by stopping 14 of the 18 shots he faced in the third period of the 2008 game. Although those stats aren’€™t all that impressive, it’€™s important to remember that there is virtually no defense played in All-Star Games. Thomas earned the win again the next season when he helped lead the East to a shootout win. Thomas will be making his third appearance in four seasons Sunday.

7. 2008 ‘€” Marc Savard nets the winner

Savard also made his first All-Star appearance in 2008 and, like Thomas, made an impact. He scored the game-winning goal with 21 seconds left in the third to give the East an 8-7 win. Savard wasn’€™t even picked to the team originally. He was named a replacement when Senators forward Dany Heatley backed out with an injury.

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Read More: Bill Guerin, Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque, Tim Thomas

Report: Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey has broken ankle

01.28.11 at 11:45 am ET
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Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, injured in Sunday’s AFC championship game, did not practice again Thursday. Later in the day, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Pouncey had a broken bone in his sprained left ankle. The report indicated the damage to the ligaments from the sprain were the major obstacle for the rookie.

Pouncey was spotted in a cast and on crutches Wednesday. Teammate Chris Kemoeatu told reporters then that Pouncey would not play in the Super Bowl, but he backed off his comments Thursday.

Read More: Maurkice Pouncey, Rumor Mill, Steelers,

Champ Bailey named to record 10th Pro Bowl

01.28.11 at 8:45 am ET
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Broncos captain Champ Bailey has been named to his 10th career Pro Bowl, setting a record for cornerbacks. Bailey is replacing Oakland’s Nnamdi Asomugha, who will miss the game for medical reasons.

Asomugha sprained an ankle on Oct. 30 and missed two games, but he was able to play the final six games despite being limited in practice. The Raiders haven’t said if that is what’s keeping him out. Bailey also is banged up. He missed the last game of the season with a bruised right heel that had been bothering him most of the season.

“I’m very excited to represent the AFC and the Denver Broncos at the Pro Bowl,” Bailey said in a statement released by the Broncos. “It’s a great honor to play on the same field with the NFL’s best, and I’m looking forward to getting out to Hawaii.”

Bailey’s 10th appearance breaks a tie with Hall of Famer and former Patriot Mike Haynes for the most Pro Bowls by a cornerback.

Read More: Champ Bailey, Mike Haynes, Nnamdi Asomugha, Rumor Mill

Bulls guard Derrick Rose recovering from stomach ulcers

01.28.11 at 8:37 am ET
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Bulls point guard Derrick Rose is recovering from stomach ulcers he believes his diet caused and plans to play Friday against the Orlando Magic.

Rose told The Associated Press that his energy “is kind of low. But I should be all right.” He said he started experiencing heartburn Monday and is still having difficulty eating, drinking and swallowing. He initially thought it was a stomach flu, but doctors at Rush University Medical Center found two ulcers Wednesday.

Rose said doctors aren’t sure what caused the ulcers, but he’s blaming it on spicy food. “That’s the thing I’m going with,” he said.

Rose was named a starter for the 2011 All-Star Game on Thursday, beating out Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.

Read More: Derrick Rose, Rumor Mill,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Waffle-throwing Leafs fan remains unrepentant

01.28.11 at 7:12 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY FRIDAY:
NBA: Celtics at Suns, 10:30 p.m. (CSNNE/ESPN; WEEI)

SATURDAY:
No games scheduled

SUNDAY:
NBA: Celtics at Lakers, 3:30 p.m. (ABC; WEEI)
NHL: All-Star Game, 4 p.m. (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ A Maple Leafs fan avoided a fine for his waffle-throwing incident at a game in December despite his refusal to plead out and insistence that the team deserved the protest for its lack of success for many years. Joe Robb was charged with mischief after tossing the breakfast food on the ice during the Leafs’ Dec. 20 game vs. the Thrashers in Toronto, mimicking another fan who lodged a similar protest earlier that month. On Thursday, Robb refused to refused to plead guilty, but charges were dropped in exchange for five hours of community service. However, the Oakville, Ontario, stonemason remains banned from all venues owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, at least for the time being.

“They wanted me to do over 30 hours of community service and they wanted me to sign a peace bond and other stuff. I refused,” he told The Toronto Star. “My parents are proud people, Scottish people. And they just always told me, no matter what I do, I should always stick up for myself and back what you’re doing and don’t stand down.”

The diehard Leafs fan said he hopes to be allowed back into the arena after his community service, despite no immediate promise from the team.

“To ban me for a lifetime ‘€¦ for all the money and effort and tears I’ve put into them, to be told I couldn’t go and see them, I’d be pretty disappointed,” Robb said.

Here’s the video of the incident.

‘™¦ Even Thunder star Kevin Durant is impressed by high-scoring BYU guard Jimmer Fredette. Following Fredette’s 43-point outburst in the ninth-ranked Cougars’ victory over fourth-ranked (and previously undefeated) San Diego State on Wednesday night, Durant tweeted that Fredette “is the best scorer in the world.” Fredette is hitting 48 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range and leads Division 1 in scoring 27.8 points per game.

‘™¦ Titans coach Jeff Fisher was fired after 16 seasons guiding the franchise. There are rumors that the surprising decision came after Fisher attempted to hire his son as an assistant coach. At NFL.com, Michael Lombardi writes that the split is best for both parties. At The Tennessean, Joe Biddle writes that “this is not an attractive job in its current status.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 28, 1971, which Bruins goalie recorded his 100th career victory with a 6-2 win over the Flyers?

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Read More: Jimmer Fredette, Joe Robb,

Lakers coach Phil Jackson: ‘It really is’ my last season

01.28.11 at 6:21 am ET
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Lakers coach Phil Jackson insists this will be his last season as coach of the Lakers. He said before the season that this would be his “last stand,” and he indicated Thursday he hasn’t changed his mind.

“Most everybody believes I’m not going to fulfill this ‘last stand’ promise and I will come back and coach again, but it really is [my last season]. I really want to do this for myself.”

Jackson has coached the Bulls and Lakers to 11 NBA titles, including the last two.

Read More: Lakers, Phil Jackson, Rumor Mill,

Titans part ways with coach Jeff Fisher

01.28.11 at 6:16 am ET
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Titans coach Jeff Fisher is out after 16 seasons with the team. Owner Bud Adams decided to fire the coach one month after announcing quarterback Vince Young will be traded or released.

“It became evident that consensus was increasingly hard to find and reality wasn’t matching the vision we discussed,” the team said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that this decision is coming at this juncture, but we believe that we have reached the point where change is in the best interest of both parties.”

Read More: Jeff Fisher, Rumor Mill, Titans,