|02.19.10 at 10:53 am ET|
Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
Rhode Island’s Bryant University, in its second season of Division 1 college basketball, ended a 28-game losing streak Thursday with a two-point victory at Wagner. It came a year and a day after the team’s last win.
“It was the elephant in the room. I was feeling really bad for the kids because of the effort they were making,” Bryant coach Tim O’Shea said. “Most of them were recruited to play Division 2. It was a tough situation for them.”
BASKETBALL: The Celtics edged the Lakers. Paul Flannery breaks it down for us. Nate Robinson is a Celtic. The Nuggets ended the Cavaliers’ 13-game winning streak.
BASEBALL: Rob Bradford writes that Josh Beckett and Victor Martinez could learn from John Lackey regarding free agency. Alex Speier has the update from Red Sox spring training. Mark Shapiro was promoted to Indians president, effective at the end of the season.
FOOTBALL: Chris Price writes that Patriots cornerback Leigh Bodden is in a holding pattern in term of his future. Bills starting right tackle Brad Butler announced his surprise retirement at the age of 26. The labor dispute between the NFL and two Vikings players who challenged their drug-related suspensions will go to trial next month.
A Vanderbilt recruit was killed in an apparent domestic incident.
OLYMPICS: American Evan Lysacek was the surprise gold medalist in figure skating. Here’s Thursday’s roundup.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 19, 1972, which Bruin collected an assist in a 6-4 win over the Minnesota North Stars to become the first player in NHL history with 100 points in a season three times in his career?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Ray was huge tonight. I think we should threaten to trade him all the time and then pull him back.” — Celtics coach Doc Rivers, after Thursday night’s win over the Lakers
STAT OF THE DAY: 3-0 — The Celtics’ record in games decided by one point
‘NET RESULTS: Kentucky freshman John Wall is not only the best rookie in college basketball, he popularized an little dance move that is “sweeping the nation” — or so they say.
Olympic speedskater Sven Kramer asks a reporter, “Are you stupid?” when she asks him to identify himself right after he won a gold medal. Probably more lazy than stupid, but anyhow …
Here’s new Celtic Nate Robinson on the “Late Show with David Letterman” last year, showing off his dunking skills.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Phil Esposito
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Lou Christie turns 67 today.
And Smokey Robinson is 70.
|02.19.10 at 10:28 am ET|
On the morning of Tiger Woods’ press conference, New England’s own Brad Faxon checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday to talk about the media storm that has surrounded the No. 1 player in the world.
Faxon said that Woods’ wife Elin would not be attending the presser, but that Michael Jordan and Stanford buddy Notah Begay III would be in attendance.
Faxon, like other golfers on tour, is just looking for an end to the saga so they don’t have to talk about it anymore.
“It gets old and it will be good to get over, but the positive of this and the positive for us is we are learning what golf will be like or could be like without Tiger,” he said.
A transcript follows. To listen to the interview, click here.
What is the feeling on the PGA Tour about the Tiger situation?
There’s such a mixed bag out here between all the players and their feelings. Notah Begay III, who went to Stanford with Tiger, actually withdrew from the tournament. He was down here with his family and let me tell you this is not an easy place or a cheap place to get to. He withdrew so he could attend the press conference. I know Michael Jordan is going to be there. I know Elin is not going to be there. It’s kind of ironic that he scheduled this press conference during the Accenture Match Play where he was dropped by Accenture, the first sponsor to drop him. Commissioner [Tim] Finchem is allowing him to do this at the TPC Sawgrass, which I don’t know if this is Tiger’s move of trying to be nice or if it’s another thing of sticking it up you know where. Everything is a surprise and he only invited, and this in unreal, three golf writers. I talked to both Jim McCabe and Jim Ferguson last night and they both were thinking about boycotting the whole thing, because you are not allowed to ask questions, it’s going to be a prepared statement and then it’s going to be over. Some people think it may be, “Hey I’m going through my rehab. Things are going fine I’m going to come play at Doral in Orlando and then I’m going to play in the Masters,” or some people think, “Hey, I’m done. I’m retired.”
You really think that?
I’ve never thought he could do anything to take away from his chance to play golf. I don’t think that, but why would he make a statement where he’s not going to allow for questions unless he decided he’s going to take some time off?
Could this just be a way for him to test the waters with the public and then disappear again for a while?
There’s no question and maybe he has to go back to the rehab place. I don’t know how those things work and I don’t want to find out. Somebody has said to me that Billy Payne, who runs the Masters, has said, “I don’t want, Tiger, this to be your first tournament back. We don’t want the circus that comes with it.” This year at the tournament and the Farmers Insurance, it used to be the Buick one of Tiger’s sponsors, there were planes out there dragging signs behind them that I don’t think the Masters wants any part of.
Would the Masters be the only tournament that would or could say no to Tiger?
No question. Nobody says no to Tiger. I don’t know who’s driving this bus here. If this is Mark Steinberg, if this is Tiger’s wishes, it’s just very interesting this whole thing how it has played out. There was a picture of Tiger running in his long sleeve shirt and he’s all buffed out and looks happy and normal. I think they are trying to control this thing and in my opinion if he doesn’t appear contrite and apologetic about everything, then I don’t know. I hope this isn’t something of me against the world again.
What else do you know about the press conference?
I know Tim Finchem has set this up at the lawn at Sawgrass. I don’t quite understand, Tiger could easily do this is Isleworth in Orlando where he lives and control it even more. I know there is a great press head at Sawgrass and it’s only a two and a half hour drive in that Cadillac Escalade. I don’t know who else has been invited. I know when a guy like Notah Begay III withdraws from a tournament withouth a reason that’s fineable offense. We don’t have a policy that allows you to withdraw from a tournament without being sick or injured. I think Tiger really wants some friends there. That’s why this thing is a mystery to me.
What is the feeling about him winning tournaments this year?
There is no player out here that doesn’t think he can do that. Everybody knows that Tiger has been the best player ever and he’s overcome any obstacles there might be and seems to be able to turn anything off the golf course out of his mind at anytime. I’m sure he can do that again. It’s a mixed bag of feelings out here. There are some players that are mad and disappointed at how he’s handled this and what he’s done, David Duval would be one of those players we had dinner the other night, and the opposite side would be Kenny Perry who said, “He just needs a big hug.” He’s already got a few of those though.
What has Duval said, because he and Tiger used to be buddies?
They were, but Duval has turned into a real family man. He’s happily married and he’s got a couple of kids from his new wife. Susie Duval and my wife are all friends. He’s disappointed with the lies and the way this thing has been handled. Everybody is in shock at the way it’s been handled, but I don’t know what the truth is. It would be fantastic in this press conference if he laid out the actual timeline of what happened instead of keeping us all guessing and all talking about it, because that would remove all the talk about it.
How does this affect the PGA players when they speak to the media? Have they had enough?
When the interview is not about you or not about golf it gets kind of, I wouldn’t say boring in this case, but you kind of want every interview have to be about how well you just played. This has taken on a life of its own that is way beyond golf. For us we don’t get to many articles on TMZ or entertainment magazines. Those are the things we are just not used to handling. We are not good at handling it. It gets old and it will be good to get over, but the positive of this and the positive for us is we are learning what golf will be like or could be like without Tiger. We’ve done a pretty good job at filling sponsor holes. Finchem and his staff have done a great job in this economy. We don’t have many open spaces on our tour season now.
Do you think that the average person would watch golf if Tiger isn’t involved?
Phil [Mickelson] would have to pick up the slack. We’d have to have some other guys that could do it and I like that saying the cliché, “Nobody is bigger than the game.” Guys like Arnold [Palmer] and Jack [Nicklaus] would actually say that. You don’t really here that out of Tiger’s mouth or the actions. I always thought the great players tried to help the game and tour out in a lot of different ways. I hope that our top players realize that.
How about the wives on tour? Are they disgusted by all of this?
I think so. I certainly haven’t gone out and polled them all. It’s unbelievable and I think a lot of them are wondering what Elin’s going to do. I know in my situation if I pulled this off I’d be without body parts.
Do you think Elin is going to allow herself to be a prop in the press conference if she is there?
No way, absolutely not. I hate to say I have inside info but she’s not going to be there.
Any other Nike guys going to be there?
I don’t know if [Charles] Barkley got the invite, if he’d show.
|02.19.10 at 8:43 am ET|
The Thrill of Victory
The United States saved the best for last on Thursday night. Evan Lysacek was the American favorite to capture gold in the men’s freeskate and he came through with a tight win over his chief rival Evgeni Plushenko of Russia. This was almost too close too call after Plushenko was the final skater to compete, but Plushenko did have a few points in his routine where he wasn’t completely perfect.
The judges agreed that Lysacek was the winner as his combined score 257.67 narrowly edged Plushenko’s combined score of 256.36.
Lysacek is the first U.S. men’s figure skater to capture gold since Bryan Boitano in 1988. If Lysacek was to lose, it probably would have been because of the Alfalfa hairdo that kept occurring every time he spun. His coach needed to goop him up a little more, but doesn’t he look like he should be on The Jersey Shore?
The Canadian hockey team narrowly escaped with a shootout win over Switzerland, thanks to Sid “The Kid” Crosby and a huge save by Martin Brodeur. A loss by the host country could have spoiled the night and maybe the Olympics for all of Canada.
Both the men and women’s U.S hockey teams sealed up wins in the preliminary rounds on Thursday. The women kept rolling along with a 6-0 win over Finland and the men defeated Norway 6-1.
Agony of Defeat
Johnny Weir is still the “Fallen Angel.” Weir slipped up a bit in his final routine and placed sixth overall in the competition. For all the antics and headlines off the ice, Weir didn’t deliver on it. Other than the minor slip up, the routine was rather clean, but the commentators talked about the difficulty of his routine and how it didn’t stack up against the other competitors. Daisuke Takahashi finished in third and he fell trying to land a quad – a much more difficult trick than any attempted by Weir.
A day after claiming gold in the downhill, the darling of the U.S. ski team Lindsey Vonn fell in her attempt to capture gold in the super-combined competition. Vonn has been battling a shin injury — in case you haven’t heard — which may have been part of the reason she clipped one of the gates with her right ski.
She will have another shot at gold in the super-G competition on Saturday.
Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark came up a little bit short in the women’s halfpipe competition. Teter finished 2.6 points behind Australian champion Torah Bright. Clark fell on her first attempt and had to settle for bronze. A silver and bronze are nice consolation prizes, but gold was within reach for both of these riders.
The Local Look
Teter, mentioned above, fell just short of gold in the halfpipe. She will return to Vermont a hero for claiming the silver medal, but gold was oh so close for her.
Phil Kessel, remember him, tallied the first goal in the United States’ 6-1 win over Norway. The former Bruins sharpshooter probably doesn’t have too many fans rooting for him in New England, but maybe the bad blood can disappear if he scores some big goals for the red, white and blue.
“The Woman With the Golden Gun” Laura Spector finished way out of the running for a medal in the 15km individual competition. Spector finished in 65th, but the U.S. didn’t do to well as the highest finish was Lanny Barnes, who finished 23rd.
United States (6 gold, 5 silver, 7 bronze) 18 total
Germany (4, 4, 3) 11
Norway (3,3,2) 8
|02.18.10 at 3:55 pm ET|
The Thrill of Victory
Sure, Shaun White took home the halfpipe gold, and rather convincingly at that. But that was kind of expected — the man does own his own trick-park after all.
But Lindsey Vonn on the other hand — now that was a little unexpected.
With Vonn hampered with a bum shin before the event, it was even a little uncertain whether or not she would even compete in the women’s downhill at all. And winning gold? Now that was an entirely different story.
But that’s exactly what the 25-year-old did, finishing 1-2 with fellow American Julia Mancuso, notching a time of 1 minute, 44.19 seconds — a half-second better than Mancuso.
And while her first-place finish may not have been as full of epic jumps, flailing McTwists and home-trained halfpipe daredevilry, the shock value of her even competing — let alone winning — deserved a spot in the Thrill of Victory regardless. Not to mention, it’s been a pretty good few months off the mountain for Vonn.
Sorry, Shaun. She’s got you beat there.
Honorable mention to Shani Davis, who continued his dominance of the speedskating track, bringing home gold medals in yesterday’s games, securing the first Olympic back-to-back win on the 100m track in history.
Agony of Defeat
Rarely do you see a wipeout that you actually can feel sitting on your couch in your living room.
But when Edith Miklos of Romania took a nasty spill in yesterday’s women’s downhill, I promise you — I cringed. In case you missed it, check out this slide show.
It was a wipeout so fierce that she actually ended up careening right into the orange fishnet fencing around the course, sending her directly off the track. She was immediately evacuated by helicopter, a sight nobody wants to see during an Olympic event, regardless of country affiliation.
The Local Look
It was a good day for USA athletes on Wednesday — and not just for the big guys, either.
On a day when White, Davis and Vonn reeled in gold medals, New England native Scotty Lago also made a mark of his own. The 22-year-old Seabrook, N.H., native brought home the bronze medal in the men’s halfpipe, an event that was won by none other than Shaun White himself.
But it wasn’t as rewarding a day for the rest of the New England pool. The region will have a chance to redeem itself today, however, as both of USA’s New England-laden hockey teams will hit the ice this afternoon, the men facing off against Norway at 3 and the women taking on Finland at 5:30.
For the men, it will be Connecticut native and former Boston University captain Chris Drury leading the charge, as Team USA looks to push its mark to 2-0. The women, meanwhile, will be sending seven New Englanders to the ice this afternoon, with Kacey Bellamy, Meghan Duggan, Molly Shaus and Erika Lawler of Massachusetts leading the way.
Wins for both teams would push them one step closer to advancing to second-round play, which begins on Feb. 20 for the women and Feb. 23 for the men.
United States 14 (5 gold, 3 silver, 6 bronze)
Germany 10 (3, 4, 3)
France 7 (2, 1, 4)
|02.18.10 at 7:49 am ET|
Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
We’ll lead off with a video today. Celtics guard Marquis Daniels has a replica head of himself made with diamonds. Here’s how it came together.
BASEBALL: Alex Speier wraps up Wednesday in Fort Myers. Daisuke Matsuzaka is taking it easy due to back stiffness. Mark McGwire showed up at Cardinals spring training and offered another apology. An MRI on Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens’ right shoulder revealed inflammation but no structural problems.
BASKETBALL: The Celtics, who play the Lakers tonight, reportedly are close to sending Eddie House to the Knicks for Nate Robinson. The Cavaliers got Antawn Jamison from the Wizards. Dwight Howard had 33 points and 17 rebounds in the Magic’s win over Detroit. C.J. Watson scored 40 points as the Warriors demolished the Kings.
HOCKEY: Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is facing DUI and speeding charges in Arizona.
FOOTBALL: Stephen Neal’s agent said the Patriots offensive linemen is not retiring. Receiver Deion Branch would consider a return to New England. The Ravens signed receiver Donte’ Stallworth. The Browns released running back Jamal Lewis, who hopes to play again. Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said his team does not plan to spend wildly even if there is no salary cap. Titans punter Craig Hentrich retired after 17 NFL seasons.
One of two men charged with wielding knives in the fight that ended with the fatal stabbing of UConn player Jasper Howard is free after posting bail. Oregon tailback LaMichael James was arrested on domestic violence charges.
MISC.: Tiger Woods will speak Friday.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 18, 1993, which reliever signed a free agent contract with the Red Sox?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s something I regret. I can’t say I’m sorry enough to everybody in baseball and across America, and whoever watches this great game. I think people understand how truly sorry I was for what I did.” — Mark McGwire, again apologizing for his steroid use after arriving at Cardinals spring training
STAT OF THE DAY: 6 — Medals won by the United States Wednesday, the best single-day haul ever for an American Olympic squad
‘NET RESULTS: This is one impressive shot, from Murray State freshman guard Isaiah Canaan.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Jeff Russell, who would save 33 games that year
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Former Styx lead singer Dennis DeYoung is 63 today.
|02.17.10 at 8:59 pm ET|
The Dallas Mavericks started the party early, ringing in the All-Star festivities with a trade for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood.
The Portland Trail Blazers continued the trend Tuesday, officially acquiring former UMass star Marcus Camby to help solve their woes in the middle.
Even the Celtics look like they are getting in on the act, albeit not in the way many had envisioned. But it appears that NBA dunk contest champ — and that term is applied as loosely as possible — Nate Robinson might be coming to Boston to help bolster the C’s bench.
Yes, the NBA trade deadline is almost here, with the last chance for any major transactions to occur coming at 3 p.m. Thursday. And with that in mind, here is a history of the major deadline deals that have occurred in each of the last 10 years, which unfortunately leaves us just shy of the Celtics’ acquiring Vitaly Potapenko in 1999. Still, maybe a general manager can a grab few ideas of how to think outside the box and bolster their lineup — or cut costs, whatever the choice may be — with this perspective.
The Bulls wanted to make a run at the playoffs. The Kings wanted to run out any high-priced players. So it made sense that Sacramento would send Brad Miller and John Salmons, two of its best players, to Chicago for package included Andres Nocioni and Drew Gooden’s expiring deal (Portland also helped bring this one about).
Celtics fans, of course, know that the trade helped the Bulls do more than just make the playoffs. Chicago pushed the Celtics to seven games in one of the best playoff series in recent memory.
The Cavaliers went all-in in their quest for the NBA title, acquiring former Celtics Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West from the Sonics and Ben Wallace and Joe Smith from the Bulls. But all their huge deadline deal did was help them push the eventual NBA champion Celtics to seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Now Cleveland is talking about a number of big names — Amar’e Stoudemire and Antawn Jamison being the most prominent — in another attempt to make it back to the finals.
The Raptors traded Fred Jones to Portland for Juan Dixon. Seriously, these were the biggest names moved at the deadline. At least Dixon is making the headlines now, though not exactly how he probably would have hoped to.
This trade featured possibly the largest collection of subpar players of all-time. It was really like a bunch of teams — in this case, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento and Denver — got together and decided to exchange spare parts. Who wants Ruben Patterson? What about Earl Watson, who was allegedly the big name in this deal? Even Potapenko was a part of this trade.
Sure, this was the year Baron Davis was dealt to the Warriors and the Nuggets finally decided to give up on all-time bust Nikoloz Tskitishvili, but this deadline had more important ramifications for fans in Boston. This was a memorable deadline for the Celtics, as it reunited Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker briefly before ‘Toine took his wiggle to Miami in a trade.
But another deal, seemingly minor at the time, did far more for the Celtics. The Celtics traded Jiri Welsch to Cleveland for a future first-round pick. That was the 2007 first-rounder that Danny Ainge used to get the draft rights to Rajon Rondo from the Suns.
Again, the Celtics were a part of a blockbuster deal at the deadline, but this time as more of a facilitator. With the Pistons needing a third team to help work out salaries in their attempt to grab Rasheed Wallace from the Hawks, Ainge stepped in and filled the role. The trade helped Detroit upset the Lakers in the finals that season and become the powerhouse in the Eastern Conference.
Gary Payton was a part of the trade when Boston re-acquired Walker. Here, he was the centerpiece in a deal that involved current Celtic Ray Allen, who has been the subject of rampant rumors this season. Allen went to Seattle, where he was a mainstay before coming over to help the Celtics win a championship. Payton would move from Milwaukee to the Lakers after the season, joining Karl Malone and Shaq and Kobe for what seemed to be a guaranteed championship before Detroit had other ideas.
You’ll notice a trend. The early part of the last decade actually had big names moving. One year before the Allen-Payton blockbuster came a trade that involved big names including Juwan Howard (who is inexplicably still playing a prominent role in Portland this season), Tim Hardaway, Nick Van Exel and even onetime Celtic Raef Lafrentz.
Dallas got Lafrentz, who would be reunited with his former Kansas teammate Pierce when Walker was traded to Dallas before the 2003-04 season, as well as Van Exel, while the Nuggets received Howard and Hardaway, in what turned out to be his last full season.
Two of the best defensive centers of the decade changed places in this deal — Dikembe Mutombo and Theo Ratliff. While Ratliff was the centerpierce in the deal for the Hawks, the prize of Mutombo was much more important for the 76ers, as his presence helped fuel the Sixers’ run to the finals in 2001, when they were defeated in five games by the Lakers in the first year of LA’s three-peat campaign.
|02.17.10 at 10:29 am ET|
The Thrill of Victory
Vancouver quickly has become a mecca for another nation: Germany. Thanks to a gold medal performance from Tatjana Huefner in the luge, the ninth time in 13 tries that a German has topped the podium in the event, and a similar result in the from Magdalena Neuner in the 10k biathalon pursuit, Germany now leads the medal count with nine overall.
Huefner followed in the wake of countryman Felix Loch, who earned the gold Sunday in the men’s singles competition. For Neuner, it was her second medal of the games, though this time she moved a step up the ladder from silver to gold.
The other story that emerged Tuesday night is the seemingly out-of-nowhere transformation of South Korea into a long track speed skating powerhouse. After watching Lee Seung-hoon take silver in the 5,000 Saturday and Mo Tae-bun earn a dramatic first place finish Monday, Lee Sang-hwa catapulted over the favorites and earned the gold in the women’s 500. Lee bested heavy favorite Jenny Wolf of Germany and another top contender in Wang Beixing of China, who took the bronze.
The Agony of Defeat
Unfortunately for fans of New England competitors, this section belongs to Vermont’s Lindsey Jacobellis. Again.
The biggest name in snowboardcross came into the games trying to shake off the memory of Turin, when she lost out on the gold medal after she fell attempting a grab on the final jump and had to settle for silver. Tuesday’s slip-up arguably was even worse, as it kept her out of the medal picture altogether. Her disqualification after losing her control and hitting a gate left Jacobellis in disbelief and once again leaves people questioning her performance on the Olympic stage.
One thing about the Vancouver games that has become apparent is that not everything will go smoothly. From delays in the downhill to faulty Zamboni work, these games have had their share of problems since Day 1.
Yesterday brought another example of this when errors in time management caused major issues in both biathlon events. In the men’s race, timing blunders caused American Jeremy Teela and Canadian Jean Philippe Leguellec to go off early, and they were penalized after the event. The added time dropped Teela to 24th place and caused Leguellec to fall out of the top five in the event and all the way to 11th.
The error might have been even more egregious in the women’s race earlier. Fourth-place finisher Anna Carin Oloffson-Zidek of Sweden was held back 14 seconds too long before her start, a mistake that might have impeded her from winning a medal. She finished sixth but was bumped up to fourth after officials realized their error. A better start could have changed the race.
It also was a tough day on the ice for the U.S. men’s curling team. Two losses on the event’s first day are a setback that puts the team’s medal hopes in serious doubt. The women did not fair much better on the opening day, losing their first match in Vancouver to Japan, 8-7.
The Local Look
Tuesday featured some ups and downs for New Englanders competing across the border. Along with the agonizing finish for Jacobellis, the U.S. team struggled in the women’s luge. 2009 world champion Erin Hamlin could only muster a 16th-place finish, struggling on the course’s tough turns throughout her four runs, and her two teammates from New England did not fare much better. Julia Clukey (Augusta, Maine) was one spot behind in 17th in her Olympic debut, while Connecticut native Megan Sweeney finished in 22nd in her first trip to the Games.
In women’s ice hockey, however, the U.S. team continued to roll, and a pair of New Englanders played a large part in the 13-0 thrashing of Russia. Harvard graduate and New Haven, Conn., native Caitlin Cahow chipped in a goal and an assist in the victory while 20-year-old Hilary Knight of Hanover was all over the ice, finishing with four assists on the day.
Moving to Wednesday, all eyes will be on the big names competing for Team USA. Shani Davis, Apolo Anton Ohno, Shaun White and Lindsey Vonn all will be in action and vying for gold in their respective events.
But that doesn’t mean New England won’t be represented as well. Alongside White representing the United States in the men’s halfpipe will be Scotty Lago, who hails from Seabrook, N.H. The 22-year-old will be looking to make his way onto the podium, perhaps alongside his countryman, Wednesday.
The Medal Count
Germany: 9 (3 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze)
United States: 8 (2, 2, 4)
France: 7 (2, 1, 4)
|02.17.10 at 8:54 am ET|
Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup, where we’ll get you caught up on what’s going on in the sports world and beyond.
A Scottish terrier was named Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club championship, but the event was interrupted during the final judging by two PETA protesters, one who held a sign reading: Mutts rule. PETA opposes the pure-bred dog culture because it takes attention away from the plight of shelter dogs.
BASEBALL: Mike Lowell talked about his precarious situation with the Red Sox. Jonathan Papelbon talked about getting a fresh start after last season’s disastrous ending. Get the update on Tuesday’s happenings in Fort Myers. Pitcher Chien-Ming Wang signed with the Nationals. Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens is scheduled for an MRI on his sore right shoulder
The Nets beat the Bobcats for their fifth win of the season. The Lakers won again without Kobe Bryant. The Thunder knocked off the Mavericks. The Heat routed the 76ers, who welcomed back Allen Iverson.
Kentucky beat Mississippi State in overtime. The attorney for former Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton entered a plea of not guilty to four felony drug-related charges and said Sutton is in a treatment center. Former Memphis State coach Dana Kirk died Monday at the age of 74.
FOOTBALL: D.J. Bean offers up an early mock draft. The Raiders made Sebastian Janikowski the highest-paid kicker ever. Attorneys said Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman and reality television star Tila Tequila settled their lawsuits against each other. The NFL Players Association accused the league of not sharing as much supplemental revenue with its lower-income teams as it is supposed to.
OLYMPICS: The U.S. hockey team won its opener, and Vermont snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis was disqualified during her semifinal race. Get the Olympic roundup here.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 17, 1968, which Massachusetts sports landmark opened?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I only brought one change of clothes. It’s been a real rough, rough 24 hours for me, but real exciting at the same time.” — Marcus Camby, on being traded from the Clippers to the Trail Blazers
STAT OF THE DAY: 26 — The average age of the U.S. hockey team, making it the youngest American squad since professionals started playing in the Olympics in 1998
‘NET RESULTS: Don’t you hate it when they show replays on TV and you don’t realize it’s a replay because you aren’t fully paying attention and you think your team scored? This happens on Red Sox games a lot. The other day, it happened in a soccer game — to an announcer.
Here’s a soccer shootout featuring an overabundance of delay moves and fakes.
TRIVIA ANSWER: The Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Bobby Lewis is 77 today.
|02.16.10 at 8:22 am ET|
Cross country skiing in the Olympics is a brutal test of endurance, stamina and straight-up heart.
This event also offers the most chances at a medal because there are so many cross country events in the Winter Games. Competition will go from Feb. 15-28, with Thursday having eight heats — between qualifying and medal rounds — going on during the day.
There are 11 Olympic hopefuls on the American team, and two hail from New England. Here is a closer look at the two local Olympians.
Freeman is entering his third Olympic Games, a remarkable feat. What makes Freeman’s story so amazing is the fact that he has been living with type 1 diabetes for 10 years. In order to get through the day, Freeman must take five shots of insulin a day to compete, and even that hasn’t slowed him down.
Just look at this video of him training for competition. The guess here is that most people could not or would not do some of this stuff.
Freeman had his best finish in his Olympic career at Torino in the 50k race when he placed 22nd. Coming off a gold in this year’s World Championships in the 15k, the Andover, N.H., native is looking to ride through snow, and rain for that matter, to get to the medal stand.
The 23-year-old Stephen will be on the Olympic stage for the first time. Stephen has only been skiing cross country since 2002, when she picked it up at Burke Mountain Academy after a lifetime of competing in alpine events.
A resident of East Montpelier, Vt., Stephen finished in the top 10 in four events at the U.S. championships to stake claim to a spot in Vancouver.
She also runs her own blog, called Full Sass, to keep fans updated on her Olympic progress.
|02.16.10 at 8:18 am ET|
The action on the ice will pick up this week in the figure skating competition, but boy has there been some headlines off of it. Johnny Weir, an American medal hopeful, had to scratch the idea of staying in a hotel away from the Olympic Village because of threats from animal rights activists.
Weir has been under scrutiny because of his — ahem — unusual choice of clothing during the nationals before the Olympic Games. He sported an outfit with trim made out of white fox fur, which set off the animal rights people.
The colorful skater always has done things his own way, and he kind of reminds us of a no-nonsense renegade skater … Chaz Michael Michaels.
All of the off-ice situations are taking away from the fact that Weir is one of the hopefuls for a medal on the U.S. squad.
There are a lot of question marks surrounding the U.S. team this year. The likes of Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen will not be around this winter, and there are no New Englanders to keep an eye on.
ESPN only has three medals for the U.S. squad in its predictions for the Vancouver Games.
Evan Lysacek is projected to be the top U.S. individual competitor in the Games, but don’t knock him out of his routine. Lysacek has some interesting habits and superstitions that he needs to do before he gets to the ice. Just look at the interview that he did with Jay Leno.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White are projected to claim gold in the team dance competition by ESPN, and Tanith Belbin — whom Weir is rooming with — and Benjamin Agosto are predicted to finish third in the same event.
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