Archive for January, 2012

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Jim Harbaugh compares Giants’ non-fumble to Patriots’ tuck rule call

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Welcome to Monday’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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Wild at Avalanche, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Michigan at Purdue, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Kentucky at Georgia, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Miami at Georgia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ With 2:29 remaining in Sunday’s NFC championship game, Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled the ball on the New York 21-yard line and it was recovered by the 49ers. However, the officials ruled that Bradshaw’s forward progress had been stopped, so the Giants retained possession. That doesn’t sit well with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who compared the play to the infamous tuck rule call that helped Tom Brady and the Patriots defeat the Raiders in the Snow Bowl 10 years ago.

“In my opinion, that was a fumble,” Harbaugh said Monday. “I’m sure the league will defend it and the officials will defend it. But to me, that play was still going on. There was still struggling by Bradshaw. ‘€¦ I felt like it was analogous with the tuck rule.”

‘™¦ Former Lakers forward Robert Horry offered his take on the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant feud, blaming Phil Jackson for inciting the two players.

“I think Phil Jackson started that feud,” Horry told a Russian sports website. “It happened many times that after team practice he would say, ‘€œKobe said this about Shaq, and Shaq said that about Kobe. ‘€¦ We couldn’€™t believe how could that happen, because just the day before we saw them together, jumping on one another. Phil liked it when there was conflict of some sort.

“I always tell people; if you look at those championships, you’€™ll see who were the closest players on the team. Normally those are the guys who are the first to hug each other. And when we were winning, it was always Shaq and Kobe who hugged. I think this will answer your question. Later it was blown out of proportion by the media, and both players started doing something that didn’€™t make sense.”

‘™¦ Real Clear Sports has a list of the 10 most hyped foreign players. Daisuke Matsuzaka is No. 5, and Hideo Nomo, another Japanese pitcher who spent some time with the Red Sox, is No. 9. Yao Ming takes the top spot, ahead of Pele and Hideki Matsui.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 24, 1971, which Bruin was honored in a pregame ceremony before the B’s beat the Canadiens, 4-2, to extend their home winning streak to 15?

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Buccaneers confirm Chip Kelly’s decision to remain at Oregon

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

There have been a number of reports in the past 24 hours indicating that University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly planned to accept the Buccaneers‘ job offer and then changed his mind. On Monday morning, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik confirmed that Kelly will not join the team.

“His heart is with college football and Oregon, and he’s no longer being considered,” Dominik told the Tampa Bay Times.

Kelly reportedly met with Bucs executives last week and canceled a recruiting trip in order to finalize his contract with the NFL team. As the news leaked out Sunday, Kelly apparently had a chance of heart.

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Dolphins reportedly among teams with interest in Peyton Manning

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Welcome to Monday’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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Magic at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE, NBA TV; WEEI)
NBA: Grizzlies at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Syracuse at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas A&M at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Blues at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ There’s been widespread speculation that the Jets would make a run at Peyton Manning if the Colts decide to move on from the veteran quarterback. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that another AFC East team is one of three clubs expected to join the hunt. Schefter writes that the Dolphins, Redskins and Cardinals all have interest, and The Miami Herald confirms via team sources that the Dolphins will “aggressively pursue him” if the 35-year-old is cleared medically.

The Colts, who own the No. 1 pick in April’s draft, must decide by March 8 whether to pay a $28 million roster bonus to Manning, who missed the season after having neck surgery.

Manning was in San Francisco Sunday, watching his brother Eli lead the Giants past the 49ers for the NFC championship.

‘€œI’€™m just proud as a quarterback to watch him compete,’€ said Peyton, who bought his own tickets to the game and didn’t tell his brother he’d be watching him in person. ‘€œAnd the way he’€™s played, I’€™m even more proud that Eli is my brother.’€

‘™¦ Controversial former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens, who last week signed a deal to play for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, told GQ magazine he is running out of friends and money. “I don’t have no friends. I don’t want no friends. That’s how I feel,” he said. The 38-year-old said he’s been victimized by bad investments and struggles with child support for four children (with four mothers). When people ask him where he is, he tells them, “I’m in hell.”

‘™¦ Prince Fielder remains unsigned, and a weekend rumor has the dysfunctional Dodgers as a possible landing spot.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 23, 1981, the Red Sox traded Fred Lynn and Steve Renko to the Angels for pitchers Frank Tanana and Jim Dorsey and which outfielder/designated hitter?

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: NL MVP Ryan Braun reportedly begins appeal of suspension

Friday, January 20th, 2012

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.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Suns at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
NBA: Lakers at Magic, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Timberwolves at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Green Bay at Cleveland State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Canadiens at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: Providence at Boston University, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)

SATURDAY:
NHL: Rangers at Bruins, 1 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Sharks at Canucks, 4 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL: Canadiens at Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Nuggets at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Boston College, noon (WEEI)
College basketball: Alabama at Kentucky, noon (CBS)
College basketball: Missouri at Baylor, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UConn at Tennessee, 4 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: Florida State at Duke, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Syracuse at Notre Dame, 6 p.m. (ESPN)

SUNDAY:
NFL playoffs: Ravens at Patriots, 3 p.m. (CBS; WEEI)
NFL playoffs: Giants at 49ers, 6:30 p.m. (Fox; WRKO)
NHL: Bruins at Flyers, 3 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Capitals at Penguins, 12:30 p.m. (NBC)
NBA: Celtics at Wizards, 1 p.m. (CSNNE; WRKO)
College basketball: Virginia Tech at Virginia, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Brewers star Ryan Braun reportedly began his appeal of his positive drug test Thursday, as the National League MVP attempts to avoid a 50-game suspension.

Braun is presenting his case to a three-member arbitration panel, according to the New York Daily News, and he’ll have to prove that “the presence of a prohibited substance in his urine was not due to his fault or negligence.”

Braun will receive his MVP award Saturday at the annual dinner of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He is expected to give a speech but not take questions from the media.

‘™¦ Mets legend Gary Carter, who has been battling brain tumors for the past year, made a rare public appearance at a charity golf tournament in Florida on Sunday and said, “I’m not feeling all that good.” On Thursday, the family found out that new tumors have appeared on the 57-year-old Hall of Famer’s brain. “He’s having a hard time moving around, but I still believe if anyone can beat this, it’s Gary,” said former teammate Howard Johnson.

‘™¦ Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona was arrested in the Dominican Republic when he tried to renew his visa. Officials there claim he has been using a false identity. They say his real name is Roberto Hernandez Heredia, and that he’s 31 years old, three years older than listed by the Indians in their media guide.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 20, 1996, in the NHL All-Star Game at what was then called the FleetCenter in Boston, which Bruin scored with 38 seconds remaining in regulation to give the East a 5-4 victory over the West?

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: LaDainian Tomlinson says Jets’ situation ‘bad as I’ve ever been around’

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Welcome to Thursday’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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Devils, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Penguins at Rangers, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Lakers at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Mavericks at Jazz, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Boston College at NC State, 8 p.m. (WSBK; WEEI)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: North Carolina at Virginia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: San Francisco at Gonzaga, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Running back LaDainian Tomlinson went on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” and talked about how the Jets struggled with internal strife during their 8-8 season. In the interview that aired Wednesday night, LT said the relationship between quarterback Mark Sanchez and receiver Santonio Holmes was especially poor, and it helped create a fractured locker room.

“It is as bad as I’ve ever been around, honestly,” Tomlinson said. “And I’ve been around some locker rooms and quarterback-receiver situations and what-not. But it was as bad as I’ve been around.”

Tomlinson assessed the blame for the poor chemistry on the guys who built the team: the general manager and coach.

“This is the type of football team that they wanted,” said Tomlinson, the NFL’s fifth-leading rusher. “Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan are both brash, in-your-face type of style — say whatever you want, just get it done on the field. And then it leads to other things, as guys are calling each other out and saying, ‘I’m not getting the ball,’ or whatever it may be.”

Tomlinson said he loved playing for Ryan, but he would prefer the coach dial down the tough talk, noting that it provided inspiration for opponents.

“I don’t mind every now and again saying we are going to win a championship,” Tomlinson said. “Maybe at the beginning of the year just saying, ‘Hey, our goal is to win a championship.’ But at the same time every week if you are calling out a team on certain things, I think it puts a little extra on your team. Guys really want to go out there and say, ‘Let’s shut this guy up. Let’s shut these Jets up, just end their season.’ ”

‘™¦ Actor Rob Lowe made some news Wednesday when he tweeted that Peyton Manning would announce his retirement. Lowe, who stars in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” a show set in Indiana, is friends with Colts owner Jim Irsay. But apparently he didn’t clear his “scoop” with Irsay, because it was quickly shot down. Manning’s father laughed at the report and denied it, while Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, told the NFL Network, “It was news to [Manning].”

‘™¦ Former NFL receiver Terrell Owens announced via a video that he’s joining the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League. “Uh oh! It’s official! It just went down! I’m headed back to Texas!,” Owens said. “That’s right. IFL, here I come. Allen, Texas, here I come.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 19, 1898, which two New England schools played the first recorded college hockey game in the United States?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This is our second-longest winning streak this year. It’s a positive vibe right now in our locker room.” Rajon Rondo, after the Celtics ended a five-game losing streak Wednesday night with a 96-73 victory over the Raptors

STAT OF THE DAY: $111 million – Amount the Rangers invested in Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, after agreeing to a six-year, $60 million contract a month after agreeing to pay a $51 million posting fee

‘NET RESULTS: A Bruins fan in Tampa does not take kindly to the Lightning mascot hitting him in the face with silly string and pushes “Thunderbug,” which appears to lead to the fan’s ejection.

Real Madrid soccer player Pepe created a controversy when he stomped on the hand of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, an act the referee missed. Tweeted Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, who was watching the game on television: Pepe. What an idiot.

The Knicks Kid Reporters, Jaylah and Ryan, ask the Knicks players tough questions, such as how to spell supercalifragilistic and if they can sing a Justin Bieber song.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Brown and Harvard, with Brown winning 6-0

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Janis Joplin, who died in 1970, was born on this day in 1943.

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Rangers coach John Tortorella critical of owner James Dolan’s optimistic talk

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Welcome to Wednesday’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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Raptors at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Mavericks at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Cincinnati at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Clemson at Miami, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Texas at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Rangers coach John Tortorella is known for speaking his mind and not backing down to anyone, and apparently it doesn’t matter even when dealing with the team’s owner. After James Dolan told the media Tuesday that the first-place Rangers were “pretty close” to winning a Stanley Cup, Tortorella called out his boss.

‘€œRight now up to this point we’€™ve done a pretty good job ‘€” we just have to go about our business,’€ Tortorella said after the Rangers shut out the Predators, 3-0, and Dolan had left the room on Madison Square Garden’€™s fifth floor. ‘€œLike I have my owner up here talking about a Stanley Cup. That’€™s a bunch of bull—-. We need to take one game at a time.’€

‘™¦ Oilers forward Taylor Hall slipped on a puck during pregame warmups Tuesday night and ended up colliding with two teammates and getting a skate across his face. Hall, who was not wearing a helmet, was taken to a hospital for stitches above his eye. The No. 1 pick in 2010, Hall was taken one spot before the Bruins grabbed Tyler Seguin. Hall has scored six goals in his past nine games.

“This is one of those fluky things. It just happens,” Oilers coach Tom Renney said. “Not much we can do about it.”

‘™¦ A man was shot and killed at a restaurant inside a Vancouver hotel where the U.S. women’s soccer team is staying as they compete in an Olympic qualifying tournament. A team spokesman said no players witnessed the shooting.

Tweeted goalie Hope Solo: Saved by our instant yoga session. Was about to walk to starbucks when all hell broke loose in the lobby of our hotel! Life is precious’€¦

‘™¦ Former Titans coach Jeff Fisher, named last week as coach of the Rams, was first at the scene of a serious car crash Sunday in Brentwood, Tenn., and aided two injured teenagers until medical personnel arrived. On a 911 tape, a woman who called for help can be heard recognizing Fisher. “Hi, coach Fisher. Hi. We need you. Right now!” she said. “There’s coach Fisher. That’s Jeff Fisher, from the Titans. So hold on. We need him. Immediately.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 18, 1973, the Red Sox signed their first designated hitter, with the position set to debut that season. Which veteran was obtained to fill that role?

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Marshall coach Tom Herrion flops for flagrant foul

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Marshall University basketball coach (and Massachusetts native) Tom Herrion drew a flagrant foul on Central Florida’s Isaiah Sykes during Saturday’s game in Huntington, W.Va. In the first half, Sykes appeared to contact Herrion, who proceeded to exaggerate the contact by falling into the crowd and then crawl around the sideline. Referees spent about 15 minutes reviewing the incident before calling the flagrant on Sykes, who insisted the contact was “incidental.”

Marshall hit one of the two free throws and went on to win the game by one point, 65-64.

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Safety Antrel Rolle says Giants won’t be denied

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Welcome to Tuesday’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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Lightning, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Predators at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Spurs at Heat, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Georgetown at DePaul, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Michigan State at Michigan, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Arkansas at Kentucky, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Maryland at Florida State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The Giants have talked the the talk and walked the walk the past couple of weeks, so there was no reason to expect they would change their brash ways as they prepare to meet the 49ers in the NFC championship game.

“We’re not going to be denied at this point,” safety Antrel Rolle said Monday. ‘€œWe know what we have as a team. It’€™s not all about talent, it’€™s about chemistry, jelling at this point. We have one goal in mind and that’€™s to win a championship.’€

Added Rolle: “In our minds, we can’t be beat.”

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh is known for his cockiness as well, but he was subdued and respectful in a press conference Monday when talking about the Giants. ‘€œThat’€™s a formidable opponent,” he said. “That is a worthy opponent. That is a scary opponent. We will have to come with every ounce of our ‘€˜A’€™ game as well.’€

‘™¦ Former Lakers forward Lamar Odom made his return to Los Angeles with the Mavericks on Tuesday night. Odom said he still doesn’t understand why the Lakers shipped him out of town with little warning. “It was impossible for me not to take it personally,” he said.

‘™¦ Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 most successful coaching retreads, and there are a number of Boston connections. No. 10 is new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. No. 9 is Mavericks coach (and former Celtic) Rick Carlisle. No. 8 is Giants boss (and former Boston College coach) Tom Coughlin. No. 3 is Pete Carroll, who shined at USC after being fired by the Patriots and now leads the Seahawks. Recently retired Lakers coach Phil Jackson is No. 1, followed by NHL legend Scotty Bowman.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 17, 1970, future Red Sox standout Fred Lynn was drafted by which team, refusing to sign and instead choosing to play college ball at USC?

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Former Chiefs staffers accuse team of bugging rooms, phones

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Welcome to Monday’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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Stars at Blues, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Thunder at Celtics, 8 p.m. (TNT; WEEI)
NBA: Bulls at Grizzles, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Mavericks at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Louisville at Marquette, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Syracuse, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Baylor at Kansas, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ According to an article by Kent Babb of The Kansas City Star, former Chiefs coach Todd Haley was convinced that team management had bugged rooms and phones in an attempt to monitor employees’ conversations, and he wasn’t the only one with paranoid thoughts. Since Scott Pioli was hired as general manager in January 2009 (away from the Patriots), the article states, “life for many inside the Chiefs’ front office has been marked by massive staff turnover, fear and insecurity about how closely they are watched.” There are also charges of age discrimination. Three former department head sued the Chiefs in 2011.

According to a former high-ranking staffer: ‘€œThe level of paranoia was probably the highest that I had ever seen it anywhere. ‘€¦ If you make the wrong step, you might not be able to pay your mortgage.’€

Team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt played down the accusations, saying that an emphasis has been placed on individual responsibility. “We needed a culture that pursued excellence,” he said. “One that valued honesty and integrity, one where the employees would be held accountable.”

‘™¦ Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson was the latest to come to the defense of quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was referred to as “lazy” by an unnamed Jet last week. Tomlinson implied that some of the team’s wide receivers had an ax to grind with Sanchez after a “disconnect” throughout the year.

‘€œThere are a lot of things you can say about Mark Sanchez, but to call him lazy is a bit much,’€ Tomlinson said. ‘€This is a guy that has worked very hard off the field, in the film room. I’€™ve seen it, in the weight room, putting in extra time with the coaches early in the morning after practice when everybody is gone. He is putting in time. So, he’€™s not lazy.’€

‘™¦ Former Giants running back Tiki Barber said he tried to set up a meeting with coach Tom Coughlin to mend fences after criticizing the coach’s style, but Coughlin said no. Barber, who tried to make a comeback this season but did not get an offer from an NFL team, remains optimistic about getting back in the Giants’ good graces. “One of these days I’m sure it’ll happen, because as we know, time heals all wounds,” Barber said on ESPN Radio. “And I think at the end of the day, Giants fans, despite their dislike of me at times, know that I was one of the guys that put [it] on the line every time I put on my uniform.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 16, 1974, which Bruin became the eighth player in NHL history to record 450 goals when he scored in a 5-5 tie with the Blackhawks in Chicago?

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Joe Namath unimpressed with Jets’ hiring of Tony Sparano

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup — especially everyone in Mr. Kearney’s seventh-grade class. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Bulls at Celtics, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI)
NBA: Heat at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Cleveland State at Butler, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Lightning at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)

SATURDAY:
NFL playoffs: Broncos at Patriots, 8 p.m. (CBS)
NFL playoffs: Saints at 49ers, 4:30 p.m. (Fox; WEEI)
NBA: Celtics at Pacers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
NBA: Lakers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Virginia Tech at Boston College, 3 p.m. (WEEI)
College basketball: UConn at Notre Dame, 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: North Carolina at Florida State, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Bruins at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Red Wings, 12:30 p.m. (NBC)

SUNDAY:
NFL playoffs: Texans at Ravens, 1 p.m. (CBS; WEEI)
NFL playoffs: Giants at Packers, 4:30 p.m. (Fox; WEEI)
NBA: Suns at Spurs, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Indiana at Ohio State, 4:30 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: Duke at Clemson, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Rangers at Canadiens, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Jets legend Joe Namath is not impressed by his old team’s hiring of former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator.

“I’m stumped,” Namath said during a Thursday appearance on New York’s 1050 ESPN Radio. “I am stumped. Ay yay yay.”

Namath questioned Sparano’s qualifications for the position.

“Other than calling some plays with the Dallas Cowboys I don’€™t know what his credentials are for an offensive coordinator,’€ Namath said. ‘€œThis goes back ‘€¦ Sparano’€™s relationship with [Jets GM Mike] Tannenbaum goes back to the [Bill] Parcells days, too. This is the football fraternity, the coaching fraternity, the general mangers with their friends and all. That’€™s basically what I think about Tony getting that job. Credentials as an offensive coordinator? I don’€™t see it.”

‘™¦ Following his appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning, Theo Epstein met with about 100 grammar school students at Wrigley Field and talked about ending the team’s Billy Goat curse.

“We can break it,” said Epstein, who also discussed the team’s partnership with Bloomberg Sports that will help the team’s baseball operations department develop a new player-evaluation system. “If we stick together, if we have a plan, if we support each other, if we keep focused on what’s best as a team, and not what’s best for the individual, if we work really hard, if we prepare really hard, someday we can turn this thing around, and yeah, we can win.”

‘™¦ Bruins fans might not realize it watching their feisty team, but fighting is down 25 percent in the NHL this season.

“I think there has been a shift in the way the game is being played,” Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said. “Right now I think the rules are protecting players, where in the past the players policed the game a little bit more.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 13, 1983, the Red Sox shipped which veteran pitcher to the Mets for a minor leaguer to be named later (infielder Mike Davis, who never reached the majors)?

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