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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Avs’ Erik Johnson says ‘no place in the game’ for Wild’s Matt Cooke, who gets 7-game suspension 04.24.14 at 6:56 am ET
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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:
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Pirates, 12:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Cubs, 2 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Orioles at Blue Jays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Bruins at Red Wings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Avalanche at Wild, 9:30 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Hawks, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Clippers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Benfica vs. Juventus, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Wild forward Matt Cooke is back in a familiar spot: on the sideline serving a suspension. Cooke was banned seven games by the league for his knee-on-knee hit on Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie in Game 3 of their series — the second-longest kneeing suspension in league history. Barrie suffered a sprained MCL and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

This is Cooke’s sixth suspension, adding up to 34 games. He had gone three years since his last major transgression, when he played for the Penguins.

Cooke, 35, can appeal the suspension to commissioner Gary Bettman.

‘I think everyone is pretty informed on what he does out there and what he’s done in the past, and I think that speaks for itself,” Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said Wednesday before the suspension was announced. “There’s no place for that in the game. Look at the guy who he hit: one of our top ‘D.’ He’s going to be out for the foreseeable future.”

Added Johnson: “I don’t even know if there’s a place for him in this game. It’s disgusting what he’s done to guys’ careers.”

– The Knicks are looking for a new coach after firing Mike Woodson, but president Phil Jackson made it clear he won’t be returning to the bench.

Jeanie Buss was here with the Board of Governors last week and stayed through the weekend, and tried to encourage me to coach the team. And if there’s anyone that can encourage me to do anything, it’s Jeanie Buss. But I was able to withstand her arguments the whole time,” Jackson said dueling a Wednesday press conference at the Knicks’ training center in Greenburgh, N.Y.

Added Jackson: “Right now I know physically what I can do. That’s something that I don’t think physically I can do.”

Jackson said he has some names in mind, and he did nothing to discourage rumors that TNT analyst Steve Kerr is the leading candidate.

“I know philosophically we have a strong connection. Whether he’s able to take a job like this, I don’t know,” Jackson said. “I will get in a conversation with him later on this month and talk to him about and see where he’s at as far as his desire to coach.”

– Pacers guard Lance Stephenson admitted that he and teammates Evan Turner had a “little scuffle” prior to Game 1 of Indiana’s series vs. the Hawks, although he denied a report that punches were thrown.

Two large scratches were evident on Turner’s neck during the game, which the favored Pacers lost.

“We got in a little scuffle, but it was just practice related,” Stephenson said. “No blows, just hard playing and getting ready for the playoffs. I mean, I’ve got no problem with him.”

Meanwhile, coach Frank Vogel, who had a long conversation after Wednesday’s practice with team president Larry Bird, appeared unconcerned about a report that he is “coaching for his job” after the team’s late-season struggles.

“It’s the NBA, we’re all coaching for our jobs,” Vogel said. “All I know is that I’ve got incredible support from Larry and we’re trying to win games.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 24, 1983, which player scored 1:52 into overtime to give the Bruins a 3-2 victory over the Sabres in Game 7 of their Adams Division finals series at Boston Garden?

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Read More: Evan Turner, Frank Vogel, Lance Stephenson, matt cooke
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Paul Pierce calls Nets ‘soft’ after late collapse vs. Raptors 04.23.14 at 8:01 am ET
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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:
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Cubs, 2 p.m. (WGN, MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Stars, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blues at Blackhawks, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Bobcats at Heat, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Mavericks at Spurs, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA playoffs: Trail Blazers at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Bayern Munich at Real Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: CONCACAF Champions, Cruz Azul at Toluca, 8 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

– It’s not quite Larry Bird calling out his Celtics teammates in the 1984 NBA finals against the Lakers, but Paul Pierce appears to be doing his best to light a fire under his Nets, calling Brooklyn a “soft team” after Tuesday’s Game 2 loss to the Raptors in Toronto.

The Nets squandered a 69-64 lead early in the fourth quarter and allowed the Raptors to score 36 fourth-quarter points on 12-of-16 shooting and tie the series with a 100-95 decision. Brooklyn was out rebounded 52-30 in the game.

Pierce, who scored nine straight points in the final three minutes of Game 1 as the Nets grabbed a 94-87 victory, missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer from the corner with 24 seconds remaining Tuesday. He made just 2-of-11 shots and scored seven points.

But after the game the former Celtic was more concerned about his team’s lack of defensive teamwork and aggressiveness in the paint.

“We gave them everything they wanted — 50 points in the paint, and [19] offensive rebounds,” Pierce said. “We were a soft team tonight.”

Teammate Kevin Garnett said he expects the Brooklyn fans to be rowdy for Friday’s Game 3, especially after Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri yelled “[Expletive] Brooklyn]” to a group of Toronto fans outside the arena prior to Game 1 (for which Ujiri was fined $25,000 by the league).

Said Garnett: “It’s going to be a rowdy environment, like it should be. I don’t know if you can say ‘F’ Brooklyn and then come into Brooklyn, so we’re about to see what it’s like.”

– Wild forward Matt Cooke has a hearing Wednesday in New York with the NHL‘s department of player safety to explain himself for his knee-on-knee hit Monday that injured Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.

Cooke, well known for his bad behavior during his days with the Penguins, has stayed out of trouble the past three seasons after multiple suspensions, but this latest incident appears likely to cost him. The Avs say Barrie, who left the game immediately after the hit, suffered a sprained MCL and will be out 4-6 weeks.

“Does he really need to do those nasty, dirty hits?” said Avalanche forward Max Talbot, who played with Cooke in Pittsburgh. “He’s been in that mode since Game 1. He has been chippy with his stick, going in, slashing guys and, you know, being dirty.”

– Longtime NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager said he is “honored” by the outpouring of support he has received since he started chemotherapy as part of his battle with leukemia. On Sunday, TNT broadcasters and analysts paid tribute to Sager by wearing flashy suits (Sager’s trademark), and famously curt Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said in an interview with Sager’s son that he wanted Sager back and would be nice to him.

“It was just fabulous, an uplifting, tremendous thing for me,” Sager told Sports Illustrated. “Pop saying he wanted me back and then promising to be nice? I was like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s unbelievable, what an honor.’ But then I started thinking about it: If I come back and Pop starts being nice to me, it just wouldn’t be right. I want him to go Serbian [a reference to Popovich's heritage] on me.”

Sager said he is watching the NBA playoffs on TV and “it is therapeutic.”

“Getting my first chemo was very emotional,” Sager said. “I’m thinking, What is this going to be like, how will it feel, what effects will it have on my body — a total unknown. I have never been sick a day in my life. All of sudden they are administering the first chemo and [ESPN/ABC play-by-play announcer] Mike Breen gets on the air and says, ‘Hey, we just want to say we miss Craig Sager.’ That happened right as the first chemo came. I was like, Wow, I feel better now from the love and support of the airwaves!”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 23, 1969, Ted Williams returned to Fenway Park as the manager of which team?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It hasn’t been easy, let’s not kid ourselves. We’ve been fortunate enough in the last two games to get leads. We’re not going to talk about a comfortable situation because until you win that fourth game, it never is.” – Bruins coach Claude Julien, after the Bruins’ 3-0 victory Tuesday gave them a 2-1 series lead over the Red Wings

STAT OF THE DAY: 35 – Strikeouts this season for Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka — who fanned seven Red Sox in New York’s 9-3 win Tuesday — the most through a pitcher’s first four starts in team history

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Angels slugger Albert Pujols hits his 500th home run in Tuesday’s game against the Nationals.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Washington Senators (who moved to Texas after the 1971 season to become the Rangers)

SOOTHING SOUNDS: The late Dale Houston, half of the group Dale & Grace, was born on this day in 1940.

Read More: Craig Sager, kevin garnett, matt cooke, Paul Pierce
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees CF Jacoby Ellsbury ‘can’t worry’ about reaction he’ll receive at Fenway Park 04.22.14 at 8:09 am ET
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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:
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESNplus; WEEI-FM)
MLB: White Sox at Tigers, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Bruins at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NESN, NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Lightning at Canadiens, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Flyers, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Kings, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Hawks at Pacers, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Nets at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA playoffs: Wizards at Bulls, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Champions League, Chelsea at Atletico Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jacoby Ellsbury is set to make his first appearance at Fenway Park as a member of the Yankees. (AP)

Former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is set to make his first appearance at Fenway Park as a member of the Yankees on Monday night. (AP)

Jacoby Ellsbury makes his return to Fenway Park on Tuesday as a member of the Yankees, and Johnny Damon, who was in a similar situation eight years ago, says the boos the outfielder will hear will be good for him.

“It’s going to be great for Ellsbury to go back,” Damon told the New York Post. “The fact that almost everybody will be booing will make it easier. That would be tougher on certain individuals, but the good thing about him is that he plays hard.”

Damon left Boston in 2006, apparently unwanted by Red Sox management despite helping Boston end its 86-year title drought in 2004, and signed with the Yankees. In his first game back at Fenway, he turned the boos into cheers (at least partly) when he stopped and tipped his helmet to the crowd before his first at-bat.

“I knew all the fans weren’t booing,” Damon said. “I did a lot of things there. I brought a different attitude to the clubhouse and helped with a championship. To those who were booing, the hell with them.”

Ellsbury said he hasn’t been thinking about the reaction he’ll receive, although he’s well aware of how “passionate” Red Sox fans are.

“We will see what happens when the time comes,” Ellsbury said. “You can’t think about what they are going to do. In this game you can only focus on what you can do. You can’t worry about the other stuff you can’t control. I gave the organization everything I had for a third of my life.”

– The Knicks began their rebuild under new team president Phil Jackson when they fired coach Mike Woodson and his assistants on Monday.

The Knicks, expected to compete for one of the top spots in the Eastern Conference this season, went 37-45 and missed the playoffs.

Jackson noted in a statement that “blame should not be put on one individual,” but added that “the time has come for change throughout the franchise as we start the journey to assess and build the team for next season and beyond.”

Woodson, who finished third in NBA Coach of the Year balloting last season after New York went 54-28, ends his Knicks career with a .580 winning percentage, ranking him third in franchise history behind Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy.

TNT analyst Steve Kerr, who played for Jackson in Chicago, has been rumored to be the leading candidate.

“It’s going to be very interesting and obviously my name is being thrown around,” Kerr said Monday during his SiriusXM NBA Radio show. “I do anticipate at least being part of the conversation and we’ll see where it all goes.”

– ESPN football analyst Keyshawn Johnson was arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery early Monday morning after a dispute with his ex-girlfriend, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told reporters.

Johnson, 41, was released shortly after 9 a.m. after posting $20,000 bail.

An ESPN spokesman said the network was aware of the incident and was “looking into it.”

Johnson, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 1996 draft by the Jets, played for the Jets, Buccaneers, Cowboys and Panthers as part of his 11-year NFL career before retiring in 2006.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 22, 1993, which Mariners pitcher walked the first two Red Sox batters of the game but went on to pitch a no-hitter in a 7-0 victory in Seattle?

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Read More: Jacoby Ellsbury, Keyshawn Johnson, mike woodson, Phil Jackson
Meb Keflezighi first American to win Boston Marathon in 31 years 04.21.14 at 12:46 pm ET
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Meb Keflezighi held off a charge from Wilson Chebet to become the first American to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 in Monday’s 118th running of the historic race.

Meb Keflezighi crosses the finish line to win the 2014 Boston Marathon. (Getty Images)

American Meb Keflezighi crosses the finish line to win the 2014 Boston Marathon. (Getty Images)

Chebet closed to within a few seconds of Kefleghzi with about a mile remaining, but Keflezighi put on a late spurt as he made the turn onto Hereford Street and then the quick final turn onto Boylston Street. He finished in a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds. Chebet was 11 seconds behind.

Keflezighi, 38, was born in Eritrea and moved to San Diego at the age of 12. He became a U.S. citizen in 1998. The UCLA product won the silver medal in the 2004 Olympic marathon and finished fourth in the 2012 Olympic race. He also represented the United States in the 2000 Olympics, finishing 12th in the 10,000 meters.

Keflezighi wrote the names of the victims of last year’s finish line bombings as well as slain MIT officer Sean Collier on his race bib, and he said he hoped to have his picture taken with the victims’ families.

On the women’s side, defending champion Rita Jeptoo of Kenya broke away from a pack of five runners at the 23-mile mark and won with a course-record time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 57 seconds.

Buzunesh Deba was second, just over a minute behind.

Marblehead’s Shalane Flanagan led for the first half of the race but fell of the pace on the Newton hills and ended up finishing fifth.

Read More: Boston Marathon, Meb Keflezighi, Rita Jeptoo,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Mets’ Daisuke Matsuzaka solid in new role as reliever 04.21.14 at 8:21 am ET
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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:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 11:05 a.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Pirates, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Avalanche at Wild, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL playoffs: Blues at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Stars, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Warriors at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Running: Boston Marathon, 8:30 a.m. (WBZ-TV, Universal Sports)
Soccer: West Bromwich at Manchester City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled for the third straight time since joining the Mets. (AP)

Daisuke Matsuzaka is willing to do what is asked by the Mets in order to stay in the majors. (AP)

– Mets right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was thrust into an unfamiliar role over the weekend, as the the former Red Sox hurler came out of the bullpen to pitch in Saturday and Sunday’s games against the Braves.

Matsuzaka was sent to Triple-A to start the season, but he was recalled Wednesday to provide relief depth.

After allowing one run in one inning Saturday on two hits and a walk, Matsuzaka threw three hitless innings in Sunday’s 4-3 victory that took 14 innings.

“I spoke with [pitching coach] Dan [Warthen] before the game and I told him I’€™d be ready, that I can go. Of course it went into extra innings so I knew I had to pitch,” Matsuzaka said (via the New York Post). I was mentally prepared, so it wasn’€™t too difficult. I’€™ve never done it, so it’€™s hard to say [how it'€™ll go]. This is my role for the time being so I have to just do what I can and make sure I pitch well whenever I go out there.

“I don’€™t want to use not being used to and not having done it as an excuse. This is my role for the time being, so I just need to go out and pitch well. … [Saturday] I only pitched one inning. I didn’€™t expect back-to-back days to be a problem.”

The Blackhawks, already down 2-0 in their series vs. the Blues, got some more bad news Sunday, as defenseman Brent Seabrook was suspended three games for his hit on David Backes late in the third period of Saturday’s Game 2.

Seabrook, who recorded a goal and an assist in each of the first two games, delivered an elbow to Backes’ head near the corner boards with 4:51 remaining. He received a five-minute major and game misconduct.

Backes was helped off the ice and did not return to see his team — still on the power play from Seabrook’s penalty — tie the game with 6.4 seconds left in regulation before winning in overtime.

The Blues, already upset about a knee-to-knee hit from Chicago’s Bryan Bickell on Vladimir Sobotka, were incensed when they learned that a Blackhawks player — reportedly Duncan Keith — taunted Backes after the hit, telling the dazed Blues captain, “Wakey, wakey, Backes” (audible on the video below at the 45-second mark).

“I saw them talking to him,” Blues enforce Ryan Reaves said. “It makes it a little more gutless. I don’t think there’s any need for that when a hit like that happens. You don’t need to be going after him when he doesn’t even know where he really is.

“I’m not happy about that. I don’t think anybody in this organization is happy about it. To see that happen, I think is just embarrassing in that organization.”

Backes’ availability for Monday’s Game 3 was not clear Sunday.

– Former boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who served 19 years in prison for three murders before having his verdict overturned in 1985, died Sunday at the age of 76 after a battle with prostate cancer.

Carter, whose story was dramatized in the Bob Dylan song “Hurricane” and the 1999 movie “The Hurricane,” began his boxing career in 1961 after serving four years in state prison for a series of muggings. He went 27-12-1 and got as far as fighting for the middleweight title in December 1964, losing a unanimous decision to Joey Giardello.

In 1966 he was convicted of killing three people in a bar in Paterson, N.J. He received a second trial in 1976 but was convicted again. After years of more appeals and accusations of racial bias, he was freed in 1985 and eventually settled in Toronto, working for the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 21, 1990, in Game 2 of the Adams Division finals against the Canadiens, Garry Galley gave the Bruins a 5-4 victory when he scored 3:42 into overtime on a goal that was reminiscent of the Bobby Orr tally that clinched the 1970 Stanley Cup finals. Which Bruin had four assists in the game, including on the game-winner?

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Read More: Brent Seabrook, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Backes, Rubin Carter
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Another Aaron Hernandez associate indicted in relation to murder case 04.18.14 at 8:09 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.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN Plus; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Cubs, 2:15 p.m. (WGN, MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Rays, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Red Wings at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NESN, NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Canadiens at Lightning, 7 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Stars at Ducks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Aaron Hernandez was cut by the Patriots after his arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd. (AP)

The case against Aaron Hernandez continues to develop. (AP)

– Another Aaron Hernandez associate was arrested and will face charges related to the death of Odin Lloyd, for which the former Patriots tight end and two other men stand accused with murder.

On Thursday in federal court in Orlando, 23-year-old Oscar Hernandez (no relation to Aaron) was ordered detained until he is to be transferred to Boston to face charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying under oath after being indicted by a federal grand jury.

The indictment states that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced three guns that had been recovered during the investigation into Lloyd’s death, and the ATF determined that the guns had been purchased in Florida last April. None of the guns are the .45-caliber Glock investigators believe was used in the shooting.

One of the guns is believed to be a rifle that investigators found in a gray Toyota Camry with Florida license plates that was parked in the garage of Aaron Hernandez’s North Attleboro home.

Aaron Hernandez’s lawyers said previously that Oscar Hernandez was interviewed by investigators last June, 10 days after Lloyd’s death. According to Wednesday’s indictment, Oscar Hernandez lied about purchasing the Camry and arranging for it to be sent from Florida to North Attleboro.

Carmelo Anthony soon will be a free agent, and he made it clear he has no intention of signing up for another “embarrassing” season like this one, in which the Knicks went 37-45 and finished out the playoffs.

“I want to come back. But I also want to win,” Anthony told reporters Thursday at the team’s practice facility in Greenburgh, N.Y. “Me wanting to be here, if we can put ourselves in position to at least compete at a high level over the course of whatever — five years, the contract would be — then I’m willing to stay here and I’m willing to ride or die for New York.”

Added Anthony: “Man, I feel like we gave away this year. This is a year that we can’t get back. It is what it is, so there’s no need to cry over the spoiled milk. We’ve got to keep moving forward. But we have to build. Let’s be quite frank about it, we have to get better. As a team we have to get better.

“I don’t know if I can afford to wait another season of losing. I really can’t see that picture right now. As far as other teams out there, which quote-unquote team will be the best situation? You never know. Sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. This is stuff that I’m going to have to sit down with my family and really figure things out. This is not a decision that’s going to happen overnight. It’s going to take some time.”

The Knicks can offer Anthony a five-year, $129.1 million deal, which is almost $33 million than he could get elsewhere, but he said that’s not of primary importance.

“At this point in my career, I’m not concerned about the money. The contract will be the contract regardless,” he said. “Without a doubt, at this point in my career it’s about winning. Nothing else matters. That’s not going to change. That’s still going to be my mindset, it is my mindset. You know, that’s going to be my No. 1.”

– Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig played in Thursday night’s game against the Giants in San Francisco and would not talk about specifics related to a report that smugglers who helped him defect from Cuba had threatened his life.

“I’m only concentrating on the season and being the best teammate and helping my teammates,” Puig said, adding: “I have great teammates who are helping support me so much this season and to focus on the season when I get to the stadium so I am comfortable. That way I don’t start thinking about anything negative in the stadium. I’m only thinking about working on the things that are going to make me a better ballplayer.”

According to court documents related to a federal lawsuit in Miami, smugglers made death threats against Puig and Cuban boxer Yunior Despaigne, claiming Puig owes them money.

“If you care about Yasiel, you worry about some serious stuff there that he has to deal with,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “If you care about him as a person, you worry about what he’s going through.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 18, 1997, the Bruins fired Steve Kasper one week after the season ended without the Bruins making the playoffs for the first time since 1967. Who replaced him?

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Carmelo Anthony, Phil Jackson, Yasiel Puig
WR Chad Johnson signs with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes 04.17.14 at 2:43 pm ET
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Following a successful tryout with the Canadian Football League‘s Montreal Alouettes at the team’s minicamp in Vero Beach, Fla., former Patriots wide receiver Chad Johnson signed a contract with team Thursday.

Johnson starred for the Bengals from 2001-10, playing in six Pro Bowls and finishing as the franchise leader in receptions (751), receiving yards (10,507) and touchdown catches (65).

He last played in the NFL with the Patriots in 2011, recording just 15 catches for 276 yards and one touchdown in 15 games. He signed with the Dolphins in 2012 but was released in training camp one day after being arrested on a domestic violence charge.

The 36-year-old was out of football last season.

 

Read More: Chad Johnson,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Former Patriots WR Chad Johnson impresses in CFL tryout 04.17.14 at 8:00 am ET
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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:
MLB: Red Sox at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Braves at Phillies, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Flyers at Rangers, 7 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Wild at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Kings at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Onetime Patriots receiver Chad Johnson is in Florida, working out with the Montreal Alouettes in an attempt to make the Canadian Football League team, and by all accounts, he’s off to a good start.

“He’s in great shape,” Alouttes general manager Jim Popp said. “He wants to play and we’ll see how things are.”

 

The 36-year-old Johnson, formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, last appeared in the NFL with the Patriots in 2011. After an unimpressive season in New England, he attempted to make the Dolphins the following preseason but was cut one day after being charged with misdemeanor domestic battery.

“I just want to get back to doing something that I love to do, regardless of where it is,” he said. “Montreal, flag football, back in the street the way I grew up. I just want to play football.”

The average CFL salary is about $85,000, but Ochocinco said he isn’t concerned about the finances.

“I don’t even need a check,” he said. “Didn’t I give it all away for 12 years straight? Think about it. Did I ever care about money when I played throughout my career? Still don’t. I want to have fun. I want to enjoy the game. That’s it.”

Lamar Odom, out of the NBA this season after highly publicized personal troubles last fall, signed with the Knicks and will begin training at the team’s practice facility under new Knicks president Phil Jackson‘s watch.

Odom helped Jackson’s Lakers win NBA titles in 2009 and ’10 and was the league’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2011, Jackson’s final year on the bench.

Odom, a native of nearby Queens, played for the Clippers last season but averaged only 4.0 points in about 20 minutes per game. He played two games for a team in Spain this season.

Meanwhile, coach Mike Woodson‘s future remains in question, with speculation mounting that he will not return for the final year of his contract.

“Unfortunately, this year just didn’t go according to plan,” Woodson said before Wednesday’s season finale against the Raptors. “So is it fair to let me go? I don’t think so, but again, I don’t make that decision. That’s got to come from the top.”

– Longtime Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced Wednesday that he’s selling the team to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for almost $550 million, with the understanding that the team will remain in Milwaukee.

“I wasn’t going to live forever,” the 79-year-old Kohl said at a press conference. “I’ve approached a time in my life where I have to think about … how do we think about succession.”

Kohl, who bought the Bucks for $18 million in 1985, said he would donate $100 million toward the building of a new arena for the team, with the new owners proving the same. The team’s current home, the Bradley Center, opened in 1988.

“We should be shouting from the rooftops because this is a game-changer for this entire debate,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.

The Bucks, last in the NBA, took a 15-66 record — a franchise worst — into Wednesday night’s season finale against the Hawks.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 17, 1969, which Red Sox rookie followed up his two-home run effort the day before with another home run, giving him home runs for his first three major league hits, a team record?

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Read More: Chad Johnson, Lamar Odom, mike woodson, Phil Jackson
Man arraigned for allegedly planting hoax bomb at Marathon finish line 04.16.14 at 1:29 pm ET
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Boston resident Kevin “Kayvon” Edson was arraigned Wednesday in Boston Municipal Court and charged with possession of a hoax explosive for allegedly dropping a backpack with a rice cooker containing confetti at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Tuesday. The 25-year-old pleaded not guilty.

Edson, who was spotted running barefoot down Boylston Street in a black veil yelling “Boston Strong” before being detained by police, also was charged with threatening battery, threats to commit a crime, disturbing the peace, disturbing a public assembly and disorderly conduct, according to the Boston Police Department. He reportedly claims the stunt was performance art.

Edson, whom prosecutors said is a student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, is being held on $100,000 bail. He was ordered to be taken to Bridgewater State Hospital for an evaluation and return to court May 7.

According to The Associated Press, his mother indicated he has bipolar disorder, and a man identifying himself as Edson’s brother posted on Facebook that Edson is “a disillusioned and very sick individual.” Edson reportedly has a criminal record and was evaluated at Bridgewater State Hospital last year.

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Despite Red Sox’ issues, MLB commissioner Bud Selig touts replay rollout as ‘remarkable’ 04.16.14 at 7:55 am ET
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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:
MLB: Red Sox at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Reds, 12:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Wizards at Celtics, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Mavericks at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Clippers at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Canadiens at Lightning, 7 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blue Jackets at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Stars at Ducks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Sunderland at Manchester City, 2:45 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Copa del Rey final, Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 3:25 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Red Sox manager John Farrell likely would disagree, but Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig called the first couple of weeks of expanded instant replay “remarkable.”

Heading into Wednesday’s games, there had been 89 challenges, with 30 being overturned, 33 confirmed as accurate and the rest left to stand due to a lack of “clear and convincing evidence.” One such call occurred in Saturday’s Red Sox-Yankees game when replay officials could not access the same feed that showed television viewers evidence that a call against the Sox should have been changed (MLB later acknowledged its mistake). Farrell was ejected from Sunday’s game for complaining about the replay system after a call was overturned in New York’s favor, although that one appeared to be the correct decision.

“We’ve had really very little controversy overall,” Selig said Tuesday at the MLB Diversity Business Summit in New York. “Everything in life will have a little glitch here and there where you do something new. And are our guys on top of it? You bet. But I’m saying to you again, you’ll hear about the one or two controversies, but look at all the calls that have been overturned.”

Calls are analyzed in at the offices of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, and MLBAM chief executive officer Bob Bowman said the process needs time to work better, while tweaking ESPN in his comment.

“Technology takes a while to work,” Bowman said. “I don’t know if you ever bought a new car. You don’t know how all that stuff works right away. And if you ever get a new phone, it takes you a while to learn it. We’re under 30 days old, and I know we’ve arrived because ESPN is already criticizing us. And it must be great to be perfect the way ESPN is.”

– The NCAA took a step toward being more accommodating toward athletes when its legislative council approved a proposal to allow Division 1 schools to provide unlimited meals and snacks to all athletes, including walk-ons.

UConn guard Shabazz Napier brought the issue to the forefront during the Final Four when he complained that he sometimes went to bed “starving” because he could not afford food.

Schools had been allowed to provide three meals a day or a stipend to scholarship athletes. Assuming the board of directors approve the measure at its April 24 meeting, schools would be able to provide more meals and snacks to all athletes.

The committee also agreed to reduce the penalty for a first positive drug test as long as the drug is not performance-enhancing (such as marijuana). The proposal cuts the penalty from a full season to a half-season.

– Boston University guard Maurice Watson is transferring to Creighton. The 5-foot-10 sophomore, who earlier this month announced plans to leave BU, signed a letter of intent for the Nebraska school and will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out next season.

“We are excited to welcome Maurice Watson Jr. to the Creighton basketball family,’€ Creighton coach Greg McDermott said in a statement. “Maurice has proven over the course of the last two seasons at Boston University that he is an unselfish point guard who also has the ability to score the basketball. I believe he will excel in our up-tempo system. He comes from a tremendous family and possesses the core values in terms of character and passion that our program has come to expect. We can’€™t wait to get him on campus!”

Watson averaged 13.3 points and 7.1 assists last season and was a first-team All-Patriot League selection after leading the Terriers to the Patriot League regular-season title in BU’s first season in the conference. The Philadelphia native said moving to the Big East was a major part of his decision.

“This is a big stage, with great fans, an amazing arena and a new practice facility,” he told the Omaha World-Herald after visiting Creighton over the weekend. “Everything I wanted is right here.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 16, 1977, which Red Sox pitcher made his major league debut by pitching four innings of relief and earning the save in the first of 637 career appearances for Boston?

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Read More: bud selig, john farrell, Maurice Watson Jr., Shabazz Napier