|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Injuries continue to mount for struggling Lakers||04.25.13 at 7:55 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Draft, Round 1, 8 p.m. (ESPN, NFL Network; WEEI-AM)
MLB: Astros at Red Sox, 6:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Blue Jays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Lightning at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NESN Plus)
NHL: Penguins at Devils, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Ducks at Canucks, 10 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA playoffs: Heat at Bucks, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Nets at Bulls, 8:30 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA playoffs: Clippers at Grizzlies, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Lakers are down 2-0 in their playoff series against the Spurs after dropping Wednesday night’s Game 2, 102-91, and they’re limping back to Los Angeles for Friday’s Game 3.
Already without Kobe Bryant (torn Achilles tendon) for the rest of the season, the Lakers saw guards Steve Nash (hip/hamstring), Steve Blake (hamstring) and Jodie Meeks (ankle) come up lame Wednesday night.
“This has been far and away the worst season for injuries I have ever been a part of personally and collectively,” Nash said.
WIth the backcourt issues, the Lakers are looking for the frontcourt to provide a spark. Center Dwight Howard had 16 points and nine rebounds Wednesday, but he picked up a technical and was in foul trouble after getting two fouls on the offensive end early in the third quarter. He also got into an exchange with Spurs center Tim Duncan, jawing at him as the two walked down the court after getting tangled up in the second quarter.
“It is frustrating,” Howard said of the defensive pressure he’s been facing. “I just have to trust my teammates to make shots. On whatever they do defensively, I have to be aware of my arms and try not to get tangled up.”
♦ The inaugural College Football Championship Game will be held Jan. 12, 2015, at Cowboys Stadium, as the Cotton Bowl home was chosen over Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., to be the host.
“The stadium itself was the biggest determiner,” BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Wednesday of the facility that can seat more than 100,000 fans. “It’s still THE stadium with a capital ‘T.’ ”
Said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in a statement: “We couldn’t be more excited about bringing college football’s biggest game to Cowboys Stadium. Rest assured, we all pledge to do everything we can to make sure this game exceeds everyone’s highest expectations.”
The Rose (Pasadena, Calif.) and Sugar (New Orleans) Bowls will host the semifinal games on Jan. 1, 2015. The Cotton, Orange (Miami), Chick-fil-A (Atlanta) and Fiesta (Glendale, Ariz.) Bowls are part of the six-site semifinal rotation. In years they are not hosting a semifinal game, the other bowls in the rotation will host a BCS-type bowl game on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
♦ With the NFL draft set to start Thursday night, Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 undrafted free agents in NFL history.
Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon is No. 1, followed by Hall of Fame defensive back Dick “Night Train” Lane, tight end Antonio Gates and quarterback Kurt Warner. Two Patriots made the list: kicker Adam Vinatieri (8) and wide receiver Wes Welker (9).
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 25, 1950, the Celtics became the first NBA team to draft a black player when they selected which Duquesne star in the second round?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Nike defends new Tiger Woods ad||03.27.13 at 7:45 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Canadiens at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Celtics at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Heat at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Nets at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, Iowa at Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, BYU at Southern Mississippi, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, Providence at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB preseason: Phillies at Tigers, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Rangers at Angels, 3 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Yankees at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Tiger Woods is the world’s No. 1 golfer again, and Nike celebrated his achievement with an ad that features a picture of Woods and the statement “Winning takes care of everything.” That led to harsh criticism from people who questioned the implication that Woods’ transgressions should be dismissed now that he’s successful again.
Nike defended the ad in a statement: “Tiger has always said he competes to win. When asked about his goals such as getting back to number one, he has said consistently winning is the way to get there. The statement references that sentiment and is a salute to his athletic performance.”
Meanwhile, Woods offered some inspiration to fellow golfer Rory McIlroy. After receiving a congratulatory text message, Woods responded by telling McIlroy to (in McIlroy’s words): “get my finger out of my ass and win this week.”
♦ The Ravens introduced Elvis Dumervil on Tuesday after signing the former Broncos linebacker to a five-year deal worth a reported $35 million, and Dumervil let it be known that his breakup with Denver has provided him with a great deal of motivation.
“I think at times in life you deal with people who say you can’t do this or you shouldn’t do that,” Dumervil said. “In this world, you have to prove a point and prove yourself. I’m all about that. Year in, year out, that’s what drives me. I like to go in as a rookie every year, where you have to prove yourself. I have a chip on my shoulder, I may have a brick wall now. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to get out with the guys and really compete.”
Despite the way his departure from the Broncos was handled — with the team playing hardball and offering a dramatically reduced salary for 2013 — Dumervil said he has no animosity toward the franchise.
“It was an unfortunate situation that happened. Obviously leaving a really good organization like the Denver Broncos, they’re proven winners, I have nothing but good things to say about the organization,” he said. “But when an opportunity came that I could come to another winner and a first-class organization, it was just leaving one great one to another great one. So I took it. … Sometimes, you have to make a tough decision. I just felt like it was time to change the scenery.”
♦ Lakers center Dwight Howard had a tough day Monday. Not only did he take an elbow to his face that required three stitches on his lower lip, he was called for a foul on the play and then got a technical foul after he made some comments to Warriors forward David Lee.
Howard said after LA’s 109-103 loss that he won’t forget what Lee did, even though it appeared Lee was just trying to go to the basket strong when his lead elbow made contact with Howard’s face.
“He got away with a shot,” Howard said. “I’ll remember this game, I’ll remember that shot.”
Added Howard: “He said he wasn’t trying to do it. You can look at the play and see it for yourself. I will take care of it later.”
The teams meet again April 12.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 27, 1984, which Bruin scored a goal in a 6-4 victory over the Quebec Nordiques to give him 100 points on the season?
|Friday’s Morning Mashup: Jeremy Lin celebrates Harvard’s upset win||03.22.13 at 8:04 am ET|
FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Pistons at Heat, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Albany vs. Duke, 12:15 p.m. (CBS; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Mississippi vs. Wisconsin, 12:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Temple vs. NC State, 1:40 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Pacific vs. Miami, 2:10 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Cincinnati vs. Creighton, 2:45 p.m. (CBS; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, La Salle vs. Kansas State, 3:10 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, James Madison vs. Indiana, 4:10 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Colorado vs. Illinois, 4:40 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, FGCU vs. Georgetown, 6:50 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Iona vs Ohio State, 7:15 p.m. (CBS; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Villanova vs. North Carolina, 7:20 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Northwestern State vs. Florida, 7:27 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Oklahoma vs. San Diego State, 9:20 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Iowa State vs Notre Dame, 9:45 p.m. (CBS; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Western Kentucky vs. Kansas, 9:50 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Minnesota vs. UCLA, 9:57 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NIT tournament, Arizona State at Baylor, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT tournament, Stony Brook at Iowa, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Penguins at Islanders, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL: Red Wings at Ducks, 10 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: Hockey East semifinal, Providence vs. Lowell, 5 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Hockey East semifinal, Boston University vs. Boston College, 8 p.m. (NESN)
MLB preseason: Tigers at Nationals, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Cubs at Brewers, 4 p.m. (WGN)
MLB preseason: Royals at Angels, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Harvard’s upset of New Mexico late Thursday night might have messed up most of America’s NCAA tournament brackets, but those with Harvard ties were celebrating the win.
The school’s only current NBA alumnus, Rockets guard Jeremy Lin, posted a message and photo on Facebook, writing: YYYYYYYEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!! HARVARD winssss!!! hahahahhah i told you…. #threepointgoggles
Tweeted the Harvard Lampoon: America, we are sorry for messing up your brackets and also your financial system and everything else
Not all Harvard alumni were believers. President Barack Obama predicted a New Mexico win, even though he attended Harvard Law School and is close friends with the father of Crimson sophomore walk-on guard Alex Nesbitt.
Said Nesbitt in the days leading up to the game: “If we were to pull off an upset, [the president] would know about it and be excited for sure.”
♦ The Royce White saga continues, as the would-be Rockets rookie tweeted that he’s leaving his D-League team and returning to Houston in order to prepare for next season. White, who battles anxiety disorder, has yet to play for the Rockets this season.
Tweeted White: Have been advised by our team physician it is most logical I be in Houston the remainder of the season. Thank @rgvvipers for having me.
Added White: Working out in Houston to transition to next year has been medically deemed the healthiest option. I’m excited to get to work.
The Rockets, who reportedly did not take part in White’s decision, said only that White is still on the Rio Grande Valley Vipers roster.
Following negative feedback, White tweeted later: Don’t understand the uproar because I’m working out in Houston… Lol relax ppl Showing you’re too high strung over sports.
♦ Lakers center Dwight Howard turned up at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, working the Delta Airlines check-in counter and taking boarding passes for a flight to Hawaii. Accompanied by the Laker Girls, he also ran a trivia contest.
“I am part of Delta, the team. They are the official airline for the Laker Girls and the Lakers,” Howard said. “This is a great experience for me to come out and enjoy L.A.”
It provided a rare lighthearted moment in what has mostly been a rough season for Howard, due to be a free agent this offseason. He had little to say regarding his future Thursday, only joking: “Will I re-sign with Delta? That’s a good one.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 22, 1995, the Celtics raised a number to the rafters in honor of which player?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Dwight Howard responds to hostile Orlando crowd||03.13.13 at 8:02 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Raptors at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Jazz at Thunder, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Knicks at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Big East tournament, Cincinnati vs. Providence, noon (ESPN)
College basketball: Big East tournament, Syracuse vs. Seton Hall, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: MWC tournament, Air Force at UNLV, 3 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: MWC tournament, Fresno State vs. Colorado State, 5:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Big East tournament, St. John’s vs. Villanova, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Patriot League final, Lafayette at Bucknell, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Big East tournament, Notre Dame vs. Rutgers, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: MWC tournament, Wyoming vs. New Mexico, 9:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: MWC tournament, Boise State vs. San Diego State, midnight (CBSSN)
NHL: Flyers at Devils, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Angels at Padres, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
World Baseball Classic: Italy vs. Puerto Rico, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Dwight Howard made his return to Orlando on Tuesday night, and he overcame the hostile reaction to amass 39 points and 16 rebounds in leading the Lakers past the Magic, 106-97.
The Magic fouled Howard, a poor foul shooter, repeatedly, and he hit 25-of-39 from the line (16-of-20 in the second half). He also engaged the fans, blowing a kiss after a dunk and exchanging insults with someone near the basket.
“I wasn’t nervous tonight. I was looking forward to playing here,” Howard said. “It was a hostile environment, but I think that was something that was good for me. For my progress as a player, I think I needed that tonight.”
Added Howard: “I think it was something I needed, to come back, and I think it was something that the city needed, too. It’s closure. We can all move on. We had eight great years. People are going to feel the way they feel. I totally understand that.”
♦ The Ducks were in a tough spot prior to their game Tuesday night in Minnesota against the Wild, as backup goalie Viktor Fasth hurt himself during the morning skate. They summoned Jeff DeLauriers from the minors, but he could not get there by the start of the game, and they needed a backup goalie on the bench. So, they called a former college and minor league goalie, 32-year-old Zach Sikich, who runs a local goalie training school.
“The best part was getting out of the suit I wore to the arena, hanging those clothes into a locker, starting getting into hockey gear, taping sticks,” Sikich said. “To do that before an NHL game was a tremendous thrill.”
Sikich, who had some familiarity with the Duck as he filled in at a practice in Minnesota a year earlier, sat on the bench for part of the first period, until DeLauriers arrived and replaced him.
♦ A 43-year-old man is safe with just a dislocated shoulder after falling into an 18-foot-deep sinkhole while golfing at a course near St. Louis. Mark Mihal was rescued with a rope about 20 minutes after the ground swallowed him up while he walked around before hitting his third shot on a par-5 hole.
“It didn’t look unstable,” he said. “And then I was gone. I was just freefalling. It felt like forever, but it was just a second or two, and I didn’t know what I was going to hit. And all I saw was darkness.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 13, 1971, who became the third player in Bruins history (and fifth in NHL history) to record 100 points in a season when he scored a goal in a 6-3 victory over the Canucks in Vancouver?
|Monday’s Morning Mashup: Dwight Howard apologizes to Magic fans||03.11.13 at 8:02 am ET|
MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Senators, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Thunder at Spurs, 8:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: CAA final, Northeastern vs. James Madison, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Sun Belt final, Florida International vs. Western Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Southern final, Davidson vs. Charleston, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: MAAC final, Manhattan vs. Iona, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: WCC final, Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
World Baseball Classic: Cuba vs. Nethlerlands, 6 a.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Cardinals at Yankees, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Athletics at Padres, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Dwight Howard, who finally has started to play up to his ability with the resurgent Lakers, offered an apology to Magic fans for his behavior with his former team.
“In Orlando, I handled a lot of stuff the wrong way,” Howard told USA Today. ”If any of those people in Orlando are upset with how I did it, I apologize for the way I handled it and the way it was handled in the media.
“I really just got caught up in wanting to please everybody else. I really love that city. That was the hardest thing to do was to leave that city because I basically grew up there. That was my whole life. Orlando was it. I did not want to leave all that behind — the city, just everything about it. The fans. But I wanted a change for my life. I just felt like there was something else out there for me.”
Howard, averaging 16.2 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks this season, has helped the Lakers move into the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference following Sunday’s 90-81 victory over the Bulls in which he grabbed 21 rebounds and blocked four shots to go along with 16 points on 8-of-14 shooting
Howard said his recent experience has helped him grow up.
“I’m becoming a better man because of the stuff that has happened to me this last year and a half,” he said. “Everybody goes through stuff like this. Even though I’m going through it where everybody in the world can see it, I’m happy that it’s happening.
“If it didn’t happen, I’d be stuck in my ways. I would never change, and then it would be a lot worse. For all this stuff to happen, for me to sit back and see and evaluate myself and what I could’ve done better and realize that I needed to make a change, I’m getting better. I’m growing up. I’m maturing.”
♦ The latest Darrelle Revis rumor (via ESPN) has Revis’ camp pushing for a quick resolution to the situation, concerned that his value will be diminished after teams sign the free agent cornerbacks on the market. Revis is owed a $1 million bonus if he’s on the roster Saturday, so that might play a role in the team’s eagerness to move him.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Eagles are believed to be preparing an offer for Revis, with Philadelphia’s second-round pick (35th overall) a likely starting point.
♦ Manny Ramirez was spotted in an airport Sunday, headed to Taiwan to begin his stint with the EDA Rhinos of the China Professional League. Ramirez’ agent confirmed the slugger’s intentions to continue his careers, which has twice been derailed by suspensions for violations of MLB’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs.
Ramirez, a 12-time All-Star and the MVP of the 2004 World Series for the Red Sox, last played for an Athletics minor league team in the spring of 2012.
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 11, 1976, which Bruins winger scored the 300th goal of his career with a hat trick in a 6-2 victory over the Maple Leafs?
|Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Mark Teixeira’s wrist injury latest blow to snakebitten Yankees||03.07.13 at 7:55 am ET|
THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Maple Leafs at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Penguins at Flyers, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Thunder at Kings, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Clippers at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Butler at UMass, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Penn State at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Virginia at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Kentucky at Georgia, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oregon State at Utah, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oregon at Colorado, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Wisconsin at Michigan State, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Long Beach State at UC Davis, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
World Baseball Classic: Italy vs. Mexico, 3 p.m. (MLB Network)
World Baseball Classic: Venezuela vs. Dominican Republic, 6:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
World Baseball Classic: Netherlands vs. Cuba, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ Mark Teixeira‘s wrist injury, suffered while he was hitting off a tee before the U.S. World Baseball Classic team’s exhibition game against the White Sox on Tuesday, is expected to sideline the first baseman for at least 8-10 weeks, another blow to the injury-ravaged Yankees.
“This ain’t good,” said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, himself in a wheelchair following a skydiving accident earlier this week that left him with a broken leg and dislocated ankle.
Cashman said Teixeira’s injury is comparable to the one suffered by Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista last year. Bautista was injured on July 17 and played just two games in August before having season-ending surgery.
The extent of Teixeira’s injury was a surprise to Team USA manager Joe Torre.
“I think he took about three or four light swings as he was starting to get loose and he felt something in there,” Torre said. “He said he never had this before. He was just shaking his head.”
♦ Dwight Howard, in an interview earlier this week with Los Angeles’ CBS-TV affiliate, slighted his former Magic teammates in noting that he had to carry the team. “My team in Orlando was a team full of people who nobody wanted, and I was the leader and I led that team with a smile on my face,” Howard said. Not surprisingly, that did not sit well with the Orlando players.
“At some point, when are you gonna as a man, when are you going to take ownership and stay out of the media in a professional manner,” Magic guard Jameer Nelson told the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday.
“I would be less of a man to comment on certain things that people comment on about me and my teammates. We had a great run as a group, as core guys, and he was a part of it [reading the 2009 NBA finals], and for him to say things about anybody in a native manner, that’s up to him.”
Howard responded Wednesday by implying he was misunderstood, and that he only was trying to say the Magic were “underdogs.”
“I would never say anything disrespectful to those guys, and I think a lot of people took that and ran with it, twisted it into a negative thing,” Howard said. “I love those guys.”
♦ Following an incident Tuesday when Rangers defenseman Marc Staal was hit in the eye by a slap shot, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly noted that the league has pushed for mandatory visor use but can’t get the union to agree.
“It’s a continuing discussion we have with the Players’ Association and among our general managers,” Daly told ESPNNewYork.com via e-mail. “We have consistently been in favor of a rule mandating visors. The PA has historically been in favor of maintaining ‘Player choice,’ coupled with continued education and sensitization.”
Added Daly: “In fairness, the use of visors has continued to increase at a significant pace over the last several years. So, I’m not sure a single incident will materially change or impact the ongoing discussion or approach.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 7, 1995, which Celtic became the ninth NBA player to record 25,000 career points when he netted 19 during a 115-10 loss to the Knicks?
|Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Canucks draw ire of Blackhawks after hit to Marian Hossa’s head||02.20.13 at 7:33 am ET|
WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Hornets at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: James Madison at Northeastern, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: UMass at St. Bonaventure, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Providence at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Minnesota at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Iowa State at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kansas at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Wisconsin at Northwestern, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Colorado State at UNLV, 10:15 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Santa Clara at Gonzaga, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Washington at Arizona, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Flyers at Penguins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Blues at Avalanche, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
AROUND THE WEB:
♦ The Blackhawks dislike the Canucks even more than the Bruins do, and this elbow to the back of Marian Hossa‘s head by Jannik Hansen in Tuesday’s game won’t help the situation. Chicago went on to a 4-3 shootout win, extending its season-opening undefeated streak to an NHL record-tying 16 games, but much of the talk afterward was about Hossa, who scored two goals but did not return after the hit.
Hossa was knocked out of last season’s Stanley Cup playoffs on a concussion-causing hit by Coyotes forward (and former Canuck) Raffi Torres and was not cleared to return until November (Torres was suspended 25 games).
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said he expects no discipline for Hansen.
“It wasn’t even a penalty,” Vigneault said. “Both referees looked at the play, and until [Hawks captain Jonathan] Toews went out to talk to them it wasn’t even a penalty. … He’s trying to grab a puck in the air. It’s unfortunate if a young man is hurt. He’s trying to jump to get the puck. Stuff happens.”
Said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville: “I think everybody saw it, everybody can have their own opinion. I’ll let the people that do that stuff do their job.”
♦ Amid reports that the relationship between Lakers teammates Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard is at an all-time low, Phil Jackson weighed in on the team’s struggles and said Howard is not being used properly.
“They just don’t put the ball in the post,” the former Lakers coach told Sports Illustrated. “They’ll use a screen-roll to get the guy in the post. But there’s no consistent plan to do it. Yes, Kobe will go in there. But Dwight just doesn’t get any touches. They’ve basically eliminated his assets.”
Jackson reiterated that he’s done coaching, although he made it clear that he’s interested in running the basketball operations for a team.
“I do hold out the idea that there’s still influence in the game I could have,” he said. “Red Auerbach, Pete Newell, Wayne Embry, guys like that have had … a number of people have had considerable influence and haven’t been coaches per se.”
♦ The Jets made official what had been speculated for weeks, parting ways with some key players in a cost-cutting move. Tuesday’s cuts included linebackers Bart Scott and Calvin Pace, safety Eric Smith, offensive tackle Jason Smith and tight end/fullback Josh Baker. The purge clears about $31 million from the books and gets the Jets under the projected 2013 salary cap.
“Every one of these players was a major contributor to our football team,” coach Rex Ryan said in a team statement. “They have the work ethic and attitude that you look for in players and they will always be New York Jets. It was an honor to coach each of these men. They are tremendous people, as well as outstanding football players.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 20, 1997, which Bruin extended his point-scoring streak to 20 games with an assist in a 5-3 loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago?
|Struggles continue for Dwight Howard, bickering Lakers||02.12.13 at 12:55 pm ET|
Dwight Howard‘s first season with the Lakers has been filled with controversy, injuries and disappointments. He has been dealing with a nagging shoulder injury and now is claiming that opponents have been targeting the injury.
Howard has been playing through a torn labrum, trying to help the Lakers fight their way back into the playoff picture. There have been a couple of games recently when Howard has said that players were grabbing at his right shoulder. After losing to the Heat on Sunday, Howard mentioned the targeting.
“They got me early,” Howard said. “They would yank it back.”
Howard also claimed that some of the Bobcats players were doing the same thing in Friday’s game.
“It’s like a jolt,” Howard said. “Then it hurts the rest of the night.”
In another on-court display of frustration, Howard was involved in a heated argument with fellow first-year Laker Steve Nash during Sunday’s game. During an offensive possession, Nash was in trouble along the baseline under the basket and Howard was holding his arms in the air, calling for the ball. Nash took a few extra seconds, was pressured by the Heat’s Udonis Haslem, and threw a difficult pass to Howard that the center was unable to handle.
The two bickered with each other at center court after LeBron James was fouled finishing off a layup at the other end.
The Lakers are 24-28 and are 3½ games behind the Rockets for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
|Report: Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has told Dwight Howard he will not be traded||02.06.13 at 2:43 pm ET|
Despite numerous rumors to the contrary, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has told Dwight Howard that he will not be traded before the Feb. 21 deadline, according to league sources.
Sources also told ESPN.com that Howard, who will be a free agent after the end of the season, is unsure of his offseason plans and has no concrete intentions to leave in free agency or request a trade.
According to the ESPN report, the Lakers are “very confident” Howard will remain with the team this summer. They can offer him a longer contract than every other team — five years compared to four — and can offer him about $118 million over that span compared to about $88 million for other teams.
Howard has said that his only concerns at the moment are getting to the playoffs and winning a championship. The Lakers are 23-26 and in 10th place in the Western Conference.
|Lakers could begin shopping unhappy Dwight Howard||01.23.13 at 4:06 pm ET|
The Lakers have been reluctant to talk trades so far, hoping to avoid making their topsy-turvy season even more dramatic, but ESPN reports that they could begin shopping Dwight Howard before the trade deadline because he’s frustrated with his role in coach Mike D’Antoni‘s system.
The Nets were recently rumored to be making a play for Howard in a three-way trade that would also involve the Timberwolves, but they denied that rumor quickly and vehemently.
Reports of that deal may have been exaggerated, but the likelihood of Howard moving before the Feb. 21 deadline seems to be growing. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said nothing is imminent, but he didn’t deny that Howard could be traded.
“I don’t think we’re at the point where you say, ‘It’s time for a trade,’ and a trade happens in three to four days. That’s just not how this league works,” Kupchak told ESPN.
Howard came to the Lakers as a free agent after a high-profile departure from the Magic. He would be a free agent again this offseason if the Lakers don’t sign him to a long-term contract. Howard hasn’t expressed any desire to leave in free agency or specifically to be traded, but he has struggled on the court recently and appears frustrated with a system where he doesn’t get the chances he feels he deserves.
After the Lakers’ Jan. 21 loss to the Bulls, Kobe Bryant, too, spoke about the problems he and Howard have had finding a rhythm.
“I’ve tried to go out of my way to get [Howard] the ball,” Bryant said. “Sometimes I end up looking like an idiot, because I get up in the air, I’ve got a shot, but I try to find him. But he thinks I’m going to shoot, so his back is turned. I’m trying to think about getting him the ball a lot — take care of him as much as I possibly can. It takes me out of rhythm a little bit, but I’m fine with that. If that’s going to help our team, I’m more than willing to do that.
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