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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos coach John Fox calls out Colts owner Jim Irsay for ‘cheap shot’ about Peyton Manning’s lack of titles 10.16.13 at 7:44 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 playoffs: Red Sox at Tigers, 8:07 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-FM)
MLB playoffs: Cardinals at Dodgers, 4 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NBA preseason: Celtics at Raptors, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Magic at Rockets, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
NHL: Rangers at Capitals, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Peyton Manning and Jim Irsay officially parted ways in March 2012. (AP)

Peyton Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay discussed their decision to part ways in March 2012. (AP)

• When Colts owner Jim Irsay parted ways with quarterback Peyton Manning after the 2011 season, the pair had an emotional press conference in which they lamented the move.

Apparently, there was more to the decision than was being let on. With Manning set to make his return to Indianapolis on Sunday night with the Broncos, Irsay said in an interview with USA Today on Tuesday that the Colts drafted Andrew Luck No. 1 overall and passed on re-signing Manning because they wanted more playoff success.

“[Tom] Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these [rings],” Irsay said. “Pittsburgh had two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and we had one. That leaves you frustrated.

“You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the ‘Star Wars’ numbers from Peyton and Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne]. Mostly, you love this [ring].”

That didn’t sit well with Manning’s current coach, Broncos boss John Fox.

“I saw the comments. And to be honest with you, I thought it was a bit of a cheap shot,” Fox said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “To me, in my opinion, they were disappointing and inappropriate.

“Peyton would never say anything. He’s too classy to do that. They sounded a little ungrateful and unappreciative to me. For a guy who has set a standard, won a Super Bowl, won four MVP awards … be thankful of that one Super Bowl ring, because a lot of people don’t have one.”

Irsay took to Twitter later in the day and insisted he was talking about building “well-rounded teams around great QBs,” and accused his critics of having “negative agendas.”

• Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who last week lost his appeal of a $100,000 fine for an illegal block on Vikings center John Sullivan in Week 1, could be in trouble again.

Suh led with his helmet when he hit Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden in the chest following a pass in Sunday’s game. The hit wasn’t penalized, but in a video posted on NFL.com Tuesday, vice president of officiating Dean Blandino indicated it should be reviewed.

“No. 90 hit the quarterback, lowered his head, that was not called,” Blandino said in the video. “Potential helmet to the body.”

Suh has been fined $177,500 in his 3½ NFL seasons and was suspended two games in 2011 that cost him an additional $165,294 in salary.

• A man who put on a bear costume with a Dodgers jersey and climbed atop the Cardinals dugout to entertain the fans at Dodger Stadium during Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday night has become a bit of a media sensation.

Mark Monninger, a 50-year-old furniture store owner, said he pitched the idea to the team of having a mascot but was told no. He showed up at a regular-season game and attempted to perform but was ejected. He knew the same fate awaited him Monday when he made his move in the eighth inning.

“The time came, and I headed off,” Monninger told LA’s NBC4 News. “I knew it was only going to be a few seconds before they asked me to leave, and that’s what happened.

“If I was going to try out for a character like this, I’d just have to jump in and do it.”

Monninger’s ejection — and subsequent banishment from Dodgers property for six months — was followed by a Dodgers rally in a 3-0 victory, leading some to credit the “Rally Bear” for providing a spark.

“I wanted to try to get them going,” Monninger said. “They really needed a win [Monday] night to keep the series going.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 16, 2004, the Red Sox lost Game 3 of the ALCS to the Yankees, 19-8, before embarking on their historic comeback. Bronson Arroyo started for the Red Sox and managed to avoid being saddled with the loss despite allowing six earned runs in two-plus innings, as the Sox tied the score after three innings. Which former Yankee relieved Arroyo and took the loss despite allowing the fewest runs of any of the six Sox pitchers that night (one run in one-plus inning)?

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Read More: Jim Irsay, John Fox, Ndamukong Suh, Peyton Manning
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Lions DT Ndamukong Suh receives record fine, apologizes to team 09.11.13 at 8:06 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 Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Reds, 12:30 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Phoenix at Chicago, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ndamukong Suh's act might be wearing thin in Detroit. (AP)

Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh received a record fine for his latest transgression. (AP)

• Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh apologized to his team Tuesday, the same day he was fined $100,000 by the league for his illegal low block on Vikings center John Sullivan during the runback of an interception in Sunday’s game. Suh received a penalty on the play, negating a Detroit touchdown, and was fined a record amount for an on-field violation.

“He just basically said that he can’t make those types of mistakes — he can’t put us in a position where we’ve got to battle back from mistakes like that,” wide receiver Nate Burleson said. “He also said, with him having a target, and people looking for him, they’re looking at us in the same light. So as a team we’ve got to understand that the microscope is on us.”

Burleson expressed surprise at the amount of the fine when informed by the media

“Oh, baby! For real? Are you serious? A hundred stacks?” Burleson said. “That’s one of the biggest I’ve heard of, but when you have a guy who people look at as ‘dirty,’ a play that might not be as dirty could be deemed as such, and you’re going to have to deal with the consequences. So it’s tough. I hope he appeals it, because I don’t think that was worthy of being fined $100,000.”

Saints tight end Benjamin Watson had little sympathy for Suh.

“I hesitate to call a player dirty simply because I don’t know their intent, but I do know what he did was illegal and I do know he has done it multiple times so it comes a time when enough is enough,” the former Patriot told NFL Network, via ProFootballTalk.com. “We need to get what he is doing rectified and we need to sit down as players and talk to him. We are talking about player safety and obviously this is a play that lies outside of that. As players, we need to hold ourselves accountable.”

• According to a report from Denver television station CBS4, suspended Broncos linebacker Von Miller was cited last week for speeding and driving without a license.

It continues a series of problems for Miller, who was arrested last month for an outstanding warrant when he tried to buy a firearm and then failed to appear for a court hearing on charges from last October when he was cited for careless driving and not having a license or proof of insurance.

Miller, who set a team record with 18½ sacks last season, his third in the NFL, was suspended six games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

• Texas A&M is preparing for Saturday’s showdown with top-ranked Alabama, but quarterback Johnny Manziel isn’t talking about it.

Manziel, who engineered an upset of the Crimson Tide last season that set him on the path to the Heisman Trophy, continues to lay low following his myriad offseason controversies. He spoke after Saturday’s victory over Sam Houston State, but that was his first press conference since SEC media day.

“He and his family and his advisors and lawyers have advised him not to talk, and I’ll respect his wishes on that,” A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said.

According to Aggies running back Ben Malena, Manziel is eager to prove last season was no fluke.

“Last year the Alabama game was a stage for the whole world to see what kind of player he is,” Malena said. “He deserved it along with this team, to be put on a stage to show what we can do and what he can do. I think this Saturday is another similar stage and the world is going to see how much better and how much more he has progressed along with the whole team.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 11, 2005, which Red Sox pitcher was the hard-luck loser in a 1-0 loss to the Yankees, pitching a complete-game three-hitter with 12 strikeouts and one walk but allowing a home run to Jason Giambi?

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Read More: Johnny Manziel, Nate Burleson, Ndamukong Suh, Von Miller
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow denies asking out of Jets’ wildcat package 12.27.12 at 8:06 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:
NBA: Celtics at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Mavericks at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: New Mexico at Cincinnati, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Military Bowl, San Jose State vs. Bowling Green, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Belk Bowl, Cincinnati vs. Duke, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Holiday Bowl, Baylor vs. UCLA, 9:45 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)

AROUND THE WEB:

It's been a long season for Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow, and on Wednesday he attempted to defend himself against criticism that he was being selfish. (AP)

Tim Tebow finally spoke up and defended himself against accusations he asked out of the team’s wildcat package for Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, although his explanation is open to interpretation.

“You work your whole life to build a reputation,” Tebow said Wednesday. “Then people try to bring you down when they don’t understand even what happened. It’s disappointing. You just want to express your side of the story.”

Tebow admitted telling Rex Ryan that he was frustrated at not being named starter and with “running up the middle” consistently on the wildcat, and he acknowledged the “possibility” that Ryan misinterpreted him to mean he wanted out. But he insisted that he didn’t want to come off as being selfish.

“I never said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to do anything. I won’t do anything,’ ” Tebow said. “That wasn’t the talk at all. He knows that. And everybody on this team knows that I would never not do something if I was asked. That’s what’s disappointing. … People saying, ‘Oh, you quit.’ That was not it at all. It was just me asking to get an opportunity to play the position I love, which is quarterback. It wasn’t me asking out of anything.”

Added Tebow: “When people talk about how you play football and how much, that’s one thing. That really doesn’t bother me. I think the only thing that’s been disappointing these last few days and frustrating is people saying, ‘Oh you quit on your team or you’re not a good teammate.’ ”

♦ The Bears apparently don’t mind giving the Lions some bulletin-board material heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale.

The last time these teams met — a 13-7 Bears victory on Oct. 22 — Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was criticized (but not penalized nor fined) for driving Bears quarterback Jay Cutler‘s head into the turf on a sack.

Bears DT Henry Melton said Wednesday he’s expecting more of the same this weekend from the Lions.

“They’re dirty,” Melton said. “They’ve always been a dirty team since I’ve been here. I don’t like them. We’ve just got to hold our composure and play the game we know. They just try to do all this extra stuff: talking, little cheap shots. If you look at the tape, they’ve always thrown cheap shots. We had a brawl I think last year. So it is what it is. I’m ready.”

Meanwhile, Bears safety Major Wright said Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford can be rattled if he’s pressured. Wright did acknowledge that Stafford is “a good quarterback” who can “pick you apart” if given time. But, added Wright: “You put a little pressure on him, you close the pocket on him, and he hesitates. He doesn’t make that perfect throw. … He can make any throw on that field, so you have to be aware of putting pressure on him because you put a little pressure on him, he kind of folds.”

♦ Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges — keeping busy as the NHL lockout continues — took to Twitter to organize an outdoor hockey game with fans at a neighborhood rink in Montreal on Wednesday afternoon.

“I haven’t played outdoors in a long time, but I figured we’ve got some time and I’ve got nothing else to do,” Gorges told reporters during a break from the game. “I was just looking to skate outdoors and I threw it out there on Twitter and so many people were asking where I’d go play, so I thought why not set a time and place and we’ll all come and play.”

Tweeted Gorges afterward: Thanks to everyone who showed up for the game today had alot of fun!! What do you think should we organize another game??

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 27, 1956, which Celtics player had his consecutive free throw streak ended at 55 — an NBA record that stood for 19 years?

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Read More: Henry Melton, Jay Cutler, Josh Gorges, Major Wright
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Anonymous teammate criticizes Lions DT Ndamukong Suh 12.07.12 at 7:53 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:
NBA: Celtics at 76ers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Lakers at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Iowa State at Iowa, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ndamukong Suh's act might be wearing thin in Detroit. (AP)

♦ Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has made his share of enemies around the league for his dirty play, and now it seems his own team is fed up with his selfish behavior.

The Lions, expected to contend for a playoff berth this season, are 4-8 following Sunday’s 35-33 loss to the Colts, and one anonymous Detroit player told Yahoo! Sports that Suh and others are hurting the team.

“Yeah, we’re loaded,” the player said. “But we have a couple of guys who don’t understand what it takes to win. Just making a couple of plays and thinking that makes you great. … Sometimes you want to just shake some of these guys and say, ‘Don’t you get it?’ ”

Asked who in particular fell into that category, the player said, “Ndamukong would be first.”

Added the player: “He’s focused for 90 percent of the time. But it’s the 10 percent that kills you. … With [Suh], he loses his cool and all of a sudden we’re blowing a play or dealing with some controversy.”

Rex Ryan acknowledged Wednesday the importance of making the right decision on who will start at quarterback for the Jets, but on Thursday he denied that his choice will determine his own fate with the team.

“Obviously we need to win,” Ryan said Thursday. “This is a big decision. [A big factor] in determining wins and losses is the play of your quarterback a lot of times. But no, I don’t feel that my future’s tied in with how we do things [with the quarterback].”

Added Ryan: “Obviously, this is a win business and I know that. As [former Ravens coach] Brian Billick told me the other day, there’s been 111 head coaches that have come and gone over the last 10 years. So it’s probably not the most [secure job]. But the one thing I can [do to] affect the job security is by winning. That’s what everybody wants. It’s what our fans want. It’s what Woody [Johnson] wants. It’s what we all want. Obviously, that’s what I want.”

♦ In a story that’s similar to the Tom Brady incident from last year, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway acknowledged Thursday that he “went a little far” with his comments that Minnesota fans should starting drinking early so they are ready to go for Sunday’s noontime start against the Bears.

“Hopefully, they’re super-duper drunk,” Greenway said after the Vikings’ loss to the Packers this past Sunday. “So, drink liquor, not beer. … Yeah, I would say morning drinking. Why not? You could pull an all-nighter. Then you’d have the drunk, tired guys who will really be obnoxious.”

During a Thursday interview with “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on Chicago’s ESPN 1000, Greenway toned it down a little.

“Obviously, I could have used some more responsible words,” Greenway said. “I think the people that know me, the beat writers included, know that I said that sort of tongue-in-cheek.

“I just wanted the fans at home to be loud like they always are. I think just trying to drive that point home I probably got a little loose with my words. Obviously I should have been a little more responsible with it. It was said, so what do you do?”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 7, 1978, the Red Sox traded Bill Lee to the Expos for which player?

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Read More: Chad Greenway, Ndamukong Suh, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Forbes values Bruins No. 5 in NHL at $348M 11.29.12 at 7:57 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:
NFL: Saints at Falcons, 8:20 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: Louisville at Rutgers, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Spurs at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Nuggets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Kentucky at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: South Carolina at St. John’s, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Marquette at Florida, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Seton Hall at LSU, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jeremy Jacobs' Bruins are valued at $348 million. (AP)

Forbes magazine released its annual list of NHL team values, and it shows that the Maple Leafs are the first hockey team to break the $1 billion mark. The Bruins check in at No. 5, worth $348 million. The list also demonstrates hockey’s inequality, as the top five teams (Maple Leafs, Rangers, Canadiens, Blackhawks and Bruins) are valued at an average of $605 million, while the five least valuable (Hurricanes, Islanders, Blue Jackets, Coyotes and Blues) are worth an average of $145 million.

The study indicates that the three most profitable teams accounted for 83 percent of the league’s income, while 13 of the 30 teams lost money. Even if the salary cap were lowered to 50 percent and subsidies from high-revenue teams to their counterparts were boosted $50 million to $200 million, some of the less-successful teams would need to go deep into the playoffs to assure themselves of a profitable year.

The story quotes an industry analyst as suggesting the league move some of its southernmost teams to places such as Quebec, Seattle and Portland, Ore.

“The Sun Belt has had plenty of time prove that the viability doesn’t work,” said Drew Dorweiler of Montreal-based Dartmouth Partners.

♦ The Saints and Falcons, who meet Thursday night in Atlanta in an NFC South showdown, have a growing feud, and the intensity of it was in evidence Wednesday night. According to tweets from Saints players, the bus picking them up at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had eggs thrown at it.

Tweeted backup quarterback Chase Daniel: Wow, as we’re boarding buses on the Tarmac @ Atlanta airport, we start getting eggs thrown @ us by airport workers! Guess they do hate us!

Added tight end Jimmy Graham: Bus just got egged after landing in ATL by the ramp workers. Classy! “RISE Up” smh

Some Saints players didn’t seem too offended. Tweeted linebacker Will Herring: First time my bus has been egged by opposing fans! Tomorrow should be fun!! #WhoDatNation

And wide receiver Joseph Morgan: How do eggs make people mad? Cool and hilarious prank #childhood #memories

♦ Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh escaped a suspension for his kick to the groin of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub on Thanksgiving, but on Wednesday he was fined $30,000. Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league didn’t suspend Suh because it couldn’t determine intent, but the fine was for unnecessary roughness.

Suh, who has a history of violent play, was on the ground when he stuck out his foot and made contact with Schaub. He insists he did nothing wrong.

“I was dragged to the ground,” Suh said. “A lot of things happen to me. It’s part of the game.”

Added Suh: “It’s a crazy play, it’s one that unfortunately happened. I didn’t even realize it until the end of the game, when I see my Twitter feed, I see my friends telling me about it. Other than that, I can’t do much more about it. I was being dragged to the ground and my foot inadvertently hit the man. But it’s over with and I am moving forward and getting ready to play the Colts.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 29, 1965, the Red Sox lost three players in the Rule 5 draft: Gary Geiger to the Braves, Bob Heffner to the Indians, and which minor leaguer to the Cardinals who would return years later to manage the Sox?

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Read More: Chase Daniel, Jimmy Graham, Ndamukong Suh, Roger Goodell
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Antonio Cromartie, Rex Ryan predict Jets will make playoffs 11.09.12 at 7:57 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:
NBA: 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Jazz at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Pittsburgh at UConn, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Michigan State vs. UConn, at Germany, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Marquette vs. Ohio State, at Charleston, S.C., 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Georgia State at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kentucky vs. Maryland, at Brooklyn, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Florida vs. Georgetown, at Jacksonville, Fla., 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: South Dakota State at Alabama, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

Cornerback Antonio Cromartie insists the Jets will make the playoffs despite their rough start. (AP)

♦ It’s been a difficult season for the Jets, who sit at 3-5, but cornerback Antonio Cromartie remains confident in his team and his coach, who earlier this week was named most overrated coach in a poll of NFL players.

“The Jets will make the playoffs this year,” Cromartie said on the NFL Network. “We believe in each other. We believe in … coach [Rex] Ryan and his staff. … So, we definitely are going to make the playoffs this year.”

Six of the Jets’ eight remaining games are against teams that are .500 or less, so perhaps that gives them reason to believe. Whatever the reason, Ryan supports Cromartie’s approach.

“I feel that as an entire football team that we should all feel like that,” Ryan said. “And I think we do feel like that. Nobody wants to hear it, but who cares? That’s really how we feel. Whether you like it or not, that’s our mentality. I would think the Jets fans … would want us to feel that way. And we do.”

♦ After Lakers practice on Thursday, Kobe Bryant was asked about the frustration he showed in Wednesday night’s loss to the Jazz. During that game Bryant outwardly displayed his anger on a number of occasions, leading some to speculate that he’s losing patience with his teammates and/or coach.

Said Bryant: “I don’t give a [expletive] how it’s interpreted. I’m too old to deal with that stuff. I really am.”

In a lighter moment, Bryant smiled when showed video of his now-infamous “death stare” toward coach Mike Brown from the bench at the end of Wednesday’s game.

♦ Lions defensive end Ndamukong Suh was voted the dirtiest player in the NFL by his peers for the second year in a row. The Sporting News conducted the midseason poll of 103 players, and Suh was No. 1 with 32 votes despite generally staying out of trouble this season.

Following Suh in the ranking was Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan, Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Titans offensive tackle David Stewart.

♦ A walk-on freshman defensive back at Tennessee State collapsed during practice Wednesday and was declared dead after being taken to a hospital.

William Wayne Jones III collapsed after catching a ball and throwing it to defensive backs coach Ed Sanders. The 19-year-old had no pulse when trainers attended to him.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 9, 1972, in an 8-3 victory over the Red Wings at Boston Garden, which Bruin became the seventh player in NHL history to record 1,000 career points?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m going to look at things differently. I may be young and wild, but I’m not. I’m engaged now. I have a baby, so it’s just going make me think of life a lot differently, and doing things the right way because now another one’s looking up to me. I just can’t be young and reckless Aaron no more.” Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez

STAT OF THE DAY: 153-44 – The count by which the Jaguars have been outscored in five home games this season, following Thursday’s 27-10 loss to the Colts

‘NET RESULTS: A girls high school volleyball player in Iowa takes out two people on one spike. Her blast catches an opponent in the face, and the ball then bounces to the sideline and trips up a fan walking by.

Former child actor Emmanuel Lewis (“Webster”) takes on Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas in a dance-off during a team fundraising event.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Johnny Bucyk

SOOTHING SOUNDS: The late Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul and Mary, was born on this date in 1936.

Read More: kobe bryant, Mike Brown, Ndamukong Suh, William Wayne Jones
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski among NFL’s favorites in fan poll 10.24.12 at 7:47 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:
World Series: Tigers at Giants, 8 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-AM)
NBA preseason: Rockets at Hornets, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA preseason: Lakers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)

AROUND THE WEB:

Rob Gronkowski's stellar play and zany antics have gone over well with most NFL fans. (AP)

♦ Forbes magazine has the results of a Nielsen/E-Poll Market Research survey of NFL fans that attempted to determined which players are the most and least popular. Ranking No. 1, with a 63 percent appeal rating, is Steelers defensive back Troy Polamalu. At the bottom of the list is Lions defensive end Ndamukong Suh, whose dirty play and off-field issues led to his 19 percent rating.

Other notable names with favorable ratings: Saints quarterback Drew Brees (62 percent), Packers DB Charles Woodson (62 percent), Broncos QB Peyton Manning (59 percent), Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (58 percent) and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (58 percent).

Players with less-favorable ratings include: Bears QB Jay Cutler (21 percent), Eagles QB Michael Vick (23 percent) and 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss (24 percent).

♦ Left fielder Melky Cabrera is eligible to play for the Giants after serving a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, but the team is keeping him on the bench for the World Series. At Yahoo! Sports, Jeff Passan looks at the hypocrisy and “selective morality” of the Giants, the team that trotted out Barry Bonds for years and now includes on its roster reliever Guillermo Mota, a two-time offender of baseball’s drug policy.

Said manager Bruce Bochy: “With Melky, we felt when that happened, as far as losing him, the club played very well, and the guys that we had been putting out there have done the job. They’ve earned this, and this is the way we’re going to move forward. It would be, sure, tough for Melky to get game ready, but more importantly, it was how we played and how the guys did out in left field, and they deserve to be out there for the postseason.”

♦ The mother of University of Southern Mississippi freshman quarterback Anthony Alford took exception to a fan yelling negative things about her son during Saturday’s 59-24 loss to Marshall. This led to Lawanda Ann Alford being escorted to jail and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Ms. Alford apparently has a habit of this type of behavior. During a baseball game in the spring, she walked onto the field and screamed at an umpire after a questionable third strike call against her son.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Oct. 24, 1990, the Red Sox exercised a buyout of Dwight Evans‘ contract ending his long and distinguished career in Boston. The right fielder would go on to play one more season in the majors, with which team?

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Read More: Melky Cabrera, Ndamukong Suh, rob gronkowski, Troy Polamalu
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Aaron Rodgers unhappy with NFC effort at Pro Bowl 02.01.12 at 7:54 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:
NBA: Raptors at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
NBA: Thunder at Mavericks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Clippers at Jazz, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NC State at Boston College, 8 p.m. (WSBK; WRKO)
College basketball: Rutgers at Providence, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UConn at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Oklahoma at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Baylor at Texas A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Rangers at Sabres, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Aaron Rodgers is sacked during Sunday's Pro Bowl. (AP)

♦ Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers expressed disappointment that his teammates in Sunday’s Pro Bowl did not give their best effort. The NFC lost the game, 59-41.

“I’ll be honest with you. I was a little disappointed,” Rodgers told Milwaukee radio station ESPN 540. “I felt like some of the guys on the NFC side embarrassed themselves.”

Added Rodgers: “I was just surprised that some of the guys either didn’t want to play or when they were in there didn’t put any effort into it.”

♦ NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp took some time during Tuesday’s Super Bowl media day to rip the Lions defense and Ndamukong Suh. Sapp said Suh needs to work on his technique.

“He was just overpowering and throwing people out of the way,” Sapp said. “On this level, everybody is that strong. That’s what you saw, him with his shoulder and people understanding he was just going to go through them. That’s the way he rushes. He goes through you. All I got to do is get myself a nice little base and be ready to go.”

♦ Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, a switch-hitter who hit a career-worst .224 from the left side last year (.302 as a righty), made some news Thursday when he said he might try bunting when teams play a shift on him.

“I’ve been so against it my entire career,” he said. “But I might lay down a few bunts. If I can beat the shift that way, that’s important.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 1, 2004, which Bruin recorded a hat trick in a 4-1 victory over the Penguins and in the process set a team record by scoring six consecutive Bruins goals over three games?

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Packers’ Evan Dietrich-Smith accepts Ndamukong Suh’s apology for stomp 12.29.11 at 1:29 pm ET
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Evan Dietrich-Smith

Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith said Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh called to apologize a couple of days after stomping on him during the team’s Thanksgiving Day game, and he’s ready to move on. The teams meet again Sunday in the season finale, and Dietrich-Smith refused to make the incident an issue.

“We talked, he said, ‘Sorry,’ and I said, ‘No big deal,’ “ Dietrich-Smith said. “That was about it. … I think we’ve all moved past it. It’s a big learning experience for everybody. I think everyone in the league can take note of everything. I think every player is going to take a step forward to move past that kind of stuff.”

Added Dietrich-Smith: “That stuff happens, it’s football. It’s an emotional game. Sometimes you get carried away. You learn from those kinds of things.”

Thanksgiving marked the first start for Dietrich-Smith, who was filling in for injured right guard Josh Sitton. Since the game, Dietrich-Smith has moved around on the Packers line but remains a starter.

Read More: Evan Dietrich-Smith, Green Bay Packers, Ndamukong Suh, Rumor Mill
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Ndamukong Suh returns to Lions, remains defiant 12.15.11 at 7:59 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:
NFL: Jaguars at Falcons, 8 p.m. (NFL Network)
NHL: Flyers at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. (NHL Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ndamukong Suh is back after a two-week suspension, and he's not contrite. (AP)

♦ Suspended Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh continues his parade of arrogant and obnoxious behavior. After rejoining his team Wednesday for the first time after his two-week suspension for stomping on Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving, Suh was defiant in an interview with the media on hand, insisting he won’t change his game and that the focus is on the team, not him.

Asked if he’s concerned about all the negative press he’s been getting, he said: “It’s not going to make me cry at night.”

Meanwhile, during his weekly interview with Detroit radio station 97.1 The Ticket, Suh took exception to the hosts asking about his behavior on and off the field — including his car accident in Oregon last week — and abruptly ended the interview.

♦ The Bruins have good reason to be upset with the Canucks following the Stanley Cup finals, but the Blackhawks have a much fiercer rivalry with the defending Western Conference champions. During an appearance on WGN Radio, Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland repeatedly referred to the Sedin twins as “sisters” and said of the city of Vancouver, “There’s a lot of weirdos there.”

Asked if he hated all or just some of the Canucks, Bolland stated: “I hate all of them.”

Questioned what would happen if the Sedins joined the Blackhawks, Bolland said: “Well, they’ll never become Hawks. I don’t think we’d let them on our team. That’d probably be one thing. We’d be sure not to let them on our team. And yeah, they probably still would be sisters.”

♦ Despite lopping 16 games off each team’s schedule after pushing back the start of the season, the NBA plans to charge $169 for its League Pass, which allows viewers to watch every game. That’s only a $20 discount from last season. At the Sporting News, David Steele takes the league to task for failing to make an attempt to win back fans’ allegiances by offering a better deal.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On. Dec. 15, 2003, which Celtic had his number retired to the rafters?

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