Morning Skate: Wednesday, Jan. 2

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Morning Skate: Wednesday, Jan. 2

Could an NHL memo sent to off-ice officials be a harbinger that the NHL lockout is mercifully about to end?

The San Jose Mercury News catches up with former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent and polls him for opinions about what the NHL should now do.

The Edmonton Journal says that Taylor Hall has never looked better than he does right now at the AHL level in Oklahoma City. Okay, but it would make Edmonton fans happier if they could say that at the NHL level.

A solid image from our friends in Nashville: Kostitsyn and Radulov as the Butabi Brothers from Night at the Roxbury.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continues to dominate for Team Canada at the World Juniors and has his eyes set on lockout gold.

It would appear that the approach of Gary Bettman and the NHL negotiating team has changed in recent days. Isnt that interesting?

For something completely different: Ive never seen a more unmitigated media project than the Red Sox beat writers' attempt to rehab John Lackeys image. The man has done a lot more than just saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Mark my words: this Lackey thing in Boston will end badly as it probably should have never happened in the first place.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.