Wakeup Call: It'll be 48 games, starting soon

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Wakeup Call: It'll be 48 games, starting soon

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, January 7:

BASEBALL
First the Yankees make a qualifying offer to Rafael Soriano, forcing any team that signs him in free agency to forfeit a draft choice . . . which, effectively, eliminates any interest in him. And now that he has nowhere else to go, they say they don't want him. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The only question I have about this is: Why in the world was Florida playing at Yale?? (AP)

Undefeated Michigan is a win away from tying the school record for best start to a season. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
If Alabama comes through, as expected, against Notre Dame tonight, it'll be three BCS titles in four years for the Crimson Tide. (nbcsports.com)

What better way to get ready for the Tide and the Irish than by watching Arkansas State beat Kent State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl? (AP)

Surprise of the weekend: Chip Kelly's staying put. (CSN Philly)

Second-biggest surprise of the weekend: So's Aaron Murray. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Meanwhile, Nick Saban and Brian Kelly continue to insist they're going nowhere. (AP)

GOLF
Are they ever going to get the PGA Tour season underway? (AP)

Whenever they do get to play, J.J. Henry will be honoring the victims of the Connecticut school shooting. (AP)

Since Rory McIlroy can't decide whether to play for Britain or Ireland in the 2016 Olympics, he may just skip it altogether. (AP)

HOCKEY
Looks like it's going to be a 48-game schedule that starts on Jan. 19. (CSN Philly)

And the players are thrilled. (AP)

You may never have heard of Scot Beckenbaugh, but he's probably the reason there'll be a hockey season. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
How bad is it for the Lakers? The Nuggets beat them -- in L.A., no less -- and then say, well, what's the big deal? (AP)

You knew this was coming in the sad Royce WhiteRockets saga. (CSN Houston)

PRO FOOTBALL
Russell Wilson wins the Battle of the Rookie Quarterbacks as the Seahawks eliminate the Redskins. (AP)

After Robert Griffin III reinjured his knee in the first quarter, he completed 4 of 10 pass attempts for 16 yards with no touchdowns and an interception -- a quarterback rating of 8.3 -- and the Redskins went from a 14-0 lead to a 24-14 loss. But he insists he was "fine" and would have refused to come out of the game if coach Mike Shanahan had tried to lift him. (CSN Washington)

Ah, those classy Seahawks. (CSN Washington)

Sometimes, though, their yappy defensive backs pay the price for that incessant preening and trash talking. (CSN Washington)

It wasn't all preening and trash talking for Pete Carroll's boys. They may have lost sack leader Chris Clemons for the rest of the playoffs. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

And speaking of preening . . . (CSN Baltimore)

What was he dancing and screaming about? A Ravens victory over Indianapolis that earns them a trip to Denver. (AP)

Sunday's loss ended an emotional season for Chuck Pagano and the Colts. (CSN Baltimore)

Gruden to Arizona? Before you get excited, though, it's Jay, not Jon. And it's not a done deal. (AP)

More coaching news: The Bears interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. (AP)

So do the Eagles. (CSN Philly)

The Browns are telling folks they turned down Chip Kelly, not the other way around. (AP)

TENNIS
Andy Murray wins the Brisbane International, makes a point during his post-match press conference to publicly dedicate the victory to "one of my best friends . . . who is going to get through" something, then refuses to identify either the friend or what he's going through. (AP)

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster. 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.