Wakeup Call: One computer didn't watch the BCS title game . . .

943739.jpg

Wakeup Call: One computer didn't watch the BCS title game . . .

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, January 11:

AUTO RACING
Danica Patrick wants to focus her attention on her first full season in NASCAR, so she's skipping the Indy 500 this year. I wish she'd skip those insufferable godaddy.com Super Bowl ads, but that's just me. (AP)

BASEBALL
Justin Upton says thanks, but no thanks, to a trade from Arizona to Seattle. (AP)

Pete Rose may be banned from baseball and forbidden from being elected into the Hall of Fame and all, but that doesn't stop him from getting on the moral high horse about steroids use. (AP)

Kerry Wood believes everyone -- including himself -- who played in the Steroids Era is under suspicion, so he isn't the least bit surprised that former teammate Sammy Sosa didn't get elected into the Hall of Fame. (CSN Chicago)

Craig Biggio "cracked jokes and waxed philosophic" about falling 39 votes short of induction. (CSN Houston)

Most everybody takes to Twitter these days to get their message across. Not Mike Piazza; he's writing a book that will tell everyone he never took steroids. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The Phillies insist Cole Hamels' shoulder soreness isn't "an issue at all". (CSN Philly)

Theo gives another chance to old friend Darnell McDonald. (Hardball Talk)

Kosuke Fukudome's heading home to Japan. (AP)

The Pirates' deal with Francisco Liriano is on hold because of an issue with his right -- i.e., non-throwing -- arm. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
You can take Arizona off your list of unbeatens, thanks to Oregon. (AP)

Remember the kid from Grinnell who scored 138 points in a game in November? He's out for the season after breaking his wrist. (AP)

Sign of the armageddon: Miami beating North Carolina in Chapel Hill. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Take heart, Notre Dame: At least one computer still thinks you're the best. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Brian Kelly's sudden interest in the NFL makes sense. (CSN Chicago)

So does the Bears' interest in him. (CSN Chicago)

In today's installmant of Declaring For the NFL Draft, we have Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins, Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle and Georgia's Kwame Geathers. (AP)

Johnny Football's learning about life in the spotlight. (AP)

Jerry Sandusky won't give up. (AP)

HOCKEY
At last, the Kings get to focus on defending the Stanley Cup. (AP)

Some unfinished business for Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk: Playing in the KHL All-Star Game on Sunday before returning to the NHL. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
We've been ragging -- and delightfully so -- on the Lakers, but Miami isn't doing so hot, either. (AP)

Take away 'Melo, and the Knicks stop scoring. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Rob who? (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

And that makes eight: The Jaguars finally fire Mike Mularkey, the eighth NFL coach dismissed since the end of the season. (Pro Football Talk)

Lovie Smith is a perfect fit for the Eagles. At least that's what Tony Dungy thinks. (CSN Philly)

Monte Kiffin may have been a big disappointment on his son Lane's staff at USC, but Jerry Jones still wants him in Dallas. (Pro Football Talk)

On Wednesday, Jay Gruden said he would remain an assistant at Cincinnati. On Thursday, he interviewed for the head job in Arizona. And next week, he may interview in Philadelphia. (AP)

The 49ers are sticking with David Akers. For now. (AP)

The Steelers release running back Chris Rainey after the latest in a series of off-field incidents. (AP)

TENNIS
Looking forward to a Victoria Azarenka-Serena Williams final in the Australian Open? Sorry; they're in the same draw. (AP)

Haggerty: Good, but not good enough, again the story for Bruins

Haggerty: Good, but not good enough, again the story for Bruins

BOSTON – The all-important results continue to elude the Bruins at the time when they need them most.

The Black and Gold lost their third game in a row, 1-0, to the Chicago Blackhawks at TD Garden Friday night when they allowed the game-winning goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in regulation. It was a simple defensive breakdown and some great tic-tac-toe passing with Marian Hossa finishing things off, but it also felt like a game where the Blackhawks coasted against a wounded Bruins team for 58 minutes before turning it on when it was winning time.

The winning goal was a cross-ice pass from Tanner Kero to Hossa, with the puck sliding right between the legs of Adam McQuaid in the slot, and Hossa picking a corner while giving Tuukka Rask zero time to react side to side.

“We had a game plan in place and our guys executed well, they were ready to play,” said Claude Julien. “One little mistake and it’s in our net, and you lose yourself a pretty important hockey game.”

So, now the Bruins have taken only one point in their past three games, have dropped behind the Ottawa Senators in the Atlantic Division standings and continue to skate around like they’re wearing the weight of the entire organization on their shoulders.

“At the end of the night it is another loss and that’s the biggest thing. Did your team play fairly well? I think so. I think we competed hard, but then again you’re dealing with some growing pains. We had an icing late in the game so that’s not necessary, but the winning goal that goes through three of our guys and in our net with a minute-and- a-half left,” said Julien. “We have to stand there again, and take the responsibility for our own actions. It’s unfortunate because that minute-and-a-half that was left in the game kind of tarnished everything we had done for the first 58 minutes.

“I thought we played pretty well against a good team. We had contained the guys that we needed to contain. We didn’t score any goals – I don’t think we did a good enough job there - we had some chances but again you got to find ways to score goals. That’s where we are at.”

Clearly, the Bruins didn’t give up a ton defensively and Rask had been solid for the first two-plus periods, but there was also a sense Chicago didn’t bring its best game either when Boston outshot the Blackhawks 17-6 in the opening period. It was also clear that, aside from a couple of good, early chances from Tim Schaller and Brad Marchand, along with a Joe Morrow breakaway chance, the Bruins offense wasn’t doing enough work to get closer to the Chicago net for any sustained pressure.

So, instead of a solid result with dark clouds swirling over Causeway Street that a big change is needed to jolt a stagnant team, the Bruins hang up another loss where they outshot their opponent and end up with nothing to show for it.

These are the kinds of losses that test morale and togetherness and could either be taken as a sign of things tightening up for the Bruins or of things continuing to spiral away from a team that just needs wins at this point.

“I’m sure everybody’s feeling down right now because we lost, but you can’t start pouting too much. You’ve got to move on,” said Rask, who allowed one goal on 22 shots in the loss. “[There’s a] big game coming up Sunday, and next week, so it’s a loss and we have to move on. [We have to] get ready for the next one. I’m sure guys are pissed today, but tomorrow’s a new day.”

Tomorrow is a new day for everybody on the Black and Gold including Julien, who is scheduled to still run practice on Saturday as the B’s bench boss before speaking to the media prior to the team leaving for Pittsburgh. So, it’s business as usual after another loss on Friday night in a classic Original Six matchup that’s clearly most of the luster from where it was at four years ago, but one can only sit and wonder how much longer business as usual cuts it for a hockey club that continues to flounder. 
 

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.