Wakeup Call: The path is clear for Notre Dame

943917.jpg

Wakeup Call: The path is clear for Notre Dame

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, November 19:

AUTO RACING
Ladies and gentlemen, your Sprint Cup champion for 2012: Brad Keselowski. (AP)

Dodge sure left NASCAR in style. (AP)

This week, the only fight between Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer was for first place. (AP)

BASEBALL
Zack Greinke may be staying in Los Angeles. Only it's the real version, not the ersatz "of Anaheim" kind. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Hiroki Kuroda has apparently narrowed his choices to the Yankees or Japan. (Hardball Talk)

And Juan Pierre has narrowed his to the Marlins, of all teams. (AP)

I guess times are tough: No one wanted to bid 258,600 for Pete Rose's copy of the 1990 agreement in which he accepted a lifetime ban from baseball. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Whoa. Maybe it is a new era at UConn, after all. And not in a good way. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
After a weekend of upsets, the only thing standing between Notre Dame and a berth in the BCS championship game is Saturday's trip to USC. (AP)

And Brian Kelly likes what he's hearing -- or not hearing -- out of his troops. (CSN Chicago)

When the Trojans take the field Saturday, they'll have the hopes of Oregon, Kansas State and countless other BCS wannabes with them. (Like Georgia.) But they won't have starting quarterback Matt Barkley, who'll miss the game because of a strained right shoulder. (AP)

No surprise here: Tennessee fires coach Derek Dooley. (AP)

GOLF
Rory McIlroy says he wants to lighten the load in 2013. (AP)

HOCKEY
So much for the two weeks off: Labor talks resume today. (AP)

But Sportsnet's John Shannon doesn't expect anything except more "rhetoric and posturing" since, as he puts it, "There is nothing to indicate that either side has had an epiphany." (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

The AHL owners are probably saying, "What's the rush? Stay out longer!" (Pro Hockey Talk)

Whenever they do return, it'll probably be without Senators defenseman Jared Cowen; he underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his hip Saturday and will be sidelined six to eight months. Of course, if the lockout wipes out the season, he might not miss anything. (AP)

The danger of playing in Europe during the lockout is that you might get hurt there . . . like the Capitals' Brooks Laich. (CSN Washington)

PRO BASKETBALL
Coach 'Sheed?? Just when you think you've heard it all . . . (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Hard to believe Kevin Durant never had a triple-double before last night. (AP)

They're old hat to Kobe Bryant, though. (AP)

It's tough enough staying healthy on the basketball courts of America. But Andrew Bynum couldn't survive its bowling alleys. (CSN Philly)

This is seven knee surgeries, and counting, for Brandon Roy. (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
To quote Peter Gammons, Byron Leftwich me no Byron Leftwich: It was a win in Pittsburgh, and the Ravens will take it. (AP)

The Steelers hope -- or pray, if last night's any indication -- Ben Roethlisberger will be back when they have their rematch with Baltimore in two weeks. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

And hapless Cleveland Browns me no hapless Cleveland Browns: It was a win, period, and the Cowboys will take it. (AP)

If you can't beat 'em one way, beat 'em another. Right, Texans? (CSN Houston)

It helps if your quarterback throws for 527 yards . . . especially when he's never come close to anything like that in the past. (CSN Houston)

Bart Scott's media mutiny didn't last long, as calmer -- i.e., saner -- heads prevailed. (Pro Football Talk)

Matty Ice's five picks couldn't stop the Falcons from beating Arizona. (AP)

TENNIS
The Czech Republic wins its first Davis Cup -- as an independent nation, that is -- with a 3-2 victory over Spain. (AP)

Sexual abuse charges have cost Bob Hewitt his spot in the Tennis Hall of Fame. (AP)

What do retired tennis stars do with themselves when their playing days are over? If they're Chris Evert, Lindsay Davenport and Justin Gimelstob, they make guest appearances on 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'. (AP)

Friday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

red-sox-logo-110415.jpg

Friday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

BOSTON -- Henry Owens will be on the mound tonight, making his second start of the season, as the Red Sox play the Yankees for the first time in 2016.

The lineups:

YANKEES:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Texeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Starlin Castro 2B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
---
Masahiro Tanaka P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
---
Henry Owens P

After up-and-down rookie season, Hunter looks to get stronger

celtics_r.j._hunter_110415.jpg

After up-and-down rookie season, Hunter looks to get stronger

WALTHAM, Mass. – R.J. Hunter no longer has to worry about summer days spent with his nose inside a textbook (or tablet) while taking summer school classes.
 
But make no mistake about it.
 
The Celtics rookie knows he has a lot to learn in what will be an important offseason in his growth as an NBA player.
 
There were many things to like about Hunter, who was selected by Boston with the 28th overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft.
 
But like most rookies, Hunter’s play was an up and down affair throughout the season.
 
He appeared in 36 regular-season games, averaging 2.7 points and 1.0 rebounds in 8.8 minutes per game. In the playoffs, he appeared in five games and averaged 1.0 points, 1.2 rebounds in 8.2 minutes.
 
He had flashes of big-time talent like the 12-point performance against the Atlanta Hawks in November. But those type of games were few and far between as that would serve as his only double-digit scoring game of the season.
 
“It was up and down, but a lot more ups than downs,” Hunter said following his exit interview on Friday. “I was further along than I thought I would be. It’s kind of cool to see what I have to work on for the summer and not have summer school or any other summer obligation. I think it’ll be a fun summer.”
 
The big thing for Hunter this summer is to, well, get bigger.
 
He came into the NBA amid concerns that his lithe frame would not withstand the physical rigors of the NBA.
 
And while there’s no question Hunter had his problems at times defensively due to not being stronger, he seemed to know where he needed to be and what to do most of the time when he was no the floor.
 
That’s why for him to solidify himself as a viable option for the Celtics next season, it’s important that he put in the time to improve his overall strength.
 
Hunter said he will be doing that throughout the summer with half of his time spent here in Waltham.
 
“That takes time and a lot of dedication,” Hunter said. “But I’m definitely up for it.”
 
In addition to strengthening his body, he’ll also look to improve his understanding and knowledge of the game through studying video.
 
Among those he will study is Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver, a player Hunter said he has been watching video of all season.
 
“You look at how hard Kyle Korver cuts all game long,” Hunter said. “It’s things like that. It’s about getting conditioning, getting stronger and doing a lot of preparation before the shot.”
 
Hunter said this will be the first time he has watched video in the summer months.
 
“That should put me two or three steps ahead to when the season starts,” he said.
 
Which would then put Hunter in strong contention to see his role next season expanded, especially when you consider his strength – shooting the ball – is arguably the biggest weakness on this Celtics’ roster.
 
 

Friday, April 29: Spacey backs Barkov for NHL 2017 cover

cp-morning-skate.jpg

Friday, April 29: Spacey backs Barkov for NHL 2017 cover

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while pumped that Jon Bernthal is getting his own Netflix show as The Punisher. He was the best thing about the second season of Daredevil.

*Kevin Spacey is officially endorsing Aleksander Barkov for the cover EA Sports NHL 2017, and that continues the unlikely friendship between Spacey and the Florida Panthers.

*Patrick Kane knows that all eyes will be on him – for unfortunately good reasons -- moving forward with the Blackhawks after everything that went down with him on and off the ice over the last year.

*In true hot take fashion, Ryan Lambert thinks Bruce Boudreau should remain coach of the Ducks because he’s been unlucky in those pesky Game 7 playoff scenarios. Yup, it’s all about luck in sports. That must be why the Ducks fired him on Friday afternoon. So it’s another spot on piece of analysis from somebody that knows as much inside NHL hockey info as your local high school gym teacher.

*Speaking of hot takes, FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rob Rossi says that Tom Wilson isn’t a hockey player after his knee-on-knee hit of Connor Sheary in Game 1 of their playoff series. Wilson definitely isn’t as good a hockey player as Milan Lucic is in terms of offensive production, but he definitely can play the game of hockey a bit in addition to the thuggishness on the ice.

*Gary Lawless says the NHL and NHLPA have come to an agreement on players with no-movement clauses, who will need to be protected by their respective teams in any upcoming NHL expansion draft.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Halford says that Russian wild card Alex Radulov is expecting to play in the NHL next season. That could be bad news to coaches everywhere looking to limit their quota of enigmatic Russian players on their roster.

*ICYMI, here’s my radio hit with Bob Stauffer from Oilers Now talking about the state of the Bruins as they head into the offseason.

*For something completely different: the passing of former Patriots player Ron Brace at 29 is so sad given what an excellent person he was in addition to being a solid local football product.