Wakeup Call: Visit to Foxboro 'biggest game in Texans' history'

958239.jpg

Wakeup Call: Visit to Foxboro 'biggest game in Texans' history'

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, December 7.

BASEBALL
  I'm sure a three-year, 75 million offer from the Mariners isn't what Josh Hamilton had in mind when he hit free agency, but it may be the best one he gets. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

  Or is it? (Hardball Talk)

  The other crown jewel of this year's free-agent class, Zack Greinke, may soon have one less suitor. (Hardball Talk)

  The Phillies finally get their center fielder, but Ben Revere came at a pretty high price. (CSN Philly)

  Whether or not they get a new third baseman is entirely up to Michael Young now. (CSN Philly)

  Turns out Jason Bay's deal with Seattle isn't guaranteed. (Hardball Talk)

  The Indians have dropped out of the Justin Upton megatrade talks, which may be on life support, anyway. (Hardball Talk)

  Don't let the Orioles' offseason silence fool you. Dan Duquette still thinks he has "a pretty good ballclub". (CSN Baltimore)

  To paraphrase Robin Williams: Spending 756,000 on the uniform Don Larsen wore during his World Series perfect game in 1956 is God's way of saying you have too much money. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
  Maryland coach Mark Turgeon warns everyone not to be fooled by the Terrapins' 7-1 record; "our perception is a lot better than reality right now". (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
  Manti Te'o keeps bringing home the hardware. (AP)

  As expected, Barry Alvarez is climbing back into the saddle and will coach Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. (AP)

  But it's just for one game, as Alvarez -- now the Badgers' A.D. -- searches for a replacement for Bret Bielema. One name he's already crossed off his list: Former Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who's committed to his job as head coach at Pitt. (AP)

  I, for one, could have sworn Butch Jones was Colorado-bound. But no. (AP)

  The president of the University of Texas appears solidly in Mack Brown's corner. (NBC's College Football Talk)

HOCKEY
  There could be more -- a lot more -- to the latest breakdown in negotiations than meets the eye, especially since one unnamed player claims a) the majority of the rank-and-file was ready to accept the league's offer Wednesday until Don Fehr told them to hold out for more, and b) the same player echoed Michael Neuvirth's previous statement that "this lockout is not about the majority of players . . . but about several superstars with big contracts". (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

  The owners clearly sense a rift in the ranks, judging by comments like "there are some members of the players' association that understand our perspective" and "our proposal was rejected by the union's leadership". (Pro Hockey Talk)

  That being the case, Gary Bettman's dramatic rendering of the owners' anger and disappointment could be part of a bigger strategy to drive a wedge between Fehrsuperstars and the rest of the players. (Pro Hockey Talk)

  Just like Fehr's earlier sunshine-and-lollipops "peace is at hand" speech was probably a P.R. move designed to put public pressure on the league to come back to the table. Because, as Dale Arnold pointed out on Twitter, when you're close to an agreement you don't go to the microphones and talk about how close you are to an agreement; you keep negotiating and get it done. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
  So that's twice the Knicks have the played the Heat and twice the Knicks have won . . . and this time it was by 20 points, in Miami, without Carmelo Anthony. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

  And it had LeBron James channeling his inner Bill Belichick ("gotta play better") afterwards. (Pro Basketball Talk)

  Dirk Nowitzki's comeback is progressing a lot slower than expected. (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
  If you're looking for someone to toe the Belichikian, don't-feed-the-noise line, Andre Johnson's not your guy. He's calling the Texans' Monday night visit to Foxboro "the biggest game in the history of this franchise". (CSN Houston)

  And Bradie James says he's playing in it. Period. End of story. (CSN Houston)

  That's eight in a row for Peyton Manning and the Broncos, as they made quick work of Oakland last night. (AP)

  Adding injury to insult, the Raiders lost Darren McFadden when he re-sprained his right ankle late in the game. (CSN Bay Area)

  Roger Goodell says the NFL will do what it can to help the Raiders get a new stadium in Oakland. (AP)

  It's official. Ben Roethlsberger will start Sunday. (AP)

  We repeat: Don't invite Payton Hillis and Joe Thomas to the same dinner party. (AP)

  At least one media member doesn't think this latest train wreck of a Jets season will cost Rex Ryan his job. Mike Tannenbaum, on the other hand . . . (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

  49ers CEO Jed York has Jim Harbaugh's back in the Great Quarterback Debate. (CSN Bay Area)

  As part of ongoing domestic disputes involving Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and the mother of his two children, Suggs was required last month to surrender several firearms. (Pro Football Talk)

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.