Wakeup Call: What's the rush? Take a couple of weeks off!


Wakeup Call: What's the rush? Take a couple of weeks off!

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, November 16:

He's got almost no chance of overtaking him on the track for the Sprint Cup championship, so Jimmie Johnson's trying mind games with Brad Keselowski. (AP)

It's the Ghost of Bowie Kuhn! Bud Selig says he's taking the Marlins-Blue Jays megatrade -- which still isn't official, by the way -- "under review". (AP)

Not only has Jeffrey Loria got the fans of Miami and the national media mad, it appears even his fellow owners aren't too fond of him these days. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Matt Garza gets a clean bill of health. (CSN Chicago)

As does Brandon McCarthy. (AP)

Long-ago All-Star Dioner Navarro -- a key member of the Rays when they dethroned the Red Sox in '08, if you recall -- catches on with the Cubs. (CSN Chicago)

Scott Boras gives the Dodgers a glimpse into what contract talks for Ryu Hyun-Jin will be like when he describes the South Korean left-hander as "one of the Goliaths, if not the leading Goliath, in baseball." (AP)

Just Manny being Manny. (AP)

Representatives of Shabazz Muhammad are ready to charge that the NCAA conducted an unfair investigation of the UCLA freshman, saying that -- based on the boyfriend of one of the group's lawyers bragging loudly on a flight in August -- the NCAA had already decided to declare Muhammad ineligible before it had ever heard the case. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

The rich get richer -- recruiting wise, that is -- at Kentucky, (AP)

Texas A&M freshman wide receiver Thomas Johnson, who disappeared from campus Monday, has been found safe in Dallas, though coach Kevin Sumlin says he's concerned for Johnson's health and well-being. (AP)

North Carolina ends Virginia's postseason hopes by pulling away to a 37-13 victory. (AP)

She can't really be washed up at 23, can she? But how else to describe Michelle Wie's baffling career descent? (golfchannel.com)

They've already bagged the first two months of the season, and now the NHL wants to take a couple of weeks off from negotiations with the union. You know what they say about truth being stranger than fiction . . . (AP)

Bill Daly wails that "union leadership . . . has no genuine interest in reaching an agreement." Right, Bill, because their job is to keep the players unemployed with no income. God, your spin is as ham-handed as your negotiating tactics. (CSN Philly)

Meanwhile, the U.S. Magistrate Judge who mediated talks between the NFL and NFLPA last summer -- a Minnesota Wild season-ticket holder, by the way -- is willing to wade into the NHL labor wars for free. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Brad Richards and a group of his Rangers teammates are going to hold a charity skate on Staten Island for the victims of Hurricane -- pardon me, Superstorm -- Sandy. (AP)

Break up the Knicks! (AP)

Cross another item off the Heat's to-do list: Winning a game in Denver. (AP)

Mike D'Antoni showed up in L.A. on crutches, but still ready to go. (AP)

Scottie Pippen plans to trod the boards in 'A Christmas Carol'. Get your tickets now. (AP)

Ex-University of Tennessee and WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw is in custody in Atanta after first using a bat to break the windows of, and then firing a gun into, a car owned by Jennifer Lacy of the Tulsa Shock. Lacy says she and Holdsclaw -- who has talked openly about her fight with clinical depression, which led her to make a suicide attempt in 2006 -- had been romantically involved. (AP)

The Bills bounced back nicely from Sunday's frustrating loss in Foxboro with a 19-14 win over Miami. (AP)

The Dolphins' offense is, well, offensive. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Bart Scott scoffs at LaDainian Tomlimson's speculation that he's the one who gave the anonymous quotes about Tim Tebow being "terrible", saying "I ain't ever hid behind junk that I've ever said." (Pro Football Talk)

John Elway has no reason to regret trading Tebow, and it's clear he doesn't. (Pro Football Talk)

In a strange way, all of this has served as support for Mark Sanchez . . . who otherwise would be sitting on the quite the hot seat. (AP)

Woody Johnson's not a happy camper these days; not only is his team 3-6, but he was one of Mitt Romney's biggest boosters and, well, we all know how that turned out. But somebody usually pays the price for a billionaire's unhappiness, and there are hints that those somebodies are going to be Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum. (AP)

Want to know why All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis thinks his coach, John Harbaugh, is "as tough as a two-dollar steak"? Harbaugh underwent what was described as a "minor procedure . . . for an irregular heartbeat" on Thursday, but expects to be back with the 49ers on Friday and to coach the team this weekend. (CSN Bay Area)

Talk all you want about doing more to protect players, but as long as they're going to lie about having concussions so they can stay in the game -- as Brian Urlacher freely admits he would doprobably has done -- then expect the problems to continue. (CSN Chicago)

Wade Phillips looks at the 30,000 the NFL took from Tim Dobbins and says he's baffled by how the league determines fines. (CSN Houston)

The Ravens' injury depleted secondary takes another hit as Jimmy Smith undergoes surgery for a groin problem. (CSN Baltimore)

Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?


Haggerty: So what exactly has happened to the Bruins-Habs rivalry?

BRIGHTON, MASS -- It didn’t take last season’s embarrassing Winter Classic result to figure out something has been missing from the storied, legendary Bruins-Canadiens rivalry over the last few years.

The last traces of the latest, great incarnation of the B’s-Habs rivalry were clearly still there a couple of seasons ago when the two hockey clubs met in the second round of the playoffs. After falling short the last few times the teams met in the postseason, Boston was summarily dismissed by Montreal in Game 7 on their own home ice during that series. The following season the B’s simply had so many of their own players struggling to put out a consistent effort, so the games against the Habs didn’t really register highly on the importance scale, and last season both Boston and Montreal suffered through subpar seasons that saw them each fall short of the playoffs.

Since the second round loss to the Habs in the 2013-14 playoffs, the Bruins are 2-7 while being outscored by a 31-18 margin in nine regular season meetings over the last two seasons in an incredibly one-sided chapter in the two teams’ shared history. The real lack of competitiveness has been a noticeable lack of deep emotion or ill will on the ice between the two hockey clubs, and that is very different from the recent past when signature players like Milan Lucic, P.K. Subban and Shawn Thornton were card-carrying members of healthy hate that regularly spilled out on the ice between the two rival NHL organizations.

Instead it will probably be new blood that breathes glorious, hard-edged life into the history between the two Original Six teams, and new personalities like David Backes, Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw are likely to do just that. Certainly the Canadiens wanted to be much more difficult to play against in recruiting players like Shaw and Weber, and, their presence along with the offensively explosive Alex Radulov, could make it a tough matchup for the Black and Gold.

Either way, the Bruins are curious to see what the matchup looks like this season with the electric P.K. Subban removed from the mix as one of the classic Habs villain-type characters from a Boston perspective.

“It’s always fun to play Montreal at home, or in Montreal. This will be our second time counting the preseason, and our first time at the Garden. It’s going to be pretty cool,” said David Krejci. “When you say any NHL team there are a few names that pop out for that team, and [P.K. Subban] was definitely one of them [for Montreal]. But P.K. is gone, and now it’s Shea Weber. So it’s going to be a little different, but he’s a hell of a player as well so it isn’t going to be any easier.

“It’s a big game. It’s a division game. We don’t want to take any game lightly within the 82 games because you don’t know what can happen at the end. When those games against [Montreal] are done you always feel like you’ve played two games, and not just one. It’s high intensity, and it’s obviously a rivalry that you get up for.”

As Bruins head coach Claude Julien would say it, things are a bit too civilized between the two enemy teams when thinking back to the days of Georges Laraque chasing Milan Lucic around the ice challenging him a fight on the Bell Centre ice, or the awful epoch in B’s-Habs history when Zdeno Chara clobbered Max Pacioretty with a dangerous, injury-inducing hit into the stanchion area.

Nobody is looking for players to get hurt on borderline plays when the two teams suit up on Saturday night, but something to introduce a new chapter into the Boston-Montreal rivalry would be a good thing for both teams, a good thing for the fans and a potentially great thing for an NHL that prides itself on good, old-fashioned rivalries.

“We need to make sure that we’re ready to play [on Saturday]. I like the way that we’ve played so far, and except for Toronto we’ve managed to compete with all of the teams that we’ve played against,” said Julien. “I don’t know if it’s going to stay that way, but I’m going to use the word that [the rivalry] has been more civilized for the last few years. There hasn’t been as much of the sideshow as there has been [in the past].

“I think there’s still a lot of hatred between the two organizations when they meet, but I think the way the game is trending, and how costly that penalties can be in a game, both teams are a little cautious in that way. I still think there is great intensity and both teams get up for the games, so hopefully that happens tomorrow, and the fans get to see a good game.”

One thing that should ensure a good, familiar showdown with plenty of hard-hitting and honest-to-goodness rivalry-like behavior: both the Canadiens and Bruins are off to strong starts at the top of the Atlantic Division in the first couple of weeks this season, and there are some new faces that are undoubtedly going to want to announce their presence for these Bruins-Habs tilts with authority.

Let’s hope this happens because last season’s Bruins-Habs games needed a pair of jumper cables and 1.21 jigowatts of electricity to shock them back into their elevated level of intensity, and that’s when hockey is served best after all.