Wakeup Call: Canadiens are up, Devils are down

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Wakeup Call: Canadiens are up, Devils are down

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

BASEBALL
Charlie Manuel takes the I'll-talk-about-this-one-time-and-one-time-only approach about his lame-duck contract status with the Phillies. But if he thinks that's going to put an end to the speculation about his future, well, history tells us he's mistaken. (CSN Philly)

No such problems in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates are extending Clint Hurdle's deal. (AP)

For the first time in history, all arbitration cases were settled before there were any hearings. (AP)

Boston or Oakland, Josh Reddick doesn't go anywhere without that WWE Championship Belt. (CSN Bay Area)

Roger Clemens says he's not losing any sleep over his failure to be voted into the Hall of Fame. (AP)

Dusty Baker looks and feels healthy after recovering from the mini-stroke he suffered at the end of last year. (AP)

One thing he hasn't recovered from, emotionally: How things ended for him when he was with the Cubs. (CSN Chicago)

On the present-day Cubs, Matt Garza is undergoing an MRI on that balky side muscle. (AP)

Meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano -- who refused a trade to the Giants last summer, costing himself a World Series ring -- is preparing for the day when he's shipped out of town. And it's coming. (CSN Chicago)

The season has barely started and already the Brewers' Mat Gamel finds out he'll miss all of it . . . for the second straight year. (AP)

Russell Martin is taking advantage of the WBC to fulfill his fantasy of playing shortstop. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

BOXING
If Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson can hug it out -- and sell a little barbecue sauce on the side -- there's hope for the world yet. (NBC's Off The Bench)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The Pac-12 reprimands Cal coach Mike Montgomery for shoving one of his players, though it won't say exactly what the punishment is. (AP)

No. 25 Notre Dame bounces back from its surprise drubbing at Providence on Saturday with a 51-42 win at No. 20 Pitt. (AP)

Miami? No. 2 in the country? Really? (AP)

The team directly ahead of the Hurricanes in the poll, Indiana, should have guard Victor Oladipo back in the lineup for tonight's showdown with No. 4 Michigan State in East Lansing. (AP)

Former N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe fought the law, and the law won. (AP)

R.I.P., Phil Henderson. (AP)

Brittney Griner scores her 3,000th career point as she leads Baylor to a come-from-behind victory over UConn in a battle of women's basketball titans. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
An external probe shows the NCAA just how messed up its investigation of Miami has been . . . (NBC's College Football Talk)

. . . which gives Miami school president Donna Shalala the opening to blast the investigation as "unprofessional and unethical" and demand her school go unpunished because "we have been wronged." (AP)

Oh, NFL docs? Marcus Lattimore says he's got a surprise for you. (College Football Talk)

Manti Te'o doesn't see why the dead-girlfriend hoax should affect his draft status any. (AP)

HOCKEY
The suddenly hot Canadiens win their fourth in a row, 3-0 over the Hurricanes. (AP)

And the suddenly cold Devils lose for the third time in four games, 2-1 in a shootout to the Senators. (AP)

The Flyers' road woes disappear -- for a day, anyway -- with a 7-0 romp on Long Island. (AP)

The time has come, says Chuck Gormley, for Alex Ovechkin to answer his growing number of critics. (CSN Washington)

It may be an "upper-body injury," but not that upper; according to reports, the Panthers' Kris Versteeg doesn't have a concussion. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

More good medical news: Springfield's Wade MacLeod, the ex-Northeastern star, is released from the hospital after suffering a seizure when he was checked into the boards during an AHL game Sunday. Not much word, however, on what, exactly, his condition is or how long he'll be out. (Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
Prosecutors say there's no evidence to support Oscar Pistorius' claim that he thought his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was an intruder when he murdered her with four gunshots through a locked bathroom door. (nbcnews.com)

An independent review of the Australian swim team's disappointing performance last summer in London reveals a "toxic", leaderless environment that featured "getting drunk, the misuse of prescription drugs, breaching curfews, deceit and bullying." Wow. (AP via nbcsports.com)

PRO BASKETBALL
Jerry Buss was the first NBA owner to recognize that the sport had to sell more than basketball to succeed, and his true legacy reverberates every night across the land in the "game presentation" that includes music, dancers and all the rest of the sizzle that goes with the on-court steak. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Still, asks Ray Ratto, how much credit for the Lakers' success does he actually deserve? (CSN Bay Area)

Buss' six children will continue to own the team, but -- since there's reportedly already discord between Jim, who runs the basketball side of things, and Jeanie, who runs the business end, over the refusal of Jeanie's fiancee Phil Jackson to return as coach -- will things begin to fall apart in what Kurt Helin describes as a "potential Shakespearian-level drama"? (Pro Basketball talk)

Jeremy Lin is "thankful" he wasn't voted into the All-Star Game because, he says, he didn't deserve it. (CSN Houston)

Last week, Derrick Rose said he might not play at all this year. Yesterday, he participates in five-on-five drills for the first team. What, pray tell, does it all mean? (CSN Chicago)

Sounds like the Sixers are finally getting fed up with this ridiculous Andrew Bynum situation. Join the crowd, boys. (CSN Philly)

In routine injury news, Mo Williams is back practicing with the Jazz, six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right thumb. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Darrelle Revis has reached the conclusion that the Jets don't want to pay him what he thinks he's worth, which means his days in New York are probably numbered. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Ravens expect to meet with Joe Flacco's agent at the Combine. (Pro Football Talk)

No one really understands why the Eagles brought in ex-Oregon QB Dennis Dixon, not when they'd already decided to keep Michael Vick and still have Nick Foles on the roster. But Dixon said he's been assured by his oldnew coach, Chip Kelly, that there'll be an open competition for the job and "may the best man win". (CSN Philly)

The Dolphins apparently aren't going to tag Sean Smith. (Pro Football Talk)

Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon when a handgun was found in his luggage at LaGuardia Airport. (AP)

TENNIS
Sloane Stephens' Australian Open upset of Serena Williams seems like a long time ago: She lost yesterday to Sorana Cirstea in the first round of the Dubai Championship. (AP)

Local kid Grzelcyk ‘really excited’ to suit up for first Bruins game

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Local kid Grzelcyk ‘really excited’ to suit up for first Bruins game

BOSTON – It wasn’t the perfect outcome, or exactly how he probably dreamt it would go down growing up on the streets of Charlestown in the shadow of the home of the Bruins, but Matt Grzelcyk finally got to wear the Black and Gold in front of friends and family at TD Garden. 

The former Boston University standout was on the ice for a couple of goals against in a rough 5-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night and clearly had a little bit of culture shock adjusting from NCAA hockey to the speed and intensity of a preseason NHL game.

The 22-year-old admitted as much after slowly showing during the game that he was getting more accustomed to the speed, power and precision of NHL opponents playing with purpose.

“I think maybe I was a little bit shocked coming out there. The speed of the game is obviously noticeably faster. But I think as time went on I felt a little more comfortable out there, and was able to skate pucks out of trouble. Hopefully I can build on that going forward,” said Grzelcyk. “It was obviously really exciting to get out there. I was a little bit nervous for the game and stuff and [had to] get the jitters out. But it was nice to get my first game under my belt.”

The puck-moving defenseman had tons of friends and family in the stands including his father, John, who usually works on the bull gang making sure the Garden sheet is in tip-top shape for games such as Wednesday night’s affair. So, it was natural for the nerves to be there despite “Grizz” suiting up for plenty of Beanpot games at the Garden as a member of the Terriers, but they went away as the game went along.

He picked up an assist on Boston’s only goal after working the puck up to Ryan Spooner prior to him feeding Austin Czarnik for the score. Then it was about simply playing the game, and showing where his level of play is right now as the Bruins evaluate all of their D-men. Grzelcyk had the point and he logged a solid 19:49 of ice time while finishing with a minus-1 rating and a couple of shots on net.

So, there were some positives for the local kid and some things to work on as he gets ready for some seasoning in the AHL when cuts eventually come in this B’s camp.

“I think it was a night where, as the game went on, he got better. I thought his third period was the best period he had, and as the game progressed, he started to feel a little bit more confident out there,” said Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco. “He was skating. He was avoiding… being able to escape some of the breakouts, and it’s his first game in a Bruins uniform back at home here, so I’m sure at the beginning he was probably fighting some nerves. I’m sure it was a special night for him in that regard, but I thought he got better as the game went on.”

The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder will clearly take that the first time out, but clearly Grzelcyk will be looking to show the abilities that saw him post 20 goals and 61 points over his past two seasons at BU as a talented offensive D-man looking to help sooner rather than later. 

 

 

Czarnik 'playing bigger' while looking to secure job with Bruins

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Czarnik 'playing bigger' while looking to secure job with Bruins

It’s not difficult to see why Austin Czarnik might have been a little overlooked headed into this Bruins training camp when forecasting favorites among the forwards to win a roster spot on the big club. After all he’s only 5-foot-9 and 167-pounds coming off just one very solid season at the AHL level for the Providence Bruins, and there are bigger, stronger forwards candidates that maybe rank a bit higher on the prospect list than him.

But the 23-year-old Czarnik put together an excellent training camp last fall before finishing with 20 goals and 61 points for the P-Bruins last season, and now he’s doing the exact same thing again this time around.

“Yeah, I feel more comfortable. I think we could have been a lot better in a lot of areas. Overall I think everyone is just happy to be back on the ice,” said Czarnik, who along with Frank Vatrano was one of the real starts of camp last season. “You know that type of mentality and you know mistakes are going to happen, and you’ve just got to move forward from it so everyone’s happy to be back.”

The former Miami University star is clearly happy to be back, and it’s showing on the ice with each chance he gets to show his tenacity, withering fore-check and his willingness to crash the net despite his smallish stature.

Czarnik was one of the most dangerous forwards on the ice for the Black and Gold in their preseason opener, and collected a key assist on Boston’s first goal of the game when he pushed a puck through the neutral zone before setting up on odd man rush for Jimmy Hayes and Jake DeBrusk.

This time around Czarnik scored the game’s only goal on a nifty rush during four-on-four play through the offensive zone by Ryan Spooner, who drew in the defense and dished to Czarnik for a wide open tap-in chance.

So it’s a couple of big plays in each of the first two preseason games that led to goals, and a genuinely excellent level of play throughout both contests. It’s something the Bruins coaching staff has taken note of along with his skating speed and hardnosed mentality, and now they have to figure if it fits in with their other NHL pieces.

“We were just talking about it. Everybody has that same feeling. He’s playing well. He moves well. He’s on the puck. He competes, and that’s the thing you’re looking for really,” said Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco. “Like right now, we know there’s going to be mistakes made by a lot of our players, especially the younger ones.

“We’re looking to see who’s got that competitive, you know, that competitive fire. [We’re looking for] who’s going to go out there and who can compete at a high level. I know he’s not big in stature, but he plays bigger than he is. He’s had two pretty good games so far.”

Czarnik had a couple of good games early in B’s camp last year before flat-lining a bit at the end when the NHL jobs were seriously on the line, and the 23-year-old wants that story to change endings this time around. It remains to be seen where he’s going to fit as yet another center among Boston’s group of training camp players this month, but Czarnik might just force the Bruins to make a tough decision if he keeps playing at his current high level.