Wakeup Call: Is Bobby Loo headed to Washington?

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Wakeup Call: Is Bobby Loo headed to Washington?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, February 4.

BASEBALL
Spring training's just around the corner and Dice-K is still job-hunting. But, apparently, the Astros and Mets are interested . .. kind of. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Hanley Ramirez not doing what the team wants. Go figure. (Hardball Talk)

Evan Longoria's "leg is ready," and so is he. (Hardball Talk)

Torii Hunter certainly landed on his feet -- there are worse places to play than with the defending A.L. champions -- but he still sounds a bit chapped about his departure from the Angels. (Hardball Talk)

After 16 years, Kevin Millwood calls it quits. (Hardball Talk)

Not Brandon Lyon, though. (Hardball Talk)

The Orioles come to their senses. (Hardball Talk)

BOXING
Reports of Muhammad Ali's death are greatly exaggerated. (AP via nbcsports.com)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
As are reports of Louisville's. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
If it's the offseason, it must be police log time. First up: A freshman backup quarterback at Texas. (AP)

Next: Texas A&M defensive lineman Kirby Ennis. (AP)

Not in trouble with the cops, but with the school: Purdue wide receiver O.J. Ross. (AP)

GOLF
Lefty goes wire-to-wire at the Phoenix Open. (AP)

Your other weekend winners: Karrie Webb at the Australian Ladies Masters . . . (AP)

. . . and Stephen Gallacher at the Dubai Desert Classic. (AP)

HOCKEY
The Penguins continue their early season surge, and the Capitals their early season stumble, in Pittsburgh's 6-3 win over Washington. (AP)

But don't worry, Caps: Has Mike Gillis got a deal for you! (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

The miracles of modern medicine: Eight days after his appendectomy, Max Pacioretty leads the Canadiens to their fifth straight home victory. (AP)

Turns out that emotional win in Boston Thursday night was just a mirage for the Sabres. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Erik Spoelstra gets to coach the East in the All-Star Game since the Heat -- thanks to Sunday's victory in Toronto -- compiled the best record in the conference as of the Feb. 3 deadline. (AP)

The Lakers make it five wins in six games -- barely -- by hanging on to beat Detroit. (AP)

Brandon Roy sure sounds like a guy who's calling it a day after this frustrating, injury-plagued season is over. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Good news for those who saw Michael Kidd-Gilchrist being carried off the court Saturday night in Houston: He was cleared to fly and traveled to Miami with the rest of the Bobcats. (CSN Houston)

PRO FOOTBALL
When all is said is done, what we'll really remember about Super Bowl XLVII is the lights going out . . . and, apparently, Beyonce's halftime show had something to do with it. (AP)

They sure had a good time with the whole thing on Twitter. (NBC's Off The Bench)

By the time the power failed, the 49ers had pretty much sealed their fate . . . (CSN Bay Area)

. . . though they came back and made a game of it once the lights returned. (CSN Bay Area)

And two of the biggest reasons why? Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. (Our very own Tom E. Curran via CSN Bay Area)

Not so much Randy Gene, a.k.a. The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Receiver Of All Time, as the final memory San Franciscans may have of him is an alligator-arm effort that drew some -- okay, a lot of -- scorn from Bill Romanowski. (CSN Bay Area)

Colin Kaepernick, though, blames himself. (CSN Bay Area)

Others, however, blame the referees . . . (CSN Bay Area)

. . . and Jim Harbaugh is one of them . . . (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

. . . though he seems to have forgotten that the 'Niners benefitted from some non-calls on the road to New Orleans. (Pro Football Talk)

Jim Harbaugh's sorrow took away -- a little -- from John Harbaugh's joy. (AP)

Who had the under on how long the postgame handshake would take? (Yahoo! Sports)

Still think he's not elite? (CSN Baltimore)

Hey, did you know this was Ray Lewis' last game? Yeah, I figured you might have missed it; he was kind of downplaying the whole thing. (CSN Baltimore)

Quite the homecoming for Jacoby Jones, wouldn't you say? (AP)

The whole thing was a throwback to the '70s. (Pro Football Talk)

Though some of the commercials -- particularly that one for godaddy.com -- were strictly new-millenium stuff. (the700level.com via CSN Philly)

If you're in Baltimore this week, clear your calendar for Tuesday. (CSN Baltimore)

So what did you expect him to say? (AP)

Now that it's over and the offseason has begun, look for the 49ers to try and trade Alex Smith. (Pro Football Talk)

Wait. Did anybody actually think Bill Parcells doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame? (CSN Philly)

TENNIS
Sam Querrey comes through in the deciding fifth match to lift the U.S. over Brazil and into the Davis Cup quarterfinals. (AP)

Canada's there, too, thanks to an upset of shorthanded Spain. (AP)

Poor Sloane Stephens: A week after being named to the U.S. Fed Cup, she has to pull out because of a strained abdominal muscle. (AP)

Maria Kirilenko wins the Pattaya Open for her first WTA victory since 2008. (AP)

STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

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STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.

All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.

Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

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Morning Skate: No surprise cheap-shot artists are running wild

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping everybody on this Memorial Day takes some time to appreciate all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. We should also take a moment to say thanks to people like the three heroes in Oregon that stood up to a hateful bigot earlier this week, and in doing so reaffirmed what the majority of people living in the US believe we are all about while trying to live up to that ideal every day.
 
-- A number of NHL legends are shaking their heads at the dirty play that we’re seeing in these playoffs, particularly those plays targeting the superstars that people pay big money to see in the postseason. Why should anybody be shocked by this? The rooting out of enforcers, and fighting, has taken accountability out of the game for the cheap-shot artists and dirty players, and leaves little real deterrant for players looking to take out opponents with dangerous plays. I wrote about this a couple of years ago when the NHL threw the book at Shawn Thornton for going after Brooks Orpik, and in doing so chose to protect somebody trying to hurt opponents (Orpik) and punish somebody trying to protect his teammates (Thornton). It was a sea change for the league, and something players didn’t forget as more and more enforcers were quickly weeded out of the NHL. This is what the rule-makers and legislators wanted, and now it’s what they’re getting just a couple of years later with dangerous stick-work, cheap shots and a general lack of respect for fellow players.
 
-- Here's why the Tampa Bay Lightning would consider trading a player like Jonathan Drouin, and the major impact that could have on the offseason trade market.
 
-- Down Goes Brown has a Stanley Cup Final rooting guide for the other 28 other fan bases now that Nashville and Pittsburgh are in the final series.

-- So which goaltender has the edge in the Stanley Cup Final: Nashville's Pekka Rinne, or Pittsburgh's two-headed monster of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury?
 
-- Scotty Bowman says winning back-to-back Stanley Cup titles has become monumentally difficult since the advent of the salary cap.
 
-- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are pushing each other to be betters, and showing exactly how a team should be led by its superstars in the salary-cap era for the league.
 
-- For something completely different: We can confirm through this report that a lot of hot dogs are eaten in the summertime. So glad we have people to research these kinds of things.