Wakeup Call: Even the mascot's in mourning for Russia

Wakeup Call: Even the mascot's in mourning for Russia
February 20, 2014, 7:00 am
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Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, February 20:

AUTO RACING

The first full practice for the Daytona 500 ends with a bang. (AP)

Whether you like or hate NASCAR, or fall somewhere in between, you have to love the fact that they let fans listen to the in-race talk between driver and crew. (AP)

BASEBALL

How about the Phillies dropping a dime to the NCAA about a draftee who didn't sign with them having an agent? One reporter calls it a "significant departure from industry norm." Craig Calcaterra calls it "surprising, likely unprecedented and truly pathetic." (NBC'S Hardball Talk)

Roger Clemens is in camp with the Astros in his job as special assistant to the GM, trying to help make chicken salad out of last year's pitching staff. (CSN Houston)

The Reds tie up Homer Bailey for six more years . . . (AP)

. . . but it's looking more and more like Chase Headley is headed for free agency, as he and the Padres can't come to terms on a new deal. (AP)

Talk about setting the bar high: Bruce Bochy tells this group of Giants that they're better than the 2012 team that won the World Series. (CSN Bay Area)

Jimmy Rollins also has high expectations -- against all odds, I'd say -- for the Phillies. (CSN Philly)

Roy Halladay is at Phils' camp, too, but as an instructor. And he says there's no chance, none, that he'll be tempted to make a comeback. (CSN Philly)

A trimmer Prince Fielder begins life as a Ranger. (AP)

Looks like that new home-place collision rule will soon be in the books. (Hardball Talk)

Two men are expected to plead guilty today in the 2011 beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium that left Stow with brain damage. The two will receive jail time. (CSN Bay Area)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Now that BC's taken down No. 1 Syracuse, No. 3 Wichita State is the last unbeaten team. The Shockers stayed that way with an 88-74 win over Loyola of Chicago. (AP)

No. 2 Florida is poised to take over the top spot in next week's AP Top 25 poll, but the Gators had to sidestep an upset bid of their own, from Auburn. (AP)

What was it with teams at the top of the poll last night? No. 4 Arizona had to go to overtime to beat Utah. (AP)

So did No. 10 Saint Louis, at George Mason. (AP)

But No. 7 Cincinnati upheld the honor of the Top 10 with a 28-point victory over Central Florida. (AP)

No. 11 Creighton had an easy time with Marquette, too. (AP)

No. 24 Ohio State got a little feisty in its win over Northwestern. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Free agency comes to college football -- sort of -- as Florida defensive back Cody Riggs, who started all 12 games for the Gators last year, transfers to Notre Dame. And, because he's scheduled to graduate this spring, he can play for the Irish in 2014. (AP)

A sports economist, testifying before the National Labor Relations Board in a hearing on whether Northwestern players can form a union, says major colleges run their football programs just like the NFL except "the NFL pays their players." (AP)

TCU kicks receiver LaDarius Brown off the team after his arrest on a marijuana possession charge. (AP)

Kristen Saban, daughter of Nick, has a lawsuit filed against her by her former best friend dismissed, thanks to Alabama's "stand your ground" law. (AP)

CYCLING

GOLF

It was a day of comebacks -- and survivals -- at the Match Play Championships. (AP)

HOCKEY

It wasn't just the Russian fans who were in mourning after Tuukka Rask's Finnish team eliminated Russia from the Olympics. Even the mascot was despondent. (Yahoo! Sports) 

But the Russian coach, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, isn't so much sad as under fire. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

The Islanders are the real losers of the Sochi Games: It appears John Tavares has a torn MCL and is done for the season. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Tavares's Islander teammate, Thomas Vanek, apparently decided that Austria's 3-1 win over Norway on Sunday was reason for celebration. So he and his Austrian teammates went out and got so drunk -- the party reportedly didn't end until 6 a.m. -- that they were all but worthless in a 4-0 loss to Slovenia on Tuesday that knocked them out of the Olympics. The coach, ah, isn't real happy, and Vanek, along with fellow NHLers Michael Grabner and Michael Raffl, actually wrote a letter of apology. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Tomas Vokoun has been medically cleared to return to the Penguins. (Pro Hockey Talk)

When the Canucks play their outdoor game next month, they'll honor members of the 1993-94 team that lost to the Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals. (AP)

OLYMPICS

Joe Posnanski says the Olympic spirit was embodied in the duel between these two long-track speed skaters who didn't medal. (nbcolympics.com)

Can Team USA win the medal count in Sochi? Here's one man's prediction. (Yahoo! Sports)

Gracie Gold and her American figure-skating teammates hang tough and, somehow, remain in medal contention. (Yahoo! Sports)

Maria Lamb, who finished last in her event, blasts the leadership of U.S. Speedskating. (AP via Yahoo! Sports)

PRO BASKETBALL

The Dwightmare continues in Los Angeles. (AP)

And, boy, did Howard love sticking it to Laker Nation. (Yahoo! Sports)

When it rains, it pours: Kevin Love says he's "not s---ing on the Lakers" and then proceeds to do just that. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

This, by the way, is why so many teams -- not just the Lakers -- want Love. (AP)

The market for 'Melo is softer, for whatever reason, but he does have his moments. (AP)

Whatever the market may be for Joakim Noah, he's probably not available. (CSN Chicago)

The Knicks-Clippers trade talks about Iman Shumpert break down . . . (Yahoo! Sports)

. . . and so does Shumpert. (Yahoo! Sports)

Old friend MarShon Brooks is on the move again, this time going to the Lakers in a deal that sends Steve Blake to Golden State. (AP)

And older friend Jason Terry gets traded from Brooklyn to Sacramento, as the Nets get younger by acquiring Marcus Thornton. (AP)

The Sixers, say their coach, are suffering from the "beat-down effect." What he didn't say was, it's one of the dangers of tanking. (CSN Philly)

PRO FOOTBALL

The Ray Rice incident turns far more ominous, as a court summons says Rice knocked his fiancee unconscious during their altercation at an Atlantic City casino . . . (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

. . . and a video of Rice dragging her out of an elevator after she's been knocked out surfaces. (Pro Football Talk)

So what do you do now, Ravens? (Pro Football Talk)

The Incognito/Martin scandal claims its first victims: Offensive line coach Jim Turner and trainer Kevin O'Neill are fired by the Dolphins, Turner for not stopping the harassment and O'Neil for refusing to cooperate with investigators. (AP)

Jimmy Johnson's none too happy with O'Neill's dismissal. (Pro Football Talk)

Those ambulance chasers can stop following Jonathan Martin, as it appears Martin's legal options for suing the Dolphins or the NFL are limited. (AP)

Brett Favre offers Johnny Football his highest praise. (Pro Football Talk)

It doesn't appear centralized replay is coming to the NFL next season. (AP)

The Jets apparently have had it up to here with Stephen Hill. (Pro Football Talk)

The Redskins' Fred Davis gets another drug-related suspension, but he insists this one is for inadvertently taking a banned substance. (CSN Washington) 

SOCCER

TENNIS

TRACK AND FIELD