Wakeup Call: Loss of Hossa mars a record-tying win

997023.jpg

Wakeup Call: Loss of Hossa mars a record-tying win

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, February 20:

AUTO RACING
19-year-old Darrell Wallace Jr. has a goal: To become the Tiger Woods of NASCAR. (AP)

Speedweeks is normally Tony Stewart's week. But Danica Patrick -- driving one of Wallace's cars, ironically -- is stealing his thunder this year. (AP)
-- Winning the Battle at the Beach Monday night wasn't Kyle Larson's "proudest moment in racing", not when he had to "monster-truck" C.E. Falk III coming out of the final turn to do it. (AP)

BASEBALL
Five new names -- including N.L. stolen-base king Everth Cabrera of the Padres -- emerge in the Biogenesis Clinic PED scandal . . . (NBC's Hardball Talk)

. . . but this latest ESPN investigation may have cleared Gio Gonzalez. (CSN Washington)

Bartolo Colon speaks for the first time since being slapped with a 50-game suspension for PED use last August, though -- except for "I'm sorry" -- he doesn't say much of anything. (CSN Bay Area)

If it's the second week of spring training, it must be time for injury updates. First we have the Yankees' Phil Hughes, out for a few days because of upper-back stiffness. (AP)

Then comes the definitive word on the Cubs' Matt Garza: Out for a week with what's being described as a mild side strain. (AP)

Darwin Barney isn't happy, but also is trying to be quiet, about Brandon Phillips dissing his Gold Glove. (CSN Chicago)

That didn't take long: The Braves are retiring Chipper Jones' No. 10. (AP)

Brady Anderson's climbing that corporate ladder. (CSN Baltimore)

Lance Berkman wasn't a member of the Rangers for more than, like, 10 minutes before he was reminding them that he beat them in the 2011 World Series. I'm sure your new teammates really appreciate that, Big Puma. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
No. 1 Indiana wins the showdown with No. 4 Michigan State, 72-68. (AP)

And the Hoosiers have the injured Victor Oladipo to thank. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

The Spartans, however, didn't get much a contribution from their captain, Keith Appling. (College Basketball Talk)

Miami sure didn't look like the second-best team in the country, but they say beauty's in the eye of the beholder. And the Hurricanes' last-second 54-50 win over Virginia was just gorgeous to them, thanks. (AP)

Missouri gets revenge for its 31-point loss in Gainesville by upsetting No. 5 Florida, 63-60, at home in the rematch. (AP)

If I'm the Gators, I'm a little worried about that bad track record in close games. (College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
The NCAA finally sends its notice of allegations to Miami, with the deadly "lack of institutional control" being at the top of the list. (AP)

Former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon is hospitalized after suffering a stroke. (CSN Houston)

GOLF
The Match Play Championships being threatened by snow? In Arizona? Hah? (AP)

Steve Stricker thinks all the hand-wringing about the banning of the belly putter is much ado about nothing, since he's sure the PGA will ignore the USGA if the ban is adopted. (AP)

HOCKEY
When is a record-tying win a loss? When you lose Marian Hossa in the process . . . which is what may have happened to the Blackhawks in their 4-3 shootout victory over the Canucks. (CSN Chicago)

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville says Hossa, who has a history of concussion issues, "seemed OK" after the game, but "we'll know more" on Wednesday. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Jannik Hansen, who delivered it, called the hit that took out Hossa a "hockey play". So now elbows to the back of the head are "hockey plays", eh? (CSN Chicago)

The Canadiens really shouldn't get all that excited about their fifth straight win -- a 3-1 triumph over the Rangers -- since New York coach John Tortorella called it "one of the worst hockey games I've been involved in . . . It was two bad teams playing, and we were worse than they were." (AP)

The Sharks finally end their seven-game winless streak . . . (AP)

. . . but they won't get to enjoy it for very long, since a game with the undefeated Blackhawks is up next. (CSN Bay Area)

Andre Benoit and Dave Dziurzynski both score their first NHL goals in the Senators' 3-1 triumph over the Islanders. (AP)

A fine mess: The NHL takes 10,000 from Flames defenseman Mark Giordano for slew-footing Antoine Roussel of the Stars . . . (AP)

- . . . and 8,108.11 (?) from Wild right wing Devin Setoguchi for high-sticking Kyle Quincey of the Red Wings. (AP)

Who would've thought there are Little League dads in the NHL? (Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
Prosecutors say shouting was heard in Oscar Pistorius' home for an hour before he fired the fatal shots at Reeva Steenkamp -- with one witness hearing the sounds from 1,000 feet away -- further damaging Pistorius' claim that he mistook her for an intruder. (nbcnews.com)

PRO BASKETBALL
There's lots of talk, but no action, as the trade deadline nears. (NBC's Pro Basketball talk)

In the Laker Schadenfreude Department, we have relations between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant reaching a new low . . . (Pro Basketball Talk)

. . . and Phil Jackson, though he's not willing to come back and coach them, ragging on them for running the wrong offense. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Quiet down, you cynics. Andrew Bynum's going to play this season, definitely, for sure. Just not now. Or next week. Or . . . (CSN Philly)

Can anyone stop the Spurs? (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Old friend David Thomas is out of a job. (AP)

So's old enemy Bart Scott. (AP)

The NFLPA is singing the "We don't trust Goodell" blues again. (AP)

TENNIS
Victoria Azarenka's not going to get the chance to built on the momentum of her victory over Serena Williams in the finals of the Qatar Open; she withdraws from the Dubai Championships because of a bone bruise in her right foot. (AP)

Some days, John Isner looks like an up-and-coming star. And other days, like yesterday . . . (AP)

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

ap_17146189635759.jpg

Morning Skate: Sidney Crosby has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wishing everybody a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend. 

*Apparently Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette has yet to try Nashville’s hot chicken despite his time behind the Preds bench. It’s okay, I have yet to try it either in my handful of visits to Music City. 

*Good stuff from PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough. Apparently it wasn’t so easy to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed when it came time for director Doug Liman to cut Swingers together

*Sidney Crosby cares about the history and the issues of the game, and has been a good ambassador as the face of his NHL generation despite the hate that always comes with such responsibility. 

*Puck Daddy examines Crosby’s performance in the playoffs, and the odds of him winning another Conn Smythe Trophy. 

*The Penguins have made it to the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang for their playoff run, and that’s an amazing accomplishment. 

*Erik Karlsson said that he will be tending to his injured foot next week, and expects a full recovery for next season after a brilliant run with his Ottawa Senators

*Larry Brooks again rails against the Stanley Cup playoff structure and it’s relation to an “absurd regular season.” Say what you will, but the fact the Penguins are there for a second straight season shoots down some of the absurdity stuff in my mind. The best team from the East is where they should be and they did it without Kris Letang to boot. 

*Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat is confident his abilities will translate to the NHL despite his size after taking home honors as the best player in junior hockey this season. 

*For something completely different: Apparently there’s a hard core comic book geek gripe that “The Flash” is burning through bad guys too quickly. This would make sense if they couldn’t revisit these bad guys at any point, but they absolutely can go back to a big bad like Grodd anytime they want. 

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

Playoff run ends for Providence Bruins, but some promising signs

It was the longest run that the P-Bruins have had in a few years and another unmistakable sign that the future is brightening for the Black and Gold, but the Bruins AHL affiliate has ended their playoff push in the Calder Cup semi-finals. 

The Providence Bruins fell by a 3-1 score to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night to lose to the Crunch in five games when the best-of-seven series was set to return to Providence this coming week. The P-Bruins had vanquished the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Hershey Bears in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup playoffs before finally exiting against Syracuse. 

Though it’s over, it’s clear some of the Bruins prospects made a nice step forward over the second half of the AHL season and then into the Calder Cup playoffs. With the Calder Cup Finals yet to start, B’s forward prospect Danton Heinen stands as the second-leading playoff scorer in the entire AHL with nine goals and 18 points in 17 playoff games after really struggling in the first half of his first pro season while bouncing back and forth between the NHL and the AHL. 

This could bode well for the skilled Heinen and his hopes to make the leap to the NHL in the near future after a stellar collegiate career at the University of Denver. AHL journeymen-types Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz were the next two top scorers for the P-Bruins in the playoff run, but Jake DeBrusk had a strong playoff season as well while popping in six goals in 17 games. DeBrusk led all Providence players with his 54 shots on net in the 17-game playoff run for Providence, and he headlined a group that included B’s prospects Ryan Fitzgerald, Zach Senyshyn, Matt Grzelcyk, Peter Cehlarik (who succumbed to shoulder surgery during the playoffs), Emil Johansson and Robbie O’Gara all getting some vital playoff experience. 

Both Heinen and DeBrusk will be strong candidates for jobs on the wing with the Boston big club when training camp opens in the fall after strong showings in the postseason. 

On the goaltending side, Zane McIntyre was solid for the P-Bruins at times while in 16 of their 17 playoff games with a .906 save percentage. But it was Malcolm Subban that was playing at the very end of the playoff run for Providence and featured a sterling .937 save percentage in the four AHL playoff games that he appeared in this spring after an up-and-down regular season. McIntyre had an .857 save percentage and 4.37 goals against average in the final series against Syracuse, and looked a little spent like many of the other P-Bruins players once they’d unexpectedly made it to the third round of the AHL postseason.  

The only unfortunate part of Providence’s run is that newly signed youngsters Charlie McAvoy and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson couldn’t be a part of it after signing and then appearing in NHL games following a cut-off date for AHL playoff rosters. Both missed on an experience that could have been very conducive for their professional development, and uncovered a wrinkle in the NHL/AHL transaction process that really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a developmental league.