From Comcast SportsNetIn the two months since a stunning loss in the Ryder Cup, the PGA of America talked about doing things differently when selecting its next captain.Tom Watson certainly would break the mold.Golf Digest reported on its website Tuesday night that the PGA of America plans to pick Watson, celebrated worldwide as an eight-time major champion and revered in Scotland where he won four of his five British Open titles."We look forward to sharing the news of the 2014 Ryder Cup captain on Thursday," PGA spokesman Julius Mason said when asked for comment.The PGA of America spares no expense or amount of glitz when it comes to the Ryder Cup, and that much hasn't changed. Instead of a standard news conference, it will introduce its next captain Thursday morning during a segment on the "Today" show on NBC, the longtime broadcast partner at the Ryder Cup.Later, it will have a news conference in the Empire State Building.Watson will be 65 when the Ryder Cup is played at Gleneagles, Scotland, making him by oldest captain in U.S. history. Sam Snead was 57 when he was captain in 1969. Watson has not played a full PGA Tour schedule in 14 years, though he is still capable of showing the young kids a thing or two as one of the cleanest ball-strikers in history. Remember, it was only three years ago that Watson stood 8 feet away from capturing the British Open at Turnberry at age 59.Stranger still, he says he has not been to a Ryder Cup since he last was captain in 1993 at The Belfry, which also was the last time the Americans won in Europe. And his relationship with Tiger Woods is much like how the weather can be in Scotland in the early fall -- cold and damp.He would be the first repeat captain since Jack Nicklaus in 1987 on his home course of Muirfield Village.Watson said over the weekend at the Australian Open that it would be a "great honor if I got tapped on the shoulder," though he said he had not spoken to the PGA.The organization risks some fallout.By taking a veteran of Watson's age would be to overlook Larry Nelson for the second time. Nelson is a three-time major champion -- twice at the PGA Championship -- who did not take up golf seriously until he returned from the Vietnam War. He had 9-3-1 record in the Ryder Cup and won all five of his matches in 1979, beating Seve Ballesteros in four of those matches. At least two former captains lobbied the PGA on behalf of Nelson, who was in line to be a captain in the 1990s.Nelson is scheduled to play in the Father-Son Challenge pro-am Thursday and Friday in Orlando, Fla.For the last 30 years, it was easy to predict the next American captain. The PGA of America tended to choose a former major champion still moderately active on the PGA Tour, which keeps him in touch with the current players. That ordinarily would point toward former PGA champion David Toms, though there has been discussion among PGA officials over the last month that Toms could wait until 2016 without any future candidate, such as Jim Furyk or Phil Mickelson, losing his turn.PGA president Ted Bishop has said he wants only to win the Ryder Cup. Europe has captured the cup seven of the last nine times, the most recent loss one of the most painful. The Americans had a 10-6 advantage at Medinah only to lose on the final day when everything went right for Europe and just as much went wrong for the home team.Love had said he wouldn't change anything about the week except the outcome, though he did not want to return as captain -- at least not for 2014."I can guarantee you it won't be me," Love said about the next captain.Paul Azinger was captain of the only U.S. team to win the Ryder Cup in the last 13 years, using a unique system of "pods" in which players were broken into groups of four. There was talk that he should take the U.S. team over to Scotland, though Azinger said in a text message to The Associated Press he had not been in touch with the PGA of America.Watson told reporters in Australia he had not been back to the Ryder Cup since those 93 matches at The Belfry."I'd like to go back as captain," Watson said. "That would be cool."But it might not be ideal for America's most famous player -- Woods -- who has a frosty relationship with Watson, even though both are Stanford alumni. Watson was highly critical in the aftermath of Woods' personal life crisis, saying he needed to show more humility and fewer tantrums."I think he needs to clean up his act and show the respect for the game that other people before him have shown," Watson said in early 2010.The selection could have ramifications in Europe, too. Watson is so highly regarded in Scotland -- in all of Europe, for that matter -- that Europe might want to counter with a popular captain of its own. Darren Clarke, who won the British Open last year for his first major and is a man of the people, is under consideration with Paul McGinley. Europe is not expected to announce its captain until January at the earliest."Obviously if Tom does get it he is one of the legends of the game and I am sure he would be a fantastic captain not just to the team but to all aspects of the Ryder Cup," Clarke said Wednesday at the Australian PGA. "The man is a huge name in the world of golf and rightly so, I think he would make a fantastic captain for America."
BOSTON -- The decision to sit out Saturday night's game against the Islanders, for whatever issue needed healing, worked wonders for Tuukka Rask.
Rask looked fresh, strong and determined while stopping 24 of 25 shots in a 4-1 win over Nashville on Tuesday night, and, at the very least, temporarily quieting talk of his missing Saturday's win over the Islanders because of a lower-body injury that wasn't disclosed until the day of the game. It also snapped his personal four-game losing streak, in which Rask had allowed 15 goals on 95 shots (an .842 save percentage) and hit rock bottom while surrendering a couple of damaging soft goals in last week's loss to the Lightning.
After watching Anton Khudobin battle, brawl and double-pad-stack his way to a huge win in Brooklyn on Saturday, Rask played with his own battling style Tuesday, fighting through Nashville attackers as he limited the the Preds to one goal.
"I loved [his battle]," said interim coach Bruce Cassidy. "He really worked hard to find pucks in traffic. They created some good opportunities, and even the goal against, he found it. They just tipped it at eye level so it was going to be a tough one, and we need to be better in the shooting lane on that one.
"But I thought he was terrific, very pleased with his performance. If you've got to track pucks, you've got to find pucks and you've got to fight through bodies, and he did a real good job with it.
"I thought we played well in front of him, but when we broke down it seemed to be in those areas where we couldn't break the puck up below our goal line. [There were] lot of bodies, a lot of point shots. This is the type of team, [Ryan] Ellis, [P.K.] Subban, [Roman] Josi, they rely on that part of the game and traffic. It was going to be a test for [the defense] there. I thought [Rask] answered the bell and in a terrific manner."
There were no two ways about it, Rask was truly excellent in a game where he had to be.
He made a save in the second period on Viktor Arvidsson when a David Backes turnover at the half-wall gave Arvidsson a wide open look at the net, and made 9 of his 24 saves in the third period as the Predators ramped up the desperation once Craig Smith had broken through on a tipped Josi shot. He also was the beneficiary of 24 blocked shots from the defenders in front of him. Adam McQuaid had five of the blocks all by himself, absorbing all kinds of bumps and bruises in the process.
It was clear that the Bruins, as a team, were in late-season urgency mode.
"Well, we needed [a win]," said Rask. "Personally, I mean, I've lost four games but played a couple good games there, and we just didn't get the bounces. But we kind of got in winning habits there in [Broooklyn] and me stepping in here, I just wanted to make sure that I gave us a chance to win. The guys did the rest. So, it was a great team effort today, I think. As I said before, we blocked a lot of shots, which is huge."
So does one solid performance mean everything is settled for the B's No. 1 netminder after sitting out last weekend?
It certainly goes a long way toward putting some distance between Rask and whatever lower-body injury popped up and then disappeared just as quickly, and it puts a bit more of an optimistic spin for the remainder of the season. Rask didn't actively listen to any of the criticism of the last couple of days, but he fully understands that it comes along with the territory of being the No. 1 goalie in a city that takes hockey seriously.
"I can't do anything about what people say," said Rask, who took a pretty good hit on a Predators drive to the net in the third period but kept right on trucking. "I'm not staying home because I want to say home. I'm not playing because I don't want to play. I don't think any athlete does that. Obviously what's happened where I missed a game [vs. Ottawa] last year, people are going to talk about it. That's just the nature of media people, and what they talk about. It's fine.
"[All you can do is] you try not to read any of it, you stay even-keeled and you play the game the right way."
But the bottom line is the Bruins need much more of what they saw from Rask on Tuesday -- determined, tough-minded, a strong No. 1 goalie -- in the final six games if they want to be a playoff team this year.
He played well enough in the first few months, carrying the Bruins through the early portion of the season, to make people forget about calling in sick against Ottawa in the final game of last season. That's to Rask's credit. But last weekend's action, or lack of it, brought some of those same nagging questions back. He needs to build on Tuesday's encouraging performance to continue instilling confidence that he's a big-time No. 1 goalie.