Wakeup Call: Bin Laden SEAL team inspired the Tide

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Wakeup Call: Bin Laden SEAL team inspired the Tide

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, November 5:

BASEBALL
Two ex-Red Sox executives (Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer) tried and failed to acquire Dan Haren late last week. And that may have opened the door for another ex-Sox exec (Josh Byrnes) to bring Haren to San Diego. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

That positive test for testosterone didn't sour the A's on Bartolo Colon. (AP)

Dominican police arrest three suspects in the murder of former MLB pitcher Pascual Perez. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Giving up 51 points Saturday night didn't prevent Oregon from moving past Notre Dame and into No. 3 in the BCS standings. (AP)

Not that it matters much to the Irish. (CSN Chicago)

LSU was Osama bin Laden to Alabama's SEAL Team Six on Saturday night. At least that's how Nick Saban saw it. (AP)

Joker Phillips has affably played the role of dead man walking for weeks now, and a 40-0 pounding at the hands of Vanderbilt -- at home no less, in what was Kentucky's worst loss to the Commodores in 96 years -- sealed his fate. (AP)

GOLF
A 14-year-old at the Masters? And from China, to boot? First women and now this, eh, Hootie? (AP)

Ian Poulter rallies to win the HSBC Champions a year too early . . . (AP)

. . . because next season, this will be an official PGA Tour event. (AP)

Your seniors champion for 2012: Tom Lehman. (AP)

HOCKEY
So that's why we haven't seen Manny Malhotra and friends at Five Guys! (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Well, I guess it was too much to hope that the Lakers would go 0-for-2012-13. (AP)

But every silver lining has its dark cloud in LaLa Land these days: Steve Nash could be out for four weeks because of a non-displaced fracture in his left leg. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Not for nothing (as they say in my neck of the woods), but the Knicks look pretty good coming out of the gate. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
They're stirring uncomfortably in the old folks' homes of Miami: The Falcons are 8-0 after their 19-13 win over the Cowboys. (AP)

Ben Roethlisberger hopes Sunday's game enabled the storm-ravaged people of New Jersey "to take their minds off their problems just a little." But I don't know that a Steelers' come-from-behind win over the Giants made them feel any better. (AP)

On a weekend of strange coaching decisions -- hello there, Les Miles (AP) -- the Browns' Pat Shurmur made the strangest one of all in Cleveland's loss to the Ravens. (CSN Baltimore)

Remember when the Cardinals were the talk of the NFL? Yeah, me neither. (AP)

This Andrew Luck guy is pretty good. Better yet, Chuck Pagano was there in person to see it. (AP)

Luck's predecessor, Peyton Manning, is pretty good, too. (AP)

Hope you had Doug Martin in your fantasy league. (AP)

Yes, his new team (the Bills) lost to his old one (the Texans), but Mario Williams walked away from his return to Houston smiling because he was booed every time he made a play. (AP) "I know I'm in your heart," he explained. "That's the most important thing." Funny, I thought winning the game (youtube.com) was the most important thing, but that's just me. And Herm.

Morning Skate: Old friend Warsofsky called up by Penguins

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Morning Skate: Old friend Warsofsky called up by Penguins

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while waiting for the next wave of announcements that the Bruins have signed college players out of the NCAA tournament.
 
-- Former Wild goaltender Josh Harding is finding his way after his MS diagnosis forced him out of the NHL prematurely.

-- Young D-man Seth Jones is becoming the “hoss” defenseman that the Blue Jackets will need come playoff time.

-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has Wild coach Bruce Boudreau calling a loss to the Canucks “embarrassing” as the hard times continue for Minnesota.  

-- Backup goalie Curtis McElhinney is ready to step up for the Leafs after they lost Frederik Andersen to injury.
 
-- Old friend David Warsofsky has been recalled from the AHL and will be with the Penguins as crunch time hits ahead of the playoffs.

-- USA Hockey is now reportedly reaching out to rec league and former Division III women’s hockey players to find a replacement roster for the world championships as the USA women continues their boycott.
 
-- For something completely different: We have an honest-to-goodness think piece about pulling the “Irish Exit.” Well, okay then.

Haggerty: Time for Bruins to make a change in goal

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Haggerty: Time for Bruins to make a change in goal

BROOKLYN -- For the second year in a row, Boston's franchise goaltender and $7 million man Tuukka Rask couldn’t physically answer the bell for one of the biggest games of the year.

Rask was unable to go Saturday night when the Bruins faced the Islanders at the Barclays Center because of a lower body injury. Anton Khudobin stepped in and helped the B's to a 2-1 victory that snapped their four-game losing streak, moved them past the Isles back in the second wild-card spot, and enabled them to close to two points behind Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division.

It wasn't quite the same as last year, when Rask was too sick to play the win-or-go-home regular-season finale against Ottawa. The Bruins got shellacked in that one and missed the playoffs. There are still two weeks left in the regular season, so Saturday didn't have the same do-or-die consequences.

But Khudobin, who made 18 saves, gave Boston some energy and enthusiasm in the crease with the same kind of battling, chaotic style that Tim Thomas exhibited. Watching Khudobin throw a double-pad stack at John Tavares on a late third-period Islanders power play in a one-goal game was a clear sign that Rask wasn’t in net, and his unconventional technique perhaps distracted Tavares enough that he ripped his open shot off the crossbar and away from harm.

Afterward interim coach Bruce Cassidy fervently sang Khudobin’s praises, and almost seemed to be shedding some light on what they aren’t always getting from their top goaltender in these crunch-time games.

“That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is battling hard, and fighting that hard to see pucks and your D are blocking shots," he said. "And you kill that many penalties. (The Islanders failed to score on six power plays.) It was a nice building-block win for us.

"I loved [Khudobin’s] performance. He’s a battler. He got swimming a couple of times, but that’s Dobby. He keeps it interesting for you. He’s a battler and he always has been. That’s what we needed tonight.”

So now the Bruins have a choice about what to do Tuesday against the Predators. And the hope here is that Khudobin gets a second straight start, whether or not Rask is healthy enough to go.

Khudobin has won five games in a row and has a 1.98 goals-against average and a  .920 save percentage since the All-Star break. Rask, in contrast, has an inflated 2.91 GAA and .892 save percentage in that span.

More than that, however, there’s a real issue developing with Rask and how much trust the Bruins can have in him when the games matter most. He gave up a couple of bad goals in the loss to the Lightning on Thursday night, and afterwards looked like the boy who lost his dog when answering questions with a soft, unsure voice that began to trail off when it came time to accept responsibility for his part in the ugly defeat.

The downcast expression was a concern, and it certainly seemed like Rask was rattled mentally as much as he was beaten physically after that defeat.

So the overriding question now is: What good is a No. 1 goaltender if he doesn’t play like one when it matters most?

Maybe Rask is seriously injured and we’ll find out after the season that he needs hip surgery, and was far less than 100 percent all year. Or maybe playing three games in four nights was too much of a strain, and he needed the weekend away from the ice after the unavoidable bump in workload.

The fact that the Bruins expect Rask to practice on Monday, however, really takes some of the oomph out of the serious-injury argument, and makes one wonder how he can practice Monday after not playing in the biggest game of the season on Saturday.

Maybe Rask was angered by Cassidy calling him out by saying the team “needs more from him” after the goalie's lackadaisical performance in the loss to Tampa Bay, and that played into the goalie’s sudden case of “lower body discomfort” on Friday after saying Thursday he felt fine physically.

Maybe Rask is frazzled emotionally after the burden of carrying the team at times this season, and he needed a few days away from the ice to recollect himself and get ready for the crucial seven remaining games on the schedule.

Still, the Bruins can’t look at Rask as someone they can rely on when the chips are down for the rest of this season. That cost them last year, and shame on the Bruins if they again make the mistake of putting all of their playoff eggs in the Rask basket.

Perhaps it’s time to even start thinking about other goaltending options this summer. Rask will no longer have full no-trade protection once the season is over. He's been inconsistent at best in the biggest moments over the years, and the B’s shouldn’t pay a goaltender like he’s one the best if he isn’t when the late-season heat is on.

But that’s a question to ponder in a month or two.

For now, the Bruins should ride the hot goalie -- Khudobin, who showed Saturday he's willing to battle his butt off -- and let Cool Hand Tuukka cool his heels on the bench while recuperating from whatever it is that kept him out of a gigantically important game in Brooklyn this weekend.