Wakeup Call: A Pyrrhic victory . . . or is it just a sprain for RGIII?

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Wakeup Call: A Pyrrhic victory . . . or is it just a sprain for RGIII?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Monday, December 10.

BASEBALL
Looks like there'll be no TitoYouk reunion, as the Indians -- who reportedly grew tired of waiting for Youkilis to make a decision -- have reached agreement with Mark Reynolds to play first base. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Nor are Francisco Liriano and the Twins getting back together. (Hardball Talk)

The way A-Rod sees it, the last time he had hip surgery he made it back and the Yankees won the World Series. So . . . (AP)

It's a deal between the Phillies and Rangers, and Michael Young's now in Philadelphia. (AP)

Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot says the Royals-Rays trade is a case of "a general manager putting his own best interests ahead of those of his team", since Dayton Moore a) knew he'd probably be fired if the Royals didn't show improvement in 2013, and b) the price tag was waayy too high for two players who will only lift K.C. into the 82-85 win range.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Undefeated, and No. 1, Indiana received its first bit of bad news, as sophomore forward Austin Etherington is lost for the season. And because of an injury suffered against Central Connecticut State, no less. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
They say when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. Things must be pretty weird at Temple, then, because the Owls -- in attempting to fill the head coaching vacancy created when Steve Addazio bolted for Boston College -- are looking at Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. (CSN Philly)

And Giants assistant Matt Ruhle. (NBC's College Football Talk)

The theme continues: Is anyone weirder than Nick Saban, who's now being linked to the Browns? (College Football Talk)

And more weirdness: Going from a Big 12 school to one in the Big East? But that's what Tommy Tuberville's doing, as he's leaving Texas Tech for Cincinnati. (AP)

Manti Te'o's Heisman snub didn't go down too well at Notre Dame. (CSN Chicago)

Jerry Sandusky's "fight is 100 percent back", says his lawyer, and they're pressing ahead with his appeal. (AP)

HOCKEY
Let's start the merry-go-round once again. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
They may not be winning, but at least the Lakers are hustling and working hard. Oh, wait . . . (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

It's 180 degrees different in the Big Apple. (AP)

Pretty sure Steven Jackson himself wrote the first Twitter post, and -- 25,000 later -- his representatives wrote the second. (AP)

Also 25,000 lighter these days: Cavs coach Byron Scott. But it was for a more traditional, postgame bashing of the refs. (AP)

Derrick Rose gives an update -- of sorts -- on his ACL rehab. (CSN Chicago)

When Kevin McHale returned, Jeremy Lin's playing time shrank. But Lin says he understands. (CSN Houston)

PRO FOOTBALL
It may have been a pyrrhic victory, but it was a victory nonetheless -- and a big one -- for the Redskins. (AP)

Hard to believe RGIII has just a sprained knee. Yet that's the story . . . for now. (CSN Washington)

Now that the games are big, the Ravens are coming up small. (CSN Baltimore)

But what, them worry? (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

It was an emotional win for the grieving Cowboys. (AP)

Desperate times call for desperate measures: The Eagles broke their eight-game losing streak with a play Nick Foles drew up in the dirt. Figuratively, that is. (CSN Philly)

The Bears ran up "perhaps the most meaningless 438 yards of total offense in recent memory" in their 21-14 loss to the Vikings. (CSN Chicago)

And they're now in second place in the NFC North as a result, as the Packers beat the Lions and took over the top spot. (AP)

Now this is the Brandon Jacobs we know. (CSN Bay Area)

David Wilson had a nice coming-out party -- and at the right time, too -- for Jacobs' former team. (Pro Football Talk)

I guess Greg Hardy was right. (AP)

Quite the story unfolding in Indianapolis, isn't it? (AP)

Arizona's humiliating meltdown at Seattle -- eight turnovers, 154 yards total offense, a 58-0 loss -- was one for the ages. (AP)

Interesting fallout from the Jovan Belcher murdersuicide: Peter King reports that at least seven NFL players have turned in their guns to team security personnel, with one player telling his team that he doesn't trust himself. (Pro Football Talk)

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.

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.