Wakeup call: Ichiro's Yankee debut; soccer at Wrigley?


Wakeup call: Ichiro's Yankee debut; soccer at Wrigley?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, Tuesday, July 24:

Ichiro's first day as a Yankee went pretty well. (AP)

How bad was the Ryan Dempster trade-rumor fiasco yesterday? It gave Dale Sveum the opportunity to lecture reporters about responsible journalism. (CSN Chicago)

The Phils are trying -- hard -- to sign Cole Hamels. (CSN Philly)

What's the most interesting thing about the Anibal Sanchez-to-Detroit trade (besides the fact that it blew the Sanchez-to-Boston rumors out of the water almost as soon they began)? It was the first deal in baseball history that involved the swapping of draft choices. (AP)

Sign of the times: Francisco Rodriguez apologizes on Twitter for blowing a save against the Phillies last night. (NBC's Hardball Talk) Funny, but I have a hard time visualizing Goose Gossage doing that.

The Rangers have lost Colby Lewis for the season. (AP)

Someone find Brian Wilson something to do, please. (CSN Bay Area) (NOTE: There are those who might consider this a little NSFW.)

Now the Magic say they may not trade Dwight Howard after all. (espn.com via NBC's Pro Basketball Talk) PBT's Kurt Helin calls this endless blatherfest "our Dwightmare", and, you know, who can argue?

What's New York without the N.I.T.? Thankfully, we're not going to have to find out. (AP)

Bobby Bowden's back on top of the NCAA coaching-victory list, but he takes no joy in the news. (AP)

The investigation is over, the penalties have been handed down, and damage control has begun at Penn State. (AP)

In what the cynical among us might call true training for the NFL, Michigan running back Fitz Toussaint was arrested over the weekend. (NBC's College Football Talk) It was for drunk driving and he's been suspended by the Wolverines.

Nothing new on Bobby Loo. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Curtis Martin says he suffered "a lot" of concussions during his Hall of Fame career with the Patriots and Jets, and thinks it will be "impossible" for the NFL to convince players to come out of a game after they've suffered one. (NBC's Pro Football Talk) It's "just the mentality" of football players, he said.

Looks like Jeremy Shockey wants in on the dynasty. (CSN Philly)

Jonathan Vilma-vs.-the-NFL has the potential to become football's version of our Dwightmare. (AP)

On your next trip to Patriot Place, don't buy that Visanthe Shiancoe jersey just yet. (CSN Philly)

Dez Bryant's mother doesn't want to press charges against her son. (AP)

Looks like the Red Sox aren't the only baseball team trying to jam soccer down their customers' throats. (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk) Next thing you know, the Cubs will be in on NASCAR.

Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation


Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

The entire concept of Tuukka Rask getting pushed by one of his backups is based on the backup consistently performing at a high standard, and that wasn’t the case for Anton Khudobin over the weekend.

Just as it isn’t solely the fault of Rask when the Bruins lose, it wasn’t solely the fault of Khudobin that Boston squandered leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in an overtime loss to Buffalo on Saturday night. But Khudobin couldn’t step up and carry the B's when they clearly started losing their edge in the second half of the game, and that inconsistency will certainly make the Bruins pine for a sooner-rather-than-later return of a concussed Rask.

“Erratic,” said coach Bruce Cassidy when asked to describe Khudobin postgame. “He battles. We love that about him. He battled to the end. He certainly made his share of saves. We need to be better in front of him. But there were times that, there were fires that needed to be put out that shouldn’t have been necessary. But that happens sometimes.”

It was certainly too much to expect Khudobin to be perfect, but they just needed him to be good enough to pull them through while they were getting waylaid in the second half of the game. That proved to be a major challenge, given the players the Bruins are missing and the extremely rough night suffered by Torey Krug (minus-3 on Saturday night, and minus-8 for the season). Khudobin finished with 37 stops as a defense corps without Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller wilted in the third period and the overtime, but he couldn’t make the clean saves for whistles when the team really needed them. Case in point was a Rasmus Ristolainen tester in overtime while the Bruins were in the midst of being outshot by a 6-0 margin in the extra session. Khudobin got a glove on it but couldn’t cleanly catch it for a badly needed stoppage in play at a time when Krug, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had been caught on the ice for over two minutes.

"The start was great, and the game was great until we scored the fourth goal, and I think after that, we thought it was an easy game,” said Khudobin. “[The high volume of shots] wasn’t that much difficult, I like shots, like probably every other goalie, but they were crashing the net. They were going hard. There were a lot of deflections, a lot of rebounds, a lot of scrums in front of the net, which were . . .that’s the dangerous part, not just the shots.”

Khudobin, 31, has taken five of a possible six points in the games he's played this season and is off to a solid start with a 2-0-1 record, a 2.98 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He looks like he’s going to be a perfectly fine backup, enabling the Bruins to hold Rask to the 55-60 games they’ve forecasted for his peak performance this season.

But Saturday night was a major blow to any hopes that Rask would be pushed competitively by his backup, and that a Khudobin hot streak could spark a slow-starting, and now injured, Rask when he does return.

Instead the Bruins are left to hope they can survive while missing Rask along with a number of other key players, and that the goalie returns sooner than later to a team that can’t survive too many morale-crushing defeats like the choke job against the lowly Sabres.