Bruins

Wakeup Call: Serena loses to the daughter of an ex-Patriot

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Wakeup Call: Serena loses to the daughter of an ex-Patriot

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, January 23:

AUTO RACING
Plans are unveiled to renovate historic Daytona International Speedway. (AP)

None of it, of course, will happen before this year's Daytona 500, which means NASCAR's new Gen-6 race car will debut on the old track. (AP)

BASEBALL
The Phillies -- who've obviously never seen him play there -- sign Delmon Young in the hopes that he'll become their starting right fielder. (CSN Philly)

They say most accidents happen in the home, so it makes sense that Francisco Liriano broke his right arm when he fell in his bathroom. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The money just keeps flowing in L.A.: According to a source, Time Warner has agreed to pay 7 billion in a 20-year deal for the Dodgers' TV rights, starting in 2014. (AP)

Age is just a state of mind, right? Sandy Koufax -- starting a new job at 77 -- apparently thinks so. (AP)

The troubled Elijah Dukes is arrested again. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Villanova hands No. 5 Louisville its second straight loss, which had the fans storming the court. Really, can somebody pass the word that beating a ranked team in January is hardly call for an over-the-top celebration? (CSN Philly)

An artistic gem it wasn't, but No. 3 Kansas isn't complaining about its 59-55 road win over No. 11 Kansas State. (AP)

Thad Motta's staying put for a while. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Her name is Diane O'Meara, and her face was used as the face of the fictitious Lennay Kekua in the Manti Te'o hoax, and she's not happy about it. In. The. Least. (AP)

More legal troubles for Jerry Sandusky, Penn State and Sandusky's charity: A young man identified as Victim 6 in the sex scandal files suit against all of them. (AP)

The rejuvenated Mountain West, robust again after prodigal sons Boise State and San Diego State abandoned the Big East and returned, will start playing a championship game next season. (AP)

GOLF
Phil Mickelson asks for a mulligan on his tax comments. (AP)

HOCKEY
After their shutout loss in New Jersey, the Flyers are 0-3 for the first time since 1994-95. (CSN Philly)

But the Blackhawks? They're 3-0 for the first time since 1972-73 after beating the Blues. (CSN Chicago)

When it comes to antipathy towards the referees, the Caps' Mike Ribeiro is in midseason form. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

The Canucks say a potential trade for Roberto Luongo is in place, though they haven't pulled the trigger. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Best of the West? The Thunder stakes its claim with a 109-97 win over the Clippers in L.A. (AP)

And it was, as expected, Kevin Durant who led the way. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Apparently, some people in Sacramento -- "mega whales" by name -- aren't giving up the Kings without a fight. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Which led Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to warn the good folks in Seattle: "Don't celebrate too early." (AP)

Even though no one in a position of power is saying anything, it appears that assistants Dan Majerle and Elston Turner lost their jobs, too, when the Suns and head coach Alvin Gentry agreed to a divorce last Friday. (AP)

The Grizzlies clear some cap space in a multiplayer trade with the Cavs. (AP)

The Lakers' top backup big man, Jordan Hill, is undergoing hip surgery. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Looks like the fate of the Pro Bowl hinges on how much effort the players put into Sunday's game. (AP)

The concussion crisis may be headed to another level, as researchers for the first time have detected changes in the brains of retired players who are still alive. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Har-Bowl angle's just not that interesting . . . and that's straight from one of the horses' mouths. (CSN Baltimore)

Even though he appreciates what Colin Kaepernick has done, Kurt Warner believes the 49ers could have gotten to the Super Bowl if Alex Smith were still the quarterback. (CSN Bay Area)

Bill Callahan "sabotoging" the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII? Impossible, says ex-Oakland fullback Zack Crockett. (CSN Bay Area)

As for Callahan, he's "shocked, saddened and outraged" by the charges -- originally made by Tim Brown and later supported by Jerry Rice -- and he "categorically and unequivocally denies the sum and substance of their allegations." (AP)

And speaking of Callahan, he may have some new job responsibilities next year in Dallas. (AP)

Eight new coaches and seven new general managers were hired since the end of the season, and not one of them was a minority. So the Fritz Pollard Alliance wants to expand the Rooney Rule. (AP)

Jamarcus Russell wants back in. (Pro Football Talk)

Sean Payton's already back in. (AP)

Rex Ryan was in a car accident last week, but he was unhurt and -- even though he apparently caused it -- received a warning and no citation. (AP)

More DUI troubles for the Cowboys, as nose tackle Jay Ratliff is arrested. (AP)

TENNIS
Serena Williams hurt her back and was upset by teenager Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open . . . which led Stephens to tell interviewers that a) she had gotten psyched for the match by telling herself, "Look, dude, like, you can do this", b) that she would now replace a poster of Williams hanging in her bedroom with a poster of herself, and c) she was "sure my grandparents are like freaking out". Ah, to think how much more boring it would have been if Serena hadn't hurt her back . . . (AP)

Stephens' father, incidentally, was the late John Stephens, a former running back for the Patriots. (wikipedia.org)

Much less entertainment on the men's side, as Andy Murray's back in the semis. (AP)

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game. 

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.