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01/10/2012 - 3:02am
Marchand: Vigneault showed lack of class
By: DJ Bean

Bruins forward Brad Marchand wrote in his ESPN Boston diary that Canucks coach Alain Vigneault showed a lack of class when he said that someone is "going to hurt" the 23-year-old forward because of the way he plays. 

Marchand was suspended for five games Monday for his hit on Sami Salo in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Canucks. Vigneault called the forward out Sunday, saying that Marchand "plays to hurt players."

"Their coach came out and said I play to hurt players," Marchand wrote in the diary. "He obviously wanted to take a shot at me and stir the pot for the hearing. It just shows the class he has or lack thereof."

Marchand also called out the Canucks for ganging up on Shawn Thornton four minutes into the first period Saturday.

"We have a lot of tough guys on the ice there," Marchand wrote. "[The Canucks] were pretty tough when it was six-on-one, but once they were all pulled...

01/10/2012 - 12:44am
Source: Red Sox hire Niemann as staff asst.

According to a major league source, the Red Sox have hired longtime Mets coach Randy Niemann as a staff assistant, filling the role vacated by Rob Leary.

Niemann, who spent last season as New York's rehab pitching coordinator, will be reunited with Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who had the former major league pitcher on his Mets coaching staff from 1997-99. Prior to his role in '11, the 56-year-old served as the Mets' bullpen coach, a position he had manned for the organization two other occasions.

Niemann figures to assist new Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure. The hire fills out the team's coaching staff, with hitting coach Dave Magadan, bullpen coach Gary Tuck and bench coach Tim Bogar remaining in the organization, and third base coach Jerry Royster and first base coach Alex Ochoa joining Niemann as newcomers.

Niemann coached at every minor league level throughout his 24 years in the Mets organization. According to MLB.com, he gained...

01/10/2012 - 12:37am
Alabama gets revenge, wins national title

Alabama became the first team to come away with a shutout in a BCS bowl game, blanking LSU, 21-0, in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans. It was the first time since 2002 that the Tigers had been held scoreless.

Top-ranked LSU, who wasn't able to advance the ball past midfield until midway through the fourth quarter, managed just 92 yards. No. 2-ranked Alabama dominated throughout the contest, totaling 20 first downs to the Tigers' five. For Alabama, the win avenged a Nov. 5, 9-6 loss to LSU.

Tide head coach Nick Saban becomes the first coach in the BCS era to win three national titles.

Alabama claimed a 9-0 lead at halftime thanks to three Jeremy Shelley field goals. Shelley came out and managed two more field goals in the third quarter to extend the Tide's lead, paving the way for Trent Richardson's 34-yard touchdown run to punctuate the scoring with 4:36 left in the game.

...

01/09/2012 - 7:28pm
Marchand suspended five games
By: DJ Bean

Bruins forward Brad Marchand was suspended five games by the NHL Monday for Saturday's low-bridge hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo. Because the hearing was conducted via phone, five games was the maximum penalty Marchand could receive. 

Marchand saw the Canucks defenseman coming in to hit him along the boards late in the second period of the 4-3 loss, lowered his body and hit Salo in the hip area. The hit was called clipping on the ice, and Marchand was given a five-minute major and game misconduct. 

"As the video shows, Marchand skates towards Salo along the boards," NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said. "Rather than deliver a shoulder-to-shoulder check, Marchand drops dangerously low into Salo's knee area, propelling Salo up and over, causing an injury. 

 

"While we understand that in certain instances, a player may duck or bail instinctively in order to prevent himself from an imminent...

01/09/2012 - 6:27pm
Belichick: Tebow a 'tough guy to defend'

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, in his weekly appearance on The Big Show, said that the Broncos team that he will face in the AFC divisional playoff game on Saturday night is particularly challenging to defend given the versatility of quarterback Tim Tebow. Belichick suggested that Tebow's ability to both run and throw the football from the same offensive formations allows Denver to disguise its plays in a fashion that makes it hard to get the right personnel groupings and play calls onto the field.

"Whatever it takes to win, he’s done a good job of doing that," said Belichick. "I think whenever Tebow is in the shotgun, then you have the possibility of him running their regular shotgun passing game and you also have the possibility of them running the ball, whether he’s the runner or it’s a dive and he keeps it.
You really need another defender in the running game but it’s hard to get that defender when five...

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