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12/05/2011 - 11:01pm
NHL approves realignment, schedule change
By: DJ Bean

The NHL's Board of Governors approved a new, four-conference format for the league Monday, with the new conferences to be implemented at the start of next season. 

Realignment was deemed necessary when the Atlanta Thrashers, who played in the Southeast division, moved to Winnipeg. As a result, the Jets will play in the Central division with more mid-western teams. 

The four conferences (yet-to-be-named) will look like this:

Conference 1 (seven teams): Boston, Buffalo, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto.

Conference 2 (seven teams): Carolina, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington.

Conference 3 (eight teams): Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg.

Conference 4 (eight teams): Anaheim, Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver.

One major change that accompanies the realignment is...

12/05/2011 - 10:43pm
Thomas, Bruins beat Penguins
By: DJ Bean

If anyone was wondering how the Bruins measured up to the first-place Penguins, a convincing answer was given Monday night when the B's beat the Penguins, 3-1, at CONSOL Energy Center. 

Gregory Campbell got the B's on the board in the second period with his second goal of the season, with Benoit Pouliot taking a feed from Rich Peverley and beating Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-0. Tyler Seguin scored 1:07 into the third period before Bruins nemesis Matt Cooke broke up Tim Thomas' shutout bid at 10:54 of the final period. 

The game featured two fights, with Brad Marchand taking on Matt Niskanen after the pesky B's forward slew-footed the Penguins defenseman in the second period. Gregory Campbell dropped the gloves with former Northeastern forward Joe Vitale in the third period after Vitale ran into Tim Thomas. 

Thomas finished the night with 45 saves. The B's now have points in 15 straight games (14-0-1), and have 35 points. A...

12/05/2011 - 9:43pm
Bard: No preference for starting, relieving

DALLAS -- Red Sox pitcher Daniel Bard clarified to WEEI.com Monday evening that he still has no preferences when it comes to whether or not he remains a reliever, or makes the switch to the starting rotation for the 2012 season.

When talking about Bard during his meeting with the Boston media at the baseball winter meetings Monday, Sox general manager Ben Cherington said that the team still hadn't decided what role the righty would fill but that pitcher did express a desire when it come to a preferred role. Bard, who talked to new manager Bobby Valentine earlier Monday, said the team might have believed starting was his preference due to the larger scale changes that would have to take place.

"I really didn't give an actual preference," Bard said. "I did make it very clear to them that I have no reservations about moving to the rotation. I told them I'd take any role they choose to give me and run with it, whether that's starting or...

12/05/2011 - 8:36pm
Cherington: Top tier FA pitchers not likely

DALLAS -- According to Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, the Red Sox aren't likely to be in the mix when it comes to signing top tier free agent pitchers. At various times this offseason, the Sox have been linked to the likes of C.J. Wilson, Mark Buerhle, Roy Oswalt and Hiroki Kuroda. But, as was reported by WEEI.com Saturday, some financial flexibility would have to be attained if such pitchers were going to become viable free agent signings by the Sox.

"You never say never, but I think it's more likely we'll be pursuing other options," Cherington said during his session with the Boston media at the baseball winter meetings. "We always want to stay involved to the extent we have the latest information and keep your options open because you never know what may come your way and how that may change things. I would say it's less likely we'll be involved in those top tier guys as relative to the past."

Part of the Red Sox'...

12/05/2011 - 6:16pm
Belichick: 'We need to be more consistent'

Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined The Big Show for his weekly Monday breakdown and said his team needed to be more consistent in the wake of Sunday's 31-24 victory over the Colts.

"We didn't have a very good start to the game," Belichick said. "Once we got going there we put up a lot of points and didn't give up many. Then at the end we couldn't make a first down and couldn't stop them. We all saw it. We need to be more consistent." 

Asked what went wrong in the fourth quarter, Belichick said, "It was mainly some big plays that we gave up. It was a combination of things. We didn't rush as well as we needed to, we didn't cover as well as we needed to. Maybe we could have called things a little bit differently in a couple of places. … There's a couple I'd like to have back, and I'm sure there are a couple the players would like to have back."

The coach did have praise for Vince Wilfork, who recorded...

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