ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Hot Button is a 'round-the-clock feature that covers anything and everything across the scope of sports. I'm here, and the DKPS staff, to bring you everything hot: news items, highlights and hot takes — everything but hot meals — whether local, national or international. No limits. All with a focus on what we feel you'd want to read. Better yet, it’s interactive. Share your thoughts in comments, add insight, and even post your own links to interesting, safe-for-work, sports stories. So let’s go! Come on in!
📌STARS: MONTGOMERY 'UNPROFESSIONAL'
Monday, 12/9: The Dallas Stars fired head coach Jim Montgomery on Tuesday for "unprofessional conduct." Stars GM Jim Nill did not elaborate, but he did state that the offense was not a criminal act and had nothing to do with players or employees in the organization. So this is not a Bill Peters-type situation.
The Stars were made aware of the situation on Sunday and fired Montgomery after consultation with in-house counsel.
Rick Bowness was elevated from assistant coach to interim head coach.
BRADY WINS BROYLES AWARD
Monday, 12/9: LSU passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Brady won the 2019 Broyles Award as college football's top assistant coach, it was announced Tuesday.
LSU's average of 386.8 yards passing per game, led by Heisman-favorite quarterback Joe Burrow, ranks second in FBS to Washington State (444.3 ypg.).
It is Brady's first year in the position.
If only Mark Whipple's offense had scored a couple more touchdowns, right Pitt fans? — Bob
BELL BOWLS WHILE 'SICK'
Monday, 12/9: Le'Veon Bell was seen bowling on Saturday night into early Sunday morning after being ruled out of Sunday's game against the Dolphins because of illness.
Le'Veon Bell was seen bowling Saturday night hours after being ruled out against the Dolphins https://t.co/f89lwgYxaV
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 10, 2019
Bell reportedly did not attend the Jets' Saturday walkthrough and did not attend the game on Sunday.
Who goes out in public after calling in sick? That's office Rule No. 1. — Bob
PATRIOTS ADMIT IMPROPRIETY
Monday, 12/9: In a new twist, the New England Patriots have admitted in a team release that it was "inappropriate" for its film crew to record the Bengals sideline during the Bengals-Browns game Sunday and is accepting "full responsibility." even though they went on to claim that the film crew was independent and not affiliated with the Patriots and that the film recording was only going to be used for the production of a documentary feature on advanced scouting.
The Patriots acknowledged that their production crew inappropriately filmed the field and sideline during Sunday's game between the Bengals and Browns and accepted full responsibility in a statement released Monday night. https://t.co/Dbyaei9Uo0
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 10, 2019
The NFL has the film and is reviewing the footage and investigating the incident. It is also known that the even though the film crew was credentialed, the Patriots failed to notify, per rules, the Browns and the Bengals of the filming, which New England referred to as an "unfortunate oversight."
The Patriots lost a first-round pick and Belichick was fined $500,000 for "Spygate" in 2008.
This one's feeling more like a stiff fine, but what do you think? After all, it's not the first time for this franchise.
Update: It is now reported that there is eight minutes of footage of just the Bengals players and Bengals sideline. — Bob
POINT PARK VARSITY E-SPORTS
Monday, 12/9: 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... I declare a thumb war at Point Park University. The university has decided to add e-sports as its 18th varsity sports program. They are actively recruiting gamers to fill out the team.
Point Park will compete against other universities, beginning in Fall 2020.
OK, let's hear it: Is this a legit sport worthy of scholarships? — Bob
DUKES STEAMROLL COLUMBIA
Monday, 12/9: The Duquesne men's basketball team (8-0) is off to its best start since 1971-72 after destroying the Columbia Lions (3-8), 90-54, on Monday night at the Kerr Fitness Center on the campus of La Roche University in McCandless, Pa.
Often plagued by sluggish starts several times this season, the Dukes took it straight to Columbia from tip-off, scoring 45 points in each half. Head coach Keith Dambrot spread out the team's minutes, as well, with no players playing more than 28 minutes, nine different players playing 10-plus minutes, and all 13 players on the Dukes roster getting into the game.
Four Duquesne players reached double-digits in scoring, led by starting guard Tavian Dunn-Martin's 25 points that included five three-pointers. Fellow guard Maceo Austin had 18 points and seven rebounds, starting forward Marcus Weathers had 16 points and six rebounds, and center/forward Baylee Steele had 11 points off the bench. Starting center Michael Hughes had only six points but led the team with 10 rebounds.
Columbia guard Mike Smith paced the Lions with 22 points. No other Columbia player scored had more than nine.
The Dukes return to action Saturday, Dec. 14 with a "home" game against Radford (Va.) University (3-5) at Ellet High School in Akron, Ohio. Duquesne then travels to the state of Florida for two games in the St. Pete Challenge on Dec. 21 and Dec. 22.
HEISMAN CANDIDATES OFFICIAL
Monday, 12/9: The Downtown Athletic Club announced its four finalists for the Heisman Trophy on Monday and there were no surprises: LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, and Ohio State defensive end Chase Young.
The winner will be announced on Saturday, Dec. 14.
So, who's your Heisman winner? And was Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence snubbed? — Bob
RAPINOE SI'S TOP CHOICE
Monday, 12/9: U.S. Women's National Team forward Megan Rapinoe was recognized as Sports Illustrated's 2019 Sportsperson of the Year:
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 9, 2019
On the field, Rapinoe helped lead the U.S. soccer team to a 2019 World Cup victory, and was honored by FIFA as the women's player of the year and received the prestigious Ballon d'Or from periodical France Football as their player of the year.
SI also recognized Rapinoe's work off the field promoting the game and her commitment to several social justice initiatives. — Bob
PEARCE "UNOFFICIALLY RETIRING"
Monday, 12/9: Steve Pearce, former Pirates utilityman and World Series MVP for the Red Sox in 2018, is "unofficially retired" from baseball according to mlbtraderumors.com:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Steve Pearce "Unofficially Retired" <a href="https://t.co/QIc2lD46vR">https://t.co/QIc2lD46vR</a> <a href="https://t.co/oJeDTKGHMH">pic.twitter.com/oJeDTKGHMH</a></p>— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) <a href="https://twitter.com/mlbtraderumors/status/1204048964682756099?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 9, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Pearce had an up-and-down, injury-riddled career — he never had more than 400 plate appearances in a season — but managed to accumulate ten years of service time, making him eligible for the full MLB pension.
It will be interesting to see if the soon be 37-year-old will get the itch to return. — Bob
MAYFIELD BLAMES MED STAFF
Sunday, 12/8: In a postgame interview after their 27-19 win over the Bengals, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield took the Browns' medical staff to task for its handling of an apparent core muscle injury that Odell Beckham Jr. has been struggling with since, apparently, training camp:
"It wasn't handled the right way in our training room. It is what it is."
Baker Mayfield spoke candidly about OBJ's lingering injury. pic.twitter.com/GhO4BI8E0Z
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 8, 2019
Wow. I mean ... wow.
Someone in Browns PR must have gotten to him quick as Mayfield took to Twitter to clarify his comments by completely contradicting them ...
Those people within our building know my intentions and where I am coming from. I truly believe that and I apologize to those that don’t deserve the backlash.... today was a good team win. On to the next one.
— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) December 8, 2019
Sorry, Baker. No backsies. — Bob
PANTHERS TO QUICK LANE BOWL
Sunday, 12/8: The Pitt Panthers football team learned their bowl fate on Sunday and they announced that they will participate in the Quick Lane Bowl against the Eastern Michigan Eagles on December 26 at Ford Field in Detroit.
— Quick Lane Bowl (@quicklanebowl) December 8, 2019
Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke previously held the same position at Eastern Michigan.
The Eagles of the Mid-American Conference, finished last in the MAC West division, finishing 6-6 (3-5).
Remember a month ago when all the talk was about a potential matchup of Pitt and Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl? — Bob
LSU #1 SEED AS PLAYOFFS SET
Sunday, 12/8: Louisiana State University leapfrogged Ohio State to be the No.1 seed for the College Football Playoff.
Ohio State dropped to No.2 and will host No. 3 Clemson in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. on Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. Clemson is an early 2-point favorite.
Oklahoma grabbed the No. 4 seed, after entering the weekend No. 6, and will play LSU in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Ga. on Dec. 28 at 4 p.m. LSU is a 10-point favorite.
Did Ohio State deserve to be No. 1? Which teams will meet in the championship game? — Bob
SIMMONS, MILLER ELECTED TO HALL
Sunday, 12/8: Switch-hitting catcher and former Pirates GM Ted Simmons and players labor pioneer Marvin Miller were elected Sunday to the Baseball Hall of Fame's 2020 class by a vote of the Modern Baseball Era Committee. You can read the official release here.
The committee consists of six hall-of-fame players, six major-league executives, and four media members and historians.
A person needs to appear on 75 percent of the sixteen ballots cast to be elected — Simmons was named on 13 of 16, and Miller the minimum 12 of 16.
Pirates legend Dave Parker was named on just seven of the ballots, falling five votes short of selection.
The BBWAA's selections for the full 2020 class will be announced on Jan. 21, 2020.
Simmons was a great-hitting catcher for a long time. Deserving or no? — Bob
Sunday, 12/8: The Ravens just keep rolling. They beat the Bills, 24-17, on the road — their ninth consecutive win — bumping their record to 11-2 on the year. By his standards, Lamar Jackson was relatively quiet in this one, passing for 145 yards and three touchdowns against an interception while adding 40 yards on 11 carries on the ground. Even when the stats aren't there for Jackson, though, there's this:
That was a PROFESSIONAL athlete he did that to pic.twitter.com/ZtEmHNOYyD
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 8, 2019
Yeah. Starting to think this Ravens team is pretty good. The Steelers, of course, meet them in Week 17 on the road — and the Ravens might not have anything to play for by that point. -- Hunter
UHH ... WHOOPS
Sunday, 12/8: Welp, this wasn't the Chiefs equipment manager's best day.
A container reportedly containing the bags/equipment for 35 Chiefs players was accidentally sent to Newark, N.J., not Foxboro, Mass., where the Chiefs face the Patriots Sunday. The kicker, from Adam Schefter's report, is right here:
"If the Chiefs hadn't gotten the equipment by the time the game started, they would have had to forfeit, per a source."
Not gonna lie: I kinda wish that had happened just for the chaos of it all. Incredible. -- Hunter
SLIPPERY ROCK TO D-II FINAL FOUR
Saturday, 12/7: Slippery Rock University is headed to the Division-II football semifinals after a 65-59 victory over Notre Dame College (Oh.) on Saturday at The Rock's Mihalik-Thompson Stadium.
Usually we see a score like that in a game with several overtimes, but this was in regulation and had a furious first-half that ended with The Rock (13-0) leading the Falcons (12-2), 49-31.
Slippery Rock quarterback Roland Rivers III had a monster game, throwing for 436 yards and 6 TDs.
Teams are reseeded once they reach the semis, meaning Slippery Rock's next opponent is not yet known, so they will be facing either Ferris State, Minnesota State, or West Florida. — Bob
PITT UPSET BY CINCINNATI
Saturday, 12/7: The Pitt women's volleyball team was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tournament by the Cincinnati Bearcats Saturday night at the Petersen Events Center, losing three sets to two (26-24, 21-25, 25-16, 21-25, 13-15).
The Panthers entered the tournament with only one loss on the season, to Penn State (PSU advanced to the Sweet 16 on Saturday), and were ranked #2 in the nation in the Coaches' Poll. Pitt had lofty expectations and were considered one of the primary programs in contention for the NCAA championship.
It's a great season but a lousy finish. One thing is certain, however: Dan Fisher has built a program that is going to seriously contend for titles every year. — Bob
POWER 5 CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
Saturday, 12/7: This is a big day for College Football and the playoff seeding, in particular. Since individual posts for each game will make this feature too long and block out other news, I'm going to post updates in this post with links to highlights, etc. — Bob
PAC-12: #13 Oregon 37, #5 Utah 15. Highlights. All the Utes needed to do was win Friday night and have Oklahoma beat Baylor and they would have most likely been in the playoff. Instead, they're not even conference champs. Ducks running back CJ Verdell led the way with 18 carries for 208 yards and 3 TDs.
BIG-12: #7 Baylor 23, #6 Oklahoma 30, OT, Final. Highlights. Oklahoma QB and Heisman hopeful Jalen Hurts was 17-24 for 287 yards, with 1 TD and 1 INT. Sooners receiver CeeDee Lamb had 8 receptions for 173 yards as Oklahoma made their case to the playoff committee. Baylor starting QB Charlie Brewer left this one with a first-half head injury.
SEC: #4 Georgia 10, #2 LSU 37. Highlights. Leading Heisman candidate QB Joe Burrow threw for 28-38 for 345 yds. and 4 TDs to lead LSU (13-0) to the SEC title. Burrow's first touchdown pass in the first quarter set an SEC record with 45 passing TDs in a single season.
ACC: #23 Virginia 17, #3 Clemson 62, Highlights. Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence was 16-22 for 302 yds. and 4 TDs in just three quarters of play as Clemson (13-0) steamrolled Virginia. WR Tee Higgins caught three of those TD passes and had 9 catches for 182 yds. RB Travis Etienne had 14 carries for 114 yards and a score.
BIG-10: #8 Wisconsin 21, #1 Ohio State 34, Highlights. Ohio State (13-0)overcame an early 14-point deficit and is overpowering Wisconsin in the second half. Buckeyes QB and Heisman hopeful Justin Fields went 19-31 for 299 yards and 3 TDs. RB J.K. Dobbins had 33 carries for 172 yards. and one TD.
There are now three undefeated teams: Ohio State, LSU, and Clemson who will vie for top seeding for the playoffs. No. 6 Oklahoma would seem to have the inside track for the fourth and final playoff spot with No.4 Utah and No.5 Georgia getting blown out in their championship games.
Who should be No. 1 overall? And who should get the last playoff spot? — Bob
KIFFIN TO RUN REBS
Saturday, 12/7: Lane Kiffin will be the next head coach at the University of Mississippi, according to multiple reports. Kiffin, who has coached at Florida Atlantic University for the last three seasons, just led FAU to its second consecutive Conference USA title with a 49-6 victory over Alabama-Birmingham.
In a unique twist, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, who once coached at Ole Miss from 2004-2007, is reported to have advised Kiffin against taking the position.
Interesting ... —Bob
TKACHUK'S CHEAP HIT
Saturday, 12/7: Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk lost it just a bit late in their 4-3 loss Saturday to the Flyers, cross-checking then roughing Flyers center Scott Laughton with the goalie pulled and just 25 seconds remaining:
Brady Tkachuk goes after Scott Laughton late in the game 🙄 pic.twitter.com/w2p4RydJY1
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 7, 2019
Tough to know what got into Tkachuk to make such a dumb decision, but it certainly didn't help his team as they were trying to score the tying goal. Moron. — Bob
SON SHINES FOR TOTTENHAM
Saturday, 12/7: South Korean forward Son Heung-min, widely considered the best player in Asia, scored an amazing goal for Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League with an 80-yard run and finish. The inimitable Men in Blazers sum it up best. — Bob
South Korean Lamar Jackson 🙌pic.twitter.com/8xJ0eDOSG0
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) December 7, 2019
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