Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
NHL: Kings vs. Boston, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Upon further review, the Kings request that all instant replay decisions be done away with. Someone up there isn’t looking out for their best wishes. What are you going to do, fine us?
NBA: Lakers vs. Utah, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Counting two preseason games, and a six-point loss in Salt Lake City on the day after Thanksgiving, the Lakers have yet to post a win over the Jazz this year. Al Jefferson, a pickup to help the team match up better against the Lakers, had 20 points and eight rebounds last time as the Jazz, coming back from a 19-point deficit, scored the last 11 points to win last time out.
NBA: Clippers at Dallas, 5:30 p.m., Prime:
The flat-rimmed, “Blake Griffin Works” fitted cap on the team’s online store has just been reduced from $55 to $41.25. We’d suggest the new “Griffin Monster Dunk” black T-shirts with the phrase “Poster Child,” going for just $27.33 (linked here).
NHL: Ducks at Columbus, 4 p.m., FSW:
It’s the Ducks’ only game this week, then they fly away home.
NHL: Kings vs. San Jose, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Last chance to get your Ice Girls calendar signed before the team heads out on a 10-game, three-plus week road trip – they won’t be back home until Feb. 24.
NBA: Clippers at Houston, 5:30 p.m., Prime:
Last meeting in December, Eric Gordon was hit for two fouls in the first 4:25, went scoreless in the first half, and Clippers never recovered.
College basketball: UCLA at Arizona, 6 p.m., ESPN2; USC at Arizona State, 5:30 p.m.:
The Bruins have lost two in a row in Tucson; the Trojans have lost four in a row in Tempe.
Golf: PGA’s Farmer Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, first round, noon, Golf Channel:
Tiger Woods has committed to opening his 2011 season here, down to No. 3 in the world rankings now behind Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer. That’s just unacceptable in the western world. CBS has the third- and final-round coverage on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
NBA: Lakers vs. Sacramento, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m, FSW:
They’re also offering the “Courtside View” option on Prime Ticket, with the cameras down at Nicholson level. Show some class. Don’t be a joker.
Tennis: Australian Open, women’s final, midnight, ESPN2:
We’ll get behind the “Petkodance” that Germany’s Andrea Petkovic does after dumping an opponent – like when she ousted Maria Sharapova to move into the quarterfinals. We’ll have to remember it Oktoberfest time. Technically, this match happens Saturday morning, and this runs until 2:30 a.m., with replays Saturday our time at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Figure Skating: U.S. Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina: women’s free skate, 8 p.m., Channel 4:
If you know that a soap star named Rebecca Budig won the first series of ABC’s “Skating With The Stars,” now comes the real reality show. Can North Carolina handle a non-NASCAR event? Hill Carrow, the chairman of the group that brought this event to Greensboro, told the Charlotte Observor that he has received calls from fans who insist on sitting on the “50-yard line.” Carrow adds: “This is not football, basketball, golf or NASCAR. Having grown up in North Carolina, I know it’s not a top-of-the-mind thing for most North Carolinians. But we are a great sports state, and this is a great sport that will showcase the very best American figure skaters.” Alissa Czisny (right), currently ranked first in the world, is the favorite with Rachel Flatt, Ashley Wagner and Mirai Nagasu. The men’s finale is Sunday.
NBA: Clippers vs. Charlotte, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
Is this still a good Charlotte? Without Larry Brown?
College basketball: UCLA at Arizona State, 12:30 p.m., Prime; USC at Arizona, 4:30 p.m., Prime:
The Sun Devils, at the bottom of the Pac-10 standings, shot 50 percent from the floor in a loss at conference leader Washington, but that was only the second time that’s happened all season.
Tennis: Australian Open, men’s final, midnight, ESPN2:
Second-seeded Roger Federer is on track to be the second man to win this event at least five times. Top-seeded Rafael Nadal, still fighting off a virus, could be the first to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously since Australian legend Rod Laver in 1969. Technically, it’s Sunday morning, and this runs until 3:30 a.m., with replays Sunday our time at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
College football: The Senior Bowl, 1 p.m., NFL Network:
Guys you may recognize in Mobile, Alabama: UCLA’s Kai Forbath and Christian Yount; plus USC’s Kristofer O’Dowd, Ronald Johnson and Shareece Wright.
MMA: Herschel Walker vs. Scott Carson, 10 p.m., Showtime:
Part of the Strikeforce card in San Jose, the 48-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner puts his 1-0 record on the line. It was originally scheduled for last month but postponed after Walker got a cut above his eye during training. up between Walker and Carson was originally scheduled for Dec. 4, but was postponed after Walker sustained a cut above his eye during a training session. Walker, with a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and training in Muay Thai and Kenpo, had a third-round TKO over someone name Greg Nagy almost a year ago. Carson (4-1), who lives in Gardena, is a longtime traininer partner of Chuck Liddell and trains in Lake Forest.
NBA: Lakers vs. Boston, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7:
One notable new face from the teams that faced off in last year’s NBA Final: The Celtics’ Shaquille O’Neal, who could be making his final Staples Center appearance. What’s left in the tank for the Aging Diesel? The other night, coming back from an abdominal strain, he scored 23 points (12 above his season average, hitting 10 of 12 from the floor), hit all three free throws, took five rebounds and blocked five shots in 35 minutes during a victory over the Bobcats. For a guy in his 19th season, and having played more than 1,200 regular season games, still carrying a career average of 23.8 points,10.9 rebounds and 147.4 kgs (that’s 325 pounds) is pretty remarkable.
NHL: All Star game in Raleigh, North Carolina, 1 p.m., Versus:
Carolina’s Eric Staal and Detroit’s Nicklas Lindstrom were voted captains by fellow all-stars — not Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby — and they’ll pick the teams in a live fantasy draft on Friday (Versus, 5 p.m.), then play it out today. Not outdoors. Staal can either draft his little brother Marc, or snub him. The Sedin brothers could be split up. And who wants Crosby if he’s already laying the groundwork for skipping out on this exhibition? Anze Kopitar is waiting to find out.
NFL: Pro Bowl in Honolulu, 4 p.m., Channel 11:
How did Matt Cassel become the leader of the AFC again?