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Roethlisberger Drives Steelers to Win (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, right, is pressured by Baltimore Ravens' linebacker Terrell Suggs (55)   in the second quarter Monday, Oct. 31, 2005 in Pittsburgh.  (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)AP - The Pittsburgh Steelers finally won the kind of close game they've been losing at home all season.


GM Theo Epstein Walks Away From Red Sox (AP)
Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein speaks at a news conference in Boston in this June 3, 2003 file photo. Epstein resigned Monday, Oct. 31, 2005, a stunning move that surprised the baseball world one year after he helped build Boston's first World Series championship team since 1918.  (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)AP - At 31, boy wonder Theo Epstein was ready to step out on his own. The Red Sox general manager walked away from his hometown team on Monday, stunning Boston and the baseball world just one year after helping the franchise win its first World Series championship since 1918.


Theodore Helps Lead Canadiens Past Rangers (AP)
Montral Canadiens' Alex Kovalev, left, of Russia, and Mathieu Dandenault, right, congratulate goaltender Jose Theodore after they beat the New York Rangers, 4-1, Monday night, Oct. 31, 2005 at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)AP - Jose Theodore had plenty of time to get ready for the rematch against the New York Rangers. After allowing three goals on 13 first-period shots Saturday night in a home loss to the Rangers, the Montreal Canadiens goalie was benched for the remainder of the 5-2 defeat.


Southern Cal Back on Top of BCS Standings (AP)
Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart drops back to pass in the first quarter against Washington, in this Oct. 22, 2005 file photo, at Husky Stadium in Seattle. USC jumped over the Texas Longhorns on Monday, Oct. 31, 2005, returning to first place after a one-week stay in second. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)AP - Southern California and Texas flip flopped again, putting the Trojans back on top of the Bowl Championship Series standings.


Pujols Ranked Top Player in Baseball (AP)
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols (5) belts a three-run home run off Houston Astros closer Brad Lidge in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the National League Championship Series in this Oct. 17, 2005 file photo  in Houston. Pujols took over the top spot from Carlos Delgado in major league baseball's annual player rankings. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)AP - St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols took over the top spot from Carlos Delgado in major league baseball's annual player rankings.


5-2 Record Looks Different for '05 Giants (AP)
AP - The New York Giants have the same record they had last year after seven games. They intend to finish on a much better note this time around.

Warriors Extended Dunleavy's Contract (AP)
AP - Forward Mike Dunleavy signed a five-year, $44 million contract extension with the Golden State Warriors on Monday, hours before a deadline that would have made him a restricted free agent after the season.

Sosa, Blum, Everett File for Free Agency (AP)
AP - Baltimore's Sammy Sosa filed for free agency Monday along with World Series star Geoff Blum and Chicago White Sox teammate Carl Everett.

Sites Set for 2008 European Championship (AP)
AP - Switzerland will play the opening match of the 2008 European Championship at Basel's St. Jakob Park on June 7.

Hockey Today (AP)
AP - Nashville at Anaheim (10:30 p.m EST). The Ducks have won five straight at home.

Bear territory
With Daunte lost for the year and the Lions lamenting another defeat, the NFC North appears to belong to Chicago.

Steelers hold off shorthanded Ravens (AP)
The Pittsburgh Steelers finally won the kind of close game they've been losing at home all season. The problem was it wasn't supposed to be nearly this difficult, not against a depleted Ravens team whose season already seems to be fading away. Jeff Reed kicked a 37-yard field goal with 1:36 remaining after Ben Roethlisberger opened each half with touchdown passes to rookie tight end Heath Miller,...

Culpepper to miss rest of season (AP)
During training camp, the Minnesota Vikings rewarded Daunte Culpepper for a career year with a raise worth almost $8 million in additional guarantees. As the Vikings and their franchise quarterback were reminded, bonus money is really the only thing that's guaranteed in the NFL. Health sure isn't in this intense, violent game.

Rams coach Vitt has heart procedure (AP)
Joe Vitt, the St. Louis Rams' interim head coach while Mike Martz recovers from a heart ailment, underwent a heart procedure of his own Monday. The procedure, a cardiac catheterization, was so minor in nature that Vitt, 51, was back to work at Rams Park by lunchtime. He held his regular 3 p.m. postgame news conference, making a handful of jokes about his health.

Giants' 5-2 record different than 2004 (AP)
The New York Giants have the same record they had last year after seven games. They intend to finish on a much better note this time around. The Giants were 5-2 a year ago, but lost eight in a row before winning the final game of the season to finish 6-10. After Sunday's 36-0 rout of Washington, New York is 5-2 again -- but with a much different outlook.

Jags continue trend of inconsistency (AP)
The Jacksonville Jaguars are consistently inconsistent. Last year, they followed consecutive victories against Kansas City and Indianapolis with an embarrassing loss at Houston. They also had a rare win at Green Bay in December that put them in playoff contention, then inexplicably were shut out at home against the Texans.

Fan who took ball from Favre arraigned (AP)
The fan who ran out of the stands and snatched a football from Brett Favre's hand pleaded innocent to a variety of charges at his arraignment Monday, while the Bengals promised not to let it happen again. Gregory Gall, 31, of Cincinnati, is accused of resisting arrest, trespass and disorderly conduct while intoxicated.

Seahawks' Hamlin continues recovery (AP)
Seattle Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin keeps progressing in his recovery from being assaulted two weeks ago. Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said Monday that Hamlin is ``doing better'' while recuperating at his home one week after doctors released Hamlin from Seattle's Harborview Medical Center. He entered intensive care there Oct.

Gruden: Rice returns to lineup this week (AP)
Simeon Rice's stay in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' doghouse apparently won't last long. The flighty defensive end was sent home before Sunday's 15-10 loss at San Francisco. However, coach Jon Gruden reiterated Monday that the three-time Pro Bowl selection will return to the lineup this week against Carolina.

Bruschi's back, Pats still have problems (AP)
The return of linebacker Tedy Bruschi, while inspirational, didn't cure all the New England Patriots' ailments. ``There certainly was room for improvement there,'' coach Bill Belichick said Monday, hours after the Patriots rallied from nine points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Buffalo Bills 21-16 on Sunday night.

Too hot to handle?
ORLANDO, Fla. – Stan Van Gundy must create the right chemistry with the Heat's volatile mix of talent and egos.

Collier autopsy points to heart problem (AP)
Investigators suspect Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collier died of a heart problem and will announce their findings Tuesday. The 28-year-old player died Oct. 15 after he had trouble breathing in his Georgia home. The autopsy was conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. GBI spokesman John Bankhead says the office performs all Forsyth County autopsies, and Bankhead said this autopsy showed the...

Pistons sign Prince for five years, $47M (AP)
The Detroit Pistons signed Tayshaun Prince to a $47 million, five-year contract extension Monday, preventing one of their key players from becoming a restricted free agent after this season. ``He's been a valuable member of our team both on and off the floor in each of his first three years,'' Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said.

Jerry West signs extension with Memphis (AP)
Jerry West signed a two-year contract extension Monday, agreeing to remain through 2008 as president of the Memphis Grizzlies. West came out of retirement three years ago to join the Grizzlies after spending almost four decades with the Los Angeles Lakers as player, coach and executive. He was in the last year of a four-year agreement with Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley.

Warriors F Dunleavy gets extension (AP)
Forward Mike Dunleavy signed a five-year, $44 million contract extension with the Golden State Warriors on Monday, hours before a deadline that would have made him a restricted free agent after the season. Dunleavy, the third overall pick in the 2002 draft, started 79 games for the Warriors last season, averaging a career-best 13.4 points along with 5.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

Wizards ink Butler to extension (AP)
Caron Butler signed a five-year contract extension with the Washington Wizards on Monday, a move of stability for a player who has been with three teams as he starts his fourth NBA season. The 25-year-old swingman, acquired with Chucky Atkins in the offseason trade that sent Kwame Brown to the Los Angeles Lakers, would have become a restricted free agent at the end of the season had he not signed...

Hornets exercise option on David West (AP)
The New Orleans Hornets exercised their contract option on forward David West on Monday, and will have him through the end of the 2006-07 season. West, the 18th overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft, averaged 6.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 30 games for the Hornets last season. He missed 55 games after hurting his right knee in December.

Coaches in spotlight, but Spurs rule (AP)
Out on the West Coast, the NBA's Zen master has returned home from a yearlong sabbatical, accepting a task sure to disturb his implacable cool. On the other coast, Brooklyn's wayward son finally has his dream job, moving into Madison Square Garden for the ultimate stop in a lifetime of wandering. And in the heart of Texas, geographically smack-dab between the Lakers' Phil Jackson and the Knicks'...

Power Rankings
If you missed Jason Spezza's game-winning goal Thursday, you missed the reason why Ottawa retained the top spot in the power rankings – for now.

Canadiens win sixth straight in NYC (AP)
Jose Theodore was every bit as good in the first period Monday night as he was bad two days earlier against these same New York Rangers. Theodore made nine saves in the opening 20 minutes and 23 overall, backstopping Montreal's 4-1 victory over the Rangers that gave the Canadiens a split of the home-and-home series.

Belfour, Leafs rebound to edge Panthers (AP)
The Toronto Maple Leafs rebounded from their worst loss in nearly 14 years, but still have a lot of room to improve. Alexei Ponikarovsky scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and the Maple Leafs edged the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Monday night. ``We looked, quite frankly, like scared to lose.

Flyers hand Senators first home loss (AP)
The Philadelphia Flyers have had a hard time holding third-period leads this season, and after their most recent fiasco, they were determined not to let it happen again. Mike Knuble scored two goals after the Flyers had squandered an early lead for a 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night. Philadelphia won for just the fourth time in seven games it has led after two periods this season.

McDonald, Selanne keep Ducks hot at home (AP)
Andy McDonald is starting to take advantage of the new NHL rules, and being paired with Teemu Selanne helps. McDonald scored two goals Sunday night, Selanne had a goal and two assists, and the Ducks extended their home winning streak to five games with a 3-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. ``Andy's a dynamic small player who's very exciting to watch, and now he's getting a few things go his...

Leafs' Sundin cleared to practice (AP)
Toronto Maple Leafs star Mats Sundin has been cleared to practice, the team said Monday. The center's left orbital bone was fractured when he was struck by a puck Oct. 5 in the season opener against Ottawa. He was re-evaluated Monday and was given the OK to resume practicing with the team beginning Tuesday.

Avalanche beat Canucks, Bertuzzi again (AP)
Hockey fans in Denver will remember this as the week big, bad Todd Bertuzzi came to town. They might also remember it as the week the Colorado Avalanche showed they could be a contender in the rebuilt NHL. For the second straight game, the boos rained down on Bertuzzi and the Vancouver Canucks. And for the second straight game, the Avalanche walked away winners, this time courtesy of an Ian...

Isles G DiPietro out with knee injury (AP)
New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro will miss Tuesday night's home game against the Boston Bruins because of bruised knee. The Islanders said Monday that DiPietro will rest the knee for a few days. He is expected to be cleared to play in time for New York's game against Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

Red Wings win eighth in a row (AP)
Chris Osgood is giving the Detroit Red Wings quite a 1-2 punch in goal. Robert Lang scored in the third period and Osgood made 23 saves to lead Detroit to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. After becoming the first NHL goalie to win 10 games in October on Thursday night, No. 1 goalie Manny Legace got his first night off of the season.

'Canes top Pens for fifth straight win (AP)
Maybe the Carolina Hurricanes should spot their opponents a couple goals at the start of every game. It's worked very well so far this season. For the fourth game in a row, the Hurricanes came back from a two-goal deficit and they won their fifth in a row by topping the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 Saturday night.

Pyning for balance
Many believe the current team ownership model is flawed, but NASCAR's George Pyne disagrees.

Edwards gets Atlanta sweep and tightens Chase (AP)
Don't expect 26-year-old Carl Edwards to buckle under the pressure of his first NASCAR Nextel Cup championship race.

Friendly tactics: NASCAR racers let friends, teammates go by (AP)
If Tony Stewart wins the Nextel Cup championship by five points, he might want to thank good friend Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Mayfield, Busch, Wallace virtually eliminated from "Chase" (SportsTicker)
By Bruce Martin SportsTicker Contributing Editor

Edwards completes Atlanta season sweep; Stewart leads Chase (SportsTicker)

Three Chase contenders knocked out by Atlanta misfortune (AP)
When two cars wrecked in front of Rusty Wallace, any hopes of closing his brilliant career as a NASCAR champion were wiped out.

Kyle Busch emerges winner of wild NCTS event (SportsTicker)

Busch's late charge nets truck win (AP)
Gambling on a late pit stop for fresh tires in Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, Kyle Busch charged from eighth to a victory in a three-lap dash that ended with most of the leaders involved in a crash.

Truex Jr. wins IROC race; Mark Martin claims title (SportsTicker)
By Bruce Martin SportsTicker Contributing Editor

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