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NHL Grants Tocchet Indefinite Leave (AP)
Phoenix Coyotes interim coach Rick Tocchet looks on from behind the bench during the first period against the St. Louis Blues, Dec. 20, 2005, in Glendale, Ariz. Wayne Gretzky's wife and about a half-dozen NHL players placed bets, but not on hockey, with a nationwide sports gambling ring financed by Tocchet, authorities said Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2006.(AP Photo/Arizona Republic, Deirdre Hamill)   NO SALES MAGS OUTAP - Rick Tocchet isn't welcome in the NHL as long as he's linked to a big-time gambling ring.


UConn Beats Syracuse for 10th Straight Win (AP)
Connecticut's Rudy Gay slam dunks the ball in the second half of play in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006. At right is Syracuse's Terrence Roberts. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)AP - Connecticut's defense impressed everybody but its coach. Rudy Gay had 22 points and 13 rebounds and No. 1 Connecticut came up with another impressive defensive performance Wednesday night, beating Syracuse 73-50 for its 10th straight victory.


Michaels Out at 'Monday Night Football' (AP)
These undated hand out photos provided by ESPN show the new Monday Night Football broadcast crew anounced Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006.  From left; former quarterback Joe Theismann,  Mike Tirico, and Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser. (AP PHoto/ESPN, HO)AP - Do you believe in switching networks? Yes! Al Michaels appears headed to NBC after ESPN hired former quarterback Joe Theismann, Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser and Mike Tirico as its Monday night broadcast crew


Deconstructing the NHL Gambling Ring (AP)
A home belonging to New Jersey State Trooper James Harney is shown Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006, in Marlton, N.J. Harney is accused of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy. Officials announced Tuesday that an investigation, dubbed 'Operation Slapshot,' led to the arrest of Harney, former Philadelphia Flyer hockey player Richard Tocchet, now an assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes, and others.  (AP Photo/ Jose F. Moreno)AP - In the early 1990s, New Jersey officials say a bartender at a Holiday Inn in Philadelphia struck up a friendship with one of his big-name clients, Flyers star forward Rick Tocchet.


Baseball, Softball Still Out of Olympics (AP)
Venezuela's manager Carlos Subero is hoisted by his supporters after winning the Caribbean Series baseball tournament in Maracay, Venezuela, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2006. Venezuela beat the Dominican Republic 5-4, to win the tournament. (AP Photo/Reinaldo D'Santiago)AP - Baseball's and softball's bids for reinstatement in the 2012 London Olympics were rejected Thursday by the IOC. Both sports failed to get a required majority for putting the proposal to a vote, with members voting 46-42 against baseball and 47-43 against softball.


Runner-Up Seahawks Arrive at Pro Bowl (AP)
Seattle Seahawks Matt Hasselbeck throws the ball during an NFC football practice at the Ko Olina Resort in Honolulu, Hawaii, Wednesday, Feb.  8, 2006, in preparation for the Pro Bowl football game this Sunday.  (AP Photo/Ronen Zilberman)AP - Matt Hasselbeck says he's still upset about a game he lost in high school. So it's way too soon for him to be over Seattle's Super Bowl setback to the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Gordon, Bulls Hold Off Nuggets 110-107 (AP)
Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, top, fights for control of a loose ball with Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)AP - Ben Gordon scored at least 30 points for the third straight game — and this time the Chicago Bulls won.


Nationals offer Sosa non-guaranteed contract - report (Reuters)
Reuters - The Washington Nationals have offered slugger Sammy Sosa a non-guaranteed contract for 2006, major league baseball's website said on Wednesday.

Zaragoza Routs Real Madrid 6-1 (AP)
Real Madrid Brazilian player Julio Baptista reacts during a Copa del Rey semi-final, first leg, soccer against Real Zaragoza match in Zaragoza, Spain, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006. Zaragoza won 6-1. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)AP - Diego Milito scored four goals as Zaragoza routed Real Madrid 6-1 Wednesday night in the first leg of the semifinals of the Spanish King's Cup.


Marleau, Thornton Help Sharks End Skid (AP)
San Jose Sharks' Joe Thornton celebrates after scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)AP - After watching the opposing goalie make so many saves in the first two periods, Vesa Toskala figured it was his turn in the third. Toskala made 14 of his 29 stops in the final period, helping the San Jose Sharks end a four-game losing streak at home with a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.


Read and React: Fowl play
Seahawks fans feel their championship dreams were the victim of poor officiating. Fact is, they don't have much of a case.

Lions get Martz to run offense after all (AP)
The Detroit Lions hired Mike Martz after all. The former Rams coach became Lions offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Wednesday, a week after he turned down the job for financial reasons. Martz interviewed with new coach Rod Marinelli and team president Matt Millen nine days ago, but said last Thursday he wasn't taking the job because, "It just didn't work out with the money." Contract...

Al Michaels apparently headed to NBC (AP)
Do you believe in switching networks? Yes! Al Michaels appears headed to NBC after ESPN hired former quarterback Joe Theismann, Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser and Mike Tirico as its Monday night broadcast crew. Michaels had been with ABC since 1976 and had been the play-by-play voice of "Monday Night Football" since 1986, when he replaced Frank Gifford.

Colts already looking to next season (AP)
Peyton Manning is still answering questions about his perceived inability to win the big one. Edgerrin James is talking about the possibility of playing elsewhere. And several of their teammates in Hawaii for Sunday's Pro Bowl say they can't wait until next year, an often-used refrain with this bunch.

Seahawks players arrive at Pro Bowl (AP)
Matt Hasselbeck says he's still upset about a game he lost in high school. So it's way too soon for him to be over Seattle's Super Bowl setback to the Pittsburgh Steelers. And the Seahawks' quarterback made it clear that he didn't agree with several decisions made by the officiating crew last Sunday. "I certainly don't want to add fuel to that fire," Hasselbeck said after going through his first Pro...

NFL defends Super Bowl officiating (AP)
The NFL defended the officiating in the Super Bowl, and Joe Montana defended himself. Two days after the Steelers beat the Seahawks 21-10 in the NFL title game, the league said Tuesday that the game was "properly officiated." "Including, as in most NFL games, some tight plays that produced disagreement about the calls made by the officials," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement.

Whisenhunt interviews with Raiders (AP)
Super Bowl winning offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt interviewed with Raiders owner Al Davis and other team officials Wednesday for Oakland's vacant head coaching position. Oakland has been without a head coach since Norv Turner was fired Jan. 3, giving a new coach little time to put together a staff and set his offseason priorities before the scouting combine begins Feb.

About 250,000 show at Steelers parade (AP)
Some fans waited 26 years for this Super Bowl celebratory parade. Others were too young to remember the Pittsburgh Steelers' last championship. Some weren't even born. It didn't matter Tuesday as fans of all ages jammed a mile-long parade route -- 10 or more people deep in many spots -- to thank the team for securing the long-sought fifth Super Bowl win.

Tannenbaum replaces Jets' Bradway as GM (AP)
Jets owner Woody Johnson decided a coaching change wasn't enough. A month after Herman Edwards left for Kansas City, general manager Terry Bradway stepped down as general manager Tuesday. Assistant GM Mike Tannenbaum takes over for Bradway, who will stay with the team as a consultant. "It's time to set the team on a different course," Johnson said at a news conference.

Alexander sprained foot in Super Bowl (AP)
Turns out dropped passes, penalties and disputed officials' calls weren't the only things going against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. League MVP Shaun Alexander revealed Tuesday he sprained his right foot during the Seahawks' championship loss to Pittsburgh Sunday. "I didn't even know it happened, but it swelled up," he said, hours before he and six teammates flew to Hawaii to play in this...

What's the deal, Isiah?
The Jalen Rose trade is just another example of Isiah Thomas' master plan – or lack of one.

Pistons snap two-game losing skid (AP)
Tayshaun Prince might be the only Detroit starter left out when the All-Star reserves are announced Thursday. His teammates find that hard to believe. Prince scored 11 of his 22 points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, helping the Pistons pull away to a 97-87 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

LeBron, Cavs top Garnett, Wolves 97-91 (AP)
If the Eastern Conference gets off to a slow start in the All-Star game on Feb. 19, coach Flip Saunders may want to try playing forward LeBron James at point guard. It worked for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Playing the point almost exclusively in the second half, James scored 12 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter to lift the Cavaliers over the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-91.

Duncan-less Spurs beat Raptors in OT (AP)
Even without Tim Duncan, the streaking San Antonio Spurs were able to slip by the Raptors. Tony Parker had 32 points and a season-high 13 assists, Michael Finley scored six of his 23 points in overtime, and the Spurs beat Toronto 125-118 on Wednesday night for their seventh straight win. Duncan missed his first game of the season because of flu-like symptoms, but Parker played one of best games of...

Pacers rout Blazers 101-69 (AP)
The Indiana Pacers avoided a letdown this time. The Pacers followed Saturday's win over the Detroit Pistons with a 101-69 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. Stephen Jackson scored 25 points, and the Pacers held the Blazers to 26.7 percent shooting to claim their third straight win.

Arenas pours in 45 to lead Wizards (AP)
Caron Butler made sure that teammate Gilbert Arenas got a win against his former team. Butler had a season-high 34 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and three steals Wednesday night in the Washington Wizards' 129-124 victory over the Golden State Warriors, who lost their sixth in a row on the road. "When he got it going early, I was like: 'Man, let's continue to roll with him,"' Wizards forward...

Kobe scores 32, Lakers snap 4-game slide (AP)
Kobe Bryant was stunned to find so many gaps in the Houston Rockets' defense. Once the shock wore off, Bryant took advantage, scoring 32 points and dishing out a season-high nine assists as the Lakers snapped a four-game losing streak with an 89-78 victory Wednesday night. "I started coming off the pick and roll and I was so wide open," said Bryant, who went 13-for-29 from the field.

Bryant's Nike commercial to air Thursday (AP)
Pleased with his play on the court, Nike is ready to test Kobe Bryant's ability as a salesman. Bryant's first televised ad with the shoe company will debut during NBA programming Thursday night, more than 2 1/2 years after he signed an endorsement deal with the sneaker company in the summer of 2003. Soon after he struck the deal with Nike, Bryant was charged with sexual assault.

Bucks take two OTs to defeat Magic (AP)
Michael Redd made up for a poor shooting night with one big basket. Redd scored 27 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the second overtime, to lead the Milwaukee Bucks over the Orlando Magic 94-89 on Wednesday night. "My shooting performance was not so good, but my confidence is still there," Redd said after going 10-for-30 from the floor.

Marion, Nash double-doubles lift Suns (AP)
The NBA's highest-scoring team was matched up against the league's best defensive club. This time, offense won out. Shawn Marion scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, Leandro Barbosa had a season-high 24 points, and the Phoenix Suns hung on to beat Memphis 108-102 Wednesday night, handing the Grizzlies their fourth straight loss.

Power rankings
Days after beating Ottawa to the punch by acquiring Doug Weight, Carolina jumps the Senators in the rankings.

NHL grants Tocchet indefinite leave (AP)
Rick Tocchet isn't welcome in the NHL as long as he's linked to a big-time gambling ring. The former All-Star player who became Wayne Gretzky's right-hand man on the Phoenix Coyotes' coaching staff was granted an indefinite leave of absence Wednesday night by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Tocchet's departure came a day after he was accused of financing a nationwide gambling operation that took...

NHL hires Unabomber prosecutor (AP)
The NHL hired the former federal prosecutor who headed the Unabomber case to investigate Rick Tocchet, the Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach accused of financing a nationwide gambling ring that took bets from about a half-dozen current players. Authorities have not said they have any evidence of betting on hockey in "Operation Slap Shot." Nothing has been ruled out, New Jersey State Police Lt.

Jagr, Lundqvist lead Rangers by Sens 5-1 (AP)
Rookie goalie Henrik Lundqvist and the surprising New York Rangers keep earning respect all over the NHL. Lundqvist made 24 saves to easily outplay Dominik Hasek, and Jaromir Jagr had a goal and two assists in New York's 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night. "They scored two lucky goals, but overall I think they were a lot better team," Hasek said.

Six Red Wings score in 6-0 rout of Preds (AP)
The Detroit Red Wings dominated Nashville by playing well in every facet of the game. Manny Legace earned his second consecutive shutout, and Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk each had a goal and two assists to send Detroit to a 6-0 win over the Predators on Wednesday night. "I think we got a lot of good performances," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said in an understatement.

Kiprusoff, power play lift Flames to win (AP)
Miikka Kiprusoff's teammates made his job a lot easier on Wednesday night. Kiprusoff made 31 saves and the Calgary Flames scored three power-play goals to beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 3-1 and move back into sole possession of first place in the tight Northwest Division. "The defense did pretty much a perfect job in front of me," Kiprusoff said.

Richards scores three, Flyers beat Isles (AP)
Mike Richards needed a fluky bounce, a lucky break and an empty net to get his first career hat trick. Richards scored three goals and Robert Esche made 20 saves, leading the undermanned Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night. Playing without their two leading scorers, Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne, the Flyers snapped a three-game losing streak and won...

Blue Jackets rally, defeat Kings 7-4 (AP)
The Los Angeles Kings are in such a rut, they can't even stay in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Trevor Letowski and Jason Chimera each scored twice and the Blue Jackets beat Los Angeles 7-4 Wednesday night, sending the reeling Kings to their seventh straight loss. "We're beating ourselves up mentally," Los Angeles coach Andy Murray said.

Stuart's PP goals lift Bruins past Pens (AP)
Penguins coach Michel Therrien rarely shies away from criticizing his players after poor performances. That certainly didn't change after his team lost for the 17th time in 18 games, this time 3-1 to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. "It was a bad performance," Therrien said after Pittsburgh was outshot 38-17 to fall to 1-15-2 since Jan.

Blues post first three-game win streak (AP)
The St. Louis Blues haven't given up on this season. Neither has their embattled goalie, Patrick Lalime. Keith Tkachuk had a goal and two assists and Lalime made 19 saves in his NHL return Wednesday night, backstopping St. Louis to a surprising 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. "We're not going to quit," Tkachuk said.

Offseason capsule: Greg Biffle
After falling just short of a championship last season, Biffle is on the short list of title favorites.

NASCAR star Edwards makes acting debut (AP)
NASCAR star Carl Edwards seems to make everything look easy. First it was winning in a Nextel Cup car and now...

NASCAR driver sentenced to community service (AP)
NASCAR driver Kurt Busch was ordered Wednesday to perform 50 hours of community service as part of a plea agreement over a reckless driving citation he received near Phoenix International Raceway. His lawyer, Lee Stein said his client admitted to speeding, a misdemeanor, and two civil citations: following too closely and passing in a no-passing zone.

Girl's affidavit says ex-publicist claimed sexual encounters with 50 kids (AP)
A teenage girl who allegedly had a lengthy sexual relationship with a former NASCAR publicist told authorities the man claimed to have victimized more than 50 children across the country, court documents say.

Widows file lawsuits over Hendrick Motorsports plane crash (AP)
The widows of two men killed in the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash in 2004 sued the company, contending negligence. Hendrick Motorsports showed "conscious and intentional disregard" for Randy Dorton's safety, Dorton's widow, Dianne, said, according to a complaint filed in Lincoln County. Dorton ran Hendrick Motorsports' engine program.

Investigation: Hendrick crash linked to crew error (AP)
Flight crew errors probably caused a 2004 Hendrick Motorsports plane crash that killed 10 people with ties to one of NASCAR's top racing families, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

Johnson, Knaus: NASCAR's team to beat in 2006 (AP)
Shortly after Jimmie Johnson's second failed attempt to win the Nextel Cup championship, car owner Rick Hendrick summoned his driver and crew chief.

Reigning champion back in Cup car (AP)
Though his ribs are still sore from a sprint car crash last month, reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart would still rather be in a race car than sitting and fretting over his aching right side.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway to get multimillion-dollar makeover (AP)
LAS VEGAS – The Las Vegas Motor Speedway will get a multimillion-dollar makeover to increase the...

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