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Barkley Among 16 Hall of Fame Finalists (AP)
Former NBA player Charles Barkley, center, answers media questions during the NBA All Star weekend  in Houston, Friday,  Feb. 17, 2006.  (AP Photo/LM Otero)AP - Moments after he was chosen as a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame, Charles Barkley lobbied all 24 voters to elect Dominique Wilkins.


Woods Barely Survives 2nd Round at Riviera (AP)
Tiger Woods has dropped his club on the follow-through of his drive on the fourth hole in the first round of the Nissan Open golf tournament at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006. His drive went wide left, bounced off the cart path and landed in a bunker. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)AP - Rory Sabbatini couldn't feel his toes when he teed off Friday morning at frigid Riviera. Tiger Woods couldn't keep dry, stuck in the afternoon rain without an umbrella.


Sweden Puts U.S. on Wrong Side of History (AP)
Sweden's Maria Rooth (7) celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in a shoot out against the United States during a 2006 Winter Olympics women's ice hockey semifinal game Friday, Feb. 17, 2006, in Turin, Italy. Sweden won 3-2. (AP Photo/Julie Jacoson)AP - The U.S. women's hockey players gathered in a circle at center ice, raised their sticks and waved them to their fans in one sweeping arc over their heads.


Ozzie Guillen Apologizes to A-Rod (AP)
World Champion Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen displays a photo composite that was altered to insert him  next to U.S. President George Bush at the White House ceremony, that he did not attend,  for the World Series-winning White Sox, after he arrived at the Sox spring training facility in Tucson, Ariz., Friday, Feb. 17, 2006. Guillen found the composite in his office when he arrived at the facility. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)AP - During his two seasons as manager of the Chicago White Sox, Ozzie Guillen has fired off opinions and profanity-filled declarations on a variety of topics and personalities.


Column: the Best and Worst of Week One (AP)
Jeff Pain of Calgary races in the final of skeleton competition at the Olympic Games in Cesana Pariol, Italy on Friday February 17, 2006. (AP PHOTO/ Frank Gunn/CP)AP - The week that was ended with two gold medals that weren't. That's not all that bad, because a wacky snowboarder and some scrappy Swedes at least gave America something to talk about other than Bode Miller's party habits and Johnny Weir's bus schedule.


Titans Show Respect, Keep Vanden Bosch (AP)
Tennessee Titans' Kyle Vanden Bosch,left, holds his 10-month-old son Payten as they greet teammate  Steve McNair after an AFC football practice at the Ko Olina Resort in Honolulu, Hawaii, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006, in preparation for the Pro Bowl football game on Sunday.  (AP Photo/Ronen Zilberman)AP - The Tennessee Titans showed Kyle Vanden Bosch respect, and that kept him from testing a free-agent market that could have made him much richer.


Iguodala Powers Sophomores Over Rookies (AP)
Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala goes to the basket in the second half of the NBA All-Star Rookie Challenge in Houston, Friday, Feb. 17,  2006. Iguodala was the MVP of the game that the sophomores won, 106-96. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)AP - Andre Iguodala says he still has some dunks saved for Saturday. The rookies might not believe him. Iguodala broke out his dunking repertoire Friday night and scored 30 points, leading the sophomores over the rookies 106-96 in the Rookie Challenge.


Piazza Reports to Padres Spring Training (AP)
San Diego Padres catcher Mike Piazza gets an early start by practicing in the batting cage at spring training for the baseball team's pitchers and catchers, Friday, Feb. 17, 2006, in Peoria, Ariz.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)AP - Mike Piazza wasn't making any bold predictions about Italy's chances in the World Baseball Classic as he reported to spring training Friday morning.


FC Thun Tops Hamburg; Middlesbrough Wins (AP)
Middlesbrough's soccer players Doriva from Brazil, Stuart Parnaby, Chris Riggott and George Boateng from The Netherlands, left to right, react after the second goal for their team during the UEFA Cup soccer match between VfB Stuttgart and FC Middlesbrough in Stuttgart's Gottlieb Daimler stadium, southwest Germany, on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006. Middlesbrough won the match 2-1. (AP Photo/Christof Stache)AP - FC Thun, Middlesbrough and Slavia Prague won third-round, first-leg matches in the UEFA Cup on Thursday.


Gretzky, Wife Won't Be Charged Criminally (AP)
Wayne Gretzky poses with his wife, actress Janet Jones, after they presented an award during the 10th annual ESPY Awards, in a Wednesday, July 10, 2002 photo, in Los Angeles.Wayne Gretzky's wife is unlikely to face charges for her role in a multimillion-dollar sports betting ring, but is expected to be called to testify against others in the case, her lawyer said Thursday. (AP Photo/Krista Niles, file)AP - Wayne Gretzky will not face criminal charges in connection with a multimillion-dollar sports betting ring busted in New Jersey last week, and he is unlikely to be called to testify against others in the case, his lawyer said Thursday.


A Cutler above
The rise of Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler has NFL scouts, coaches and general managers buzzing.

Culpepper plans to play for Vikings (AP)
Daunte Culpepper wanted to make sure there was no misinterpretation: He's concerned with getting healthy, not speculation about his future with the Minnesota Vikings. And Culpepper, unless he's told otherwise by owner Zygi Wilf, plans to play quarterback for the Vikings this fall. He didn't respond specifically on Thursday to a report that the team is considering trading him because of his recent...

James Dungy's death ruled a suicide (AP)
The death of the 18-year-old son of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy has been ruled a suicide, a medical examiner said Friday. James Dungy hanged himself from a bedroom ceiling fan with a leather belt, Dr. Jacqueline Lee of the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office wrote in her final autopsy report.

Bengals give Lewis two-year extension (AP)
Coach Marvin Lewis got a two-year extension Thursday for leading the Cincinnati Bengals to their first playoff appearance in 15 years, putting him under contract until 2010. The Bengals also announced that their coaching staff will return intact for next season. Cincinnati went 11-5 -- its first winning record since 1990 -- and won the AFC North during Lewis' third season running the team.

Titans reach deal with DE Vanden Bosch (AP)
The Tennessee Titans showed Kyle Vanden Bosch respect, and that kept him from testing a free-agent market that could have made him much richer. "Honestly, it really wasn't that much of a temptation," Vanden Bosch said Friday at a news conference. "I don't know what else would've been out there. I feel this organization ...

Steelers Hall of Famer Stautner dies (AP)
Ernie Stautner, a Hall of Fame defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers and longtime Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator, died Thursday in a nursing home, his wife said. He was 80. Stautner, who went to nine Pro Bowls with the Steelers and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1998, Jill Stautner said.

Company promises appeal in 'dawg' case (AP)
A California apparel company will appeal a judge's decision granting the Cleveland Browns the rights to the phrase "Dawg Pound," a lawyer said Friday. The lawyer, Christine Karol Roberts, said her client, Hawaii-Pacific Apparel Group Inc., will appeal the ruling by U.S. District Judge Denny Chin to the 2nd U.S.

Dolphins OT McIntosh released from jail (AP)
Miami Dolphins tackle Damion McIntosh was released from jail Thursday after allegedly pushing his wife to the floor at their home. McIntosh was arrested Wednesday on a misdemeanor count of domestic violence. He told Davie police he pushed his wife and said she "hit her head pretty hard," according to a police report.

It's Milicic time
Finally freed from the Pistons' bench, Darko Milicic has the chance to show off his skills in Orlando.

Iguodala leads sophs in Rookie Challenge (AP)
Andre Iguodala says he still has some dunks saved for Saturday. The rookies might not believe him. Iguodala broke out his dunking repertoire Friday night and scored 30 points, leading the sophomores over the rookies 106-96 in the Rookie Challenge. The Philadelphia swingman is one of the four players in Saturday night's slam dunk contest, and he had a chance to show his leaping skills Friday.

Barkley, Wilkins among 16 Hall finalists (AP)
Moments after he was chosen as a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame, Charles Barkley lobbied all 24 voters to elect Dominique Wilkins. "Dominique should have got in last year," Barkley said Friday after the 16 finalists for the Class of 2006 were announced. Dubbed "The Human Highlight Film" for his breathtaking above-the-rim game, Wilkins was a finalist last year but didn't make it.

McGrady going through personal crisis (AP)
All-Star weekend has come to Houston during one of the worst times of Tracy McGrady's life. The 26-year-old Rockets star, who'll play in his sixth All-Star game Sunday, won't divulge what's bothering him, but said his personal crisis is as trying as anything he's ever faced. "I'm human, I'm going through some things in my life, things I've got to deal with, and I'm just trying to handle it the best...

Is team play coming to All-Star game? (AP)
Sometime during the first quarter of the All-Star game, Flip Saunders is planning to send his four Detroit Pistons in together. The Western Conference might have five international players waiting for them. From sound of things Friday, teamwork might be set to take over what is supposed to be the NBA's showcase of individual talent.

Ford, Ewing help Katrina victims (AP)
Moments after his wish of meeting an NBA player came true, Kendrick Washington was shaking and could barely speak. The 12-year-old, who evacuated New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, didn't meet just one NBA player, but two, when T.J. Ford of the Milwaukee Bucks and L.A. Clippers rookie Daniel Ewing visited his school on Friday.

Pistons trade Milicic to Magic (AP)
The Detroit Pistons cut their losses after taking a chance on underachieving Darko Milicic. The No. 2 pick in the 2003 draft was traded to the Orlando Magic along with Carlos Arroyo for a first-round selection and center Kelvin Cato on Wednesday. Detroit drafted Milicic three years ago just after LeBron James, and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

Arenas replaces Bell in 3-point contest (AP)
Gilbert Arenas is going to be busy for a guy who wasn't originally supposed to be at All-Star weekend. Arenas was chosen to replace the Phoenix Suns' Raja Bell in the 3-point contest, the NBA announced Friday. The league said Bell was excused because of a family illness. Arenas was not picked for the Eastern Conference All-Star team despite ranking fourth in the league with 28.3 points per game.

Mavs take break alone atop West (AP)
Their goal never was to be on top at the All-Star break. The Dallas Mavericks know being best in the West now means nothing. "We're going to be doubted when we come back like we've been doubted the whole year," Josh Howard said. "We just have to know when we come back, we have to keep playing great basketball." Not only to prove wrong national critics such as Charles Barkley, but to stay ahead of...

Stern pleased by players' improved image (AP)
David Stern is happy to be talking basketball as the NBA gathers for its All-Star weekend. After what he had to deal with last year at this time, the commissioner knows the alternative can be a real drag. "It beats getting poked in the eye with a sharp stick," Stern said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.

Power rankings
After opening the season ranked in the bottom five, Carolina enters the Olympic break poised to claim the Presidents' Trophy.

Czech Republic's Hasek out of Olympics (AP)
Dominik Hasek departed the Olympics on Friday in as big a rush as he arrived earlier in the week, leaving the world champion Czech Republic without one of hockey's best big-game goalies. Hasek, the player most responsible for the Czechs' surprise gold medal in Nagano in 1998, didn't last 10 minutes in the Turin Games before getting injured.

Lawyer: Gretzky, wife won't be charged (AP)
Wayne Gretzky will not face criminal charges in connection with a multimillion-dollar sports betting ring busted in New Jersey last week, and he is unlikely to be called to testify against others in the case, his lawyer said Thursday. Attorney Ron Fujikawa said he received assurances from New Jersey authorities last week that the hockey great was not in any way a central figure in the criminal...

Forsberg set to face Latvia at Olympics (AP)
Peter Forsberg will play for Sweden on Saturday against Latvia. The Philadelphia Flyers forward practiced with his Olympic teammates Friday and is expected to be ready to take the ice when the Swedes try to recover from a 5-0 loss to Russia. "I skated. I felt fine," said Forsberg, who missed his last eight NHL games with a sore groin.

Hurricanes lead East at Olympic break (AP)
Rod Brind'Amour completed his post-game workout and strolled through the locker room with his two young sons, Skyler and Reece. The Carolina Hurricanes had won their final game Sunday before a 16-day Olympic break. Brind'Amour, of Ottawa, wasn't selected for the Canadian team, and the Carolina captain was ready for some down time.

Games get tougher for U.S., Slovaks next (AP)
Don't tell U.S. hockey players that the soft part of the schedule is over. Their Olympic experience, so far, has been anything but easy. After two games against teams considered to be the least formidable in Group B, the Americans sit in second place with three points (1-0-1). "There are so many great teams here that if you take a period off or a half a period off, you're going to lose the game," St.

Bertuzzi will 'just deal with' lawsuit (AP)
Team Canada forward Todd Bertuzzi said a second lawsuit filed against him by former NHL player Steve Moore for an on-ice attack two years ago won't affect his play in the Olympics or with the Vancouver Canucks. "You just deal with it and move on," Bertuzzi said Thursday, two days after the suit was filed in Ontario Superior Court.

Canada rolls past Germany 5-1 (AP)
The only distraction Canada's hockey team has had in the Olympics is boredom. Wade Redden, Joe Sakic and Simon Gagne gave the defending gold medalists a 3-0 lead halfway through the first period and, wearing distinctive black uniforms, the Canadians roughed up Germany 5-1 Thursday. Canada and Finland are the only teams with 2-0 records in Group A, with three games remaining for each team in...

Slovakia only 2-0 team in Group B play (AP)
Don't sleep on Slovakia. Atlanta Thrashers forward Marian Hossa scored twice to lead the Slovaks to a 6-3 win over Latvia on Thursday, making them the only 2-0 team in Group B play in Olympics hockey. With 18 NHL players on its roster, Slovakia beat Russia 5-3 in the opener for both teams the previous day.

Buschwhacking blues
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Cup regulars frequently run Busch Series races, but are they welcome?

Drivers, teams sound off on cheating issue at Daytona (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - Instead of emulating "The Fast and the Furious," some of the NASCAR Nextel Cup competitors in Sunday's 48th Daytona 500 might be better suited on an episode of "Cheaters."

Mark Martin wins GM Flex Fuel 250 at Daytona (SportsTicker)

Martin gets rare Daytona victory (AP)
After so many Daytona disappointments, Mark Martin was prepared for another one.

Kenseth wins wild IROC race at Daytona (AP)
Even Matt Kenseth got in on the aggressive-driving act on his way to victory Friday in the IROC race at Daytona International Speedway. After coming from the back of the pack to dominate most of race, Kenseth -- known for his low-key style -- had to nudge Martin Truex Jr. out of the way on the final lap, then urge Frank Kimmel to push him to victory.

Yeley takes pole for Daytona Busch race (AP)
J.J. Yeley won the first pole of his NASCAR career Friday when he took the top spot for the Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

Junior declines beer bet against Busch (AP)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving a blue Miller Lite Dodge? Kurt Busch in a red Budweiser Chevrolet?

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