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Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett Dies at 45 (AP)
Fans gather outside the Metrodome in Minneapolis at a makeshift memorial to Kirby Puckett, Monday, March 6, 2006. Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett, the buoyant, barrel-shaped outfielder with the perpetual smile who led the Minnesota Twins to two World Series titles in a five-year span, died Monday at an Arizona hospital. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)AP - Kirby Puckett, the bubbly, barrel-shaped Hall of Famer who carried the Minnesota Twins to two World Series titles before his career was cut short by glaucoma, died Monday after a stroke. He was 45.


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Gonzaga Wins West Coast Conference Title (AP)
Gonzaga forward Adam Morrison celebrates after he jumped into the stands after Gonzaga beat Loyola Marymount 68-67 to win the West Coast Conference men's championship Monday, March 6, 2006 in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)AP - Gonzaga was rarely challenged during the West Coast Conference season. The league tournament was a completely different story.


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Suns Lose Injured Nash, Win 11th Straight (AP)
Phoenix Suns forward Boris Diaw, right, of France shoots over New Orleans Hornets guard Desmond Mason (24) in the first half of a NBA basketball game Monday, March 6, 2006, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Ty Russell)AP - Steve Nash missed the decisive run in the Phoenix Suns' 11th straight win. What he did see left him impressed with teammates Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa.


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Gerber Spoils Rangers' Lundqvist's Return (AP)
Carolina Hurricanes' Ray Whitney and Craig Adams celebrate Kevyn Adams goal as New York Rangers' Darius Kasparaitis and goalie Henrik Lundqvist react during first period NHL hockey action Monday, March 6, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Hurricanes defeated the Rangers 2-1. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)AP - Martin Gerber spoiled Henrik Lundqvist's first start for the New York Rangers since leading Sweden to the Olympic gold medal.


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Labor Issue Back in Hands of NFL Owners (AP)
Seattle Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander answers questions along with team president Tim Ruskell, right, during the official announcement that Alexander will remain with the Seahawks on Monday March 6, 2006 at the Seahawks headquarters in Kirkland, Wash. The NFL's Most Valuable Player has agreed to a $62 million, eight-year contract to remain with the Seattle Seahawks. (AP Photo/Scott Cohen)AP - Shaun Alexander is back with Seattle, LaVar Arrington is on the market and Kerry Collins is in limbo.


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Brooks Restructures Deal With Buccaneers (AP)
AP - Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks is staying with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after restructuring his contract to give the NFC South champions some salary cap relief.

Anthony's 35 Gives Grizzlies a Headache (AP)
Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, left, is trapped in the corner with the ball by Memphis Grizzlies guards Bobby Jackson, front right, and Dahntay Jones in the first quarter of a NBA basketball game in Denver Monday, March 6, 2006. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)AP - Not even 'Melo's migraine could help the Memphis Grizzlies end their mile-high misery.


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Puckett Never Lost Sight of What Mattered (AP)
Kirby Puckett answers questions at a news conference in this  Jan. 16, 2001 file photo, in Minneapolis after the former Minnesota Twins player was named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Puckett died Monday, March 6, 2006, a day after the Hall of Fame outfielder had a stroke at his Arizona home, a hospital spokeswoman said. He was 44. (AP Photo/Jim Mone,file)AP - Kirby Puckett never lost sight of what mattered most, and that made him a roly-poly advertisement for baseball at its best.


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Beckenbauer Wants His Coach in Germany (AP)
German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, center, poses for photographers with volunteers of the World Cup soccer in Germany during the FIFA team workshop in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on Monday March 6, 2006. Delegates of all participating 32 countries take part in the final team workshop to prepare for the upcoming World Cup. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)AP - Franz Beckenbauer insisted Monday that Germany's World Cup coach spend more time in the country, adding further criticism of Juergen Klinsmann following the team's 4-1 loss to Italy last week.


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Kozlov Lifts Thrashers in Shootout (AP)
Atlanta Thrashers' Vyacheslav Kozlov, of Russia, reacts after beating Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo for the game-winning goal in a shootout after the end of regulation play in an NHL hockey game, Monday,  March 6, 2006, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 4-3. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)AP - Slava Kozlov knows the Atlanta Thrashers have little room for error as they try for a first playoff appearance.


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Gentler Hurricanes
Miami's pro day included a lot of potential draft picks but lacked the first-round punch of some recent years.

Labor issue back in hands of NFL owners (AP)
Shaun Alexander is back with Seattle, LaVar Arrington is on the market and Kerry Collins is in limbo. So are many other players who must await the outcome of Tuesday's owners meetings in Dallas before they know where they will be when free agency finally starts. There was no deal following the latest round of "it's done, it's not done" reports on Sunday.

Alexander signs $62M deal with Seahawks (AP)
The criticism followed Shaun Alexander. He didn't run hard between the tackles. He avoided hits. He wouldn't block blitzing linebackers or catch passes out of the backfield. Seahawks president Tim Ruskell heard it all, but never let it influence his opinion of the Pro Bowl running back. Ruskell wanted to see Alexander for himself during the 2005 season and determine his future value to the Seahawks.

Arrington buys freedom from Redskins (AP)
LaVar Arrington played for five defensive coordinators in his first five years without a playoff game to show for it. He endured a lingering contract dispute with the owner. He didn't like the way the team handled his knee injury. Then he got benched. A three-time Pro Bowl linebacker can only take so much, even if he had pledged himself forever to the team and had moved his family to the area.

Rams release WR Isaac Bruce (AP)
Wide receiver Isaac Bruce is a free agent for the first time in his career after the St. Louis Rams released him with the hopes of eventually bringing him back. The team cut its longest-tenured player Sunday night. The sides weren't talking Monday, but the Rams remained optimistic about an agreement that would bring Bruce back for a 13th season.

Rams sign six-time Pro Bowl DT Glover (AP)
The St. Louis Rams began rebuilding their 30th-ranked defense on Monday, signing six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle La'Roi Glover to a three-year contract. Glover, 31, was released by Dallas last week for salary cap reasons. He lost his job to Jason Ferguson last season but then earned his sixth straight Pro Bowl berth.

Bucs' LB Brooks reworks contract (AP)
Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks is staying with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after restructuring his contract to give the NFC South champions some salary cap relief. The nine-time Pro Bowl selection said Monday he would like to retire as with the Buccaneers and hopes the restructured deal that freed about $5 million in cap space will help make that happen.

Junior Seau released by Dolphins (AP)
Junior Seau was released by the Miami Dolphins on Monday, saving the team $2.92 million against the salary cap by parting ways with the 12-time Pro Bowl player. The Dolphins also waived tight end Lorenzo Diamond. Because of the 37-year-old Seau's hefty contract, his release had been expected. He missed 17 games the past two years due to injury, finishing both seasons on injured reserve, and an...

Dallas' big D-lemma
SAN ANTONIO – To beat the Spurs, the Mavericks need to do more than just play great defense.

Nash injured as Suns win 11th straight (AP)
Steve Nash missed the decisive run in the Phoenix Suns' 11th straight win. What he did see left him impressed with teammates Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa. Diaw scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half and added 12 rebounds, Barbosa scored 10 fourth-quarter points, and the Suns overcame Nash's injury in a 101-88 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Monday night.

Shaq scores all Heat's OT points in win (AP)
The Miami Heat gave Shaquille O'Neal the only birthday gift he wanted: the ball when the game was on the line. O'Neal marked his 34th birthday with 35 points and accounted for all of Miami's scoring in overtime, leading the Heat over the Charlotte Bobcats 106-105 on Monday night. "In overtime, I told the guys, `Just bring it to me,"' O'Neal said.

Heat's Wade misses second straight game (AP)
Miami Heat leading scorer Dwyane Wade did not play against the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night because of a sprained right wrist. Wade, who also sat out Saturday night's win over Atlanta, missed consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 12-14, 2005. He's only missed four all of this season. "He wants to play, he wants to be out there," Miami coach Pat Riley said.

Carmelo's 35 lead Nuggets over Grizzlies (AP)
Not even 'Melo's migraine could help the Memphis Grizzlies end their mile-high misery. Carmelo Anthony overcame a throbbing headache to score 35 points and lead the Denver Nuggets to a crucial 115-101 win over the Grizzlies on Monday night. Anthony said his migraine hit him when he got to the arena. "I shot an airball the first play of the game.

Bibby's 1st half leads Kings past Nets (AP)
The Sacramento Kings need wins on their five-game road trip, and Mike Bibby's quick start helped them get an easy one Monday night. Bibby scored 23 of his 29 points in the first half and Brad Miller added 21 points, leading the Kings over the New Jersey Nets 109-84 Monday night. "It's a big road trip and every game is crucial," Bibby said.

Shaq unhappy Iverson not on U.S. team (AP)
Shaquille O'Neal believes the United States needs Allen Iverson on its national team if it has any chance of returning to dominance. Iverson was left off the list of 23 players selected Sunday to the USA national team that will compete in this summer's world championship and the 2008 Olympics. That's a mistake, said O'Neal.

Kirilenko's late FT's lift Jazz by Magic (AP)
Andrei Kirilenko made six free throws in the final 1:05 and blocked Jameer Nelson's potential game-tying shot with 9.5 seconds left to help the Utah Jazz hold off the Orlando Magic 90-85 on Monday night. Kirilenko, who had 18 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots, also knocked the ball away from DeShawn Stevenson on a 3-point attempt in the final seconds after making two foul shots with 5.9...

Lakers ink Jim Jackson, waive Medvedenko (AP)
The Los Angeles Lakers signed free agent swingman Jim Jackson on Monday and waived forward Slava Medvedenko to make room on the roster. Terms of Jackson's contract were not released, general manager Mitch Kupchak said. Jackson was in Los Angeles and was to be in uniform for Monday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers said.

Hornets ready for New Orleans homecoming (AP)
Six months after it was battered by Hurricane Katrina's winds and soaked by the floods that followed, the New Orleans Arena is back in business. The Arena was home to a concert by Placido Domingo and other opera stars Saturday night. On Wednesday, NBA basketball returns. The Hornets, after moving to Oklahoma City following the hurricane, return to their home court for the first time since the storm.

Power rankings
Who has time to bemoan North America's failures in Turin when so many NHL teams are in the playoff hunt?

Gerber's 37 saves lift 'Canes by Rangers (AP)
Martin Gerber spoiled Henrik Lundqvist's first start for the New York Rangers since leading Sweden to the Olympic gold medal. Gerber made 16 of his 37 saves in the third period to help the NHL-leading Carolina Hurricanes beat the Rangers 2-1 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory. "It was wild in the third period.

Sens' rookie Emery shuts out Lightning (AP)
No Dominik Hasek, no problem so far for the surging Ottawa Senators. Ray Emery stopped 31 shots for his second shutout of the season and the Senators beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 Monday night. Emery, filling in for the injured Hasek, helped the Senators win their fifth straight game. Hasek, a six-time Vezina Trophy winner, injured his groin 5 minutes into his first Olympic game with the Czech...

Nedved's SO goal helps Flyers end skid (AP)
Desperate for a victory, the Philadelphia Flyers nearly gave it away. After wasting a two-goal lead late in regulation and missing easy chances in overtime, the Flyers snapped a four-game losing streak and beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 on Monday night when Petr Nedved scored the decisive goal in a shootout.

Kozlov lifts Thrashers in shootout (AP)
Slava Kozlov knows the Atlanta Thrashers have little room for error as they try for a first playoff appearance. "Every game is big for us," Kozlov said. "Two points or one point, at the end of the season, those points are going to be important to us." Kozlov scored the lone goal in the shootout to help Atlanta beat the Florida Panthers 4-3 Monday night.

Trio reach milestones as Caps top Isles (AP)
It was a night for Washington Capitals milestones. Alex Ovechkin scored goal No. 40 -- and No. 41 -- of an amazing rookie year. Olie Kolzig got his 250th career win. Jeff Friesen reached 500 career points. All on a night in which the Capitals won by three goals, which also doesn't happen very often. Monday night's 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders left coach Glen Hanlon spoiled for choice when...

Bates signs three-year deal with Isles (AP)
New York Islanders forward Shawn Bates signed a three-year contract with the team on Monday. The 30-year-old was slated for unrestricted free agency July 1 and had attracted interest from other teams ahead of Thursday's trade deadline. "I've loved my four seasons with the Islanders. This is where I really developed as a player," Bates said.

Hurricanes' Cole has fractured vertebra (AP)
Carolina left wing Erik Cole will miss at least the rest of the regular season with a compression fracture in a vertebra in his neck caused when he was driven headfirst into the boards by Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik during a 7-5 Hurricanes victory Saturday night. Cole, tied for second on the team in scoring, will be out at least 6-to-8 weeks -- a major loss for what currently is the team with the...

Stars continue domination of Blackhawks (AP)
The Dallas Stars have made beating the Chicago Blackhawks look automatic and easy. Jason Arnott scored twice and Jere Lehtinen and Brenden Morrow each had a goal and two assists as Dallas extended its unbeaten streak against Chicago to 13 games with a 7-2 win over the Blackhawks on Sunday night. The Stars haven't lost to Chicago since Jan.

Wild give Lemaire 400th career win (AP)
Marian Gaborik rarely kills penalties. After his latest performance, it might become a much more common appearance. Gaborik's second career short-handed goal, scored in the third period, was the winner as the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Sunday. With the Wild killing a four-minute power play, Gaborik took a pass from Wes Walz on a 2-on-1 break and snapped a 3-3 tie to give...

Easy call
The Hall of Fame is heading to Charlotte. For NASCAR, it was an obvious choice.

Charlotte wins race for NASCAR Hall of Fame (AP)
NASCAR's first Hall of Fame will be built in downtown Charlotte, within miles of the garages and sprawling mansions that make the region an epicenter of the sport.

Charlotte lands NASCAR Hall of Fame (SportsTicker)
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) - The first NASCAR Hall of Fame will be located where many of its teams are - in Charlotte.

In the Pits: What to do about 'Buschwackers'? (AP)
When Denny Hamlin crossed the finish line in Mexico City, he won a Busch Series race for the first time.

Hamlin wins NASCAR's Busch Series' second race outside U.S. (AP)
Denny Hamlin appeared to be right at home on the curve-happy road course in Mexico's capital.

Pruett, hometown star Diaz win Grand Am in Mexico City (AP)
Pole sitter Scott Pruett and hometown driver Luis Diaz turned in a near-flawless performance Saturday for a victory in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. A crash on lap 73 led to a fight between Chris Bingham and JC France. Bingham, in the No. 40 Pontiac, tried to pass France's No. 59 Porsche on the inside, triggering contact that sent both cars into the wall around the eighth and final...

Mishap aboard horse leaves Mexican driver Jourdain with minor leg injury (AP)
Second-year Busch Series driver Michel Jourdain Jr. has raced stock cars, semi-truck prototypes and touring cars and made a name for himself in open-wheel competition.

Harvick happy heading back to Mexico (AP)
Kevin Harvick is sold on stock car racing in Mexico. The NASCAR Nextel Cup star, who finished second to Martin...

Kenseth wins California race (AP)
Greg Biffle was the class of the field, and Tony Stewart had a car capable of winning.

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