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NFL Owners Approve Players' Union Deal (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney takes questions from reporters after emerging from the NFL owners meeting Wednesday, March 8, 2006, in Grapevine, Texas. The league agreed Wednesday to the union's proposal, including a revenue-sharing component that will cost owners nearly a billion dollars over the next six years. The deal will carry the NFL's 32 franchises through the 2011 season. Two low-revenue teams, Buffalo and Cincinnati, cast the only votes against. (AP Photo/D.J. Peters)AP - At the end, even the NFL's maverick owners decided that labor peace was better than the uncertainty of working without a salary cap. They didn't especially like doing it, though, after two days of meetings that sometimes got quite contentious.


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Canada Shocks U.S. at Baseball Classic (AP)
Canada's Adam Stern (7) celebretes his in-the-park home run with teammate Stubby Clapp during the fifth inning during round one of their World Baseball Classic game against the USA Wednesday, March 8, 2006, at Chase Field in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)AP - Adam Stern hit .133 in 36 games for the Boston Red Sox in an injury-plagued 2005 season. Adam Loewen spent all of last year at Class A Frederick in the a Baltimore organization.


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Selig to Review Book Critical of Bonds (AP)
Major League Baseball commissoner Bud Selig talks to the media prior to the game between USA and Canada at the World Baseball Classic game Wednesday, March 8, 2006, at Chase Field in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)AP - Bud Selig wants to read the book before making any decisions about Barry Bonds.


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Flyers Defeat Hurricanes 3-2 in Shootout (AP)
Philadelphia Flyers' Simon Gagne celebrates a game-tying goal by teammate Freddy Meyer (hidden) against the Carolina Hurricanes with less than a second to play during the third period of their NHL hockey game Wednesday, March 8, 2006, in Philadelphia. Also pictured is Hurricanes' Bret Hedican, in front of goalie Martin Gerber, of Switzerland. The Flyers won, 3-2, in a shootout. (AP Photo/George Widman)AP - Less than a second away from a tough defeat and hours before the trade deadline, the Philadelphia Flyers pulled off the kind of improbable victory that sometimes spurs winning streaks.


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Rutgers Hopes to Extend Season Another Day (AP)
Rutgers' Quincy Douby reacts after scoring against Seton Hall in the second half during the first round of the Big East Conference basketball tournament Wednesday, March 8, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Rutgers won 61-48. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)AP - Rutgers is confident it can accomplish a lot more in the Big East tournament. The Scarlet Knights made the postseason even with two key players sidelined and a coach on his way out. With No. 2 Villanova up next, they might need more than just a little luck to continue their mission.


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Owners and players reach deal, avoid labor strife (Reuters)
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue gives details of the new collective bargaining agreement at the NFL owners meeting at the DFW International Airport in Dallas, Texas March 8, 2006. REUTERS/Mike StoneReuters - NFL owners and players agreed to a six-year extension of their collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday, ending weeks of tense negotiations and the threat of free agent chaos.


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Lakers and Hornets Hit the Plywood (AP)
NBA Commissioner David Stern center, with help from former NBA player Rick Barry left, work on the sub-floor of a Habitat for Humanity house that they are building in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans on Wednesday, March 8, 2006. NBA players and former players assisted in the construction of a home in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)AP - Spud Webb sat on the plywood deck he was helping install in a new Habitat for Humanity house, frustrated with his hammering skills.


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Blog: Life Imitates Art? Does for AP Guy (AP)
Bobby Abreu, right, of Venezuela watches his two-run hit against Italy during a World Baseball Classic game in Kissimmee, Fla., Wednesday, March 8, 2006. Catching for Italy is Mike Piazza, left. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)AP - As spring training gets into full swing, AP sportswriters will be filing period behind-the-scenes reports from Grapefruit and Cactus league sites:


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Ronaldo Returns Fire, Criticizes Pele (AP)
Real Madrid's Ronaldo shows his dejection during the UEFA Champions League second leg match at Highbury Stadium, London, Wednesday March 8, 2006.  The match ended in a 0-0 draw with Arsenal winning 1-0 on aggregate. (AP Photo/PA, Sean Dempsey)AP - Real Madrid striker Ronaldo criticized fellow Brazilian Pele on Wednesday for saying "stupid things," rebuking Pele for his comments last week in which he said the three-time FIFA player of the year gets "distracted."


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Ovechkin Outduels Crosby As Capitals Win (AP)
Washington Capitals' Chris Clark, right, celebrates his goal with teammate Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, March 8, 2006, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)AP - There was only one thing left for Alex Oveckhin to do to firmly stake his claim as the NHL's top rookie. He needed to beat Sidney Crosby head-to-head.


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Looking out for No. 1
Because of Paul Tagliabue, the NFL won't jeopardize its status as America's top sport with prolonged labor strife.

NFL owners approve new labor deal (AP)
At the end, even the NFL's maverick owners decided that labor peace was better than the uncertainty of working without a salary cap. They didn't especially like doing it, though, after two days of meetings that sometimes got quite contentious. "No one hit anyone," Oakland's Al Davis said after the owners finally agreed Wednesday to accept a deal that will add close to a billion dollars to the...

Culpepper asks to be traded or released (AP)
Daunte Culpepper wants out of Minnesota. Culpepper's shaky relationship with the Vikings deteriorated further on Wednesday when the quarterback said he wants to be released if the team fails to trade him. "If a trade does not happen then I am asking the Vikings to terminate my contract as soon as possible," Culpepper said in an e-mail to reporters.

Both sides happy with new NFL labor deal (AP)
Regardless of how they were affected by the NFL labor deal accepted Wednesday night, everyone from those hit hardest to those who will benefit most agreed on one thing: They're glad to have it. "I'm pleased," commissioner Paul Tagliabue said, "and more than pleased, I'm relieved." After several delays and deadline extensions, owners who'd been fighting among themselves more than with the players...

Eagles bring back LB Shawn Barber (AP)
Since Shawn Barber left Philadelphia three years ago, the Eagles have tried three players at weakside linebacker. Now they're going back to Barber. Less than a week after Kansas City cut him for financial reasons, the 31-year-old Barber signed a one-year deal with the Eagles on Wednesday. Terms of the contract weren't immediately known.

Texans, OL McKinney agree to extension (AP)
Veteran offensive lineman Steve McKinney agreed to a contract extension with the Houston Texans on Wednesday. McKinney, who has been with the team since its inception, played center for most of last season but will move to left guard in 2006. He started three games at that position last season but moved back to center because of injuries to other players.

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.

High-rising Sun
No player in the NBA has raised his game as much as Phoenix's do-it-all forward Boris Diaw.

Kobe's 40 hand Hornets homecoming loss (AP)
They came in talking about Katrina. They left talking about Kobe. Kobe Bryant scored 18 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets 113-107 Wednesday night, disappointing the standing room crowd that put aside its Hurricane Katrina problems for a night of cheering on its team.

Wade nets 40 in return as Heat win again (AP)
There was no way Dwyane Wade was going to miss a game against the Washington Wizards. Wade returned to score 40 points and lead the Miami Heat to their 10th straight win, a 118-112 victory over the Wizards on Wednesday night. Wade, who missed the previous two games with a sprained right wrist, has scored 115 points in three games this season against Washington.

Pistons outrun Bulls in wild 4th quarter (AP)
The Detroit Pistons' usual defense didn't arrive until the final 20 seconds Wednesday night. That was all they needed. At the end of one of the highest-scoring quarters in recent Pistons history, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace made key defensive plays to help Detroit pick up a 106-101 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Jones 3-pointer at buzzer lifts Cavs (AP)
If Damon Jones was distracted by a possible sexual offense charge against him, he sure didn't show it. Jones made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cleveland Cavaliers their fourth straight victory, 98-97 over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. Morris Peterson had given Toronto the lead with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4.8 seconds left, but a double-teamed LeBron James found a wide-open...

Pierce triple-double rallies Celtics (AP)
Paul Pierce's seventh straight 30-point game showed he can do more than just score. Pierce had his first triple-double of the season with 31 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to lift the Celtics to a 104-101 victory over the 76ers on Wednesday night. "I think this is the best everybody has seen him play," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

Yao powers rally as Rockets top Pacers (AP)
Yao Ming peeled off his shoes and socks and dunked his bare feet into a bucket of ice water with a groan after the Houston Rockets' 103-99 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. Bruised and exhausted, Yao managed to smile as he talked about his best performance of the season. Yao scored a season-high 38 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked five shots as the Rockets rallied from 17...

Kings score season-high in 123-116 win (AP)
The Sacramento Kings have won with defense since Ron Artest joined the team in late January. They showed they still have plenty of offensive firepower Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. Mike Bibby scored 36 points, and the Kings tied their season high for points in a 123-116 victory over the struggling Bucks.

Gasol's triple-double leads Grizzlies (AP)
Pau Gasol wasn't about to lie. Memphis' All-Star forward knew exactly what he needed for the first triple-double of his career. Gasol got the assist he sought when Jake Tsakalidis flashed open along the baseline for a wide-open dunk with 2:32 left, leaving Gasol with a giant grin all the way down the court.

Jazz win consecutive games, edge Wolves (AP)
After going nearly a month without winning consecutive games, the Utah Jazz are finally on a winning streak. They couldn't have waited much longer. "We're trying to make the playoffs. That's our goal. We think we can do it," said Deron Williams, who had 24 points and seven assists for Utah in a 96-93 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

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

Avalanche, Canadiens swap goaltenders (AP)
Colorado and Montreal swapped goalies Wednesday with Jose Theodore heading to the Avalanche in exchange for David Aebischer. The trade marks the second time a high-profile goaltender left Montreal for Denver, following Patrick Roy's historic move to the mile-high city during the 1995-96 season. Theodore, 29, has a 3.46 goals-against average and an .881 save percentage this season.

Meyer, Gagne rally Flyers to SO win (AP)
The Philadelphia Flyers were less than a second away from a tough defeat that would've caused even more panic among fans hoping for a major deal hours before the trade deadline. Freddy Meyer delayed the misery and Simon Gagne sent them home thrilled. Gagne scored in a sudden-death shootout after Meyer tied it with 0.2 seconds left in regulation, leading the Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the...

Wild trade G Roloson to Oilers for pick (AP)
As much as coach Jacques Lemaire would have liked keeping them both, he knew the Minnesota Wild weren't going to keep two veteran goalies -- and pay them each seven-figure salaries. After three seasons in Lemaire's job share, Manny Fernandez emerged this winter as the favorite and bumped former All-Star Dwayne Roloson to a backup role.

Panthers end home skid against Senators (AP)
The Florida Panthers finally beat the Ottawa Senators at home. Jozef Stumpel and Nathan Horton scored two goals apiece and the Panthers defeated the Senators 6-2 Wednesday night, breaking an eight-game home losing streak to Ottawa. Martin Gelinas and Rostislav Olesz also scored for the Panthers, and Roberto Luongo had 33 saves to help Florida snap a three-game losing streak.

Hossa nets SO winner for Thrashers (AP)
Marian Hossa missed his chances during regulation, then came through in the shootout. Hossa scored the clinching goal in Atlanta's 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night, the third straight win for the Thrashers in either a shootout or overtime. Atlanta won for the seventh time in nine games to close within one point of the Montreal for the final playoff spot in the Eastern...

Ovechkin bests Crosby again as Caps win (AP)
There was only one thing left for Alex Oveckhin to do to firmly stake his claim as the NHL's top rookie. He needed to beat Sidney Crosby head-to-head. In the fourth and final meeting between the NHL's next-generation stars, Ovechkin finally got the better of his rival. The 20-year-old Russian scored his 42nd goal and added two assists Wednesday night in the Washington Capitals' 6-3 victory over the...

Isles trade Parrish and Sopel to Kings (AP)
The New York Islanders traded second-leading goal scorer Mark Parrish and defenseman Brent Sopel to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night for two prospects. Parrish, a U.S. Olympian, scored his 24th of the season on Tuesday in New York's shootout victory over New Jersey. Sopel was scratched because the team said he had a bruised knee.

Sharks acquire LW Nieminen from Rangers (AP)
The struggling San Jose Sharks acquired left wing Ville Nieminen from the New York Rangers on Wednesday for a third-round pick in the upcoming draft. Nieminen, a key member of Finland's silver medal-winning team at the Turin Olympics, has five goals and 12 assists in 48 games with the Rangers this season.

Devils acquire D Klee from Maple Leafs (AP)
The New Jersey Devils acquired veteran defenseman Ken Klee from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday in a trade for minor league forward Aleksander Suglobov. Klee, an 11-year veteran, can be a free agent after the season. He signed with Toronto in 2003 after spending nine seasons with Washington, and has career totals of 50 goals and 105 assists in 692 regular-season games.

Trading Paint: Location, location, location
NASCAR fans generally are in favor of Charlotte, but they still aren't keen on California.

Hall of Fame Racing appeal denied (AP)
Penalties levied by NASCAR against the new Hall of Fame Racing team for using an unapproved carburetor modification during qualifying for the Daytona 500 have been unanimously upheld.

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...

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