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Japan Beats Cuba 10-6 to Capture Classic (AP)
Japan's Ichiro Suzuki watches his double during the fifth inning of the World Baseball Classic championship game against Cuba, Monday, March 20, 2006, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)AP - The Japanese players tossed manager Sadaharu Oh in the air, took a victory lap with a giant flag and headed into the clubhouse for a champagne celebration.


Clippers Move to 13 Games Over .500 (AP)
Los Angeles Clippers' Sam Cassell drives to the hoop against Houston Rockets' Rick Brunson in the fourth quarter of thier NBA basketball game, Monday, March 20, 2006, in Houston. The Clippers beat the Rockets 99-91   (AP Photo/Tim Johnson)AP - The Los Angeles Clippers have never been this good.


Rangers Top Bruins in Leetch's Return (AP)
Boston Bruins' Brian Leetch, right, skates away with the puck from New York Rangers' Jaromir Jagr, of the Czech Republic, during third period NHL hockey Monday night, March 20, 2006 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Rangers won 5-2. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)AP - The New York Rangers spoiled Brian Leetch's return to Madison Square Garden.


NFL Commissioner Tagliabue to Retire (AP)
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue delivers his State of the NFL remarks in Detroit Friday, Feb. 3, 2006. Tagliabue announced in a statement Monday March 20, 2006 that he is retiring as NFL commissioner in July, after more than 16 years on the job. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)AP - Paul Tagliabue is leaving the NFL, and he's leaving it both peaceful and prosperous.


Augustus Takes Over at Right Time for LSU (AP)
Louisiana State guard Seimone Augustus (33) and Scholanda Hoston (32) celebrate their 72-49 win over Washington in the second round game of the NCAA women's basketball tournament Monday, March 20, 2006, at the Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)AP - Seimone Augustus has excellent timing.


Seahawks Lose Hutchinson to Vikings (AP)
Seattle Seahawks All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson blocks during NFC championship game against Carolina in this Jan. 22, 2006, file photo. Hutchinson is a step closer to joining the Vikings as a free agent after Seattle lost a ruling over the offer sheet he signed with Minnesota. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)AP - The Seattle Seahawks said no thanks to Steve Hutchinson.


NBA Today (AP)
AP - New Jersey at Washington (7 p.m. EST). The Nets have won five straight after dropping five of six.

Soriano Refuse to Play Left for Nats (AP)
Newly acquired Washington Nationals' Alfonso Soriano listens to a question during a press conference, in a Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006 photo, at the baseball team's spring training facility in Viera, Fla. Alfonso Soriano refused to play the outfield for the Washington Nationals in what was supposed to be his spring training debut Monday night, and general manager Jim Bowden said his biggest offseason acquisition will go on the disqualified list if he doesn't agree to switch positions this week.(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, file)AP - Alfonso Soriano's spring debut was memorable for his absence.


MLS, Rowan Announce Expansion Plans (AP)
AP - Major League Soccer announced Monday plans to put an expansion team in a stadium that Rowan University hopes to build on its new auxiliary campus, located in a fast-growing Philadelphia suburb.

Hockey Today (AP)
AP - Nashville at Detroit (7:30 p.m. EST). The Red Wings have won six straight and are 7-1 in their last eight at home.

The Chosen One?
The right-hand man of Paul Tagliabue is the likely choice to become the NFL's next commissioner.

Tagliabue to retire in July (AP)
Whoever replaces Paul Tagliabue as NFL commissioner can thank him for setting up a six-year cushion of labor peace and flowing riches. The 65-year-old commissioner will step down in July after a 16-year tenure that was the most prosperous in NFL history. "I really want to emphasize how much of a privilege it is to spend most of your adult life with the NFL.

Lions, QB Joey Harrington part ways (AP)
The Detroit Lions parted ways with Joey Harrington on Monday after four turbulent seasons during which the quarterback went from franchise savior to franchise goat. Coach Rod Marinelli declined to say whether Harrington was released. "I've decided to move in a different direction with the quarterback," he said.

Seahawks don't match offer to Hutchinson (AP)
The Seattle Seahawks said no thanks to Steve Hutchinson. The Seahawks were told Monday they needed to match the guarantee provision in the $49 million, seven-year Minnesota offer to their All-Pro guard if they wanted to keep him. A team official for the NFC champions confirmed they let the league's midnight Monday (EST) deadline pass without doing anything, making one of the keys to their Super...

Childress compares Culpepper to T.O. (AP)
Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress says he saw a little of T.O. in Daunte Culpepper. That was enough for him. "It just became a deal where I didn't feel like it was the team, I felt like it was 'me,"' Childress said Monday about Culpepper. "I went through a big 'me' situation last year with a guy who was all about 'me."' While still the offensive coordinator at Philadelphia, Childress clashed...

Dolphins sign CB Allen to four-year deal (AP)
Cornerback Will Allen signed a $12 million, four-year contract with the Miami Dolphins on Monday after spending the last five seasons with the New York Giants. The Dolphins also signed tight end Justin Peelle to a three-year deal, and added wide receiver Kelly Campbell and defensive tackle Josh Shaw.

T.O. gets three years, $25M from Cowboys (AP)
Jerry Jones built a billion-dollar fortune by taking big risks. Now he appears ready to take one of the biggest chances of his 17 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys were close to completing a deal with volatile receiver Terrell Owens, an official involved in negotiations told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Browns send S Chris Crocker to Falcons (AP)
Safety Chris Crocker was traded Monday by the still-busy Cleveland Browns, who sent him to Atlanta for the Falcons' fourth-round pick in April's NFL draft. The Browns, who have overhauled their roster during free agency, also signed tight end Darnell Dinkins. He's the eighth player signed by Cleveland since free agency began earlier this month.

Nearly finished business
Most of the NBA's front-runners are going through the formalities of capturing their division titles.

Pistons clinch Central Division title (AP)
There was no champagne in the Detroit Pistons' locker room Monday night. In fact, the Pistons didn't even realize they clinched their fourth Central Division title in five years by beating Atlanta 91-84. "I didn't know until someone just told me," Tayshaun Prince said. "I guess that shows you where our minds are right now." The win put Detroit two steps up Coach Flip Saunders' pyramid.

Clippers furthest over .500 in 30 years (AP)
Winning is no surprise to these Clippers. Sam Cassell scored 24 points to lead the Clippers past the Houston Rockets 99-91 on Monday night, pushing the franchise to 13 games over .500 for the first time since the 1975-76 season -- when it was called the Buffalo Braves. Corey Maggette added 20 points for the Clippers, who, appropriately, were wearing orange and black Braves uniforms from the...

Kobe's 43 power Lakers past Celtics (AP)
After missing 3-pointers at the buzzer in consecutive games, Kobe Bryant settled matters early against the Boston Celtics. Bryant had 43 points, five rebounds and five steals and the Los Angeles Lakers salvaged the finale of a three-game road trip with a 105-97 win over Boston on Monday night. Bryant shot 18-for-39 and Lamar Odom added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who never trailed...

Bucks sweep home-and-home with Blazers (AP)
Michael Redd and the Milwaukee Bucks didn't let up in their second game against the Portland Trail Blazers in three days. Redd had 23 points and T.J. Ford added 19 points and 10 assists to help the Bucks knock off the Blazers 100-93 Monday night. Zach Randolph had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Blazers, who have lost five straight, but also fought back from a 15-point deficit to cut the lead to...

Arbitrator upholds dismissal of Andersen (AP)
Former New Orleans Hornets forward Chris Andersen's dismissal from the NBA for violating the league's drug policy was upheld by an arbitrator Monday. Andersen was dismissed and disqualified from the league in late January. He is not eligible to apply for reinstatement for two years. Andersen and the players' union had filed a grievance, but arbitrator Calvin Sharpe rejected it.

Shaq fined $5,000 for flagrant foul (AP)
Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal was fined $5,000 by the NBA on Monday for a flagrant foul against Chicago's Andres Nocioni. O'Neal's foul in the second quarter Heat's 85-82 win over the Bulls on Saturday was originally ruled a flagrant foul penalty one, but was upgraded to a flagrant foul penalty two by Stu Jackson, the NBA's vice president of basketball operations.

Nets get first win over Mavs since 2000 (AP)
Richard Jefferson scored 28 points, and the New Jersey Nets beat Dallas 100-89 Sunday for their first victory over the Mavericks in six years. Vince Carter added 23 points for the Nets, who have won five in a row overall and 18 of 21 at home. Jason Kidd rebounded from a pair of quiet scoring games to add 15 points, including a pair of jumpers to halt Dallas' momentum after the Mavs twice got within...

Heat win sixth straight on road (AP)
Dwyane Wade had 30 points, nine assists and five rebounds to help the Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks 111-100 on Sunday night. Miami has won five straight and 15 of 16 to improve to 45-21. Wade scored 16 points in the third quarter on a series of acrobatic moves and dunks. He was 5-for-5 from the field in the period, including an alley-oop dunk off a half-court pass from Jason Williams that gave...

Arenas lifts Wizards over Bulls 113-104 (AP)
Gilbert Arenas, Antonio Daniels and the rest of the Washington Wizards' high-flying offense handled Chicago's stingy defense without a problem. Arenas led the way with 29 points and seven assists, substitute Daniels scored a season-high 21 on his 31st birthday, and two other Wizards topped 20 points in Washington's 113-104 victory Sunday in a rematch of a 2005 first-round playoff series.

Power Rankings
Hard-charging Buffalo moves up three spots and prepares to make its case for the top spot.

Rangers spoil Leetch's return to MSG (AP)
It wasn't odd that a Rangers defenseman had a three-point game. It was just strange that Michal Rozsival was the offensive force on the night Brian Leetch came back to Broadway. Rozsival had a goal and a season-high two assists to lead New York to a 5-2 victory over Boston that spoiled Leetch's return to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

Sakic powers Avs to 5-0 win over Kings (AP)
When Colorado needed him most, there was Joe Sakic, scoring, passing and playing with a zeal that gave his teammates a boost. Sakic had two goals and two assists and the Avalanche defeated Los Angeles 5-0 Monday night to avoid a first-ever season sweep by the Kings. "That's Joe Sakic. He's been carrying this team for years," former King Ian Laperriere said.

Jokinen's OT winner lifts Panthers (AP)
Olli Jokinen helped the Florida Panthers' playoff push avoid a costly bump. Jokinen scored on a breakaway with 1:44 left in overtime, lifting the Florida Panthers to a 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night. The Panthers won for the sixth time in seven games despite squandering a four-goal lead in the third period.

Nichol's two goals give Predators win (AP)
When the Nashville Predators need timely scoring, they usually don't look for Scott Nichol. However, he's been coming through lately. Nichol scored the first two goals in a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night, including an unassisted short-handed goal on a breakaway. On Saturday night against the Calgary Flames, he had the game-winner in a 9-4 rout.

Lehtonen, Thrashers blank Sabres 5-0 (AP)
The Atlanta Thrashers tied their franchise record with their 33rd win Monday night, and set a team record with their 19th home victory. However, goalie Kari Lehtonen and the Thrashers are after a more notable milestone -- the first playoff berth in franchise history. Lehtonen stopped 20 shots for his second shutout of the season and the Thrashers stayed close in the playoff race with a 5-0 win over...

Sabres coach out visiting sick daughter (AP)
Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff was in Buffalo on Monday for his daughter's doctor's appointment, and assistant coaches directed the team in Monday night's 5-0 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers. Ruff recently revealed that his 11-year-old daughter, Madeleine, has been diagnosed with an unidentified mass on her brain.

Pahlsson lifts Mighty Ducks past Stars (AP)
Samuel Pahlsson's job is to bottle up the other team's top scorers. The Anahim Mighty Ducks' checking specialist showed he can also come up with a timely goal. Pahlsson's score the tiebreaker with 3:15 remaining and the Mighty Ducks ended Dallas' eight-game home winning steak with a 2-1 victory over the Stars.

Canadiens keep Capitals struggling (AP)
WASHINGTON (AP)-- Michael Komisarek gave the Montreal Canadiens some unexpected offensive help. Komisarek got his first career goal, and the Canadiens scored three times in just over 2 minutes in the second period to snap a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory Monday night over the Washington Capitals.

NHL announces labor deal with officials (AP)
The NHL announced a new four-year labor agreement with the league's on-ice officials Monday. Referees and linesman ratified the extension Friday. The deal was first agreed to in late December but needed to be passed by both sides. The NHL's board of governors unanimously voted in favor of it last month.

Charging ahead?
HAMPTON, Ga. – Kasey Kahne put his Charger in victory lane at Atlanta, but that doesn't mean all is well in the Dodge camp.

Kahne wins rain-postponed Atlanta race; Lester finishes 38th (AP)
Bill Lester would like to be known as just another race car driver.

Earnhardt and Gordon making strides (AP)
It looks like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon may be back on track after a disappointing 2005.

Lester gracious in spotlight at Atlanta (SportsTicker)
HAMPTON, Georgia Ticker) Bill Lester admitted he was a bit embarrassed to be sitting between second-place finisher Mark Martin and third-place finisher Dale Earnhardt Jr. after Monday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kahne wins NASCAR Nextel Golden Corral 500 (SportsTicker)

Burton gets first Busch win since 2002 (AP)
Jeff Burton passed Matt Kenseth with 20 laps remaining Saturday and raced away to his first NASCAR Busch Series victory in four years.

Jeff Burton wins Busch Nicorette 300 (SportsTicker)

Bodine finally beats Martin (AP)
A spectacular four-wide pass gave Todd Bodine the lead and the momentum to pick up his first victory of the season Friday night in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Bodine overtakes Martin to win John Deere 200 (SportsTicker)

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