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Favre Says '06 Will Be Finale if He Plays (AP)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre waves after throwing a touchdown pass during their NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 1, 2006, in Green Bay, Wis. The Green Bay Packers aren't pressuring Brett Favre to make a retirement decision by Saturday's due date for a $3 million roster bonus.  (AP Photo/Morry Gash)AP - The Green Bay Packers aren't pressuring Brett Favre to make a retirement decision by Saturday's due date for a $3 million roster bonus. And even if they were, the quarterback doesn't think he owes the team a decision this weekend anyway.


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Federer, Ljubicic in Nasdaq 100 Final (AP)
Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns a shot from David Ferrer, of Spain, at the semifinals of the Nasdaq-100 Open tennis tournament Friday, March 31, 2006, in Key Biscayne, Fla. Federer defeated Ferrer ,6-1, 6-4. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)AP - An hour of court time at Crandon Park was more than enough Friday night for Roger Federer. Even with a brief lapse, the top-seeded Federer needed only 59 minutes to reach the final at the Nasdaq-100 Open, beating David Ferrer 6-1, 6-4.


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Mickelson Sets Tourney Record for 36 Holes (AP)
PGA golfer Phil Mickelson hits from the fairway on the 6th hole during the second round of play in the BellSouth Classic Friday, March 31, 2006, in Duluth, Ga. Mickelson shot a 7-under-par 65 and is 16 under par after the first two rounds. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)AP - Phil Mickelson says that he isn't shooting for any records this week at the BellSouth Classic. He says his focus is on preparing for the Masters.


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Ochoa Holds Onto Lead at Kraft Nabisco (AP)
Lorena Ochoa, of Mexico, watches her tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship golf tournament Friday, March 31, 2006, at Mission Hills Country Club, in Rancho Mirage, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)AP - Lorena Ochoa went from firing at flags to grinding over every shot Friday afternoon as winds swirled under hazy clouds and made the Kraft Nabisco Championship feel more like a major.


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Nets Win 11th Straight, Clinch Playoffs (AP)
New Jersey Nets' Jason Kidd kisses his hand before a free throw as Atlanta Hawks guard Josh Childress (1) watches late in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 31, 2006, in Atlanta. Kidd's free throws were crucial in the Nets' 91-88 win.  (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)AP - Richard Jefferson missed 50 games last season with a wrist injury that limited his effectiveness in the playoffs. Though his return wasn't enough to prevent Miami's first-round sweep of the New Jersey Nets, Jefferson believes the New Jersey Nets are strong enough to make run deep into postseason.


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WR Burleson Goes Home, Joins Seahawks (AP)
AP - A unique fight over restricted free agents between Seattle and Minnesota ended Friday when the Vikings chose not to match the Seahawks' contract offer to receiver Nate Burleson.

Kobe Helps Lakers Beat SuperSonics 106-93 (AP)
Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, left, drives against Seattle SuperSonics' Ray Allen during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 31, 2006, in Seattle. Bryant led the Lakers with 43 points in their 106-93 victory. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)AP - Kobe Bryant scored 43 points and the Los Angeles Lakers used an impressive second half to beat the Seattle SuperSonics 106-93 on Friday night.


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Angels Tie Dodgers 6-6 Before Rainout (AP)
Los Angeles Angels' Garret Anderson, right, is congratulated by Vladimir Guerrero after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of an exhibition baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Friday night, March 31, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)AP - Angels outfielder Garret Anderson homered against an ailing Eric Gagne, and the Los Angeles Angels tied the Dodgers 6-6 Friday night in a game that was called midway through the eighth inning because of rain.


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Germany Wary of New Threats at World Cup (AP)
Mexican referee Benito Armando Archundia Tellez looks on during a friendly soccer match at the Azteca stadium in Mexico City in this November 13, 2005 file photo. Tellez is one of the 23 referees selected for the upcoming 2006 World Cup during a meeting in Zurich March 31, 2006. Picture taken November 13, 2005.  REUTERS/Henry Romero/FilesAP - Germany is wary of new security threats at the World Cup — East European hooligans and potential violence at hundreds of jumbo screens showing the games across the country.


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Flames Rally to 6-3 Win Over Avalanche (AP)
Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, left, makes a save against Colorado Avalanche' Milan Hejduk during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Canada, on Friday, March 31 2006. Calgary won, 6-3. (AP Photo/Larry MacDougal,CP)AP - Before the game, Matthew Lombardi had a good feeling about the Calgary Flames' chances against the Colorado Avalanche. Chris Simon, Craig MacDonald and Damon Langkow scored second-period goals to rally the Flames to a 6-3 victory Friday night.


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Unsettled in Seattle
ORLANDO, Fla. – Will he stay or will he go? Not even Mike Holmgren seems to know what he'll do next.

Favre only wants to play if he can win (AP)
The Green Bay Packers aren't pressuring Brett Favre to make a retirement decision by Saturday's due date for a $3 million roster bonus. And even if they were, the quarterback doesn't think he owes the team a decision this weekend anyway. In his most recent comments about his murky football future, Favre made one thing clear: If he does return, he told a newspaper in his native Mississippi there is...

WR Burleson leaves Vikes for Seahawks (AP)
A unique fight over restricted free agents between Seattle and Minnesota ended Friday when the Vikings chose not to match the Seahawks' contract offer to receiver Nate Burleson. Vikings vice president for football operations Rob Brzezinski confirmed the decision, which allowed Burleson to join his hometown team.

NFL curtails end zone celebrations (AP)
Dance all you want after a touchdown, gentlemen. Just do it alone. Spike the ball or, if you have the hops, dunk it over the crossbar. Anything else -- forget it. Touchdown celebrations have gotten more and more original lately, from Chad Johnson's putting the football to Steve Smith changing a diaper to Terrell Owens using the ball as a waiter's tray.

Jets sign CB Andre Dyson (AP)
The New York Jets signed unrestricted free-agent cornerback Andre Dyson on Thursday to help replace Ty Law. Dyson, released by Seattle earlier this month in a cost-cutting move, is coming off a Super Bowl appearance in his only season with the Seahawks. The 5-foot-10, 183-pound Dyson spent four years with Tennessee after the Titans selected him in the second round, 60th overall, in the 2001 draft.

Giants, Jets get revised stadium deal (AP)
The New York Giants and Jets moved a step closer to their new home in the Meadowlands. Officials from New Jersey, the Giants and the Jets said Friday they've made several changes to an agreement signed last fall that will create a new, $1 billion football stadium in East Rutherford. Under the updated stadium agreement, the state would not be required to pay for $30 million of infrastructure costs...

Shotgun formation inventor Hickey dies (AP)
Howard "Red" Hickey, the NFL coach who invented the shotgun offensive formation with the 49ers, died Thursday, his son said. He was 89. Jeffrey Hickey didn't disclose the cause of his father's death. Hickey coached San Francisco from 1959-63, going 27-27-1 before resigning three games into the 1963 season.

Bears DL Johnson recovering from surgery (AP)
Chicago Bears defensive lineman Terry "Tank" Johnson is recovering Friday from surgery to repair a torn quadriceps muscle, an injury that could sideline him for at least four months. The 24-year-old Johnson injured his leg during a workout and had surgery last week, the Bears said. He is expected to be out for four to six months, missing most of training camp.

Is Kwame coming around?
LOS ANGELES – Kwame Brown's productive play has Lakers fans wondering if he's the real deal.

Nets win 11th straight, clinch playoffs (AP)
Richard Jefferson missed 50 games last season with a wrist injury that limited his effectiveness in the playoffs. Though his return wasn't enough to prevent Miami's first-round sweep of the New Jersey Nets, Jefferson believes the New Jersey Nets are strong enough to make run deep into postseason. "I feel confident every game now," Jefferson said.

Clips clinch 1st winning year since '92 (AP)
Elton Brand doesn't want to get too excited about the Clippers' assuring themselves of their first winning season since 1991-92. "It feels good, but we still have a lot more to accomplish," Brand said Friday night after he and Sam Cassell scored 22 points apiece in a 106-91 victory for the Clippers' 42nd victory of the season.

Iverson scores 47 as 76ers top Knicks (AP)
Allen Iverson told Chris Webber that the Philadelphia 76ers were playing a must-win game Friday night. The way the duo played, there was no way the 76ers could lose. Iverson scored 47 points, Webber had a season-high 34 points and 12 rebounds, and Philadelphia snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the New York Knicks 117-112.

Kobe's 43 drive Lakers past Sonics (AP)
Kobe Bryant stopped a troubling trend of third quarter struggles for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant scored 43 points and the Lakers used an impressive second half to beat the Seattle SuperSonics 106-93 on Friday night. The Lakers rebounded from a second half collapse a night earlier to San Antonio, when the Lakers were outscored 35-18 in the third quarter.

Pistons rally past Bucks in 4th quarter (AP)
The Detroit Pistons like to make things challenging for themselves. They almost pushed it too far Friday night. The Pistons fell behind 15-0 in the opening moments, allowed a 15-1 run to close the first half and trailed by 18 points in the third quarter before rallying to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 112-105.

Mavs lose season-high third in a row (AP)
Orlando coach Brian Hill was happy to see the Magic beat one of the NBA's elite teams. Jameer Nelson scored 27 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 25 to help the Magic beat Dallas 108-99 on Friday night and hand the Mavericks their third straight loss. "This was a big step for us," Hill said. "I think we're becoming a basketball team rather than a collection of individuals.

Barbosa, Diaw power Suns past Raptors (AP)
The Phoenix Suns want Amare Stoudemire to be healthy, and they showed the Toronto Raptors they're ready to move on this season if their star post player needs more time to heal. Boris Diaw had 26 points, nine assists and eight rebounds and Leandro Barbosa added a career-high 28 points to lead the Suns to a 140-126 win over Toronto on Friday night.

Hornets edge Grizzlies, stay in race (AP)
Before a midseason trade to New Orleans, Marc Jackson rarely got off the bench. Now he's doing his best to lead the Hornets to the playoffs. With Hornets leading scorer David West out with an injury, Jackson scored a season-high 24 points and Chris Paul added 21 points, including a three-point play with 20.9 seconds left, to help New Orleans beat Memphis 107-102 on Friday night.

Nuggets recover late to beat Wolves (AP)
For almost three quarters, the Denver Nuggets looked like they would lose a second-straight game to a sub.-500 division rival. Andre Miller's block of Ricky Davis with 15.9 seconds remaining in the third helped change that -- starting a 7-0 run that would give the Nuggets the lead for good in their 106-94 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night.

Power rankings
In the spirit of March Madness, the Power Rankings projects the NHL's Final Four.

Flames back atop Northwest, rout Avs (AP)
Before the game, Matthew Lombardi had a good feeling about the Calgary Flames' chances against the Colorado Avalanche. Chris Simon, Craig MacDonald and Damon Langkow scored second-period goals to rally the Flames to a 6-3 victory Friday night. "The boys were feeling really good this morning and really excited to get into the game and it showed out there," said Lombardi, who scored on a short-handed...

Hurricanes clinch Southeast Division (AP)
The T-shirts for the Southeast Division champs were hanging in each player's locker when the Carolina Hurricanes skated off the ice. What has been a near certainty for weeks finally was official, yet any celebration will have to wait. The Hurricanes aren't finished yet. "It's an accomplishment and our guys should be proud of that," coach Peter Laviolette said.

Stars lose first game in shootout (AP)
The Dallas Stars clinched a playoff spot, and then lost in a shootout for the first time. Rob Niedermayer and Jonathan Hedstrom scored against Marty Turco and Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped Dallas shooters Anti Miettinen and Jussi Jokinen as the Anaheim Mighty Ducks took a 5-4 shootout victory over the Stars on Friday night.

Blackhawks stun Red Wings in OT 3-2 (AP)
The Chicago Blackhawks, well out of the playoff picture, considered beating the Detroit Red Wings as a learning experience. Patrick Sharp scored 1:29 into overtime, lifting Chicago to a 3-2 victory over Detroit on Friday night. "This was a big game for us," said captain Martin Lapointe, a former Red Wing.

Gonchar, Caron power Pens past Isles 4-0 (AP)
The Pittsburgh Penguins' young players are looking more like veterans. Sergei Gonchar scored twice and Sebastien Caron stopped 29 shots to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Friday night. Caron, in his third NHL season, said that he likes how all the youngsters on his team are starting to come together.

Nash helps Blue Jackets past Blues (AP)
Rick Nash just missed his first career hat trick on an empty-net attempt that was blocked. It was the only time the St. Louis Blues stopped him. Nash kept up a late-season charge with two goals and backup goalie Pascal Leclaire had a strong game, helping the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the slumping Blues 4-2 Friday night.

Koivu's SO goal lifts Wild by Canucks (AP)
Mikko Koivu had to wait just two days for his chance to make up for a costly mistake. Koivu scored the only shootout goal Friday night, leading the Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Two nights earlier, he watched from the penalty box as Vancouver scored a power-play goal with 6.1 seconds left to win by the same score.

Brodeur ties Plante with 437th win (AP)
Another quality opponent produced another quality performance from the New Jersey Devils. Brian Gionta scored his team-leading 41st goal, Martin Brodeur tied Jacques Plante on the NHL's career victories list and New Jersey beat Buffalo 3-1 on Thursday night to move a step closer to securing an Eastern Conference playoff berth.

Undermanned Senators beat Rangers 4-1 (AP)
The Ottawa Senators found a way to overcome the absence of three top defensemen -- and keep NHL-scoring leader Jaromir Jagr in check. Ray Emery made 24 saves, and Chris Neil, Patrick Eaves, Dany Heatley and Peter Schaefer scored in Ottawa's 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday night. The Eastern Conference-leading Senators played without defensive partners Zdeno Chara (hand) and Chris...

Small challenge
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – It might be a short track, but for many the odds of winning at Martinsville are long.

Johnson wins pole at Martinsville (AP)
Jimmie Johnson showed that Hendrick Motorsports is ready to keep its domination at Martinsville Speedway going with a pole-winning run Friday.

Johnson wins pole for NASCAR DirecTV 500 (SportsTicker)


Kenseth sorry for causing Gordon's trouble (AP)
Matt Kenseth is feeling lousy.

Hamlin is back home and on track to stardom (AP)
Denny Hamlin arrived at Martinsville Speedway last fall as a young driver who had to prove he belonged among NASCAR's rising stars.

Notes: Australian star Ambrose ready for NASCAR debut (AP)
One of the most famous road racers in the history of Australian motorsports finally is ready to see if he can...

Harvick taking time to decide next move (AP)
CHARLOTTE – Kevin Harvick is at a crossroads in his career. As NASCAR's top free agent, he will be able to...

Johnson wrecks, speeds reach record highs during tire test at Lowe's Motor Speedway (AP)
A flat tire caused Jimmie Johnson to wreck Wednesday during an important test at Lowe's Motor Speedway, sending Goodyear officials searching to find the right rubber to use on the freshly paved surface.

NASCAR fines Jeff Gordon $10,000 (SportsTicker)
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - Jeff Gordon lost his head after a heated race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday. Two days later, he suffered the consequences.

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