Rivalries, balanced schedule among high points

With adjusting authorized by the Board of Governors on Monday, Tuesday grew to become each day of returning to your decision and taking apart a few of the finer points from the four-conference system the NHL expects to implement for that 2012-13 season.

Listed here are five products in the radical adjusting plan that deserve a closer inspection:

1. Intensifying rivalries

The Stanley Cup Playoff format within the four-conference alignment is to establish to produce new rivalries and add energy to traditional ones.

Because the first couple of models from the 2010 nfl playoffs is going to be performed inside the conference, the teams that fight one another for almost all the standard-season games would be the teams faced in early playoff models.

This is actually the same system the NHL been on place from 1982-1993 once the top four finishers in most four divisions performed within the divisional 2010 nfl playoffs before reducing towards the Conference Finals.

It had been in those days that rivalries for example Washington versus. Pittsburgh and Detroit versus. Minnesota were born.

"Individuals were exactly the same teams discount nfl jerseys that you simply saw the following year, therefore it would continue,Inch Washington Leader Dick Patrick told NHL.com. "It can't be as being a team that you are only likely to play two times the following year -- it might be against teams that appear like they are arriving almost every other week. It produces tremendous rivalries."

What goes on towards the seeding when the two intra-conference models are complete and you will find four teams remaining has not been determined, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offered a couple of ideas Tuesday.

"I believe it is a little premature since it is something I am likely to allow the general managers do, but when you apply the two eastern-most conferences from the two western-most conferences you reduce travel," Bettman stated. "But, at the same time, you've got a numerous options should you reseed according to points.

"Somebody even recommended in my experience today that you'll have a random drawing. I am not promoting that. All I am saying is this can be a discussion I believe the overall managers can weigh in on effectively and may determine on in March once they meet up.Inch

2. Balanced schedule

The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in Vancouver last season, but, due to the unbalanced schedule, their only possibility of returning towards the North American this year is that if they satisfy the Canucks within the Final again in June.

Underneath the new four-conference alignment, that will not be considered a concern.

Area of the allure for Board people to election in support of the radical adjusting plan was a chance to produce a balanced schedule. Every team will have in each and every city at least one time per season, giving fans over the NHL the chance with an annual basis to determine all of the League's top teams and celebrities.

The unbalanced system that's presently in position means, with this season a minimum of, fans in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Colorado, Detroit and Nashville don't get the chance to determine the protecting Stanley Cup champion.

"In non-traditional marketplaces, I've got a difficult time trying to explain to fans why they are not seeing Sidney Crosby," Stars Leader Jim Lites told NHL.com. "Joe Nieuwendyk were built with a great quote within an article I saw in Dallas, where he stated within the last six or seven years we have performed Phoenix about 52 occasions and we have performed Toronto five. Badly as our season-ticket is made of, and a part of my job would be to repair it, the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving i was offered out, cheap nhl jerseys every chair within the building, because i was playing Toronto. It matters. It is a large deal."

3. Thrilled within the Area

Detroit GM Ken Holland told NHL.com Monday evening that six several weeks ago the Red-colored Wings were pushing for any proceed to the Eastern Conference to fulfill their travel and time zone concerns.

Together that plays within the Eastern time zone, the Wings had just finished two models within the 2010 nfl playoffs against San Jose and Phoenix -- and Holland stated fans told him they simply could not stay as much as watch Detroit's road games due to late start occasions.

The 4-conference alignment changes all that because of not only Detroit, but in addition for Minnesota, Dallas and Columbus.

All teams had legitimate geographic concerns in our system because of heavy travel and late start occasions for road games.

Individuals concerns are removed underneath the four-conference setup since the geographically based alignment from the conferences limits travel and time-zone disadvantages.

"It was an agreement that satisfies everyone towards the biggest extent possible," Columbus GM Scott Howson stated.

4. Seven-team conference versus. eight-team conference

Bettman stated the League felt it had been essential to bring into focus the discrepancy between getting two conferences with seven teams and 2 more with eight teams if this made its adjusting plans towards the Board of Governors on Monday. The response in the professionals within the boardroom was the discrepancy did not appear to matter enough to nix the whole plan.

As Bettman stated, as lately because this past summer time, Mlb was operating with 16 teams within the American League and 14 teams within the National League -- also it did not appear to become an problem.

Viewing Board, Bettman stated, would be that the last-place teams in each conference will not factor in to the 2010 nfl playoffs anyway, therefore it is not really a large deal.

Getting two conferences with seven teams and 2 conferences with eight teams enables for versatility to maneuver teams around or potentially increase the later on.

Bettman noted this, but stressed that at this time around the League doesn't have any need to relocate a franchise or expand with other marketplaces, nor factor was considered within the adjusting election.

5. Washington will get back its old rivals

The Capitals were content playing within the Southeast Division, however the group of followers has always wanted they to become listed on support using their old Patrick Division enemies to produce regular-season competition games that bleed into intense playoff matchups.

The 4-conference alignment is going to do just that for that D.C. faithful his or her Capitals is going to be once more be in exactly the same conference because the Demons, Rangers, Islanders, Flyers and Penguins. Carolina may also be for the reason that grouping.

"It is really a large factor for that Caps as well as for Caps fans," Patrick stated. "This puts us back with many different the teams in the old Patrick Division, as well as for our fans individuals are the most widely used competitors that people have. I was in support of it, we love to it and that we think our fans are actually likely to appreciate it.Inch

Three and out: Giants’ Bradshaw could play Sunday

Bradshaw practices: The very first time in greater than a month, Titans RB Ahmad Bradshaw (feet) was back around the practice area Friday, growing his chances he could play in Sunday’s showdown using the undefeated Packers. With New You are able to worried about the status of WRs Hakeem Nicks (ribs/concussion) and Mario Manningham (knee), Bradshaw’s return could be welcomed through the team. By fantasy proprietors. Eco-friendly Bay’s defense has proven some weaknesses and also the hard-running Bradshaw may be the player to take advantage of them. Sure, Brandon Jacobs might find some carries, but his inconsistency should open the doorway for Bradshaw revisit no. 1 RB job. If he’s playing, get him inside your selection for which could turn to be considered a high-scoring affair.

Freeman tossing at practice: After fighting a shoulder injuries and acknowledging to re-hurting his thumb in a shooting range, Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman could throw at Friday’s practice. Freeman has roundly been an illusion disappointment this year, calculating under 14 points per game, but Sunday’s game from the Panthers starts him from the NFL’s 24th-rated defense. Even against a poor defense, Freeman isn’t likely to all of a sudden become Tom Brady, however it does lead him to worth a glance if you are inside a much deeper league and battling for somebody to plug to your QB place. If Freeman can’t play, Josh Manley can get the beginning. For the reason that situation, look elsewhere for QB help.

Cruz limited used: Lions RB Kevin Cruz was limited used Friday after long lasting an identical status on Thursday. That’s left numerous first-team reps for Keiland Williams prior to Sunday night’s game from the Saints. Even against New Orleans’ 16th-rated hurrying defense, Detroit continues to be a pass-first football team. Cruz could be described as a flex play in leagues with 12 or even more teams, but it’s tough to the same for Williams.


Ultimate Fighting Championship gets long-term Fox Sports deal

Ultimate Fighting Championship, and mixed martial arts, took a major step into the mainstream Thursday. Fox Sports announced a seven-year deal to televise UFC cards in prime time, plus airing extensive programming on Fox's cable TV channels.
Officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly, said the Fox deal is worth $100 million a year.
Fox will air four prime-time Saturday night UFC fight cards a year, starting Nov. 12.
The deal also moves "The Ultimate Fighter" reality television series, after 14 seasons on Spike TV, to Fox's FX cable channel, with a revamped Friday night competition and up to six other live fight cards.
"This is what I always wanted, the pinnacle — to get a deal with Fox," UFC President Dana White said. "This is a big day for this company."
Fox Sports Chairman David Hill conceded it took several years for him to recognize the popularity of mixed martial arts.
Lorenzo Fertitta and his brother Frank purchased UFC in 2001 for $2 million and are widely credited for popularizing MMA.
Sports fans over the age of 50 grew up watching boxing, Hill said, but today's youth is more attuned to the frenetic action of MMA, which complements boxing action with wrestling, kicking, jiu jitsu and karate.
UFC's lucrative pay-per-view business, and its Spike TV shows, drew a large, loyal audience in the coveted 18-to-35 age market, Hill said.
"You get to know the athletes. They're a different breed — smart, intelligent, committed," he said.
Fox's Fuel channel and Spanish-language Fox Deportes also will air UFC programming.
UFC hasn't named its main-even participants for its debut card on Fox. But Nov. 12 is also the date for the pay-per-view boxing match between the sport's most popular fighter, Manny Pacquiao, and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Lorenzo Fertitta also said he plans to heavily promoteUFC's Nov. 19 pay-per-view heavyweight title fight between champion Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior Dos Santos on the Fox card.
Hill said he's received no guarantee that UFC will place title fights on Fox, but is confident quality matches are coming. "These are the most media-savvy dudes in sports," he said. "We will be No. 1 [in ratings] in our time, without a doubt."

UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, and former light-heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, said despite their commitment to upcoming pay-per-view cards, they want to ultimately fight on Fox.
"It's our chance to perform on the biggest stage of fighting possible," St-Pierre said. "
Said Evans: "[Fox] gives us a chance to be seen on a level we've never been at. And it'll get the fans to say, 'Oh, wow, this is a true sport!' "


Phillies put Jose Contreras on 15-day disabled list

The Philadelphia Phillies put closer Jose Contreras on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right elbow. The move is retroactive to Friday.

General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Contreras, 39, will return to Philadelphia on Monday to be seen by a team doctor.

Ryan Madson will move into the closer's role. To take Contreras' spot on the roster, the Phillies will purchase the contract of Michael Stutes from Lehigh Valley.


The Milwaukee Brewers' Zack Greinke pitched 22/3 innings, giving up three hits and two runs with a walk and two strikeouts in a rehabilitation start at triple-A Nashville. The right-hander started the season on the disabled list for his new team because of a broken rib. In the third, he gave up two runs on consecutive triples and a sacrifice fly. Greinke threw 54 pitches and said he will need at least one more minor league start before joining the Brewers. … Minnesota Twins left fielder Delmon Young sat out his fifth consecutive game because of a rib injury. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he hopes Young will be ready for the series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday after a day off Monday. … The Toronto Blue Jays put second baseman Aaron Hill (strained right hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 20, and will recall right-hander Jesse Litsch from triple-A Las Vegas to start Tuesday at the Texas Rangers.


UConn ends San Diego State's most successful season

Connecticut put the ball in the hands of its security blanket.

Kemba Walker stood at the free-throw line and calmly sank two free throws with 14 seconds left, adding to his pick-me resume for the NBA draft Thursday by running San Diego State in circles during a 74-67 victory in an NCAA tournament West Region semifinal at Honda Center in Anaheim, putting an end to the most successful season in the Aztecs' history.

Walker scored 36 points, 16 in the last nine minutes, to move the Huskies to within one victory of the Final Four. It was the 11th time he has scored 30 or more in a game.

San Diego State pulled to within one, 65-64, with 2 minutes 52 seconds left when D.J. Gay sank a three-pointer. Walker missed a jumper, but Alex Oriakhi got the rebound and found Jeremy Lamb, whose three-pointer gave the Huskies a 68-64 lead with 1:40 left.

Lamb then made a steal as San Diego State tries to get upcourt quickly and hit Shabazz Napier for an uncontested layup and a 70-64 lead with 23 seconds left.

Connecticut (28-9) entered the game with as many NCAA titles as San Diego State had NCAA tournament victories (two). The second-seeded Aztecs (34-3) broke through that ceiling this season, winning their first two tournament games.

But beating Northern Colorado and Temple -- in double overtime -- was child's play compared to spending the day chasing Walker around the court.

Gay, mired in a month-long slump, pushed the Aztecs back into the game, as has been his custom. He sank a three-pointer to start the second half and scored the last five points in an 11-2 run that gave the Aztecs a 43-42 lead with 13 minutes left.

San Diego State led, 53-49, when Walker took over.

Walker scored nine of Connecticut's 11 points during a key stretch that left them leading, 60-54, with six minutes left.

The first two came on free throws after Jamaal Franklin was called for a technical foul with the Aztecs ahead 53-49. Walker hit a three-pointer to cap the pivotal 11-1 run and Connecticut never trailed again.

San Diego State had answers early. Walker missed his first four shots, with different defenders alternating on him. The Aztecs were in their comfort zone, pushing the pace. Billy White's layup finished a fast break for a 22-17 lead with 6:34 left in the half.

Things turned when, with a chance to up the lead, Gay turned the ball over. Connecticut closed the half with a 19-5 run and took a 36-27 lead into the locker room.

Walker was the center of that surge, making three consecutive shots, two of which were three-pointers.


Miami Heat hopes to get on a roll as playoffs near

LeBron James said this about an hour before Wednesday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder:
“The way we’re playing right now, we’d love to start [the playoffs] right now, but we got another month to continue to get better, continue to hone our skills and work out some of the things that may be going on.
“We’re ready. I know I’m ready, but I’m not going to take for granted this last month.”
A few hours later, the Heat lost 96-85 to Oklahoma City, which has won five in a row and could be a “dark horse” to win the Western Conference, according to Dwyane Wade. Although neither James nor Wade was too upset about Wednesday’s loss to a formidable team on a hot streak, work still remains, apparently, for the Heat.
Consecutive wins against the Lakers, Grizzlies and Spurs calmed fears of an epic collapse, but the fact remains that the Heat has lost six of its past nine games and, on Thursday, was three games behind the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings with just 14 games left in the regular season.
Catching the Celtics and Bulls, who both hold playoff tiebreakers against the Heat, will be difficult and Wade said Wednesday night that focusing on a 14-game winning streak to end the season would put too much pressure on his team. The Heat (46-22) traveled to Atlanta on Thursday for an away game against the Hawks on Friday night before returning home for a game against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.
“We have to pick ourselves up, regroup, refresh and get focused for the game on Friday in Atlanta,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Heat is 1-1 against the Hawks, who have lost five of their past seven games. Miami could be without reserve center Zydrunas Ilgauskas on Friday. Ilgauskas has missed three games in a row because of an infection in his foot caused by stepping on a nail at his home. Although the Heat’s aggressive group-rebounding mentality did well against the Lakers, Grizzlies and Spurs during its three-game winning streak, the Heat was outrebounded 51-40 by the Thunder.
“In this league, to have success against the best teams, you have to have bigs,” Spoelstra said before Wednesday’s game.
The Heat’s three centers combined for seven rebounds against the Thunder, which recently acquired center Kendrick Perkins from the Celtics. Perkins, who started Wednesday, had five rebounds in 19 minutes. Reserve center Nazr Mohammad, acquired in a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats, had nine rebounds in 16 minutes.
“They did a great job getting prepared for the Western Conference,” said Wade, when asked about the Thunder’s new additions. “They’re going to be right there in the thick of things because they added some beef up front.”
The Thunder’s collective size limited the Heat’s ability to penetrate, and the Heat’s 17.6 percent three-point shooting (3 of 17) did little to offset the mismatch. Wade and James combined to shoot 35.7 percent (15 of 42) from the field.
The Thunder shot just 39.8 percent Wednesday but outscored the Heat 24-10 on second-chance points thanks to 17 offensive rebounds. The Heat has held four consecutive opponents to under 41 percent shooting, which offered some consolation after Wednesday’s defeat.
“[Wednesday night] is not one of those games where you feel bad about how you played,” James said. “We can be satisfied with this loss because we know we kept a team [from] shooting 40 percent from the floor. It’s nothing to hold our heads about.”


Canadian men’s soccer squad faces daunting opener in Gold Cup

There will be no easing into the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup for the Canadian men’s soccer team.

Canada will open the 12-team tournament June 7 in Detroit against the United States. The Americans are the highest ranked team in the conference and are 18th in the FIFA world rankings. By contrast, Canada is 84th in the world and eighth in the conference.

Canada and the United States are joined in Group C by Panama (67th in the world, sixth in the conference) and non-FIFA member Guadeloupe.

The top two teams are guaranteed quarter-final berths and the third-place team could also get into the final stage of the tournament.

The tournament will be played at locations throughout the United States. Canada’s other round-robin games are June 11 in Tampa, Florida, against Guadeloupe and June 14 in Kansas City against Panama.

The final is set for June 25 in Pasadena, California.

Canada won the Gold Cup in 2000, beating guest Colombia 2-0 in the final. Since then, both Mexico (2003, ’09) and the United States (2005, ’07) have each won twice.


Lady Tritons advance to CIF final

Hustle and heart were vital to the success that San Clemente's girls soccer team enjoyed throughout the season.
With a CIF-SS championship berth hanging in the balance, that combination provided another invaluable lift for the Tritons.

Sophomore Danielle Mellem scored the tying goal in the second half, and the Tritons advanced to their fourth consecutive Division 1 title game by defeating Santa Margarita, 4-2 in penalty kicks, after the teams played to a 2-2 tie in the semifinals Tuesday at Santa Margarita.

"We never gave up and showed our perseverance and determination to win," Tritons senior Madison Kaminski said.
San Clemente (19-2-7), which has won two of the last three Division 1 titles, will face Flintridge Sacred Heart of La Canada in the final. The Tologs defeated defending champion Esperanza, 1-0, in overtime in Tuesday's other Division 1 semifinal.
"I was disappointed by the way we started, but the key was our ability to come back," Tritons coach Stacey Finnerty said.
"We're going to prepare for the title match against Flintridge Sacred Heart by sticking to our game plan and playing to our strengths. I also think our experience will help us."
Santa Margarita (24-4-3) opened the match establishing possession and took the lead in the 10th minute on a goal by sophomore Samantha Trenary.
The Eagles nearly added to the lead less than two minutes later, when senior Lauren Bohaboy found a crease in the middle of the box. But her subsequent shot attempt was stopped on a nice diving save by Hapsic.
San Clemente's offense began to create chances and penetrate the attacking third midway into the half, but senior Taylor Krebs cleared two scoring opportunities away to help the Eagles keep the lead.
The Tritons tied the score, 1-1, with less than 10 minutes remaining in the half on a goal by senior Mikaela Carrillo.
In the second half, Taylor Krebs scored for Santa Margarita and Mellem evened the match for the Tritons.
Santa Margarita reclaimed the lead less than a minute after the opening kickoff of the second half. Off a deep penetrating run toward the goal, senior Leigh Edwards uncorked a crossing pass that was knocked away by Hapsic. But the ball bounced to her left and Krebs sent a shot into a wide open goal.
The Tritons tied the match again seven minutes later. Senior Tessa Andujar sent a pass down the left sideline to senior Frannie Coxe, whose cross pass toward the middle found Mellem racing toward the goal. Though heavily defended, she managed to curl her foot to reach the ball and got off a shot that rolled past Eagles senior goalie Haley Guerrero.
"I got the cross, got my foot around (the defender) and knocked it in," Mellem said.
Both teams traded deep runs into the attacking third throughout the remainder of the half before Santa Margarita nearly took the lead in the final minute. But a high line drive free kick by Bohaboy ricocheted off the crossbar.
After two scoreless 10 minute "golden goal" overtime periods, the teams were tied at 1 in the penalty kick session when freshman Natalie Higgins sent a shot into the right corner of the net to give the Tritons a 2-1 lead.
Trenary's next attempt sailed over the crossbar, and the Tritons finished off their 15th consecutive match without a loss with successful conversions from seniors Alex Reisinger and Kaminski.
"We played well and left everything out there today," Eagles coach Chuck Morales said. "They (San Clemente) are a championship-caliber team and were able to sustain and come back."


Rondo, Celtics snap six-game losing streak at Golden State


Kevin Garnett (FSY) and Rajon Rondo (FSY) each came close to a triple-double, and the Boston Celtics picked up right where they left off before the break with an easy 115-93 victory over the Golden cheap jerseys State Warriors on Tuesday night.
"You lose the first game, you kind of lose your momentum and then you're battling uphill," said Celtics forward Paul Pierce (FSY), who added 23 points. "So it's kind of good to get that first one and keep that momentum."
No problem there.

BOX SCORE: Celtics 115, Warriors 93
Garnett had 24 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, and Rondo had 19 points, 15 assists and six rebounds to help the Celtics hold off Miami for now and stay atop the Eastern Conference standings. They also snapped a six-game losing streak at Golden State, where they hadn't won since Dec. 29, 2003.
"I tried to be everywhere. I tried to fill every category in the book that's positive," Garnett said.
Boston's biggest strides perhaps came on defense.
Dorell Wright (FSY) scored 19 points and Stephen Curry (FSY) had 18 for the usually high-scoring Warriors, who had won seven of their last nine before the break and appeared to be building some momentum. Instead, they fell apart in the fourth quarter and couldn't recover against one of the NBA's elite.
"They're the Boston Celtics. They just turned it up," Warriors coach Keith Smart said.
There was no sign that Boston had any lingering effects from a busy All-Star weekend.
The Celtics had a record-tying four players in the NBA showcase along with Doc Rivers and his coaching staff on the sideline for the East stars. They got big nights from all four, including Ray Allen's (FSY) 18 points.
Even with strong performances from the Big Four, the Celtics were still locked in a tight game for most of the first three quarters. They pulled away at the end of the third with that strong, physical defense that has been their staple.
Nate Robinson's (FSY) dunk and Rondo's three-pointer at the end of the third period gave Boston an 88-78 lead. The Warriors trimmed the deficit to four early in the fourth before the Celtics again took hold, going ahead by 18 points on a run that was highlighted by Pierce's fast-break dunk on a bounce pass from Rondo that split two defenders.
About the only downside for Boston was that center Kendrick Perkins (FSY) left in the second half with a bruised left knee and did not return. Perkins said his knee just felt strained and doesn't expect to miss much, if any, time.
The injury did not appear serious, although with centers Shaquille O'Neal (FSY) (sore right leg) and Jermaine O'Neal (FSY) (sore left knee) already sidelined, any injury to the frontcourt could be a major setback.
Not that these Celtics have fallen into any traps this season.
They went ahead by nine points early, which was erased in a little more than a minute by another player who participated in All-Star festivities — even if it wasn't for the main event. Wright, who was in the three-point contest, scored 10 straight points between the first and second quarters to give the Warriors a 32-31 lead.
Golden State went ahead by eight in the second quarter while Boston played its thin second unit. The Celtics' starters returned to help tie the score at 60 at halftime and easily pull away when it counted.
"When they made their run, we kind of sunk our heads a bit," Curry said. "We didn't have the composure down the stretch to make plays."
Notes: Rivers said he thought the Knicks and Nuggets both made out well in the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony (FSY) from Denver to New York. He also was asked if he liked that the Atlantic Division, which Boston has dominated in recent years, seems to be improving overall. "I kind of liked it the way we had it. I thought it was very comfortable and pleasant," Rivers said, chuckling. ... The Warriors held a moment of silence before the game for longtime team physician and director of medicine, Dr. Robert Albo, who died Monday at 78. He served the Warriors for more than 40 years. ... After missing most of the season with a broken right wrist, Celtics reserve G Delonte West (FSY) went scoreless in 12 minutes in his return from a hand injury. He was 0-for-4 shooting. ... Rondo also turned 25 on Tuesday. The team celebrated his birthday with a cake from a San Francisco bakery in the locker room after the game.