Maples Leafs win shootout in snowy Winter Classic
Light snow swirled down in the Big House, making it tough to push the puck through piles of the white stuff on a sheet of ice where football is usually played. Teeth-chattering temperatures and a brisk wind were factors, too, that made the NHL's Winter Classic much more of an event than a game.
Tyler Bozak scored the winning shootout goal and Jonathan Bernier made two saves in the heart-pounding final moments, lifting Toronto to a 3-2 victory over Detroit on Wednesday in front of 105,591 fans — the largest crowd to watch a hockey game.
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Bernier, with a knit hat over his helmet, made 41 saves — the most in an outdoor regular-season game.
The crowd surpassed the 104,173 who saw Michigan and Michigan State skate in the same football stadium in 2010.
The game-time temperature was 13 degrees with a wind chill of zero and steady snow that didn't stop on a windy afternoon. At the previous five Winter Classics, the average temperature was 39 degrees and the average attendance was 53,045.
Lovie Smith to be named coach of Bucs
Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is set to take on the challenge of rebuilding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Two people familiar with Smith's plans said Wednesday night that the coach has reached an agreement to fill the opening created by the firing of Greg Schiano following a 4-12 finish.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement hasn't been made. One of the people also said that former Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier will be the Bucs' defensive coordinator.
The 55-year-old Smith will replace Schiano, fired Monday after going 11-21 in two seasons in Tampa Bay. Frazier also was fired Monday.
Smith was 81-63 in nine seasons with Chicago, leading the 2006 team to the Super Bowl — where the Bears lost Indianapolis. He was fired a year ago after the Bears finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.
Raptors stop Pacers' win streak at five
DeMar DeRozan had a game-high 26 points, Kyle Lowry had a double-double with 13 points and 14 assists, and the Toronto ended Indiana's win streak at five games while earning their fourth straight victory to reach a .500 record at 15-15.
The Raptors held Paul George to 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting and forced the star guard into committing six turnovers.
■ Monta Ellis had 23 points to lead Dallas in an 87-78 win at Washington. Trailing 61-59 entering the fourth quarter, the Mavericks outscored the Wizards 28-17 in the final period. John Wall had 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Washington, but turned the ball over seven times in the loss.
■ Seven players scored in double figures for the Timberwolves, who defeated the Pelicans 124-112 at home. Nikola Pekovic led Minnesota with 22 points.
Anthony Davis finished with 13 points, six rebounds and four blocks for New Orleans. Darius Miller connected on his only shot and was fouled, and finished with three points and an assist.
■ The Cavaliers rang in 2014 with some encouraging news: Kyrie Irving's left knee is only bruised.
The All-Star guard did not sustain structural damage Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers and is not expected to miss any significant time. An MRI revealed a bruise, the team said Wednesday in a statement. Irving will have treatment, get continued evaluation and is listed as questionable for Cleveland's game on Thursday night at home against Orlando.
■ Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar will be out for at least four weeks with another tear in his left hamstring, the team announced Wednesday.
Farmar missed 3½ weeks after tearing his left hamstring Dec. 1. He got hurt again during the Lakers' home loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday night. An ultrasound test revealed Farmar tore his hamstring again, but in a different location.
Tip-in gives Norse 67-65 victory in OT
Jake Giesler's tip-in with three seconds left in overtime lifted Northern Kentucky to a 67-65 win over Stetson.
Anthony Monaco's steal with nine seconds left set up the final sequence, with Tyler White launching a three-point attempt that Giesler cleaned up. The Norse (5-5, 1-1 Atlantic Sun) then survived a long heave by the Hatters (3-11, 1-1) at the buzzer. The win improved NKU's record in overtime games this season to 3-0.
Jordan Jackson led Northern Kentucky with 13 points, Jalen Billups and White had 12 each. Kentwan Smith and Willie Green had 16 apiece for the Hatters with Brian Pegg adding 12.
■ Asia Taylor scored 18 points and Shoni Schimmel added 15 to help the No. 7 Louisville women beat Temple 77-68 for their seventh straight victory. In the previous six wins, Louisville averaged 12 turnovers. The Cardinals reached that total in the first 16 minutes against the Owls.
■ South Alabama went 9-for-12 from behind the three-point arc on their way to a 74-65 win over Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams. Chastity Gooch had 26 points and nine rebounds for the Lady Toppers (8-4, 0-1 SBC), who were without Alexis Govan due to a lower left leg injury.
Schumacher still in critical condition
Formula One great Michael Schumacher's condition was stable but still critical overnight as he remained unconscious following a brain injury suffered in a skiing accident, his manager said Wednesday.
Sabine Kehm told reporters that Schumacher's condition has not changed since doctors said he showed small signs of improvement on Tuesday, following his second operation.
The last word
The last team to defeat the San Diego Chargers was the team they'll meet in the AFC wild-card game on Sunday — the Cincinnati Bengals. A dominating second half gave the Bengals a 17-10 win at San Diego. Phillip Rivers referenced the Chargers' 2007 AFC Championship game, a 21-12 loss at New England, when speaking on the importance of finishing drives in the postseason. Said Rivers:
"We kicked four field goals. You get a few touchdowns there and who knows. We know how valuable touchdowns are."