League GMs decide against rule banning head shots
Eager to keep their game fast and physical, NHL general managers decided Tuesday against recommending major rule changes to curb concussions, opting to push for tighter enforcement of charging and boarding penalties instead.
The GMs also will stress the need for longer suspensions for illegal head hits, particularly for repeat offenders.
A rise in concussions this season, including two recent high-profile cases, put the issue at the top of the GMs' agenda. But following a second day of meetings, Commissioner Gary Bettman said the group decided a ban on all head shots would be too radical a response.
Instead, the GMs focused on existing rules that pertain to charging and boarding.
As in other sports, awareness about concussions is on the rise in the NHL. The league considers itself at the forefront in confronting the problem, but recent injuries intensified debate about the game's rules and policies.
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby has been sidelined since early January because of a concussion, and the Canadiens' Max Pacioretty sustained a severe concussion and cracked vertebra last week when he was driven into a glass partition by Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
Japan cancellations extended to April
The cancellation of soccer games in Japan was extended into early April because of the devastation from the earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks.
Japanese soccer authorities already had decided that the nation's two top leagues would not play for the rest of March. Japan's Kyodo news agency reported that clubs from those leagues met Tuesday in Tokyo and decided to call off games for April 2 and 3.
"There's no telling when we can restart the league again," Kashima Antlers President was quoted as saying after the meeting. "The situation is getting worse by the day. Most of the people of the committee agree that the first week of April is already out of the question."
Top-tier clubs Vegalta Sendai and Montedio Yamagata, plus Mito Hollyhock of J-League 2, all sustained serious damage from Friday's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami that followed. Representatives of those clubs were unable to attend Tuesday's meeting.
Baker wins one for Alaska
John Baker crossed the finish line first Tuesday in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome to reclaim the title of Iditarod champion for an Alaska Native musher.
Baker, 48, of Kotzebue steered his dog team down the main drag in this gold rush town on Alaska's western coast to win the 1,150-mile race from Anchorage to Nome, and get his name in the record books.
He is the first Alaska Native musher to win the world's longest sled dog race since Jerry Riley did it in 1976.
Baker also shattered exactly by three hours the race record held by four-time champion Martin Buser, who completed the 2002 race in eight days, 22 hours and 46 minutes. Baker completed the race in 8 days, 19 hours and 46 minutes.
"Running a team like this, there is nothing better," Baker said. "I am really proud of this."
Average, median down at OBS sale
A colt by Scat Daddy consigned by agent Old South Farm went to K.K. Eishindo for $400,000 to top the first session of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's 2011 March Sale of Selected 2-Year-Olds in Training. The bay colt, out of Madagascat, by Tale of the Cat, a half sister to graded stakes winner Lindsay Jean, worked an eighth in :94⁄5, fastest work at the distance at Friday's session of the under tack show.
For the day, 117 horses sold for a total of $10,322,000, compared with 84 bringing $8,126,000 at last year's opening session. The average price was $88,222 compared to $96,738 last year, while the median price was $57,000 compared with $70,000 in 2009. The buyback percentage was 31.1%, identical to last year. Thirty-one horses sold for $100,000 or more compared with 29 a year ago.
The March Sale continues Wednesday.
Federer, Djokovic advance
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic rolled on at the BNP Paribas Open in California, easily winning third-round matches Tuesday while Kim Clijsters retired with a painful shoulder.
Federer defeated 29th-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 6-0, 6-2, and Djokovic routed Ernests Gulbis 6-0, 6-1 with temperatures reaching 90 degrees in the desert.
Federer is 16-2 this year, while Djokovic has dropped just three sets during his 14-0 start, including his run to the titles at the Australian Open and Dubai.
Clijsters, a two-time champion, retired from her fourth-round match against 15th-seeded Marion Bartoli because of a right shoulder injury. She feels pain during her service motion and when she hits high forehands.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Duke signee takes Wootten Award
Austin Rivers, the No. 1 overall player in the Class of 2011, received the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year award as a surprise guest looked on: his father, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
The Duke signee, who is closing in on 3,000 career points and recently led Winter Park High School to a second consecutive Florida Class 6A title, beat out two Kentucky signees, power forward Anthony Davis (Chicago, Ill./Perspectives Charter) and small forward Michael Gilchrist (Elizabeth, N.J./St. Patrick), and a North Carolina signee, power forward James McAdoo (Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Christian), for the award.
Bat Cats rally to top Murray State
Trailing by five runs through three innings, the Kentucky baseball team rallied with seven runs in the middle innings, led by freshman J.T. Riddle and sophomore Luke Maile, to post an 8-7 win over Murray State Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Kentucky (10-7) allowed Murray State to post a 5-0 lead after three innings, before the Wildcats began mounting a furious comeback. Riddle and Maile led the charge, with Riddle coming off the bench to go 2-for-2 with a game-high three RBI and a walk. Maile was an offensive force throughout, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored. The Wildcats rapped out 12 hits in the game.
The last word
Dawn Woods, a restaurant manager from Nottingham in central England, was among the locals amused by the fact the giant digital clock displaying the countdown until the London Olympic opening ceremony on July 27, 2012, froze Tuesday afternoon — just a day after its unveiling in Trafalgar Square.
"It's about right for Britain, really. It's a clock — you'd think it would be simple to get right."