Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

The Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a bloody injury to Sidney Crosby on Saturday for their 15th straight victory, beating the New York Islanders, 2-0, in Jarome Iginla’s debut behind third-period goals from Matt Cooke and James Neal.

Tomas Vokoun made 35 saves as Pittsburgh moved within two wins of the NHL record of 17 straight victories set by Mario Lemieux and the 1992-93 Penguins.


Steve Alford led New Mexico to three appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Steve Alford led New Mexico to three appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Steve Alford has been hired as UCLA’s basketball coach, the university announced Saturday morning.

Alford, 48, spent the last six seasons at New Mexico, compiling a 155-52 record. He replaces Ben Howland, who was fired after going 25-10 and winning the Pac-12Conference regular-season championship.

Alford has agreed to a seven-year deal worth $2.5 million a year, according to a person familiar with the hire who was not authorized to speak publicly about it. (more…)

Steve Alford

Steve Alford led New Mexico to three appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Steve Alford has been hired as UCLA’s basketball coach, the university announced Saturday morning.

Alford, 48, spent the last six seasons at New Mexico, compiling a 155-52 record. He replaces Ben Howland, who was fired after going 25-10 and winning the Pac-12 Conference regular-season championship.


North Korea issues more threats, the Vatican defends the pope’s feet-washing, and more in our round-up of stories that are making news and driving opinion….

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North Korea has said it is entering a “state of war” with South Korea in its latest escalation of rhetoric against its southern neighbour and the U.S. A statement promised “stern physical actions” against “any provocative act.” North Korea has threatened attacks almost daily after it was sanctioned for a third nuclear test in February. It has also reacted angrily to annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises. The U.S. has condemned the North’s “bellicose rhetoric”, while China and Russia have called for an easing of tensions. North and South Korea have technically been at war since the armed conflict between them ended in 1953, because an armistice was never turned into a peace treaty. [BBC]


On Good Friday, the Vatican dismissed criticism of Pope Francis’ decision to wash the feet of two women during a Maundy Thursday Mass at a Rome youth prison. The move came under fire from Catholic traditionalists who say that the rite is a re-enactment of Jesus washing the feet of the 12 apostles before his death, and thus should be limited only to men. Traditionally, popes have washed the feet of 12 priests during a solemn Mass in Rome’s St. John Lateran Basilica. A 1988 letter from the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship states that only “chosen men” can be admitted to the foot-washing ceremony, but including women in the rite is a widespread practice in the United States and elsewhere. This is Pope Francis’ first Easter celebrations as pontiff. [Washington Post]

The nation’s top business and labor groups are nearing agreement on a guest worker program for low-skilled immigrants, according to officials involved in the talks. An agreement between the labor and business communities would clear one of the last hurdles for an overall deal on immigration legislation in the Senate, which the bipartisan group hopes to introduce early next month. The United States Chamber of Commerce and the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the nation’s main federation of labor unions, have been in discussions parallel to those of the Senate group, and have reached a tentative agreement about the size and scope of a temporary guest worker program, which would grant up to 200,000 new visas annually for low-skilled workers. [New York Times]

Rescuers in Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, continued to search for survivors under a mountain of concrete and twisted metal Friday night following the collapse of a high-rise building. At least four people were dead and 60 missing after the 16-story building under construction collapsed, government and emergency officials said. Five children are believed to be among the missing. In addition to the deaths, at least 17 people were injured, said Suleiman Kova, a regional police commander. The Tanzanian Red Cross said rescue efforts would continue through the night. But the group also expressed relief, saying that casualty figures could have been far higher, but the streets were relatively empty of vendors and shoppers due to a holiday. [CNN]


Unemployment rates fell in 22 U.S. states in February, a sign that hiring gains are benefiting many parts of the country. The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates rose in 12 states and were unchanged in 16. Nationally, the unemployment rate slid to a four-year low of 7.7 percent in February, down from 7.9 percent in January. Since November, employers across the country have added an average of 200,000 jobs a month, nearly double the average from last spring. States hit hardest during the recession, like Nevada and Florida, are showing improvement. One reason for the big drop is that people have stopped applying for jobs, but hiring accelerated, too. Overall, 42 states added jobs in February from January, and just eight lost jobs. The biggest monthly job gains came in Texas (up nearly 81,000) and California (up more than 41,000). [TIME]

A study just published in the Journal of Pediatrics found no correlation between autism and increasing antigen number through completion of the vaccine schedule up to age 2. The study, led by Frank DeStefano, was funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This topples one of the key pillars of  the “vaccines cause autism” argument, which is that the increase in the number of childhood vaccines over the years has increased autism prevalence. The twist in the study is that the children studied were born from 1994 to 1999, during a time when a single shot could contain more than 3,000 of the molecules that fire up the immune system. Today’s vaccine-related antigen exposure is considerably less. [Forbes]

A Navy SEAL died following a parachute training accident, a Naval Special Warfare Command spokesman told ABC News on Friday evening. The SEAL, a senior chief, was participating in a routine free-fall training exercise at the USSOCOM Parachute Testing and Training Facility at Pinal Airpark in Arizona on Thursday when he, along with another SEAL, a petty first class officer, was injured, according to a Defense Department Official. The two men were evacuated to the University of Arizona Medical Center, where one of the SEALs died, according to the Naval Special Warfare Command spokesman. His family has been notified of the death. The second SEAL was in stable condition, a Department of Defense official said. The cause of the accident has not been officially determined, pending further investigation. [ABC News]

A grand jury Friday indicted Beverly L. Hall, the former superintendent of the Atlanta School District, on racketeering and other charges, bringing a dramatic new chapter to one of the largest cheating scandals in the country. The grand jury also indicted 34 teachers and administrators in addition to Dr. Hall, who resigned in 2011 just before results of an investigation into the scandal was released. Hall could face up to 45 years in prison. Fulton County prosecutors painted a picture of a decade-long conspiracy that involved awarding bonuses connected to improving scores on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, the state’s main test of core academic subjects for elementary and middle schools, and a culture where, in some schools, cheating was an acceptable way to get them. [New York Times]


Facebook will reportedly introduce a modified version of Google’s Android operating system. This version of Android will reportedly put Facebook front and center and will debut on a handset made by HTC. “Imagine Facebook’s integration with iOS 6, but on steroids, and built by Facebook itself,” says TechCrunch‘s Josh Constine. “It could have a heavy reliance on Facebook’s native apps like Messenger, easy social sharing from anywhere on the phone, and more.” [NBC News]

The Obama administration proposed new regulations Friday to clean up gasoline and automobile emissions, claiming the new standards would provide $7 in health benefits from cleaner air for each dollar spent to implement them. The costs likely would be passed on to consumers in higher gasoline and automobile prices. The EPA said the new rule would reduce sulfur in gasoline and tighten automobile emission standards beginning in 2017, resulting in an increase in gas prices of less than a penny per gallon. The agency estimated it also would add $130 to the cost of a vehicle in 2025, but predicted it would yield billions of dollars in health benefits by slashing smog- and soot-forming pollution. The oil industry, Republicans, and some Democrats wanted EPA to delay the rule, citing higher costs. An oil industry study says it could increase gasoline prices by 6 to 9 cents a gallon. [TIME]


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Reid Flair, the 25-year-old son of WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair, died Friday, is reporting. Details surrounding his death are unknown at this time.

Flair’s agent, Melinda Morris Zanoni, released the following statement: “We are heartbroken to confirm that Ric’s son, Reid, has passed away today March 29, 2013 in Charlotte, NC. The investigation into the cause of death is ongoing. Reid was an incredible son, brother, friend, and professional wrestler. No words can describe the grief that Ric and his family are experiencing and they do request privacy during this devastating time.”

According to, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police received a call around 10:30 a.m. ET that a man was unresponsive in a hotel room. Police identified the man as Reid Flair. Foul play is not suspected at this time.

Reid Flair had been wrestling in Japan occasionally for the last year to improve his skills in the ring. He was in the U.S. and scheduled to tour with his father this weekend.

He was expected to be signed by WWE at some point in the future, as his father has recently rejoined the company.

Reaction by the pro wrestling community on Twitter was immediate.

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New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder has been showing signs of improvement and has given family the thumbs-up, while police have charged two men with assaulting the batsman.

Jesse Ryder responding to family and doctors but remains in intensive care after assault as two men are arrested

Improving: Jesse Ryder is showing signs of improvement but is stil in intensive care after being attacked.

Ryder was attacked by a group of men as he left a bar in the South Island city of Christchurch early on Thursday morning, and was rushed to hospital in a critical condition where he was placed in an induced coma.

His manager Aaron Klee said Ryder has been responding to family and had given the thumbs-up to medical staff.

Ryder remains in an intensive care unit in a stable condition and requires help with breathing because of an injury to his lung while the extent of his head injury has yet to be determined.

His mother Heather and his partner Ally thanked people around the world for sending messages of sympathy and police for arresting “people responsible for the heinous crime committed on our Jesse”.

“Jesse will be chuffed knowing how many people care and have reached out, including the huge number of cricket fans and players from around the world,” they said in a statement.


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CHICAGO — The streak lived a good life — a great life, actually.

Born Feb. 3, it covered 27 consecutive Miami Heat victories and lasted 52 days, destroying almost everything in its path.

The streak traveled well, too, crisscrossing North America in visiting some of the finest cities in the USA and Canada: Toronto, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Cleveland. The streak spent the rest of its time in cosmopolitan Miami. It lived a fine life, indeed.

But the streak met its demise against the shorthanded Chicago Bulls, who were missing not only star point guard Derrick Rose, but All-Star center Joakim Noah, starting guard Richard Hamilton and key reserve guard Marco Belinelli. The Bulls took an early double-digit lead, squandered it, got it back and held on for a 101-97 victory Wednesday, ending the Heat’s 27-game winning streak, the second-longest in NBA history. The Heat fell six wins shy of the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ 33 wins in a row.

“We’re very humble about being a part of this team and this streak,” Heat forward LeBron James said. “Ultimately we want to win an NBA championship.”

LEBRON: Heat star rips referees after loss

WATCH: LeBron’s late flagrant foul is costly

RIP, Heat streak.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged streak with his players following the loss.

“It was the first time that I had mentioned the streak,” Spoelstra said. “It was a heck of an experience to have together. Its significance will mean much more later to us in our careers. I asked them all to share the moment with each other.

“However, it has never been about the streak.”

The Bulls received strong performances from forwards Luol Deng (26 points) and Carlos Boozer (21 points, 17 rebounds) and guard-forward Jimmy Butler (17 points).

PHOTOS: Check this out….The best shots from the stunning upset….

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With the score 92-85, James missed a three-pointer and Chris Bosh got the rebound. But Kirk Hinrich stole the ball and the on the next trip down the floor, forward Taj Gibson‘s baseline jumper with 2:19 left gave Chicago a 94-85 lead.

The Heat trimmed it to four a couple more times, but never got closer. Timely shooting propelled the Bulls. Whenever it looked like Miami might make a bigger dent in Chicago’s lead, the Bulls responded.

Butler hit a corner three-pointer extending Chicago’s lead to 86-78. Boozer hit two free throws after the Heat made it 91-85 and put back a missed shot making it 96-89 with 57 seconds left.

“More often than not, it comes down to that,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s a loose ball, a hustle play.”

BULLS: Second-leading career rebounder dies

WATCH: Kirk Hinrich tries to tackle LeBron, fails

Chicago, which had not been plays its normally strong defense lately, held the Heat offense down with physical play. The Bulls outrebounded the Heat 43-31, including 12-6 on the offensive end.

“Miami is a great team, and you have play great from start to finish,” Thibodeau said. “Overall, I did think we played start to finish and stepped up. … We did a great job. Great job.”

Some of the Heat’s closest calls during the streak were marked by uninspired starts, and a slow start finally doomed the Heat. The Heat trailed by 13 points in the first and second quarters and didn’t get much help from any player except James.

Second-chance and fastbreak points allowed the Bulls — 39-31 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference — to pull off the upset.

“It says we have a good team,” reserve forward Taj Gibson said. “A lot of people kind of write us off every other day. But we just stick to our principles and do what we have to do. … Guys just understood to go out and play hard and take hard fouls. It’s playoff basketball.”

James finished with 32 points, seven rebounds and two assists. As great as he is, James couldn’t win this game by himself.

Miami had been receiving strong play from its second unit, but its bench scored just 17 points. Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who played after missing the previous two games with a sore right knee, had 18 points. Chris Bosh posted 21 points, but no other Heat player reached double figures.

Now, the Heat, who embraced the streak for its rarity and sustained excellence, can focus on its main goal: winning a second consecutive NBA championship.

“We have had a bigger goal in mind,” Spoelstra said.

PHOTOS: Also check this out…. Remember the Heat’s 27-game streak…..

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The Canadiens´ Brendan Gallagher celebrates with teammateJosh Gorges after scoring the winning goal in a shootout. (Michael Dwyer/AP)
The Canadiens’ Brendan Gallagher celebrates with teammateJosh Gorges after scoring the winning goal in a shootout.

Andrei Markov tied it with 8.2 seconds remaining in regulation, and Brendan Gallagher scored the only shootout goal to give the Montreal Canadiens a 6-5 victory over the Bruins in Boston on Wednesday night.

The victory snapped a tie for the second-most points in the Eastern Conference, giving the Canadiens 47. They lead the Northeast Division by a point over the Bruins.



DEERFIELD, Ill. — Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose said after the morning shootaround that he will not make his season debut against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, and with just 13 games left before the playoffs, Rose still doesn’t know if he’ll return this season from May 12 ACL surgery.

“Same, just taking my time and that’s about it,” Rose said when asked for an update on his health. “Been the same way for a couple of months now.”

Rose has been medically cleared to play, a source told on March 7, but he still wasn’t confident dunking off his left leg. He has been scrimmaging 5-on-5 since Feb. 18.


RoseWhen you have surgery, you’ve got to grow patience. I’ve been patient for the last eight or nine months. I’ve been good.

— Derrick Rose


“I really don’t know, man,” Rose said. “Like I said, it’s in God’s hands. Every day I’m just waking up to try and be the best player, try and produce every time I step on the court, just try and get better as a player, and who knows when?”


Heat star LeBron James said the decision on when to return solely belongs to Rose.


“All I can comment on is from the outside looking in,” James said after the Heat’s shootaround at the United Center on Wednesday morning. “I don’t know. I’m not around him every day. I’ve been quoted before and same thing I feel — when Derrick Rose is ready and he’s feeling confident that he’s ready to come back and play, then that’s when he’ll make his choice. He should be the only one who decides that.


“No one else is playing for him. No one else has to put on the uniform and go out here and play at a high level. He’s the guy that has to do that. When he’s confident, when he’s ready, then he should come back. Before then, he shouldn’t worry about it.”


James admitted he misses competing against Rose.

“I love competing against the best,” James said. “He’s one of the best. I think the NBA as a whole, as a competitor you miss him on the floor, even on off days not being able to watch him out on the floor for the Bulls. It sucks, but health is No. 1 in our league. We’ll see him back soon.”


Despite a number of home games recently, coach Tom Thibodeau said it hasn’t been ideal for getting Rose the practice time he needs to assist in recovery.

“We have the back-to-back [games], so it really hasn’t been a lot of time to work full court,” Thibodeau said. “But he’s doing fine.”

Rose was asked if it will be hard to watch his teammates play the NBA champions. The Heat bring a 27-game winning streak into the contest.

“That’s every game,” Rose said. “Knowing it’s the Heat adds to it a little bit, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in my guys and the coaching staff here. Hopefully we can go out there and get a win.”

If anything, Rose has learned to have patience while trying to recover.

“It’s not hard [to have patience] at all,” he said. “When you have surgery, you’ve got to grow patience. I’ve been patient for the last eight or nine months. I’ve been good.”

If Rose doesn’t get into a game this season, he said that after a full summer of working out he doesn’t expect there to be any hesitation when he steps on the court to begin next season.

“Not at all,” he said. “I know the confidence I have in myself in what type of player I am, so when I step on the court I think I’m going to be better, I know I’m going to be better, so I’m not worried about that.”

Bulls team physician Brian Cole said after the surgery that part of returning to 100 percent will be for Rose to play short minutes in actual games and build on that. Rose, though, doesn’t think that will be an issue if he doesn’t play this season.

“I think I’m just going to be a better player,” Rose said. “When I step on the court, I’m going to ball. I’m not going to think about it. I’m just going to be out there reacting, so right now, just taking my time and dealing with the whole situation.”

After practices and shootarounds, as well as before games, Rose has remained on the court to get in some extra work. He has also kept a constant dialog with Thibodeau.


From preps to the Bulls, ESPN Chicago focuses on point guard Derrick Rose.

“He’s been cool, man, definitely been cool,” Rose said. “He’s been letting me know that he’s been watching me work out and how hard I’ve been going. So hearing that from him, that’s a plus. But he’s been cool.

“He’s just been trying to stay focused, trying to put all the attention on the guys. I’ve been in the back trying to make sure the guys are getting the attention because they’re the ones that are playing every day, practicing every day.”

In essence, Rose has been trying to act as another assistant coach until he can get back to playing.

“You have to be as a leader on the team,” Rose said. “When the guys come in the locker room, I tell them what I see. It’s up to them to take the information and run with it. If not, they just go about their business, but they’re always going to hear me.”

Fans attending Wednesday night’s game will receive a Rose bobblehead.

“It would have been perfect if I was playing, but I guess not,” he said.

In other Bulls injury news, Joakim Noah will be a game-time decision because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Noah has missed the last two games with the injury that has affected him at various times since January.


“I just think you want to be smart,” Thibodeau said about a cautious approach with Noah. “That’s the big thing right now. He’s a lot better than he was yesterday. We’ll see how he feels tonight.”


If Noah can’t play, Thibodeau said he is prepared to attack the Heat with a small lineup. Taj Gibson could get the start if Noah isn’t ready to go.


Marco Belinelli also is a game-time decision with an abdominal strain.’s Scott Powers contributed to this story.

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III says he’s getting better, an opinion shared by the surgeon who repaired his knee ligaments in January.

In a lengthy text to ESPN’s Trey Wingo, published on Twitter, Griffin hints that the shared blame over his injury in an NFC wild-card loss to the Seattle Seahawks has at least been discussed and agreed upon within the organization.

Wrote Griffin: “My knee is getting better every day. The doctors say I’m ahead of schedule. My goal is to return healthy in week one but if I’m not ready then i will wait until i am, however long that is.

Robert Griffin III

QB Robert Griffin III tore two knee ligaments in the Redskins’ Jan. 6 playoff loss to the Seahawks.

“My first NFL season and my injury that ended it showed me a lot about the league, my team and myself. i know where my responsibility is within the dilemma that led to me having surgery to repair my knee and all parties involved know their responsibilities as well. I m looking forward to playing the game we all love so much again and not behind at the negative. thanks for the overwhelming level of support that i’ve received, sic em bears and hail to the redskins!!”

Griffin’s surgeon, James Andrews, said last week Griffin’s recovery has been nothing short of “superhuman.”

Andrews was at the center of controversy as Griffin hobbled through the loss to Seattle, insistent on playing through a knee sprain before ultimately tearing the ACL and LCL in his right knee as Andrews and coach Mike Shanahan stood by.

All parties are unsure if the 2012 offensive rookie of the year will be ready for this year’s regular-season opener.


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