No decision yet on NHL players in Olympics
NEW YORK — A decision on whether NHL players will head to the 2014 Sochi Olympics isn’t likely this week, but a first day of discussions went well.
Talks between the NHL, the NHL players’ association, and officials from the International Ice Hockey Federation and the International Olympic Committee stretched into Thursday night as the parties worked toward getting NHL players back to the Olympics for a fifth straight time.
There are obstacles in the process, but the sides will get back together on Friday to talk some more.
“We had good discussions,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press in an email Thursday night after talks wrapped up. “We expect to continue tomorrow.”
While the NHL and the players might want to participate in the Olympics again, they have to figure out if it makes sense for them to interrupt another season to make it possible.
“I don’t expect any resolution or decisions this week,” Daly wrote to the AP earlier Thursday.
In these negotiations, the NHL and the players’ association appear to be aligned in their position.
The Sochi Games are one year away. While a final decision isn’t required this week, one will have to be reached in the near future.
It is believed hockey federations will need to know by May what players will be available for their teams.
LSU to introduce Cameron as new OC
Les Miles will introduce Cam Cameron as LSU’s new offensive coordinator on Friday.
LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette said Thursday evening that Miles has notified his players that Cameron will be taking over for Greg Studrawa, who remains as offensive line coach.
The 52-year-old Cameron comes to LSU after serving as the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator from 2008-2012.
Cameron was fired by Ravens coach John Harbaugh this past season after a Week 14 loss to the Washington Redskins, missing out on the club’s Super Bowl run.
Studrawa has been LSU’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons, taking over unexpectedly in 2011 when Steve Kragthorpe, who’d been hired for the job months earlier, announced he had Parkinson’s disease and would only serve as quarterbacks coach.
LSU went 10-3 last season and finished No. 14 in the nation, but the offense struggled with a new quarterback and an offensive line that was beset with injuries. The Tigers ranked 10th out of 14 teams in the Southeastern Conference in total offense, and first-year starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger finished near the bottom of the conference in efficiency rating. LSU was 92nd in the nation in passing, averaging 200.5 yards per game.
Garnett: ‘This is my last All-Star game’
BOSTON — Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett says this weekend “is definitely my last All-Star game.”
Garnett would not elaborate on why he wouldn’t be back after playing in the midseason exhibition for the 15th time in his 18-year career. Garnett says he’s bringing along friends and family so he can enjoy this weekend’s game in Houston.
Is it possible that Garnett, 36, is planning to retire?
He wouldn’t say.
Garnett is averaging 15 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. He’s helped the Celtics stay competitive — and even move up in the standings — despite the loss of fellow All-Star Rajon Rondo.
Williams on verge of becoming oldest No. 1
DOHA, Qatar — Serena Williams moved with a victory of becoming the oldest top-ranked women’s player, sweeping aside Urszula Radwanska 6-0, 6-3 on Thursday to reach the Qatar Open quarterfinals.
If the 31-year-old Williams reaches the semifinals by beating seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova she will return to No. 1 for the first time in 2½ years. Chris Evert was No. 1 in 1985 while just shy of her 31st birthday.
“It’s awesome,” Williams said. “Since I didn’t do the youngest, I figure I’ll do the oldest.”
If Williams doesn’t make the last four, Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka can keep the top spot by reaching the final. Third-ranked Maria Sharapova can pass both players if she wins the tournament and Williams and Azarenka lose their next matches.
Williams, a 15-time Grand Slam winner, was joined in the last eight by Azarenka, former No. 1s Caroline Wozniacki and Sharapova, plus 2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur and Agnieszka Radwanska.
Azarenka extended her unbeaten run in 2013 to 11 matches by thrashing Christine McHale of the United States 6-0, 6-0, Wozniacki downed Mona Barthel of Germany 7-6 (6), 6-3, and Sharapova got past Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3. Stosur edged Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-5, and Agnieszka Radwanska beat an error-prone Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 7-6 (6).
Report: Jerry Buss hospitalized with cancer
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Times reports that Lakers owner Jerry Buss has been hospitalized with cancer.
The Times says Buss has spent time in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and that several current and former Lakers players, including Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson, have visited him.
Team spokesman John Black told The Associated Press on Thursday that the team has no plans to comment on Buss’ health. Buss spokesman Bob Steiner said information would have to come from the Lakers.
The 79-year-old Buss has been hospitalized several times in recent years. He was hospitalized last July for treatment of dehydration. He was treated for blood clots in his legs in December 2011.
Since Buss took ownership of the Lakers in 1979, the franchise has won 10 NBA titles.
M’s Hernandez to get $27M in last year
SEATTLE — Felix Hernandez will make $27 million in the final year of his new $175 million, seven-year contract with the Seattle Mariners, which includes a conditional eighth-year option should he need elbow ligament surgery during the length of the deal.
Hernandez also is receiving a $6 million signing bonus for the contract he signed on Wednesday, the largest deal for a pitcher in baseball history. The signing bonus is payable within 30 days of the contract’s approval by Major League Baseball, and he’ll make $19 million this season and $22 million in 2014. The $47 million due during 2013-14 is $6.5 million more than he was due under his previous deal.
The contract slowly escalates from there, with Hernandez getting $24 million in 2015, $25 million in 2016, $26 million in both 2017 and ‘18 and the largest yearly sum in his final season.
Nadal cruises into Brazil Open quarters
SAO PAULO — Rafael Nadal beat Joao Souza 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Brazil Open, the Spanish star’s second tournament since returning from a left knee injury.
Nadal broke Souza’s service late in each set to win in 1 hour, 18 minutes at the indoor clay-court tournament in South America’s biggest city.
Nadal will face Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq, a 7-6 (7), 6-4 winner over eighth-seeded Albert Ramos of Spain.
Nadal lost the singles and doubles final last week at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar in Chile.
Earlier in the day, defending champion Nicolas Almagro of Spain beat Chilean qualifier Paul Capdeville 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2.
Federer advances to Rotterdam quarters
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Defending champion Roger Federer beat Dutchman Thiemo de Bakker 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of the ABN AMRO.
The top-seeded Federer will face France’s Julien Benneteau in the quarterfinals.
Second-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina also advanced, beating Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (5), 6-3. Del Potro will play Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 winner over Germany’s Matthias Bachinger.
Marcos Baghdatis beat fourth-seeded Richard Gasquet of France 6-4, 6-4. The Cypriot will play Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.
Rockets recall Jones, Smith from D-League
HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets have recalled forwards Terrence Jones and Greg Smith from the developmental league.
The 6-foot-9 Jones was a first-round pick (18th overall) by the Rockets last summer out of Kentucky.
Jones has averaged 18.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 17 games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He’s appeared in 11 games for Houston this season.
The 6-10 Smith appeared in 26 games for the Vipers last season and three this year. Smith has played in 44 games for the Rockets this season, averaging 5.5 points and four rebounds per game.
Cards extend contract of GM Mozeliak
JUPITER, Fla. — The St. Louis Cardinals announced a three-year contract extension with general manager John Mozeliak on Thursday and exercised the 2014 option for manager Mike Matheny, hoping the pair will keep the team contending for the World Series.
The 44-year-old Mozeliak will now be with the Cardinals through 2016. Matheny, in the second year of a two-year contract, is now guaranteed through next year. Terms were not announced.
“We just wanted to solidify their standing in the organization and keep the continuity of the baseball operations going,” chairman William DeWitt said, adding that the vision of the organization is to “win a championship but not at the expense of mortgaging our future.”
Mozeliak was named senior vice president and GM in October 2007. Since then, the Cardinals have reached the postseason three times, winning the 2011 World Series and coming within a game of reaching the World Series last season.
From wire sources