Super Bowl stays in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The National Football League announced today that Super Bowl XXXVI will be kept in New Orleans and will be played on Feb. 3, allowing the NFL to keep its 12-team playoff format intact.
Moving Super Bowl Sunday back one week was made possible when the NFL and the National Automobile Dealers Association reached an agreement to swap weekends for their respective events in New Orleans.
The NADA annual convention originally scheduled for Feb. 2-5 in New Orleans now will be held Jan. 26-29. The Super Bowl will move from Sunday, Jan. 27 to Sunday, Feb. 3.
The NFL will pay the NADA $7.5 million to cover additional expenses and losses resulting from the switch. The agreement also includes an NFL Charities grant that will match NADA contributions to the Sept. 11 relief efforts up to $500,000.
The NFL regular season will conclude the weekend of Jan. 5-7, which originally was scheduled as the first weekend of the playoffs. Following the events of Sept. 11, the NFL postponed its Week 2 games and re-scheduled them for that first weekend in January.
The playoffs now will begin Jan. 12-13 with the wild card round. The AFC and NFC divisional playoffs will be Jan. 19-20 and the conference championship games on Jan. 27.
If the NFL and the auto dealers had not reached an agreement, the Super Bowl likely would have been moved out of New Orleans.
NHL season gets underway
PITTSBURGH, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The National Hockey League season gets underway tonight with Joe Sakic, Patrick Roy and Rob Blake leading the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the evening's top attraction.
Also on tap as the NHL opens its 85th season are two provincial rivalries as the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs renew the "Battle of Ontario" and the Calgary Flames host the Edmonton Oilers in the latest "Battle of Alberta."
But the marquee matchup is in Pittsburgh, where the Avalanche try to replace two perennial All-Stars. Ray Bourque retired last June, two weeks after finally realizing his Stanley Cup dream. While his departure was expected, Peter Forsberg's was not.
Still recovering from an emergency splenectomy, hockey's best two-way player announced last month he was taking a leave of absence. Many teammates do not expect Forsberg to return this season.
That leaves a formidable void up the middle for Colorado, which was able to dethrone the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals without an ailing Forsberg.
Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix avoided mass defections by spending some $118 million to re-sign Sakic, Roy and Blake, just hours before they could have become unrestricted free agents.
Sakic is the reigning Hart Trophy winner, Roy captured an unprecedented third Conn Smythe Trophy and Blake remains a franchise defenseman.
Security upgrade planned for Olympics
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Federal officials today reassured Utah officials a security upgrade for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City was planned in wake of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, near Washington and in Pennsylvania.
After a meeting with Attorney General John Ashcroft and representatives of various federal agencies, the Utah officials said funding and cooperation they requested would be forthcoming.
"We have a firm commitment from all the parties that attended our meeting today that they will put all essential resources behind our Olympic security needs," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.
Milt Romney, president of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, told the Deseret News the federal government had agreed to increase its original pledge of $200 million for Olympic security by another $30 million to $40 million.
Lieber struggles to 20th win
CHICAGO, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Jon Lieber suffered through his worst home start of the season today, but still recorded his 20th victory as the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cincinnati Reds, 13-7, on a blustery day at Wrigley Field.
Rookie catcher Corky Miller had a pair of home runs and four RBI for the Reds, who made a pair of errors and had their winning streak snapped at three games.
Lieber gave up five runs in six innings, but became the first Cubs pitcher to win 20 games since Greg Maddux in 1992. His previous career high was 12 victories last year.
Sosa capped a five-run seventh with a three-run blast to center, increasing his major league-leading RBI total to 154 and Chicago's lead to 13-6.
The homers came off lefthander Chris Michalak and made the Athletics (98-60) the all-time winningest wild card team. The New York Mets recorded 97 victories en route to claiming the National League wild card in 1999.
Oakland's home winning streak is the longest in the major leagues since the Cleveland Indians won 18 straight at Jacobs Field in 1994. The Philadelphia Athletics hold the franchise mark with 22 consecutive home victories in 1931.
Don Evans named Dodgers GM
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers today named Dan Evans general manager, just four months after hiring him as a senior advisor.
Evans takes over for interim general manager Dave Wallace, who was named senior vice president of baseball operations. Evans also takes the tag of executive vice president.
The Dodgers have been searching for a GM since Kevin Malone resigned under pressure on April 19. Five days earlier, he challenged a San Diego Padres ticket holder to a fight during a game at Qualcomm Stadium.
Evans, 41, is regarded as one of baseball's top administrators, having worked in the front office of the Chicago White Sox from 1981-99, most recently as the assistant general manager.
When he was passed over for the GM job in favor of Ken Williams, Evans joined the Chicago Cubs as a consultant. He also worked as an analyst with Fox television before joining the Dodgers.
Manuel released from hospital
CLEVELAND, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Cleveland Indians manager Charlie Manuel was released from the hospital today, just over a week after admitting himself with an abdominal ailment.
He has had colon surgery twice in the last 16 months.
Without Manuel over the past five games, the Indians went 3-2, including Sunday's 9-1 victory over Minnesota that clinched the American League Central title.
Manuel is hopeful of joining the team this weekend in Toronto.
Brodeur's contract extended
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Goaltender Martin Brodeur, a cornerstone on one of the NHL's most successful teams, has signed a five-year contract extension with the New Jersey Devils.
The deal is worth $40 million over five years. The Devils hold an $8 million option on the final year of the contract.
Brodeur was entering the final year of a four-year, $16 million contract that he signed in December 1997. He was elgible to become a restricted free agent following this season, and reportedly had been pushing for a new deal.
Brodeur, 29, is one of the NHL's top goaltenders, having led the Devils to a pair of Stanley Cup titles. He also guided them to the Finals last season, where they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in seven games.
Making a commitment on a long-term deal is not something the Devils are known for. In previous seasons, the club has lost or traded numerous players due to contract squabbles, including wingers Bill Guerin and Brian Rolston, and centers Doug Gilmour Brendan Morrison.
Paul Coffey retires
TORONTO, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Paul Coffey retired today after winning four Stanley Cups, playing in 14 All-Star Games and accumulating the second-highest point total among defensemen in NHL history.
Coffey, 40, left the game after 21 seasons, playing 18 games with Boston in 2000-01 before being waived.
He was awarded the Norris Trophy -- which goes to the NHL's best defensemen -- three times and played on three Canada Cup winners.
"I was able to play on championship teams both in the NHL and at the international level alongside so many players," said Coffey, who played 1,409 regular season games. "And I will remember these experiences forever."
Thrashers extend coach's contract
ATLANTA, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Thrashers today rewarded coach Curt Fraser for his team's "hard work and gutsy play," giving him a contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.
Fraser, who has a history with general manager Don Waddell, has been the Thrashers' only coach since they joined the NHL in 1999. Atlanta went a league-worst 14-61-4-7 during its expansion season before going 23-45-12-2 in 2000-01.
The Thrashers have not been able to compete on a talent level, but they have taken on the scrappy personality of their coach, who had 1,306 penalty minutes during a 12-year playing career.
"The integrity, perseverance and leadership that he embodied as an NHL player continue to be equally evident behind the bench," Waddell said. "(Fraser) demands the most from his players and they have responded with hard work and gutsy play."
Auerbach Celtics president again
BOSTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Legendary NBA coach and executive Red Auerbach today regained the title of president of the Boston Celtics.
Already the Celtics' vice-chairman of the board, Auerbach was named president, a title that was vacant since Rick Pitino stepped down in January.
"Red Auerbach has been the cornerstone of our franchise for over the past five decades and he was the man who developed tradition with the Boston Celtics," team chairman Paul Gaston said. "The naming of his title and the success he has brought to Celtics fans everywhere is fitting for all he has accomplished in his distinguished career."
Auerbach was 938-479 in 20 seasons as coach, 16 of them with Boston. He directed the Celtics to nine titles, including an astounding eight in a row from 1959-1966.
Tangerine Bowl returns
ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The Micronpc.com Bowl is gone, but the Tangerine Bowl is back.
Florida Citrus Sports announced plans today to bring back the Tangerine Bowl, a postseason college football game that was last played in 1982.
The contest will be held at the Citrus Bowl stadium on Dec. 20 and will feature a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference against a Big East Conference team, Notre Dame or an at-large club.
For the next four-year period, the bowl is negotiating for a team from the Big 12 Conference or the Big East to face an ACC entry.
The Tangerine Bowl is the successor to the Micronpc.com Bowl, which was played in Miami last season. North Carolina State defeated Minnesota, 35-30, before a crowd of 28,359.
The original Tangerine Bowl was the predecessor to the current Citrus Bowl. In the final game, Auburn, led by Bo Jackson, defeated Boston College and Doug Flutie, 33-26.
Chiefs release Dan Williams
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The Kansas Chiefs today ended their rocky relationship with Dan Williams, releasing the veteran defensive tackle.
An eight-year veteran, Williams underwent offseason foot surgery and was placed on the physically unable to perform list on Sept. 2, preventing him from playing in the first six games of the season.
The Chiefs were not happy with Williams' rehabilitation, leading to Wednesday's move.
"He has been unable to pass our physical," team president Carl Peterson said. "Given his age and the new direction of our team, we believe it was in the best interest of Dan that we release him at this time."
Williams, 31, was a first-round selection of the Denver Broncos in 1993 and signed with Kansas City as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 1997 season.
Bills waive Steve Christie
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Kicker Steve Christie, one of the final links to the Buffalo Bills' Super Bowl teams of the 1990s, was waived by the team today.
Christie, the Bills' all-time leader in points (1,011) and field goals (234), was placed on injured reserve the day before the start of the regular season with a groin injury.
The move to release Christie was expected after he refused an injury settlement, which could have allowed him to re-sign with the team after Week 10.
Rookie Jack Arians, who replaced Christie prior to the season, has made five of seven field goals for the winless Bills.
Ryan Humphrey suspended two games
SOUTH BEND, Ind., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Notre Dame forward Ryan Humphrey will miss the first two games of his senior season as a result of a secondary violation of the NCAA's outside competition rule.
The 6-8 Humphrey, who teamed with Troy Murphy last season to lead the Fighting Irish back to the NCAA Tournament, was suspended because he participated in a pair of summer league contests in Los Angeles.
That violates the NCAA's 100-mile radius rule, which states that a student-athlete is only allowed to play in summer leagues within 100 miles of their school or legal residence. Humphrey, a native of Tulsa, Okla., played in the games while visiting relatives.
Humphrey will miss games with New Hampshire (Nov. 16) and Cornell (Nov. 19). He will be allowed to participate in the school's first two exhibition games against International Select and EA Sports All-Stars.