Detroit wins Stanley Cup, Bowman retires
DETROIT, June 14 (UPI) -- Hockeytown claimed its 10th Stanley Cup championship Thursday night and legendary coach Scotty Bowman won his last.
The Detroit Red Wings, a team built for a title run, captured their third championship in six years with a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, finishing off the Stanley Cup Finals in five games.
It was the ninth title for Bowman, the most for any NHL coach, and immediately after the game he announced his retirement.
"I made up my mind in February this would be my last year," Bowman said. "I'm not an old man, but I felt it is time to go. I'm happy I can go out with a winning team."
One of three key offseason acquisitions on a team that was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last year, Hasek charged out to his own blue line when Shanahan scored into an empty net with 45 seconds left, then was mobbed by teammates at the final buzzer amid a sea of red and white confetti.
It was the first Stanley Cup title for Hasek, who after six Vezina Trophies and two Hart tropies might also be headed for retirement.
"Give me three or four days and I will let you know," the Detroit goaltender said.
Bowman passed his mentor, Toe Blake, and joined basketball's Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach as the only coaches in major professional sports with nine championships. As he did following the Red Wings' second straight Stanley Cup in 1998, Bowman donned skates and joined the post-game, on-ice celebration.
Detroit captain Steve Yzerman, after receiving the Stanley Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, handed it to Bowman so he could skate with it around the ice.
Nicklas Lidstrom, a finalist for his second straight Norris Trophy, became just the eighth defenseman and first European to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the postseason. In addition to scoring the winning goal in Game 2, he logged more than 52 minutes in the Game 3, triple-overtime marathon that turned out to be the decisive contest of the series.
Jeff O'Neill scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes, whose amazing playoff run ended at the hands of a team with at least nine future Hall of Famers in the lineup. Carolina split the first two games of the series in Detroit, but had its spirit broken back home in the Game 3 loss.
Woods leads U.S. Open by a shot
FARMINGDALE, N.Y., June 14 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods began the second major championship of the year Thursday in the same position he finished the first one.
In a bid to win his second straight major event, his seventh in the last 11 and his eighth overall, Woods launched his effort at the U.S. Open with a 3-under 67 -- finishing the round with a 15-foot birdie putt which he followed with an emphatic fist pump.
For the first time in the 102-year history of America's oldest professional golf tournament, the event is being hosted by the Bethpage State Park's Black Course -- the longest in U.S. Open history and one that presented a mystery as to just how difficult a test it might be.
It did not take long to learn that the test would be very severe. Some of the game's most familiar names, the defending champion among them, had to battle hard just to break 80 over a course loaded with deep bunkers, thick rough and difficult-to-read putting surfaces.
The harder the examination, however, the more Woods seems to thrive. He used a hot putter to hold his round together and rolled in his concluding birdie putt in the gloom of the early evening to take a one-shot lead over one of his biggest would-be rivals.
Sergio Garcia, looking for his first major title, shot a 68 early in the day to be one of only six players to break par.
Jeff Maggert, Billy Mayfair, Dudley Hart and South Korean K.J. Choi all finished at 1-under 69. The group at even-par 70 included Ireland's Padraig Harrington, Steve Lowery, Stewart Cink, the ever-present Phil Mickelson and 46-year-old Nick Faldo.
"You have to concentrate from start to finish," Faldo said. "This course is very fair. They have length, they have rough, they have bunkers, they have slippery greens. It is a serious golf course."
Two months ago in Augusta, Ga., Woods won his second straight Masters title to ignite speculation that he might make a run at the Grand Slam -- winning all four major events in the same year.
At this time last year, Woods held all four major titles, but he won them over the span of two different seasons. And the strain of that quest left him not fully prepared for the U.S. Open when it was played in the heat of Tulsa, Okla.
"I was fried," Woods later admitted.
It could be a very different story this year, as his play Thursday indicated. He hit 11 of 14 fairways, 13 of 18 greens and needed just 28 putts. The trademark of Woods' game, when he is at his best, is that he recovers from his mistakes by making par-saving putts.
He did so with regularity Thursday, saving par on four holes from six feet or more. Woods made five birdie putts as well, including four of at least 15 feet.
Devils make coaching change
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., June 14 (UPI) -- Following an early exit from the playoffs, the New Jersey Devils fired coach Kevin Constantine Thursday and replaced him with Pat Burns.
Constantine lasted just a few months on the job. He was named to replace Larry Robinson in January and posted a 20-8 record in the regular season, earning the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
After making back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, the Devils were ousted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the playoffs. Impatient general manager Lou Lamoriello decided it was time for another change and went for Burns, who will be coaching his fourth NHL team.
Italy survives in World Cup
OITA, Japan, June 14 (UPI) -- Having seen two of its fellow soccer powers summarily dismissed from the World Cup the two previous days, Italy found itself standing next to the exit Thursday and one good shove from Mexico would have created yet another shocking departure.
At the end of a tense 90 minutes, however, the Italians survived to play again while Mexico, enjoying its status as one of the most pleasant surprises of the World Cup, won its group and set up a possible second-round match with the United States.
Mexico and Italy, who played to a 1-1 tie, advanced out of group play Thursday, as did Brazil and Turkey. That left just four spots in the second round to be determined. Those positions will be filled Friday when the Americans try to finish off their thus-far solid performance with a win over Poland.
The day's biggest setback was suffered by Costa Rica, which was given little chance of advancing out of Group C but which found itself in second place going into the final round-robin games Thursday.
A 5-2 loss to Brazil, however, left Costa Rica vulnerable and Turkey took advantage by recording a 3-0 decision over China. Turkey and Costa Rica both finished with four points, but the Turks made up a deficit of three in the goal-differential tiebreaker and closed group play three goals in front of the Costa Ricans.
Italy also found itself worrying about goal differential when it fell behind Mexico, thanks to one of the most spectacular goals scored in the World Cup.
As it turned out, a 1-0 loss to Mexico would have seen the Italians through because of Croatia's unexpected 1-0 loss to Ecuador in the other Group G game. But Italy felt much better when second-half substitute Alessandro Del Piero headed home a cross in the 85th minute to bring about a 1-1 tie.
The deadlock was good enough for Mexico, which for most of the night made Italy look average.
Mexico's goal came in the 34th minute when Cuauhternoc Blanco sent a long across the box. Jared Borgetti, who was running away from the goal on the left side of the penalty box when the ball arrived, managed to partially swivel his body, strike the ball with the back of his head and loft it behind him toward the right post over astonished Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
The ball settled into the net, leaving Italian fans in a state of shock and fearful that they would soon be following in the footsteps of France and Argentina. Both of those pre-tournament favorites were knocked out before the second round of the tournament could begin.
Among those heading into the second round, Brazil looks as strong as anybody and also has history working on its side. No European country has ever won the World Cup when it was played outside Europe.
Brazil had already ensured its advancement thanks to wins in its first two games and looked like a machine in running over Costa Rica.
Sampras ousted in second round
HALLE, Germany, June 14 (UPI) -- Pete Sampras' deep slump continued Thursday when the fourth-seeded American lost to Germany's Nicolas Kiefer in the second round of the Gerry Webber Open.
A wild card in this event, Sampras fell, 6-3, 6-4 in a match that lasted just over an hour.
Sampras entered the grasscourt season looking to end a title drought that has lasted almost two years. He has not won since claiming his seventh Wimbeldon title in 2000.
Kiefer advances to a quarterfinal meeting with Alexander Popp of Germany, who defeated Stefan Koubek of Austria, 6-4, 6-2.
Dolphins trade McNown to 49ers
MIAMI, June 14 (UPI) -- The Miami Dolphins Thursday traded quarterback Cade McNown, a former first-round pick, to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2003.
It was a short stay in Miami for McNown, who was acquired prior to last season from Chicago for two draft picks. The former UCLA product did not throw a pass as the Dolphins' third quarterback.
"With five quarterbacks in camp, it would have been difficult for everyone to get the work they needed and we felt like we wanted to get a good look at Tim Leveik and Zak Kustok," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said.
The 12th overall pick in 1999 by the Bears, McNown started 25 games during two horrific seasons in Chicago, completing 281 of 515 passes for 3,111 yards with 16 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.