NEW YORK, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- As talks continued between baseball owners and players Thursday, the negotiating committee for the baseball players union said it had set a conference call for Friday as a preliminary step toward possibly announcing a strike date.
The conference call is a prelude to calling a meeting of the executive board, which could announce as early as next week that it's setting a strike date for some time between Aug. 16 and Sept. 16.
Don Fehr, the union's executive director, said that any of baseball's 30 player representatives may take part in the Friday call. The executive board can set a strike date on a subsequent conference call. A formal meeting, though, would be called before the 750 players vote on a work stoppage.
"Our greatest hope is that it doesn't have to be considered, and that we get a deal done before that happens," Fehr said.
Canadiens give coach new 2-year contract
MONTREAL, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- After leading the Montreal Canadiens to their first playoff berth since 1998, Coach Michel Therrien wasrewarded Thursday with a two-year contract.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Canadiens also came to two-year agreements with assistant coaches Roland Melanson, Rick Green and Clement Jodoin. The entire coaching staff, which also features Guy Charron, is now under contract through the 2003-04 season.
Montreal captured the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with a 36-31-12-3 record this past season under Therrien and knocked off the top seeded Boston Bruins in the first round, four games to two, before falling to the Carolina Hurricanes, four games to two, in the conference semifinals.
Therrien, 38, took over as Canadiens coach on Nov. 20, 2000, replacing the fired Alain Vigneault, and was 23-27-6-6 in his first season.
Ward defends Wendy's LPGA title
DUBLIN, Ohio, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Wendy Ward recorded an LPGA 54-hole record with a 21-under-par 195 total at the Wendy's Championship for Children last year. On Friday, she returns to defend her title which is now being held at Tartan Fields Country Club.
This tournament was played at New Albany Country Club in New Albany, Ohio from 1999-2001.
Ward's three-day total last year broke the previous 54-hole winning score of 19-under shared by Annika Sorenstam and Pat Bradley. It was Ward's third career victory and first since 1998.
South Korean Gloria Park stole the spotlight from Sorenstam in last week's Sybase Big Apple Classic. Park sank a seven-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a sudden death playoff to beat countrywoman Hee-Won Han for her second career victory.
Tribe activates Fryman
CLEVELAND, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Indians Thursday activated third baseman Travis Fryman, who has been bothered by
inflammation in his right shoulder following off-season surgery.
Fryman is hitting just. 226 with eight homers and 39 RBI in 82 games this season. But prior to being placed on the disabled list on July 20, Fryman was hitting .296 in a 22-game stretch.
The Indians optioned outfielder Ben Broussard to Class AAA Buffalo make room for Fryman on the roster.
Busy signing day in NHL
By United Press International
The Nashville Predators re-signed right wing Vladimir Orszagh to a contract extension Thursday.
Orszagh, 25, had 15 goals and 21 assists in 2001-02, his first full NHL season. He also ranked second among Nashville forwards with 124 hits. Following the regular season, he helped lead Slovakia to a gold medal in the World Championships, where he registered three goals and one assist in nine games.
In Pittsburgh, right wing Shean Donovan, who was claimed on waivers by the Pittsburgh Penguins last March, has accepted his qualifying offer from the team for the 2002-03 season.
Donovan, 27, played in 13 games with the Penguins after being claimed from the Atlanta Thrashers and had two goals and an assist.
And, in Atlanta, the Thrashers signed free agent left wing Vyacheslav Kozlov and three others Thursday.
Also signed were restricted free agents right wing Tomi Kallio, a right wing, and Ben Simon, a center and unrestricted free agent center Chris Herperger.