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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Jan. 18, 2013 at 11:00 PM   |   Comments

NHL season begins Saturday

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The National Hockey League season will start Saturday more than two months later than originally scheduled with 26 of the 30 teams playing on opening day.

There will be 48 games for each team crammed into 99 days, a compact schedule brought about by a lockout of NHL players due to the absence of a collective bargaining agreement.

That agreement was finally reached earlier this month, allowing the NHL to avoid what came close to being a second lost campaign in eight years.

No inter-conference games will be played this season until the Stanley Cup Finals, which will come to a close no later than June 28.

The Los Angeles Kings will raise their championship banner Saturday prior to their season-opening contest against Chicago. Los Angeles, which entered the playoffs last year as the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, defeated sixth-seeded New Jersey in six games to win the Stanley Cup.

Among the other first-day matchups will be Philadelphia's hosting of Pittsburgh in a rematch of one of last season's first-round playoff series. Philadelphia won that series in six games before losing to New Jersey in the second round.

Each team will play 18 games against clubs within its division -- five games each against two of the rivals and four each against the other two. There will be three meetings against each of the other 10 teams within the conference.

The regular season will end on April 27 with the playoffs beginning on April 30.


Jets hire John Idzik as GM

NEW YORK, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- The New York Jets announced Friday they had hired John Idzik away from the Seattle Seahawks to be their new general manager.

Mike Tannenbaum was dismissed as the Jets' general manager following a 6-10 season, but Coach Rex Ryan was retained.

Idzik has been vice president of football administration with the Seahawks for six seasons. He is is considered an expert on salary cap issues, having studied mathematics at Dartmouth. The Jets currently have little room under the cap and have needs throughout their roster.

The new Jets general manager has also worked in the front office with the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"After a thorough search in which we met many qualified and outstanding candidates, it was clear to me that John was the right choice," said Jets owner Woody Johnson. "During his two decades in the NFL, John helped build a Super Bowl championship team in Tampa Bay, an NFC championship team in Arizona and, most recently, a team in Seattle that narrowly missed reaching the NFC championship game.

"John has seen first-hand what's necessary to construct a winning team."


Holliday puts on one-man show for 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Jrue Holliday tied the game at the end of regulation Friday and then scored all 12 of Philadelphia's overtime points in a 108-101 victory over Toronto.

Holliday equaled his season's best scoring effort with 33 points and handed out 14 assists in a dazzling show that rallied the 76ers from a 17-point halftime deficit.

Philadelphia led only once during the game's first 48 minutes, that coming when the 76ers inched in front 74-73 during the opening moments of the fourth period.

The Raptors took a four-point lead with 8.8 seconds to go in the final quarter on a free throw by Alan Anderson, but Philadelphia got a tip-in with 5.9 seconds remaining from Spencer Hawes and Jose Calderon then turned it over for Toronto.

That gave Holliday a chance to tie the game on a driving layup with a second to play. He then went 4-of-6 during the overtime with one of his field goals being a 3-pointer and he also converted 3-of-4 from the foul line.

All of that brought Philadelphia just its third win in 11 games. Thaddeus Young added 27 points and 14 rebounds for the 76ers.

Anderson and Ed Davis both scored 18 points for the Raptors, who owned a 60-43 lead at intermission.


Castro, Hahn stay tied at Humana Challenge

LA QUINTA, Calif., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Roberto Castro and James Hahn maintained a share of the lead Friday on another day of extremely low scoring at the Humana Challenge.

More than two-thirds of the 156-player field broke 70 over the three courses used for the tournament with Castro and Hahn tied for the top at 14-under 130.

Castro shot a 67 over the PGA West Palmer Course and Hahn, trying to become the second rookie in as many weeks to win on the tour, also had a 67 at the LaQuinta Country Club.

They had a one-shot lead over Darron Stiles, Scott Stalings and Richard Lee, all of whom fired a 65 in the second round Friday.

Among the group at 132, tied for sixth, were Zach Johnson, Charles Howell III, Aaron Baddeley and Jason Kokrak, who had been tied for the lead with Castro and Hahn when the round began.

Russell Henley, who won last week in his debut as a tour member, was among those at 133. Stewart Cink and Ricky Barnes were also at that number.

Phil Mickelson, playing for the first time this year, shot a 67 at the PGA West Nicklaus Course for a 139 total, but that was good only for a tie for 91st place.

Mickelson will need a low round Saturday to make the 54-hole cut. The survivors will then play the final round Sunday over the Palmer Course.

This tournament is known for its low scores, a tradition highlighted by the 59 David Duval shot in the final round to win the event 14 years ago.

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