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Feb. 19, 2005 at 11:47 PM
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Saturday talks fail to save NHL season

NEW YORK, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Last-ditch negotiations to save the NHL season failed in New York Saturday, despite involvement by Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

Commissioner Gary Bettman had canceled the season Wednesday, but groups of players, owners and agents had hoped to forge a labor deal Saturday that would allow for a 28-game season and playoffs, the Los Angeles Times reported. However, six-hours of talks between the NHL and the players' association failed to make any progress.

"Meetings ended cordially," said Bill Daly, an NHL executive vice president and its chief legal officer. "We both realize we have to work hard to get a deal with one another."

Sources said the two sides were unable to solve the central issue, a salary cap owners have sought to control payroll growth. Issues including a luxury tax that would be imposed to discourage high spending, salary arbitration rights, and an entry-level salary scale were also points of contention.

Rain washes out play at PGA Nissan Open

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Saturday's play at the PGA Nissan Open suspended as rain continued.

Play was suspended on Friday following a long weather delay and tournament officials hoped to resume action Saturday morning.

Now, tournament officials hope to have the players back to the course at 10:30 a.m. EST on Sunday.

"If we can play tomorrow and play the third round and maybe finish the fourth round on Monday, that's our goal," said Tournament Director Mark Russell. "We're taking it one step at a time."

Bad weather has been a problem since the opening round and the forecast calls for more rain over the next two days.

Chad Campbell completed his second round on Friday and has the lead in the clubhouse at nine-under 133. Australian Robert Allenby also finished 36 holes and is at six-under 136.

Tiger Woods is four shots off the lead at five-under through four holes of the second round.

Stewart gets his first Busch victory

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Former Nextel Cup champion Tony Stewart won the season- opening Busch Series race Saturday.

Stewart's Chevrolet finished 0.204 seconds ahead of runner-up Kevin Harvick.

The victory was the first of Stewart's Busch career. Stewart has now won at least one race in each of the three NASCAR national series' - Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series.

But the former IndyCar champion took an unexpected trip across the infield on lap 95. He had been leading at the time when Carl Edwards clipped his rear bumper.

Stewart, a former dirt track racer, never slowed and re-emerged on the track in fifth place.

"That's Tony Stewart, he can do anything," said Dale Earnhardt Jr. "He can drive off a track, on a track, it doesn't matter."

Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Kasey Kahne completed the top-five.

McCullough has 2-shot lead in senior golf

NAPLES, Fla., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Mike McCullough shot a three-under 69 Saturday to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of The ACE Group Classic.

McCullough's 36-hole total of nine-under 135 left him two better than Hale Irwin and Mark James in the senior event.

R.W. Eaks, who held a share of the opening-round lead with McCullough, shot a 72 and is three back along with Jerry Pate and Mike Reid at 138.

McCullough is seeking his third career victory on the Champions Tour and first since the 2001 Emerald Coast Classic.

Gil Morgan, a two-time winner of this event, shot a 69 to tie Don Pooley, Bruce Lietzke, D.A. Weibring, Ron Streck, Jim Albus and Tom Wargo at five-under 139.

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