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In brief

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 24, 2002


Ranger contracts approved by NHL

The NHL approved contracts for the Rangers' Darius Kasparaitis and Bobby Holik that originally were rejected because they would pay the players during a work stoppage.

The league objected to provisions in the agreements that would pay the players if there is a strike or lockout, Toronto's National Post reported. The league's collective-bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15, 2004.

NHL spokesman Frank Brown said Friday the free-agent contracts were approved, but declined to say whether the work-stoppage clause was removed or changed.

The union filed a grievance over the rejection of the contracts, which were signed last month. Had the case not been settled, it would have gone to an arbitrator.

Holik's five-year, $45-million contract includes bonuses of $2.7-million this season and $2-million each of the next four years. Kasparaitis's six-year, $25-million agreement includes signing bonuses of $1-million each season.

Holik, 31, was a key member of New Jersey's 1995 and 2000 Stanley Cup championship teams. The two-time All-Star scored 25 goals and had 29 assists for the Devils last season. Kasparaitis, 29, had two goals, 14 assists and 142 penalty minutes in 80 games last season with Pittsburgh and Colorado.

MORE NHL: Bobby Nystrom, director of corporate relations for the Islanders, was charged with misdemeanor assault after punching two gas station attendants in an Aug. 9 dispute in Montrose, N.Y. ... Two competing ownership groups joined in a bid to buy the Sabres, bolstering prospects for long-term stability of the financially troubled franchise. Frank DuRoss, a Utica-based businessman, said he is merging efforts with a group headed by Sherry Bassin and Alan Maislin. DuRoss expects to submit a purchase offer to the NHL before Buffalo opens training camp Sept. 13. ... The Panthers are negotiating with Office Depot for naming rights to the team's arena. The arena in Sunrise, site of the 2003 All-Star Game, lost its National Car Rental Center name Thursday in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware. The Panthers and National signed a 10-year, $25-million naming rights deal in 1998. But National's parent company, Fort Lauderdale-based ANC Rental Corp., filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in November. ... The USHL received Tier I status from USA Hockey, becoming the first American junior league to have the designation, which is the highest available in the United States.

TENNIS: Second-seeded Lindsay Davenport won 6-2, 6-2 over Anastasia Myskina to reach the Pilot Pen final in New Haven, Conn. She faces top-seeded Venus Williams, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Daniela Hantuchova. ... Juan Ignacio Chela beat Mardy Fish 7-5, 6-3, advancing to the TD Waterhouse Cup semifinals in Commack, N.Y. He faces Alex Corretja, who led 5-2 when Paul-Henri Mathieu retired because of a left toe blister. Tommy Haas defeated Jarkko Nieminen 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. He faces Paradorn Srichaphan, who beat Younes El Aynaoui 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

BASKETBALL: Orlando exercised its option on Mike Miller, keeping him through 2003-04. He will make about $2.7-million next season and $3.4-million in 2003-04. Miller, the NBA's rookie of the year in 2001, averaged 15.2 points last season. The Magic also hired Mark Hughes as assistant coach and extended the contracts of assistants Dave Wohl, Johnny Davis and Paul Pressey. New Orleans re-signed forward Robert Traylor. Los Angeles signed free-agent center Soumaila Samake. Mike Wilks, a former prep star in Milwaukee, was signed by the Bucks.

BOXING: Former world champ Virgil Hill stopped Carlos Bates at 1:50 of the first round at New Town, N.D. Bates (30-17) has lost six straight by knockout in the first or second round. Hill (47-7) was the WBA's cruiserweight champion until March, when he lost to Jean-Marc Mormeck. Hill's manager, Bill Sorensen, said the win almost guarantees Hill a title shot in November.

HORSES: Summer Colony beat Transcendental by 41/2 lengths in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap at Saratoga, returning $3.70, $2.60 and $2.10. Also, Imperial Gesture, who was second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last year and had not run since finishing eighth in the Kentucky Oaks on May 3, won her comeback race by 6 lengths.

SOCCER: World Cup star Ronaldo will return to Italian club Internazionale after trade talks with Spain's Real Madrid fell apart. ... The Football League ordered Leicester City to reinstate Dennis Wise three weeks after the English club fired him for punching a teammate in the face. The league said Wise could only be fined two weeks' pay. Leicester plans to appeal. ... Goalkeeper Siri Mullinix, the starter for the U.S. team at the 2000 Olympics, was among 24 selected to the American roster for the Sept. 8 exhibition game against Scotland at Columbus, Ohio. Ex-Florida star Abby Wambach of WUSA's Washington also was selected.

GYMNASTICS: Tasha Schwikert topped fellow American Carly Patterson in the women's all-around championship at the International Challenge on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif. Bulgaria's Jordan Jovtchev won the men's, followed by American Paul Hamm.

TRACK AND FIELD: Dwain Chambers beat world record-holder Maurice Greene a fourth time this season in the 100 meters, winning in 9.98 seconds at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in London. Greene (10.06) was third. Marion Jones (10.97) won the women's 100. Gail Devers was second in the 100 hurdles behind Jamaica's Bridgette Kirkland.

SAILING: Britain's Iain Percy and Steven Mitchell won the Star Class World Championship, taking the final race in Los Angeles.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Top-seeded Holly McPeak and Elaine Youngs won twice in the opening round of the U.S. Championships in Chicago. For the men, top-seeded Eric Fonoimoana and Dax Holdren advanced.

WATER POLO: The United States beat Croatia 12-10 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, clinching seventh in the eight-nation World Cup.

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