Cupid's juiced. Lance Armstrong's head is corked. Is there Dwayne Roloson Jersey anything left to love about modern sports, the apparent bastion of liars, cheats and psychopaths?Well, here are 100 Valentines dedicated to all that's still good about sports. "There are really 100?" you ask. OK, maybe 99:—The poetry of the phrase "pitchers and catchers report ..." "Obviously, that was a tough pill to swallow," Quick said Thursday after practice. "It kind of hurts a little more because you know how hard the team played in front of me. ... You feel like you let a lot of guys down. At the same time, that is part of the position. That's what I've signed up for."You're going to have some ups and down and you're going to give up goals that you're going to want back. ... It's how you handle it."His response to the Detroit game could come as early as Friday against Columbus. Backup Jonathan Bernier started and won at St. Louis on Monday night.Of course, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter would depart from years of standard behavior if he were to announce a starting goaltender the day before a game. In fact, he took time to explain his reasoning."It doesn't really serve much of a purpose, publicly. It's not like you have a rotation," Sutter said. "Lots of things happen. In more of a roundabout way, you know what, we want to be a playoff team. We need a goalie to get hot. Not get patted on the back."… Listen, this team rode a hot goalie last year, right? They didn't the year before. They rode a hot goalie last year. So you know what? We're in the same thing again — we need one to get hot."They also need defensemen to keep dropping from the lineup at every turn. The Kings are missing half of their defense corps from last season's Stanley Cup playoff run: Matt Greene, Willie Mitchell and Alec Martinez.Martinez, who was injured early at St. Louis, was put on injured reserve. He could be out a minimum of two weeks. Jake Muzzin will take his spot and Sutter said, in frank terms, that he was displeased with Muzzin's performance in Anaheim on Feb. 2."I talked to him about it yesterday," Sutter said. "Most guys play like that one NHL game, they're doing time again. He's got to get his foot on the right pedal if he wants to play again. He's going to play tomorrow and he better have it on the right pedal. Or somebody else gets the chance. That's not being harsh or anything. That's exactly what it takes to be a defenseman."Others are getting adjusted to the newcomers on defense."It changes a little bit but not enough so it should change your game," Quick said. "We've got three guys in the lineup that weren't in the lineup last year. Different faces you've got to get used to, it's not going to happen overnight. But at the same time, you've got a job to do. These guys have been doing it really well. They've handled it with everything that's been thrown at them."TONIGHTVS. COLUMBUSWhen: 7:30.Where: Staples Center.On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 1150.Record vs. Blue Jackets: 1-0-0.Update: This will mark defenseman Jack Johnson's first time back at Staples Center since he was traded for Jeff Carter last season. The Kings and Blue Jackets have since played twice, with both games at Columbus.
Tim Leiweke spent his last evening as president and chief executive of AEG watching the Galaxy defeat Costa Rica's Herediano at the Home Depot Center. Had the Kings been home Leiweke might have been at Staples Center, cheering from the corner season seats he bought so he could vent his passion more freely than he could in a remote suite.Leiweke, whose departure "by mutual agreement" was announced Thursday when the Anschutz Co. took AEG off the market, gladly became the face of the Kings and Galaxy and not only because owner Phil Anschutz stayed out of daily operations. Leiweke was a fan at heart and the day the Kings received their Stanley Cup rings he walked around the concourse at Staples Center and let other fans try on his ring, posing for pictures to document the moment.Unlike most fans, Leiweke controlled multimillion-dollar payrolls. AEG at one point owned six MLS teams, but its jewel was the Galaxy, and Leiweke used the company's checkbook to lure David Beckham and Robbie Keane to Los Angeles. He also pursued elite free agents for the Kings such as Ilya Kovalchuk and Brad Richards, though with less success.
The Kings’ morning skate on Monday was optional, and many players took the option to work out off the ice instead of on it. But two lineup changes were apparent for Monday night’s game at Staples Center against the Nashville Predators: Jonathan Bernier will start in goal in place of Jonathan Quick, and defenseman Alec Martinez will return to the lineup after missing eight games.Bernier owns the Predators and has faced them seven times, more than he has faced any other NHL opponent. He’s 6-1 against them with one shutout and a 2.00 goals-against average.“We were joking with him this morning and I said I think he’s played Nashville more than [Anze Kopitar] and I have,” Martinez said. Martinez suffered an upper-body injury on Feb. 11 and was activated before the Kings faced Vancouver on Saturday but didn’t play there. Davis Drewiske will sit out against Nashville.“I feel good,” Martinez said Monday morning. “It’s pretty much right on schedule. It’s been a long couple weeks being out but I got better every day.”Martinez, who had a goal, two points, and an even plus-minus rating while averaging 18 minutes and 55 seconds' ice time in the 11 games he played,is the first of the Kings’ three injured defensemen to return. Matt Greene (back surgery) and Willie Mitchell (slow recovery from knee surgery) remain out indefinitely.Martinez said he had been kept off the ice after the injury for only four or five days. “I’ve been skating for two weeks. It was basically just me and a stopwatch for a while when the guys are on the road, so that wasn’t very much fun,” he said. “My conditioning feels really good. My legs feel good.”He called the Kings’ matchup against the Predators “a bounce-back game” after Saturday’s 5-2 loss at Vancouver. “Nashville’s a really good hockey club. They don’t give up much,” Martinez said. “They’re pretty defensive, kind of like we are. It will be a good test for us.”Coach Darryl Sutter said he had pushed Martinez the last few days “to give him a little more game-situation stuff,” and that Martinez’s conditioning level was good. He said Martinez will be paired with Keaton Ellerby.Check back later for more Kings coverage.ALSO:Kings' win streak has sloppy endingKings' Alec Martinez makes progressKings come to defense of goalie Jonathan Quick a day after Vancouver loss
Ted Ligety has joined some of skiing's legends. And in doing so, the American catapulted himself into the sport's biggest spotlight heading into next year's Sochi Olympics.By winning Friday's giant slalom at Schladming, Austria, by a massive margin, Ligety became the first man in 45 years to win three gold medals at a skiing world championships — since French great Jean-Claude Killy took home four golds in 1968."I still don't think I recognize what I've done this week," Ligety said. "It's just been so phenomenal to win three gold medals, especially in two events that I hadn't won in before." Ligety opened the championships last week by winning the super-G, then followed that up with gold in the super-combined Monday — both events he had never won on the World Cup circuit.Ligety put himself in position as the next big thing heading into Sochi. But with Lindsey Vonn having had a season-ending crash in her opening event here and Bode Miller taking this season off to recover from left knee surgery, Ligety will almost surely be thrust into the role that Miller had for the 2006 Turin Games and that Vonn dealt with for the 2010 Vancouver Games.Before 35,000 fans, Ligety established a 1.31-second lead in the opening run Friday and overcame a slight bobble in the second leg to finish 0.81 ahead of Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher — the only man to beat Ligety in a GS this season — and 1.75 in front of Manfred Moelgg, who gave Italy's GS squad its first medal since Alberto Tomba in 1996.While the numbers were impressive, what his fellow skiers marveled at was Ligety's form — how he leaned down at near-impossible angles for each turn, dragging his hips and hands across the snow as the edges of his skis carved stayed on perfect line.ETC.Goodell makes nearly $30 millionNice job, Roger Goodell. Here's your pay: $29.49 million.NFL owners nearly tripled the commissioner's compensation in the 2011 tax year and likely made Goodell the best-paid commissioner in U.S. sports.According to the league's most recent tax return, much of Nicklas Backstrom Jersey Goodell's pay comes in the form of a $22.3 million bonus. His base pay was $3.1 million. The NFL was scheduled to file the return Friday.::The Green Bay Packers released veteran defensive back Charles Woodson.General Manager Ted Thompson announced the move Friday, saying the team would not have won the 2010 Super Bowl without Woodson and saying the "once-in-a-generation talent" was an ambassador for the organization off the field.The 36-year-old Woodson has two years left on a five-year contract that was worth as much as $55 million. His agent, Carl Poston, says Woodson still wants to play for a Super Bowl contender.::The Indianapolis Colts said they will not re-sign former league sacks champion Dwight Freeney or oft-injured receiver Austin Collie.Both will become unrestricted free agents next month.::
Junior Myles Stewart can score from three-point range. Senior Tyler Batiste is a point guard who stays cool and calm in pressure situations. Juniors Elijah Stewart and the 6-foot-7 Josh Rideau have come through with big offensive games. Senior Nick Reese is a 6-6 center who controls the boards. Junior Cameron Young is a 6-5 forward who has been a spark coming off the bench.And then there's the 6-3 Hamilton. If you want to know how Westchester gave Southern Section powers Santa Ana Mater Dei, Long Beach Poly and Torrance Bishop Montgomery such a tough time before losing in close games, just watch Hamilton in action."Nick's a warrior," Azzam said. "He competes on every possession 100% of the time. That's so rare in high school and it's rare at any level, and it's fun to have. He makes mistakes, but he never makes mistakes going less than 100%."In the classroom, Hamilton a hasn't received a grade other than A since he was in the fifth grade. He's so good at math that teammates come to him to be tutored.His father, Mark, raised four boys as a single parent. He worked for 28 years as a postal worker and instilled in them the importance of education."He made sure everyone was studying every night, getting their homework done," Nick said. "When I got to high school, he said it isn't about him anymore, it's about me. If I wanted it, I have to get the grades."Hamilton was a member of last year's 27-1 junior varsity team that learned how to play with many substitutions.If Saturday night ends with a championship and getting to hold up a trophy, there won't be any complaints from Westchester players. It will be just like winning a Stanley Cup, which seems appropriate for a team with the substitute pattern of the NHL Kings.eric.sondheimerlatimes
There's no Little League-like rule in high school basketball requiring every player on a team to make an appearance, so would someone explain why Coach Ed Azzam of 11-time City Section champion Westchester keeps using as many as 13 players in the first half of playoff games?Substitutions are made in waves every four or five minutes, a five-in-and-five-out pattern that would make any ice hockey fan smile. (It's called a massive line change in the NHL).Several rival coaches earlier this season were shaking their heads in bemusement while wondering if using so many players might hurt continuity and prevent the Comets from reaching their potential. Eric SondheimerE-mail | Recent columns AlsoTustin defense sets up victory in Southern Section title gameEtiwanda outlasts Long Beach Poly, 59-55Los Angeles Windward girls' basketball team captures section titleMarvin Sanders shifts gears to coach football at Los Angeles LoyolaFootball's scholar-athletes inspire But Azzam, in his 34th season, apparently still knows something about basketball. The Comets (27-6) are set to play Woodland Hills El Camino Real (28-2) on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Cal State Dominguez Hills in the Division I championship game.Azzam is sticking with his let-them-play strategy even though some of his players probably would like to spend more time on the court."We've got a real good group of kids," Azzam said. "We have a little bit of attitude problems, but it can't be that much because a lot are playing. They've all gotten their opportunities. I'm too old to worry about attitudes and egos."If they don't want to contribute to what we're doing as a team, they go away. This group wants to stick around and play. It's been fun."It has been difficult for opponents to figure out who might be Westchester's top players, because no one, with the exception of senior guard Matthew Grant, is scoring in double figures on a consistent basis."Coach doesn't want us to get tired, so he says, 'Five in, five out,'" junior forward Nick Hamilton said. "People might want to play more, but they know at the end of the day we're winning."The Comets' depth is their strength, and on a given night any number of players are capable of stepping forward to be a major contributor.Grant has been Westchester's go-to player in big games.
The first game between the Kings and Ducks this season, which produced a combined 11 goals, was not one for the ages. In fact, it probably aged Kings goalies Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier, who replaced Quick after five-plus minutes, and even Jonas Hiller of the Ducks.But the goalie not in that game on Feb. 2, avoiding a bit of shot-by-shot torture in the crease, has taken the NHL by storm since then. Newcomer Viktor Fasth, who won his first eight starts, has helped the Ducks ascend to No. 2 in the Western Conference. "He's just provided us with stability and he probably doesn't even know it," defenseman Sheldon Souray said Sunday. "I've been around goalies who are so intense that you can't walk by them and touch their pads or they look up and snarl."He's just a regular guy and I've found the best goalies I've ever played with have been like that. Marty Brodeur is a guy who sits and has his Sprites between periods and he's looking around and nothing's going to faze him. You can tell that's the same with these two guys."Monday night's game between the Kings and Ducks is expected to feature a headline writer's dream: Quick vs. Fasth. (Insert your puns now.)Internal competition has benefited the goalies in Anaheim and Los Angeles. It just took a little longer with the Kings this season.Bernier has won his last three starts, and Quick two of his last three. Kings Coach Darryl Sutter scans the NHL statistics on a daily basis and noted that the Kings had moved up to ninth in goals-against average."Two things: No. 1, it's really good competition for young guys," Sutter said. "You have to prove yourself over a period of time and not over one season. That's really important. Jonathan Bernier made it clear he wanted to play as a No. 1, right? But you have to perform as that. The second part of it is the schedule. We were sort of in a box at the start,
The Ducks locked up unbeaten goaltender Viktor Fasth for two years Wednesday, signing him to a $5.8-million extension through the 2014-15 season.Fasth, 30, is 8-0 in starts with a 1.78 goals-against average in nine games, helping the Ducks (12-2-1) to lead the Pacific Division and rank behind only Chicago in the Western Conference."Viktor has proven himself not only this year in the NHL, but the previous two seasons as the top goaltender in Sweden," Ducks General Manager Bob Murray said in a statement. "We are pleased to be able to keep him and feel fortunate to have two top goaltenders going forward." Fasth will earn $2.4 million next season, and $3.4 million in 2014-15.Jonas Hiller, who began the season as the Ducks' clear starting goaltender, earns $4.5 million this season and next.The 6-foot, 186-pound Fasth, who arrived from the Swedish Elite League, is the third goalie in NHL history to win his first eight career decisions. He ranks sixth in goals-against average and tied for seventh in save percentage.He shut out Colorado Feb. 6 with 31 saves, after debuting with a shootout victory at Honda Center Jan. 26 versus Nashville.ALSO:Jose Canseco explains gravity via TwitterFloyd Mayweather to fight Robert Guerrero on May 4Tony Romo is part of Cowboys' long-term plans, but should he be?lance.pugmire/latimespugmire
The only Kings forwards held without a point Saturday were Kyle Clifford, Jarret Stoll, Dwight King and Mike Richards, though Richards had four shots on goal and set the early tone when his shot from the red line in the opening minute beat goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and glanced off the left post.Richards left the game in the second period after a hit from the Flames' Tim Jackman but returned for the third. Afterward, Richards, who has a history of concussions, said he was fine.Kiprusoff was pulled after allowing Fraser's goal, at 8:22 of the third period, giving up six goals on 22 shots. Joey MacDonald finished up and Flames Coach Bob Hartley said he was not sure whether he would come back with Kiprusoff in Monday's game.Still, if Richards has Simon Gagne Jersey any lingering issues, there will be another option. Prospect and gifted goal-scorer Tyler Toffoli, who had 28 goals and 48 points in 55 games this season in the minors in Manchester, N.H., was recalled Sunday and was scheduled to fly to Los Angeles on Sunday night to join the Kings.Toffoli, who turns 21 in April, was a second-round draft choice by the Kings in 2010. Kings executives have spoken highly of Toffoli's progress, especially in recent weeks. If Richards misses any amount of time, Toffoli could step in on Carter's line, for instance.TonightVS. CALGARYWhen: 7.Where: Staples Center.On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 1150.Record vs. Flames: 2-0.Etc.: The Kings and Flames were off Sunday. The struggling Kiprusoff is 3-5-2 this season for the Flames, and his save percentage is a woeful .867, ranking him 44th among NHL goalies.lisa.dillman/reallisa
"As long as our team is winning, that's all that matters. It will come."Slowly, perhaps, for the inconsistent Wild. "We'll get there. I have confidence we'll get there," he said. "It's just frustrating trying to get there."Up in FlamesThe Calgary Flames nearly made a huge gaffe last week when they signed Colorado restricted free-agent center Ryan O'Reilly to a two-year, $10-million offer sheet.Had the Avalanche not matched the offer, the Flames would have owed Colorado first- and third-round 2013 draft picks as compensation. But as first reported by Sportsnet.ca, O'Reilly — who played two games in Russia after the NHL season began — would have had to clear waivers before he could join a team other than Colorado. Any team would have grabbed O'Reilly, Colorado's top scorer last season with 18 goals and 55 points, and the Flames would have lost the draft picks and a player they hoped to build around.Flames General Manager Jay Feaster said his hockey operations department concluded there weren't any impediments to securing O'Reilly and added that their interpretation of the applicable waiver rule, Article 13.23, differed from the NHL's interpretation. He said the club was prepared to pursue its argument but since Colorado matched, "it is now an academic point."Colorado should have negotiated a deal with O'Reilly long ago and now will pay a premium. He gets a $2.5-million signing bonus and a prorated salary of $1 million this season, but his 2013-14 salary of $6.5 million becomes the minimum qualifying offer Colorado must make to retain his rights. It also becomes the benchmark when teammates Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene negotiate new deals. Bad work by Calgary and Colorado on this one.Slap shotsDeputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the NHL's realignment proposal remains under discussion. The NHL Players' Assn. is said to be lukewarm on having 14 teams in the West and 16 in the East and the effect that would have on teams' playoff chances.So much for fans saying they'd shun the NHL after the lockout. The New York Post reported the league has projected hockey-related revenue to be $2.4 billion for this season of 720 games plus playoffs. Revenue for 2011-12, which consisted of 1,230 games plus playoffs, was $3.3 billion. That would mean the NHL will earn 72.7% of last season's revenue in 58.5% of last season's schedule. Not bad.helene.elliott/helenenothelen
If the goals were to clear cap space and continue to stockpile draft picks, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi accomplished both with one move Tuesday.Lombardi traded left wing Simon Gagne to Gagne's former team, the Philadelphia Flyers, in exchange for a conditional draft choice in 2013. The Kings receive a third-round pick from Philadelphia if the Flyers make the playoffs or a fourth-round pick if the Flyers do not.Gagne, a healthy scratch the last four games, had five assists in 11 games and had not played since Feb. 17 at Chicago, seemingly an ill fit in Kings Coach Darryl Sutter's system. His cap hit is $3.5 million, which, of course, will be pro-rated in this lockout-shortened season. He did not request a trade but likely would have done so, eventually, telling a French Canadian TV reporter that it was "tough not to play.""It was just a number of things. He wasn't fitting in, so to speak," Lombardi said in a conference call. "That said, this is an NHL player that's proven to play on a good team. You don't want to do this unless you feel fairly comfortable on what you have coming through the minors. It's similar to when you move Jack Johnson for [Jeff] Carter when you have [Slava] Voynov coming through."We feel pretty good about our depth up front in the system and that opens up a roster spot ... and allows us some flexibility in terms of space and cash at the [trading] deadline."Related to organizational depth, Kings executives are especially high on three youngsters in the minors in Manchester, N.H.: Tyler Toffoli, a gifted goal-scorer; power forward Tanner Pearson and right wing Linden Vey.The Gagne deal represented the resumption of activity between the Kings and the Flyers, frequent trade partners. Gagne sat out the last 46 games of last season because of a concussion but was a surprise insertion in the lineup midway through the Stanley Cup final between the Kings and New Jersey Devils.Injury updatesLombardi said the Kings will likely carry eight defensemen when Alec Martinez returns. Martinez, who suffered an upper-body injury Feb.11 at St.
will give all 14 non-playoff teams (or teams that have acquired the first-round pick of non-playoff teams) a chance to win the first overall pick. Under the previous lottery system, only the five teams with the fewest points could pick No. 1 overall, and no team was allowed to move up more than four spots. The draft will be held June 30 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.—Helene Elliott::In the World Baseball Classic, South Korea defeated Australia, 6-0, at Taipei, Taiwan. Cuba clobbered China, 12-0, at Fukuoka, Japan, ensuring that it will advance to the second round.::The fun outshined the tennis at Justin Gimelstob's first L.A. Tennis Challenge at Pauley Pavilion, a night that featured the No. 1 player in the world, Novak Djokovic.Djokovic, of Serbia, played and beat Gimelstob's partner in the creation of this event, Mardy Fish, in a pro set. Djokovic entertained the crowd with great shots and courtside antics, including posing for pictures with a linesman in mid-match immediately after getting a favorable call.Other matches included Tommy Haas' beating James Blake in a pro set and legendary Pete Sampras teaming with Djokovic in a late doubles match against Bob and Mike Bryan, the winningest doubles team in history.The crowd was announced as 8,500. The evening was an attempt by former player Gimelstob and current player Fish, both Los Angeles residents, to demonstrate the strength of interest in their sport in Los Angeles, after the departure of the long-standing L.A. Open tour stop.—Bill Dwyre::Brittney Griner scored a Big 12 Conference-record 50 points in her final regular-season game at Baylor to lead the top-ranked Bears (29-1) to a 90-68 victory over Kansas State.
That's a rare honor for a keeper but one Kennedy clearly earned, both with his play and with his attitude during a 2012 season that saw Chivas allow a conference-worst 58 goals. It would have been understandable — and honest — to blame many of those on a porous defense that gave up 502 shots, just one off the league lead.It certainly wasn't Kennedy's fault — he made enough acrobatic saves to finish second in the voting for top keeper in the MLS despite a career-high 1.69 goals-against averageStill, he refused to throw his teammates under the bus.His challenge now is to help bring some stability to a franchise whose only constant has been change. And the last four months have brought the most dramatic change of all, with new ownership remaking the franchise in the image of its Mexican League cousin, Chivas de Guadalajara.Under Sanchez Sola, Chivas has adopted both a Mexican style of play and a Mexican personality — which is why it has purged the roster of 12 non-Mexicans since last season. As a result, Kennedy now spends part of each practice translating the coaches' instructions for non-Spanish-speaking teammates.Outwardly the new captain has embraced the moves, which have helped Chivas cruise through the preseason unbeaten. Inwardly, though, there are questions over whether that success will continue when the MLS season opens March 2, with Chivas playing host to the Columbus Crew, or whether Kennedy will once again be the best player on a bad team.For now, though, he remains a good soldier, toeing the company line."Obviously changes needed to be made. We couldn't continue to go in the direction we were going," he says. "It's never ideal and change is never easy. But this career is too short for us guys and to sit around and complain."Complaining isn't in Kennedy's nature. So though he may wish he were somewhere else this season, don't expect him to show that on the field."This club," he says "knows as long as Brian Rafalski Jersey I'm here, I'll give them everything I have."kevin.baxter: kbaxter11 gaojunjersey0329