NHL teams are on the fast track — training camps opened Sunday and the season begins Saturday.
Training camp opens for teams;
regular season starts Saturday
The Vancouver Canucks were among NHL teams that opened training camp Sunday, with a sense of urgency. The regular season, shortened to 48 games because of a four-month lockout, begins Saturday.
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A major story at camp is how long goaltender Roberto Luongo, a three-time All-Star, will be with the team. Many observers expect the 33-year-old to be traded. He has 10 years and $47.3 million remaining on his contract and the Canucks are expected to go with 26-year-old Cory Schneider as their starting goalie.
“I don’t feel any pressure here to trade Roberto for any reason other than to improve this hockey club,” general manager Mike Gillis told The Vancouver Sun. “And I certainly don’t believe you give away All-Star players because of some idea you’re under pressure because it’s an untenable situation. Roberto is too good a player for that.”
After Sunday’s practice, Luongo said, “I’m just trying to go about my business and work on my stuff.”
Canucks officials announced they signed ex-Edmonton Oilers defenseman Cam Barker, 26, to a one-year contract.
Meanwhile, in El Segundo, Calif., several hundred fans watched the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings practice. After opening at home Saturday against Chicago, the Kings play 11 of their next 14 games on the road.
Armstrong offers apologies
On the eve of Monday’s taped interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong made a series of phone calls to apologize directly to key people in the cycling community with whom he had not been truthful about his part in sports doping.
It was part of Armstrong’s effort to prepare himself and others for what is anticipated to be at least a partial confession and to make amends with those to whom he lied and misled.
Earlier Sunday, while out jogging near his Austin, Texas, home, Armstrong said of the upcoming interview: “I’m calm, I’m at ease and I’m ready to speak candidly.”
Armstrong, 41, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year. The 90-minute interview program is to be shown on the OWN cable network Thursday night.
Miami awaits calls from NCAA
Two people close to the NCAA case involving ex-Miami booster Nevin Shapiro told The Miami Herald they, and others as well, were told to be available near their phones Monday to discuss allegations against them in the case.
“The beginning of the end” of the long ordeal, as one person put it, seemingly is about to unfold.
Another source would only say, “It’s imminent,” regarding Miami receiving its notice of allegations.
This March will mark two years since the NCAA launched its investigation into Shapiro’s relationship with the school and more than 100 former athletes — most of them football players — to whom he said he provided thousands of impermissible benefits from 2002 through 2010.
Several former football and basketball assistant coaches were also implicated by Shapiro, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for a $930 million Ponzi scheme.
Shapiro said among the impermissible benefits he provided were cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to expensive restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play and travel to athletes — all first documented in a Yahoo Sports report in August 2011.Shapiro submitted to the NCAA a list of 114 Miami players.
Manchester teams triumph
Manchester United’s seven-point lead over second-place Manchester City stayed intact after the title-chasing rivals defeated two former powers in the English Premier League.
United, getting goals from Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic, scraped its way to a 2-1 victory at home against Liverpool and has 55 points.
Manchester City won 2-0 at Arsenal after playing against 10 men for most of the match because Laurent Koscielny got a red card in the ninth minute for wrestling City’s Edin Dzeko to the ground inside the penalty area. Manchester City posted its first league victory at Arsenal since 1975.
• Ex-San Francisco closer Brian Wilson, 30, worked out privately in California for the New York Mets, according to multiple reports. He had Tommy John surgery in April.
There are six to eight teams in the mix for Wilson, according to CBS Sports.
• Tina Maze of Slovenia won the first super-giant slalom of her career and became the sixth female skier to win a World Cup race in all five alpine disciplines.
Maze had a time of 1 minute, 16.55 seconds in the Super-G in St. Anton, Austria, to edge Anna Fenninger of Austria by 0.04 seconds. The 29-year-old Maze has 17 World Cup victories, six this season.
• Overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher, an Austrian who was eighth after the opening run, won a slalom in Adelboden, Switzerland.
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