The Vancouver Canucks, seeded third in the Western Conference, will face the sixth-seeded San Jose Sharks in a first-round, best-of-seven series.

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Vancouver to host San Jose

in series opener Wednesday

The Vancouver Canucks, seeded third in the Western Conference, will face the sixth-seeded San Jose Sharks in a first-round, best-of-seven series.

Game 1 is Wednesday in Vancouver.

The Sharks won all three meetings with the Canucks this season. The teams played in the conference finals two years ago and Vancouver, coached by Alain Vigneault, won in five games.

San Jose was 17-2-5 at home this season for 39 points, tying Chicago and defending champion Los Angeles for the most home points in the league.

Other first-round pairings in the West: top-seeded Chicago versus No. 8 Minnesota; No. 2 Anaheim versus No. 7 Detroit and No. 4 St. Louis versus No. 5 Los Angeles.

First-round East matchups have No. 1 Pittsburgh versus the eighth-seeded New York Islanders; No. 2 Montreal versus No. 7 Ottawa; No. 3 Washington against the No. 6 New York Rangers; and No. 4 Boston versus No. 5 Toronto.

Avs coach, Stars GM fired

Colorado coach Joe Sacco was fired after the Avalanche missed the playoffs for the third season in a row. Sacco, 44, was 130-134-30 in four seasons with the Avs.

The Dallas Stars fired general manager Joe Nieuwendyk, 46, after failing to make the playoffs in any of his four seasons.

Detroit Red Wings executive Jim Nill, 55, will be Dallas’ new GM.


Local players to get chances

Teams scrambled to contact undrafted free agents over the weekend.

Five ex-Eastern Washington players agreed to terms — quarterback Kyle Padron with Oakland, tackle Will Post with Atlanta and receivers Brandon Kaufman with Buffalo, Greg Herd with Dallas and Nicholas Edwards with Minnesota.

Justin Glenn, a safety for the Washington Huskies last season, will get a tryout with the Kansas City Chiefs during minicamp May 9.

Wade Jacobson, a Washington State offensive lineman, agreed to go to Washington Redskins’ rookie minicamp this week.

College basketball

Roberson to enter NBA draft

Colorado forward Andre Roberson plans to enter the NBA draft.

Roberson averaged 11.2 rebounds, ranking second in the nation, and 10.9 points as a junior. He made the All-Pac-12 first team and was voted the conference’s defensive player of the year.

Guards Shane Larkin of Miami and Ray McCallum Jr. of Detroit also intend to enter the draft.

On the other hand, Michigan State forward Adreian Payne announced he is returning for his senior season.

“I was pleasantly surprised, if you want the truth,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said.

College athletics

Big Ten to rename divisions

No more “Legends.” Or “Leaders.”

The Big Ten is giving them the boot and switching to a more conventional format for its division names. The conference is going with “East” and “West” instead.

The new division alignments will begin in 2014 when Rutgers and Maryland join the conference, meaning “Legends” and “Leaders” will be a thing of the past. That probably will come as good news to the fans who have criticized those names since the league unveiled them in 2010.

To many, they were confusing and didn’t help identify where teams play.

Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers will be in the East division.

The West division will consist of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin.


Nadal, Sharapova triumph

Rafael Nadal of Spain won the Barcelona Open for the eighth time, defeating countryman Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3 for his fourth title of the year.

Nadal has won 39 straight matches on the red clay at Real Club de Tenis. He has made six straight finals since returning from a knee injury.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova of Russia beat Li Na of China 6-4, 6-3 in Stuttgart, Germany, to successfully defend her Porsche Grand Prix title on clay in a matchup of the last two French Open champions.


Giles Barnes scored an unassisted goal in the 66th minute and the Houston Dynamo extended its Major League Soccer-record home unbeaten streak to 36 matches by playing to a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids.

• Reading and Queens Park Rangers, who played to a scoreless draw, will be relegated from soccer’s English Premier League. One more team will be demoted to the second-tier League Championship for next season.

• Paris Saint-Germain closed in on the French title with a 1-0 victory at Evian that featured the ejection of four players, including former England captain David Beckham. Beckham was sent off for a cleats-up challenge on Youssef Adnane.

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