Fri, Jun 13, 2008 - Page 23 News List

Sports Briefs

AGENCIES

PHOTO: AP

■ ICE HOCKEY

Sharks to hire McLellan

The San Jose Sharks are set to name Todd McLellan as their new head coach, the National Hockey League team said on its Web site on Wednesday. The Sharks were expected to introduce McLellan at a news conference yesterday, general manager Doug Wilson said. He will replace former head coach Ron Wilson. McLelland worked last season as an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings. A fifth-round pick of the New York Islanders in 1986 who recorded a goal and an assist in five games with the team in 1987-1988, McLellan has also coached the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League and the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League. He was named WHL Coach of the Year in 2000 and also won the league’s Executive of the Year award in 1997 while serving as both coach and general manager of the Broncos. The Sharks fired Ron Wilson on May 12 after the team failed to reach the Western Conference finals for a third straight season despite capturing the Pacific Division title for the second time in four campaigns. On Tuesday, Ron Wilson was named coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

■ FOOTBALL

Saints, Will Smith ink deal

New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith signed a contract extension that will make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid defensive players. Smith signed a six-year deal worth about US$70 million, said a person familiar with the deal who requested anonymity because the terms had not been made public. The deal makes Smith the NFL’s third highest-paid defensive end, behind Kansas City’s Jared Allen and Indianapolis’ Dwight Freeney.

■ ICE HOCKEY

Canucks ace Linden retires

Trevor Linden, the heart and soul of the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks for nearly two decades, retired on Wednesday. Linden, 38, spent more than 15 of his 19 NHL seasons with the Canucks, and announced his retirement on the 20th anniversary of the day the club drafted him second overall. He retires as the second-leading scorer in club history. In 1,140 games with the Canucks he registered 733 points — a mark that was surpassed by teammate Markus Naslund last season. In all Linden played in 1,382 career games, recording 375 goals and 867 points. “Today is an emotional day and exciting day for me as an athlete and a person,” he said. “It closes one chapter of my life — my playing career — while opening up another one, which I am very much looking forward to.” Linden inked a one-year contract with the Canucks last season, but his productivity dropped off markedly during the 2007-2008 season. Linden, from Medicine Hat, Alberta, will be best remembered for leading the Canucks on their dramatic run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1994, when they lost to the New York Rangers in seven games. Linden scored both Vancouver goals in its 3-2 game seven loss at Madison Square Garden.

■CYCLING

Valverde wins time trial

Spanish ace Alejandro Valverde pulled on the race leader’s yellow jersey at the Dauphine Libere stage race after winning the third stage time-trial on Wednesday. Valverde put his pre-Tour de France form on display for the second time this week by averaging over 41kph for the undulating and technical 31km course in Saint-Paul-en-Jarez, France, that had been hit by an earlier storm. US rider Levi Leipheimer of Astana finished second at 19 seconds with Australian Cadel Evans, of Silence, in third a further second back. It is Valverde’s second stage victory in the race.

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