Canucks beef up offense
The Vancouver Canucks beefed up their offense by signing Swedish right winger Mikael Samuelsson on a three-year deal on Friday. Free agent Samuelsson, 32, has spent the last four seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, winning the Stanley Cup last year and reaching the finals again this year. In other acquisitions, the Los Angeles Kings signed veteran left wing Ryan Smyth in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche, the Kings announced on their Web site on Friday. The Kings sent defensemen Kyle Quincey, Tom Preissing and a 2010 draft pick in exchange for the 14-year player. Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets have signed captain Rick Nash to an eight-year contract extension, the team said on Friday. The contract begins in 2010-2011, extending through the 2017-2018 season. Terms were not disclosed.
Dutch want 2028 Games
The Dutch government is already looking into the possibility of bidding to host the Olympics in 2028 — exactly a century after Amsterdam last staged the games. “It would be fantastic if we could experience the games in our own country again after 100 years,” Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said on Friday after his government’s weekly Cabinet meeting. Balkenende said the government would support a possible bid by the country’s Olympic Committee, and also backed a plan by the committee to raise the overall standard of sport in the country.
Theo Bos suspended
Dutch rider Theo Bos has been suspended for one month for sending South African Daryl Impey crashing into a security barrier during a Tour of Turkey stage in April, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Friday. Rabobank’s Bos, five times a track cycling world champion, grabbed race leader Impey of the Barloworld team by the shoulder and pushed him into a barrier some 2km before the finish line of the final stage. The suspension will run from Aug. 15.
ISU bans Pechstein
Olympic champion Claudia Pechstein has been banned for two years after testing positive for blood doping and will miss next year’s Vancouver Games, the International Skating Union (ISU) said on Friday. The ISU said the German’s blood profile had included abnormal values in a series of tests, in particular during February’s world all-round championships. The sport’s governing body imposed the ban, back-dated to Feb. 9 this year, after a two-day hearing in Berne. The 37-year-old Pechstein, who has won five Olympic gold medals, was hoping next year to compete at her sixth successive Winter Games. She has 21 days to appeal against the ban. “The decision is subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.” the ISU said on its Web site.
Kwan back in public eye
Michelle Kwan will skate before an audience for the first time in three years when she joins world champion Kim Yu-na in Ice All-Stars 2009 in Seoul next month. The five-time world champion has been practicing and working out for most of this year. Her performance in Seoul could be an indication that competitive skating is still a possibility with the Vancouver Olympics looming. Kwan’s agent announced her plans on Friday. Kwan, who recently graduated from Denver University, has not been in a competitive environment since a foot injury in 2006.
Prunea suspended by FRF
The Romanian soccer federation (FRF) have suspended international relations manager Florin Prunea after he was charged in an affair relating to bribes in refereeing, the federation announced on Friday. “The emergency committee have decided to suspend Mr Prunea’s contract indefinitely until the process has been finalized,” FRF president Mircea Sandu said. “If he is innocent, he will return to his post if it still exists in the FRF organization.” Last month 10 people involved in Romanian soccer, including Prunea, a club boss and five referees were charged over alleged bribes in refereeing. Former international Prunea was accused of illegal use of his position and receiving US$14,000 from the owner of first division side FC Arges, Cornel Penescu, to use his influence so that Penescu would be treated leniently in two cases of violating federation rules.
Dalglish returns to Liverpool
Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish is returning to Anfield to take up a role in their academy and become a global ambassador for the club, the Premier League side announced on Friday. Dalglish became a revered figure at Anfield after joining from Celtic in 1977 and he is often cited as Liverpool’s greatest player. The Scot subsequently became the Merseyside club’s manager. Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez wanted to get Dalglish back at the club, as new managing director Christian Purslow explained. “In our very first meeting, Rafa and I agreed that we wanted to try and bring Kenny back to the club,” Purslow said. “That would help Rafa really drive forward our academy, which is at the heart of our plans for the future.”
Sturridge joins the Blues
Chelsea announced on Friday they had signed teenage striker Daniel Sturridge from Premier League rivals Manchester City on a four-year deal after the player’s contract at Eastlands expired. Although the two clubs could not agree on a fee, the 19-year-old Sturridge’s age means City are entitled to receive some money as part of his move and a fee will now be settled by a tribunal. England under-20 international Sturridge, the nephew of former Derby County forward Dean, scored four goals in 26 appearances for City last season.
El Salvador, Canada win
El Salvador and Canada enjoyed victories on the first day of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the regional tournament for North and Central America and the Caribbean. In Group A, El Salvador, backed by an impressive following at the Home Depot Center, pulled off an upset 2-1 win over Costa Rica, while Canada beat Jamaica 1-0 in an earlier game at the same venue. Osael Romero scored both goals for El Salvador in a high-intensity game. The forward opened the scoring in the 19th minute with a superb solo finish after Williams Reyes had headed on a long ball. Costa Rica pulled level in the 63rd minute with a close range strike from Warren Granados, before Romero grabbed the winner five minutes from the end. In the earlier game, Canada’s Ali Gerba struck the winner in the 75th minute.
Medard catches swine flu
France and Toulouse fullback Maxime Medard has been diagnosed with A(H1N1) flu after the French team returned from a tour of New Zealand and Australia. “Maxime Medard had a sudden rise in temperature on Wednesday after the return from Australia,” media officer Lionel Rossigneux said.
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7