All-Star teams picked
Zdeno Chara went with offense in taking Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk with the No. 1 pick in the NHL All-Star draft, while opposing captain Daniel Alfredsson stuck closer to home, choosing Ottawa Senators defenseman and teammate Erik Karlsson with his first selection. Alfredsson’s selection of Karlsson was no surprise because the Senators captain acknowledged last week that his children wanted him to pick the high-scoring defenseman. Karlsson, a fellow Swede, lived with Alfredsson during his rookie season two years ago. Chara earned the right to choose first by winning the “puck flip” against Alfredsson. Team Chara will face Team Alfredsson in both the skills competition today and the All-Star game tomorrow. The distinction of Mr Irrelevant — the last man picked — fell to San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture. For being the last of the 38 players selected, Couture won a car and will have US$20,000 donated to a charity of his choice.
Redknapp cites illiteracy
Harry Redknapp denied tax evasion to police by saying he “couldn’t even fill a teamsheet in.” A tape recording of the interview was played at Redknapp’s court trial where he is accused of hiding US$295,000 of transfer bonuses in an offshore account. Redknapp said: “I can’t write, so I don’t keep anything,” adding that he pays “a fortune to my accountant to look after me.” In the recording, the manager said that being “utterly disorganized” showed he wasn’t “going to fiddle taxes.” His bank adviser, Alan Hills, said in court on Thursday how Redknapp made “disastrous” business decisions and lost ￡250,000 (US$392,000) trying to invest in Oxford United. Redknapp and co-defendant Milan Mandaric deny tax evasion charges relating to their time at Portsmouth.
Toulon president banned
Outspoken Toulon owner and club president Mourad Boudjellal was handed a 130-day ban on Thursday after using lurid language to describe the level of refereeing in a recent Top 14 game. Boudjellal made the remarks on Jan. 8 following Toulon’s defeat at Clermont, saying his side had been “sodomized by the referees.” France’s National Rugby League (LNR) took exception to his remarks and on Thursday announced it had handed Boudjellal a ban that will see him unable to work as the club’s president until June 3. Boudjellal, who made his fortune in comic books, has the right to appeal the LNR decision. Last week the French Rugby Referees Union threatened to sue Boudjellal for defamation after the remarks. Boudjellal replied to the threat, saying: “I am not surprised that they are attacking me. With what they are paid, they need the money.”
Els loses caddie after fall
An accident during a pro-am prize presentation in his native South Africa scuppered Ernie Els’ plans of starting the 2012 PGA Tour season with his long-time caddie Ricci Roberts on his bag. Roberts, who had competed in a charity tournament to raise funds for the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, broke his ankle after accepting a prize and will be out for at least two months. “I called Ricci up on stage and he did a little speech, but when he walked off he just kind of missed his first step and he went down,” Els said before Thursday’s opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. “It was so damn dark and this stage was about this high,” the South African added, pointing about 1.8m high.