Coyotes atop the Pacific
The Phoenix Coyotes seized the NHL Pacific Division lead with a 4-1 win against the Blues in St Louis, Missouri, on Friday. Keith Yandle, Radim Vrbata, Shane Doan and Mikkel Boedker scored for Phoenix, who have won four straight. They lead Los Angeles and San Jose by one point. Coyotes goalie Mike Smith made 31 saves in another stingy start, although his shutout streak was ended at 234 minutes. Patrik Berglund scored in the first period for the Blues.
Rodriquez takes stage
Spain’s Joaquin Rodriguez of Team Katusha won his second successive stage on the Tour of the Basque Country in Spain on Friday to maintain the overall lead. Rodriguez triumphed on the 183km run from Bera to Onati, ahead of compatriot Samuel Sanchez and Robert Kiserlovski of Croatia. Rodriguez had trouble following Sanchez when he attacked 3km from the finish, but the race leader just nipped ahead at the line to push the Olympic champion back to second spot. Sanchez stays second in the overall standings, nine seconds off the lead with Kiserlovski in third, 26 seconds back.
Lotus cancels sponsorship
A title sponsorship agreement between loss-making Malaysian-owned sportscar maker Group Lotus and Lotus F1 has been canceled, but the team will race on as Lotus, owner Gerard Lopez said on Friday. Lopez, whose Genii Capital runs the former Renault team that have Finland’s Kimi Raikkonen and France’s Romain Grosjean as drivers, told the autosport.com Web site that “the sponsorship agreement and the obligations of Lotus have been terminated.” “There is no option from Group Lotus to buy into F1 now,” the entrepreneur added. Group Lotus had agreed their title sponsorship deal with the British-based team in 2010 and it was supposed to last until the end of 2017 with the ultimate aim of becoming co-owners along with Genii. The car company is owned by Proton, which has been sold recently by Malaysia’s state investment arm Khazanah to Malaysian conglomerate DRB-HICOM.
Tony Estanguet into London
Olympic 2000 and 2004 canoe slalom champion Tony Estanguet qualified for the London Games at the French selection competition in Pau on Friday. Estanguet, 33, had the best results after three qualification races in the week and defeated Denis Gargaud-Chanut, last year’s world champion. Estanguet won the world championships in 2009 and 2010.
NY coach fined for comments
The NHL slapped New York Rangers coach John Tortorella with a US$20,000 fine on Friday after he called the Pittsburgh Penguins “one of the most arrogant organizations in the league.” “They whine about this stuff all the time and look what happens, but they’ll whine about something else over there, won’t they,” Tortorella said of the Penguins. Tortorella was upset with the Penguins after Rangers center Derek Stepan took a knee-on-knee hit from Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik on Thursday. Tortorella blasted the Penguins organization and their star players in a post-game rant to reporters. “I wonder what would happen if we did this to their two whining stars,” Tortorella said. “I wonder what would happen, so I’m anxious to see what happens with the league with this. Just no respect amongst players, none. It’s sickening.”