NHL star Lidstrom retires
Swedish defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom retired after 20 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, ending one of the best careers in NHL history on Thursday. The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenseman fought back tears as he made the announcement. The 42-year-old set an NHL record by playing 1,564 games with a single team. He had put retirement on hold in each of the previous two years by signing one-year contracts. Lidstrom had 264 career goals with 1,142 points. He plans to move his family to Sweden and hopes to have an off-ice role with the Red Wings. Lidstrom was named the NHL’s best defenseman last year for a seventh time. The four-time Olympian also scored the gold-medal winning goal for Sweden over Finland in 2006.
Mayweather due for jail
Free time has run out for Floyd Mayweather Jr, who was due to begin a three-month jail sentence yesterday in Las Vegas stemming from a hair-pulling, arm-twisting attack in September 2010 on the mother of three of his children. The unbeaten five-division champion’s legal and ring advisers were not immediately commenting on Thursday about Mayweather’s scheduled surrender before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melissa Saragosa. The judge sentenced him on Dec. 22 for his guilty plea to reduced charges in the domestic battery case. Saragosa said when she sentenced Mayweather that she was particularly troubled that he threatened and hit ex-girlfriend Josie Harris while their two sons watched.
Hartley to coach Flames
Bob Hartley has returned to the NHL as coach of the Calgary Flames. He succeeds Brent Sutter, who left the team in April after three seasons. Hartley coached Colorado for five seasons and won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. He joined the Flames on Thursday following a championship season with the ZSC Lions in Switzerland. Hartley also spent parts of five seasons as coach of the Atlanta Thrashers. He agreed to a three-year deal with Calgary. The Flames had to secure his release from the Lions because he had a year remaining on a two-year contract. Calgary missed the playoffs under Sutter for three years in a row.
AEK out of Europa League
Greece’s AEK were kicked out of next season’s Europa League for financial irregularities by the Hellenic Football Federation on Thursday. “It is a black page in the history of AEK,” club president Andreas Dimitrelos told a press conference after the decision by the federation. “We have a debt of 35 million euros [US43.27 million] and 23 million euros of this is owed to the state. We are asking for help from AEK supporters. The next 15 days will be crucial for the future of the team.” PAE Asteras Tripolis will replace AEK in European action.
Wild sign Gustafsson
The Minnesota Wild have signed rookie goaltender Johan Gustafsson to a three-year, entry-level contract. The Wild announced the signing on Thursday, giving them five picks from the 2010 draft under contract. The 20-year-old Gustafsson had a 1.68 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in the Swedish Elite League this season. He also helped lead Sweden to the gold medal at this year’s world junior championship.