NHL cancels first 82 games
The NHL has canceled 82 regular-season games through Oct. 24, the league announced on Thursday. The move to scrap the first two weeks of the season comes amid a labor dispute between the players and owners, and just one week before the season was scheduled to start. “The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners,” NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr said in a statement. “If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey, while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.” The owners locked out the players when the previous collective bargaining agreement expired on Sept. 15.
Federer gets death threat
Shanghai Masters organizers have tightened security around Roger Federer after he was targeted by an online death threat, a report said on Thursday. Extra precautions for Federer, who has arrived in Shanghai with his family, were taken after an unknown blogger said he planned to “assassinate” the player in a bizarre posting on a popular Chinese Web site. “On Oct. 6, I plan to assassinate Federer for the purpose of tennis extermination,” read the message, posted under the name “Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07” on baidu.com. The user also posted an image showing a decapitated Federer on his knees on a court, with a masked executioner dressed in black and holding an axe next to him. Police and other government agencies have been contacted to increase security around Federer, an official told the Shanghai Youth Daily.
Red Sox fire Valentine
Bobby Valentine has been fired by the last-placed Boston Red Sox after managing them to their worst record in 47 years. The veteran skipper was let go on Thursday after just one season with Boston, who finished last in the American League East Division. The Red Sox had 69 wins and 93 losses, the worst for the storied franchise since a 62-100 mark in 1965. Valentine had one year remaining on the contract he signed last year. “Our 2012 season was disappointing for many reasons,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said on Thursday. “No single issue is the reason and no single individual is to blame.” Before he took the position with the Red Sox, Valentine had not managed in the majors since 2002.
Slugger Kemp has surgery
Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp, who enhanced his ironman reputation by playing through shoulder pain to finish the regular season, was due to have surgery for the first time in his seven-year career yesterday. The two-time All-Star, who damaged his left shoulder when he slammed into the center-field wall during a game at Colorado in August, is expected to be sidelined for at least four to six weeks, the team said on Thursday. Should extensive repair to Kemp’s labrum be necessary, the 28-year-old could be out of action for up to three months, but would still be ready for the start of spring training. “Of course I’m nervous,” Kemp told the team’s Web site. “I’ve never had surgery before.”