Sports Extra

NFL

Seau found dead with a gunshot wound to his chest

OCEANSIDE, Calif. – Former NFL star Junior Seau was found shot to death at his home Wednesday morning in what police said appeared to be a suicide. He was 43.

Police Chief Frank McCoy said Seau’s girlfriend reported finding him unconscious with a gunshot wound to the chest, and lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful. A gun was found near him, McCoy said.

Seau was a standout linebacker with the University of Southern California before playing for the San Diego Chargers, whom he led to the Super Bowl after the 1994 season. Seau remained with the Chargers until 2003 and went on to play with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots before retiring after the 2009 season.

NFL suspends four players for Saints’ bounty program

NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season by the NFL, one of four players punished Wednesday for participating in the team’s cash-for-hits bounty system.

Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers, was suspended for the first half of the 16-game season; Saints defensive end Will Smith was barred for the opening four games; and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, will miss the first three games. Like Vilma, they were suspended without pay.

All four players have three days to appeal NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling, and the head of the NFL Players Association said the union would fight the penalties. Fujita is a member of the NFLPA’s executive committee.

nba

Chandler is the Knicks’ first defensive player of the year

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Tyson Chandler, the catalyst for the New York Knicks’ defensive improvement, was voted the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Chandler beat out Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka and three-time champion Dwight Howard of Orlando to become the first Knicks player to win the award.

Chandler received 311 points, including 45 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the U.S. and Canada. Ibaka, the league leader with 3.65 blocked shots per game, had 41 first-place votes and 294 points.

NHL

Montreal tabs one its own to GM the Canadiens

MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens believe Marc Bergevin can lead them back to the top of the standings.

The Canadiens introduced the Chicago Blackhawks assistant general manager and former NHL defenseman as their new GM on Wednesday, more than a month after firing Pierre Gauthier.

Team president Geoff Molson pointed out the 46-year-old Bergevin was born in Montreal, played 20 seasons in the NHL and served as a former scouting director, assistant coach and assistant GM.

Bergevin faces tough decisions after the Canadiens’ dismal 31-35-16 season. They finished last in the Eastern Conference and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Soccer

Messi breaks 39-year-old record with 68 goals scored

BARCELONA, Spain – Lionel Messi broke Gerd Mueller’s 39-year-old record for goals in a European club season, scoring a hat trick for Barcelona in a 4-1 win over Malaga on Wednesday night to raise his total to 68.

The 24-year-old scored his ninth hat trick of the season.

Mueller had held the record since scoring 67 goals for Bayern Munich in 1972-73.

It was the 21st multigoal game of the season for Messi and his seventh league hat trick, tying the mark set by Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo this season.

Associated Press