Avalanche sign Duchene for two more years
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche locked up one of their promising young forwards, signing Matt Duchene to a two-year deal.
The 21-year-old played in just 58 games last season as he dealt with knee and ankle injuries. He had 14 goals and 14 assists.
Duchene had his first career hat trick Nov. 4 at Dallas, becoming the first Avalanche player to record that feat before his 21st birthday since Radim Vrbata in 2001-02.
A dynamic forward, Duchene was drafted third overall in 2009. He made the All-Star team in 2010-11 and became the youngest player in franchise history to lead the squad in scoring.
After Saturday’s signing, the Avs face big decisions on other restricted free agents such as leading scorer Ryan O’Reilly, who was drafted the same year as Duchene.
Red Bull’s Vettel drives to European Grand Prix pole
VALENCIA, Spain – Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel will start from the pole at the European Grand Prix for the third consecutive year.
The two-time defending Formula One champion won the race the past two seasons. He had the fastest lap Saturday, finishing in 1 minute, 38.086 seconds on Valencia’s 3.3-mile street circuit.
Lewis Hamilton of McLaren is also on the front row for today’s race. Pastor Maldonado of Williams will start third.
Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher of Mercedes failed to reach the third qualifying session. Schumacher, a seven-time F1 champion, will start between the pair in 12th place.
Vettel’s teammate, Mark Webber, was eliminated after the first period because of mechanical trouble. He will start 19th.
Ex-Formula One driver takes Nationwide road victory
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Nelson Piquet Jr. held the lead on a late restart, then pulled away from the rest of the field Saturday to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Road America.
The Brazilian, a former Formula One driver and the son of three-time F1 champion Nelson Sr., became a winner in his third career Nationwide start after starting the race from the pole position.
Piquet’s extensive road racing experience paid off at the four-mile, 14-turn road course that winds through the hills of central Wisconsin.
Michael McDowell was second, followed by Ron Fellows, Max Papis and Sam Hornish Jr.
Jacques Villeneuve spun out Danica Patrick on the last lap as the two drivers were battling for fourth.
Villeneuve finished sixth, while Patrick recovered and finished 12th.
Victory at Eastbourne boosts Roddick’s confidence
EASTBOURNE, England – Andy Roddick’s confidence was boosted by winning the Eastbourne Championships on the eve of Wimbledon when he beat defending champion Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-2 in the final Saturday.
Tamira Paszek of Austria fought off five match points to defeat fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 in the women’s final.
Roddick entered the event as a wild card after losing his opening match at Queen’s Club last week, a defeat that stretched his losing streak to six matches dating to mid-March.
The victory marked his 31st career title, ending a 16-month drought.
Roddick was thrilled with his week in the genteel atmosphere of the English south coast resort.
“It’s everything I could have asked for,” he said.
“I feel like I can come here and get my work in. The facility has been great. The courts have been great.
“There’s plenty of practice courts. The community really seems to support this event.”