Both sides excuse themselves from the labor-talks table
NEW YORK – The rhetoric is rising, while the time before the planned start of the NHL regular season is running out.
And now it seems more likely than not that regular-season games will be canceled before the league and the players’ association even get back to the negotiating table.
The sides broke off talks Tuesday after just two hours, and it was hard to find optimism anywhere that the season would avoid a major disruption – just seven years after a full season was lost to a lockout.
The NHL has no timetable when it will start calling off regular-season games. The season is slated to open Oct. 11. But with training camps on hold and all preseason games already canceled, it is hard to imagine the NHL can stick to that schedule if a deal with the players’ association isn’t reached in the next day or two.
With no new negotiations scheduled, that seems to be nearly impossible.
Avalanche’s young captain joins Sweden’s Djurgarden
STOCKHOLM – Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said he is headed home to Sweden to play for second-division Djurgarden during the NHL lockout.
Stockholm-based Djurgarden said in a statement that it had reached a verbal agreement with Landeskog for the duration of the NHL lockout. Landeskog played for Djurgarden before being picked second overall in the draft last year, and the 19-year-old left winger was named Colorado’s captain in September, making him the youngest player ever to lead an NHL team.
The Swede said he will miss the Avalanche fans, describing them as “one of a kind.” He said he hopes to return to Denver’s Pepsi Center “as soon as possible.”
NBA sets flopping penalties: Flop, and you’ll be fined
NEW YORK – The NBA will penalize flopping this season, fining players for repeated violations of an act a league vice president said has “no place in our game.”
Players will get a warning the first time, then be fined $5,000 for a second violation. The fines increase to $10,000 for a third offense, $15,000 for a fourth and $30,000 the fifth time. Six or more could lead to a suspension.
The league said Wednesday that flopping will be defined as “any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.”
Spain tops FIFA rankings; USA rises to 32nd
ZURICH – Spain remained atop the FIFA world rankings as South American teams surged into the top 10 after playing 2014 World Cup qualifiers last month.
The United States rose one place to No. 32.
Spain, the World Cup winner, leads a European 1-2-3 ahead of Germany and Portugal, which climbed one spot.
Argentina climbed three places to No. 4, and Colombia is No. 9, leaping 13 spots after wins against Uruguay and Chile.
England fell two spots to No. 5, and the Netherlands rose two to No. 6.
Italy and Uruguay are next, both falling two places, and Greece moved up one to complete the top 10.
World Cup host Brazil fell two spots to No. 14.
Ivory Coast leads the African nations at No. 16, Mexico is up two to No. 19, and No. 23 Japan leads the Asian sides.
Swiss court says it wil hear no more from Landis
GENEVA – The International Cycling Union said a Swiss court ruling has prohibited Floyd Landis from repeating claims that UCI leaders corruptly protected Lance Armstrong from a doping case.
“The judgment upholds and protects the integrity of the UCI and its presidents,” the world cycling body said Wednesday in a statement released with copies of the court document.