Sports Extra

MLB

Red Sox send their manager a Valentine: You’re fired

BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox thought Bobby Valentine would restore order to a coddled clubhouse that disintegrated during the 2011 pennant race.

Instead, he only caused more problems.

The brash and supremely confident manager was fired Thursday, the day after the finale of a season beset with internal sniping and far too many losses. Valentine went 69-93 in his only year in Boston, the ballclub’s worst season in almost 50 years.

A baseball savant who won the NL pennant with the New York Mets and won it all in Japan, Valentine was brought in after two-time World Series champion Terry Francona lost control of the clubhouse during an unprecedented September collapse. But the players who took advantage of Francona’s hands-off approach bristled under Valentine’s abrasive style.

More importantly, they didn’t win for him, either.

NHL

NHL cancels first 2 weeks of the regular season

NEW YORK – The National Hockey League canceled two weeks of the regular season Thursday, the second time games have been lost because of a lockout in seven years.

The announcement was made in a two-paragraph statement from the NHL. It isn’t clear if those games will be made up, allowing for a complete 82-game regular season, if a deal can be struck soon with the locked out players.

Unable to work out how to split up $3 billion in hockey-related revenues with the players’ association, the NHL wiped out 82 games from Oct. 11 through Oct. 24 – beginning with four games next Thursday, which would have been the league’s opening night.

Although there have been negotiations between the league and players in recent days – unlike the 2004-05 lockout that forced the cancellation of the entire season – the two sides haven’t gotten any closer to a deal on core economic issues.

NBA

Knicks and Pistons bring ball back to the British Kingdom

LONDON – The NBA is returning to London with a regular-season game between the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks in January.

The NBA said the Pistons and Knicks will play Jan. 17 at the O2 Arena, the site of this year’s Olympic gold-medal game.

The Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets played a pair of regular-season games at the same venue in March 2011, but the NBA skipped London on its preseason tour this year.

Auto Racing

Stenhouse will get another ride in Roush’s No. 6-car

CONCORD, N.C. – Roush Fenway Racing will give Ricky Stenhouse Jr. another Sprint Cup start as he prepares to replace Matt Kenseth next season in NASCAR’s top series.

The team said Thursday that Stenhouse, last year’s Nationwide Series champion, will drive the No. 6 Ford next week at Charlotte. He’s taking over No. 17 next season when Kenseth joins Joe Gibbs Racing.

Schumacher retires ... again: ‘It might be forever’

SUZUKA, Japan – Michael Schumacher again is retiring from Formula One racing – and this time, he said, “it might be forever.”

Unable to duplicate the success of his prime, the seven-time, 43-year-old F1 champion announced Thursday he will retire at the end of the season, bringing an end to the most decorated career the sport has seen.

Schumacher holds the record for championships and grand prix wins, with 91. He began his career in 1991 and won two titles with Benetton, then five for Ferrari. He initially retired in 2006 but came back to drive for Mercedes in 2010.

Associated Press