Rick Nash scored his tournament-leading ninth goal in the third period in Innsbruck, Austria, giving Canada a 2-1 victory Tuesday over last-place Ukraine at the world hockey championships.
Canada, the two-time defending champions, will stay in Innsbruck and play Slovakia on Thursday in the quarterfinals. The United States will face the Czech Republic at the same time in Vienna. Unbeaten Russia will play Finland, and Sweden will oppose Switzerland in the other quarterfinal matchups.
Sweden, the runners-up the past two years, routed Latvia 9-1 to win Group F.
Canada finished Group F in second place – one point behind Sweden and one ahead of the United States.
Slovakia, which already qualified for the quarterfinals, beat Kazakhstan 3-1 in a Group E game in Vienna.
The Czech Republic beat Belarus 5-1 to finish in a tie with Russia atop Group E, but the Czechs lost the tiebreaker because they dropped the head-to-head matchup with the Russians.
•The NHL and the players’ association remained tightlipped about the tone of the latest labor talks, but negotiators have put off this week’s plans for a trip to the world hockey championships so discussions can keep rolling.
League commissioner Gary Bettman and union executive director Bob Goodenow will meet today and Thursday instead of heading to Austria – a trip that might be canceled altogether.
Those plans changed after a 3 1/2 -hour bargaining session in New York.
•A report in the East Valley (Ariz.) Tribune said Wayne Gretzky and owner Steve Ellman were close to agreement on a three-year contract extension that would make Gretzky the Phoenix Coyotes’ new head coach.
The Tribune cited NHL sources and said an announcement would be made this week.
Fortier joins UW as assistant
Paul Fortier, a former all-conference player at Washington, was hired as an assistant coach at his alma mater. Fortier, 40, joins the Huskies coaching staff after spending two years as an assistant at Cornell. He replaces Ken Bone, who became the head coach at Portland State on April 25.
• A judge in Bloomington, Ind., ruled Indiana University trustees did not break the law when they met to hear plans to fire coach Bob Knight.
No more than four of the nine trustees – not a quorum – met at any one time with then-university president Myles Brand, Judge Cecile Blau said in a four-page ruling. She said Brand’s conversations with less than a quorum did not fall within the definition of a meeting in the state’s open door law.
•A judge in Columbus, Ohio, has dismissed a lawsuit that led to the firing of former Ohio State coach Jim O’Brien and the ongoing NCAA investigation of the men’s basketball program.
•Freshman forward Roy Bright was kicked off Cincinnati’s team after acknowledging he had a firearm on campus, and freshman guard Vincent Banks left the team for personal reasons.
Adjustments improve some scores
Revisions to the NCAA’s new report card on academic standards moved dozens of teams off the failing list, but dropped others into danger of punishment.
The adjustments released in Indianapolis by the NCAA resulted in nine football programs and six men’s basketball teams moving above the cutoff line for possible penalties, which could include the loss of scholarships.
The most prominent programs revised to now have passing scores are the men’s basketball teams at Connecticut, Temple and Houston, along with the football teams at Oklahoma State and Wyoming.
The revisions also moved 20 teams that initially had passing scores to the failing list. , including the football teams at Tennessee and Mississippi State, the men’s basketball teams at Iowa, Utah and Washington, and UCLA women’s basketball.
•The NCAA put Nicholls State University on probation for four years because an academic adviser and assistant football coach did course work for more than two dozen athletes.
Green charged after altercation
Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green was charged with disorderly conduct after an altercation with his wife, who made a 911 call for help.
Green was arrested at his home after the incident last month. The charge was filed in Brown County Circuit Court in Green Bay, Wis.
District Attorney John Zakowski said that Green would be charged, but hadn’t said what the charge would be. Green is scheduled to appear in court today.
•Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was released from the hospital, nine days after a motorcycle accident left him with internal injuries and a damaged right knee.
Sharapova wins opening match
Maria Sharapova beat Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-4, 6-2 at the Italian Open in Rome, a first step in her bid to overtake Lindsay Davenport. If Sharapova wins this clay-court tuneup for the French Open, she will ascend to No. 1. … Lleyton Hewitt might not be able to play in the French Open after injuring ribs in an accident at his Sydney, Australia, home. Hewitt withdrew from Australia’s lineup for next week’s World Team Cup in Germany after a “mishap” Monday. … Georgia defensive tackle Darrius Swain was sentenced to 45 days in jail in Athens, Ga., for repeated driver’s license violations. Swain also was given 40 hours of community service.