June 24, 2009 in Sports

Sports in brief: Yzerman, Hull, Robitaille, Leetch get Hall

From Staff And Wire Reports
 
Associated Press photo

In this 1999 photo, Brian Leetch upends Canadiens’ Matt Higgins.
(Full-size photo)

HOCKEY: Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille and Brian Leetch are going into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The selection committee announced on a conference call Tuesday it had elected the maximum four players this year. All were eligible for the first time.

New Jersey Devils president Lou Lamoriello was also elected in the builder category.

Yzerman ranks sixth all-time in points with 1,755. The longtime Detroit Red Wings captain won the Stanley Cup three times and a gold medal with Canada in the 2002 Olympics.

Hull’s 741 goals rank third all-time. He played 19 years with the Calgary Flames, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes. Hull received the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1991.

His father, Bobby, is already in the Hall.

Leetch became the first American-born player to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy after leading the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994. He also twice won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenseman.

Robitaille’s 668 goals are the most by a left wing. He received the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie in 1987.

A player must be retired for three seasons before becoming eligible to enter the Hall. The induction ceremony will be Nov. 9.

At least 14 of the Hall’s 18-member selection committee must vote for a player for him to be elected.

Safin’s final Wimbledon ends

TENNIS: It seemed fitting, somehow, that two-time major champion Marat Safin’s always-turbulent relationship with Wimbledon would end this way.

A first-round departure.

Against the unheralded Jesse Levine, a 133rd-ranked qualifier from Boca Raton, Fla., who began Tuesday with a 0-2 tour-level record in 2009.

And with a mangled racket and plenty of kicking and screaming, including a couple of arguments with the chair umpire, then a postmatch parting shot at a line judge Safin called “a little bit too blind.”

Safin used to rant about disliking tennis on grass, and he once complained about the high price and low quality of food at the players’ restaurant at the All England Club. Well, he doesn’t have to worry about any of that again after bowing out in his final Wimbledon with a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4 loss to Levine.

After confirming this would be his last appearance at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament – Safin has vowed to retire at season’s end – he was asked how he feels about being done with Wimbledon.

“Relieved,” the 29-year-old Safin replied. “Pretty much relieved.”

He’s a former No. 1 player who won the 2000 U.S. Open and 2005 Australian Open, but a series of injuries slowed him recently. Still, Safin came to Wimbledon ranked 24th and seeded 14th, and had to be considered quite a favorite against Levine, who never had defeated anyone ranked better than 67th.

The 21-year-old Levine, who was born in Canada and moved to Florida at age 13, found Tuesday’s experience “surreal.”

Taylor Dent – playing at Wimbledon for the first time since 2005 after two back operations – managed to stick around at least until Wednesday, because his match was suspended by darkness. Dent, though, trailed Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 2-1 in sets.

PGA Tour pro’s wife killed in crash

GOLF: Authorities have confirmed that the wife of PGA Tour golfer Chris Smith was killed in a head-on collision in northeastern Indiana over the weekend.

Steuben County Coroner Rodney Snyder says the badly burned body of 42-year-old Beth Smith of Peru, Ind., was identified using dental records.

Smith’s children, 16-year-old Abigail and 12-year-old Cameron, were listed in critical condition at a Fort Wayne hospital.

Nott said an investigation into Sunday’s crash is continuing. Authorities say Abigail Smith was driving a sport utility vehicle that crossed the median and struck a Greyhound bus carrying members of a Canadian football team, the London Silverbacks. More than 20 people were hurt.

Price, Toms win: David Toms returned the favor on Tuesday.

After Nick Price’s strong play during the opening day, David Toms had eight birdies to lead the pair to the title at the CVS Caremark Charity Classic at the Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington, R.I.

Toms and Price shot a second-round 11-under 60 on Tuesday as they won the best-ball tournament with a combined 36-hole total of 16-under 126.

It’s prison for theft of Armstrong’s bike

MISCELLANY: A Sacramento, Calif., man is facing prison time for stealing Lance Armstrong’s bicycle while the seven-time Tour de France winner was competing in California.

Sacramento County court documents show 40-year-old Lee Crider is to be sentenced Monday to three years in prison for burglary and theft. He pleaded no contest June 1 to stealing Armstrong’s time trial bike and two other bikes from a trailer after the Sacramento prologue to the Tour of California in February.

Montana AG explains to NCAA: Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock wrote to the NCAA to clarify that Montana’s gambling laws prohibit wagering on the outcome of athletic events.

State and university officials have been working to prove that Montana’s legalized betting on fantasy sports leagues does not violate the NCAA’s stance against wagering on the outcome of sporting events. The NCAA has said the University of Montana should not have been allowed to host football playoff games last season because the state allows a form of sports gambling.


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