Nets’ Irving out versus Wizards, one day after trade request
NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving will not play for the Brooklyn Nets against Washington. The move comes a day after he told the team he would like to be traded. The Nets say Irving’s absence is due to right calf soreness and he has been added to the injury report for Saturday’s game. Irving asked the Nets for a trade on Friday, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press. The All-Star has been frustrated that the Nets have thus far refused to give him an extension on his contact that expires after this season.
NHL All-Star Game final matchup: Central vs Atlantic
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — The Central Division and the Atlantic Division have reached the final of the NHL All-Star Game. One of them will actually win the thing. Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk had three goals and two assists to tie a single-game record for the 3-on-3 All-Star format. He led the Atlantic past the Metropolitan Division 10-6 in the second semifinal at the All-Star Game. Arizona’s Clayton Keller had two goals and an assist, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and the Central Division moved into the title matchup with a 6-4 win over the Pacific Division to start the All-Star Game.
NFL infuses Pro Bowl with points system, flag football
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The NFL has stopped pretending its all-star game was an actual game. The latest iteration of the Pro Bowl won’t have tackle football game but instead flag football. A series of events that accumulates three points each leads up to three flag football contests. The AFC took a 9-3 lead Thursday by winning the precision passing competition, the three-event lightning round and the long drive. The NFC won in dodgeball.
Panthers offer Sarah Nurse deal to lead girls hockey program
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Panthers are offering Canadian forward Sarah Nurse a job to run their new program designed to get more girls playing hockey. Nurse scored a highlight-reel goal against New York Rangers netminder Igor Shesterkin during the NHL’s All-Star Skills Competition on Friday night. Panthers president Matthew Caldwell made the offer during an event on Saturday morning. Nurse played for Canada’s world-champion teams in 2021 and 2022 and with Canada’s Olympic gold winners at the Beijing Games last year.
Super Bowl-bound Chiefs are built around Patrick Mahomes
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs are headed to their third Super Bowl in four years. So is their quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. It might sound easy to have such sustained success when there’s an All-Pro under center. But the massive contract that Kansas City gave Mahomes, which might still be a bargain, made it challenging to fill out the roster around him. That responsibility fell to general manager Brett Veach, who used some savvy business and creativity to pull it off. Veach found some bargains in free agency and made some brilliant decisions in the draft, and those players as much as Mahomes are why the Chiefs are about to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the big game.
Super Bowl-bound Eagles are built around QB Jalen Hurts
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles are trying to win their second Super Bowl in franchise history. They went 14-3 this season largely on the play of quarterback Jalen Hurts. He is a finalist for AP NFL MVP, Offensive Player of the Year and tied a franchise record with 33 total touchdowns. Hurts is only 24 and could be rewarded with a new contract in the offseason. His only focus now is beating the Kansas City Chiefs next week in the Super Bowl.
Gary Bettman defends NHL handling of Pride night situations
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman defended the way the league and two teams handled controversial developments involving Pride night celebrations. Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov did not take part in warmups citing religion for his refusal to wear a Pride-themed jersey. The New York Rangers opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night despite previously advertising they planned to do so. Bettman said the league has to respect individuals’ choices. Also in his state of the NHL address at All-Star Weekend he announced the event next year will take place in Toronto and addressed concerns about the league’s current playoff format.
US sweeps Uzbekistan, advances to group stage in Davis Cup
The United States swept its way into the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, getting the winning point in a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan from the doubles team of Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek. They beat Sergey Fomin and Sanjar Fayziev 6-2, 6-4, after Tommy Paul and Mackenzie McDonald had won singles matches Friday in Tashkent. Serbia, France, Switzerland, Britain and Sweden were among the other winners in the 12 qualifiers being held this weekend. The winners advance to the group stage that will be held in September.
Ohtani set for WBC in Japan, but Angels future uncertain
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani’s long-term future with the Los Angeles Angels is up in the air as he heads into the final season under contract. But the two-way superstar’s plans for the spring are all set. Ohtani will make one start on the Cactus League mound this month for the Angels before he heads to Japan on March 1 for the World Baseball Classic, Halos general manager Perry Minasian says. Ohtani will make $30 million this season with the Angels in his final year under team control. Minasian says the Angels want Ohtani to stay for the long term.
Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers
SANTA ANA ZIROSTO, Mexico (AP) — It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. The roads are plagued by drug cartels, common criminals, and extortion and kidnap gangs so state police provide escorts for the trucks brave enough to face the 40-mile (60-kilometer) trip to packing and shipping plants in the city of Uruapan. Drivers are often robbed of their avocados and their trucks.