Sports Outside the Beltway

Florida Panthers defenseman Nick Boynton sent home for disciplinary reasons

He was acquired in the Olli Jokinnnen deal. From the Sun-Sentinel-

Panthers defenseman Nick Boynton was sent home by the team Friday and will miss the final three games of this trip because of disciplinary reasons, General Manager Jacques Martin said.

Martin wouldn’t provide any details, but said he plans to speak with Boynton again Monday. Noah Welch will take Boynton’s place in the top six.

“I try not to focus on that because Boynton is a buddy of mine and he’s a really good guy,” Welch said. “It was a shock this morning hearing the news. I have to step in and do what I can do.”

Boynton traveled with the Panthers to their hotel in Seacaucus, N.J., after Thursday’s 2-1 win against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Boynton did not play in the third period after playing 10:06 through the first two periods. Earlier this season, he was benched for one game.

This takes place just before Florida plays critical back to back road games against Washington and New Jersey. While Nick doesn’t have impressive scoring stats, his defensive play is one of the reasons Florida is playing well this year.

Since no one will talk about what happen, I’ll speculate a little. To warrant a 3-game suspension like this, Boynton must have committed an act of insubordination towards the team’s coaches. Hopefully the suspension won’t damage the Panthers run to the playoffs.


Albert Haynesworth gets 7-yr, $100M deal from Washington Redskins

The Tennessee Titans now have a big hole to fill on their defensive line. From AP-

Albert Haynesworth walked into the front lobby of Redskins Park on the first day of free agency. After being congratulated by front office chief Vinny Cerrato, the All-Pro defensive tackle turned and introduced his mother. Once the pleasantries were done, the parties went to work — completing the paperwork on a seven-year contract that is worth about $100 million and includes an NFL-record $41 million in guaranteed money.

The Washington Redskins were back to their old form as champions of the offseason, snagging the biggest name available in the first few hours of the open market. They agreed to terms with Haynesworth around dawn Friday, culminating a sleepless night that included a just-after-midnight deal — six years, $54 million, $22.5 million guaranteed — to re-sign cornerback DeAngelo Hall.


It was uncertain whether the Redskins would be able to fit Haynesworth under the salary cap, but the front office spent this month renegotiating several contracts to clear money for the upcoming season. The team also saved money under the cap by releasing linebacker Marcus Washington last week.

Haynesworth should help with the sacks. The 27-year-old lineman got to the quarterback a career-high 8 1/2 times last year, more than one-third of a Washington team total (24) that ranked tied for 28th in the NFL. If nothing else, he will divert attention away from defensive ends Jason Taylor and Andre Carter, who managed 7 1/2 sacks between them in 2008.

Haynesworth, 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds, and has 24 sacks in seven NFL seasons since the Titans drafted him in the first round out of the University of Tennessee in 2002. His possible downsides: He hasn’t played a full season since his rookie year because of various injuries, he’s been known to take plays off, and he might never live down a five-game suspension for swiping his cleated foot over Dallas center Andre Gurode’s face in 2006.

The suspension earned Haynesworth one of my Knucklehead awards. It’s ancient history.

To sign Haynesworth the Redskins could end up shortchanging themselves in other areas. All of my readers who don’t think that is likely to happen raise your hands. Dan Snyder has made many attention grabbing moves for the Redskins during his ownership, but they haven’t produced too many good results.


He’s back- Martin Brodeur and NJ Devils shutout Colorado 4-0

It was his 99th whitewash of his career, and 3rd in elevens of a season he has mostly been absent from due to injury. From AP-

Martin Brodeur recorded his 99th career regular-season shutout, making 24 saves in his first game since elbow surgery in early November and the New Jersey Devils beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-0 on Thursday night.


Brodeur posted his third shutout in 11 games this season to move within four of Terry Sawchuk’s regular-season career mark of 103, and reached 545 victories to close within six of tying Patrick’s Roy’s NHL record.

The four-time Vezina Trophy winner as hockey’s best goalie was greeted by a standing ovation from fans when he stepped on the ice for the warmups and they cheered every time he touched the puck, even when he simply directed it to the corner.

With Brodeur back in goal and some of the league’s highest scorers in Zach Parise and Patrik Elias, the Devils could be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Next up for them is my favorite team the Florida Panthers. Can Florida punch through enough goals to beat Brodeur?


Cleveland Browns trade tight end Kellen Winslow to Tampa Bay

After cutting five players two days ago, the Bucs fill a roster spot. From AP-

The Cleveland Browns have traded talented and troublesome tight end Kellen Winslow to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for undisclosed draft picks.

Winslow’s five years in Cleveland were marked by injuries and controversy. He missed most of his first two seasons with injuries, but made the Pro Bowl in 2007 after making 82 catches for 1,106 yards. He demanded a new contract after the ’07 season.

Last season, he was briefly suspended by the Browns after being hospitalized with a staph infection.

Winslow was the sixth overall pick in the NFL 2004 Draft. The son of Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow Sr., he had 219 receptions for 2,459 yards and 11 touchdowns in 44 games.

When healthy Winslow has been a good player. He had a run in with management last year and the trade may have something to do with that. Note- The AP article doesn’t tell the whole story of Winslow’s 2008 suspension. He got a staph infection, was suspended after criticizing the GM because the Browns have had a recent history of these outbreaks, but the suspension was subsequently lifted by the Browns Owner.


North Korean female boxer loses title after skipping match

She won the super flyweight title back in 2007

A female North Korean boxer has been stripped of her international championship after missing a defense match for unspecified reasons, a South Korean official from the sporting body said Thursday.

Ryu Myung-ok, 26, became super flyweight champion of the World Boxing Council Female division in October 2007. She has not appeared in a title match since defending her championship against Mexico’s Ana Maria Torres in April last year. The WBC Female is an affiliate of the World Boxing Council-Yonhap News

Ms. Ryu isn’t the only North Korean boxer. Ms. Choi Hyon-Mi who along with her family defected to South Korea, also makes her living as a fighter.


Two-time Olympic Champion boxer Guillermo Rigondeaux defects

He won Bantamweight gold medals in both 2000 and 2004. From AP-

Former Olympic boxing champion Guillermo Rigondeaux defected to the United States, 18 months after he was kicked off the Cuba team as punishment for a previous defection attempt.

Farah Colina said Tuesday her husband had no choice but to flee Cuba if he wanted to box again.

“I’m surprised on one level because he left home at the end of January saying he was going to Santiago,” Colina said, referring to the eastern city that is Cuba’s second largest. “But, on another level, I think he was obligated to do this.”

Luis de Cubas, an agent for Arena Box Promotions in the United States, confirmed that Rigondeaux was in Miami and interested in fighting. The 28-year-old boxer won bantamweight gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.

Colina said her husband called a neighbor Saturday to say he made it to Miami. The family does not have a phone. She declined to describe his journey to the U.S., but said he sounded happy and nervous on the phone.

While Rigondeaux came to the US in an illegal fashion, he’ll be granted asylum here. Since the Clinton adminitstration the policy known as dry feet wet feet has in place. The boxer made it solid US soil, he gets to stay.

It comes as no surprise that conditions in Cuba haven’t changed under Raul Castro. Even if the Castros fell and a democratic government took its place, the island country will hardly be a prosperous paradise for those living there for some time.


FBR out as PGA Tour sponsor

Could the PGA Tour be returning to the days of slimmer purses and tournaments without corporate sponsors? From ESPN-

Commissioner Tim Finchem announced Tuesday that FBR has decided not to renew its contract after 2010 for the popular tournament outside Phoenix.

“We’ve obviously had — and are having — some bumps in the road,” Finchem said.

Already this year, U.S. Bank has said it was pulling out of the Milwaukee tournament after this year, and Ginn Resorts ended its sponsorship contract three years early, prompting the tour to file a lawsuit. The tour also faces uncertainty in Memphis, Tenn., where Stanford Financial was signed up through 2016 as the sponsor.

However, Travelers Insurance two weeks ago extended its sponsorship in Connecticut by four years through 2014, and Finchem said Accenture has signed up for another four years as title sponsor of this week’s Match Play Championship.

FBR has been the title sponsor since 2004 at the TPC Scottsdale, which has grown into the rowdiest event on the PGA Tour.

Using cars to gauge its attendance, the tournament last year set a record with more than 538,000 fans for the weekend, including 170,802 on Saturday. Most of them head to the par-3 16th hole, which is entirely enclosed with bleachers, making it the closest thing to golf being played in a stadium.

The tournament is run by The Thunderbirds, a civic group which has become one of the top fundraisers for PGA Tour charities. The group said it has begun the search for a new sponsor, a tough task in this economy.

A tournament that was first played in 1932, is likely to face a tough choice. A half dozen PGA Tour stops are in the process of or have lost sponsors, and with the economy and public opinion the way it is, I think it will be hard to find replacements. The PGA Tour has fewer problems than the LPGA, and they will adjust. Maybe a celebrity would like to give his name(but not money) to the event. Half or a little more of the west coast events had celebrity affiliations in the 1970′s

Bob Hope- Palm Springs tournament
Andy Williams- San Diego
Bing Crosby- Pebble Beach
Glen Campbell- LA

Could a return to those days be in the cards for the PGA Tour?


NJ Devil Goalie Martin Brodeur to return to lineup this week

To make room on the roster for the future Hall of Famer, New Jersey demoted Scott Clemmensen. From ESPN-

The New Jersey Devils have activated four-time Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur from the injured reserve list, sending Scott Clemmensen back to their AHL affiliate in Lowell, Mass., despite his 25-13-1 record this season.

The move clears the way for Brodeur to start Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Brodeur tore a biceps in his left elbow in a game against Atlanta on Nov. 1 and had surgery days later.

In his absence, Clemmensen and Kevin Weekes have combined for 32 wins to help New Jersey move into first place in the Atlantic Division. Weekes is 7-4 with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage; Clemmensen has a 2.39 GAA and .917 save percentage.

If it had been up to me, I would have demoted Weekes. Neither of these guys can be expected to play much if Brodeur is back to his ironman status of starting 70 games a season.


Chess Grandmaster sets new game record

I’ve played over 100 correspondence chess games at once and avoided losing my mind. From AFP-

Bulgarian grandmaster Kiril Georgiev managed to break the world record for the largest number of simultaneous chess games played, organisers said Monday.

Georgiev played a total of 360 games simultaneously and wrapped up his chess marathon within 14 hours and 8 minutes.

He registered only six losses and some 70 draws, winning the rest of the games, against opponents who ranged from children to pensioners.

In order to qualify for the record Georgiev had to win 80 percent of the games and he registered a winning percentage of 88 percent, organisers said.

I’ve taken part in a few simultaneous exhibitions in my life. My record isn’t good, 4 losses in 4 tries. It is fun to be up close with a chess grandmaster.


NY Rangers fire coach Tom Renney, hire John Tortorella

This marks the sixth time this year an NHL team fired their man behind the bench. From ESPN-

Tom Renney was fired as coach of the New York Rangers on Monday and replaced by John Tortorella in an attempt to save a season that has spiraled out of control.

The Rangers opened 10-2-1, but 10 losses in the last 12 games have knocked the team out of contention for the Atlantic Division title and placed it in danger of missing the playoffs completely.

Tortorella led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Stanley Cup title in 2004 and was let go following last season. The Rangers were not required to provide compensation to the Lightning.

Renney, a former coach of the Vancouver Canucks, was 164-121-42 with the Rangers in four-plus seasons and ranks fourth on the team’s career wins and games coached lists.

I think Renney is the fall guy in New York. The Ranger management has made a series of poor personnel decisions over the last year. Trading for Nikolai Zherdev, Signing Markus Naslund, not retaining Brendan Shanahan.

I do however like John Tortorella. He’ll certainly light a fire under players in New York. Will it work? I don’t know.


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