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NHL/SOCCER: June 29, 2005

Posted: Wednesday June 29, 2005 11:33AM; Updated: Wednesday June 29, 2005 11:43AM
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The American Hockey League announced yesterday a realignment of its two conferences and four divisions for 2005-06. The Albany River Rats will move to the Atlantic Division while the Grand Rapids Griffins jump to the North.The West Division has two activated teams, the Iowa Stars and the Calgary Flames' farm team, the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights.
--The Associated Press


"We didn't strike, we were locked out," free agent goalie Sean Burke said yesterday. "I've often thought the owners set this all up to burn a season and create lots of free agents. That's not what I call negotiating fairly. I hope the PA (executive) fights for it, but I'm not optimistic they'll win." There could be a loophole, however, going back to 1999-2000 when the league forced Alexei Yashin to fulfill the year of his contract to the Ottawa Senators he missed by sitting out in a contract dispute. To the players, restoring last year's contracts is applying the same argument, but the matter could also end up going to arbitration or perhaps even the courts.
--Calgary Sun

The Ottawa Senators have renewed general manager John Muckler's contract for another three seasons.
--Toronto Star

Panthers General Manager Mike Keenan called Clint Malarchuk on Monday to inform him that coach Jacques Martin wants to bring in his own goalie coach. Malarchuk said Keenan told him that Martin wants to hire Francois Allaire, the highly-respected goaltending guru who has been a consultant with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for nine years. Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo has attended Allaire's goaltending school in Quebec since he was a child.
--South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The NHL lockout is expected to be over soon. Yippee! Three jeers, (oops, darn typos!) three cheers, for Gary Bettman. All this fuss so that NHL hockey can live in Tampa and Carolina and Nashville. They should be building a statue to Bettman in Florida next to Ponce de Leon -- another guy who went looking for the fountain of youth for his owners but couldn't find it. NHL owners might be pleased with a deal that guarantees them a salary cap of $22 million to $35 million US. But there's nothing that says players, especially those from Europe, have to come to play for Gary and his pals.
--Toronto Sun


His Fire is near the top of the Major League Soccer standings midway through the season, but new president John Guppy can't help looking ahead to a match that will reveal more to the club's fans than any MLS match could. The Fire wangled a match with Italian powerhouse AC Milan on July 27 at Soldier Field. The Fire could get clobbered, which would discredit but the club looking to build a bigger fan base. Then, again ... ''It's not about how many people will be in the stands, though that's part of it,'' Guppy said. ''It's about the credibility of our team. Perception in some cases is worse than reality. People will be able to judge us and the quality of our team. AC Milan is one of the top three-four clubs in the world, but I think we'll do fine. This opportunity is incredible. It's one that doesn't come along too often.''
--Chicago Sun-Times

Freddy Adu will be the first to admit he didn't play well at the World Youth Championship. The teenage phenom openly admitted he was physically dominated, mentally unprepared and terrible at handling the ball. He bluntly said he underestimated the level of competition at the biennial under-20, single-elimination FIFA tournament. It left a bitter taste in his mouth after the United States lost 3-1 to Italy on June 20 in the Round of 16 in Enschede, Netherlands. Now he's back with his MLS team, defending champion D.C. United, and wants to prove his disappointing performance with the under-20 national team, which included Fire rookies Chad Barrett and Will John, was a fluke.
--Chicago Tribune

Brazilian midfielder Cassio and Canadian midfielder/forward Felix Brilliant were waived today by the New England Revolution for apparent roster and salary-cap flexibility. With time running out before salaries go guaranteed, and neither player radiating on the field, the Revolution sent the two Senior Internationals packing. July 1 is the day on which all MLS salaries will be guaranteed.

Malcolm Glazer's three sons - Joel, Avi and Bryan - met with representatives from the Premier League and Football Association, Sports Minister Richard Caborn and United chief executive David Gill. The trio are all members of the Old Trafford board, installed by their father earlier this month when he assumed control of the club and de-listed United from the Stock Exchange. Joel Glazer said: "We have had some really positive meetings. We are delighted to have met the game's leading administrators and the Sports Minister so early in our time at United and we are grateful to them all for making the time to see us. There's been a lot in the UK pres about us in the last 18 months and this has been an invaluable chance to tell the men who run the game what the truth is. I hope they are reassured by our experience in sport and our passion to keep Manchester United successful."
--Manchester Evening News (UK)

Carlos Queiroz last night urged Manchester United to agree a new deal with Cristiano Ronaldo to keep the Portuguese star out of Barcelona's clutches. As exclusively revealed by Mirror Sport, Barcelona are preparing an audacious 20million bid for Ronaldo because he has still not signed a new contract at Old Trafford. United claim they have a letter of intent from Ronaldo's camp, committing him to a five-year deal. But that contract still remains unsigned and, as Malcolm Glazer finally took full control of United yesterday, Queiroz told the club they must keep Ronaldo. Queiroz claims the 20-year-old, who is also admired by Real Madrid, is key to United's plans for the next 10 years.
-- The Mirror (UK)

Tord Grip last night admitted for the first time that Sven Goran Eriksson has a get-out clause that allows him to leave the England job after the World Cup. However, it will take a 4.5million fee to get him out of his Soho Square office, paid by the FA if they sack him or by the club that tempts him to break his contract. But Grip, Eriksson's No 2, claimed that the Swede is keen to stay at the helm of the England team until the 2008 European Championship.
--The Mirror (UK)

Kevin Phillips is poised to move to Aston Villa.The Premiership club have agreed a 1million fee with Southampton for the 31-year-old striker and Phillips will join David O'Leary's side if he passes a medical today.
--The Mirror (UK)

Chelsea have signed 14-year-old academy prospect Thomas Lyskov from Reading. The left-sided player, who has been at the Royals for four years, is believed to have signed a five-year deal.
--The Mirror (UK)