Sports Briefs

Posted: Friday, June 07, 2002

Racing Lions to host motocross clinic

The Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions will be hosting a motocross riding clinic Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions Motorsports Facility located at Twin Cities Raceway on the Kenai Spur Highway across from Beaver Loop. Vance DeVaine, a former factory Suzuki pro rider, will be instructing the riding clinic.

The cost of the clinic, which is open to the public, is $30 for Racing Lions members and $40 for nonmembers. The clinic will be for motocross riders of all levels. Safety gear is required.

For more information, contact Debbie Burman at 262-7775 or 252-9186.

Anchorage angler wins Seward halibut prize

Luther L. Harris of Anchorage won first prize for week five of the Seward Jackpot Halibut Tournament last week, taking home $500 for coming closest to the target weight of 93 pounds.

Harris' fish weighed in at 90 pounds, 8 ounces. Jerry Coleman of Wasilla won $250 for his second-place catch of 89 pounds, and Shawn Landers of Anchorage took third place and $125 for his 99-pound fish.

Tickets for the Seward tournament are $5 for a day or $35 for the whole tournament. For more information, contact the Seward Chamber of Commerce at 224-8051.

Twins spared through 2003 in lawsuit settlement

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins will play next season as part of a deal approved Thursday that settles a lawsuit blocking baseball's contraction plan.

''This definitively removes the Twins from contraction for 2003,'' said Bill Lester, executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which agreed to drop its lawsuit against the team and baseball.

A signed settlement will be delivered Friday to Hennepin County District Judge Harry Seymour Crump, said Andrew Shea, a commission attorney. Crump mediated the settlement talks.

''Everybody who wants to keep major league baseball in Minnesota should be happy with this deal,'' said Joe Anthony, a Minneapolis-based attorney for baseball.

Delegates approve Canadian judging reform

KYOTO, Japan -- The Canadians won again. Trying to dig itself out of the mess left from the pairs scandal in Salt Lake City, delegates to the International Skating Union congress stuck with what they know, approving a Canadian proposal that makes minor changes to the current system.

''The ISU has shown a proactive response to public opinion,'' ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta said. ''This is proof the ISU has promptly reacted, and positively.''

The plan will be in place for at least two years, when the ISU's radical reform plan is expected to be ready.

Unlike proposals from the United States and Australia, Canada's proposal doesn't modify the current scoring system. Instead, it expands the judging panel from nine to 14. Before each segment of a competition, a computer will pick nine judges whose scores will be used.

Technical and presentation marks will be added together to get ordinals or placements, just as in the current system. All 14 marks will be displayed on the scoreboard, but no one -- not even the judges -- will know whose marks were used.

Trottier hired as Rangers new coach

NEW YORK -- Bryan Trottier has always had a knack for making headlines during the Stanley Cup finals.

The Hockey Hall of Famer is doing it again in New York.

Trottier, one of the Islanders' greatest players and a seven-time Stanley Cup winner, was hired Thursday to coach the archrival Rangers.

How he will be received by fans of both teams remains to be seen.

''As of right now, my loyalty and my focus is with the New York Rangers,'' he said. ''I believe sports fans understand that both on Long Island and New York.''

Trottier, 45, replaces Ron Low, fired at the end of the regular season, the fifth straight out of the playoffs for the Rangers. The announcement was made just hours before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals.

General manager Glen Sather interviewed a number of candidates for the job including Ken Hitchcock, who was hired by Philadelphia, Dave Tippett, who took the job in Dallas, and U.S. Olympic coach Herb Brooks before turning to Trottier.

At least 20 people were given a long questionnaire. Many responded well to it, but only Trottier wrote his answers by hand -- faxing 40 pages to Sather and catching the GM's eye.

''For some reason this just impressed me,'' Sather said. ''To sit and write it, and write it so somebody can read it and follow it and go through the whole process and not be confused by anything, that's someone that's pretty logical.

''It shows how serious he was about it, how much he wanted the job and how enthusiastic he was about it.''

Trottier, the 12th-leading scorer in NHL history, took four days to complete his answers and said the nine pages of questions ''seemed like 100.''

He has been through the process many times before, but this one clicked.

''I was confident in me,'' he said. ''I couldn't concern myself with what-ifs. I was just going to put my best foot forward, present Bryan Trottier in the best light I could, feel confident about that more so than what-ifs.''

Of all the people considered for the job, only Trottier was given an offer.

''He's the only choice,'' Sather said. ''He's the guy I offered the job to and I didn't offer it to anyone else.''

Trottier has been an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche since 1998 and spent three years as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Penguins. His only head coaching experience at any level was with Portland of the AHL in the 1997-98 season.

He acknowledged that he was not always a favorite at Madison Square Garden. Pictures of Trottier adorned the area where the news conference was held, but none showed him wearing an Islanders sweater.

''This is somewhat familiar territory,'' Trottier said. ''It wasn't always friendly territory but it was always respected territory.''

Low was fired April 15 after a two-year stint as coach. Trottier will be the Rangers' 30th coach, the fifth since they last made the postseason in 1997, and the second hired by Sather, who took over two years ago.

The Avalanche granted the Rangers permission to speak to Trottier even before Colorado was eliminated by Detroit last Friday in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.

Sather said they talked once before the playoffs, then three times during. Once Trottier was available, it didn't take long to hammer out a deal.

Trottier won six Stanley Cups during an 18-year playing career that culminated in his induction to the Hall of Fame in 1997.

The forward won four championships with the Islanders from 1980-83 and then two more with the Penguins in 1991 and '92 and a seventh with the Avalanche last year. He retired in 1994 with 524 career goals and 901 assists.

Trottier had his No. 19 retired by the Islanders last season.

The 22nd overall pick in the 1974 draft, Trottier played 1,123 games in 15 seasons with the Islanders. He scored 500 goals and set up 853 others, making him the top scorer in team history.

He'll have players on this team that are comparable to his talent. Eric Lindros will be in his second year in New York, Pavel Bure will enter his first full season with the Rangers, and 41-year-old captain Mark Messier seems to be leaning toward another year as well.

Trottier isn't worried about taking his first NHL job in a pressure situation like New York, neither are his players.

''I'm excited about this, I've never had a coach who was a centerman before,'' Lindros said. ''Coming in with seven Stanley Cup rings, not just as a player but as a coach, there's a great deal of respect.''

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