Sports Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Agassi gets his mind back on tennis

SYDNEY, Australia -- Andre Agassi needed some extra time to warm up in his first match since becoming a dad.

Agassi lost the first two games Monday then came back to beat Patrick Rafter 6-2, 6-4 on the opening night of the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup.

Agassi's wife, Steffi Graf, gave birth to son Jaden Gil last month.

''Very few things in your life you cherish so much,'' Agassi said. ''I would be lying to say that it hasn't been a time of focusing on other things, but ... I have maintained my fitness and my preparation and it is really motivating.

''I'm in a different chapter in my life and I'm anxious to see how things develop for me. I doubt I'll be able to do this long enough that my boy will get to see me play, but it sure is nice to dream a little bit about that.''

No. 2 Lleyton Hewitt beat No. 7 Sebastien Grosjean 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Old foes go in together as Hall of Fame's latest class

TORONTO -- Vyacheslav Fetisov shudders when he recalls trying to stop the scoring of Mike Gartner, Dale Hawerchuk and Jari Kurri.

''They scored so many goals that there are not many good memories for me playing against these guys,'' Fetisov said Monday as he sat on a stool surrounded by those three old foes, who scored a total of 1,827 goals in their NHL careers.

As a defenseman, Fetisov always was trying to find a way to break up their rushes toward the net. But now, they are on the same side, as members of the Class of 2001 in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Joining the four players induction was Craig Patrick, the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who was voted into the hall in the builders category, the fourth member of his family to be honored.

Gartner scored 708 NHL goals -- second only to Gordie Howe among right-wingers. Gartner shakes his head in amazement at being spoken of in the same breath as Mr. Hockey.

''Boy, I'll take that, to be second to Gordie Howe,'' he said.

Gartner, 42, manages the NHL Players' Association program, Goals and Dreams, that provides equipment for youngsters and refurbishes arenas. In his playing days, he scored 30 or more goals in 17 of his 19 NHL seasons including 15 in a row -- both NHL records.

Kurri, 41, who is involved in various businesses in Helsinki, is the highest-scoring European in NHL history. With Wayne Gretzky as his center at Edmonton, the Finnish winger had 601 goals, including four consecutive seasons with 50 or more, and earned five Stanley Cup rings.

Hawerchuk, 38, operates a horse breeding farm north of Toronto. The No. 1 NHL draft pick in 1981 by the Winnipeg Jets, he won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year by becoming the youngest player (18) in league history to amass 100 points in a season. He'd go on to score 518 goals, and his 1,409 points put him 13th on the all-time list.

Fetisov, 43, the assistant coach of the New Jersey Devils, will be head coach of Russia's team at the 2002 Winter Olympics. He helped the Soviet Union to two Olympic titles and six world championships, and earned two Stanley Cup rings with the Detroit Red Wings.

Patrick, 55, was preceded in the hall by grandfather Lester; his father, Lynn: and great uncle Frank.

''It was great to be born into a family so interested in hockey,'' he said ''I grew up in the game and once it's in your blood it's in your blood. This is beyond my wildest dreams.''

At a Monday luncheon, Eric Duhatschek of Calgary was presented with the Elmer Ferguson award for distinguished hockey journalism, and Mike Lange, the voice of the Penguins, received the Foster Hewitt Award for outstanding work as an NHL broadcaster.

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