Sports Briefs

Posted: Sunday, December 29, 2002

Sutter named coach of Flames

CALGARY, Alberta -- It took less than a month for Darryl Sutter to find a new team.

Sutter was hired as the coach of the Calgary Flames on Saturday and will make his debut on Sunday night against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. He was fired by the San Jose Sharks on Dec. 1 after an 8-12-2-2 start.

''It's a thrill, it gives me shivers,'' Sutter said.

Calgary fired Greg Gilbert on Dec. 3. Gilbert was in his second full season as coach after taking over the team in March 2001, when Don Hay was fired.

Al MacNeil, the special assistant to general manger Craig Button, was the interim coach.

Sutter's name was among the first to surface as a potential candidate when the Flames fired Gilbert and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon. Sutter's family has roots in Alberta and his brother, Brian, coached the Flames for three seasons.

In just over five seasons with the Sharks, Sutter had a regular-season record of 192-182-60.

''This is not a short-term deal for me,'' Sutter said. ''I want the identity of the Calgary Flames back to where it was -- this is a tough town, a tough place to play. Just to restore that is really important.''

Last season, Sutter became just the second coach in NHL history to guide his team to five consecutive seasons of point improvement and led the Sharks to a club record five consecutive playoff berths.

Button said Sutter's five years of steady improvement with the Sharks made him the best fit for the Flames.

''He took a team that really wasn't very good and not only did he make the team better, but he made all the younger players better,'' Button said. ''They're now a formidable foe.

''I think he's perfect for our team.''

Putzer wins giant slalom, Kostelic finishes second

SEMMERING, Austria -- Italy's Karen Putzer put together two near-flawless runs to win a World Cup giant slalom Saturday.

Putzer finished with a combined time of 2 minutes, 11.10 seconds for her second consecutive World Cup giant slalom victory and third overall win of the season.

Croatia's Janica Kostelic was second, 0.37 seconds back.

Italy's Denise Karbon and Austria's Austrian Nicole Hosp tied for third, 0.69 seconds behind.

Putzer held a 0.51-second lead after her first run. As the last skier to start the second leg, Putzer stayed on top despite the mild, 41-degree temperatures that made conditions difficult on the classic Hirschenkogel course.

''I was very happy about my first run, but I knew I could not rely on my time gap,'' Putzer said. ''I love that hill. Particularly the weather conditions were favoring me. This soft and warm snow is exactly what I need.''

Putzer, who has become her team's leader since star Isolde Kostner was sidelined because of injury, gave Italy its first win at Semmering since Deborah Compagnoni's slalom victory in 1996.

Two men arrested sneaking into Augusta

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It's not easy to play a round of golf at Augusta National golf course. Not even if you try to jump a fence in the middle of the night to grab a few holes before the sun rises.

Augusta police arrested two men early Friday after spotting them trying to scale a fence outside the prestigious course with clubs and golf balls in hand.

William Hamilton DeLong, 23, of Augusta, and Clemson student David Stephen Cooper, 25, were charged with disorderly conduct.

Police said the men were lying on the grass outside National's Gate Seven, holding golf balls and two Dunlop gold clubs.

The men appeared intoxicated, according to the police report.



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