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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Flyers' Thoresen released from hospital after taking puck to groin

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Philadelphia Flyers left wing Patrick Thoresen was released from the hospital Saturday after tests revealed no serious injury from a shot that hit him in the groin.

Thoresen lay writhing in pain after blocking Mike Green's shot in the third period Friday night of a 5-4 loss to the Washington Capitals. The 24-year-old forward was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where he underwent two ultrasound tests.

Patrick Thoresen

Thoresen

"My groin area is sore and swollen," Thoresen said in comments released by the team. "I can't really walk properly right now. It hurts."

Thoresen rested at the team hotel while the Flyers practiced Saturday.

"Everything checked out OK. They were checking to see if there was a rupture. There was none," general manager Paul Holmgren said.

Holmgren said he wouldn't be surprised if Thoresen played in Game 2 on Sunday.

"The chance is there because there is nothing wrong right now," Thoresen said. "It's just a matter of pain. Right now it doesn't feel like I am ready to go because I am very sore. But I will keep icing the area today and keep trying to get the swelling down and we will see how I feel."

Green left a message for Thoresen through the Flyers' trainer.

"He wished me well and said he hoped everything will be OK with me," Thoresen said. "That was very classy of him."

Washington was on the power play when Thoresen was injured. Officials did not stop play, in effect giving the Capitals a two-man advantage during which they scored the tying goal.

"I know in the past there have been players that have laid there and rolled around trying to get a stoppage in play when they've just been hit on the shin," Holmgren said. "It's a tough call. I didn't have a problem with it last night and, thinking about it, I still don't have a problem. The ref has to make a judgment call in a split second, and they made the call they made. Obviously it cost us a goal. I don't believe that's the reason we lost the game."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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Gumbel leaves NFL Network gig

Bryant Gumbel
Gumbel

After two years of getting roasted by sports-media critics, Bryant Gumbel has ankled his job as play-by-play man for the eight live National Football League primetime games carried each season by the NFL Network.

The network hired Gumbel when it secured rights to the eight-game package in 2006, even though Gumbel had no experience doing NFL play by play. His sports expertise comes from his 13 years as host of HBO’s monthly hourlong series “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” and his early career at NBC Sports.

Referring to the two years doing the games as “a new experience for me,” Gumbel said in a statement that he and the network have “agreed that we’d all be better served going in different directions.”

Cris Collinsworth will continue as the analyst on the games. The network has begun the search for Gumbel’s replacement.

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Yankees will donate once-buried Red Sox jersey to Boston-area charity

Construction Worker Tells His Side Of 'Jerseygate'

NEW YORK -- A construction worker's bid to curse the New York Yankees by planting a Boston Red Sox jersey in their new stadium was foiled Sunday when the home team removed the offending shirt from its burial spot.

After locating the shirt in a service corridor behind what will be a restaurant in the new Yankee Stadium, construction workers jackhammered through the concrete Sunday and pulled it out.

The team said it learned that a Sox-rooting construction worker had buried a shirt in the new Bronx stadium, which will open next year across the street from the current ballpark, from a report in the New York Post on Friday.

Yankees President Randy Levine said team officials at first considered leaving the shirt where it was.

"The first thought was, you know, it's never a good thing to be buried in cement when you're in New York," Levine said. "But then we decided, why reward somebody who had really bad motives and was trying to do a really bad thing?"

On Saturday, construction workers who remembered the employee, Gino Castignoli, phoned in tips about the shirt's location.

Red Sox Jersey

AP Photo/Frances Roberts

A worker at the new Yankee Stadium pulls a David Ortiz jersey out of the concrete. A Red Sox fan had placed the jersey in the concrete beneath the stadium in the hopes of jinxing the Yankees.

"We had anonymous people come tell us where it was, and we were able to find it," said Frank Gramarossa, a project executive with Turner Construction, the general contractor on the site.

It took about five hours of drilling Saturday to locate the shirt under 2 feet of concrete, he said.

On Sunday, Levine and Yankees CEO Lonn Trost watched as Gramarossa and foreman Rich Corrado finished the job and pulled the shirt from the rubble.

In shreds from the jackhammers, the shirt still bore the letters "Red Sox" on the front. It was a David Ortiz jersey, No. 34.

Trost said the Yankees had discussed possible criminal charges against Castignoli with the district attorney's office.

"We will take appropriate action since fortunately we do know the name of the individual," he said.

A woman who answered the phone at Castignoli's home in the Bronx on Sunday said he was not there.

A spokesman for Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said Sunday he did not know whether any criminal charges might apply.

Levine said the shirt would be cleaned up and sent to the Jimmy Fund, a charity affiliated with Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Along with that, New York will send a Yankees Universe T-shirt, which is sold to benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

"Hopefully the Jimmy Fund will auction it off and we'll take the act that was a very, very bad act and turn it into something beautiful," he said.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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Speed Chess Game


New swimsuit could break Olympic records

MANCHESTER, England (AP) -- The Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit is making such a splash in the pool that U.S. head coach Mark Schubert believes every record in the sport could fall at the Beijing Olympics.

art.suit.gi.jpg

A U.S. coach says all previous Olympic swim records may be broken with the help of the new swimsuit.

Since the suit was unveiled in February, 19 long-course world records have been set and four short-course marks. The new Speedo suit has been worn in all but one of the 23 records.

At this point in 2004 -- the last Olympic year -- five world records had been set.

Swimming's world governing body decided last weekend not to ban the new high-tech suit, despite claims of buoyancy and "technological doping" by some critics.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see every world record broken at the games, and hopefully we'll get a big percentage of those," said Schubert, one of the most outspoken supporters of the new swimsuit.

Jessica Hardy of the United States became the latest record-holder in the women's 50-meter breaststroke at the short-course world championships on Thursday.

NASA had a hand in designing the LZR, and Speedo claims it makes swimmers go two percent faster.

"They say that the suit is rocket science, but the stats are not rocket science," Schubert said. "The proof is in the performance."

Schubert said he will go so far as to recommend that every American wear the Speedo suit at the U.S. Olympic trials in June -- even if they are sponsored by another company.

"I would strongly advise them to wear the suit at trials, or they may end up at home watching on NBC," Schubert said. "Do you go for the money or for the gold? These athletes have been dreaming about winning an Olympic medal since they were eight or 10 years old and nobody can afford to give up two percent."

Four prominent Americans are sponsored by Nike -- Brendan Hansen, Aaron Piersol, Jason Lezak and Kaitlin Sandeno.

The Italians wear Arena and the Japanese use Mizuno.

FINA is due to meet with swimsuit manufacturers on Saturday, and there are no plans to ban the LZR. Other companies are clearly behind.

"I feel very sorry for them," Schubert said. "Get with it."

Italy head coach Alberto Castagnetti has said wearing the LZR amounts to "technological doping."

Massimiliano Rosolino, an Italian who has won 17 medals in Olympics and world championships, said something needs to be changed "right away."

"It's not a matter of technology," Rosolino said. "The matter is one suit has much more flotation. If I were to go out there in a scuba suit it wouldn't be fair either. There's something not right about it.

"It has to be fair for everyone."

Rosolino is using a new Arena suit that was supposed to compete with the LZR, but he said it hasn't changed much.

"I have the new one, but it's just lighter than the old one," Rosolino said.

Alessia Filippi, another prominent Italian, agreed.

"We're at a big disadvantage," she said. "I think we all need to have the same (type of) suit at the Olympics, and Arena is working on it. But they've got to hurry. We're behind."

In an open letter published in Friday's editions of the Daily Telegraph, Arena Group CEO Cristiano Portas called for "urgent" action due to the "firestorm of publicly expressed concern" over the new suits.

Portas said the sport faces an "irrecoverable loss of credibility, just a few months before the Olympic Games."

"As a consequence, a reliable and transparent analysis of these materials, as well as a careful assessment of approval procedures, is urgent," Portas wrote. "Such action is in the supreme interest of the sport."

The letter was dated April 4, the day before FINA issued a statement saying it will not ban the suits because there is no scientific evidence supporting claims of buoyancy.

On Wednesday, another letter was sent to FINA by a coalition of manufacturers -- including Arena, Adidas, Diana and Descente -- asking that three points on the swimsuit debate be added to the agenda for Saturday's meeting. So far, FINA has not responded.

Speedo is a top sponsor of U.S. swimming and Schubert made his comments while wearing a polo shirt emblazoned with the English manufacturer's logo.

"I'm not saying this just because they pay part of my salary," Schubert said. "I'm all about performance and I believe in the product."

Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe used the LZR to set a world record in the 400 individual medley on Wednesday. On Thursday, she picked up her second gold of the championships by breaking her own meet mark in the 100 backstroke.

"It's definitely good for the sport but the bottom line is you still have to swim hard," Coventry said. "All suits for me are mental."

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Harvick, Stewart, JJ, Kahne say they've never been drug tested

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne say they never have undergone a drug test as NASCAR competitors.

"In the 10 years that I've raced, I've never been drug-tested," Harvick said. "To me, that's not a proper drug policy for a professional sport. We haven't made any headway whatsoever on the drug-testing policy."

Harvick and Stewart were reacting to an ESPN The Magazine story this week in which former driver Aaron Fike said he competed in Craftsman Truck Series races while he was on heroin.

"I have been in a race with him and I know for a fact that he's not the only one," Harvick said. "There's another driver that was suspended that I can almost guarantee you was in the race car while he was under the influence, and that pisses me off.

"I'm sure I'll be blasted for saying what I feel, but I don't want to be on a race track with people like that. It's irresponsible more than anything."

All four Cup drivers said they are in favor of regular testing.

"I would love it,'' Stewart said. "I've never been asked to take one yet. I think it should be mandatory to have random drug testing. I think it's a great idea. The Fike situation shows that as an organization, we're not doing a good job of seeing this before it happens."

NASCAR's substance-abuse policy includes the right to test any driver at any time, but officials only do so if they believe a competitor might have a problem.

"The responsibility here rests across the board -- with the drivers and competitors, owners, teams and NASCAR," said Kerry Tharp, NASCAR's director of communication. "We test an individual when we have reasonable suspicion. A positive test results in severe consequences and is a career-changing moment for that person.

"NASCAR's policy is also supported by the various policies that the teams have in place that are required under the driver/owner agreements. No system is flawless, but we believe our zero tolerant policy that is in place has served the sport well."

Fike was arrested last year in Ohio for possession of heroin.

"I had a long talk with NASCAR about this last year," Harvick said. "It almost seems like it fell on deaf ears. They were more mad that I had a reaction to the situation than they were about trying to move forward.

"They heard what I said, but my name's not Jeff Gordon. I'm disappointed that we have to react and answer all these questions again."

Tharp said NASCAR officials always take it seriously when drivers come to them with questions or complaints.

"Let me assure you that no issue or conversation that we have with a driver, owner or team member ever falls on deaf ears," Tharp said. "Now, they might not always come out of the meeting with the answer they're looking for, but we listen."

Harvick wants to see NASCAR test drivers and crew members several times a year.

"I'm sure I'll have to do it for speaking my mind," Harvick said. "But if I have to pee in a cup 15 times a year, I'm happy to do it.

"The bad part is it isn't fair to the 95 percent of his garage that is clean. But I want everybody in the world to know our sport is clean. I want fans and sponsors to know this garage is clean."

Harvick and his wife, DeLana, own truck series and Nationwide Series teams at Kevin Harvick Inc. Harvick does not conduct drug tests for his employees.

"I don't right now and maybe we need to change the way we look at it, too," he said. "But in the end, it's the responsibility of [NASCAR] to make sure all the drivers are clean."

Harvick said Fike drove a couple of races for KHI several years ago. "There was no reason to think something was wrong," Harvick said. "I don't know about drugs, to tell you the truth. But I want to know about the guy racing next to me and not have to wonder if he was out the night before and isn't clean."

Kahne said he had suspicions about Fike.

"I definitely wondered about Aaron, so I'm sure others did," Kahne said. "When he said he did heroin before a race, that's incredible that no one knew. As much money as there is in this sport, I think we should take a little more effort to make sure every driver is clean."

Harvick believes NASCAR should have changed its substance-abuse policy long ago.

"You can tell I'm a little bit frustrated about the situation," he said. "As someone who respects the sport and respects my sponsors, I'm upset that I have to answer questions about Aaron Fike. It really ticks me off, because every driver in this garage should be taking random drug tests."

Johnson, who has won the last two Cup championships, said he was shocked to learn about Fike's admission.

"I cannot believe it,'' Johnson said. "It's absurd. I don't know where things go from here. I've not been testing, but I'm confident every driver is willing to do whatever NASCAR decides to do."

Harvick believes NASCAR needs to do a better job of staying ahead of the curve.

"It's just like the safety thing back in 2001," he said. "We didn't react until that situation happened [with Dale Earnhardt's death]. With drug-testing, there's no reason in the world today not to be proactive. "This is about forward thinking about how the drivers are perceived from a public standpoint. If I'm a fan, I don't want to think, 'Are they really clean?' This always has been perceived as a clean sport. Let's not let that change now, because it is. But let's prove it."

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Thoresen’s painful injury…

UPDATE: He should be okay! Lucky :)

Last night’s matchup of the Caps and Flyers had an interesting and painful twist when Patrick Thoresen blocked a Mike Green slapshot late in the 3rd period on the penalty kill as the Flyers were clinging to a one goal lead they would eventually blow (thanks to OVE!)

“a ruptured testicle” is what Tarik El-Bashir is saying over at the Washington Post

owwww, good luck buddy, this is one area where women are more fortunate than men. :D

Reactions around the blogosphere *usually the same idea for all of them*…

The game took a solemn moment when the Flyers left wing Patrick Thoresen, took a shot in the groin and had to be helped off the ice, taken to hospital for tests there is the possibility that one of his testicles will have to be removed, such was the force of the shot that he blocked with six minutes to go in the game.
-HockeyNation

Best wishes and get well soon to Flyer forward Patrick Thoresen, who gave new meaning to “taking one for the team” last night, when he blocked a Mike Green drive by taking the puck to the groin. This is a hard enough way to make a living without having to risk permanent injury. Whatever jersey a player wears, one has to respect the desire to make a play that would lead a player to give himself up in that fashion. Get well soon, Patrick.
-The Peerless Prognosticator

To us it looked as if Patrick Thoresen took the Green slapshot in the man region. If that’s the case, we tip our hat to the guy who is spending the night in the hospital. Sure, he plays for the other team but the Brotherhood does not like to see its members take blows like that in the man region.
-Bleatings from a Caps Nut

“Gentlemen, pray for Patrick Thoresen - Busted Nut”
(BBeR note: only getting a spot here because of the title, nicely done, haha)

Take it easy,
-BBeR

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