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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Photographer speared by javelin at meet

PROVO, Utah (AP) - A newspaper photographer got a little too close to the action at the state high school track championships — and was speared through the leg by a javelin.
A photo of Ryan McGeeney's leg, as shot by McGeeney himself, after a javelin went through his leg at a track meet. (Ryan McGeeney / Associated Press)

Ryan McGeeney of the Standard-Examiner was spared serious injury Saturday, and even managed to snap a photo of his speared leg while others tended to him.

"If I didn't, it would probably be my editor's first question when I got back," McGeeney said.

The 33-year-old McGeeney, an ex-Marine who spent six months in Afghanistan, was taking pictures of the discus event and apparently wandered into off-limits area set aside for the javelin.

Striking just below the knee, the javelin tip went through the skin and emerged on the other side of his leg.

"It wasn't real painful. ... I was very lucky in that it didn't hit any blood vessels, nerves, ligaments or tendons," McGeeney said.

Much of the javelin was cut off at the scene. The piece in McGeeney's leg was removed at a hospital, and he received 13 stitches.

The javelin was thrown by Anthony Miles, a Provo High School student who said his "heart just stopped" when he saw what happened.

"One of the first things that came to my mind was, 'Good thing we brought a second javelin,"' Miles' coach, Richard Vance, said Monday. He said Miles was "in a little bit of shock," but he assured the athlete it was not his fault.

With a subsequent throw, Miles went on to win the state title in javelin for teams in Provo High's size classification, 4-A.

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THN.com Playoff Blog: Not touching conference champion trophies absurd

Nicklas Lidstrom didn't touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl after beating Dallas in the Western Conference final. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Nicklas Lidstrom didn't touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl after beating Dallas in the Western Conference final. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Are hockey players really that superstitious? Are they really that out of touch with reality?

It appears so, given how most players treat the Prince of Wales Trophy and the Clarence Campbell Bowl after winning it in recent years. Somehow, these guys think if they treat the conference championship trophy as though it has a case of cooties, that will significantly enhance their chances of winning the trophy they really want – the Stanley Cup.

Do these guys really believe what ultimately transpires in the Stanley Cup final will have anything to do with whether or not they actually celebrated the accomplishment of winning the conference playoff championship?

Well, Scott Stevens and Steve Yzerman didn’t think so and things seemed to turn out all right for them. Stevens was captain of the New Jersey Devils and they won four Prince of Wales Trophies and three Stanley Cups. Stevens never hesitated to lift the trophy and at least show the accomplishment and the hardware some respect.

When asked once why he bothered to lift the Prince of Wales Trophy, Stevens said quite simply, “It’s a nice trophy.”

As captain of the Detroit Red Wings, Yzerman also won four conference championships, three of which resulted in Stanley Cup victories and he had no problem lifting the Clarence Campbell Bowl.

Neither of these players hoisted the trophy over his head and did a victory lap around the ice, they simply acknowledged the award and the accomplishment in a fitting way.

And they both went on to have a 75 percent success rate in the Stanley Cup final.

To blow off a trophy that signifies a significant achievement goes beyond superstition.

It’s simply a lack of respect.

THE BOMBASTIC ONE STRIKES AGAIN
Don Cherry misinformed on something? Shocker.

Cherry did nothing to hide his disdain for the NHL’s delay of game penalty that results from a player shooting the puck over the glass in the defensive zone after it cost Canada a gold medal at the World Championship. He went as far as to say, “Some fool, some idiot in the National Hockey League came up with that rule.”

(Disclaimer: I generally think Cherry is a clown and the media only serves to legitimize him by providing him a forum, but this one is so ridiculous I simply couldn’t let it go by without comment.)

Cherry claims the rule was instituted because players who were getting tired were deliberately putting the puck out of play to get a whistle.

The rule was actually instituted when the league was looking to open the game up after the lockout. The rationale behind the rule was that by penalizing players for even inadvertently shooting the puck over the glass, it would cause defensemen who are under pressure from forecheckers to have to make a skill-based play in order to get the puck out of danger rather than just rattling it off the glass.

The thinking was – and it was sound – it would either result in a more precise first pass out of the defensive zone or a turnover that would likely culminate in an excellent scoring chance.

Of course skill is not one of Cherry’s areas of strength. Neither is the rationale behind penalties. After all, if the league wouldn’t have been such sticklers about having only five skaters on the ice at one time, Cherry might have won his only Stanley Cup as a coach in 1979.

THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.

Ken Campbell is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Tuesdays and Fridays and his column, Campbell's Cuts, appears Mondays.

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NFL labor contract

NFL owners voted unanimously Tuesday to end their labor agreement with the players' union in 2011. The league and union, however, insisted the next three seasons won't be interrupted by a contract dispute and both sides are working toward a new deal.

"We have guaranteed three more years of NFL football," commissioner Roger Goodell said after the owners used the opt-out clause built into the agreement signed more than two years ago. "We are not in dire straits. We've never said that. But the agreement isn't working, and we're looking to get a more fair an equitable deal."

The decision by the owners was anticipated, although not this early. The 2006 agreement allowed either side to negate the contract by Nov. 8. Godell said the owners acted early "to get talks rolling."

"I don't think it was a shock to anyone," said Gene Upshaw, executive director of the NFL Players Association.

Upshaw said he learned of the move by e-mail from Goodell. The union head said his response was: "Thanks, what a surprise."

"All this means is that we will have football now until 2010 and not until 2012," Upshaw added during a conference call. "We will move ahead. This just starts the clock ticking. If we can't reach agreement by 2010, then we go to no man's land, which is 2011."

The agreement signed two years ago was to last until 2013 with the option to terminate in 2011, which is what the owners did Tuesday. League officials and owners, including several who helped push through the last deal, have been saying for almost a year that while the previous contract may have been too beneficial to the owners, the current one had swung too far toward the players.

The owners noted that they are paying $4.5 billion to players this year, just under 60 percent of their total revenues as specified in the 2006 agreement. League revenues are estimated at about $8.5 billion, although none of the teams except the publicly owned Green Bay Packers discloses figures.

The owners also want a change in the system to distribute the money more to veterans than to unproven rookies. Their argument is based on a disparity in salaries that leaves them spending far more on unproven rookies than on dependable veterans.

For example, offensive tackle Jake Long, taken first in the NFL draft last month, got a $30 million guaranteed before playing an NFL game. David Diehl, a fifth-round pick in 2003 who has started every game of his career and played left tackle for the New York Giants in their Super Bowl victory, signed a six-year $31 million extension with less than half of that guaranteed.

Upshaw made his argument in a half-hour conference call that ended a few minutes before Goodell made his in a news conference.

The debate will continue in negotiations and through the media over a course of months and years. Both conceded there might be no agreement until the deadline, which Upshaw suggested might not happen until the winter of 2010. That would be a year without a salary cap under terms of the deal.

"We'd like to get things done," Goodell said. "But often it's not until you have a deadline that people realize the consequences of not reaching a deal."

Upshaw added: "March of 2010 -- that's what we see as the realistic deadline. I'm not going to sell the players on a cap again. Once we go through the cap, why should we agree to it again?"

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