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U.S. women blow two-goal lead, fall to Canada in OT in gold medal game

02.20.14 at 3:06 pm ET
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Hockey can be a cruel, cruel game. With less than two minutes to go in Thursday’s Olympic gold medal game, the United States’ Kelli Stack sent a shot from her own blue line toward an empty Canadian net. Had it gone in, it would have all but sealed the USA’s first gold in women’s hockey since 1998.

Instead, it hit the post. A minute later, Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin — a Boston University product — collected a loose puck in the slot and lifted it past U.S. goalie Jessie Vetter to tie the game at 2-2 and force overtime.

A pair of questionable calls gave Canada a 5-on-3 in the extra session, and once again it was Poulin (who also scored twice in Canada’s win over the U.S. in the 2010 gold medal game) who shattered the Americans’ dreams, taking a pass from Laura Fortino and firing it into the back of the net to give Canada a 3-2 win and its fourth straight Olympic gold.

Massachusetts natives Meghan Duggan and Alex Carpenter appeared to be on the verge of etching their names into Olympic lore, as they scored the goals that put the U.S. up 2-0 with less than 18 minutes left in regulation.

Neither team scored in the game’€™s first 30 minutes, but Duggan, a Danvers native and the team’€™s captain, broke the deadlock with 8:03 left in the second when she followed up a blocked shot and fired the puck past Shannon Szabados‘€™ glove and into the top corner.

The Americans carried the 1-0 lead into the third period. An early penalty by Canadian defenseman Tara Watchorn (her third of the game) sent the U.S. to the power play, and Carpenter — a North Reading native, a Boston College Eagle and the daughter of former Bruin Bobby Carpenter – made Canada pay when she redirected a pretty centering pass from Hilary Knight.

The Americans were less than four minutes away from the gold before Canada’s Brianne Jenner put a shot off Kacey Bellamy‘s leg and into the net to cut the lead to 2-1, setting up Poulin’s heroics.

The U.S. had several great chances in the first, especially on its three power plays, but Szabados was up to the challenge. On the Americans’€™ first power play, she made a great glove save on an Anne Schleper slap shot from the slot. Later in the period, she flashed the glove again, this time snagging a Knight shot through traffic.

At the other end, Canadian star Meghan Agosta-Marciano had a pair of quality scoring chances in the first. The first was denied by a nice block from Schleper. The second came on a Canada power play, but Vetter turned aside the slapper.

The win was the Canadians’ second over the U.S. in this tournament, as they also picked up a 3-2 win over the U.S. in group play last Wednesday. Prior to the Olympics, the U.S. and Canada had played a seven-game “€œfriendly”€ series, with the Americans taking four of those seven contests.

The U.S. women have now taken silver in three of the last four Olympics, falling to Canada in the final game each time.

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Dolphins coach Joe Philbin promises to ‘make it a better workplace’

02.20.14 at 2:05 pm ET
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Joe Philbin

Joe Philbin

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, speaking to the media for the first time since last Friday’s investigator’s report noted a culture of harassment in the locker room, continued to profess ignorance to what was going on under his watch and promised changes for next season.

“We’re going to do things about it, we’re going to make it better,” Philbin said from the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. “We’re going to check underneath every stone and make it a better workplace.”

Added Philbin: I have faith in the locker room, I have faith in the players and I have faith in the staff. We know we have work to do. But again, I’m confident in the direction we’re going and we’ll make the changes that are necessary to make it a better work environment.”

Philbin’s comments come one day after the team fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and head trainer Kevin O’Neill, both of whom failed to stop — and at times contributed to — the harassment, according to investigator Ted Wells‘ findings.

Philbin said he did not learn of Richie Incognito‘s behavior until fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin left the team and details of the misconduct were revealed in early November.

“I certainly wish I had seen some of it and I could have intervened earlier,” Philbin said.

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Pair plead guilty in Dodger Stadium attack on Bryan Stow

02.20.14 at 1:03 pm ET
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Two men pleaded guilty Thursday in Los Angeles to the 2011 beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow outside Dodger Stadium that left Stow with brain damage.

Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, who previously were recorded on tape admitting their involvement while being held in jail, acknowledged assaulting Stow on Opening Day.

According to the recorded conversations as well as witnesses who testified at the hearing, Sanchez was the instigator, as he taunted Giants fans throughout the game and then attacked Stow in the parking lot. Norwood jumped in to support his friend.

Said Sanchez, according to a transcript of the recorded conversation: “I socked him, jumped him and started beating him.”

Corey Maciel, like Stow a paramedic who had traveled from Northern California for the game, said he threw his body over Stow in an effort to prevent further injuries.

“As soon as he was punched, he was unconscious and fell back on his head,” Maciel testified. “He was unable to brace himself. I saw his head bounce off the concrete. I heard the crack.”

Stow, 45, is permanently disabled and requires round-the-clock care.

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Video shows Ravens RB Ray Rice hovering over apparently unconscious fiancée after incident

02.20.14 at 8:45 am ET
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Ravens running back Ray Rice is due in court Tuesday after he hit his fiancee with his hand and knocked her unconscious, according to a summons (as reported by ESPN).

Both Rice and his fiancee were arrested early Saturday morning after an altercation at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. where Rice and the woman “struck each other with their hands,” according to an Atlantic City police report.

TMZ obtained and posted a video online Wednesday that showed Rice lifting his fiancee out of an elevator in the Revel Casino by her arms. Rice eventually propped the woman up after initially laying her on the ground.

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Michael Diamondstein, Rice’€™s attorney, has said that the footage is authentic, but does not show the complete situation.

“The video that has been put up by TMZ shows the very end of what transpired between Ray and his fiancee,” said Diamondstein.

He later added that he would “not try this case in the media.”

The incident has been referred to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’€™s Office.

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Redskins TE Fred Davis suspended indefinitely, claims he accidentally took substance

02.20.14 at 8:26 am ET
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For the second time in his six-year career, Redskins tight end Fred Davis was suspended by the NFL Wednesday for violating the league’€™s substance-abuse policy.

Davis, who was suspended indefinitely and without pay for his most reason policy violation, missed four games at the end of the 2011 season after he tested positive for marijuana. Davis said this time he unintentionally broke the rules.

“I would like to clarify the circumstances that resulted in my current suspension,” Davis said in a statement released by the NFL Players Association. “In the past, I made the mistake of knowingly ingesting a banned substance. For over two years, I’ve worked very hard to eliminate marijuana from my life, and I have not had a positive test for it since 2011.

“Unfortunately, a couple of months ago I took a supplement that contained a banned substance. I now know that supplements are not regulated by the FDA and may contained banned substances. The NFL Policy is strict, and not knowing that a supplement might contain a banned substances doesn’t excuse a violation of the policy.”

Davis, who has said he is working to “resolve this violation,” will become a free agent in one month. He has also said that he can apply to be reinstated in the fall.

“I look forward to staying in football shape, remaining in compliance with the NFL policy, and having a chance to get back on the field to contribute to a team’€™s success next season,” Davis said in the statement.

Davis signed a one-year deal with the Redskins last March with the intention of turning a solid season into a multi-year contract. Instead, Davis caught just seven passes and had rookie Jordan Reed moved ahead of him on the depth chart.

Davis, who has 162 career receptions for 2,043 yards, has admitted to falling asleep during team meetings and saying he wanted to play for a different organization.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Dolphins fire OL coach Jim Turner, head trainer Kevin O’Neill for role in bullying scandal

02.20.14 at 7:46 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Heat at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Rockets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Towson at Northeastern, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Michigan State at Purdue, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Memphis at Rutgers, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Alabama at Texas A&M, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Penn State at Nebraska, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Duke at North Carolina, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UConn at Temple, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Georgetown at Seton Hall, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Toledo at Bowling Green, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Gonzaga at BYU, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Pepperdine at Loyola Marymount, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Olympics: Women’s hockey bronze medal game, Sweden vs Switzerland, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s figure skating, 10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Men’s freestyle skiing, 2 p.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s hockey gold medal game, United State vs. Canada, men’s freestyle skiing, noon (NBC)
Olympics: Women’s curling gold medal game, Canada vs. Sweden, 5 p.m. (CNBC)
Olympics: Women’s figure skating, women’s freestyle skiing, men’s freestyle skiing, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s Nordic combined, 1 a.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling bronze medal game, Britain vs. Switzerland, women’s freestyle skiing, 3 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jim Turner

Jim Turner

– The Dolphins’ response to the investigator’s report about the team’s bullying scandal was swift. The team on Wednesday fired offensive line coach Jim Turner and head trainer Kevin O’Neill for their roles.

While Richie Incognito and two other veteran offensive linemen were pegged as the ringleaders of the culture of harassment in the locker room that led to the departure of Jonathan Martin, Turner was called out for failing to stop it. He also allegedly took part in teasing Andrew McDonald, another young offensive lineman.

The investigation found that O’Neill stood by and even laughed as an assistant trainer was repeatedly mocked for his Japanese heritage, and O’Neill was uncooperative with investigators, cutting short an interview.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement that the behavior of Turner and O’Neill goes “against the core values of our organization.”

“After receiving the report, I conducted my own internal review of the facts to determine the appropriate steps for our organization,” Ross said. “Jim Turner and Kevin O’Neill are good people who care a great deal about their profession and the players whom they serve, but both exhibited poor judgment at times, which led me to this conclusion.”

Coach Joe Philbin, who was found to have been unaware of the bullying, made his first public comments since the report was released Friday and accepted some responsibility.

“That ultimately rests on my shoulders, and I will be accountable moving forward for making sure that we emphasize a team-first culture of respect toward one another,” he said in a statement.

Dwight Howard returned to Los Angeles on Wednesday night as a member of the Rockets and, to no one’s surprise, was greeted rudely. Howard, who was a disappointment in his lone season with the Lakers last year, was booed when he touched the ball — starting in warmups about 45 minutes before the game started. In the third quarter, with the Rockets ahead by 22 points, the fans started a “Howard sucks” chant. Howard joined in.

Howard finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds as Houston rolled to its eighth straight win, 134-108.

“We’re always going to have fun when we’re playing basketball. We love what we’re doing,” Howard said afterward. “We’re playing great, and we just want to have as much fun as possible.”

The Lakers, who just before the game traded guard Steve Blake to the Warriors for backup guards Kent Bazemore and former Celtic MarShon Brooks, had just eight players in uniform. The loss kept Los Angeles tied with Sacramento for last place in the Western Conference at 18-36.

“The Lakers have always found a way to get back to the top, and they will one day,” Howard said. “But I can’t focus on the Lakers. My focus is on the Rockets and what we’re trying to accomplish.”

– A report in The Oklahoman on Wednesday revealed that the University of Oklahoma self-reported a number of NCAA violations recently. The one that turned heads: excessive consumption of pasta by three student-athletes.

The athletes were attending a graduation banquet last year when they took more than their allowable share of food. The school ordered them to donate $3.83 to charity in order to be reinstated.

Two football players took to Twitter to confess to the charge.

 

However, the NCAA responded to the story by noting the athletes did not commit a violation.

“While we appreciate Oklahoma’s commitment, there are no NCAA rules regarding portion sizes, and any penalties were determined by the university,” an NCAA spokeswoman said in a statement.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 20, 1997, which Bruin extended his point-scoring streak to 20 games with an assist in a 5-3 loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago?

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U.S. men’s hockey beats Czech Republic to advance to semifinals

02.19.14 at 2:22 pm ET
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The United States men’s hockey team is headed to the medal round for the third time in the last four Olympics. Five different players scored goals as the Americans beat the Czech Republic, 5-2, in Wednesday’s quarterfinal matchup.

The U.S. will take on Canada in the semifinals on Friday in a rematch of the 2010 gold medal game. The Canadians squeaked by Latvia on Wednesday, needing a goal from Shea Weber with 6:54 left in regulation to break a 1-1 tie before holding on for the 2-1 win.

In its game, the U.S. opened the scoring just 1:39 in. Patrick Kane cycled the puck down low to Ryan Kesler, who then made a nice play to get it to James van Riemsdyk while getting knocked to the ice. Van Riemsdyk then walked out front and snuck a shot between Ondrej Pavelec and the post.

The Czech Republic answered less than three minutes later on a bit of a lucky goal (or unlucky for the Americans). Ales Hemsky drove down the slot, but Jonathan Quick (21 saves) stopped his initial chance. Ryan McDonagh tried to clear the rebound, but inadvertently fired it off defensive partner Ryan Suter‘€™s leg and into the net.

The Czechs threatened to take the lead several times over the next 10 minutes. Petr Nedved hit the crossbar, Hemsky fired a shot that trickled behind Quick before getting cleared off the goal line by McDonagh, and then Michael Frolik had a golden rebound chance poked off his stick by Kevin Shattenkirk.

But it was the Americans who wound up breaking the tie. With 5:22 left in the first, Dustin Brown scored off a beautiful feed from David Backes to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead. The Americans upped the lead to 3-1 with 1.8 seconds left in the first. Suter fired intentionally wide from the point and got a perfect bounce off the end boards, allowing Backes to collect the puck and beat Pavelec from in close.

The U.S. added to its lead and effectively put the game out of reach midway through the second. Joe Pavelski fired a shot from the point that got deflected wide, but the puck caromed off the end boards right to Zach Parise, who slipped it through Pavelec’€™s legs.

Phil Kessel tacked on another goal for good measure, burying a nice pass from Kesler 2:01 into the third period. With the goal, Kessel now leads the tournament in points (8) and is tied of the tournament lead in goals (5). Hemsky cut the USA’s lead to 5-2 with seven minutes left in the game, but that was as close as the Czechs would get.

Sweden will take on Finland in Friday’s other semifinal.

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Tuukka Rask, Finland eliminate Russia from Olympic hockey medal contention

02.19.14 at 10:11 am ET
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Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 37 saves as Finland ousted Russia, 3-1, on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Olympic hockey competition in Sochi.

The fourth-seeded Finns, who advance to play top-seeded Sweden in the semifinals, allowed an early goal but then scored twice in the first and once early in the second. They were outshot 38-22 but managed to hold on behind a solid performance from Rask.

“The first half was better, I think. We had the lead. I guess we were not expecting a two-goal lead. And then we kind of let our guard down a little bit and let them back in the game,” Rask said in a postgame interview with NBC’s Pierre McGuire. “But overall, a pretty good effort.”

Finland has been stung by some key injuries, but the team has persevered.

“That’s how it often goes,” Rask said. “You lose key guys and then you just have to battle even more. That’s been our case this tournament. It’s worked so far.”

The Finns celebrated with Rask in front of the goal after the game ended with heavy Russian pressure.

“I couldn’t yell or speak, I made that save right before [the end], so I was gassed,” Rask said. “Guys were just screaming. They were pretty happy.”

Teemu Selanne had a goal and assist for the Fins. Selanne, 43, now has 41 points in his Olympic hockey career, adding to his career-leading totals.

Selanne said this win ranks among his most memorable.

“It’s pretty high. Obviously, beating Russia in their home tournament at the Olympics, where all the best players are, it’s huge,” Selanne told McGuire. “Especially with four of our best centers out in this tournament. We don’t have that depth that some other teams have. We’re got to be very proud of it.”

Ilya Kovalchuk got the fifth-seeded Russians on the board first, scoring 7:51 into the game. Juhamatti Aaltonen tied it 1:27 later. Selanne put Finland on top with 2:22 left in the period, with Mikael Granlund getting the assist.

With 5:37 gone in the second, Granlund scored off a Selanne assist for an insurance goal that would turn out to be the game’s final tally. It also turned out to be the end of the night for Semyon Varlamov made 12 saves on 15 shots in the Russian goal. He was replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped all seven shots he faced.

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon defends Robinson Cano after criticism from Yankees coach

02.19.14 at 7:43 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Suns, 9 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pacers at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Boston College at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN2; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Cincinnati at UCF, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Saint Louis at George Mason, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Northwestern at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: DePaul at Xavier, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Creighton at Marquette, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Houston at SMU, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Miami, 9 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: TCU at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: La Salle at Dayton, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at Oregon, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Illinois at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: Arizona at Utah, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Arizona State at Colorado, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: New Mexico at UNLV, 11:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
Olympics: Men’s hockey quarterfinal, Finland vs. Russia, 7:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s curling semifinal, 9 a.m. (MSNBC)
Olympics: Women’s figure skating, 10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Men’s hockey quarterfinal, United States vs. Czech Republic, noon (USA)
Olympics: Men’s hockey quarterfinal, Canada vs. Latvia, noon (MSNBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling semifinal, 2:30 p.m. (MSNBC)
Olympics: Women’s speedskating, men’s cross-country, women’s cross-country, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling semifinal, 5 p.m. (CNBC)
Olympics: Women’s figure skating, men’s Alpine, women’s bobsled, men’s snowboarding, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s biathlon, women’s biathlon, 1 a.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s Nordic combined, women’s curling bronze medal game, 3 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– A day after Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long made comments about Robinson Cano being unable to break his habit of loafing it to first base during his time in New York, Cano’s new manager with the Mariners defended his second baseman.

“I was very disappointed,” Lloyd McClendon said. “I’ve been in this game a long time, particularly at the major league level. And one thing I was taught was you worry about your players and getting them ready. I didn’t know [Long] was the spokesman for the New York Yankees.”

Long had many good things to say about Cano — who left the Yankees to sign a $240 million deal with Seattle this offseason — but he noted that the team could not convince him to run hard to first all the time.

“I just said he loafed sometimes,” Long said. “I’ve said 9,000 good things about him. He just had one issue.”

Cano didn’t seem too offended, telling the New York Post that Long texted him to make sure there were no hard feelings, and, “I told him, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ ”

McClendon said he wants all of his players to play hard, but as a former player, he understands why sometimes they don’t.

“My talk with Robbie was real simple,” McClendon said. “I expect all my players, including Robinson, to give me a fair effort down the line. I’€™m not too far removed from playing. I could remember the days when I hit a pop-up and I’€™m pissed off and you don’€™t run to first. Is that dogging it? I don’€™t think so.

“There’€™s a human element that comes with this game. You roll over, hit a ground ball to second base, your head drops, you’€™re a little disappointed. In the big scheme of things, would I rather have a guy out there for 160 games, hitting .300 and driving in over 100? I’€™ll take that.”

– CBS Sports announced Tuesday that retiring Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez will be joining “The NFL Today” pregame show, and veteran analysts Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe are no longer part of the crew.

James Brown will continue to host, and panelists Bill Cowher and Boomer Esiason are sticking around.

“Having just stepped off the playing field, Tony brings a fresh and insightful perspective,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said. “As a future Hall of Famer, we are excited for him to share his knowledge, experiences and opinions with our viewers. Tony was one of the most respected and hardworking players in the NFL and a tremendous teammate. We look forward to him bringing these attributes to CBS Sports.”

Added McManus: “While we welcome Tony, we want to acknowledge Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe who have contributed greatly to the success of ‘The NFL Today’ for more than a decade. Dan and Shannon are true Hall of Famers on the field and in front of the camera. As they pursue other professional opportunities, we thank them for their hard work and dedication and wish them nothing but the best.”

– Veteran major league reliever Tim Byrdak is looking for a job, and he’s taking an unconventional route to get one. The 39-year-old lefty, a 12-year MLB veteran who spent the past three seasons with the Mets but was limited to eight games in 2013 due to injuries, posted a picture of a note on Twitter. The note reads:

Attention: MLB GMs

For sale, late model LHR, high mileage but VERY serviceable! Doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of newer models (i.e. 97 mph) however I can still break a pane of glass with my fastball! Comes with warranty, too (I will sign medical release!!!). Please call ASAP. I am driving my wife crazy being home during spring training.

Thank you,
Tim Byrdak

 

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 19, 1972, which Bruin became the first player in NHL history to record 100 points in a season three times when he assisted on a goal in a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota North Stars?

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Report: Ubaldo Jimenez agrees to 4-year, $50 million deal with Orioles

02.18.14 at 8:41 am ET
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Veteran pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez has agreed to a deal with the Orioles pending a physical, according to The Associated Press.

The free agent, who went 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts for the Indians last season, reportedly came to a four-year, $50 million deal with the Orioles Monday evening. Since Jimenez turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Indians this offseason, Baltimore will lose its first-round draft pick, 17th overall, when the deal becomes official.

Dan Duquette, the Orioles executive vice president, said he wanted a veteran pitcher throughout the majority of the offseason to go along with the team’s relatively young starting rotation.

“If we can sign a veteran starter, it would fill out our ball club,” Duquette said. “And then some of these young pitchers that we really like should be able to help us later in the season.”

The 30-year-old Jimenez is 82-75 with a 3.92 ERA over eight major league seasons. The righty started his career with the Rockies in 2006 and had his best season in 2010 with Colorado when he went 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA in 33 starts.

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