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National

  • Mushers embark on new Iditarod route

    FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Iditarod mushers began their 1,000-mile trek across Alaska along a new route Monday after poor trail conditions forced organizers to push the race’s start north, bypassing a mountain range.
    Canadian rookie Rob Cooke, who hails from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, was the first musher to leave Fairbanks as fans looked on from the starting gate and along the expressway.
    The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race usually kicks off 225 miles south in Willow. But because of a lack of snow this year, officials shifted the entire route around the Alaska Range and an area that left many mushers bruised and bloodied last year.
    This is only the second time Fairbanks has hosted the official start; similar low-snow conditions moved the Iditarod there in 2003.
    The finish line remains in Nome, on the state’s wind-whipped western coast.
    The route change eliminates mountainous terrain and a treacherous gorge. But the race now will be run on about 600 miles of river ice, and that can create a whole new set of obstacles.
    Some mushers have hinted the new path might benefit Pete Kaiser, a young musher who recently won an all-river ice sled dog race in southwest Alaska.
    Kaiser disputed that Monday.

  • USA's 'Miracle' has 35th anniversary

    LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (AP) — It’s been more than three decades since his landmark goal became the centerpiece of the U.S. Olympic hockey team’s Miracle on Ice. For 60-year-old Mike Eruzione, it still seems like only yesterday.
    “It was a long time ago, but for me it’s different,” said Eruzione, whose game-winning goal against the Soviet Union in the medal round at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics still sends chills down an awful lot of spines. “I deal with it so often it’s hard to believe it’s been 35 years. Every week I’m doing something or going somewhere that’s associated with 1980.”
    With his inimitable deft touch, Hall of Fame coach Herb Brooks guided Eruzione and his fuzzy-faced teammates, college kids matched up against one of the best teams in hockey history. On Feb. 22, they triumphed with an improbable comeback.
    The U.S. defeated the Soviets 4-3 on Eruzione’s 30-foot shot midway through the third period to deprive them of what likely would have been their sixth gold medal in seven Winter Olympics, then clinched the gold by rallying past Finland 4-2.

  • Stoudemire may be heading to Dallas

    DALLAS (AP) — Amare Stoudemire asked out of his contract with the New York Knicks because he wants to make a run at a championship.
    The veteran forward has apparently decided Dallas is the place to spend the rest of this season chasing his first title.
    A person with direct knowledge of the talks said Monday night that Stoudemire has agreed to sign with the Mavericks after taking a buyout from the Knicks.
    He can’t make his verbal commitment official until he clears waivers Wednesday.
    The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn’t official, told The Associated Press that Stoudemire could be available when Dallas returns from the All-Star break Thursday at Oklahoma City.
    The 32-year-old Stoudemire was waived Monday after requesting the Knicks buy out the remainder of his contract that was set to expire after this season. He’s likely to clear waivers.
    “I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to contribute positively on the court and in the community,” Stoudemire said. “Although I leave the Knicks with a heavy heart, I wish the organization the best of luck. Once a Knick always a Knick.”
    Dallas has needed frontcourt help since trading Brandan Wright in a deal that brought point guard Rajon Rondo from Boston.

  • Tarkanian dies at 84

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — He couldn’t stop fighting the NCAA any more than he could give up chewing towels courtside. Jerry Tarkanian built a basketball dynasty in the desert, but it was his decades-long battle with the NCAA that defined him far more than the wins and losses.
    The coach who won a national title at UNLV and made the school synonymous with basketball died Wednesday after several years of health issues. He was 84. Tarkanian put the run in the Runnin’ Rebels, taking them to four Final Fours and winning a national championship in 1990 with one of the most dominant college teams ever. His teams were as flamboyant as the city, with light shows and fireworks for pregame introductions and celebrities jockeying for position on the so-called Gucci Row courtside.
    He ended up beating the NCAA, too, collecting a $2.5 million settlement after suing the organization for trying to run him out of college basketball. But he was bitter to the end about the way the NCAA treated him while coaching.
    “They’ve been my tormentors my whole life,” Tarkanian said at his retirement news conference in 2002. “It will never stop.”

  • Spurs coach earns his 1,000th career win

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gregg Popovich’s grand plan has produced plenty of wins.
    The Spurs made it an even 1,000 for him on Monday night.
    San Antonio rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and got an 18-foot baseline jumper from Marco Belinelli with 2.1 seconds left to give Popovich a milestone 95-93 victory at Indiana.
    “I’ve been here a long time and I’ve had good players. That’s the formula,” Popovich said. “Getting the players is difficult, but I’ve been fortunate to have good ones. The time, that’s the most important element. You have to be around for a while I guess.”
    Popovich celebrated in his typical low-key way. He walked to midcourt, putt an arm around Pacers coach Frank Vogel, hugged one of his former players and stoically strolled into the Spurs’ locker room though he later acknowledged he might drink some wine.
    While Popovich does have five NBA championships, few midseason wins have come with this much fanfare.
    Only two coaches, Phil Jackson and Pat Riley, reached 1,000 wins faster than Popovich. Only one other coach, Jerry Sloan, achieved the feat with one team. Sloan won 1,127 games with Utah. Popovich is 1,000-462 in 19 seasons, all with San Antonio.

  • There are many Super Bowl ads to watch for

    NEW YORK (AP) — It's almost show time.
    When the Super Bowl kicks off on Sunday, 40-plus advertisers will be hoping to win over the more than 110 million viewers tuning in. After paying $4.5 million for a 30-second spot, advertisers are hoping to have the ad everyone will be talking about Monday morning.
    Here are 10 Super Bowl ads to watch out for:

    BUDWEISER "LOST DOG"

    Brewer Anheuser-Busch's 60-second ad shows a Labrador puppy chasing after the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales that are being moved to a new stable. The tune, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)," performed by Sleeping performs in the background. The ad is the sequel to last year's "Best Buds," showing the bond between a puppy and Clydesdale, a spot many considered the best ad of the 2014 Super Bowl.
    Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAsjRRMMg_Q

    MCDONALD'S "PAY WITH LOVIN'"

    In its 60-second spot, the fast-food chain announces that it will let random customers pay for their food with acts of goodwill, such as calling their moms and telling them they love them. It's part of a Valentine's Day promotion that will start on the day after the Super Bowl.
    Online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq2Sm2XGv_s

    SNICKERS "THE BRADY BUNCH"

  • Thoma taken in 2nd round of MLS draft

    Former Los Alamos standout boys soccer player will have a chance to show his stuff in the professional ranks this year.
    Andy Thoma, a 2011 graduate of Los Alamos High School, was taken in the second round of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft Thursday. He was the 24th overall selection Thursday and the second pick for the Timbers in the draft.
    Major League Soccer is the top-level organization in the country. The MLS consists of 19 teams in both the United States and Canada.
    The MLS held its combine in Florida last week for incoming college players.
    Thoma, who is 21 years old, was a third-team National Soccer Coaches Association of America following the 2014 season with the University of Washington.
    During his time at Washington, Thoma was chosen for multiple Pac-12 honors, including a second-team selection last year.
    During his career at Los Alamos, Thoma not only was named the Class 4A Player of the Year, he also led the Hilltoppers to their first state title in nearly 25 years.
    Thoma came up big in the postseason for the Hilltoppers. The Hilltoppers got an unfavorable No. 5 seed in for the 2010 playoffs, but pulled off three straight upsets, over Roswell, St. Piux and Belen to earn the title.

  • Ducks players test positive for drugs

    DALLAS (AP) — Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington and running back Ayele Forde won’t play in Monday’s national championship game after positive drug tests, coach Mark Helfrich said.
    Carrington did not travel with the team to Dallas after testing positive for marijuana. The results of Ford’s test were not immediately clear.
    Helfrich said the team has faced many issues during the season, but he insisted that the team is not distracted heading into the first College Football Playoff title game.
    “How you manage those things is what matters most. And our guys have managed all those situations very, very well,” Helfrich said.
    Not having Carrington leaves the Ducks down two key wide receivers against Ohio State. Carrington, a 6-foot-2, 191-pound redshirt freshman, had seven catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon’s Rose Bowl victory over Florida State.
    Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said the team was disappointed. He hadn’t been able to talk to Carrington.
    “But at the same time I think a lot of guys feel guilty like they should have helped, including myself,” Mariota said. “It’s tough. But we’ll have to be ready for the next one, whoever the next guy is to step up.”

  • Kirk is back with Canton

    Once again, former Los Alamos High School basketball player Alex Kirk is playing professional hoops, and it’s under the umbrella of his old team.
    Kirk, who has been playing pro ball since the start of the 2014-15 NBA season, was scheduled to be back in uniform Saturday with the Canton Charge. The Charge are part of the NBA’s Development League and a satellite team of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
    Cleveland originally signed Kirk to a free agent deal over the summer. Last week, Cleveland dealt Kirk, along with Lou Amundson, to the New York Knicks as part of a six-player, three-team trade which also involved the Oklahoma City Thunder.
    Wednesday, Kirk and Amundson, along with the third player the Knicks received, Lance Thomas of Oklahoma City, were waived by New York, effectively meaning the Knicks will get just one draft pick out of the convoluted deal. Kirk didn’t play one minute in a Knicks uniform.
    Less than a week after the trade, Kirk was back under the auspices of his old franchise and with the team he’s spent a good chunk of the season with.
    The 7-foot center was scheduled to play Saturday night with the Charge against, somewhat ironically, the D-League franchise of the team that just waived him, the Westchester Knicks.

  • Kirk back with Charge

    Former Los Alamos basketball star Alex Kirk will once again be back to action in the professional ranks.
    Kirk, who was waived earlier this week by the New York Knicks following a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, will play tonight for his old D-League team, the Canton Charge.
    The game will be broadcast free on YouTube. Game time is set for 5 p.m. local time.
    For a link to the game, go to canton.dleague.nba.com.