The NHL canceled this season's All-Star Game yesterday, one day after Bob Goodenow, the executive director of the players' association, said players are united and steadfast in their opposition of the league's demand for a salary cap.
The game had been scheduled for Feb. 13 at Philips Arena in Atlanta. The league's decision came on Day 49 of the owners' lockout, which has claimed 139 games and threatens to wipe out the entire 2004-05 season.
Although hope of a shortened season is fast fading, the All-Star Game likely was canceled because there won't be any dates to spare in a reduced schedule.
"We're sorry the realities of our situation have imposed themselves on what should be a special time for the city of Atlanta and our fans," Don Waddell, the Atlanta Thrashers executive vice president and general manager, said in a statement. "The NHL and this organization are committed to bringing the All-Star Game to Atlanta within the next few years."
The earliest an all-star game can be played in Atlanta is 2008. Next season's game will be played in Phoenix; the league is close to giving the 2007 game to another city.
* COLLEGES: The Missouri men's basketball team was placed on three years' probation for NCAA recruiting violations but avoided a ban on postseason play. The school also will lose one scholarship next year and two in 2006-07.
In addition, the Tigers must reduce the number of official paid visits from 12 to nine this year and next year, although Missouri could delay that penalty by one year. . . .
Maryland Director of Athletics Debbie Yow received a contract extension through August 2010. She will be paid $238,131 annually.
* SOCCER: Juventus and Lyon are in the 16-team knockout stage of the Champions League, joining Chelsea and Inter Milan.
Alessandro Del Piero scored in added time to give Juventus a 1-0 victory at Bayern Munich.
The loss left the German club with six points, three more than Ajax and Maccabi Tel Aviv. Maccabi upset Ajax, 2-1.
Manchester United defeated Sparta Prague, 4-1. Striker Ruud van Nistelrooy scored all four goals.
* HORSE RACING: Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone was retired from racing after chipping a bone in his left front ankle during the Breeders' Cup Classic.
-- From News Services
and Staff Reports