The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on June 7, 2006 · Page 13
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 13

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006
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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7,2006 SPORTS THE HAYS DAILY NEWS B3 RYAN REMIORZ / Associated Press Edmonton Oilers goalie Ty Conklin makes a save during Tuesday's practice in Raleigh, N.C. The Oilers will go with a backup goalie in tonight's Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Oilers forced to change goalies By PAUL NEWBERRY ASSOCIATED PRESS RALEIGH, N.C. — Ever suspicious when it comes to injuries, Carolina coach Peter Laviolette hedged his words when talking about Dwayne Roloson's aching knee. "We try to plan for everything," Laviolette said. "I guess we'll find out (Wednesday) whether he is or he's not playing." Trust us, coach, he's not playing. Roloson hobbled around the arena on Tuesday after getting an MRI at nearby Duke University. His season is done. His teammates vowed to carry on. Either Ty Conklin or Jussi Markkanen will start for the Oilers in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, well aware that their team is already down a game to the Hurricanes and reeling from the loss of its playoff star. "It's really unfortunate," Conklin said after an off-day practice. "You'd love to see the guy finish what he started here in the playoffs. But that's not the situation anymore." Until now, Conklin and Markkanen had spent the entire postseason watching Roloson pull off one miraculous save after another, leading the eight-seeded Oilers to the brink of their first Stanley Cup title since 1990. Now, it's all on their shoulders because of Roloson's right knee, which was wrenched in a goal-mouth collision during the closing minutes of Game 1. The 36-year-old starter is out for the series with a sprained medial collateral ligament. "I knew right away that something bad happened," Roloson said. "I felt something pop in my knee." Conklin, who played only 18 games during the regular season while battling injuries and stinging criticism, was the first guy off the bench after Roloson was injured Monday night. The backup didn't exactly instill a lot of confidence when he botched a clearing attempt behind the net, allowing Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour to score into an open net with a half-minute remaining for a 5-4 victory. "There's nothing I can do about it anymore," Conklin said. "It wasn't the best play, but it happens." Markkanen, who wasn't in uniform for the opener, is the other option. Coach Craig MacTavish wouldn't say which goalie he planned to start in Game 2, or even if he had made his decision. Does it really matter? Both goalies struggled during the regular season. Conklin was bothered by a strained groin and made two trips to the minors trying to get back into playing shape. Markkanen handled most of the games early on, but he didn't make nearly enough big saves. The since-traded Mike Morrison also figured in the mix as the Oilers flailed around in their search for a reliable No. 1 goalie. MacTavish got downright desperate at times. In late October, Markkanen was lifted after he gave up three goals on 13 shots. Conklin took over in the nets, only to give up four goals on 11 shots in the second period. Markkanen returned to play the final 20 minutes of a 7-1 loss to Colorado, with both goalies hearing plenty of boos from the home crowd. In early March, MacTavish was still trying to shake things up. After Conklin played all 65 minutes of regulation and overtime against Dallas, Morrison was sent in to handle the Shootout. That unusual move didn't work, either. The next day, Edmonton dealt a first-round pick to the Minnesota Wild for Roloson, a former All-Star who had fallen into a backup role behind Manny Fernandez. Roloson steadied things the rest of the way, playing 19 straight regular-season games to help the Oilers lock up the last playoff berth in the Western Conference before Conklin started the meaningless finale. In the playoffs, Roloson played every minute of every game as the Oilers knocked off top-seeded Detroit, San Jose and Anaheim to reach the finals. Regardless of who starts for the Oilers, there will be plenty of rust to shake off. "It's pretty interesting," Markkanen said, "that we're going to have a chance to finish what we started." Plenty of World Cup on US, TV NEW YORK (AP) — More of the World Cup than ever before is coming to U.S. television. ESPN and ABC are combining to broadcast all 64 matches in the tournament live, each one available in high definition. The networks also will augment their game coverage with studio shows and analysis. The 52 matches shown on ESPN and ESPN2 during the June 9-July 9 tournament also will be offered on ESPN360, the network's broadband service. Add in the inevitable cross-marketing with entities such as ESPN The Magazine and during ABC's prime-time lineup, and it's an impressive plan. The question remains, though: Will American audiences tune in? Probably. "The American public has come to realize that the World Cup is a huge international event. There's a lot more appreciation for it," said Neal Pilson, a media consultant and former CBS Sports president. "The average American has come to realize that this is such an important event to so many people, that it's probably worth his time." ,>.' • It's likely the ratings will increase from the 2002 WarMjCupin South Korea,:wthen games often, were MI televised <in the middle'of thei night because ofthe • • time difference. Pilson said he expects the viewing audience to be "substantially larger" than four years ago. Along with the advantage of a smaller time difference, Pilson said that in this era of globalization, Americans are more interested in what's going on in other countries. "This will easily be the most-watched World Cup," said John Skipper, ESPN's executive vice president for content. ABC and ESPN are not the only networks in the U.S. to show the World Cup games. Spanish-language network Univision also will broadcast every game in the tournament, hoping to draw a significant portion of the 42 million Hispanics living in the U.S. Six Spanish-speaking countries will be represented at the World Cup. ., The World Cup surpasses even the Olympics in importance in many countries. But soccer long has been on the outside of the sports landscape in the United States. Critics point to a lack of action and a dearth of scoring as the major reasons American audiences haven't taken to the sport on the level they've embraced football, baseball, basketball and even auto racing. But, as NBC has proven with the Olympics, while Americans may not always love sports dominated by athletes from outside the United States, they respond positively to human drama. To that end, an advertising campaign that features the music of U2 and narration by some of the band's members focuses on human interest stories rather than the teams on the field. For instance, it's pointed out in one particular commercial that the leaders of feuding factions in the Ivory Coast called a temporary truce to a civil war in order to cheer their team in qualifying for the World Cup. "We're going to try to sell the beauty of the game, what it means to the world, the pageantry," Skipper said. It certainly helps that the United States has climbed the world rankings in the last several years. The U.S. team is ranked fifth heading into the World Cup, though a group that includes the second-ranked Czech Republic and Italy could make it tough for the Americans to advance very far. While a successful run deep in the tournament by the U.S. team almost certainly would equal sig- nnificantratings and e.xeite^en.t — .the 199$ WjprldJ;. ' Cup-winning U.S. women generated[plenty of -interest on their way to the title — the networks believe the tournament itself can attract audiences, no matter the performance of the Americans. Players such as Ronaldinho, David Beckham and Thierry Henry are all highlight reels waiting to happen. The key is getting U.S. audiences to understand their genius on the field. Tim Scanlan, a senior coordinating producer of the World Cup coverage, said he estimates that only about 5 percent of the viewing audience will be completely knowledgeable about the sport. The rest will have to get their information from players- turned analysts such as Eric Wynalda, Marcelo Balboa and Julie Foudy. "We have to educate, enhance, entertain," Scan- Ian said. "And we have to advance the game of soccer." In the end, it will be the players and their performances that will either attract or repel audiences. But it certainly doesn't hurt for the World Cup to have the support of the cross-pollinating promotion machine that is ABC and ESPN. "We have a lot of power if we get all of our platforms behind this thing," Skipper said. Now they'll get to see if U.S. viewers respond. Miami's Haslemfaces tough task MIAMI (AP) — The cell phone is off a lot these days. Friends, relatives, high school teammates, college buddies, they're all being pushed aside for a little while. And Miami Heat forward Udo- nis Haslem isn't apologetic about that, either. It's what he needs to do to prepare for what he calls the biggest challenge of his basketball life. "This is only my third year in the league, but there's no guarantee I'll be back in this situation again," said Haslem, who averaged 9.3 points and 7.8 rebounds this season. "I've got to be focused. I've got a big task ahead of me, probably the best player in the league right now. He's probably playing better than anybody." He's speaking of defending Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas' mop- haired, 7-foot forward who seems just as comfortable around the basket as he does shooting from 25 feet away. And when the Heat and Mavericks open the NBA finals Thursday in Dallas, Haslem will get the first crack at slowing Nowitzki down. "In order to be the best, you've got to go through the best, so I know he's going to accept the challenge," Heat center Shaquille O'Neal said. "He's a ninja that's going up against a German Shogun." Hey, a karate defense might LARKS: Goedert drafted CONTINUED FROM PAGE B1 Lawson ended the night going 2-for-7 with two runs scored and two RBIs as one of eight Larks with multiple hits. One of those players, Jared Goedert, was 3-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Goedert was selected in the ninth round by the Cleveland Indians in Tuesday's major league draft. Goedert is weighing his options and has yet to determine whether he will sign or stay in Hays for the summer. "It's going to be a tough decision for htm- It's very tempting to sign that," Leo said. "He's just waiting to see what they offer him and he'll weigh his options. He's jus^ «f eolld kid and you know what you're going to get out of him every time out." Lawson and Christison combined for four RBIs and sijc runs scored. Christison, a former Fort Hays State University infielder, went 4-for-6 with four runs scored and two RBIs. Right fielder Jesus Hernandez was 2-for-6 with four RBIs and a run scored. "We also have a long way to go," Leo said. "We'll have a big test coming up going to El Dorado and Joplin, so we'll certainly learn a lot more as we go along." Tuesday's opener began a string of six road games to start the season. Hays plays a 7 p.m. Thursday at El Dorado before beginning a four-game series Friday with the Southwest (Mo.) Slashers in Joplin, Mo, work against Nowitzki. Nothing else has proven to be all that effective. He's averaging 28.4 points on 49 percent shooting in the playoffs, was an All-NBA team player, won the league's 3-point Shootout at All-Star weekend, is grabbing an average of 11.9 rebounds in the postseason, finished third in the league's per-game efficiency ratings this season, shoots 90 percent from the foul line, gets there with amazing regularity ... and the list just keeps going. "Dirk is in a great groove right now," Heat forward and former Dallas player Antoine Walker said. Investigators search pitcher's house SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal investigators searched Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Jason Grlmsley's house as part of their investigation of steroid use in baseball. Thirteen agents searched Grimsley's house in Scottsdale, Ariz., for six hours. In seeking a judge's permission for the search, investigators who cracked the BALCO steroid scandal here said Grimsley initially cooperated in the probe. He withdrew his. assistance in April, but not before he allegedly made "extensive statements" about illegal drug use, "for the purpose of performance enhancement," according to the com c$I6cum,ents. Nadal advances to French semifinals PARIS (AP) — Rafael Nadal moved on at the French Open when Novak Djokovic decided to stop. Nadal advanced to the semifinals and extended his record clay-court winning streak to 58 matches today after Djokovic retired with a back injury three points into the third set while trailing 6-4, 6-4. "It's not nice to win like that," said Nadal, the defending champion. "I'm sorry for him. But this is good for me to head to the semifinals." Seeded second, the Spaniard won his 58th consecutive clay-court match and improved to 12-0 at Roland Garros. A potential Sunday showdown looms against top-ranked Roger Federer, but first Nadal must play Friday against the winner of the last quarterfinal between Ivan Ljubicic and Julien Benneteau. Djokovic, unseeded and playing in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal, retired at the French Open for the second straight year. He quit in the second round last year because of breathing problems' arid cramping. '"'" 'r.iiy,'v, 'n.,,:iMM : ThlSftutie.'ETjokovic hurt his back'and sought treatment from a trainer after falling behind 3-0 in the second set. In the next game he took a spill behind the baseline and rose hobbling. Djokovic won four more games but sometimes clutched his back and winced following shots. After hitting a backhand long in the first game of the third set, he walked to the net and conceded, frustrated by the missed opportunity against Nadal. "I'm really unhappy that I finished this way," the 19-year-old Djokovic said. "For sure he's the best on this surface, but he's not unbeatable. I realized that. He was not feeling too comfortable in control of the match." Nadal disagreed. "I lost my concentration a little bit in the second set with his problems," he said. "I didn't really understand what was going on. But before that, I was playing good, with confidence, and improving in my game." The 1-hour, 54-minute victory meant a welcome respite for Nadal, who had played 8 hours, 10 minutes in his previous two matches. The women's semifinals will be Thursday. Two-time champion Justine Henin-Hardenne plays twortime runner-up Kim.Clijsters.in an all- Belgian matchup, and 17-year-old Nicole Vaidiso- va faces former U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. tr BIRDIES, EAGLES, GREG NORMAN AND SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES DON'T MISS THE ACTION AT THIS SUMMER'S BIGGEST EVENT. ORDER YOUR TICKETS TODAY, 2006 U.S. SENIOR OPEN JULY 3-9, 2006 PRAIRIE DUNES COUNTRY CLUB HUTCH IN SON, KANSAS TICKETS AVAILABLE ATi • www.2006ussenioropen.com « 877-325-GOLF CHILDREN 17 AND UNDER ARE ADMITTED FREE WITH A TICKETED ADULT *2006* US SENIOR OPEN

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