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Flames fire general manager Jay Feaster, assistant
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Jay Feaster was fired as general manager of the Calgary Flames on Thursday, with the team in next-to-last place in the Western Conference.
Assistant GM John Weisbrod also was let go. Brian Burke, the team's president of hockey operations, will serve as acting general manager.
Burke said the moves were needed to get the franchise back on track toward a championship.
"I wouldn't have come here if that wasn't the ultimate goal," he said. "I have to look at the steps that have been taken and figure out what's the best way for us to get on that path. And I reached the conclusion that we needed to make this change."
Calgary did not make the playoffs in Feaster's two full seasons as GM.
Burke was hired by the Flames in early September. Calgary took an 11-15-4 record into Thursday night's home game against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Flames have just 26 points for 13th in their conference.
Feaster became acting general manager midway through the 2010-11 season. In 2004, he was general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning team that beat Calgary to win the Stanley Cup.
Burke has had a long career as a hockey executive. He has previously served as GM in Vancouver, Toronto, Hartford and Anaheim, when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup under his watch in 2007.
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 19:29:00 +0000
Michael Jordan shoes auctioned for $104K
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Michael Jordan's shoes from the famous flu game of the 1997 NBA finals were sold for more than $100,000 in an online auction Thursday.
The Nike Air Jordan XII shoes were owned by a Utah Jazz ball boy who befriended Jordan when the Chicago Bulls visited Salt Lake City. Jordan was playing with what he thought was the flu, but still led the Bulls to a key victory in the NBA Finals.
Preston Truman has said he asked for Jordan's shoes after the game. He kept them locked in a safe-deposit box at a Utah bank for 15 years. He turned down an $11,000 offer for the size-13 shoes from a collector the next season.
Thursday's sale after several weeks of bidding was first reported by ESPN.com. The collector wasn't identified.
Online bidding started at $5,000 before soaring to $104,765 when bidding was closed, said Michael Russek, operations director for Grey Flannel Auctions in Westhampton, N.Y.
Truman was "thrilled" and "really happy with the overall number," Russek said Thursday. "He has no crazy plans other than paying off his college tuition."
Russek called it "the most expensive pair of game-used footwear that anyone has ever sold. It just smashed the record."
Grey Flannel previously sold a pair of game-used rookie Air Jordans for $21,780 that also had been used by Jordan. More recently, another auction house sold a pair of shoes Jordan wore in his rookie season for $31,070, Russek said.
A message relayed by the auction house to Truman wasn't immediately returned Thursday.
Truman befriended Jordan by fetching him his favorite pre-game snack, the former ball boy told The Salt Lake Tribune last month.
It started with a challenge from Jordan: "`There will be no autographs for ball boys after the game if I don't get my applesauce."'
With 45 minutes until tipoff in an early-season 1996 game, Truman dashed through the Salt Lake City arena looking for applesauce. He finally secured an industrial-sized container from a commissary. Jordan was grinning: "You came through," he told Truman.
When the Chicago Bulls came back for the finals months later, Truman had more applesauce waiting for Jordan along with a bold request: "Are you doing anything with your shoes after the game?"
Jordan looked him in the eye and said, "Why, you want them?" Truman said he would be honored.
After leading the Bulls to a critical victory, scoring 38 points despite having to be helped on and off the court by teammates, Jordan gave the red-and-black shoes to Truman.
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 21:48:00 +0000
Giants reach agreement on 1-year deal with Morse
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Michael Morse and the San Francisco Giants reached agreement on a one-year, $6 million contract Thursday, and he is expected to be the team's starting left fielder.
The deal is pending a physical, assistant general manager Bobby Evans said. Traded from Seattle to Baltimore on Aug. 30, Morse also can play first base and right field to give manager Bruce Bochy some flexibility in writing his lineup. If Morse becomes the everyday left fielder in place of Gregor Blanco, Bochy would have Blanco available coming off the bench, to fill in elsewhere or as a late-game defensive replacement.
Morse missed time this past season with both a broken right pinkie and strained right quadriceps before returning from the disabled list in late July. The 31-year-old nine-year veteran, batted .215 with 13 home runs and 27 RBIs in 88 games between the Mariners and Orioles.
He will fill a void at a position the Giants had been determined to upgrade this winter, though general manager Brian Sabean went into this week's baseball winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., uncertain of what he might be able to find to fill out his roster.
Morse will be part of an outfield featuring Angel Pagan in center field and Hunter Pence in right. Pagan received a $40 million, four-year contract last December, while Pence was rewarded with a $90 million, five-year contract before the season ended. He played every game this year.
San Francisco already has had a productive offseason. The Giants missed the playoffs one year after winning their second World Series championship in three years, and Sabean worked to keep his pitching staff intact.
Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong finalized a $5 million, one-year contract last week to re-join a rotation featuring newcomer Tim Hudson, recently re-signed two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, lefty Madison Bumgarner and right-hander Matt Cain. The Giants also re-signed left-handed reliever Javier Lopez to a $13 million, three-year contract last month.
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 17:15:00 +0000
Halem promoted to executive vice president by MLB
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) Dan Halem has been promoted to executive vice president of labor relations for Major League Baseball.
The 47-year-old had been senior vice president and general counsel for labor since September 2007. He came to the commissioner's office from the law firm Proskauer, where he represented MLB along with the NFL, NBA, WNBA, NHL and the New York Jets.
Halem, whose promotion was announced Thursday, is a 1988 graduate of Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations and a 1991 graduate of Harvard Law School.
He is among six EVPs under Commissioner Bud Selig and Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred. Halem joins Tim Brosnan (business), Jonathan Mariner (chief financial officer), John McHale Jr. (administration and chief information officer), Frank Robinson (baseball development) and Joe Torre (baseball operations).
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 15:38:00 +0000
Lions WR Johnson poised to show 'old man strength'
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson intends to use his "old man strength" to teach Ravens free safety Matt Elam a lesson about showing respect to his elders.
Elam said Wednesday that Johnson "is pretty old" and that Baltimore would try to get physical against the talented star to "make him uncomfortable."
Elam is only six years younger than the 28-year-old Johnson, who responded to the rookie's comments during a conference call with Baltimore media Thursday. After calling the Ravens' safeties "young," Johnson said, "I'm getting old, man. I'll show him what that old man strength is about, though."
He added, "Anything that comes at me throughout the week, you just take it and put it in that box over there and use it as motivation."
Johnson leads the NFL with 12 touchdown catches and 1,348 yards receiving.
Of Elam, Johnson said, "He plays back. I don't see him every play unless I run past him."
Speaking after practice Thursday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh explained, "I think everybody's old to Matt Elam. Matt's pretty young, and hopefully he learns from his opportunity to speak to the media this week."
Asked if Elam's comments angered him, Harbaugh answered, "I don't appreciate it. It doesn't help us. You get a guy like Calvin Johnson all fired up, that's really not the idea.
"I mean, it's Monday night football. They've deemed it a playoff game for them. ... I don't think they needed that to get fired up, but we didn't need to give it to them, either."
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 22:03:00 +0000
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