RBC CENTER/ RALEIGH—Patrick O'Sullivan will have that Thanksgiving turkey to go.
Continuing his roster tweaking at the quarter-turn of the season, Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford waived O'Sullivan, the first North Carolina native to play in the NHL, on Tuesday. The Minnesota Wild claimed the winger, who scored only one goal in 10 games with the Hurricanes this year.
O'Sullivan watched as many games from the press box, as the emergence of rookie Jeff Skinner and consistent play from Jussi Jokinen and Sergei Samsonov afforded him little opportunity to crack the top three lines on the team. He should have a better shot to stick on the roster of the goal-starved Wild.
The division-leading Caps have dropped three straight, and are coming off a 5-0 embarrassment at the hands of the New Jersey Devils. After that game, during coach Bruce Boudreau's press conference, star forwards Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin were noisily laughing with countryman Ilya Kovalchuk of the Devils. The snaggletoothed face of the franchise is goalless in four games, and spent time on the third line in New Jersey. What's Russian for "doghouse?"
There was no laughter on Tuesday morning at RBC as Boudreau put his team through a bag skate, a ritualistic practice in which a coach attempts to wake up his team by making them sprint up and down the ice until they drop like Thanksgiving relatives felled by a triple helping of tryptophan. Expect Washington to be frisky and physical.
BROOKS FOOTBALL BUILDING/DURHAM Duke hasn’t had the kind of football season Blue Devil fans might have been dreaming of, but the team still has a chance to end the campaign on a very nice note.
UNC (6-5, 3-4), which has already locked up a bowl bid should the Tar Heels choose to accept one, will come to Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday at 3:30 still smarting from a hurtful 29-25 loss to N.C. State seven days earlier.
The Tar Heels’ rivalry with NCSU is a hot one, but for Duke there’s no bigger one than the annual now-Coastal Division clash with UNC, which leads the series 56-36-4 and has won six straight battles for the storied Victory Bell.
N.C. State will look to end a two-game losing streak in women’s basketball tonight when the Wolfpack hosts a familiar non-conference foe at 7 p.m. at Reynolds Coliseum.
The Wolfpack, which beat the Monarchs 62-52 in Norfolk last season in an impressive early win for then-new coach Kellie Harper, leads the all-time series 19-14.
Sophomore guard Marissa Kastanek leads the Wolfpack with 19.5 points per game.
The Tar Heels were nothing short of brutal offensively. Carolina shot a miserable 41 percent from the field and hit only 27 percent on threes. The starting perimeter trio — Larry Drew, Dexter Strickland and Harrison Barnes — combined for 9-for-23, and off the bench Leslie McDonald hit just 2-for-7.
Tyler Zeller was a bright spot in what so far has been a dark season. He scored 20 points and yanked down 10 rebounds, largely unassisted by fellow big man John Henson, who found his way into Roy Williams’ doghouse after committing six turnovers and shooting only 2-for-6 from the foul line.
The trip to Puerto Rico was billed as one that would reinstall Carolina confidence to a new core of players, but instead it facilitated the ugly re-emergence of the issues that plagued the team throughout last season.
Namely, who’s going to shoot from the perimeter? Freshman Reggie Bullock is the only player on the team who looks confident with his three-point shot, but he has made too many errors to earn more than 15-to-18 minutes of game action. Barnes and McDonald simply have to come around in order for Carolina to compete against ACC foes.
Meanwhile, the biggest bit of non-MLS news also emerged from Toronto: There will be Division 2 soccer next year, and the Carolina RailHawks will be part of it.
Over the weekend in Toronto, the Board of Directors of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) voted to "provisionally" sanction the new North American Soccer League, the league announced this morning.
The formal sanctioning vote will occur in February, at the USSF's Annual General Meeting in Las Vegas, but apparently that's a formality and with the provisional sanction, the owners of NASL are free to plan for next season.
The 2011 season will open April 9, 2011, a date that will include a rematch between the RailHawks and the Puerto Rico Islanders, who were the finalists for the championship of the 2010 USSF-D2 Pro League, the one-season shotgun marriage of two dissident factions of lower-division ownership groups.
The new league will also consist of FC Edmonton, Miami FC, NSC Minnesota Stars, Atlanta Silverbacks, Montreal Impact and FC Tampa Bay. San Antonio is scheduled to join in 2012, another unnamed club is poised to join in 2013. And there is the possibility, apparently, of more clubs joining the party for 2011. No names are given in the press release, but this is probably a reference to AC St. Louis, a club currently looking for new ownership.
Full release follows.
NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER LEAGUE PROVISIONALLY SANCTIONED BY UNITED STATES SOCCER FEDERATION
NASL to Operate as the Division II Men’s Outdoor Professional Soccer League in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico; Opening Weekend April 9, 2011
November 22, 2010 — The North American Soccer League (“NASL”) was provisionally approved as the Division II men’s outdoor professional soccer league by the Board of Directors of the United States Soccer Federation (“USSF”) at its meeting in Toronto, Canada on November 21, 2010. The provisional nature of the sanctioning is consistent with the USSF’s bylaws which require approval by the National Council of the USSF. This approval is expected to be forthcoming at the USSF Annual General Meeting in February, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“This is a historic day for soccer in North America as we officially launch a new Division II league that will seek to uphold its namesake,” said Aaron Davidson, Chief Executive Officer of the NASL. “We would like to thank the Board of Directors of the Federation for their ongoing support throughout this process. We look forward to working with Major League Soccer at the first division level and the United Soccer Leagues at the third division level to continue to build on the foundation they have established to grow the beautiful game in North America.”
The NASL will play the 2011 season with eight teams in major markets across the United States Canada and Puerto Rico. A team in San Antonio, Texas will join the league for the 2012 season and a team to be announced will join the league for the 2013 season. Mr. Davidson added, “We are considering the addition of several expansion teams in the coming months. Despite the excitement surrounding this announcement, we intend to carefully consider how, when and where to expand to ensure the stability of the NASL and to put the best possible product on the field for our fans.”
The inaugural NASL season will open on April 9, 2011, highlighted by the rematch of the 2010 finalists between the Puerto Rico Islanders and the Carolina Railhawks in Cary, North Carolina. Other matches include FC Edmonton at Miami FC, NSC Minnesota Stars at Atlanta Silverbacks, and Montreal Impact at FC Tampa Bay. The NASL’s teams will play a 28 game schedule, consisting of 14 home and 14 away games against each opponent.
The NASL’s playoff format will consist of the top six teams, with the first two teams receiving a bye until the semi-final round and the remaining four teams playing in a single-game playoff to advance to the semi-finals. The semi-finals and the finals will each consist of a two-game home and home aggregate goal system.
The NASL will undertake an extensive marketing campaign in the months leading up to its inaugural weekend.
UNC got through its four-game season-opening homestand without getting a scare from anybody.
UNC scored the first 10 points of the game and the last 15 before the break to lead 47-17 at halftime.
Laura Broomfield had 12 points and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Waltiea Rolle 10 apiece for the Tar Heels.
Today’s opponent is Western Kentucky, which is 0-2 after a road loss to Louisiana Tech and a seven-point home defeat to Northwestern but should be a contender in the Sun Belt Conference.
No. 6 Duke has already played three name national schools in Brigham Young, Southern California and Auburn, winning the first two games by 15 points each and the third by 13.
It’s “Family Fun Day,” and there’s another noisy crowd in the house.
Duke steadily pulls away for 40 minutes and picks up its most comfortable win so far, 82-55.
Duke returns home after its first road game of the women’s basketball season today, while UNC will finish its four-game homestand.
Duke will host Western Kentucky at 2 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium, while UNC will entertain Western Carolina at Carmichael Arena.
Duke leads its series with WKU 3-0, while UNC leads its series with the Catamounts 9-3.
The Blue Devils will be hosting a "Family Fun Day" in the Hall of Honor beginning at 12:30 p.m., with activities include face painting, basketball "pop-a-shot," poster making and free popcorn.
Following today’s game Duke’s next outing will be Wednesday at Pittsburgh in the first of a four-game road trip. UNC will travel to take on Washington State in Friday’s opening round of the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu.
The Tar Heels, in the semifinal of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Friday night, dropped a 72-67 contest to Minnesota. Carolina shot only 37 percent from the field, a brutal conversion rate to which immensely touted freshman Harrison Barnes contributed an unimaginable 0-for-12 from the floor.
The team's numbers were equally chilling from the three-point stripe (22 percent) and the foul line (60 percent). In short, this was last year’s Tar Heels with different uniform numbers.
Barnes, Leslie McDonald and Reggie Bullock — the three wings expected to be the club’s best perimeter scorers — combined for 4-for-25 shooting. Despite that fact, much of the animus at the online communities has been directed at incumbent point guard Larry Drew, who looked rattled and suffered through a two-point, four-turnover outing.
The frontcourt is facing its issues as well. While John Henson continues to be a rebounding force — he added 12 more against the Golden Gophers — both he and Tyler Zeller were out-muscled repeatedly by more rugged opponents. UNC’s defense actually was pretty good for much of the game, but again, Minnesota hardly is considered a powerhouse in the Big Ten.
Georgia Tech will be going bowling this season, while Duke will have to use next week’s Victory Bell contest with UNC as its bowl game.
Tech (6-5, 4-4) will get a bowl spot regardless of what happens in its season finale with Georgia.
Sean Renfree had another solid game for Duke (3-8, 1-6), completing 30 of 41 passes for 334 yards and a touchdown to Austin Kelly without an interception. Brandon Connette, who threw the interception, ran for the other Duke touchdown while the rest of the Blue Devils’ points came off the toe of Will Snyderwine.