Briefly 12/27/02

Friday, November 1, 2002


  • Coach Lon Kruger was fired by the slumping Hawks on Thursday. Kruger said he knew he might be fired because of the Hawks' 11-16 record so far this season.


  • Moving quickly to reward its championship coach, Georgia gave Mark Richt a new $1.5 million-a-year contract that will keep him with the Bulldogs through at least 2010. The eight-year deal was announced before the third-ranked Bulldogs arrived in New Orleans for their Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl game against Florida State. Georgia's long-term commitment should scuttle speculation about Richt being lured to another school after leading the Bulldogs (12-1) to their first Southeastern Conference title in two decades.

    University of Colorado star tailback Chris Brown apparently has no plans to enter the NFL draft early. Buffaloes coach Gary Barnett and Brown's father, Levelle Brown, said there's little doubt Brown will play out his senior year with CU. "He went there to get an education and get a degree," Levelle Brown told The Denver Post from his home in Naperville, Ill. "There hasn't been any talk about him jumping ship."


  • Oakland cornerback Tory James will be back in the starting lineup for the Raiders this week.


  • The Blues placed goalie Tom Barrasso on waivers, all but ending his short stint with the team. Barrasso, 37, has been on the injured list since hurting his back against Calgary Nov. 29. He was 1-4 with a 3.28 goals-against average in six games, including a 1-0 shutout over the Flames on Nov. 16, since signing a one-year, $900,000 contract on Nov. 4.

    In 3 1/2 years, Curt Fraser couldn't win with the team built by general manager Don Waddell. Now Waddell gets a chance. Fraser was fired Thursday as coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, who have the worst record in the NHL. He has been the only coach in the team's history.


    Bertuzzi makes a (cheap)name for himself

    Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi is making nearly $3 million this season and next, but he's getting the reputation of being a miser.

    "He's so cheap he wanted me to pay for dinner," former teammate Jason Strudwick, now with the Chicago Blackhawks, told the Vancouver Sun. "He's got a lock on that wallet. ... He made me pay for the parking and everything."

    Chimed in Canucks teammate Brendan Morrison: "Bert's wallet is like an onion. Any time he opens it, he starts crying."

    Which begs the question: In hockey, is cheapskate one word or two?

    A bobblehead doll is out of the question

    It doesn't pay to procrastinate on Christmas shopping, even for one of the NHL's top 10 goal-scorers.

    Olli Jokinen of the Florida Panthers reported last week that his wife, Katerina, wanted to pick up a few Olli jerseys as gifts for family members but was stunned to discover that Pantherland, the official team store, doesn't stock them.

    "And it's not because they've run out," Jokinen told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, laughing. "They have almost every other jersey, but they didn't have mine.

    "Obviously you score nine goals last year, I guess people who work there really didn't think people wanted my jersey. My wife was a little mad and left the store, but there's still a couple days before Christmas. I'll tell her to check again, and maybe they'll have some."

    No word on whether Katerina scored on the rebound.

    -- From wire reports

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