Review Category : National Sports

McMurray Takes Pole at Martinsville

BananaStock(MARTINSVILLE, Va.) — Despite not qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup title, Jamie McMurray won the poll at Martinsville Speedway Friday.

McMurray ran a lap of 99.905 mph, which is a qualifying record, to earn the top starting position for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

“We made the car better throughout the test and hit on a couple of things that really had a lot of speed in it, so I was pretty excited about getting here this weekend,” McMurray said. “Our cars have been so quick the past two or three months. This is a great track for me, we had a really good test, and when things are going well, you get excited to come to the track.”

Championship contenders Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth qualified second and third.

Martinsville will be the first of three races that will determine the four final drivers that will compete for the Sprint Cup title Nov. 16 at Homestead.

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Reggie Wayne Out for Sunday’s Game Versus Steelers

NFL via Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) — The Indianapolis Colts will be without receiver Reggie Wayne when they take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh Sunday, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said Friday.

Wayne suffered an elbow injury during the team’s victory over Cincinnati last Sunday.

Wayne didn’t practice all week and has had a compression sleeve on his left arm.

The 35-year-old Wayne, has 38 catches for 434 yards and a touchdown in seven games this season.

The Colts (5-2) are looking for their sixth straight win.

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Bruins’ Defenseman Zdeno Chara Out 4-6 Weeks with Knee Injury

Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images(BOSTON) — The Boston Bruins will be without one of the most imposing players in the NHL for the foreseeable future as defenseman Zdeno Chara will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a tear to the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Chara suffered the injury on Thursday during the Bruins’ game against the New York Islanders.

While the injury could have been a lot worse, Chara’s absence will still felt on the team.

“You hope everyone else picks up the slack,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “We’ve had a stretch before, might not have been four to six weeks, more like three weeks where Z was out. They don’t happen too often, but you hope everyone picks up the slack and we play a solid defensive game.”

Despite being in his 17th NHL season, ninth with the Bruins, the 37-year-old Chara is still one of the best defenseman in the NHL.

Since joining the Bruins in 2006, the team is 341-204-66 with Chara in the lineup during the regular season, and 8-7-5 without him.

During his time with the Bruins, Chara has never missed more than five-straight games.

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Bruins’ Defenseman Zdeno Chara Out 4-6 Weeks with Knee Injury

Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images(BOSTON) — The Boston Bruins will be without one of the most imposing players in the NHL for the foreseeable future as defenseman Zdeno Chara will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a tear to the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Chara suffered the injury on Thursday during the Bruins’ game against the New York Islanders.

While the injury could have been a lot worse, Chara’s absence will still felt on the team.

“You hope everyone else picks up the slack,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “We’ve had a stretch before, might not have been four to six weeks, more like three weeks where Z was out. They don’t happen too often, but you hope everyone picks up the slack and we play a solid defensive game.”

Despite being in his 17th NHL season, ninth with the Bruins, the 37-year-old Chara is still one of the best defenseman in the NHL.

Since joining the Bruins in 2006, the team is 341-204-66 with Chara in the lineup during the regular season, and 8-7-5 without him.

During his time with the Bruins, Chara has never missed more than five-straight games.

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Austin Davis Says He’s Humbled by Brett Favre’s Comments

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) — St. Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis received some high praise from future Hall of Famer Brett Favre this week.

Favre spoke with ESPN’s Ed Werder and compared the Southern Miss alumni to another future Hall of Famer.

“Austin can definitely play at this level,” Favre told Werder this week. “Not to sound off my rocker, but [Davis], in my mind, can be the next Tom Brady or Kurt Warner. [Brian] Hoyer as well. Austin, like those mentioned, just needed a legit opportunity.”

Davis was humbled by the comments and said that Favre has sent him text messages of encouragement. Still, he told reporters that he just wants to be himself.

“I don’t really want to be the next anybody,” Davis said. “I just want to be the first Austin Davis and just keep doing what we’re doing.”

Davis and the Rams are coming off a 28-26 win over the Seahawks last Sunday.

“It felt good to get one this past week. I think it was much needed for our football team,” Davis said of the win.

The Rams (2-4) will travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs (3-3) on Sunday.

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Saban: Rivarly with Vols Is ‘Special’

Istockphoto(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) — Fourth ranked Alabama (6-1) is expecting everything they can handle against Tennessee (3-4) on Saturday.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban called the game this week “one of the great rivalry games in college football. [It] certainly has a lot of tradition and something that’s been very special and means a lot to a lot of our fans.”

The Vols are still searching for their first win in the SEC after losing three straight in their conference matchups.

Tennessee’s defense has allowed 21.3 points per game this season and Alabama’s offense is averaging 36.9.

“They’re big, they’re physical up front, a very typical Alabama offensive line,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. “I think they’re playing to the strengths of their players. They did a lot of quick screens, a lot of dual packages where you have the run and the pass option off of it. I think they’re doing a great job.”

The game also will be the return of Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who left Tennessee after a 7-6 season in 2009, which caused rioting on campus.

“The game is not about that,” Saban said. “The game is about the players and regardless of what fans think or what fans do, I think our coaches and our players need to focus on what we’re going to do in the game and how we’re going to help our players play our best.”

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Sizemore Signs 1-Year Deal with Phillies

iStockphoto(PHILADELPHIA) — The Philadelphia Phillies signed outfielder Grady Sizemore to a one-year, $2 million contract Thursday.

Sizemore, 32, joined the Phillies last June after he was released by the Boston Red Sox. He played in 60 games for Philadelphia in 2014, hitting .253 with three home runs, 21 runs scored, 12 RBIs and one stolen base.

Before injuries derailed his career Sizemore was thought to be one of the best outfielders in baseball, making three All-Star teams and winning two Gold Gloves.

In nine MLB seasons, Sizemore has hit .266 with 144 home runs, 485 RBIs, 140 stolen bases and a .352 on-base percentage.

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Steve Nash Out for Entire Season

NBA via Los Angeles Lakers(EL SEGUNDO, Calif.) — Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash will miss the rest of the season due to a recurring back injury, the Lakers announced Thursday.

“Being on the court this season has been my top priority and it is disappointing to not be able to do that right now,” Nash said in a statement released by the team. “I work very hard to stay healthy and unfortunately my recent setback makes performing at full capacity difficult. I will continue to support my team during this period of rest, and will focus on my long-term health.”

Nash played in just 15 games for the Lakers last season while dealing with various injuries. He hasn’t practiced with the team since Oct. 12, when he tweaked his back while carrying bags.

Nash, 40, is in the final year of a three-year, $28 million deal that will pay him $9.7 million this season.

Nash has played 18 NBA seasons. During that time, he’s won two league MVPs and has been named an all-star eight times.

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Scoreboard Roundup 10/23/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NFL: Denver 35 (6-1) – San Diego 21 (5-3)

NCAAF: (18) East Carolina 31 (5-1) – Connecticut 21 (1-5)

Miami (FL) 30 (5-3) – Virginia Tech 6 (4-4)

NHL: New York Islanders 3 (5-2-0, 10 pts) – Boston Bruins 2 (4-5-0, 8 pts)

Detroit Red Wings 4 (4-1-2, 10 pts) – Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (3-2-1, 7 pts) (F/OT)

Minnesota Wild 2 (3-2-0, 6 pts) – Arizona Coyotes 0 (2-3-1, 5 pts)

Nashville Predators 3 (5-0-2, 12 pts) – Chicago Blackhawks 2 (4-1-1, 9 pts)

Vancouver Canucks 4 (4-2-0, 8 pts) – St. Louis Blues 1 (2-3-1, 5 pts)

Calgary Flames (4-3-1, 9 pts) – Carolina Hurricanes (0-3-2, 2 pts)

Buffalo Sabres (1-6-0, 2 pts) – Los Angeles Kings (4-1-1, 9 pts)

Columbus Blue Jackets (3-2-0, 6 pts) – San Jose Sharks (4-2-1, 9 pts)

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Atlanta Braves Name John Hart President of Baseball Operations

Tom Szcaerbowski/Getty Images(ATLANTA, GA) — John Hart has accepted a permanent role as president of baseball operations with the Atlanta Braves.

The team announced that Hart has signed a three-year deal that will run through the 2017 season.

Atlanta fired longtime GM Frank Wren after a disappointing 2014 season that saw the Braves finish 79-83, and named Hart as interim GM. Wren had been the GM since 1990.

Earlier in October the Braves had offered Hart the role of general manager, but he turned down the role. Now Hart will likely search for the man to take on the challenge as Braves GM.

“I’m delighted that John Hart has agreed to accept the position of President, Baseball Operations,” team president John Schuerholz said in a press release. “Our organization is now poised to move forward in the best possible manner to do the important work that lies ahead. John’s credentials speak for themselves. He has had great success as a baseball executive and demonstrated remarkable ability to construct championship teams. We are excited by John’s dynamic and positive leadership style and look forward to him leading our baseball operations.”

Hart certainly has the pieces in place to contend for a title. With star players like Freddy Freeman, Jason Heyward, and Justin and BJ Upton, the Braves have the players for a potent offense.

“You certainly love your star players, but I tell you I love the winning players,” Hart said. “I like the players with grit. I like players that care more about winning than anything else. It’s a team game and it is about winning.”

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