Nashville group joins bidding on Predators

A group of Nashville, Tenn., businessmen has submitted a bid to buy the Predators, joining at least two other potential buyers vying for the NHL team.

The group, led by David Freeman, CEO of 36 Venture Capital, and Herb Fritch, CEO of HealthSpring Inc., has not said how much it has bid in an attempt to keep the team in Nashville.

“We’ve signed a confidentiality agreement, and we really can’t comment on it,” Fritch said Thursday. The group submitted the bid earlier this week, he said.

The Predators were put in play when current owner Craig Leipold announced in May that he had signed a letter of intent to sell the franchise to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie for $220 million. Leipold said his team has lost $70 million in 10 years of ownership.

Soon after making his offer, Balsillie started a process to move the team to Hamilton, Ontario, if low ticket sales allowed the Predators out of their lease after the sale’s completion.

Also: The Detroit Red Wings re-signed restricted free agent Jiri Hudler to a two-year deal.

The forward had 15 goals and 25 points in 76 games with the Red Wings last season, his first full year in the NHL, and provides the team with much-needed depth up front.

The Red Wings also agreed to terms with Dominik Hasek on a one-year contract that is worth more than $2 million in base salary and gives the 42-year-old goalie a chance to earn an additional $2 million in bonuses.

Forward Petr Prucha agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the New York Rangers, with whom he has scored 52 goals in two seasons.

Prucha, a 24-year-old native of the Czech Republic, will earn $1.6 million each of the next two seasons.

The New York Islanders signed forward Bill Guerin to a two-year contract and center Mike Comrie to a one-year deal.

Guerin, a four-time All-Star, scored 36 goals last season while splitting time with St. Louis and San Jose.

Comrie had 20 goals and 25 assists in 65 games with Ottawa, then added two goals and six points during the Senators’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Jocelyn Thibault signed a one-year contract with the Sabres, as Buffalo bolstered its backup goaltending depth.


UNLV football dismisses tailback; wideout exits

UNLV senior tailback Ronnie Smith has been dismissed from the football team for off-field reasons, and freshman wide receiver Rocki Sandusky will transfer to a lower-division school closer to his home in Ferndale, Wash., according to a school official.

Last season, Smith rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries. He also averaged 22.6 yards per kickoff return.

Sandusky followed in the footsteps of his father, Jim, by signing with UNLV. However, like his dad, who in 1981 had one of the greatest seasons in Rebels history before transferring to San Diego State, Sandusky is leaving before his eligibility expires. The elder Sandusky caught 68 passes for 1,346 yards and six touchdowns in his one season at UNLV.

Also: Missouri basketball player DeMarre Carroll, a highly regarded transfer from Vanderbilt and the nephew of Tigers coach Mike Anderson, was shot in the ankle in Columbia, Mo., during a disturbance outside a downtown nightclub.

Carroll was treated and released from a local hospital after the shooting, according to a school spokesman.


Colombia tops U.S. men in Copa America soccer

Brad Guzan made several key saves, including one on a penalty, in his first Copa America appearance but couldn’t get to Jaime Castrillon’s 14th-minute header, and the United States men’s soccer team lost 1-0 to Colombia in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

It was the first time the United States lost three games in a row since 2001. Both teams were eliminated from South America’s soccer championship Wednesday, when Brazil beat Ecuador.

Also: The attorney who leaked grand jury testimony of Barry Bonds and other elite athletes investigated for steroid use agreed to a maximum sentence of 33 months in prison, nine months longer than his original plea bargain.

In papers filed in San Francisco federal court, prosecutors said Troy Ellerman is willing to accept a 33-month prison sentence after a judge last month rejected the original deal of a 24-month maximum sentence as too lenient.

Federal prosecutors also agreed to reduce the maximum fine he faces to $60,000 from the $250,000 agreed to earlier.

Olympic leaders voted to create a Youth Olympics meant to drag kids from computer screens and onto the playing fields. The first is planned for summer 2010 for 3,200 athletes, ages 14 to 18.

It would be the first major global sports festival created by the International Olympic Committee since the advent of the Winter Games in 1924. The program was approved unanimously by a show of hands in Guatemala City.

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