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In Brief

hockey

Saying it’s time, Modano, 41,
retires after 21 seasons in NHL

Mike Modano announced Wednesday he is retiring after 21 seasons in the NHL, a career that includes a Stanley Cup championship along with 561 goals and 1,374 points — both records for U.S.-born players.

“It’s just time,” said Modano, 41. “I didn’t get any calls after July 1, and I figured that was it.”

Only it wasn’t. Modano said Vancouver Canucks assistant general manager Lorne Henning offered him a chance last week to continue his career.

“I told him I had to pass because I hadn’t touched a weight or unzipped my bag since we lost in San Jose,” he said.

Modano ended his career as a banged-up player who had lost a step and some zip off his shot during his one-season stint with his hometown Detroit Red Wings. A skate sliced a tendon in his right wrist and limited him to 40 games and career lows with four goals and 15 points.

In Modano’s prime, he was among the best hockey players on the planet — shifty, speedy and with a tough-to-stop wrist shot. He also played in three Olympics, helping the Americans win silver in 2002.

pro basketball

Kobe receives $800,000 offer
to play three games in Italy

Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant has been offered $800,000 to play three basketball games for Italy’s Virtus Bologna until Nov. 13, as Italian clubs try to lure NBA players during the lockout.

The Bologna team, which has 15 titles in the country’s top basketball league, would pay Bryant a gross salary of as much as $600,000 a game. His net pay for three home games would be $800,000.

“We have been talking for a week with Bryant,” Virtus owner Claudio Sabatini told Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. He said Bryant hasn’t given an answer.

Bryant grew up in Italy because his father, Joe, played in the country from 1984 to 1991. The Bryants lived in Reggio Emilia, a city located 46 miles north of Bologna, from 1989 to 1991, and Kobe Bryant speaks Italian fluently.

Italian teams are offering NBA players a chance to play in the country until the start of the season, which might be delayed because little progress has been made on a new labor contract. The regular season is scheduled to start Nov. 1.

Also: Denver Nuggets free-agent forward Kenyon Martin has agreed to a deal with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. Martin, 33, won’t be able to leave the Tigers until the season ends in March.

miscellaneous

NASCAR changes rules, hopes
to limit two-car tandem racing

NASCAR tweaked two rules for next month’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, apparently in an effort to limit the two-car tandem racing that has dominated at its two fastest tracks.

The first change was an increase in the size of the restrictor plate that will be used in the Oct. 23 race. The larger holes in the carburetor plates should lead to an increase of horsepower that could make the cars 2 to 3 mph faster.

NASCAR also ordered an adjustment on the pop-off valve in the cooling system that should lower the maximum water temperature in engines. A threat of overheating could prevent cars from staying hooked together for too long.

Drivers discovered in the past year that it’s faster to run at Daytona and Talladega in two-car tandems. That style has replaced the popular two- and three-wide packs, and fans have been lukewarm about the tandem racing.

Also: Oregon State flanker James Rodgers, coming off two knee surgeries, has been cleared to play against UCLA on Saturday. Coach Mike Riley said Rodgers, granted a fifth year of eligibility after he was injured last season, will start.

Rodgers was ranked sixth in the nation with an average of 176.75 all-purpose yards last season when he was hurt five games into the season at Arizona. He holds Oregon State’s record for all-purpose yards with 5,784.

Former Missouri running back and team leader Derrick Washington was convicted in Columbia of sexually assaulting a former tutor who said he attacked her in her sleep in June 2010.

Washington, the Tigers’ leading rusher as a sophomore and junior until he was kicked off the team before his senior year after the accusations surfaced, faces a possible seven-year prison sentence.

After almost two years of not knowing when he would be able to play from week to week, PGA Tour player Scott Verplank had surgery Friday in Cleveland to rebuild his left wrist and will be off the tour for about five months.

Out of 15 tournaments in 2011, Verplank withdrew three times and missed the cut three times, and there were two tournaments — the Honda Classic and Colonial — when he never made it to the first tee. A five-time winner on the tour, he still made almost $1.2 million this year.

The UNLV volleyball team beat host UNR 25-17, 25-19, 25-18, the Rebels’ sixth straight win over their instate rival. Candice Thomas and Sekola Falemaka each had eight kills for UNLV (7-6).

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