National Sports Briefs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Associated Press

DAVIE, Fla. — Alabama renewed its courtship of Dolphins coach Nick Saban on Monday, and he declined to say whether he’ll remain with Miami.

“I’ve got a rule that I’m not talking about any of that stuff,” Saban said.

At a 25-minute day-after-the-season news conference, Saban tried to limit the conversation to the Dolphins’ disappointing year and offseason issues. But the biggest issue is whether they’ll need a new coach.

For weeks Saban has denied interest in the Alabama job, which became vacant when Mike Shula was fired in late November. Newspaper reports that Alabama is again trying to lure him away from the Dolphins prompted another round of questions.

When asked if there’s an Alabama offer on the table, Saban said, “I have not talked to anyone.” When asked if he’s scheduled to meet with school officials this week, he said, “I don’t know about that.”

The Tide finished the season 6-7, losing Thursday to Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl.

Saban has three years remaining on a five-year, $25 million contract with Miami.

HOMETOWN

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The national championship game between Ohio State and Florida is putting a struggling Lake Erie town trying to reinvent itself back in the spotlight.

Gators coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman are natives of Ashtabula, a city of 21,000 people about 60 miles east of Cleveland.

“It’s helping put us back on the map,” said Tom Penna, basketball coach at Sts. John & Paul and a classmate of Meyer’s who remains in touch with him. “The whole city is talking about Urban and this game.”

NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Ryan Miller made 29 saves and Maxim Afinogenov had a goal and an assist to give the Buffalo Sabres a 3-1 win over the New York Islanders on Monday, spoiling the return of former Sabres coach Ted Nolan to Buffalo.

Thrashers 3, Senators 2, OT

OTTAWA — Slava Kozlov beat Ray Emery with a backhander between the legs on a breakaway 1:48 into overtime to give Atlanta the victory over Ottawa.

Coyotes 3, Capitals 2

WASHINGTON — Owen Nolan had a goal and an assist in the Coyotes’ three-goal first period, and Phoenix earned its third straight win by beating struggling Washington.

Avalanche 5, Predators 3

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Wojtek Wolski scored two goals and Joe Sakic added three assists to help Colorado defeat Nashville and snap a three-game losing streak.

BASEBALL

BALTIMORE — Aubrey Huff has reached a preliminary agreement on a three-year, $20 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles, who hope the versatile free agent can add punch to a lineup that ranked 11th in the AL in home runs last season.

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