National Sports Briefs
Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2011
BOSTON ó The Boston Bruins tried to push the mute button on the controversy over Roberto Luongo’s verbal swipe at Tim Thomas.
So what if Vancouver’s goalie claimed he would have stopped the shot that beat Boston’s most important player and gave the Canucks a 1-0 win Friday night and a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup finals? That game’s over. The focus, the Bruins said Saturday, is on keeping their season alive in Game 6 on tonight.
And they almost succeeded in lowering the volume.
But on the next to last question of his news conference on Saturday, a poker-faced coach Claude Julien couldn’t resist.
“Let’s put it this way,” he said, fresh off his cross-continent flight. “I don’t think Timmy is going to make much of that comment (by Luongo). I think you guys (reporters) are making more out of it than Timmy will. Either way, his stats, you know, are proof itself. He’s given up six goals in five games.
“The guy that made the comment, I’m not quite sure how many he let in. I think you guys have a good idea, so I don’t think he (Thomas) is going to lose sleep over that.”
That would be 14 goals, coach.
That also matters much less than another number, 1, as in the one game by which the Canucks lead the series and the one win they need to claim their first NHL title.
“It’s all about wins and losses this time of year,” Boston forward Shawn Thornton said. “Some people like to chirp. Some people don’t. I think, as a group, we’re trying to take the high road. It’s not really our M.O.”
Vancouver won Game 5 after Thomas skated out of the crease toward Kevin Bieksa as the Canucks defenseman shot from the right point. The puck went wide but ricocheted off the backboards to Maxim Lapierre to the left of the crease. Thomas got back in time to block the shot, but the puck rebounded into the net with 15:25 to go.
Luongo watched it all from the other end of the ice.
“It’s not hard (to stop) if you’re playing in the paint,” he said. “It’s an easy save for me, but if you’re wandering out, that’s going to happen.”
On Saturday, before boarding the plane for Boston, Luongo backed off a bit.
“I said also that he might make some saves that I don’t, so I was just saying on that particular play I would have played it different and that’s the difference between me and him,” Luongo said.
But then he tossed out a parting shot.
“I’ve been pumping his tires ever since the series started,” he said, “and I haven’t heard one nice thing he had to say about me, so that’s the way it is.”
EASTBOURNE, England ó Fit again after the toughest injury layoff of her career, Venus Williams said Saturday that a sixth Wimbledon title is within her reach despite more than four months off the tour.
The 30-year-old Williams will play her first match since January at the Eastbourne International grass-court tournament next week after recovering from a hip injury.
She will be joined at the Wimbledon warmup by younger sister Serena, who hasn’t played in nearly a year since winning a fourth singles title at the All England Club.
LEXINGTON, Ky. ó North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow has enrolled at Kentucky for summer classes.
Harrow will have to sit out the coming season due to NCAA transfer rules but will have three years of eligibility left.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said after a chance to grow during the year off, he expects Harrow to be a “major contributor” in 2012.
The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 assists as a freshman at N.C. State.
LEXINGTON, Ky. ó Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari has been nominated for a regional Emmy award for his role in a telethon for earthquake relief in Haiti.
WKYT-TV submitted 12 people, including Calipari, as part of its entry for the Hoops for Haiti telethon, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. The Kentucky team participated in the telethon, which raised more than $1.3 million for earthquake relief in Haiti. President Barack Obama phoned the team to thank them.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ó Harrison Frazar won his first PGA Tour title in his 355th tournament, beating Robert Karlsson with a par on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff Sunday at the St. Jude Classic.
Frazar won a month before turning 40 when Karlsson pushed a par-saving putt 3 feet past the hole.
Now the man who was roommates at Texas with Justin Leonard has the biggest paycheck of his career, taking home $1,008,000 after missing a chance to win on the 72nd hole when he made his first bogey of the day. He shot a 3-under 67 to match Karlsson (68) at 13 under.
Frazar became the seventh first-time winner on tour this year and the first to win his first title in Memphis since Dicky Pride in 1994.
Camilo Villegas (64) tied for third with Tim Herron (65), Ryuji Imada (66), Charles Howell (66) and Retief Goosen (69). Lee Westwood, the 2010 champion, had a 66 to tie for 11th at 6 under.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. ó Top-ranked Yani Tseng won what could be the final LPGA State Farm Classic, closing with a 4-under 68 to hand Cristie Kerr her third straight second-place finish.
Kerr, the 2010 winner, finished three strokes back, shooting a 67.