National briefs: Frazier dies from cancer
PHILADELPHIA ó Joe Frazier, the former heavyweight champion who handed Muhammad Ali his first defeat yet had to live forever in his shadow, died Monday night after a brief final fight with liver cancer. He was 67.
The family issued a release confirming the boxerís death.
Frazier, who took on Ali in three momentous fights in the 1970s ó including the epic ěThrilla in Manillaî ó had been under home hospice care after being diagnosed just weeks ago with the cancer that took his life, a family friend said. Until then, Frazier had been doing regular autograph appearances, including one in Las Vegas in September.
Smokiní Joe was a small yet ferocious fighter who smothered his opponents with punches, including a devastating left hook he used to end many of his fights early. It was the left hook that dropped Ali in the 15th round at Madison Square Garden in 1971 to seal a win in the so-called ěFight of the Century.î
CHARLOTTE ó NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick has been released from the hospital, a week after he was injured when his private plane ran off the runway during a landing.
Hendrick was released Monday afternoon.
CATAWBA ó A grand jury in North Carolina has indicted former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield on charges of possessing methamphetamine.
Mondayís indictment comes about a week after Mayfield was arrested following a raid at his rural mansion that turned up 69 guns and what authorities allege were $100,000 in stolen goods from at least two businesses.
SYDNEY ó Greg Norman defended caddie Steve Williams over his racial slur about Tiger Woods, and does not believe Williams is racist.
ěWeíve all made stupid comments at stupid times, unfortunately his stupid comment became global news,î Norman said Monday. ěI know he probably regrets saying it, but I guarantee you in that room on that night there was probably some heavier things said.î
Williamsí disparaging comment came during a caddiesí awards party Friday in Shanghai.
ST. LOUIS ó It all happened so quickly. The St. Louis Blues changed coaches after only 13 games. Now Ken Hitchcock is in charge, an experienced hand who says he knows how to get the most out of these players.
On Monday, hours after his introductory news conference as the successor to Davis Payne, Hitchcock was on the bench for his first practice with a team thatís off to a stumbling start. His first game with the Blues is Tuesday night, at home against Chicago.
BRUINS 6, ISLANDERS 2
BOSTON ó Tuukka Rask stopped 24 shots and Horton had two goals and an assist on Monday night as the defending Stanley Cup champions beat the New York Islanders 6-2 night to escape last place in the Eastern Conference. It was the first win of the season for Rask, who was 0-3 as the backup to reigning Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas.
ěI was a little frustrated, but not too crazy,î Rask said. ěI knew it would come. But we were playing badly as a team early in the season.î
The Bruins have three in a row for the first time this season, scoring 18 goals in victories over Ottawa, Toronto and the Islanders. David Krejci, who had a hat trick in the 7-0 win over the Maple Leafs on Saturday, had a goal and two assists against New York ó giving him back-to-back three-point games after going scoreless in his previous six.
ěI think the past few games is the way weíre supposed to play, and it shows in the outcome,î forward Patrice Bergeron said. ěWhen weíre feeling good, playing well, we donít want to stop.î
Evgeni Nabokov allowed three goals on 12 shots before he was pulled just 12:40 into the game. Al Montoya went the rest of the way and made 21 saves for the Islanders.
The Bruins scored a pair of goals 29 seconds apart in the first period to make it 3-1, and then had another pair just 49 seconds apart in the third to take a 5-2 lead. New York pulled the goalie with 4:02 left, and Krejci scored an empty-netter with 2:48 to play.
ěWe just made a couple of mistakes you canít make against a good team,î former Bruin Brian Rolston said. ěAnd we paid for it.î
It was the third straight strong offensive performance by Boston, which beat Ottawa 5-3 on Tuesday. For the Islanders, it was a seventh loss in eight game and a 13th loss in their last 17 games against the Bruins.
ěWe just had some guys that didnít show up tonight. Iím not going to name any names,î coach Jack Capuano said. ěWe had a couple of lines that played well. Pandolfo hit a post. We had a couple of lines but not enough to sustain it against a team like that.î
The Bruins took the lead just 92 seconds into the game when Jordan Caronís forechecking forced a turnover in the Islandersí zone and he got the puck over to Benoit Pouliot. But the Islanders tied it when Steve Staiosí slapshot from the point was deflected into the net by Matt Moulson.
Thatís when Boston broke it open.
With 6:22 left in the first, Zdeno Charaís shot popped out to Horton at the circle and he put in the rebound to make it 2-1. Just 29 seconds later, Bergeron centered to Tyler Seguin from behind the net for another goal.
That was it for Nabokov.
The Islanders cut the deficit to one goal with 1:24 left in the first when John Tavares kept the puck in the zone with a baseball swing, then Michael Grabner scored.
But after a scoreless second period the Bruins struck quickly again.
Milan Lucic and Horton got behind the defense for a 2-on-0 to make it 4-2, leaving Staios to angrily knock the net off its moorings. With 14:37 left, Horton was left alone in front of the net to swipe in a rebound of Joe Corvoís shot.
Notes: Daniel Paille took a slapshot off his face in the third period, leaving a lot of blood on the ice but eventually skating off under his own power. … Bergeron extended his point streak to seven games. … Seguin had a hat trick in the Toronto win and leads the club in scoring. … Bruins F Rich Peverley was out with an undisclosed injury. … Chris Kelly played 500th career NHL game. … Five times this year, the Bruins have scored twice in less than 30 seconds, including three times in Toronto on Saturday night. … It was just New Yorkís fourth road game of the year. … John Tavares has 8 of the Islandersí 23 goals coming into game, the highest percentage in the NHL. … The 23 goals in their first 11 games was the fewest for the Islanders since 1999.
The Associated Press