AP-Sports Right Now,959
Update on the latest in sports:
UNDATED (AP) -- The Stanley Cup playoffs begin their long run this evening with three games.
Chicago starts the postseason as the top seed after finishing with 77 points. Tonight the Blackhawks are playing host to Minnesota. The Wild get to play the top team by virtue of finishing eighth in the Western Conference standings. Minnesota right wing Jason Pominville will sit out the game. He missed the last two games of the regular season after he was elbowed in the chin by Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings. He practiced Monday but the Wild say he's not ready.
In St. Louis, the Blues are entertaining the Kings and in Anaheim it'll be the Ducks and Red Wings.
Remaining first-round series will start tomorrow and Thursday night.
Preds ink Hornqvist
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Nashville Predators have signed forward Patric Hornqvist to a five-year, $21.25 million contract. They gave him the contract despite the fact that injuries limited Hornqvist to four goals and 10 assists in 24 games this season. Hornqvist scored 30 goals in 2009-10 to become the fourth player in franchise history to reach that benchmark. He ranks eighth on the franchise's all-time list in power-play goals and is 10th in overall goals with 84.
NHL vet calls it quits
TORONTO (AP) -- Brian Rolston has retired after a 17-year NHL career in which he played for five teams. The 40-year-old forward from Flint, Mich., did not play this season after splitting time with the New York Islanders and Boston in 2011-12.
As a rookie, he helped the Devils win the Cup in the 1994-95 season. He also played for Colorado and Minnesota and completed his career with 342 goals, 419 assists and 761 points. Rolston played for the U.S. at three Winter Olympics, two World Cup of Hockey tournaments and one world championship.
Two game schedule
UNDATED (AP) -- The Golden State Warriors can advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs with a win tonight in Denver. The Warriors top the Nuggets three games to one in their best-of-seven series after winning the last three contests. And in Los Angeles, the Clippers are playing host to the Grizzlies. That best-of-seven Western Conference series is tied at 2-2. The home team has won every game played so far.
Kidd wins again
NEW YORK (AP) -- New York Knicks guard Jason Kidd has become the first player to win back-to-back NBA sportsmanship awards. He received 91 first-place votes from league players and 2,474 total points to claim the Joe Dumars (DOO'-mars) Trophy in his first season in New York. He won the award last season with Dallas.
Three-time winner Grant Hill is only other player to win the award multiple times.
Braves and Nationals meet again
UNDATED (AP) -- So far the Atlanta Braves have dominated play with the Washington Nationals this season. In the opening game of their current three-game series last night in Atlanta, the Braves won, 3-2. The two NL East rivals have played four times this season with the Braves coming out on top in every outing. A pair of 2-1 pitchers square off tonight as Gio Gonzalez goes for the Nats against Tim Hudson.
Boston's Jon Lester is looking to go 5-0 as the Sox play the Blue Jays in Toronto. The lefty has a fine 2.27 earned run average with 28 strikeouts. Yu Darvish of the Rangers is also looking for his fifth win of the year as the Texans play host to Chicago. Darvish is 4-1 with an outstanding 1.65 ERA and 49 whiffs. He has not allowed a run in his last 18 innings.
Tonight's inter-league game is in Cleveland as the Indians play host to the Phillies.
Youkilis to DL
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Yankees injured list has added another name. The Pinstripes have announced that Kevin Youkilis has joined Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira (teh-SHEHR'-uh) and Curtis Granderson on the disabled list. The club says Youkilis has a lumbar spine sprain.
To fill the void, the Yankees have promoted infielder Corban Joseph from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (BAYR'-ree). Joseph has never played in the major leagues.
Alford refuses to pay big buyout to New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- A University of New Mexico official says former Lobos basketball coach Steve Alford is refusing to pay the $1 million payment for buying out his contract to leave for UCLA. Alford on March 18 signed a term sheet agreeing to a new 10-year contract with New Mexico that included a $1 million buyout. It was to take effect April 1, two days after he announced his resignation. New Mexico contends it's owed the $1 million buyout because the previous contract required a 30-day notice of termination.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, an email written by a university lawyer says Alford is offering to comply with terms of his previous contract with New Mexico, which called for a $200,000 buyout.
Former Jets quarterback has a job offer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- It may not be the kind of job he wants, but Tim Tebow (TEE'-boh) has been offered employment with the Omaha, Neb., indoor football team, the Beef. His pay would be a bit less than in the NFL, $75 a game.
A day after Tebow was cut by the Jets, the Beef called the office of Tebow's agent to offer a standard player contract. Club assistant general manager Andrew Mather says he doesn't expect to hear back, but that he thought it was worth it to ask.
Current Beef quarterback James McNear, who is 5-1, says he'd welcome Tebow and that, "I think Tim can learn a lot from me."