National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Solarte's 4 RBIs help Yanks top Red Sox 14-5

BOSTON (AP) Yangervis Solarte drove in four runs, Mark Teixeira hit his first homer of the season and the New York Yankees capitalized on five Boston errors to beat the Red Sox 14-5 on Thursday night.

CC Sabathia (3-2) struck out eight while allowing two runs on three hits in six innings as the Yankees rebounded from a 5-1 loss Wednesday night in which starter Michael Pineda was ejected in the second inning for having pine tar on his neck.

Pineda was suspended for 10 games on Thursday and said he wouldn't appeal. He will miss two starts.

Neither team played a clean game Thursday. The Red Sox walked 12 - five by knuckleball throwing utilityman Mike Carp in the ninth - hit one and had three wild pitches and a passed ball. They also allowed three stolen bases, all in the third inning.

The Yankees walked six and hit a batter and had one wild pitch, one passed ball and an error.

The costliest stretch for the Red Sox was the first three innings when they fell behind 7-0. They made four errors, allowed three stolen bases and had a wild pitch and passed ball.

Felix Doubront (1-3) retired the first two batters of the game before Carlos Beltran reached on an error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts and scored on a double by Alfonso Soriano.

The Yankees added three runs in the second. Brett Gardner led off with a walk before second baseman Dustin Pedroia dropped third baseman Brock Holt's throw for an error, allowing Brian Roberts to reach first. Solarte then doubled in two runs, took third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.

New York had another three-run inning in the third.

Teixeira started the inning with a homer before Gardner reached on Doubront's error. Gardner stole second and third and scored on Brian Roberts' single. Roberts stole second then made it 7-0 when Jacoby Ellsbury's single drove him in. Ellsbury took second on center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.'s error but was stranded.

Boston cut the lead to 7-2 in the third on a walk to Pedroia, a double by Shane Victorino, a sacrifice fly by David Ortiz and an RBI double by Johnny Gomes.

New York added five runs in the seventh when all nine batters against Craig Breslow reached base, including Beltran on a forceout at second. Solarte and Derek Jeter had two-run singles and Ellsbury doubled in a run.

Boston cut the lead to 12-5 in the bottom of the seventh, scoring on a double by Bogaerts, a sacrifice fly and a passed ball by Brian McCann.

Carp made his major league pitching debut in the ninth and allowed one run on five walks.

NOTES: Victorino made his 2014 debut after being activated from the disabled list before the game. He had been sidelined with a hamstring injury and the flu. ... The last time Boston made five errors was Apr. 28, 2001, against the Kansas City Royals. ... Meghan Duggan, the captain of the U.S. women's hockey team that won the silver medal this year, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Jake Peavy (0-0) pitches for the Red Sox on Friday night when they open a three-game series in Toronto. Mark Buehrle (4-0) pitches for the Blue Jays. The Yankees return home for a three-game series against the Angels with Hiroki Kuroda (2-1) pitching against C.J. Wilson (2-2) for Los Angeles. ... David Ortiz set a major league record with his 1,644th game as a designated hitter. He broke the mark held by Harold Baines.

Bruins beat Red Wings 3-2 in OT, up 3-1 in series

DETROIT (AP) Jarome Iginla scored with 6:28 left in overtime, lifting the Boston Bruins to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night in Game 4 of their first-round series.

The Presidents' Trophy-winning and defending Eastern Conference champions can advance with a win against Detroit on Saturday afternoon at home.

Detroit took a 2-0 lead early in the second period after Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall each had a goal and an assist.

Torey Krug scored midway through the second period to pull the Bruins within a goal. Milan Lucic tied it at 2 early in the third period.

Boston's Tuukka Rask stopped 35 shots. Detroit's Jonas Gustavsson made 37 saves in a surprise start Thursday night, filling in for Jimmy Howard, who was out with the flu.

Grizzlies blow big lead, beat Thunder 98-95 in OT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Mike Conley scored five of his 20 points in overtime, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 98-95 Thursday night in taking a 2-1 lead in their first-round Western Conference series.

Game 4 is Saturday night in Memphis.

The Grizzlies won their second straight overtime game after blowing a fourth-quarter lead. This time, they led by 17 before going cold for most of the final 7:43 of regulation. Courtney Lee clinched the win, hitting three of four free throws in the final 10.9 seconds of OT.

NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each scored 30 for the Thunder. But Durant missed all eight 3-point attempts and was 10 of 27. Westbrook was 9 of 26.

Zach Randolph scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds for Memphis.

Buffalo Bills cheerleaders suspend operations

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Pack up the pom-poms in Buffalo, because the Bills will be playing without the support of their official cheerleaders this year.

Stephanie Mateczun, whose company manages the Buffalo Jills cheerleading squad, said Thursday she has suspended operations through at least the end of the season. The decision was made two days after five former Jills filed a lawsuit complaining they worked hundreds of hours for free, and were subjected to groping and sexual comments.

The civil action was filed in state Supreme Court and seeks unspecified back pay and legal fees. It names Mateczun's company, Stejon Productions Corp., the Bills, and the Jills' former manager, Citadel Communications Co., as defendants. Stejon took over managing the cheerleaders in 2011.

Mateczun is in the process of hiring legal representation, and declined further comment.

The Bills have been made aware of the Jills' decision to suspend operations, but otherwise declined comment.

Lawyer Frank Dolce, who represents the five cheerleaders, said the decision to suspend operations won't affect his case because it addresses past complaints.

Dolce, however, did question Mateczun's motives, saying her decision to suspend the squad was unnecessary.

"If they cease operations, they will blame the lawsuit for the destruction of the Jills, when that was not intended at all," Dolce said, noting there is not much money at stake in the lawsuit.

"We love the Bills. We love the Jills," he said. "We do not love the travesty of its management that has occurred over the last few years."

According to the Buffalo Jills Alumni website, the squad was formed in 1967, eight years after the Bills were established as founding members of the American Football League. In 1986, the Bills relinquished managing the cheerleaders to private companies.

Cheerleaders have launched similar suits against the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals.

The case against the Bills claims the Jills are wrongly classified as independent contractors and subjected to policies that violate the state's $8 per hour minimum wage law and other workplace rules.

The Jills aren't paid for games or practices and have to make 20-35 appearances, most of which are unpaid, at community and charity events each season, the lawsuit said. On top of that, they have to pay $650 for their uniforms and are not reimbursed for travel or other expenses, the cheerleaders said.

All five cheerleaders said they had to take a "jiggle test" so that Mateczun, Stejon's president, could assess their physiques. And Mateczun, they said, controlled everything from their hair and nail polish color to what they could post on Facebook.

The time and expense, as well as rules governing their personal lives, far exceeded what they signed on for, the women said.

Dolce and his clients hope their legal action leads to policy changes within the Bills' organization that ensure future cheerleaders are paid and treated better.

"A decision to disband the Jills as an entity is a tremendous mistake for community spirit," Dolce said. "We do not feel bad that Stejon Productions has ceased operations. We think that's a good thing. We just hope the Bills don't trivialize the Jills because of the poor management of them."

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Associated Press writer Carolyn Thompson contributed to this report.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Nova to undergo season-ending elbow surgery

BOSTON (AP) New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova has decided to have season-ending Tommy John surgery for a partially torn elbow ligament.

The operation is scheduled for next Tuesday by Dr. James Andrews.

"I think it's the right decision," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Thursday night's game against the Boston Red Sox. "I haven't really seen anyone rehab a partially torn ligament and have success. And it seems what it does is (it) just delays the inevitable that's going to happen and instead of maybe missing a year and a little bit of time, you miss a couple of years."

Nova left last Saturday's 16-1 loss at Tampa Bay in the fifth inning after allowing eight runs and eight hits, including four homers. An MRI revealed the injury and he was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He was transferred Thursday to the 60-day DL.

"Obviously it's difficult to go through the operation and rehab," Girardi said, "but a lot of times you come back stronger."

In four games this year, Nova was 2-2 with an 8.27 ERA. Now in his fifth major league season, all with the Yankees, he is 40-22 with a 4.20 ERA.

In other moves Thursday, the Yankees promoted right-hand pitchers Bruce Billings and Shane Greene from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned infielder Dean Anna and right-hand pitcher Preston Claiborne to the Triple-A team.

Stars even with Ducks after 4-2 win in Game 4

DALLAS (AP) The young Dallas Stars keep overcoming early 2-0 deficits. With their latest comeback in Game 4, they are now even with the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks.

Down in the series after losing the first two games in Anaheim, the Stars trailed by two goals in the first period Wednesday night before captain Jaime Benn started the comeback with an unassisted goal off a faceoff. Cody Eakin and Alex Goligoski later scored on Dallas' first two shots in the third period for a 4-2 victory.

"We've done that a lot and it's not something we like to do. Whether it's the start of games or obviously the start of the series," Eakin said. "Our captain kind of ignited us. And we started skating and playing the way we wanted to."

While the Stars overcame a two-goal deficit to win a playoff game for the first time in 10 years, Anaheim heads home for Game 5 with uncertainty about captain Ryan Getzlaf and questions about who will be in net Friday night.

Eakin skated the length of the ice, got around a sliding defender, closed his eyes and shot just before his stick got ripped out of his hands. His go-ahead goal with 13:38 left came before Goligoski scored on the Stars' next shot only 1:22 later, making it 4-2 and prompting the Ducks to pull rookie goalie Frederik Andersen.

"When you get the one goal and people start going crazy, it makes it easier to get the next one and the next one and just keep battling," said Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 21 shots. "And we were lucky to get those goals. It's not easy to score four straight against that team."

Getzlaf was a surprise late scratch for Game 4 with an unspecified upper-body injury, and coach Bruce Boudreau would only say it was "a previous injury aggravated." What the coach refused to say was if it was related to the puck Getzlaf took the face in the series opener before playing Games 2 and 3 with a half-cage to protect the stitches just below his mouth.

Even without Getzlaf and Teemu Selanne, the 43-year-old franchise playoff leader who was a healthy scratch, the Ducks led 2-0 in the first period.

Bryan Allen scored on a shot from just inside the blue line, and Patrick Maroon knocked in the puck shot by Matthieu Perreault that hit Lehtonen's glove and fell over the goalie's shoulder behind him.

But only 27 seconds into the second period, Benn scored when he gathered the puck after a faceoff and quickly shot. About 6 minutes later, Vernon Fiddler managed to get the puck in a small gap between the post and Andersen to tie it at 2.

Just like Game 3, after which the Ducks insisted that the Stars went over their line with their over-aggressive approach, there were plenty of scrums Wednesday night.

With 2:10 left, Anaheim's Corey Perry and Antoine Roussel got in some big blows before being separated and given 5-minute majors for fighting. It was Roussel who punched Getzlaf in the previous game.

There were also five 10-minute misconduct penalties in that closing stretch, and referees had to separate several groups of players when the game ended.

"That's the type of stuff that's their pushback, it's our pushback," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "I really feel like we're in a playoff series now."

Andersen was pulled in favor of Jonas Hiller, the veteran who won 29 games during the Ducks' best regular season in franchise history before a late slump that left him on the bench. Hiller faced only one shot in his 10 1/2 minutes, and Boudreau said he would discuss the goalie situation with his assistants before deciding who starts Friday night.

"I felt a little bit off. It was a shock on the first one, and the second one snuck by me. I was expecting (Fiddler) to pass," Andersen said. "They came out of nowhere in the second. We weren't ready for their push."

NOTES: The series returns Sunday to the American Airlines Center for Game 6. ... Benn and Fiddler each had a goal and an assist. Benn has three goals and two assists in the series, and has scored in every game. ... Lehtonen was 0-4 in postseason games before the Stars won 3-0 Monday, and stopped 58 of 60 shots in the two home games.

Kane leads Blackhawks past Blues, 4-3 in OT

CHICAGO (AP) Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the game at 11:17 of overtime, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Wednesday night to even their first-round playoff series at two games apiece.

Kane carried the puck down the left side as teammates Ben Smith and Brandon Saad rushed toward the net, and beat Ryan Miller with a well-placed wrist shot for his 32nd career postseason goal.

Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell also scored for defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, which blew a 2-0 second-period lead. Jonathan Toews had two assists and Corey Crawford made 30 saves.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night in St. Louis.

Aldridge's 43 lifts Blazers over Rockets 112-105

HOUSTON (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge scored 43 points and Damian Lillard made six free throws down the stretch to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 112-105 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night and a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.

James Harden knocked down a 3-pointer with about 30 seconds left to get the Rockets within three. Lillard made two free throws before Harden fouled out about 10 seconds later. Mo Williams and Lillard both made a pair of free throws after that to secure the win.

Aldridge became the first player with consecutive 40-point games in the playoffs since LeBron James did it in May of 2009 after scoring a career-high and franchise playoff-record 46 in an overtime win in Game 1.

Dwight Howard was unstoppable early and scored 25 points in the first half, but managed just seven in the second half.

Mavs roll past Spurs 113-92, even series at 1-1

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Monta Ellis scored 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 113-92 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night, snapping a 10-game skid against the Spurs and evening their first-round series at a game apiece.

Shawn Marion scored 20 points, Dirk Nowitzki added 16, Devin Harris had 18 and Jose Calderon 12 for Dallas, which never trailed after the opening minutes of the second quarter.

Manu Ginobili had 27 points, Tony Parker added 12 and Tim Duncan 11 for the Spurs.

Dallas didn't relent in Game 2 after blowing a 10-point lead in the final eight minutes of the series opener. San Antonio's ineptness had as much to do with tying the series, however. The Spurs averaged 14.4 turnovers during the regular season, but had 15 with 3 minutes left in the first half. They finished with 22 turnovers, which resulted in 33 points for the Mavericks.

Dallas was extremely physical in the first half whenever Parker and Ginobili drove the lane, much to San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich's dismay when no fouls were called - not that it mattered when they were. San Antonio finished 18 for 29 on free throws.

The Mavericks attacked the basket with the same intensity, finishing with 44 points. San Antonio pulled within 61-56 with 8:38 remaining in the third quarter when Kawhi Leonard made two of three free throws, but it was the closest it would get in the second half.

Nowitzki finished 7 for 19 after missing his first six attempts.

NOTES: Popovich received a standing ovation before the game after being recognized as the NBA Coach of the Year. Spurs owner Peter Holt presented Popovich with the Red Auerbach trophy, which he has won three times. ... After assigning Spurs nemesis Joey Crawford to officiate Game 1, the league had Danny Crawford on hand for Game 2 to the chagrin of the Mavericks' fans. But just as in the opener, both officials reserved most calls and non-calls for the opposition. Crawford's lack of calls led Popovich to scream at Crawford throughout the first half. ... Academy Award-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones sat courtside beside Holt. ... Nowitzki was assessed a technical foul with 1:38 remaining in the first half after Ginobili was fouled by Marion on a 3-point attempt. Marion touched Ginobili's hip as he released the ball, but the Argentian appeared to exaggerate the contact when he fell to the floor. ... After scrambling to capture a loose ball under the basket, Tiago Splitter flung an overhead, two-handed no-look pass to an open Ginobili for a 3-pointer with 4:44 remaining in the third quarter.

Pineda tossed for pine tar; Red Sox beat Yanks 5-1

BOSTON (AP) Michael Pineda was ejected for using a foreign substance less than two weeks after appearing to get away with it in another game against Boston, and the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 5-1 on Wednesday night.

The right-hander was thrown out in the second inning when plate umpire Gerry Davis found a shiny substance on the right side of Pineda's neck after Red Sox manager John Farrell asked him to check. Pineda walked from the mound without protest.

"When it's that obvious, something has got to be said," Farrell explained after the game. "Our awareness was heightened, given what we had seen in the past."

Pineda (2-2) had nothing on the right side of his neck in a photo of him on the mound in his tough first inning, when four of the first six batters reached on hits.

Another photo taken in the second showed a shiny horizontal substance on his upper neck below his right ear. After Pineda struck out the first two batters and had a 1-2 count on Grady Sizemore, Farrell talked to Davis. The umpire went to the mound, looked at the ball then touched the substance on Pineda's neck with his right index finger. Then he gestured with that same finger, indicating Pineda's ejection.

Rule 8.02(b) says a pitcher shall not "have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game. In addition, the pitcher shall be suspended automatically."

"We will talk to the umpires tomorrow and review their report before taking any action," Major League Baseball spokesman Michael Teevan said.

In recent suspensions of pitchers for pine tar, Tampa Bay's Joel Peralta was penalized eight games in 2012, the Los Angeles Angels' Brendan Donnelly 10 days in 2005 and St. Louis' Julian Tavarez 10 days in 2004. The suspensions of Donnelly and Tavarez were cut to eight days after they asked the players' association to appeal, and Peralta dropped his challenge with no reduction.

In Pineda's previous start against the Red Sox, a 4-1 Yankees win in New York on April 10, television cameras caught Pineda with what appeared to be sticky pine tar on his hand on a cool night. Farrell didn't see a photograph of Pineda's hand until the fourth inning; when Pineda came out to warm up for the fifth, his hand was clean.

Pineda said the dark substance was dirt but it sparked debate about pitchers' use of sticky substances to get a better grip on cool nights.

On Wednesday, with the game time temperature at 50 degrees, Sizemore started the first with a triple and scored on Dustin Pedroia's single. With one out, Mike Napoli singled Pedroia to third. After Mike Carp flied to left, A.J. Pierzynski singled up the middle, scoring Pedroia.

After Pineda's ejection, David Phelps came in and completed the strikeout of Sizemore.

John Lackey (3-2) allowed one run and seven hits in eight innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks. Koji Uehara struck out three in the ninth in a non-save situation.

The previous time Lackey faced the Yankees he allowed four homers in a 7-2 loss on April 12. On Wednesday, he struck out the side in the third then had two strikeouts in each of the next two innings.

Mike Napoli had three hits and Boston scored two runs in the first and two more in the third. The Yankees scored on Alfonso Soriano's sacrifice fly in the sixth.

NOTES: Boston Marathon men's champion Meb Keflezighi threw out the ceremonial first pitch wearing a Red Sox jersey with the name "MEB" and the number "26.2" on the back, the mileage distance of the race. ... Ortiz played in his 1,643rd game as a designated hitter, matching Harold Baines' major-league record. ... Boston sent OF Daniel Nava to Triple-A Pawtucket and recalled RHP Alex Wilson. ... In the finale of the three-game series Thursday night, New York's CC Sabathia (2-2) pitches against Felix Doubront (1-2).

Dubinsky, Foligno lift CBJ to 1st home playoff win

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno's wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

The Blue Jackets overcame a 3-0 deficit for their first home playoff victory in the franchise's 13 seasons, sending the series back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Saturday night tied 2-2.

Craig Adams, Chris Kunitz, James Neal scored in a span of 5:01 of the first period to stake the Penguins to a 3-0 lead. But Ryan Johansen and Dubinsky each had a goal and an assist and Boone Jenner also scored for Columbus, making only its second postseason trip.

It was the fourth time in the series that the team that scored first - and also went on to hold a 3-1 lead - lost.

With the Penguins hanging on to a 3-2 lead in the third period, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made a big save on Matt Calvert's second shot in a flurry. Calvert later got behind Brooks Orpik on a breakaway and his forehand clanged off the crossbar, setting off a loud groan in the arena.

But Fleury was the culprit when he went behind the cage to handle Jack Johnson's pass around the boards in the final minute. He whiffed trying to handle the puck and was stuck out of position, allowing Johansen to slide a centering pass through the crease where Dubinsky netted it with 22.5 seconds left.

What followed was the loudest sound heard in the Blue Jackets' mostly dismal 13 seasons.

In the overtime, the Blue Jackets had the best of it - as they had for all but the start.

Foligno carried the puck through the neutral zone and was just across the blue line when he fired a low wrister that he tucked under Fleury's glove. As the players piled on top of Foligno, the crowd went crazy.

Fleury had been brilliant throughout the third period, finishing with 42 saves. His Columbus counterpart, Sergei Bobrovsky, also was spectacular at times with 22 saves.

The Penguins rolled to a quick 3-0 lead and ended up with a dreaded 3-1 lead after a period - and once again it vanished.

Just 11 seconds after Jussi Jokinen was called for hooking, the Penguins took advantage of a James Wisniewski turnover near the blue line with Brandon Sutter carrying the puck through the neutral zone on a 2-on-1 break with Adams. Sutter flipped a backhander to Adams, whose rising shot from the right circle beat Bobrovsky high on the stick side at the 6:09 mark.

Pittsburgh quieted a loud capacity crowd with two goals in the span of 33 seconds in the middle of the opening period.

While on the power play after Derek MacKenzie went off for roughing, Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby won a faceoff in the offensive zone and Niskanen's rocket from the right point was redirected by Kunitz.

Before the details of that goal could be announced, the Penguins won another faceoff in the offensive zone and Jokinen then beat the Blue Jackets' R.J. Umberger to a loose puck. He tapped the puck with his outstretched stick toward the right hash mark where Neal unloaded a hard one-timer past Bobrovsky.

It was the first goals of the series for Adams, Kunitz and Neal, who combined for 67 goals in the regular season.

The Blue Jackets played well to close out the period. Their kill unit held off the Penguins on just over a minute of 5 on 3 and killed off two more penalties.

Then at the 16:39 mark, former Penguin Mark Letestu's shot from the high slot was tipped in by Jenner, who had his back to Fleury as he muscled the puck past him.

Columbus dominated the second period, scoring the only goal and outshooting the Penguins 18-6.

A double-minor penalty on Lee Stempniak for high sticking eventually led to the Blue Jackets scoring again, this time with a two-man advantage. The Penguins killed the first 2 minutes of the 4-minute penalty, but picked up another minor penalty when Sutter was called for delay of game. From low on the right wing, Brandon Dubinsky slid a centering pass that Artem Anisimov was able to deflect toward the goal line, with Johansen jamming in the loose puck at the 14:20 mark.

On yet another power play with just 5 seconds left in the period, the Blue Jackets almost got the tying goal but the puck bounced over Cam Atkinson's stick when he had a wide open net.

From the time the Penguins built their 3-0 lead until the end of the second period, they were outshot 25-8.

Notes: The NHL announced earlier Wednesday that Game 5 will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Pittsburgh. ... Columbus was without rookie D Ryan Murray, who was wearing a boot after being hit with a puck in practice. Veteran Nick Schultz took his spot. ... Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said he was hopeful C Marcel Goc (ankle) may be able to play in the series. ... Likely NHL MVP Crosby has not scored a goal in his last nine playoff games and Evgeni Malkin hasn't found the net in his last eight.

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP

Wild's Matt Cooke gets 7-game suspension from NHL

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) The NHL cracked down hard on Matt Cooke, suspending the Minnesota Wild left wing for seven games Wednesday for his knee-to-knee hit that injured Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.

Cooke was at the league office in New York for a hearing about the incident, and his punishment finally was announced more than eight hours later. The Avalanche lead the Wild 2-1 with Game 4 looming Thursday, so Cooke will be out for this first-round series and more. If the term of the ban isn't finished during the playoffs, Cooke must complete it at the beginning of the next regular season.

He played a key part for the Wild in Game 3 in quieting Avalanche stars Nathan MacKinnon, Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog, matching up against that line often. Cooke was all over the ice Monday, colliding with almost every white Colorado jersey he could get close enough to and providing Minnesota plenty of energy in a game it had to win.

But Cooke crossed the line, the league ruled, by sticking out his knee to clip Barrie in open ice early in the second period. Barrie, who ducked to his right in attempt to avoid the collision, tumbled over in immediate pain. He suffered a medial collateral ligament injury to his left knee and will need four to six weeks to recover.

"I think everyone is pretty informed on what he does out there and what he's done in the past, and I think that speaks for itself," Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson said Wednesday before the punishment was levied. "There's no place for that in the game. Look at the guy who he hit: one of our top `D.' He's going to be out for the foreseeable future."

Added Johnson: "I don't even know if there's a place for him in this game. It's disgusting what he's done to guys' careers."

This is Cooke's sixth career suspension for various player safety violations, bringing his total of games banned to 34, including playoffs. He has also been fined four times. Four of his suspensions came between 2008 and 2011, his first three years with Pittsburgh, but since vowing to change his style his penalty minutes have dropped sharply. This was his first banishment in more than three years, meaning he wasn't considered a repeat offender according to the collective bargaining agreement.

That didn't mean the NHL couldn't account for that past pattern, however.

In an explanatory video posted on the league website, it cited Cooke's history in determining the punishment in addition to the position of his knee, his intent to make contact, the amount of force he applied and the significance of the injury to Barrie.

Cooke began striding toward Barrie well before they collided and had the play entirely in front of him. Cooke further extended his knee after Barrie released the puck. Though the NHL acknowledged Barrie's attempt to evade contact might have worsened his injury, it said that "should have been entirely predictable to Cooke."

The Wild will replace Cooke on the third line centered by Erik Haula and flanked by Justin Fontaine with Nino Niederreiter, whose place on the fourth line will be taken by Kyle Brodziak, a healthy scratch in Game 3.

"As the year's gone on, we've lost some guys here and there and we've always had guys step up so that's been the strength of our team," Haula said after practice Wednesday in anticipation of Cooke's absence. "I don't have any doubt that it'll happen again."

Said captain Mikko Koivu of Cooke: "He's a big piece of this team. The way he plays, he gives confidence to the whole team. But we're going to support him whatever happens. Now it's a chance for somebody else to come into the lineup and do that job for us . in a different way."

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Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97

MIAMI (AP) LeBron James scored 32 points and added eight assists, Chris Bosh scored 20 points and the Miami Heat held on to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 101-97 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.

Dwyane Wade scored 15 points, and had a steal in the final seconds to help seal the win for Miami. Mario Chalmers added 11 for the Heat.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 22 points for Charlotte, which got 18 points and 13 rebounds from Al Jefferson, who played through a left plantar fascia strain and shot 9 for 23 from the floor. Kemba Walker added 16 and Gerald Henderson scored 15 for the Bobcats.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Charlotte.

The Bobcats were down three with 10 seconds left, but never got a tying shot off. Wade stole the ball from Chris Douglas-Roberts with 3 seconds left, made a free throw and that was enough for the Heat - who wasted a big first-half lead, then saw another one in the fourth quarter get whittled down to nearly nothing.

It's hard to find any good news for Charlotte, between this two-game hole and the ongoing injury concerns revolving around their best player. Not only have the Bobcats lost 18 straight games to Miami, but the Heat have never dropped any of the previous 11 postseason series in which they've grabbed a 2-0 series lead.

James, between his time in Cleveland and Miami, is 11-0 in such situations. Wade has been part of nine previous 2-0 leads with the Heat, and six of those series ended in no more than five games.

Miami's lead was 91-77 midway through the fourth, and after blowing a big first-half lead it appeared as though the Heat finally had some breathing room.

A few minutes later, it looked a whole lot different.

Walker, Kidd-Gilchrist and Douglas-Roberts combined for all the damage in a 10-0 run, getting the Bobcats within 91-87. But Bosh hit a jumper to stop Miami's scoreless drought, the Heat followed that with a stop, and Bosh struck again on the ensuing possession with a drive that pushed the Heat's lead back to eight with 3:36 remaining.

With that, it was Charlotte's turn - five straight points, with Jefferson scoring with 1:42 left to make it 97-94. And Douglas-Roberts had a chance to tie it with 1:09 left, but his 3-pointer bounced off the rim.

After a free throw by James, Walker hit a 3 with 11.9 seconds left to get Charlotte within one. But James swished a pair of free throws moments later, Wade came up with the steal, and Miami escaped.

Miami led 57-47 at the half, and the Bobcats - who missed 17 of their first 22 shots - were fortunate not to be in bigger trouble.

Jefferson was obviously laboring in the early going and missed seven of his first eight shots, part of the reason why the Heat were able to run out to a 36-21 lead with 9:50 left in the half. Chalmers - whose availability was in doubt until about an hour before game time because of a bruised shin - scored 11 of those points, and the Heat seemed to be rolling.

Charlotte thought otherwise.

A 14-2 run got the Bobcats right back into it, with Jefferson getting consecutive baskets and Kidd-Gilchrist scoring seven points to help the Bobcats close the gap to 38-35. But James Jones, who came up big off the bench for Miami in Game 1, hit a 3-pointer to stop the run and the Heat's lead was quickly back to 16, before late 3's by Gary Neal and Walker got Charlotte within 10 again.

Things tightened more in the third. The Heat led by as much as 11 during the period, before Charlotte got within four twice. Miami led 79-72 entering the fourth.

NOTES: James has signed a deal with William Morris, which will represent him in entertainment-related projects. "It's been in the works," said James, who added that his management team was handling the deal so he could focus on the playoffs. ... Game 3 will be Charlotte's first playoff home game since April 26, 2010, against Orlando. No current Bobcats appeared in that game - but Heat F Rashard Lewis did, playing for Orlando.

Seahawks to open NFL season vs. Packers

NEW YORK (AP) Mike McCarthy promises there won't be any bad memories plaguing his Green Bay Packers when they open the NFL season on Sept. 4 at Super Bowl champion Seattle.

The last time Green Bay visited CenturyLink Field was in Week 3 of the 2012 season, a 14-12 Seahawks victory clinched on what now is often dubbed the "Fail Mary." Russell Wilson's desperation pass on the final play was called a touchdown reception for Golden Tate by the replacement officials.

A few days later, the lockout of the regular officials ended.

"This game won't be about the past," he said. "It will be about the 2014 Green Bay Packers.

It's the third straight season the Packers have traveled to face the defending Super Bowl champions.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for our football team," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We have experience playing in the kickoff opener three years ago, and we will draw on that. Obviously, being the visiting team this time presents new challenges. It will help sharpen our focus even more during training camp and the preseason."

That Thursday game is the first of four prime-time games on opening weekend. Also at night will be a Sunday matchup of AFC champion Denver and Peyton Manning hosting his former team, Indianapolis; and a Monday night doubleheader with the New York Giants at Detroit, followed by San Diego at Arizona.

The NFL will play three games in London: Dolphins-Raiders on Sept. 28; Lions-Falcons on Oct. 26; and Cowboys-Jaguars on Nov. 9. The Detroit-Atlanta game will kick off at 9:30 a.m. ET in an experiment to test the NFL's audience draw on a Sunday morning.

A Saturday doubleheader in Week 16 has San Diego at San Francisco and Philadelphia at Washington.

For the first time, games in Weeks 5 through 10 can be flexed from Sunday afternoon to night, with a limit of two. Beginning with Week 11, a Sunday game can be moved to prime time each week. Also, a select number of Sunday afternoon games are being "cross-flexed," moving between CBS and Fox to potentially draw more viewers.

The Thanksgiving tripleheader features three strong division rivalries: Chicago at Detroit, Philadelphia at Dallas, and Seattle at San Francisco, a rematch of the memorable NFC title game last January.

That game will be played in 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., which opens in Week 2 when they host Chicago in a Sunday night match.

Looking for the latest installment of Manning vs. Tom Brady? The Patriots host it on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 2.

And for those looking for the rematch of the Super Bowl, Seattle's 43-8 rout of Denver, it's on Sept. 21 at Seattle. Denver opens the season against three 2013 playoff teams: Indianapolis and Kansas City at home, then at the Seahawks.

"I think when you look at it, we have to start fast," Broncos general manager John Elway said. "We knew it was going to be a tough schedule playing the NFC West, and when we finish first in our division like we have the past three years, it is always going to be a tough schedule with a lot of good football teams on it."

Bye weeks begin in Week 4 when Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Seattle and St. Louis are off. They end in Week 12 when Carolina and Pittsburgh are idle.

The season ends Dec. 28 with all divisional games.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson to divorce wife

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has announced that he and his wife Ashton are divorcing.

Wilson made the announcement in a statement released by the Seahawks on Wednesday. He says decisions like this are not easy and respectfully asks for "prayers and understanding and privacy during this difficult time."

The pair married in January 2012 after he finished his college career at Wisconsin and before he was drafted by the Seahawks. The couple had been visible at Seahawks events for his first two seasons in the league.

Wilson led Seattle to its first Super Bowl title in February, when the Seahawks overwhelmed the Denver Broncos.

Pacers say practice got physical before Game 1

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner were unified on three points Wednesday.

Yes, they scrapped during a practice before Game 1 of their first-round series against Atlanta. No, they didn't throw any punches. And, for now, everything seems to be OK.

Pacers players and coaches all described the physical confrontation between Stephenson and Turner through their own prisms, but nobody - including Stephenson and Turner - called it a fight.

"We got in a little scuffle, but it was just practice related," Stephenson said. "No blows, just hard playing and getting ready for the playoffs. I mean I've got no problem with him."

The descriptions varied about what happened in the lead up to the first game against Atlanta.

While Stephenson called it a "scuffle," Turner and Vogel both said the players got "tangled up." Paul George explained it as two guys "bumping heads." Yahoo! Sports, which first reported the encounter, said fists were involved.

Whatever happened, Turner had two visibly large scratch marks on the side of his neck when he entered Saturday night's game, which the Pacers lost.

But the only thing that seemed to matter to the Pacers on Wednesday was getting back to work. They tied the series with a Game 2 win Tuesday night, then headed to Atlanta following practice.

"Every team goes through that," All-Star center Roy Hibbert said. "Sometimes, you've got to get things off your chest instead of letting things fester."

For the Pacers, it's just the latest distraction in a postseason that has been full of them.

Critics have questioned their toughness, their penchant for turnovers, their lineup choices, even whether they're worthy of being the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed after a second-half swoon. Losing Game 1 only amplified those voices.

Winning Game 2 didn't quiet the chorus, either.

Hours after the reported spat between Stephenson and Turner leaked, ESPN.com cited an unidentified source who said Vogel was "coaching for his job."

Vogel did spend 25 minutes, more than usual, talking to Larry Bird, the Pacers' president of basketball operations, after practice. But Vogel sure didn't sound like a man who was overly concerned.

"It's the NBA, we're all coaching for our jobs," Vogel said, smiling. "All I know is that I've got incredible support from Larry and we're trying to win games."

Nor did he seem worried about the encounter between Stephenson and Turner, who acknowledged there was nothing personal about it.

"I think if a team is struggling and guys don't get scrappy, that's bad," Vogel said.

Penn St. fans plan new statue of Joe Paterno

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) With one Joe Paterno statue in storage, fans of the late Penn State football coach are commissioning a new one to be placed across from the university.

A State College, Pa., restaurant owner says he's interested in having the new statue put in front of his establishment.

Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers says the school isn't involved in the plan. In 2012, the school removed a Paterno statue outside its football stadium. That happened after a university-commissioned report accused the late coach and three administrators of concealing sex abuse claims against retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

Organizers say the new statue will feature Paterno sitting on a bench reading. It's expected to cost about $300,000. They hope it will be done in 2015 by Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis.

Ellsbury returns, helps Yanks beat Red Sox 9-3

BOSTON (AP) Jacoby Ellsbury doubled, tripled, drove in two runs and made a sliding catch in his return to Fenway Park, helping the New York Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka beat the Boston Red Sox 9-3 on Tuesday night.

Ellsbury received a mixed reception in his first game as a visitor after seven seasons with the Red Sox before signing a $153 million, seven-year contract with the Yankees.

Tanaka (3-0) allowed two runs on seven hits in 7 1-3 innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. His 35 strikeouts in his first four major league starts set a team record and he's walked just two batters in 29 1-3 innings.

Jon Lester (2-3) struggled after four outstanding outings, allowing seven runs in 4 2-3 innings.

DeRozan scores 30 as Raptors beat Nets 100-95

TORONTO (AP) DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 14 rebounds for his second straight playoff double-double and the Toronto Raptors beat the Brooklyn Nets 100-95 on Tuesday night, evening their first-round playoff series at one game apiece.

Amir Johnson scored 16 points and Kyle Lowry had 14 as the Raptors rebounded from a 94-87 loss in Game 1.

Joe Johnson scored 18 points, Deron Williams had 15 and Mirza Teletovic 14 for the Nets, who will host Game 3 on Friday night.

Hampered by foul trouble throughout the game, Brooklyn's Paul Pierce went 2 for 11 from the field, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range. He finished with seven points.

Bruins beat Red Wings 3-0 in Game 3, take 2-1 lead

DETROIT (AP) Tuukka Rask finished with a 23-save shutout to give the Boston Bruins a 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night for a 2-1 playoff series lead.

Dougie Hamilton and Jordan Caron scored in the first period, and Patrice Bergeron added an empty-net goal late in the game. The Presidents' Trophy-winning Bruins are ahead for the first time in the opening-round series. And, it seems like a commanding lead the way Boston has played the past two games.

Detroit has to win Game 4 on Thursday night to avoid facing elimination when the series shifts back to Boston.

Jimmy Howard made 31 saves for the Red Wings, who needed him to make what appeared to be a routine stop midway through the first period on the first goal. He couldn't.

Hamilton's wrist shot from the top of the right circle beat Howard's glove on a power play after Detroit had too many men on the ice.

The Red Wings didn't have enough players in position to stop the second goal. After a poorly timed line change, Caron was all alone in front of the net and scored off a rebound.

Detroit had a 5-on-3 power play for 35 seconds midway through the second period and could not take advantage.

The Red Wings had perhaps their best chance early in the third period, but Rask made a sprawling stop to get his glove on Justin Abdelkader's shot. Detroit did not have many other opportunities against Rask, who ended up with his fourth career playoff shutout.

Detroit had a power play midway through the third period and got only one shot to Rask, whose teammates prevented the puck from getting to him by putting their bodies and sticks in the way all night.

The Red Wings pulled Howard but failed to dump the puck deep into the Boston end. Bergeron made a long shot into an empty net with 1:59 left to make it 3-0.

Since the Red Wings won Game 1 on Pavel Datsyuk's goal late in the third period, they have been outscored 7-1.

Detroit did not have one of its top forwards, Daniel Alfredsson, because of a back ailment and is still without two key players, captain Henrik Zetterberg and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, because of injuries.

Even with all three of those players, Boston simply might be too tough to beat.

The defending Eastern Conference and 2011 Stanley Cup champions are big, strong, fast and talented. Boston proved that during the regular season, leading the NHL with 117 points, and has shown how dominant it can be after losing the closely contested Game 1.

NOTES: Boston had D Matt Bartkowski in the lineup after the flu led to him missing both games in Boston. He replaced Andrej Meszaros, who appeared to be a healthy scratch. ... Former Red Wings star Sergei Fedorov attended the game. ... Hamilton, drafted No. 9 overall three years ago, scored his first playoff goal and Caron, a first-round pick in 2009, had his first postseason point. ... Detroit's fans jeered and booed Boston F Milan Lucic, who was fined $5,000 by the NHL for spearing Detroit D Danny DeKeyser in Game 1.

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