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Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

Category: Winter Olympics

Will this make crow-sledding a Winter Olympics event?


A new video is sweeping the Internet today, faster than a story with Tim Tebow in the headline.

The video, which you can see above, captures a scene on a rooftop where a crow is sitting with the lid of a jar; then the crow decides to have some fun, riding the lid down the snow-covered roof.

Big deal, you might say. It was a fluke. The crow had no idea what it was doing. But the bird picks up the lid, flies to the top of the roof and does it again. And again.

The Winter Olympics must cash in on this immediately. Call the Jamaican bobsled team and see if they want to do a cross-promotional video.

Call Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards and see if he wants to change his name to "The Crow."

Get this crow to a half-pipe. One-on-one against Shaun White.

Call Sam the Eagle, the official mascot of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and see if he can track down this crow for an interview.

After all, birds of (kind of) a feather flock together.


Clayton Kershaw asks Dodgers for $10 million

Dodgers sign OF Andre Ethier for $10.95 million

Angels agree to terms with SS Erick Aybar for 2012 season

-- Houston Mitchell


Figure skater Rachael Flatt, touring with Stars on Ice, also taking time to breathe

Flatt_300 Having time to herself has been a foreign concept to figure skater Rachael Flatt of Del Mar. She won the U.S. title in January, finished seventh at the Vancouver Olympics and ninth at the world championships, all while balancing four Advanced Placement classes and finishing her senior year at Cheyenne Mountain High in  Colorado Springs, her training base.

She was accepted to attend Stanford in September but deferred enrollment for a year, giving her time to further her training and simply to breathe.

“These last couple of years have been quite a journey but they’ve also been really hectic so I wanted a little bit of a break between school and skating,” she said by phone Monday.

“I thought it would be a great time to really commit to just skating for this year. It will be nice to have a little bit of free time, and there will be opportunities for me to do more off-ice classes. It will be a wonderful opportunity for me.”

Flatt’s classes are done, so she’s performing this week with the Stars on Ice tour, which will stop Thursday at Staples Center and Friday at Anaheim. But she’ll miss the following show, at San Diego, because of a scheduling conflict -- her high school graduation, to be held Sunday. “I wouldn’t miss that for anything,” she said, laughing.

Flatt, who will be 18 in July, manages to squeeze a lot into each day. By studying in every spare moment she maintained a perfect 4.0 grade- point average — though she said she hadn’t seen her final semester’s grades. Her dedication to her studies makes it likely that her grades stayed up, even in a year that included the Olympics and world championships.

“It was difficult at times but it was definitely worth the sacrifice of sleep,” she said. “It was taxing to basically have a nonexistent social life for about a year while I committed myself entirely to school and skating, just to get the job done.

“Four AP classes is demanding, but training for the Olympics is also incredibly demanding so putting those two together is pretty crazy. But it was definitely worth it. It was so much fun.”

Flatt said she’s torn between majoring in chemical engineering or biomechanics when she reaches Stanford. In either case, she figures to have a difficult academic schedule that wouldn’t easily mesh with elite-level training. But it’s not impossible, and the 2014 Sochi Games are on her radar, though that would mean she would have to find a coach and training site near Stanford.

“I’m just taking it day by day and year by year,” she said. “I’m still planning on training for Sochi but I might end up having to decrease my class load at Stanford from a full-time load to part-time just to make sure that happens.”

Continue reading »

Flu sidelines Kings' Quick

Quick Kings goalkeeper Jonathan Quick will not start Thursday's game with the Edmonton Oilers after being sent home from the team's morning skate with flu-like symptoms.

"It's been going through our group," Kings Coach Terry Murray said of the flu. "It's not just our team. It seems to be going through the population right now."

Erik Ersberg, who hasn't played since stopping 34 shots in a 2-1 loss to San Jose on Jan. 11, will start in Quick's place.

"I guess I'd prefer to have a good game the last game than a bad game," said Ersberg, who found out he was starting Thursday morning. "But it was a while ago. So [I'll] just out there and play. Just have fun."

Murray characterized Quick's illness as a 24-hour bug and said his goalie was feeling much better Thursday. Quick, who is 14-4-0 with a 2.45 goals-against average in his last 18 games, also complained of illness Wednesday and was taken off the ice midway through that morning's workout.

Continue reading »

Mirai Nagasu will get an Olympic send-off Sunday

Figure skater Mirai Nagasu of Arcadia, who was named to the Olympic team a few weeks ago, will be sent off to Vancouver in style.

Her home club, the Pasadena Figure Skating Club, will throw a party in her honor Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m., and it's open to the public. The bash will be held at the Arcadia Presbyterian Church, at 121 Alice Street, Arcadia.

-- Helene Elliott

Marching orders for Olympians Jack Johnson, Evan Lysacek and Mirai Nagasu

Evan Spend enough time at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo and there's no telling how many Olympians you'll stumble over.

On one sheet of ice Thursday were the Kings, who will send five players to the Vancouver Games on three teams. On the other rink were figure skaters Evan Lysacek and Mirai Nagasu, part of the U.S. figure skating delegation. Upstairs in the viewing area was 1992 women's figure skating gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, who was there to do an interview in her role as a correspondent for NBC's "Today" show.

Staying on the Olympic theme, Kings defenseman Jack Johnson said he has arranged to charter a plane and fly to Vancouver so he can march with the U.S. team in the opening ceremony, to be held a week from Friday. The Kings play next Thursday and Saturday, and club executives gave him permission to skip what's likely to be a light practice so he can travel to Vancouver on Friday morning and return Friday night.

Because the NHL will continue its contests through Feb. 14, Johnson is likely to be the only player on the men's team who will march in the opening ceremony at BC Place. The women's team will be there, and men's team General Manager Brian Burke has said he will march, but Johnson said Kings teammates Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick declined his offer of a lift to Vancouver to march alongside him.

That didn't deter Johnson from following his Olympic dreams.

"I’ve watched them before, and it’s part of the experience of the Olympics," he said of marching in the opening ceremony. "It’s unfortunate most hockey players won’t get to do it, but the stars kind of aligned for me to be able to do it."

"We don’t play that day. The Olympics happen to be only a two-hour flight away, and I figure it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I’m going to take every advantage of it I can."

Continue reading »

Poll: What is your favorite Winter Olympic sport?

Biathlon? Nordic combined? You have to figure those are the two favorites. But we'll list them all just in case. What is your favorite Winter Olympics sport? Vote now, then leave a comment letting us know why you voted the way you did.

-- Houston Mitchell

Ducks' Selanne out two to six weeks after jaw surgery


Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne underwent successful surgery Thursday to repair two fractured bones in his jaw, the team announced Thursday night.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Jeffrey Pulver at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange. Selanne is expected to miss two to six weeks, which jeopardizes his ability to represent Finland in the Vancouver Games but doesn't rule him out.

The men's hockey tournament at Vancouver will start Feb. 16, which is almost five weeks away. So it's possible he could still make his fifth appearance for his homeland.

More later on the Ducks' game against the Kings at

-- Helene Elliott

Photo: Anaheim's Teemu Selanne receives medical attention after getting hit in the face with a puck against Boston on Wednesday night. Credit: Chris Carlson / Associated Press

Simi Valley's Angela Ruggiero appointed alternate captain of U.S. women's Olympic hockey team

Simi Valley native Angela Ruggiero, who will play on her fourth Olympic team at the Vancouver Games, was appointed one of three alternate captains of the U.S. women's team.

Ruggiero and Jenny Potter of Edina, Minn., also a four-time Olympian, will share alternate duties with two-time Olympian Julie Chu of Fairfield, Conn. Natalie Darwitz of Eagan, Minn., another two-time Olympian, will be the team's captain.

Here's a link to USA Hockey's press release, which includes the team's schedule at Vancouver.

-- Helene Elliott 

Notes on Team USA Olympic picks

A few quick notes about the selection of the U.S. men's Olympic hockey team, while we await a news conference with USA Hockey executives:

Team USA's roster of three goalies, seven defensemen and 13 forwards averages 26.5 years old. Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski is the oldest at 36 and Chicago forward Patrick Kane is the youngest at 21.

For a team that's struggling in the standings, the Ducks have a lot of players heading to the Olympics. The selection of winger Bobby Ryan gives them eight players on four teams: Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry on Team Canada, Jonas Hiller and Luca Sbisa with Switzerland, and Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu for Finland.

Ryan is only the second Duck chosen to play for Team USA, after goaltender Guy Hebert in 1998. However, Hebert didn't play at the Nagano Games, so Ryan could be the first Duck to actually appear in the Olympic tournament representing Team USA. Ryan, incidentally, is tied with Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone for the most goals by a U.S.-born NHL player this season, at 19 each.

The Kings will have five Olympians. Besides goaltender Jonathan Quick, defenseman Jack Johnson and right wing Dustin Brown on Team USA, they'll have defenseman Drew Doughty playing for Team Canada and center Michal Handzus playing for Slovakia.

Quick, who beat out Colorado's Craig Anderson for the third spot, is the only member of the team who has not represented the U.S. in international competition.

Defenseman Ryan Suter is the son of 1980 "Miracle on Ice" defenseman Bob Suter and nephew of longtime NHL defenseman Gary Suter.

Brian Burke, general manager of Team USA, is saying that players who were not picked should remain in the Olympic drug testing program in case they're called upon to replace an injured player. The roster doesn't have to be submitted until Feb. 15, the night before the men's tournament opener.

Notable omissions: Scott Gomez, Mike Modano, Bill Guerin. "To turn the page from that generation took a lot of soul-searching,"  Burke said.

More later at

-- Helene Elliott

Kings' Dustin Brown, Jack Johnson, Jonathan Quick named to U.S. Olympic hockey team; Ducks' Bobby Ryan also named


Kings captain Dustin Brown (above), defenseman Jack Johnson and goaltender Jonathan Quick were chosen for the U.S. Olympic hockey team for the Vancouver Games in an announcement hastily made after the Winter Classic Game at Boston.

Unlike the Team Canada announcement, which was made slowly and milked the drama, the U.S. announcement seemed rushed in order for NBC to get off it the air in time for a figure skating show

The forwards: David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, Brown, Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers, Chris Drury of the New York Rangers, Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks, Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jamie Langenbrunner of the New Jersey Devils, Ryan Malone of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Zach Parise of the Devils, Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks, Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks and Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche.

The defensemen: Erik Johnson of the Blues, Jack Johnson, Mike Komisarek of the Maple Leafs, Paul Martin of the Devils, Brooks Orpik of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Brian Rafalski of the Detroit Red Wings and Ryan Suter of the Nashville Predators.

The goalies: Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, Quick, and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.

The only real surprise was Martin, who has a badly broken arm and recently learned that he will be out for several more weeks. He could be replaced before the Games -- rosters can be changed until the eve of the Feb. 16 tournament opener. Ducks defenseman Ryan Whitney was in consideration for Martin's spot, but apparently USA Hockey officials decided simply to name Martin and see how he progresses, knowing they can always replace him with Whitney later.

More later at

-- Helene Elliott

Photo credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times

Canada's Olympic team announcement might take longer than the Games

They're dragging this out for TV purposes, so here is the first part of the Canadian Olympic roster:

No surprises here: The three goaltenders will be New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo.

The announcement is being made in Saskatoon, site of the world junior championships, but it's being televised and live streamed across Canada.

More later at

-- Helene Elliott in Calgary, Canada


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