Coach upset Ovechkin won't start All-Star Game



The Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin, the NHL's reigning Most Valuable Player and second this season in goals and points entering yesterday, finished only sixth among Eastern Conference forwards in voting for the All-Star Game - which mystified his coach. "It's dumb," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said, adding, "It's not right the best player in the game is not a starter." The NHL announced the starting lineups for the midseason classic, and the host Canadiens filled four of the six slots for the Eastern Conference. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, linemates with the Pittsburgh Penguins, both broke the record for the most votes and claimed two forward positions. They will be joined up front by Montreal's Alex Kovalev.

Capitals 2, Rangers 1: : Ovechkin's tiebreaking, short-handed goal with a half-minute left in the second period lifted host Washington past New York, extending the Capitals' winning streak to a season-high six games. Defenseman Mike Green scored on a power play and Jose Theodore made 21 saves as Washington improved to 26-11-3, the best 40-game mark in franchise history. New York's Petr Prucha scored for the second game in a row.


Et cetera: : Matt Ellis scored a pair of goals to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 4-2 win over Boston, ending the Bruins' 10-game winning streak and handing them their first home loss since late October. ... Ratings increased 12 percent for the second Winter Classic, which featured the Blackhawks and Red Wings at Wrigley Field. The New Year's Day event on NBC earned a 2.9 overnight rating and a 6.0 share, the best overnight NHL regular-season rating in nearly 13 years. ... The NHL suspended Ducks forward Corey Perry four games for elbowing Flyers forward Claude Giroux on Friday.

Brown leads Connecticut to International Bowl win

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Donald Brown, the nation's leading rusher, ran for a 45-yard touchdown and a career-best 261 yards - including 208 in the first half - in his final college game, and Connecticut defeated Buffalo, 38-20, in the International Bowl in Toronto. After vowing last month that he would return for his senior season, Brown announced after the game that he would apply for the NFL draft in April. The Huskies (8-5) overcame five first-half turnovers and a 20-10 deficit to win their second bowl game in three appearances since joining the Big East in 2004. The Mid-American champion Bulls (8-6) saw their breakout season under coach Turner Gill end with a loss in their bowl debut.

Rutgers: : Wide receiver Kenny Britt announced his intentions to forgo his senior season and declare himself eligible for the draft. Britt, 20, had 87 receptions for 1,371 yards and seven touchdowns in 2008. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Britt is projected as high as a second-round pick.

Dodgers agree to trade or release Andruw Jones


The Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to trade or release Andruw Jones in exchange for his deferring much of the $22 million remaining on his contract, a baseball source told the Los Angeles Times on Friday. The deal is expected to shave $12 million from the Dodgers' 2009 payroll and cut Jones' salary next season to about $5 million. If the Dodgers can't trade him, Jones can ask for his release before spring training, the source said. The Dodgers signed the five-time All-Star last winter, and he batted just .158 with three home runs in 75 games.


After defeating Federer, Murray tops Nadal

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In a strong statement before the Australian Open, Andy Murray has beaten Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on consecutive days. The Scotsman defeated the top-ranked Nadal, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to capture the Capitala World Tennis Championship exhibition and $250,000 winner-take-all prize. A day earlier in the semifinals, he topped No. 2 Federer, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6). The tournament, not part of the ATP Tour, included six of the world's top 10 players. Murray is ranked No. 4 and has yet to win a Grand Slam. He has a chance to change that at the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 19.

Horse racing: : Far back early, Lord Snowdon rallied seven-wide into the stretch on the way to winning the $50,000 Native Dancer Stakes at Laurel Park. Ridden by Jeremy Rose, the 6-year-old gelding completed the mile in 1 minute, 38.11 seconds over the fast main track. Sharps Island finished second, three-quarters of a length back. PV Lightening was third in a field of seven older horses.

Soccer: : David Beckham will play in AC Milan's exhibition match with Hamburger SV in Dubai this week and possibly against AS Roma in the Serie A on Jan. 11. Beckham is at Milan on loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy until early March.

Pro wrestling: : A key congressman said the "apparently widespread use" of steroids in pro wrestling is sending a bad message to youngsters, and he wants the government to do something about it. Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat who chairs the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, requested in a letter that John Walters, director of the president's Office of National Drug Control Policy, "examine the systemic deficiencies in the testing policies and practices of professional wrestling."


Obituary: : Sam McQuagg, the 1965 NASCAR Rookie of the Year, died in Columbus, Ga., his son said. Preliminary medical reports show McQuagg, 73, died from cancer.