Star Olympian expelled following drunken brawl

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Star Olympian expelled following drunken brawl

From Comcast SportsNet Friday, August 5, 2011

BEIJING (AP) -- China's most decorated Winter Olympics athlete, Wang Meng, has been expelled from the national team for a drunken brawl with an official, throwing the successful short track speed skating program into disarray. Wang went out drinking and failed to return to the team hotel before a curfew, China's sports governing body said in a statement released late Thursday. When she was confronted by team manager Wang Chunlu, she punched her, it said. The 26-year-old Wang was expelled from the national team and banned from international competitions because her conduct "has violated the team's disciplines and jeopardized the sport's image," China's General Administration of Sport said in the statement. Wang, who won three gold medals at the Vancouver Games last year, and one gold, a silver and a bronze at Turin, Italy, in the 2006 Olympic Games, had been suspended since the incident during a summer training camp in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao on July 24. China's General Administration of Sport said male speed skater Liu Xianwei, who also assaulted the team manager and damaged hotel property, has been expelled. The other four squad members -- Zhou Yang, Liu Qiuhong, Han Jialiang and Liang Wenhao -- were allowed to keep training with the national team. China's Xinhua news agency reported that Wang accidentally cut her hands on glass and needed dozens of stitches after the incident. In a video posted on the website of China News Service, an angry Wang, her arms in bandages, was shown amid a throng of reporters at the Winter Sports Management Center on Thursday night. It was unclear what she had been asked, but Wang was shown insisting that she be quoted verbatim on TV and threatening to hold a news conference if she wasn't quoted in full. "Can you not report the voice from the heart of an ordinary person?" she said. "I am no longer an athlete. I have been expelled." State-run broadcaster CCTV later showed Wang apologizing to reporters. "This event, in any case, has caused negative effects to society," she said. "I ought to apologize to the Chinese people. So many skating lovers like me and support me. What I did was wrong." Wang is a product of China's highly competitive sports system where promising athletes are intensively trained from a young age in government-run sports schools. Zhou Yang got in trouble last year for failing to thank her country and the Chinese government after her gold medal win at the Vancouver Olympics. Instead, she thanked her coach and teammates and said she would "help my parents have a better life." Li Yan, chief coach of China's short track skating team, told CCTV that expelling Wang doesn't solve deeper problems within the squad. "In one year, the Chinese short-track skating team, having performed so well and gained four Olympic medals and great success, has turned into a negative example. It definitely needs deep reflection," she said. Xinhua said Wang is famous for her fiery temper and it is not the first time she has landed in trouble. She was expelled from the national team for six months in 2007 after criticizing her coach's tactics at the Asian Winter Games, Xinhua said. In June, Wang and her teammates reportedly clashed with security guards who accused them of making too much noise during a night out in the southwestern Chinese city of Lijiang. That led to the 10 p.m. curfew being imposed during last month's summer training camp.

Report: Curry, Harden will be starting backcourt for West in All-Star Game

Report: Curry, Harden will be starting backcourt for West in All-Star Game

After his team defeated the Thunder on Wednesday night, Steph Curry reportedly beat Russell Westbrook again.

Curry will start alongside James Harden in the Western Conference backcourt at next month's All-Star Game, according to the Washington Post's Tim Bontemps.

In last week's All-Star fan voting returns, Curry (990,390 votes) and Harden (961,685 votes) led Westbrook (899,024 votes).

The fan vote counts for 50 percent, while the media and players' votes count for 25 percent each.

Kevin Durant is expected to join Curry in the starting lineup.

The starters will be announced officially at 4pm PT so stay logged on to CSNBayArea.com for updates.

NHL Gameday: Sharks host Lightning in second of back-to-back

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NHL Gameday: Sharks host Lightning in second of back-to-back

Programming note – Sharks-Lightning coverage starts today at 7:00 on CSN California with Sharks Pregame Live

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 27-16-2, 56 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Lightning: 21-20-5, 47 points, 6th Atlantic Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***The Sharks didn’t hold a morning skate so there was no immediate update on Logan Couture, who missed the game against the Kings due to illness. Coach Pete DeBoer left open the possibility on Wednesday morning that Couture might be able to go against the Lightning.

No word yet on the goalie, either, after Martin Jones made 22 saves in the Sharks’ 3-2 win at Staples Center. It could make sense to go back to Jones against the Lightning, while leaving the miserable Colorado Avalanche for backup Aaron Dell on Saturday.

***The Lightning are just 2-5-1 in their last eight games, and are in the midst of a six-game road swing. It started with a win over the Kings on Monday, 2-1, and was followed by a 2-1 overtime loss in Anaheim on Tuesday. Tampa Bay has scored two or fewer goals in six of its last seven, but also brings the NHL’s fourth-ranked power play (22.9 percent) into tonight’s contest.

Top defenseman Victor Hedman reportedly remains out tonight with an illness. It will be his third straight game out of the lineup. He leads the league among blueliners with 31 assists, and his 38 points trails only Brent Burns (46).

***San Jose beat the Lightning in the only other game of the season series on Nov. 12 in Tampa Bay, 3-1. The Sharks are 4-3-0 this season in the second of back-to-back games, and 15-6-0 against the Eastern Conference.

Tampa Bay is just 3-8-2 against the Western Conference.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Tommy Wingels. Although he’s found it difficult to stay in the lineup on a nightly basis this season, Wingels has managed to contribute recently, including a goal against the Kings on Wednesday. The 28-year-old fourth liner has one point in three of his last six games, despite being scratched for seven of the last 12 overall. He’s had success against the Lightning, too, with four goals and seven points in eight career games.

Lightning: Jonathan Drouin. The forward saw a five-game point streak come to an end on Jan. 17, but has at least one point in eight of his last 10 games overall. After a misguided decision last season in which he demanded a trade that never happened, Drouin, 21, is third on the Lightning in scoring with 29 points (13g, 16a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Kevin Labanc – Patrick Marleau – Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Ryan Carpenter – Tommy Wingels

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones
Aaron Dell

Lightning
Ondrej Palat – Vlad Namestnikov – Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn – Tyler Johnson – Joel Vermin
Brian Boyle – Valtteri Filppula – Jonathan Drouin
Michael Bournival – Cedric Paquette – Gabriel Dumont

Nikita Nesterov – Anton Stralman
Jason Garrison – Andrej Sustr
Braydon Coburn – Luke Witkowski

Andrei Vasilevskiy (starter)
Ben Bishop

INJURIES

Sharks: Logan Couture (illness) is questionable. Joonas Donskoi (upper body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are on injured reserve.

Lightning: Steven Stamkos (torn meniscus), Brayden Point (upper body), J.T. Brown (upper body), Ryan Callahan (lower body) and Victor Hedman (illness) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“I think we’ve been saying all year our job is to try and be in their end and get a good forecheck. Luckily of late we’ve been getting some points, so that’s good.” – Micheal Haley, on the recent play of the Sharks’ fourth line