Boxing referee expelled from Olympics

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Boxing referee expelled from Olympics

From Comcast SportsNet
LONDON (AP) -- A boxing referee from Turkmenistan was expelled from the London Olympics on Thursday for his handling of a bout in which the result was overturned on appeal. Boxing's governing federation, known as AIBA, released a statement saying referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov "is on his way back home." The federation also suspended German referee Frank Scharmach five days for his decision to disqualify an Iranian heavyweight, and expelled technical official Aghajan Abiyev of Azerbaijan. "I deeply regret that we had to take these decisions," AIBA President C.K. Wu said. "However, our main concern has been and will always be the protection of the integrity and fair play of our competitions. I will take all possible steps to reinforce this." Both sanctioned referees made unusual decisions during Wednesday night's card. In a bantamweight bout, Magomed Abdulhamidov of Azerbaijan fell to the canvas six times in the third round against Satoshi Shimizu of Japan, yet still won a 22-17 decision. Meretnyyazov allowed the fight to continue after each tumble, and he enraged the Japanese team by fixing the headgear worn by Abdulhamidov, who had to be helped from the ring after winning. AIBA overturned the result late Wednesday night, saying Meretnyyazov should have counted at least three knockdowns and stopped the bout. Iranian heavyweight Ali Mazaheri was disqualified in his bout with Cuba's Jose Larduet after several warnings for holding from Scharmach, who finally waved off the fight midway through the second round. The stoppage seemed quick to the booing crowd, and Mazaheri, who stood with his arms outstretched and eventually left the ring without shaking hands with Larduet or Scharmach. Mazaheri claimed the result was "a fix" and "a setup." Scharmach is suspended through Tuesday's Olympic fights, but the disqualification stands. The federation did not specify what Abiyev had done to earn expulsion, saying only that he had committed "a number of breaches" of its code of conduct. International technical officials aren't referees or judges, but perform numerous duties around the ring during competition regarding everything from the draw to medical rulings and equipment management.

Durant gets taste of competition, plays 1-on-1 with Warriors coach

Durant gets taste of competition, plays 1-on-1 with Warriors coach

For the first time in a month, Kevin Durant got a taste of competition. Well, sort of.

Durant on Wednesday went through one-on-one sessions with Warriors assistant coach Willie Green, who is two years removed from a 12-year career as a guard in the NBA.

“He played full-court one-on-one, played some half-court one-on-one to start and then they stepped it up,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters prior to the Warriors-Spurs game in San Antonio. “Willie said it was a good workout.”

Durant and Green played five games of half-court ball and one with the full court. The active player, for the record, won all six games.

“Kevin got him pretty good, so it’s a good sign,” Kerr said before flashing a bit of humor. “If Willie had beaten him, I would have been very concerned.”

An even better sign for the Warriors is that only one man walked away feeling the burn of competition.

“Willie said he was really sore,” Kerr said. “Not Kevin. Willie.”

Durant has been out since sustaining a medial collateral ligament sprain and bone bruise to his left knee on Feb. 28 at Washington. Though there have been no setbacks in his rehab, there is no firm timetable for his return.

“It’s impossible to predict that stuff,” Kerr said. “But it would be nice for him to get a couple games in at the end of the regular season.”

The Warriors plan to re-evaluate Durant next week, after which they expect to plot out his return. There is optimism that he could be back in time to play two or three regular season games in preparation for the postseason, which begins April 15.

 

Anonymous poll: Is Sharks defenseman Burns still Norris frontrunner?

Anonymous poll: Is Sharks defenseman Burns still Norris frontrunner?

Throughout much of his dominant 2016-17 season, the words “Norris Trophy lock” have often preceded Brent Burns’ name. 

The 32-year-old has led all NHL blueliners in scoring for the past three months, building upon a strong second half last season in which he helped lead the Sharks to their first ever Stanley Cup Final, and solidifying himself as one of the best defensemen in the game.

In 76 games, Burns has 28 goals – 11 more than any other defenseman – and 45 assists for 73 points and a plus-17 rating. At one point on Feb. 19, he had 14 more points than Erik Karlsson, who was second among NHL defensemen.

But Burns went cold earlier this month. During one stretch, he went nine out of 10 games without finding the scoresheet, and finally snapped a 16-game goal drought with an overtime winner on Tuesday against the Rangers.

Meanwhile, Karlsson has been heating up. A two-time Norris Trophy winner in 2012 and 2015, the Senators defenseman has 13 points in his last 14 games. As of Wednesday morning, Karlsson was just five points behind Burns in scoring, with 15 goals and 53 assists for 68 points and a plus-seven rating.

There’s talk Karlsson could take home a third Norris, snatching it out of Burns’ grasp.

But, probably not.

In an anonymous poll among 21 PHWA members, most of whom get a vote for the Norris Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, Burns’ designation as the frontrunner seems fairly safe with just six games to go in the regular season.

Of the writers polled, including a broad swath from across North America, 14 told CSN they would likely vote for Burns as the league’s best defensemen if the season ended Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Three were leaning towards Burns, while only four said they would give it to Karlsson.

One writer polled had Burns first, Tampa Bay’s Viktor Hedman second, and Karlsson third.

Of course, 21 votes is just a small sample size of the PHWA membership. Last season, 183 writers took part in voting for the Norris, according to the final tally. Burns finished third in voting, well behind winner Drew Doughty, while Karlsson was second.

Still, as long as Burns stays in front of Karlsson in the scoring race, it appears he remains in line to become the first Sharks defenseman ever to earn a Norris Trophy.