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Friday, 17 January 2014 16:56

Lions hire Austin, Sheridan as assistants

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions have hired Teryl Austin as their new defensive coordinator. Austin spent the past three seasons as the defensive backs coach in Baltimore, where the staff included new Lions head coach Jim Caldwell the past two seasons. The Lions also said Friday that they had hired Bill Sheridan as linebackers coach. Terms were not disclosed. Caldwell was hired by Baltimore two years ago to be their quarterbacks coach and was promoted to offensive coordinator late in the 2012 season. He was hired to replace the fired Jim Schwartz this week.

Friday, 17 January 2014 16:55

Scherzer, Tigers agree at $15,525,000.00

DETROIT (AP) - AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer has agreed to a one-year contract with the Detroit Tigers for $15,525,000, setting himself up for an even bigger payday when he becomes eligible for free agency after the season. Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts as the Tigers advanced to the AL championship series against Boston. He made $6,725,000 last year, and another stellar season could put him in position to gain a deal similar to those of teammate Justin Verlander ($180 million for seven years) and Seattle's Felix Hernandez ($175 million for seven) or even the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw ($215 million for seven). Detroit also reached one-year agreements with right-handers Rick Porcello and Al Alburquerque, and outfielders Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson. All had filed for arbitration. Porcello went 13-8 with a 4.32 ERA and a career-high 142 strikeouts . Alburquerque appeared in 53 games, posting a 4-3 record and 4.59 ERA. Dirks hit .256 with 16 doubles, two triples, nine home runs and 37 RBIs.  Jackson batted .272 with 30 doubles, seven triples, 12 homers and 49 RBIs.

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey's pigskin-prognosticating camel has died just weeks before the state is set to host its first Super Bowl. Princess was a fixture at the Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township for 10 years and gained fame for picking winners. Zoo manager John Bergmann tells the Asbury Park Press the 26-year-old Bactrian camel was euthanized after arthritis made it impossible for her to stand. Princess' made her picks with graham crackers. Bergmann would hold one in each hand, marked with the names of the competing teams. Whichever hand she chose was her prediction. Princess correctly picked the Baltimore Ravens in last year's Super Bowl. Her best run came in the 2008 season, when she picked 17 of 22 games correctly, including the Pittsburgh Steelers to win Super Bowl XLIII.

AUBURN HILLS (AP) - The Detroit Pistons return to action Friday night when they host the Utah Jazz. The Pistons last played Saturday, when they defeated the Phoenix Suns 110-108 on the road. Detroit (16-22) is 15 games behind the Central Division-leading Indiana Pacers.

NEW YORK (AP) - Mats Zuccarello broke up a scoreless duel between two Olympic goalies when he scored with 5:58 remaining, lifting the New York Rangers to a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. Zuccarello floated a puck over Detroit's Jimmy Howard when he drove to the net, putting New York's 45th shot of the night into the net. That was enough for Henrik Lundqvist to earn his third shutout of the season and 48th in his NHL career. Lundqvist, who made his sixth straight start, stopped 38 shots. Gustav Nyquist slipped a shot behind him with 44.5 seconds remaining, but Lundqvist reached back to cover the puck just before it crossed the line. Howard made 47 saves. The Red Wings were shut out for the second straight game, both times 1-0. Detroit, which hasn't scored a power-play goal in six games in 2014, was beaten at Anaheim on Sunday. The Detroit Red Wings return home Saturday night to face the Los Angeles Kings. The Red Wings (47-20-17) enter Friday action with 50 points and in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. Boston leads the division with 62 points. 

MOSCOW (AP) - Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk has been named captain of Russia's Olympic hockey team. Datsyuk is recovering from a lower-body injury that has sidelined him almost two weeks. This will be his fourth Olympics. Datsyuk says on Twitter he is "honored" by the captain's spot. He adds that the team "embraces the opportunity and responsibility of representing our country on the home ice." The Russian staff chose the 35-year-old Datsyuk over such candidates as Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk. Ovechkin is the only Russian captain in the NHL and voiced support for Datsyuk on the day Olympic rosters were announced. Kovalchuk left the New Jersey Devils to play in the Kontinental Hockey League.

MIAMI (AP) - Detroit Lions senior personnel director Brian Xanders has become the sixth candidate to interview for the Miami Dolphins' job of general manager. The Dolphins confirmed Wednesday that they had completed an interview with Xanders. He  was hired by the Lions a year ago to assist the player personnel department in college scouting and pro personnel. Xanders was the Broncos' general manager in 2009-12 but didn't have final say on roster decisions. Before that he spent 14 years with the Falcons. Bill Lazor was hired Wednesday as the Dolphins' offensive coordinator. He worked last year as quarterbacks coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson recently had surgeries on his right knee and a finger. Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters Wednesday that Johnson's knee surgery was a relatively minor arthroscopic procedure. Johnson missed two games last season because of his knee ailment. He finished with 1,492 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns, earning a spot on The Associated Press NFL All-Pro team for a third straight year. Johnson pulled out of the Pro Bowl because of his injuries and was replaced by Chicago's Alshon Jeffery.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 10:48

Lions hire ex-Colts coach Jim Caldwell

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions have hired coach Jim Caldwell. The team confirmed the move Tuesday and has scheduled a news conference at Ford Field on Wednesday. San Diego Chargers assistant and former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt was seemingly Detroit's top choice, but he chose to take the head coaching job at Tennessee on Monday night. The Lions are giving Caldwell another chance to be an NFL head coach. He helped the Indianapolis Colts play in the Super Bowl after his debut season in 2009 and was fired two years later after a 2-14 season while Peyton Manning was injured, dropping his three-year mark to 26-22.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 10:47

Michigan cruises past Penn State 80-67

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Nik Stauskas scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half, and Michigan remained unbeaten in Big Ten play with an 80-67 victory over Penn State on Tuesday night. The Wolverines (12-4, 4-0) led 47-45 when a 3-pointer by Stauskas started a 19-5 run that gave Michigan a comfortable advantage. Derrick Walton added 16 points for the Wolverines, and Glenn Robinson III scored 15. D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier scored 17 points apiece for Penn State (9-9, 0-5), but those two backcourt standouts weren't enough against a balanced Michigan team. The Wolverines have won six straight, all without star big man Mitch McGary, who is out indefinitely with a back injury. Michigan and rival Michigan State are the Big Ten's only teams without a conference loss.