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Sports briefs, Dec. 20, 2011

The Associated Press

UMaine’s Rossi named assistant coach of year

The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston has named University of Maine defensive coordinator Joe Rossi its Assistant Coach of the Year in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.

Rossi, who has been at Maine since 2007, had six defensive players garner All-CAA honors this season while the defense ranked first in the CAA in pass defense, third in sacks and fourth in total defense.

The Black Bears went 9-4 and 6-2 in CAA play, finishing second in the conference and advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals for the third time in school history.

Super Bowl to be streamed online, to mobile phones

NEW YORK — The biggest draw in television is going mobile.

The Super Bowl will be streamed online and to phones in the U.S. for the first time, the NFL said Tuesday. NBC’s broadcasts of wild card Saturday, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl will be available on the league’s and network’s websites and through Verizon’s NFL Mobile app.

The service will include additional camera angles, in-game highlights and live stats — and replays of those always popular Super Bowl ads.

NBC has been streaming its “Sunday Night Football” telecasts for four seasons, and what the network has found is it’s not just being used by fans who can’t get in front of a set. Many of the page views come from people using the service as a complement to watching the game on TV.

That certainly would seem likely for the Super Bowl on Feb. 5 from Indianapolis. The game is annually by far the biggest attraction on television, with last season’s Packers-Steelers matchup drawing a record U.S. audience for any show with 111 million viewers.

NBC’s streams on Sunday nights typically average 200,000-300,000 viewers, compared with 21 million for the telecasts. The network has seen no evidence it hurts the traditional broadcasts’ healthy TV ratings. If anything, the extra options online may help keep fans glued to the games on their sets.

Darryl Sutter hired as new coach for LA Kings

LOS ANGELES — Darryl Sutter will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, general manager Dean Lombardi announced Tuesday.

Sutter will assume his duties beginning with practice on Wednesday, after which the club will hold a news conference to introduce him. He takes over an underachieving 15-14-4 team that entered Tuesday three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with the second-fewest goals in the league — just three more than the New York Islanders. The Kings are currently riding a streak of 12 consecutive games in which they’ve scored no more than two goals in regulation.

The Kings, whose next game is Thursday night at Staples Center against the struggling Anaheim Ducks, fired coach Terry Murray on Dec. 12 in Boston before starting a four-game road trip. Assistant coach John Stevens was 2-2 as the interim coach.

Sutter, 53, has a career record of 409-320-131 in the regular season, and a 47-54 mark in the playoffs. This is his 13th season as a head coach in the NHL, and the Kings are his fourth club. The other three, Chicago, San Jose and Calgary, each won a division title. Sutter’s teams have made the playoffs 10 times, including 2004, when the Flames reached the Stanley finals and lost to Tampa Bay in seven games.

He is one of nine head coaches in NHL history to lead at least three different clubs to 100 wins. Sutter is one of six brothers who have played in the NHL and one of four who have been head coaches, including Brian, Duane and Brent.

Patriots place sacks leader Andre Carter on IR

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots have placed defensive end Andre Carter on injured reserve.

Tuesday’s move ends the season of the team’s leader in sacks with 10 and sidelines a key player on a struggling defense. The Patriots have allowed the most yards in the NFL for nearly the entire season.

Carter started all 14 games. He injured his left quadriceps late in the first quarter of Sunday’s 41-23 win over the Denver Broncos and was driven off the field on a cart. He had signed as a free agent Aug. 8 after five years with the San Francisco 49ers and five with the Washington Redskins.

The Patriots also signed defensive lineman Cedric McKinley to the practice squad. He spent part of this season on the Minnesota Vikings practice squad.

Texas Rangers win negotiating rights to Yu Darvish

NEW YORK — After losing a pair of aces in the last two years, the Texas Rangers are going global to land a new one.

Winner of consecutive AL pennants, Texas also won the Yu Darvish sweepstakes Monday night with a record bid of $51.7 million. Now, the Rangers get 30 days to negotiate a contract with Darvish that would put Japan’s best pitcher at the top of their rotation.

“Obviously, it’s a very exciting night for our organization, our fans and our community,” general manager Jon Daniels said on a conference call.

Major League Baseball announced that the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League accepted the highest bid for Darvish. That sealed offer was submitted under the posting system by the Rangers.

“Our ownership went the extra mile on this one,” Daniels said, declining to reveal specifics.

A person familiar with the details said the winning bid by Texas was $51.7 million — more than the $51.1 million posting fee the Boston Red Sox paid for Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the figure was not made public.

Darvish is considered the best pitcher in the Japanese professional leagues and several of baseball’s biggest spenders were thought to be interested in him.

Jets’ Sanchez practices; McKnight, Kerley sit

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Mark Sanchez is set to face the Giants, sore neck and all.

The New York Jets quarterback was a full participant in practice Tuesday, as expected, despite an injury that he said was “similar” to the one that landed him on the injury report a few weeks ago. Sanchez was hurt Sunday when he was hit by Philadelphia’s Jason Babin in the third quarter of the Jets’ 45-19 loss.

“It’s just been a little sore, and I’ve taken some good shots,” Sanchez said. “It’s just part of the game and you just keep going.”

Sanchez took all but a few snaps Tuesday as the team prepares for its showdown with its New York-area rivals. Coach Rex Ryan said Sanchez might have had a “stinger” or a “burner,” but wasn’t sure — and the quarterback also said he was uncertain.

Sanchez has taken some hard hits throughout this season, but the one Sunday in which he was injured didn’t appear to be violent.

Running back Joe McKnight, the NFL’s leading kick returner, sat out with a separated right shoulder, and his status for the game Saturday was uncertain. He is also still recovering from a hyperextended elbow on the same arm.

Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (illness) and right guard Brandon Moore (hip) also didn’t practice.

Wolves’ Rubio, Barea could miss preseason game

MINNEAPOLIS — Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea could miss the Minnesota Timberwolves’ preseason game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday to rest minor injuries for the regular season.

Coach Rick Adelman says both guards did not practice on Monday or Tuesday for precautionary reasons. Rubio has a sprained right ankle and Barea has a thigh bruise. Both were dinged in the preseason opener against the Bucks last weekend.

Adelman said on Tuesday that both would continue to be evaluated. But he did not sound optimistic when asked if they would play against the Bucks. Neither injury is deemed to be serious. And with such a grueling regular-season schedule set to begin Dec. 26, the Timberwolves could play it safe with two of their most important players.

Utility: Still in dark over Candlestick blackout

SAN FRANCISCO — The utility that supplies power to Candlestick Park is now saying that investigators are still in the dark over the nationally televised power failure that twice delayed the Monday Night Football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

PG&E spokesman Jason King said he “spoke too soon” when he said investigators determined that a San Francisco-owned piece of equipment was responsible for the first of two blackouts. King said he went “too far” with comments he heard from investigators in blaming the city.

King says now that the cause of the two blackouts is still unknown and under investigation.

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