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Sports briefs for Sept. 18, 2013

By Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

UMaine’s Wasilewski earns Gold Helmet

ORONO — University of Maine senior quarterback Marcus Wasilewski (Kulpmont, Pa.) was named the Division I recipient of the New England Football Writers’ Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Gold Helmet Award as the top player in New England for his play against Bryant last weekend.

Wasilewski went 23-for-32 passing for 263 yards and four touchdowns in Maine’s 35-22 win and added a rushing TD with 64 yards on 13 carries.

Nationwide to end series title sponsorship

NASCAR’s Nationwide Series will have a new name after the 2014 season.

The insurance company announced Wednesday that it will relinquish title sponsorship of the series after seven years but remain as an official NASCAR partner through 2017. It also will continue to develop marketing programs in the Sprint Cup Series.

NASCAR’s No. 2 series, which was sponsored by Anheuser-Busch from 1982 to 2007, will begin a search for a new partner.

Nationwide also has endorsement deals with Sprint Cup drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Sprint is signed as a title sponsor of the Cup series through the 2016 season.

Clutterbuck could miss extended time

New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck will miss “extended time” after he was cut by a skate during an exhibition game on Tuesday night.

Islanders coach Jack Capuano told Newsday that Clutterback was sent for further evaluation of the laceration, which occurred during a 5-3 split-squad loss to the Calgary Flames when he collided with Calgary’s Paul Byron in the third period. Clutterback was credited with one assist in the game.

It is unclear how long Clutterbuck might be out. The regular season starts in two weeks.

The 25-year-old Clutterbuck, who was a restricted free agent after last season, signed a four-year, $11 million deal this summer with the Islanders. He had four goals and six assists in 42 games for the Minnesota Wild last season after posting career highs of 19 goals and 15 assists in 2011-12.

Report: Panthers’ sale close to a done deal

The struggling Florida Panthers are on the verge of being sold to an investor, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

The Post cited a source as saying a deal is imminent and should be announced in the next few weeks. Various reports indicate there are two serious bidders for the franchise.

The newspaper identified the potential buyer as being from New York. The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reported that the individual is Virtu Financial CEO Vince Viola, a former minority owner of the NBA’s New Jersey Nets.

South Florida businessman Cliff Viner is the current majority owner of the Panthers, who not only are losing money but are ranked 26th of 30 NHL teams in attendance and have made the playoffs only once in the past 13 seasons. The team finished with the worst record in the NHL last season.

According to reports, there are no plans to move the franchise from south Florida. The Panthers are celebrating their 20th anniversary this season.

Nebraska won’t punish Pelini

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini will not face punishment for an angry, profanity-laced outburst directed at Cornhuskers fans after a game against Ohio State two years ago that was recorded without his knowledge.

University chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Shawn Eichorst issued a joint statement on Wednesday.

In a recording that was made public by Deadspin on Monday, Pelini blistered media members and also Nebraska fans for leaving early and booing at halftime of the October 2011 Big Ten game. The Cornhuskers overcame a halftime deficit to beat the Buckeyes.

Pelini apologized to Nebraska fans on Monday night and said he felt certain that his job was not in jeopardy.

The Cornhuskers lost 41-21 at home to Nebraska on Saturday and he also engaged in a public spat about the team’s direction with Nebraska legend Tommie Frazier that angered fans.

Herniated disc sidelines Wizards’ Okafor

Washington Wizards center Emeka Okafor is out indefinitely with a herniated disk and forward Chris Singleton was scheduled for outpatient surgery on Wednesday to repair a fracture to the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, the team announced.

Okafor is to begin rehab work to reduce the inflammation in the neck area. Tests revealed the injury after he experienced pain.

Okafor averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in 79 games last season for the Wizards.

Singleton’s recovery time will be approximately six to eight weeks.

Singleton was hurt Tuesday during a voluntary workout. X-rays detected a fracture.

Villaneuva testifies against George

Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva testified Tuesday before a jury in Trenton, N.J., that former Connecticut player Tate George misused money he had invested with George’s company.

Villanueva, who also played at UConn, said he invested $250,000 with George and was promised a return of $37,500 plus 2 percent of gross profits for years. But he never received any money, included the $250,000, from his investment in a real-estate project in Bridgeport, Conn.

Villanueva told The Trentonian after leaving the courthouse that he was particularly hurt that a former fellow UConn player had conned him.

George is on trial in U.S. District Court for wire fraud that netted him $2 million. He is most remembered for his buzzer-beater that gave UConn a victory over Clemson in a Sweet 16 game in the 1990 NCAA Tournament.

Rangers release Hedberg

The New York Rangers released veteran goalie Johan Hedberg from a professional tryout agreement on Wednesday.

The 40-year-old Hedberg joined the Rangers in training camp on Sept. 10. He was battling backup Martin Biron for a roster spot behind starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Hedberg was the backup to Martin Brodeur for the New Jersey Devils last season and posted a 6-10-3 record with a 2.76 goals-against average. He bought out the final year of his contract after the Devils brought in Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks for the 2013-14 season.

Biron will compete with Cam Talbot for the Rangers’ backup goaltender position. He has been the team’s No. 2 goalie the past three seasons and has one year left on his contract at $1.3 million.

Don James to undergo cancer treatment

Former Washington coach Don James will begin chemotherapy treatment on Monday for a malignant pancreatic tumor, the school announced Wednesday.

James, 80, underwent surgery earlier this month for a gastro-intestinal issue, according to reports, but returned home to rest and recover.

“Coach James and his family are grateful for the many prayers and encouraging words and ask that they continue. The family also asks for privacy as they fight this battle,” his family said in a statement that was released by the university.

James led the Huskies to six Rose Bowls in 18 seasons and a share of the 1991 national championship with a 12-0 season that included a win over Michigan. Washington won 22 straight games from 1990 to 1992.

James, who retired after the 1992 season, won national coach of the year honors in 1977, 1984 and 1991. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

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