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Sports briefs for March 9, 2014

By Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Fan bus set for UMaine hockey trip

ORONO, Maine — After defeating Merrimack on Saturday night, the University of Maine men’s ice hockey team heads to Providence for a best-of-three series Hockey East quarterfinal series Friday through Sunday.

Maine is taking a fan bus to cheer on the Black Bears in Providence, R.I.

For $90, a fan can take the bus, which includes transportation and tickets to games one and two. There is also a discounted hotel rate available for those on the bus.

Those interested may call 581-1086.

Lundqvist earns 300th win, Rangers blank Red Wings

NEW YORK — New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist admitted that achieving two career milestones was on his mind after the second period of Sunday’s game with the Detroit Red Wings.

“I started thinking why not go for a doughnut in this game and reach 300 wins?” he said. “It was a good challenge for me.”

Lundqvist accomplished both goals, stopping 30 shots in the Rangers’ 3-0 win, earning his 300th career victory and tying Eddie Giacomin’s franchise record of 49 career shutouts. The 32-year-old Lundqvist is one win shy of Mike Richter’s franchise record 301 wins.

It was Lundqvist’s third shutout this season and second against Detroit. He stopped 38 shots in New York’s 1-0 win over the Red Wings on Jan. 16.

Heat’s James stops wearing mask

Miami Heat forward LeBron James on Sunday ditched the mask he has been wearing to protect his broken nose, though he did not have medical clearance to do so.

James said before Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bulls that the mask is uncomfortable and that he would not wear it.

James wore the mask for four games and removed it in the first quarter of Thursday night’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He made just six of 18 shots turned the ball over five times.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that James was supposed to wear the mask for another week.

James broke his nose Feb. 20 when he was inadvertently hit in the face by Thunder center Serge Ibaka while James was driving to the basket.

After missing one game, James returned wearing a black mask that the NBA later made him replace with a clear one.

WR Nicks claims he is medically cleared

New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who will officially become a free agent Tuesday, wants to let teams know he is medically cleared, according to documents obtained by ESPN.

Nicks has been slowed by foot and knee injuries the past two seasons but medical documents reportedly show he is fully healthy.

Nicks has played 28 games the past two seasons, but his production dropped off since the Giants made him a first-round draft choice in 2009. He combined on 89 catches for 1,588 yards with three touchdowns in 2012 and ’13.

Dr. Robert Anderson, who performed foot surgery on Nicks in May 2012, wrote to teams that a recent MRI revealed no ankle or foot problems that would prevent Nicks from resuming a productive career.

Dr. James Andrews endorsed the health of Nicks’ left knee.

Jets release Cromartie

The New York Jets announced Sunday they released cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

The move is not shocking, considering he is due a $5 million roster bonus later this week. It saves the Jets $9.5 million in salary cap space.

Cromartie turns 30 on April 15 and was heading into the final season of a four-year, $32 million contract.

“Cro is one of the finest athletes I’ve ever coached,” coach Rex Ryan said in a statement.


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