lIGHTNING'S rAMO TO STAY IN rUSSIA
The Lightning will be without Karri Ramo for another season. The goaltender decided to remain with Avangard Omsk of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.
Ramo's agent, Mark Gandler, said Friday that his client could have opted out of the second year of his two-year contract but decided in early May to stay. Tampa Bay was between general managers at the time. Gandler declined to comment when asked if that affected the process.
Ramo, 24, was 21-17-4 in 44 games for Omsk with a 2.11 goals-against average, a .913 save percentage and four shutouts. Gandler said Ramo, who still is Lightning property, would like to return to Tampa Bay after his stint in Russia. "If the stars align, we'll get it done," Gandler said.
Damian Cristodero, Times staff writer
Sharks defenseman Blake retires after 20 seasons
Sharks captain Rob Blake announced his retirement after a 20-year career as one of the league's top defensemen.
Blake, 40, won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001, the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman for Los Angeles in 1998 and an Olympic gold medal for Canada in 2002.
Blake is 10th on the career list with 240 goals as a defenseman. He finished his career with 537 assists and 777 points.
HEAD Hits could become majors: The league's competition committee recommended that referees be given the power to hand out major penalties for hits to the head next season. The 10-man group sent the recommendation to the Board of Governors, which meets next week and must give final approval. Specific wording was not disclosed, but NHL executive and former player Brendan Shanahan said head hits would be subject to a major penalty and a game misconduct, as well as supplemental discipline. … The Predators signed defenseman Francis Bouillon, 34, to a two-year contract worth $2.7 million.
Wimbledon men's draw tough on Federer, Nadal
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal face challenging paths to set up another Wimbledon final after Friday's draw for the grasscourt Grand Slam. Serena and Venus Williams also have difficult roads to another all-sister title match.
Federer, seeded No. 1 although he is No. 2 in the rankings behind Nadal, is in the same half of the draw as Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and former champion Lleyton Hewitt. Second-seeded Nadal has Andy Murray and Robin Soderling in his half.
Top-seeded and three-time champion Serena has former winner Maria Sharapova and French Open runnerup Samantha Stosur of Tampa in her half. Five-time champion Venus has Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin.
EASTBOURNE: Stosur was upset by qualifier Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 in the semifinals in England. In the final, Makarova plays Victoria Azarenka, who knocked out Marion Bartoli 6-3, 7-5. Despite the defeat, Stosur will climb to a career-high No. 6 in next week's rankings.
UNICEF Open: Henin defeated Alexandra Dulgheru 6-2, 6-2 to reach the final in Den Bosch, Netherlands, against Andrea Petkovic.
CYCLING: Germany's Marcus Burghardt claimed his second stage win at the Tour of Switzerland, and American Lance Armstrong remained seventh in the standings, 55 seconds behind overall leader Robert Gesink.
Figure Skating: The compulsory dance has been dropped, the International Skating Union announced in changing the format of ice dance competitions to just short dance and free dance. Previously, there were three segments: compulsory, original and free.
horse racing: CEO Bob Evans said it is growing difficult for Churchill Downs Inc. to justify racing at tracks that don't have slot machines or other forms of gambling to supplement purses. Calder, near Miami, and Fair Grounds in New Orleans offer such alternatives. Neither Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., nor Arlington Park in Illinois can offer such options.