The NHL season is history, Carolina's owner said. "My gut feeling is that this season's gone," Peter Karmanos told the Canadian Press. And that might be just the start. Karmanos said he believes the lockout will last as long as it takes to get "cost certainty," i.e. a salary cap. "I know, personally, that I'd be willing to risk another season," he said. Karmanos risked a fine by becoming the first owner to talk about the fate of the season. In September, Kings president Tim Leiweke was fined what he called "a significant amount" by commissioner Gary Bettman for talking about the lockout in a radio interview. A month later, Bettman fined Steve Belkin, one of Atlanta's owners, $250,000 for telling the Boston Herald the league could use replacement players next season. "The surprising thing is we haven't heard much said at all except from the NHL office," said Kevyn Adams, the Hurricanes' player representative. As a member of the NHL's executive committee, Karmanos is among the owners most closely involved in negotiations. "I'm enough of a hockey fan to realize that once we got it straightened out, the fans would come back," Karmanos said. "But there's the risk they wouldn't. Even with that in mind, I feel very, very strongly that if we don't get it straightened out, we don't have to worry about the NHL existing anyways."
SUNSHINE NO MORE: Local cable viewers will say goodbye to Sunshine Network and hello to Sun Sports on Tuesday. The new look debuts for the Pistons-Magic game. Along with a new name will come a new logo, graphics and music.
OUT OF BOUNDS
THINK DR. EVIL: Boxing promoter Don King filed a defamation suit against ESPN on Wednesday. In it, he demands the sum of . . . $2.5-billion. (Don't know if he held his pinky near his mouth.) The lawsuit says a SportsCentury segment aired in May accused King of being "a snake oil salesman, a shameless huckster and worse," said he underpaid Muhammad Ali by $1.2-million and said King (convicted in a 1967 beating death and acquitted of a 1954 killing) "killed not once, but twice." Most of the material had been printed or broadcast earlier, but King said he has had enough. "I can't take it anymore, and I'm going to fight back," King said. "I seek justice."
OF THE DAY
Since the 1999-2000 season, what men's basketball conference has the most NCAA Tournament wins?
"It's become so . . . commercialized. It's like, "Is it really necessary?' She said, "Do something different.' "
_ JASON KIDD, Nets point guard on why he no longer blows a kiss to his wife before free throws
The Big 12 with 49.