NHL makes new offer — The NHL’s latest offer to the players’ association was enough for the sides to make plans to meet this weekend. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Friday the league presented its proposal Thursday. The sides haven’t met in person since a second round of talks with a federal mediator broke down Dec. 13. The NHL and the players’ association are expected to talk via conference call today, and have tentative plans to meet Sunday in New York. The league’s comprehensive new offer, which is several hundred pages in length, was still being reviewed by the union Friday night. The players’ association’s executive board and negotiating committee went over the proposal during an internal conference call.
Former Indy driver dies — David “Salt" Walther, the former auto and hydroplane racer who was severely burned in a spectacular crash in the 1973 Indianapolis 500, has died. He was 65. The Montgomery County (Ohio) Coroner’s Office confirmed the death Friday, saying Walther was reported dead Thursday night and that the cause of death hadn’t been determined. Walther also drove briefly in NASCAR, finishing 12th in the 1976 Daytona 500.
Owner says Carlesimo getting a chance — Mikhail Prokhorov says he decided to fire Avery Johnson last week, but now wants patience with interim coach P.J. Carlesimo. A day after firing Johnson after just 28 games, Prokhorov said he won’t rush into a coaching search, insisting he wants Carlesimo to have a chance to lead the Brooklyn Nets out of their slump. The Russian billionaire cut short a vacation to British Columbia to travel to New York, where he plans to meet Saturday with Carlesimo. But even with big names such as Phil Jackson potentially available and Prokhorov vowing to spend whatever it takes to build a championship team, he said repeatedly that Carlesimo was the head coach.
American skates to 500 victory — Heather Richardson won the women’s 500 meters with the fastest time in the world this year Friday at the U.S. Long Track Championships in Kearns, Utah, while Mitch Whitmore took the men’s sprint title on the second day of competition. Richardson set a national record of 37.51 seconds in her first race, then lowered it to 37.34 in her second 500, giving her a combined time of 74.850 and the title at the Utah Olympic Oval.
Bug knocks Nadal from Australian Open — Rafael Nadal says he will not play the Australian Open because of a stomach virus, further delaying his comeback after being sidelined since June. The Spaniard also will skip the preceding Qatar Open. The Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, begins Jan. 14.
— From wire reports