The Nashville Predators added depth to their defense corps, receiving former Bruin defenseman Hal Gill and a conditional 2013 draft pick from the Canadiens in exchange for center Blake Geoffrion, minor league left wing Robert Slaney, and a 2012 second-round pick. Gill has one goal and seven assists in 53 games this season. Geoffrion, the grandson of Canadiens legend Bernie “Boom Boom’’ Geoffrion, had three assists in 22 games with Nashville . . . Penguins center Sidney Crosby joined his teammates on the ice for the first time in more than two months, but remains bothered by concussion-like symptoms and is still not cleared for contact. Crosby, who hasn’t played since symptoms returned following a loss to the Bruins Dec. 5, said he isn’t ready to rule out a return this season, even with less than two months remaining before the playoffs.
Rose nearing return from back problem
Bulls guard Derrick Rose appears to be close to returning to the lineup after missing the past four games because of back spasms. Coach Tom Thibodeau said the league’s reigning MVP was more involved in yesterday’s light practice, but remains day to day, and a return today against the Nets depends on “how he feels.’’ . . . Heat forward LeBron James reassured fans he is fully committed to trying to win a title with Miami this season, one day after saying he would not rule out a return to play for the Cavaliers at some point in his career . . . Guard J.R. Smith, who played in China during the lockout, signed a two-year deal with the Knicks . . . Thunder forward Kevin Durant said he is leaving his longtime agent, Aaron Goodwin, and his brother will help him until he hires a new agent.
Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge after an employee at a downtown Cincinnati bar told police that Maualuga punched him in the face Feb. 5. It’s the second court case in two years for Maualuga, who received a two-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy after pleading guilty to drunken driving in Kentucky in January 2010 . . . The Bengals hired former Raiders coach Hue Jackson as an assistant to help with the secondary and special teams . . . Representatives of Minnesota governor Mark Dayton, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, and the Vikings said no agreement was reached for a new stadium in Minneapolis, but talks will continue.
Leach loses appeal against Texas Tech
The Texas Supreme Court rejected former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach’s appeal in his wrongful termination lawsuit against the school. The decision comes more than two years after Leach, who was recently hired as Washington State’s coach, was fired amid allegations he mistreated receiver Adam James when he had a concussion. He denied the allegation and later sued the school, saying he suspected an $800,000 bonus he was due the day after his 2009 firing was behind his dismissal . . . The Purdue men’s basketball team kicked guard Kelsey Barlow off the team and suspended swingman D.J. Byrd for tomorrow’s home game against No. 7 Michigan State after an early-morning incident at a bar near campus . . . Revolution midfielders Kenny Mansally and Sainey Nyassi were called up to the Gambia National Team for an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria Feb. 29, but Nyassi is unable to play because of a hamstring injury . . . Roger Federer won his 13th straight match against Jarkko Nieminen, 7-5, 7-6 (7-2), to reach the semifinals of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam . . . Hobbled by a fresh right ankle sprain and a troublesome hamstring that forced him to retire last month’s Australian Open, Andy Roddick lost to Denis Istomin, 6-2, 6-4, in the quarterfinals of the SAP Open in San Jose.