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Sports Log

Evander Kane to join Oilers after being cleared of COVID-19 protocol violation

Evander Kane should be back on the ice soon.Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The NHL cleared Evander Kane after an investigation into his cross-border travel during the holiday break. Kane then signed a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers that reportedly comes with a $750,000 salary and $625,000 in bonuses. Kane is expected to provide a boost for the Oilers, who who recently lost seven games in a row to fall out of playoff position in the Western Conference. A law firm hired to conduct the investigation concluded there was not sufficient evidence to conclude Kane “knowingly made misrepresentations regarding his COVID-19 status or test results in connection with his international travel.” The San Jose Sharks terminated Kane’s contract earlier this month, citing breach of contract. The NHL players’ union filed a grievance on his behalf, which has not yet been resolved.

Panetta suspended, accused of racist gesture

The ECHL suspended Jacob Panetta for the rest of this season after Jordan Subban, brother of longtime NHL player P.K. Subban, accused the minor league defenseman of making “monkey gestures” in his direction. Panetta was released by his Jacksonville team Sunday, a day after his actions toward Subban, who is Black. Panetta said his gestures were “not racially motivated.” Panetta will be able to apply for a reduction of the suspension and reinstatement after March 17, pending completion of a learning experience conducted in conjunction with the NHL’s player inclusion committee. The incident with Panetta and Jordan Subban occurred 23 seconds into overtime during Jacksonville’s 1-0 home victory over South Carolina on Saturday.

Former Canuck charged with sexual assault

Former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen was charged with sexual assault following an investigation. Vancouver police said that one count of sexual assault was lodged against the 25-year-old stemming from an incident on Sept. 26, 2017, when Virtanen was playing for the Canucks.Police launched an investigation in May 2021 after a 23-year-old woman filed a complaint. Virtanen was placed on leave by the Canucks after the allegation came to light and his contract was bought out the following month. He was playing for Spartak Moscow of the Russian-based KHL until that league suspended play because of a COVID-19 outbreak. A civil lawsuit filed alleged that Virtanen took the woman to a hotel in West Vancouver and assaulted her as she repeatedly pleaded with him to stop. Virtanen denied the allegation in a response filed in June 2021, saying the sex was consensual, and denied that the woman “expressed any indication, verbal or physical, that she did not want to engage in physical activity.” The case has not gone to court. Virtanen is scheduled for an appearance in Vancouver Provincial Court on Feb. 10 … The initial diagnosis for Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon, who was bloodied on a hit Wednesday, is a broken nose, sources ESPN reported. The Avalanche said MacKinnon suffered an upper-body injury as he absorbed a shoulder shot from the Bruins’ Taylor Hall. The hit caused MacKinnon’s own stick to snap back into his face.

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Olympic hockey

China finalizes roster for Games

Host China finalized its roster for the men’s hockey tournament at the Beijing Olympics, which includes a dozen players from North America. American Jeremy Smith is expected to be China’s starter in goal. Fellow US players on the roster include defenseman Jake Chelios and forward Cory Kane. There are eight homegrown Chinese players on the 25-man roster .China’s roster had been a question for months, especially when the plan was for NHL players to participate. The International Ice Hockey Federation decided last fall to keep China in the tournament because the team’s competitive standard was determined to be sufficient.

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NBA

All-Star starters revealed

LeBron James is returning to Cleveland ... for the NBA All-Star Game.Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

LeBron James will return to Cleveland as an All-Star Game captain, and Ja Morant and Andrew Wiggins are headed there as first-time selections. MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and Warriors superstar Stephen Curry joined them as the other players voted as starters from the Western Conference. The starters from the East were Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid in the frontcourt, along with Atlanta’s Trae Young and Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan. James and Durant, as the leading vote-getters in each conference, will be the captains who draft players for the rosters for the Feb. 20 game. The game’s reserves will be voted on by head coaches in each conference and announced on Feb. 3 … The Los Angeles Lakers signed forward Stanley Johnson for the rest of the season after strong performances over the past month. The Lakers signed Johnson to a 10-day contract on Dec. 24 through the NBA’s hardship exemption. He immediately became a steady contributor in Los Angeles’s inconsistent frontcourt while playing solid wing defense, and he signed two additional 10-day contracts before the Lakers locked him up for the rest of the year.

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College basketball

BC women fall to Ga. Tech

Eylia Love scored a career-high 20 points, including 10 straight in the second quarter when Georgia Tech (16-4, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) established a double-digit lead, and the No. 14 Yellow Jackets defeated Boston College, 68-49, in Atlanta. Cameron Swartz had 14 points, Taylor Soule 11 and Marnelle Garraud 10 for BC. The Eagles (14-6, 5-4) were without their third-leading scorer and top reserve Makayla Dickens, who missed her first game this season … Former Worcester Academy star Aliyah Boston had 22 points and 12 rebounds for her 13th straight double-double, and No. 1 South Carolina improved to 9-0 against ranked opponents this season with a 69-40 victory over visiting No. 24 Mississippi in women’s college basketball … Jaylen Sims had 20 points as UNC Wilmington’s men (13-5, 7-0 Colonial Athletic Association) won its 10th consecutive game, narrowly beating visiting Northeastern, 67-62. Jahmyl Telfort had 20 points and six rebounds for the Huskies (6-14, 0-9), who have now lost 10 games in a row.

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Baseball

Minor Leaguers have issue with housing

An advocacy group for minor leaguers says Major League Baseball’s new housing policy is an improvement but still inadequate. The player steering committee of Advocates for Minor Leaguers issued a statement objecting to housing two players per bedroom and not accommodating spouses and children. MLB said in November it will require teams to provide furnished accommodations, with a single bed per player and no more than two players per bedroom. Teams will be responsible for basic utility bills … Major League Baseball will not require players with minor league contracts to be vaccinated against COVID-19 this season but is mandating that most staff receive the shots … Gene Clines, part of the first all-minority lineup in Major League Baseball history and a line drive-hitting outfielder for the 1971 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates, died Thursday. He was 75. Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Rennie Stennett, Jackie Hernández and Dock Ellis also started for the Pirates on that historic night in 1971. A month later, they won the World Series, beating the Baltimore Orioles in seven games …The Cleveland Guardians reached an agreement to extend their lease at its downtown ballpark through at least 2036 while making improvements to the facility, team owner and CEO Paul Dolan announced Thursday.

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Miscellany

Three-way tie for lead at Farmers

Jon Rahm, seen here on the eighth hole Thursday, is part of a three-way tie after two rounds.Denis Poroy/Associated Press

Top-ranked Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas made the birdies they needed to keep pace on the easier North Course at Torrey Pines and shared the lead with hard-charging Adam Schenk after two rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament in San Diego. Schenk made eight straight birdies to shoot a career-low, 10-under-par 62, also on the North Course, and joined Rahm (65) and Thomas (63) at 13-under 131 … Lydia Ko continued take steps toward the top of women’s golf again with birdies on half of her holes for a 9-under 63 and a two-shot lead over Danielle Kang in the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, Fla. … Mehdi Taremi scored from close range to lead Iran’s national soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Iraq and seal the Islamic Republic’s third straight World Cup berth.