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Players’ counteroffer now in NHL’s hands

– The NHL players’ union presented a counteroffer to the league Monday and waited for a response in the latest effort to resolve a lockout and start a shortened season.

The sides met at NHL headquarters and negotiated for the first time since they met with a federal mediator on Dec. 13. After presenting their proposal, union representatives stayed in the building in case there were further discussions. Later, with talks done for the day, the union said it expected a response from the NHL this morning.

The window to reach a labor agreement to save the season is closing. No one has said exactly how much time remains, but the belief is the NHL wants a shortened season to start by Jan. 19.

That leaves a little less than two weeks to reach an agreement and stage one week of training camp before the puck would drop on a 48-game campaign.

The league and the union had informational discussions – by conference call and in meetings – with staff members that lasted much of Saturday and ended Sunday. Those talks were spurred by the nearly 300-page contract proposal the NHL presented to the union Thursday.

All games through Jan. 14 have been canceled, claiming more than 50 percent of the original schedule. The NHL wants to reach a deal by Jan. 11 and open the season eight days later.


Plumlee heading back to Pacers

The Indiana Pacers announced Sunday that rookie center Miles Plumlee has been recalled from the Mad Ants. Plumlee played six games for the Ants, starting them all, and averaged 14.7 points and 11.2 rebounds.

NBA news

The Timberwolves signed Lazar Hayward to try and provide some depth to an injury-hampered backcourt. The Wolves acquired Hayward from Washington on draft night in 2010 and he played sparingly for them as a rookie. They traded him to Oklahoma City last December. …

Kings guard Tyreke Evans is getting a second opinion on his sore left knee. Evans is scheduled to visit with Dr. Steve Lombardo in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Evans has missed 12 games this season because of his nagging knee.

Duke remains No. 1 in AP poll

For the third straight week Duke is the runaway No. 1 in The Associated Press’ Top 25, and for the first time in 16 years Minnesota is in the top 10. The Blue Devils (12-0) received all but two first-place votes from the 65-member media panel Monday. The next five teams – Michigan, Arizona, Louisville, Indiana and Kansas – held their places from last week. Syracuse, Ohio State, Minnesota and Gonzaga rounded out the top 10. Butler was No. 17 and Notre Dame No. 21.

UConn moves atop women’s AP poll

Connecticut took over No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll after routing Stanford over the weekend. The Huskies had 37 first-place votes Monday, while second-ranked Baylor got the other three. Duke moved up to third while Stanford, which held the top place for six weeks after beating Baylor, fell to fourth. Notre Dame was fifth. The Huskies will play host to the Irish on Saturday. Notre Dame is followed by Kentucky, California, Maryland, Penn State and Georgia. Purdue is No. 14.


Underclassmen make draft plans

Texas A&M leading tackler Damontre Moore will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft. … Brigham Young’s playmaking linebacker Kyle Van Noy will return to college for his senior season. … Rutgers cornerback Logan Ryan will skip his senior season and enter the draft. … Nevada running back Stefphon Jefferson will enter the draft.


US advances at junior worlds

The United States routed Slovakia 9-3 in Ufa, Russia, to advance to the quarterfinals of the world junior hockey championships. The Americans’ prospects of reaching the knockout round had looked uncertain after a loss to Canada a day earlier. But they dominated the Slovaks almost from the start and will next play the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Vince Trocheck and John Gaudreau scored two goals apiece for the U.S.


Djokovic nearly hurt after match

Novak Djokovic shook off jetlag in Perth, Australia, to beat Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4 to help Serbia beat Italy 2-1 at the Hopman Cup then avoided injury after the match when a courtside barrier collapsed while signing autographs. Djokovic was signing autographs when the divider fell. It hit the Serb on his legs as it crashed and several fans went tumbling to the ground. Djokovic briefly squatted in discomfort but later took to the court for the mixed doubles, won by Italy 7-6 (4), 6-4.