Less than day after the National Hockey League said it was locking out its players, European teams announced Sunday they had signed, among others, stars Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar to contracts.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League said in a statement it had signed Malkin, a center with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Gonchar, a defenseman with the Ottawa Senators , to deals. Malkin was the NHL's scoring leader last season. Center Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings has signed with AK Bars Kazan.
USA Today reported Jaromir Jagr is expected to sign with Czech League team Kladno, of which he is part owner. Sovietsky Sport publication reported on Twitter that Toronto Maple Leafs right winger Nikolai Kulemin also will soon sign with Metallurg as well.
Metallurg did not announce the details of Malkin's and Gonchar's contracts.
During the last lockout, about 300 NHL players spent time playing with pro teams in Europe.
---The NHL said Sunday morning that a settlement with the players will be attainable "through sensible, focused negotiation -- not through rhetoric."
The league made the announcement on its website, NHL.com. It imposed a lockout of its players after negotiations with the NHL Players Association were at a standstill when the collective bargaining agreement ended at midnight ET Saturday.
"This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not on a meeting room," according to the unsigned memo. "The League, the Clubs and the Players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans."
The lockout was the league's fourth work stoppage since 1992.
---Alabama and LSU, which played in the BSC title game last January, were back in the top two spots in both the latest Associated Press media and USA Today coaches college football polls, which were released Sunday.
Alabama retained the top spot with 58 first-place votes in the media poll while LSU moved into No. 2 with two first-place votes, replacing Southern California. In the coaches' poll, Alabama had 54 first-place votes to six for LSU.
USC, which was the preseason No. 1 team in the AP poll, lost to Stanford 21-14 on Saturday and fell from No. 2 to 13th in AP and 12th in USA Today. Stanford shot past the Trojans, from No. 21 to No. 9 in the media poll and No. 11 in the coaches poll.
---Dwight Howard, who was traded from the Orlando Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, said he doesn't have any regrets about the series of events that occurred during the past year.
"I think everything happened the way that it was meant to happen," Howard said in interview that aired Sunday on ESPN. "I really just wish some of the lies and some of the things being said didn't come out the way it did, you know.
"But I have an opportunity to do something great here in L.A, and I can't look back and think about everything that's behind me."