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Russia's junior hockey team kicked off flight for unruly behavior

Their championship celebration continues as they boarded a Delta Air Lines flight home.

January 06, 2011|Staff and wire reports

Russia's gold-medal celebration went into overtime. And that prevented the team from boarding a flight Thursday morning, a day after Russia won the title at the World Junior Hockey Championships at Buffalo, N.Y.

About 30 members of the Russian contingent were asked to get off a Delta Air Lines flight because of their unruly behavior as they boarded the plane, a spokesman for Buffalo Niagara International Airport said.

Players and managers spent the day at the Days Hotel across the street — where a front desk clerk said they were "sleeping it off" — and a team spokesman said the group would depart on two flights Friday.

Mikhail Zislis, the team's media officer, challenged Delta's claim that the group was unruly and accused the flight crew of overreacting.

"To ensure the safe operation of the flight, the crew of Flight 1266 denied boarding to 30 passengers who were traveling together and displaying unruly behavior," Delta spokeswoman Susan Chana Elliott said. "The passengers are being rebooked on a future flight."

Zislis said team members, all younger than 20, celebrated their win Wednesday with champagne, but nothing stronger, in the locker room.

Tournament officials had no immediate comment.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges will sit out the rest of the season because of a right knee injury.

BASKETBALL

Turkish club terminates Taurasi's contract

American basketball star Diana Taurasi had her contract terminated by Turkish club Fenerbahce after her "B" sample tested positive for doping. The Istanbul-based club made its decision after the Turkish Basketball Federation announced the results of the doping test on its website. Taurasi faces a ban of up to two years, putting in jeopardy her chances of playing for the United States at the 2012 London Olympics.

Taurasi's "A" sample tested positive last month for the banned stimulant modafinil after a Turkish league game Nov. 13. Taurasi had been suspended by Fenerbahce since.

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming had surgery Thursday on a stress fracture in his left ankle, a procedure that he said could end his career.

The 7-foot-6 Yao has been out since Nov. 10 and played in five games this season before the team declared him out for the season. The seven-time All-Star sat out last season after reconstructive foot surgery.

"I know this will be another long rehab," Yao, 30, said in a statement. "But I'm looking forward to beginning my recovery. I will use this time to consider all of my options, and will make a decision regarding my career plans as I get closer to the end of my rehab."

ETC.

Roddick defeats Baghdatis

Second-seeded Andy Roddick beat Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus, 6-2, 6-3, to reach the semifinals of the Brisbane International in Australia. The eighth-ranked American hit seven aces and converted 65% of his first-serve points. Earlier, top-seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden held on to beat Michael Berrer of Germany, 6-3, 7-6 (7), and reach the quarterfinals.

Former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli of France beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-1, to reach the women's semifinals. Bartoli will next face Andrea Petkovic of Germany, who beat Jarmila Groth of Australia, 6-3, 6-4. Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic will meet fifth-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the other semifinal.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer remain on course to meet in the Qatar Open final after both won their quarterfinals in straight sets at Doha. Federer, a two-time champion in Doha, routed sixth-seeded Viktor Troicki, 6-2, 6-2, and will face third-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals. Top-ranked Nadal was given more of a test by Latvia's Ernests Gulbis before he won, 7-6 (3), 6-3.

Venus Williams lost to second-ranked Vera Zvonareva, 6-4, 6-2, at the Hong Kong Classic exhibition tournament in her first match since the U.S. Open. Williams was sidelined because of a left knee injury for the last part of the 2010 season and is using the tournament as her only warmup for the Australian Open.

The Philadelphia Phillies re-signed left-handed relief specialist J.C. Romero to a one-year, $1.35-million contract.

Second baseman Dan Uggla and the Atlanta Braves finalized a $62-million, five-year contract that avoided salary arbitration.

Tiger Woods has ended his 13-year relationship with golf's biggest magazine. Golf Digest announced the mutual end to a relationship that began at the 1997 Masters. It was the second-longest endorsement for Woods behind Nike.

Ronaldinho reached an agreement with AC Milan to end his contract, clearing the way to return to Brazil soccer. Three Brazilian clubs remain in contention to sign the 2004 and 2005 FIFA player of the year: Palmeiras, Flamengo and his former team, Gremio.

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