U.S. opens with win against Russia

INNISFAIL, Alberta - Shawn Bates scored twice and Jon Battaglia and Adam Deadmarsh added goals as the United States beat Russia 4-3 in its first game in the World Junior Championships.

In other games, Marty Murray scored two goals as two-time defending champion Canada beat Ukraine 7-1 in Red Deer and Anders Soderberg had three goals in Sweden's 10-2 victory over Germany at Leduc.

In Spruce Grove, Pavel Nestak made 22 saves as the Czech Republic beat Finland 3-0.


Eagles fire Kotite, look to Vermeil

PHILADELPHIA - After losing his final seven games following a 7-2 start, Rich Kotite was fired as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

The streak probably provided Jeff Lurie, the Eagles' new owner, with a convenient reason for changing coaches so he can put his own stamp on the team.

Lurie said he would pay Kotite, 37-29 after replacing Buddy Ryan in 1991, the estimated $500,000 for the final year of his contract.

On Friday, former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil met for several hours with Lurie and said Sunday he was interested in returning to the team.

Kotite has been mentioned as a candidate for the coaching job with expansion Carolina.

Flores' future to be determined

KIRKLAND, Wash. - Tom Flores' future as coach and general manager of the Seattle Seahawks will be decided this week when he meets with owner Ken Behring. Seattle was 6-10 this season and 14-34 in three years under Flores.

Tar Heels stay atop AP poll

North Carolina (7-0) remained No. 1 in The Associated Press college poll for the fourth straight week, getting 56 first-place votes and 1,590 points from the nationwide media panel.

No. 2 UCLA (5-0) had five first-place votes and 1,506 points, while No. 3 Arkansas (8-1) received the three other No. 1 votes. Massachusetts (5-1) was fourth, followed by Kentucky (5-1), Kansas (7-1), Duke (6-1), Connecticut (5-0), Maryland (8-2) and Arizona (7-2).

NHL talks expected to resume

With no contact between the sides over the weekend, the NHL and the NHL Players Association were expected to reopen lines of communication today in an attempt to save the season.

The Canadian Press said union head Bob Goodenow likely will call NHL commissioner Gary Bettman regarding the renewal of negotiations. That could open the way for lower-level negotiators to see if there has been sufficient progress to merit having full bargaining teams place.

Angelos sees replacement woes

NEW YORK - Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos said his fellow owners can't force his team to use replacement players.

"There are not sufficient replacement players to permit fielding of a team that one could contend was of major league caliber," Angelos said.

The union was expected to begin its legal challenge against the salary cap today, filing unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board. Owners, meanwhile, say they are prepared to start spring training and the season with strikebreaking players.