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Sports briefs

Olympics

TORCH IN ST. LOUIS: A century after becoming the first American city to host the modern-era Olympic Games, St. Louis once again held the flame.

"The eyes of the world are on St. Louis today," Mayor Francis Slay said Thursday to the crowd that gathered in the shadow of the towering Gateway Arch on the flame's second leg of a four-city U.S. tour.

Moments later, a flamekeeper fired up the torch held by actor-comedian Joe Torry, who circled proudly for all to see and trotted off, launching the torch's 34-mile tour of the city.

The flame arrived in St. Louis after kicking off its U.S. tour in Los Angeles.

Hockey

AVS RE-SIGN KONOWALCHUK: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed forward Steve Konowalchuk, a Salt Lake native, to a three-year contract Thursday. Konowalchuk was acquired from the Washington Capitals last October. He played in 82 games, including 76 with the Avalanche, collecting 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points.

Peter Forsberg, the 2003 NHL MVP, is expected to announce this summer whether he will return to the Avalanche or go home to Sweden to finish his career.

KHABIBULIN OPTION PICKED UP: The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up the $6.5 million option to bring back goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who helped them win their first Stanley Cup title. Khabibulin tied for the league lead with five shutouts and posted a 1.71 goals-against average in the 2004 playoffs.

"Nik's performance throughout our Stanley Cup run only reinforced how valuable he is to our hockey club," general manager Jay Feaster said Thursday.

HASEK SEEKING WORK: Goaltender Dominik Hasek won't play for the Detroit Red Wings next season. Hasek said Ottawa is one of the teams he would be interested in joining, and added he wants to be on a club that has a chance to win the Stanley Cup.

"The decision should be taken . . . no later than the beginning of July," he said in Thursday's edition of the Sport daily. "At the moment I can only confirm that I won't be in Detroit next season."

College basketball

WEST STAYING IN DRAFT: Saint Joseph's guard Delonte West decided Thursday to stay in the NBA draft, giving up his senior season with the Hawks. It was a surprising move, considering West isn't projected as a first-round pick. Only first-round picks are guaranteed contracts in the NBA.

The move could also hurt tiny Saint Joseph's, which also lost senior guard Jameer Nelson. The two formed one of the best backcourts in the country, helping the Hawks finish 30-2, reaching No. 1 in the AP poll for the first time in school history and earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

College football

NEW IDAHO PROGRAM?: Albertson College of Idaho has formed a task force to explore the possibility of reviving the intercollegiate football program at the small liberal arts school.

Athletic Director Marty Holly said a recommendation could be made to the school's board of directors in November. If a football program is approved, play would begin in another two or three years, Holly said.

Albertson had a long history of football as the College of Idaho before dropping the sport after the 1977 season. Its best known graduate was receiver R.C. Owens, who played professionally from 1957 to 1964 and had 1,032 receiving yards to lead the San Francisco 49ers in 1961.

Soccer

ALL-STAR CHANGE: Major League Soccer's all-star game will feature teams from its two conferences, a switch after Real Madrid pulled out of the midseason exhibition. The game will be played between the East and West on July 31 at Washington's RFK Stadium, site of the 2002 all-star game, the league said Thursday. Five of the eight previous MLS all-star games were also between the league's conferences.

MLS wanted its all-stars to play Real Madrid this season, postponing the July 24 date a week to accommodate the nine-time European champion, a team with some of the biggest names in the sport, including David Beckham. But Real Madrid finished fourth in the Spanish league and was forced to enter a qualifying competition to play in the lucrative European Champions League.