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BOULERICE SUSPENDED: Maybe now Philadelphia will really get the message: The deliberate and dangerous hits that put two Flyers on the suspended list no longer have a spot in a safer NHL.

Philadelphia forward Jesse Boulerice was suspended 25 games by the NHL on Friday for striking Vancouver's Ryan Kesler across the face with his stick, the longest single-season ban in league history.

The suspension was handed down by NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell after a hearing in Toronto.

"This was more than a careless and reckless play," Campbell said. "It was senseless."

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren anticipated the league's action.

"Is 25 the worst?" he said. "It's pretty close to what I expected."

Campbell said there would be a "whole heap of problems" had Kesler been seriously injured.

College hoops

HEYTVELT REINSTATED: Gonzaga reinstated center Josh Heytvelt to the basketball team on Friday after eight months of weekly drug tests, 300 hours of community service and a reversal of his coach's initial thoughts of never having him back.

Heytvelt, a 6-foot-11 junior and the Bulldogs' leading returning scorer with West Coast Conference MVP Derek Raivio having graduated, had been suspended for possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

He was averaging more than 15 points per game and leading Gonzaga in rebounding when he and teammate Theo Davis were arrested Feb. 9 in Cheney, Wash. Police said they spotted a bag of psilocybin mushrooms protruding from a bag in Heytvelt's vehicle during a traffic stop.


BLAKE ADVANCES: Top-seeded James Blake rallied past Jarkko Nieminen 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-2 Friday to reach the semifinals in the Stockholm Open.

The American improved to 13-0 in the Swedish capital, where he has won the last two titles in one of the world's oldest indoor tournaments.

"I don't know about Stockholm, but it seems to bring out the best of me," Blake said.

He will play former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who defeated Mario Ancic of Croatia 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3).

VENUS WINS: Venus Williams moved into the semifinals of the Bangkok Open on Friday with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Camille Pin.

The eighth-ranked Williams, looking for her second tournament victory in three weeks, used powerful groundstrokes to defeat the Frenchwoman in 68 minutes.


BECKHAM WON'T PLAY: David Beckham will miss the Los Angeles Galaxy's home game against Toronto FC tonight despite resuming training with his team.

Beckham also has been left off England's roster for European qualifiers against Estonia on Saturday night in London and against Russia on Wednesday night in Moscow.

The midfielder has not played since spraining his right knee in the SuperLiga tournament final Aug. 29. He had already been playing on a sprained left ankle that he injured in June, a month before joining the team.

Beckham has practiced twice with the team since resuming training last week, but he sat out Friday.

"He did quite a bit yesterday," Galaxy coach Frank Yallop said. "He's just sore from what he did bodywise. He really hasn't worked out much. It's not his knee or ankle. His knee and ankle are feeling good."