PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins placed defenseman Kris Letang and goalie Tomas Vokoun on the injured list and sent forward Beau Bennett to the minors on Monday.
Letang will be out at least until Friday with what coach Dan Bylsma called a lower-body injury. The Norris Trophy finalist went down in practice last Friday and was re-evaluated in Pittsburgh on Monday. Vokoun is out indefinitely due to blood clots discovered in his pelvic region two weeks ago.
Bennett, who impressed Bylsma during the preseason, was sent to Wheeling of the ECHL. He will likely be recalled to Pittsburgh before the season opener against New Jersey on Thursday.
The Penguins assigned forward Andrew Ebbett and defenseman Simon Despres to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL and sent defenseman Derrick Pouliot to his junior team in the Western Hockey League.
Last-place Cubs dismiss Sveum
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum after finishing last in the NL Central for the first time in seven years, ending a two-year run that produced more losses than any other in the team’s cursed history.
Sveum’s dismissal likely will ramp up speculation surrounding the status of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a Peoria, Ill., native who played college ball at nearby Northwestern. Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein expects to complete the search process by early November.
• NEW YORK (AP) — Terry Collins completed a contract extension with the New York Mets. The manager gets a two-year deal with a club option for 2016.
• MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins and manager Ron Gardenhire agreed on a two-year contract extension through the 2015 season.
• NEW YORK (AP) — Rob Manfred was promoted to Major League Baseball’s chief operating officer, which may make him a candidate to succeed Bud Selig as commissioner.
The sport’s No. 2 post had been open for three years. Selig said last week he intends to retire in January 2015.
A-Rod’s appeal hearing begins
NEW YORK (AP) — The grievance to overturn Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension began before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
The New York Yankees third baseman was wearing a business suit and accompanied by lawyers when he arrived for the session at Major League Baseball’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan.
A three-time AL MVP, Rodriguez was suspended Aug. 5 for alleged violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract. Because he’s a first offender under the drug program and the players’ association filed a grievance to force an appeal, a suspension can’t start until it is upheld by an arbitrator.
The union argues the discipline is without just cause and is excessive. If the case doesn’t settle, a decision by Horowitz is expected this winter.
Miller criticizes anti-gay policy
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Bode Miller felt no need to measure his words when asked about Russia’s anti-gay law.
“‘I think it’s absolutely embarrassing that there’s countries and there’s people who are that intolerant and that ignorant,” he said Monday, one of the few athletes willing to take a stand on the subject at the U.S. Olympic media summit featuring Sochi hopefuls.
‘But it’s not the first time,” Miller said. “We’ve been dealing with human-rights issues probably since there were humans.”
The USOC’S official stance, first communicated in August in a letter to athletes and others in the Olympic community, is that it disagrees with the law but that a boycott is out of the question.
UConn fires football coach
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut football coach Paul Pasqualoni was fired Monday, with his team 0-4 and coming off a 41-12 loss at Buffalo.
Athletic director Warde Manuel announced the dismissal two days after the latest defeat. Pasqualoni, in his third season at UConn, finishes with a 10-18 record.
“I am making this change in our football coaching staff now as we approach the conference season to see an improved performance from our football program,” Manuel said in a statement.
The school said it will pay Pasqualoni $750,000 to buy out his contract.
The Huskies have a bye week before hosting South Florida on Oct. 12.
Saban: Staffer was not spying
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban said any concerns about the role of staffer Tyler Siskey during the Mississippi game is much ado about nothing.
Television cameras showed Siskey in the coaches box watching through binoculars. That prompted some Rebels fans to complain on message boards and social media that he was spying.
Siskey is the associate director for player personnel and worked under coach Hugh Freeze at Mississippi last season and before that at Arkansas State.
Knicks pick up option on coach
GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — The New York Knicks have picked up the option on coach Mike Woodson’s contract for the 2014-15 season.
Woodson led the Knicks to a 54-28 record last season and their first Atlantic Division title since 1994. He is 72-34 since taking over for Mike D’Antoni late in the 2011-12 season, a .679 winning percentage that is second-best in franchise history.
NHLPA approves rule change
TORONTO (AP) — Hybrid icing will be in effect for the start of the NHL regular season after it was approved by the players.
The NHLPA gave the go-ahead for the rule change that makes icing a race to an imaginary line across the faceoff dots instead of the puck. The change was given a trial run during the preseason.
The goal is to prevent serious injuries, such as the one that sidelined Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Joni Pitkanen for the entire season.