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DALLAS (AP) — A former NBA player has taken to Twitter to complain that a toilet was among the items stolen from his Dallas home during a burglary.
Thirty-three-year-old Charlie Villanueva, a former first-round pick who most recently played with the Dallas Mavericks, posted a photo of the space in his bathroom where his toilet once stood.
In a series of sometimes potty-mouthed tweets , Villanueva says his home appliances also were taken during the burglary Tuesday.
The former Detroit Piston described the episode as “mind blowing,” saying he’s “in shock.”
Villanueva criticized police for a slow response to his burglary report, saying he called four times about the purloined toilet.
Another Twitter user created the handle “Stolen Toilet” and responded to one of his tweets by asking: “Charlie are u looking for me?”
Miami Open site at Dolphins’ stadium offers better amenities
By STEVEN WINE
MIAMI (AP) — While the Miami Open is giving up its picturesque island setting for suburban sprawl, the tennis tournament’s new home will include a 13,800-seat showcase court in the Miami Dolphins’ stadium and 29 permanent outer courts, with the largest seating 5,042 spectators.
IMG, which owns the event, said Wednesday the new site will include more space for players, fans and parking, along with better infrastructure and amenities. The tournament won permission Tuesday from the Miami-Dade County commission to move 18 miles north in 2019 from its longtime home of Key Biscayne.
Construction of the new tennis complex will begin soon and cost more than $50 million, with much of the work done on grounds that had been used for football parking. Total seating capacity will increase to 32,474 from 25,062, including 5,660 at practice courts. Lighting will allow for more night matches.
The stadium court will use both permanent and temporary seats, with the net located over the 50-yard line. Screens will hide unused football seats.
There will be double the number of parking spaces and suites at the new site. The grounds will feature a “tennis oasis” for fans with the largest video screen of any tournament.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who also owns the stadium, said last spring he was willing to invest in a tennis complex on stadium grounds because he wanted to keep the tournament in South Florida. The Dolphins then reached an agreement with IMG and the county.
“We are extremely excited that the Miami Open, a global entertainment event, will remain in our community,” Ross said in a statement.
“The Miami Open belongs in Miami,” IMG co-president Mark Shapiro said.
A 2015 appeals court decision preventing upgrades to the Key Biscayne complex had left the event’s future in question. There had been speculation the tournament might leave South Florida, with potential sites ranging from South America to China.
“The Miami Open has been a part of Miami’s culture for as long as I can remember,” eight-time Key Biscayne champion Serena Williams said in a statement. “I am thrilled the Miami Open is staying in Miami where it belongs.”
Williams and her sister Venus own small stakes in the Dolphins.
The tournament starts March 19 on Key Biscayne for the 32nd and final time.
Win some, lose some … a lot in a row for streaky Flyers
By DAN GELSTON
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Check out all those consecutive Ws of late on the Philadelphia schedule, and the Flyers should seem like a team headed to the playoffs.
But check out all those recent Ls.
With a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, the Flyers’ six-game winning streak came to an end. Not since the 1966-67 Toronto Maple Leafs has a team followed a 10-game winless skid with seven straight victories but the Flyers were close.
“You can’t win every single game right now,” Flyers forward Jake Voracek said.
Headed into Wednesday’s game against Detroit, Philadelphia is not in the postseason mix, just two points out of the final wild-card spot in the East. The Flyers like to say they aren’t as bad as the team that dropped 10 straight. But they haven’t shown many flashes of becoming a team that can reel off one or two more six-game winning streaks, either.
“If you’re losing, everything comes like a snowball,” said Voracek, who’s third in the NHL with 41 points. “You don’t feel comfortable to go to the third period with a two-goal lead. It’s really tough to do. And then you get scored on and you’re just like, ‘Here we go again.’”
Last season, the Flyers finished 11th in the Eastern Conference and became the first team in NHL history to miss the playoffs despite a 10-game winning streak.
“The results would say streaky, but we have played good hockey over the whole stretch,” coach Dave Hakstol said. “Now it’s about getting results and we got to look at ourselves and put our finger on a couple things we have to do better and that we are capable of doing better.”
Good enough to sneak into the playoffs?
Hakstol, in his third season, was considered on the hot seat during the 10-game skid until general manager Ron Hextall came out with a vote of confidence. Hextall was the one who made the bold decision to hire Hakstol out of college, in part because of his reputation for molding young talent. Hakstol has tried to balance a youthful mix of Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick with a veteran core of Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Claude Giroux.
Progress has been incremental. Veteran center Valtteri Filppula said changes to Philadelphia’s neutral-zone system have helped. And the Flyers have been more careful with the puck.
“Make sure they have to come 200 feet to try to get in our zone, which in the long run, it’s a good way to play,” Filppula said.
Brian Elliott, the NHL’s No. 2 star of the week after posting a 1.31 goals-against average in three victories, has been solid in his first season with Philadelphia.
“That’s a real position of strength for our bench and for the guys that are out on the ice,” Hakstol said. “It’s not just the things that you see on a nightly basis on game nights. Brian does such a good job on a daily basis of approaching his day of work. I think that is something guys can feed off of.”
The Flyers are trying to make their way in the toughest division in the NHL, the Metropolitan. Only eight points separate the last-place Flyers, with 14 wins, from the first-place New Jersey Devils. The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins have 17 wins and 37 points, six points behind the Devils.
The Flyers hope the six-game streak was simply the start of better days ahead.
“I think it’s confidence, swagger, whatever you want to attach to it, is a big part of this game,” Hakstol said. “You can ask anybody, that’s a big part. You can be playing really well, but when you’re going good you just have that as a group you have that mentality that you’re not going to take less than finding a way to win a game.”
The return of goaltender Matt Murray from injury has not helped Pittsburgh, which has lost four of five and five of seven. General manager Jim Rutherford already acquired bottom-six center Riley Sheahan to fill a need but could soon be looking for bigger trades to shake things up.
GAME OF THE WEEK
The surprising Devils host the Blackhawks on Saturday in one of the final games before the Christmas break. Chicago took a five-game winning streak into Thursday’s game at Dallas.
LEADERS (through Monday)
Goals: Alex Ovechkin (Washington) and Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay), 23; Assists: Voracek, 33; Points: Kucherov, 46; Wins: Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay), 21; Goals-against average: Corey Crawford (Chicago), 2.11; Save percentage: Crawford, .935.
New York Islanders to leave Brooklyn, return to suburbs
ELMONT, N.Y. (AP) — It’s hardly the Dodgers going to Los Angeles, but another major sports franchise is leaving Brooklyn.
The New York Islanders, who moved from their suburban home to Brooklyn in 2015, have won a bid to build a new arena on the grounds of the Belmont Park horse track.
State officials confirmed the deal Wednesday ahead of a formal announcement at the racetrack, which is home to the third leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.
The National Hockey League team beat out a bid from the New York City FC soccer team, which envisioned building a stadium on the site just east of New York City.
The Islanders played at the Nassau Coliseum from its inception in 1972 until 2015, winning the Stanley Cup every year from 1980 to 1983. The move to the Brooklyn arena was greeted with displeasure by fans, who always considered the team to be a Long Island staple. The team is last in average attendance this year in the league.
Not surprisingly, fans applauded the reports the team would be headed back across the city limits to Nassau County.
“It’s long overdue,” Matt Herbert said during the Islanders’ 5-3 loss to Detroit on Tuesday night.
The Massapequa resident said he attends two or three games a season in Brooklyn, compared with 10 or 12 when the team played at the Coliseum. He expected to return to that number in the new arena.
“It’ll be good for (the team) to come back home,” he added. “(Barclays Center) is not ours, it feels like we’re renting this. But that place will be ours. It’ll be great.”
The Islanders submitted a development bid for a portion of the Belmont complex in September with several partners, including owners of the New York Mets and Madison Square Garden. A spokesman for the partners declined comment on Tuesday.
The state-run Empire State Development Corp. announced in July a request for proposals to develop vacant and underutilized parking lots at the site of the racetrack. The state also solicited bids to develop the land in 2012 but wound up scrapping all proposals a year ago.