1 million Olympic tickets to go on sale Friday

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1 million Olympic tickets to go on sale Friday

From Comcast SportsNetLONDON (AP) -- Olympic fans who missed out on tickets for the London Games will get another opportunity this week, including a chance of securing high-demand seats for the opening ceremony or 100-meter final.Olympic organizers said Tuesday they are putting nearly 1 million tickets on sale, with priority given to those people who were unsuccessful in previous rounds.The 900,000 tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to the nearly 1 million people in Britain who applied previously but came up empty handed."We know thousands of sports fans were disappointed when they missed out in the initial sales period because of the massive demand for tickets," organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe said. "We promised we would prioritize these fans when we released the contingency tickets, which is exactly what we are doing."The tickets will go on sale online -- at the official website www.tickets.london2012.com -- starting at 11 a.m. local time on Friday.The sale includes "limited tickets" for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as about 5,000 tickets for the men's 100-meter final on the evening of Aug. 5 that is expected to feature reigning Olympic champion and world record-holder Usain Bolt.First priority will be given to the 20,000 people who failed to secure tickets in the initial ballot last year and missed out again in a second sale.Those customers will be given 31 hours exclusive access before the 1 million people who applied unsuccessfully in the initial ballot will then have their own exclusive 5-day sales period.All customers will be limited to applying to one session and a maximum of four tickets.Any tickets that remain unsold will go back on general sale May 23.The sale of 8.8 million total Olympic tickets began last year, with most snatched up in the early rounds.Organizers are trying to raise about 500 million pounds (704 million) from ticket sales, a quarter of their operating budget.Coe said 75 percent of the tickets go to the British public, with 25 percent to foreign fans, national Olympic committees, sponsors and other groups.Organizing committee LOCOG is on target to meet its ticket revenue target and ensure that "all our venues are packed to the rafters with passionate fans," Coe said.Being sold separately are 1.4 million football tickets. So far, 1.1 million have been sold for the football tournament, which kicks off two days before the opening ceremony with a women's match between Britain and New Zealand in Cardiff, Wales, on Aug. 25. Only 11,000 tickets have been sold so far for that game.LOCOG has faced considerable criticism in Britain for its ticket policy, with buyers and watchdog groups complaining of a lack of transparency over the sales and the computer system dogged by glitches and huge demand.Also Monday, organizers announced that 70,000 tickets will be sold allowing access to the Olympic Park to watch the events on big screens, mainly in the first week before the track and field starts. Those tickets -- which do not offer entry to the competition venues -- will sell for 10 pounds (16) and 5 pounds (8) for those under 16 or over 60.Also on sale will be tickets to the "Orbit," the 114.5-meter (375-foot) tower in the center of the Olympic Park designed by London-based artist Anish Kapoor. The full-price 15 pound (24) tickets are only for those who have tickets for the park or competitions in the park.Going on sale May 29 will be tickets for the start of the cycling road race at Box Hill in Surrey and the individual time trial start at Hampton Court Palace. Full priced tickets will run 15 pounds (24). Tickets to the grassy hill at Wimbledon to watch Olympic tennis matches on the big screen will cost 10 pounds (16).LOCOG also relaxed a policy on bringing babies into the venues that had caused an uproar among parents groups.Previously, parents had complained they would have to buy full price tickets for their infants. Pregnant women who bought tickets for themselves -- but not for their unborn children -- wondered what they could do with babies who were breast-feeding.Under the new policy, babies 12 months and under will be permitted without a ticket at most events as long as they are "securely strapped to their parent or carer by way of a baby carrier, sling, papoose or similar."The exception is at the football venues at Wembley, St. James Park and Old Trafford and the North Greenwich venue for gymnastics and the basketball finals. Organizers said those venue have existing licensing agreements that require tickets of all spectators regardless of age.

Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist out of Belmont because of illness

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Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist out of Belmont because of illness

NEW YORK -- The trainer of Nyquist says the Kentucky Derby winner is sick and won’t run in the Belmont Stakes on June 11.

Doug O’Neill said Tuesday that Nyquist is “out because of sickness.”

Nyquist’s bid for a chance at the Triple Crown ended when he finished third behind Exaggerator in the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday.

O’Neill’s assistant Jack Sisterson said from Baltimore that the colt’s blood work came back and showed an elevated white blood cell count. He said “we just want to do right by him and get him to 100 percent.”

When he’s healthy again, the plan is to ship him back to California, with a summer schedule that could include the Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

In 2012, O’Neill’s Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have another was retired the day before the Belmont with a tendon injury and missed a Triple Crown chance.

Morning Skate: Following Bruins prospect DeBrusk and former All-Star Thornton

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Morning Skate: Following Bruins prospect DeBrusk and former All-Star Thornton

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while thoroughly enjoying “Chewbacca Mom.”

*Good piece on Bruins first round pick Jake DeBrusk, and his solid performance during Memorial Cup play.

*A couple of my friends over at NHL.com have attempted to put together a World Cup of Hockey roster for North America.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance on Jumbo Joe Thornton, and what those who know him best say about him.

*Speaking of the Sharks/Blues conference finals, Vladimir Tarasenko is scoreless through the first five games of the series. That doesn’t bode well for the Blues.

*Actor Will Arnett proves that nobody is better at predicting the outcome of Stanley Cup playoff games than him.

*Longtime Director of Player Personnel Scott Luce is out with the Florida Panthers as their restructuring continues in this spring and summer.

*Gustav Nyquist is disappointing with his scoring numbers from last season, and is looking for a bump up next year.

*For something completely different: Chewbacca Mom visited with James Corden on late night television, and the results were both funny and kind of heartwarming.

Ben Bentil ready for opportunity to showcase his talents in the NBA

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Ben Bentil ready for opportunity to showcase his talents in the NBA

BOSTON – Opportunity.

Ben Bentil learned at an early age to recognize it and in doing so, make the most of it when it presents itself.

That’s how a 15-year-old kid from Ghana, who grew up wanting to be a professional volleyball player at one point winds up playing basketball and soccer at one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the United States (St. Andrews School in Wilmington, Del., which is where the move Dead Poets Society was filmed in 1989).

That’s how that same kid goes from being a role-playing freshman at Providence College last season, to the Big East’s leading scorer a year later – and doing so in the shadows of Kris Dunn, a high-scoring guard who is a consensus top-10 pick in next month’s NBA draft.

“I’m glad I had the best point guard in the country on my team,” Bentil, who averaged a Big East-leading 21.1 points per game this past season for Providence, told CSNNE.com. “We took advantage of it.”

And with the June 23 NBA draft on the horizon, Bentil once again finds himself in position to make the most of an opportunity that so few saw coming this quickly in his career.

“It’s been an unbelievable journey,” said Bentil who averaged 6.4 points and five rebounds per game as a freshman.

A journey that by all accounts is far from over.

Prior to deciding to stay in this year’s draft, the sophomore big man wanted to see how he stacked up against other draft hopefuls at the NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago. He took advantage of a new rule that allows college players to participate in the combine and return to college if they don’t sign with an agent.

This would prove to be yet another opportunity that Bentil made the most of.

In his first game, he had 15 points and 11 rebounds in just 20 minutes.

The next day he had 17 points and six rebounds in just 19 minutes.

Those strong performances combined with really good feedback from NBA executives at the combine and afterwards, made Bentil’s decision to stay in the draft a no-brainer.

A league executive contacted by CSNNE.com in reference to Bentil said he’s “a solid second round pick now,” adding, “and could work his way into the late first-round depending on workouts.”

A second league executive contacted by CSNNE.com via text on Tuesday morning echoed similar sentiments.

“Good second round pick,” the text read. “Could impress teams, play his way into mid-to-late 20s of first round.”

That jibes with the factors Bentil said would likely need to be in place for him to stay in the draft.

“If I know I’ll go in those ranges, I’ll probably stay in,” Bentil said.

In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Bentil also eased the concerns a number of teams had about his size.

At the combine he measured out at 6-8 ¼ with a solid 7-1 ½ wingspan. In addition, Bentil’s hand length was 9.50 inches, which tied 7-footer Dedric Lawson for the longest hands at the combine. Bentil also showed his shooting touch from the perimeter as he knocked down 14-of-25 NBA 3s taken from five different spots on the floor.

And at Providence, the Friars did a lot of switching defensively which often meant Bentil had to guard smaller, seemingly quicker players – the kind of challenge he’ll face in the NBA where teams live on a healthy diet of pick-and-roll sets.

Knowing that Bentil has the quickness to hold his own defensively on switches and the length to where being undersized won’t be as big a detriment as feared on the boards or in getting his shots off offensively, Bentil finds himself in good shape to take advantage of what should be increased opportunities leading up to next month’s draft.

Bentil worked out for five teams initially, but a representative with Octagon basketball told CSNNE.com that Bentil’s list of teams to work out for will be expanded. In addition, Octagon has a pro workout day this week with several teams (the Celtics are expected to be among them) having representatives in attendance to watch the workouts of Octagon clients.

And that will present yet another opportunity – there’s that word again – for Bentil to showcase his talents.