Thrashers axe coach after 0-6 beginning

ATLANTA -- Bob Hartley was fired Wednesday as coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, who have lost their first six games and are the only NHL team without a victory.

General manager Don Waddell will be the coach until a replacement is found. He has no timetable for a hiring.

Hartley, who won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001, was in his fifth season with Atlanta.

The Thrashers have been outscored 27-9 this season, and their winless start comes after they won the Southeast Division last season. Atlanta lost four straight to the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs last season.

• COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- Look no further than the training room for proof that Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie's practices are not for the faint of heart.

Guard/forward Ramon Harris and forward Perry Stevenson have suffered broken noses since the Wildcats began practicing, a testament to the rugged nature of Gillispie's drills.

Harris and Stevenson will wear facemasks as they recuperate. They'll be able to practice, and don't expect Gillispie to turn down the intensity on account of a few broken bones. With the team's first exhibition two weeks away, he doesn't have time to slow down.

The Wildcats have been practicing without guards Joe Crawford and Derrick Jasper and center Jared Carter, who underwent offseason surgery.

• COLLEGE BASEBALL -- Clemson will host a game at a minor league ballpark against Presbyterian next season, a team they haven't faced in more than half a century.

The Tigers are scheduled for 56 games next year, including a renewal of their series with Presbyterian. The teams have met 75 times, but not since 1950.

Clemson will take on the Blue Hose April 23 at West End Field, the home of the Class A Greenville Drive. Last season, the Tigers took on Wofford there in front of 6,404 people.

The Tigers again play four games against state rival South Carolina. They'll meet at Sarge Frye Field March 1 before playing at Doug Kingsmore the following day.

The two teams will play at USC April 9 and conclude the series at Clemson April 19.

The season starts Feb. 22 with a three-game home series against Mercer.

• NBA -- Kobe Bryant returned to practice after sitting out the previous three days, and coach Phil Jackson said he expects the disgruntled star to play in an exhibition game tonight.

The Lakers face Seattle in the first of six exhibition games in nine days. They lost their first two exhibition games to Golden State last week.

Bryant hadn't practiced because of a sore knee. He didn't speak with reporters, but made his feelings clear a day earlier in his only formal interview since Lakers owner Jerry Buss stated he "would certainly listen" to trade offers for the two-time defending NBA scoring champion.

Bryant asked to be traded 4 1/2 months ago, then avoided speaking about the Lakers until the beginning of training camp Oct. 1, when he talked more positively, saying he was looking forward to the season.

• A woman has accused NBA star Jason Kidd of harassing and groping her this month at a trendy Manhattan nightspot.

Kidd spokesman Scott Miranda said the accusation was "a complete fabrication and it is sad that someone would make something like this up."

• HOLE IN ONE -- Lake Wylie's James Millen scored his first career ace last week, hitting the par three 140-yard seventh hole at Linwood Spring Golf Course in Gastonia, N.C.

Millen, 70, was witnessed by Tim Johnson.

• Harold Martin scored a hole in one at Fort Mill Golf Club, hitting a 5-iron on the 180-yard, par three fifth hole.

He played with Tom Anderson, Frank Gregory and Dick Paul.