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Originally published April 14, 2014 at 8:45 PM | Page modified April 14, 2014 at 8:53 PM

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Prosecutor says Pistorius staged outbursts at trial


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Track and field

Prosecutor accuses Pistorius of staging outbursts at trial

Oscar Pistorius came under intense pressure Monday at his murder trial from the chief prosecutor, who dismissed his account of how he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp as a flimsy web of lies and accused the Olympian of staging emotional outbursts to mask difficulty in answering a barrage of probing questions.

His voice quavering at times, Pistorius struggled to explain alleged inconsistencies in his testimony and broke down sobbing on two occasions, forcing Judge Thokozile Masipa to temporarily halt proceedings.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel was sometimes quick to acknowledge Pistorius’ distress — possibly to allow him time to recover and avoid any defense argument that he is not getting a fair trial — but also said the athlete was frantically trying to shore up a fabricated story.

“You’re getting frustrated because your version is improbable,” Nel said, standing at a lectern and gesturing with his spectacles in his right hand. “You’re not using your emotional state as an escape, are you?”

NHL

Nashville GM sends message by firing veteran coach Trotz

General manager David Poile hopes he sent the strongest message possible by making the first coaching change in Nashville’s history: missing the playoffs is not acceptable for the Predators.

Poile announced that Barry Trotz, the NHL’s longest tenured head coach with one team, would not be back for a 16th season after the Predators missed the postseason for a second straight year. A few hours later, Poile said at a news conference a few hours later that won’t get it done.

“This is a wake-up call for everybody in our organization,” Poile said. “It’s a wake-up call for me. ‘Get out of your comfort zone.’ It’s going to be different here.”

Flames’ Burke tells Vancouver’s Tortorella to shut up

Calgary interim general manager Brian Burke defended his coach Bob Hartley and said Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella “oughta keep his mouth shut.”

Burke responded to Tortorella’s postgame comments after Sunday’s game in Vancouver, where the Canucks won the regular-season finale 5-1.

Tortorella had objected when Canucks forward Daniel Sedin was hit from behind and driven into the boards by Flames forward Paul Byron late in the second period.

Sedin was taken off the ice on a stretcher after scoring twice in the game, while Byron was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

“It’s embarrassing to coach against the guy across from me tonight,” Tortorella said. “Some of the things that went on when Danny was hurt, it’s embarrassing.

“I don’t like the way he (Hartley) does business. I don’t like him, and eventually I guess why I am talking about it in this way is because I need to protect my players and a lot of people don’t understand that, so I’ll just leave it at that.”

Tortorella feuded with Hartley in Vancouver on Jan. 18 when he tried to get into Calgary’s locker room following a line brawl. Tortorella was suspended for 15 days.

Soccer

NYC team will play first three seasons at Yankee Stadium

New York City FC, a team that will enter Major League Soccer next year, will play its first three seasons at Yankee Stadium, according to two people familiar with the team’s plans.

The team, which is jointly owned by the New York Yankees and Manchester City of the Premier League, is expected to make the announcement next week.

Biden will attend World Cup

Vice President Joe Biden is planning to be among the crowds at this summer’s World Cup soccer tournament.

The White House announced Monday that Biden would travel to Brazil for the event in June. He also plans to attend a U.S. national team game.

Atlanta could join MLS soon

Major League Soccer and Falcons owner Arthur Blank are planning a “major announcement” Wednesday on a proposed expansion team to play in Atlanta’s new downtown stadium.

ELSEWHERE

• Authorities in Phoenix say former pro wrestler The Ultimate Warrior died of cardiovascular disease.

A Maricopa County spokeswoman says that’s the finding from an autopsy conducted Thursday by the county Medical Examiner’s Office.

The 54-year-old wrestler’s given name was James Hellwig. He collapsed April 8 while walking with his wife to their car at a Scottsdale hotel and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

• The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent safety Kurt Coleman.

• San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor hit-and-run charges and felony possession of brass knuckles.

Culliver was arrested on March 28 after San Jose police say he struck a bicyclist, then rammed a witness’ vehicle that was blocking him from leaving until officers arrived.

• NASCAR team owner Gene Haas said he plans to field an American-based Formula One racing series team within two years. The team will be called Haas Formula.

• Clemson quarterback Chad Kelly was dismissed from the team, two days after he was benched for the second half of the spring game for disagreeing with coaches over whether to go for it on fourth down.

Kelly, the nephew of former Buffalo Bills star Jim Kelly, was kicked off the team for conduct detrimental to the program, coach Dabo Swinney said in a statement.

• Tenth-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy and 11th-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain reached the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters in contrasting fashion.

Fognini was two points away from defeat before rallying to beat Joao Sousa 5-7, 7-5, 6-4, while Robredo was more solid against qualifier David Goffin, beating the Belgian player 6-4, 6-1.

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