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American Breezy Johnson suffers leg fracture in downhill crash

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U.S. ski racer Breezy Johnson has a tibial plateau fracture in her left leg from crashing in the World Cup Finals downhill in Aspen, Colo., on Wednesday.

There was no immediate determination on her return to skiing.

Johnson, a 21-year-old who just finished her second World Cup season, suffered the injury despite being able to walk away after doing the splits and somersaulting in her crash (video here).

“Looking up though because it was a lot better than originally feared,” was posted on Johnson’s social media.

Johnson has a top World Cup finish of 10th this season, ranking fifth among Americans in the World Cup downhill and super-G standings.

A maximum of four racers per nation can start per race at the Olympics, making Johnson’s path to PyeongChang all the more difficult.

Johnson will also have to deal with the expected return next season of four-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso, who hasn’t raced since March 2015.

Johnson is a very promising skier though, ranking 18th in the World Cup downhill standings this season while being more than one year younger than anybody else in the top 30.

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USA Hockey to start reaching out to potential replacement players

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USA Hockey will begin reaching out to “alternate players” to determine their interest in playing for the U.S. at the women’s world championship next week amid a potential boycott by its national team.

The contact is taking place in the event a resolution cannot be reached between USA Hockey and the women’s national team in a wage dispute.

“It’s important for everyone to understand clearly that our objective is to have the players we named as the U.S. women’s national team be the ones that compete in the world championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, in a statement. “Productive conversations have taken place this week and are ongoing in our collective efforts to reach a resolution.”

The alternate players are in the professional NWHL and college, according to USA Today, a report that USA Hockey would not confirm.

U.S. captain Meghan Duggan has said every player in the U.S. national team player pool, plus under-18 national team players, committed to not playing at worlds unless the wage dispute is resolved.

The world championship tournament starts March 31 in Plymouth, Mich.

As of Thursday evening, no resolution has come between USA Hockey and its women’s national team. They met formally on Monday for more than 10 hours, with both sides calling it productive.

Neither side has said when its next scheduled meeting will take place.

On Tuesday, USA Hockey said it postponed a pre-worlds camp that was to run through next Tuesday in Traverse City, Mich., and canceled a scheduled Friday exhibition against Finland.

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NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

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International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel tells The Associated Press he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.

NHL team owners have made it clear they don’t want to stop their season again for the Winter Games and put their stars at risk of injury. The reluctance has come up before and yet the NHL has participated in the Olympics since 1998. This time, however, there seems to be an impasse.

The head of the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr, says the players want to participate and hopes the league will take advantage of the chance to market the game in Asia.

However, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says without “material change to the current status quo, NHL players will not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.”

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