Mikaela Shiffrin edged out in World Cup Finals slalom

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Mikaela Shiffrin was beaten for the third time in 10 World Cup slaloms this season, edged out by .24 at the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., on Saturday.

Shiffrin, the Olympic and world slalom champion, took second to Slovakian Petra Vlhova. Swede Frida Hansdotter was third.

Vlhova was fastest in both runs, while Shiffrin was third-fastest in both runs.

“I wouldn’t call today a bad day,” Shiffrin said. “I was disappointed with some of my skiing and also happy with some of my skiing. Yeah, second place is never bad.”

Race Results | Run 2 Replay

Shiffrin, who turned 22 years old on Monday and has 11 World Cup wins this season, already had the season overall and slalom titles wrapped up before Saturday’s race.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever process that,” a smiling Shiffrin said of becoming the fifth American man or woman to take the overall title, and the youngest of any nationality since 2003. “It’s been a goal and a dream of mine since I was 5 years old, and it’s really difficult to understand something that finally happens after 20 years.”

Shiffrin is up to 1,603 points this season, which is the most by a female racer since Tina Maze set the points record with 2,414 in 2013. Shiffrin has competed in 24 of 36 races this season, skipping the majority of the downhill, super-G and super combined races.

Maze, now retired, competed in all 35 races in her historic 2012-13 campaign.

“I remember when Tina Maze had her big, big season, and she said to me at the end, ‘Don’t do every event. It’s so exhausting,'” Shiffrin said. “I was like, but that’s what I want to do. Now, a couple years later, I can understand what she means. I didn’t even ski in every race this year, and I feel the fatigue.”

Earlier Saturday, Austrian Marcel Hirscher won the World Cup Finals giant slalom by .53. Hirscher, who already clinched his record sixth straight World Cup overall title, finished first or second in all eight giant slaloms this season.

The World Cup Finals conclude Sunday with the men’s slalom and women’s giant slalom (broadcast schedule here).

“I’m definitely motivated after today,” Shiffrin said. “I don’t want to leave anything out there.”

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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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