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Arizona Sports Roundup

Arizona players get day off after huge win

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt gave his players the day off on Monday. No doubt they deserved it.

The Cardinals’ 24-17 victory over the New York Giants Sunday night was one of the biggest regular-season wins in the franchise’s 22 years in Arizona.

“”Outside of the playoffs last year, we haven’t had a lot of quality wins, wins against tough opponents, teams that are playing really well,”” quarterback Kurt Warner said afterward. “”Those are kind of statement games, where you gain confidence, and you feel like you can compete with anybody.””

The Cardinals have for years been awful away from home, especially on trips to the East, but Sunday’s victory made Arizona 3-0 on the road this season. It’s the first time the Cardinals have won three in a row on the road since 1987.

Arizona is one of just four teams without a road loss this season. The others are New Orleans, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

In his third season with the Cardinals, Whisenhunt took another big step in erasing the losing culture that surrounded this long-woeful franchise.

The victory is more impressive because Arizona’s high-powered offense was not at its best.

“”To not play our best and still win the game was a very good sign,”” Whisenhunt said on Monday.

The defense was pretty close to its best, though.

Of the two touchdowns the Giants scored, one was set up by an interception and the other came on a fluke deflection. The Cardinals forced four turnovers, including three interceptions of Eli Manning’s passes.

Safety Adrian Wilson led the way with an interception, fumble recovery, two tackles for loss, and two passes defended.

“”There is a reason Adrian is considered one of the best safeties in the game,”” Whisenhunt said. “”That really showed up last night.””

The Cardinals sacked Manning three times, two by Alan Branch, the first of what had been a disappointing career.

“”That was a team win because we had a number of people step up and make plays throughout the game,”” Whisenhunt said, “”young guys, guys who haven’t played. That is great for our confidence. That is great for the camaraderie of our team.””

Moyes agrees to sell Coyotes to NHL

PHOENIX — Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes has agreed to sell the bankrupt franchise to the NHL.

The agreement, which still must be approved by Judge Redfield T. Baum, was announced in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Monday after attorneys met for more than an hour during a recess in a status hearing on the case.

Former coach Wayne Gretzky, who has a $22.5 million claim in the case, has not agreed to the deal.

Moyes’ attorney says the decision to make a deal came largely because the expenses of running the team in bankruptcy were being paid from the league’s $140-million offer. Moyes was left with few options after his attempt to sell the team to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie was rejected by the court.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says that once the deal closes, the league will immediately look to sell the team, preferably to an owner who will keep the club in Arizona.

The league hopes to close on the sale on Nov. 2.

“”Obviously, the pieces fell into place,”” Daly said after the hearing. “”The focus now has to shift to getting the club out of bankruptcy and finding a new owner. I’m pleased with the outcome today.””

Daly confirmed that NHL officials, including commissioner Gary Bettman, met on Monday with representatives of Ice Edge, a group that has said it plans to keep the team in suburban Glendale. Daly said other potential buyers have also expressed interest, but he didn’t identify them.

The agreement between the NHL and Moyes is expected to be submitted to the court as early as Tuesday.

Suns awarded rights to C Jarron Collins

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns on Monday were awarded the rights to center Jarron Collins, who was waived last week by the Portland Trail Blazers.

The 6-foot-11 Collins is an eight-year NBA veteran who played for the Utah Jazz.

He has career averages of 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in 480 games.

The 30-year-old Collins is the younger twin brother of Atlanta Hawks center Jason Collins.

Phoenix opens its season Wednesday at the Los Angeles Clippers.

— McClatchy Newspapers

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