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Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond
UCLA rises to No. 8 in latest College Football Playoff rankings

UCLA's win over crosstown rival USC last weekend helped move the Bruins to No. 8 in Tuesday's College Football Playoff rankings.

UCLA has two weekends to reach the No. 4 playoff spot.

If the Bruins beat Stanford on Friday, they will advance to the Pac-12 title game against Oregon.

This week's top four remained the same: Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Mississippi State. Texas Christian remained at No. 5, followed by Ohio State, Baylor, UCLA, Georgia and Michigan State.

Mississippi fell from No. 8 to No. 19 after last week's 30-0 loss to Arkansas.

Arizona moved up four spots to No. 11, two spots ahead of No. 13 Arizona State.

The top four teams in the final rankings of Dec. 7 will advance to semifinal games at the Rose and Sugar bowls. The winners will meet Jan. 12 for the national title at AT&T Stadium in Texas. 

Tuesday marked the debut of two "Group of 5" conference schools in the top 25. Boise State (9-2) entered the rankings at No. 23 while Marshall (11-0) is No. 24.

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NHL franchise values soaring, according to Forbes ranking

The average value of the NHL’s 30 franchises rose to a record $490 million over the past year, and three franchises reached or topped the $1-billion mark, according to data published Tuesday by Forbes.

The Toronto Maple Leafs led the list with an estimated value of $1.3 billion, followed by the New York Rangers ($1.1 billion), the Montreal Canadiens ($1 billion), the Chicago Blackhawks ($825 million) and the Vancouver Canucks ($800 million).

The value of the Canadian franchises was boosted by the league’s media rights agreement with Rogers Communications, a deal reportedly worth $4.6 billion over 12 years.

Here’s a link to the full list from Forbes.

The Kings were ranked 10th at a value of $580 million, up 29% from a year ago. Their 2013-14 operating income was put at $21.4 million. The Ducks were ranked 18th, with a value of $365 million, up 22% over a year ago, with an estimated 2013-14 operating loss of $3.7 million.

Representatives of the Kings and Ducks declined to comment on the...

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Bills say stadium will be '100% operational' for Sunday's game
Kings not rushing to use new salary cap space

Greetings from Nashville, where the Predators and Kings held their respective morning skates in preparation for their game Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.

Martin Jones was the first Kings goaltender off the ice, and you know what that means: He’s scheduled to start. Defenseman Alec Martinez (finger surgery) skated with the main group but stayed on the ice for quite a while after most players had left, meaning he’s not likely to play. That’s in keeping with the projected timetable for him to return on Saturday when the Kings face the Chicago Blackhawks at Staples Center.

Because Martinez appears close to returning, the Kings haven’t called up a defenseman from the American Hockey League or otherwise used the salary cap space they gained when suspended defenseman Slava Voynov was placed on the long-term injured list. Nor have they traded for a defenseman.

General Manager Dean Lombardi, who is in Nashville after meetings with the club’s Eastern scouts, explained his thought processes....

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Galaxy's A.J. DeLaGarza voted MLS' humanitarian of the year

It's been a rough year for Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza, who lost his son Luca to a congenital heart defect a week after he was born.

But DeLaGarza managed to turn that tragedy into inspiration, raising money for other families with children affected by the condition. And for that, and his other charity work, DeLaGarza was honored Tuesday as Major League Soccer's humanitarian of the year.

DeLaGarza has long volunteered his time and support to Camps for Kids, visits to Children's Hospital Los Angeles and other youth-targeted causes. And after Luca died, DeLaGarza and his wife, Megan, helped raise $25,000 for the heart center at CHLA.

As part of the award, MLS Works will donate $5,000 in DeLaGarza's name to the charity of his choice.

Former Galaxy teammate Sean Franklin, a Cal State Northridge product now playing for D.C. United, finished fourth in the balloting for the award, which was voted on by MLS teams, players and members of the media.

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Galaxy's Omar Gonzalez finishes third in voting for MLS top defender

The Galaxy's Omar Gonzalez was good enough to start for the U.S. in the World Cup but apparently that doesn't make him the best defender in Major League Soccer.

That award went to Seattle's Chad Marshall on Tuesday.

The Sounders' imposing center back was named winner of the league's Defender of the Year award for the third time, based on balloting from MLS clubs, players and media. Bobby Boswell of DC United was second ahead of Gonzalez, who won the award in 2011.

Marshall, who attended Riverside's Rubidoux High, was the league's top defender in 2008 and 2009 when he played for the Columbus Crew.

Two other award winners were also announced Tuesday, with Mark Geiger earning his second Referee of the Year award and Paul Scott winning the assistant referee honor.

In addition to his work in MLS, Geiger impressed in the World Cup, becoming the first American to referee a knockout-round game when he worked the France-Nigeria match in Brazil. Geiger, the 2011 honoree, won this year's MLS...

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