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LONDON -- Michael Laudrup was fired as Swansea manager on Tuesday, paying the price for a slump in the year since delivering the south Wales clubs first major trophy. The Dane is leaving the Premier League club after 20 months, having signed a new contract in March 2013 after being linked with leading clubs following his teams triumph in the League Cup. Now, though, Swansea is 12th in the standings but just two points above the relegation zone, prompting the 49-year-old Laudrups dismissal. "It is a decision we have taken reluctantly," chairman Huw Jenkins said. "But its a decision made in the best interests of Swansea City Football Club and our supporters. It is the first time in nearly 10 years that the club has parted with a manager in this way, but we had to remove the constant uncertainty surrounding the club and Michaels long-term future with us." Garry Monk, the 34-year-old defender who has been out injured since September, will replace Laudrup, alongside current first team coach Alan Curtis, "for the foreseeable future," Swansea said. Like Laudrup, two possible contenders for the job on a full-time basis are former Barcelona players who advocate the type of passing game favoured by Swansea; Oscar Garcia, who currently manages second-tier club Brighton, and Luis Enrique, who is in his first season as coach of Celta Vigo. Swanseas next game is the south Wales derby against fierce rival Cardiff at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. "After thinking long and hard about the best way forward, I felt it was unlikely we would achieve a stable environment at the club (with Laudrup) to allow us to get back to basics and produce the performance levels that have served Swansea City so well over the last few years," Jenkins said. "Now we need to put that uncertainty behind us and move forward as a united football club on all fronts." For Laudrup, whose fortunes have rapidly plummeted since the League Cup success last February, it is the latest setback in a mixed managerial career for the former forward following a successful playing career that took in both Barcelona and Real Madrid. After winning the league and cup in Denmark with Brondby, he guided Getafe to the final of the Copa del Rey -- where they lost to Sevilla -- in his one season with the unheralded Spanish club. Next came a troubled year in Russia with Spartak Moscow before returning to Spain with Mallorca, where he soon fell out with the owners. It was at Swansea where his profile soared, building on the work of predecessor Brendan Rodgers and initially establishing the team as a fixture in the Premier Leagues top 10 with its attractive passing game. But since beating lowly Bradford in the cup final, Swansea has won just eight of out 35 Premier League games across the two seasons and there have been continuous reports about a rift with the hierarchy. 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Los Angeles Dodgers Store .com) - The University of Montana named Bob Stitt as its new head football coach on Tuesday.Most diminutive players are forced to take the long road to NHL arenas, if they get there at all. The Habs Brendan Gallagher waited until the fifth round to hear his name called at the 2010 draft. Teammate David Desharnais never heard his name called and needed to ply his trade in the ECHL before the Habs took notice and signed him as a free agent. Mike Weaver was similarly undrafted. Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec went in the third round of their respective drafts. St. Louis was passed over by midget teams, ironically, ignored by the QMJHL, undrafted, signed by the Flames but later bought out after being exposed and unselected during the 2000 expansion draft, signed by Tampa Bay, and then became a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer, Stanley Cup winner, and Olympic gold medalist. But too small to play in this mans NHL, for sure.(h/tNational Post)If smaller skaters are in tough against the closed-mindedness of hockeys front offices, then life is near impossible for wee goalies. If the hockey community had its way, Dustin Tokarski would be working the take-out window at a Tim Hortons in Saskatchewan. At 511, he is everything the scouts are not looking for in a goalie. He is not the prototype. He is not Carey Price. Tampa Bay scout Charlie Hodge (himself a small, 56, NHL goaltender who accomplished nothing in the league with his limited stature other than six Stanley Cups and two Vezinas) had to beg the Lightning to draft Tokarski in the fifth round. And while, despite Montreal folklores contention, the legend of Tokarski is still being written, his play in the Eastern Conference Final is argument for a less structured approach to the game in both drafting and roster building.In a league that clings desperately to intangibles like "grit", "sandpaper", and "hockey sense", its laughable that they ignore these very qualities in players simply because they couldnt look Chris Pronger in the eye if standding on a barstool.dddddddddddd. And perhaps its the fact that they are ignored that makes them the players they are, products of adversity. More likely its a lack of ambition and creativity in front offices, which denies ambitious and creative players the opportunity to play in the league, and to better the game.The argument in favour of a broader notion of what makes an NHLer is on the ice this postseason, and in particular in the Rangers-Habs series and their respective runs to the Conference Final. Desharnais has been arguably Montreals best forward, if not their most consistent. Gallagher is proving that strength comes from within, and not gigantism. Tokarski has gone from relative obscurity to revelation. Weaver is more adept at blocking shots than Peter Budaj. Sixth-rounder Hagelin is proving to be perhaps the fastest skater in the league. Zucarello, affectionately nicknamed the Hobbit, is a force with his speed and creativity. And the grandfather of them all, St. Louis, is authoring a tale for the ages, the kind of postseason story that makes the playoffs so compelling.(h/t 5 Minutes For Fighting)Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull and son Brett were 510. Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr were measured at 6, but they were wearing their shoes. Guy Lafleur was also listed at 6, but at least two of those inches were hair. At some point during the 90s, when scouting staffs inflated and Eric Lindros arrived, the NHL experienced a sea change in philosophy. They became infatuated with size and believed they could manufacture skill and scoring through systems. The result was lower scoring, issues with concussions, and endless tinkering with rules in order to create the very scoring that they themselves had diluted. In witnessing one of the most entertaining and compelling postseasons in recent memory, one hopes that the NHL can again changes its ways, and value skill no matter what size the package it comes in. ' ' '