Wednesday’s Sports in Brief

HOCKEY

LAS VEGAS (AP) New Jersey’s Taylor Hall and the hometown Vegas Golden Knights went home with major honors from the NHL Awards.

Hall won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player in the hockey world’s annual postseason awards show.

The high-scoring Devils forward beat out fellow first-time Hart finalists Nathan MacKinnon of Colorado and Anze Kopitar of Los Angeles. Hall got 72 first-place votes and 1,264 total points in the media voting to edge MacKinnon, who got 60 first-place votes and 1,194 points. Hall became the first New Jersey player to win the NHL’s biggest individual honor after he finished sixth in the league with 93 points.

The Golden Knights also took home four awards from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino after their remarkable inaugural season. Coach Gerard Gallant won the Jack Adams Award, and George McPhee was named the NHL’s general manager of the year in recognition of the Golden Knights’ immediate growth into champions of the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. High-scoring Knights forward William Karlsson won the Lady Byng Trophy for the player best combining sportsmanship and ability. Defenseman Deryk Engelland also won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award for his actions during his team’s breakthrough season in the wake of the shooting massacre on the Las Vegas Strip shortly before their first game.

Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman won his first Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman, while New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal won the Calder Trophy in a landslide as the league’s top rookie. Nashville’s Pekka Rinne won his first Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie, while Kopitar won his second Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward.

GOLF

NEW YORK (AP) – Phil Mickelson has apologized four days after intentionally violating golf rules by hitting a moving ball on the green at the U.S. Open, saying his frustration got the best of him.

The apology came in a statement released by his representatives.

”I know this should’ve come sooner, but it’s taken me a few days to calm down,” Mickelson said. ”My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I’m embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry.”

Mickelson was struggling in the third round when he reached the 13th green. His bogey putt from above the hole ran by the cup and was headed down a slope when he trotted over and swatted it back toward the hole with the ball still in motion. He was assessed a two-stroke penalty, scored a 10 on the hole and wound up shooting 81.

SOCCER

KAZAN, Russia (AP) – Diego Costa scored on a deflection to lead Spain to a 1-0 win over Iran at the World Cup.

Costa broke the deadlock in the 54th minute after being set up by Andres Iniesta. The powerful striker turned in the area and took a shot but the ball deflected off Ramin Rezeian before bouncing back onto Costa’s knee and into the net.

Costa, who also scored two goals in the opening match, has three goals at this year’s World Cup, trailing Cristiano Ronaldo by one. He also has nine goals in his last nine starts for Spain.

Both Spain and Portugal have four points in Group B following their 3-3 draw and subsequent 1-0 victories. Iran has three points in the group but Morocco has been eliminated.

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) – Luis Suarez put both Uruguay and host Russia into the second round of the World Cup while eliminating Saudi Arabia and Egypt at the same time.

Suarez scored the winning goal in his 100th international appearance for Uruguay, knocking in a corner kick from Carlos Sanchez in the 23rd minute to give the two-time champions a 1-0 victory over the Saudis on Wednesday.

Uruguay and Russia both have six points from their opening two matches, putting them into the round of 16. They will face each other on Monday in Samara with first place in Group A on the line.

PRO BASKETBALL

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Charlotte Hornets have agreed to trade eight-time All-Star center Dwight Howard to the Brooklyn Nets for center Timofey Mozgov and two second-round draft picks, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The Hornets will get the Nets’ second-round pick Thursday night (45th overall) and a second-round pick in 2021, the person said. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the teams have not announced the trade and the league cannot approve the deal until the trade moratorium ends on July 6.

The 32-year-old Howard played only one season for Charlotte, averaging 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. He is due to make $23.8 million this season, the final year of his contract.

Brooklyn will be Howard’s fourth team in as many seasons.

BASEBALL

CHICAGO (AP) – The Chicago Cubs will have to get by without closer Brandon Morrow for a little while.

The Cubs placed the right-hander on the 10-day disabled list because of lower back tightness, leaving a short-handed bullpen without its most important piece.

Morrow – signed by Chicago to a $21 million, two-year contract in December after helping the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cubs in the NLCS – has 16 saves in 17 chances. He hurt his back taking his pants off at home early Monday morning, after the team returned from St. Louis. The Cubs put him on the DL before their game against the Dodgers and announced right-hander Justin Hancock will remain with the club after being called up from Triple-A Iowa as the 26th man for Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader.

NEW YORK (AP) – Billy Connors, a three-time New York Yankees pitching coach and confidant of late owner George Steinbrenner, has died. He was 76.

The Yankees said that Connors died Saturday. The team held a moment of silence before their game Wednesday night against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium.

Connors coached the Yankees from 1989-90, 1994-95 and 2000, and was vice president of player personnel from 1996-2012. He was instrumental in the development of Yankees pitchers Orlando Hernandez, Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang and Mariano Rivera.

Steinbrenner and Connors would go over pitching plans not only at the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Florida, but also while regularly watching Tampa Bay Lightning hockey games in the Boss’ suite.

A native of Schenectady, New York, Connors played baseball and basketball at Syracuse and was member of the Schenectady team that won the Little League World Series in 1954.