COLORADO AVALANCHE CAPTAIN Joe Sakic will miss 3 months after injuring three fingers on his left hand while trying to clear snow from a snowblower.

The 39-year-old Sakic was operating the machine outside his suburban Denver home.

The team said he broke three fingers and severed the tendon in one. He had surgery last night and is expected to make a full recovery.

Sakic was already expected to be out until mid-January due to a herniated disc. That brings up the question: Why was a guy with a bad back clearing snow in the first place?

After pondering that one, ask yourself this: Shouldn't a guy who signed a 1-year, $6 million deal in August pay someone to do the job?

Every million counts

Speaking of money, how did pitcher

CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees settle

on a $161 million figure in their new 7-year deal?

We could understand 160 or some other round number. But 161?

Perhaps the negotiations went like this:

Yankees: "We can go as high as $160 million."

CC: "Gee, I don't know guys. Throw in another mil and you've got a deal."

Calzaghe gives boxing a shot

Now that Joe Calzaghe is mulling retirement, he has concluded boxing is a dying sport.

Of course, it was very much alive when the 36-year-old Welshman beat both Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. this year to go to 46-0.

You would think someone who has made a ring full of money in boxing would speak kindly of the sweet science. But to listen to Joe tell it - as he goes, so goes the sport.

"There is too much politics in boxing, too many belts and too many champions, which dilutes real champions like myself," he said yesterday. "There are four world champions in each division and it's bad because there are no stars any more. It's a big problem." *

- Tom Mahon