The NFL players' union has filed a non-injury grievance on behalf of free agent safety Eric Reid.
The NFLPA cites one team appearing "to have based its decision not to sign a player based on the player's statement that he would challenge the implementation of a club's policy prohibiting demonstration" during the national anthem.
The union also says "at least one club owner has asked pre-employment interview questions about a player's intent to demonstrate. We believe these questions are improper, given league policy."
That team reportedly is the Cincinnati Bengals.
Considered one of the top safeties in the league, Reid played out his contract with San Francisco last season. He has been a strong supporter of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in 2016 became the first player to kneel during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
Kaepernick wasn't signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco. Reid continued the quarterback's protests.
Reid last week filed a collusion claim similar to one filed by Kaepernick last year. The union announced Monday that it filed its grievance and was seeking an arbitrator to hear the case.
Kaepernick deposed several league owners and executives, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, in his grievance. Reid is using the same attorneys as Kaepernick.
When NFL owners met in March, they didn't hold lengthy discussions on anthem protocol. But they are expected to do so at their spring meetings in Atlanta on May 21-22.
In March, Goodell was asked about Reid, one of the better players at his position in the NFL, not having a job.
"I've said this repeatedly to you: The 32 teams make individual decisions on the players who are going to best help their franchises [url=http://www.ramscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-michael-brockers-jersey]Michael Brockers Jersey[/url] ," Goodell said. "Those are decisions they have to make. They do that every day in the best interest of winning. Teams make those decisions. I'm not directly involved with that."
Last month, Kaepernick praised Reid for continuing to make a stand for social justice when the quarterback was presented an Amnesty International award in Amsterdam.
"Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy," Kaepernick said. "But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career."
The Denver Nuggets have stopped scoreboard watching and suddenly started winning.
A novel concept, with coach Michael Malone posting the standings on the board for basically the last time after a loss in Toronto. Since then, they’ve won four straight to make things interesting down the stretch.
Jamal Murray had 22 points to lead six Denver players in double figures, Nikola Jokic sealed the game with a late tip-in and the Nuggets beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-96 on Thursday night in a pivotal matchup between teams vying for a playoff spot.
The victory moved Denver (44-35) into a tie, record-wise, with Minnesota for the eighth spot with three games remaining. Both are a half-game behind New Orleans.
”Prior to the winning streak [url=http://www.billscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-tremaine-edmunds-jersey]Tremaine Edmunds Jersey[/url] , I think we were (looking at the standings) and putting too much pressure on ourselves,” Paul Millsap said. ”We’re just back to ourselves and playing basketball. On nights we’re not shooting well, we’re still playing and still having fun.”
Jokic finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while reserve Devin Harris added 20 points for the Nuggets. The playoff jockeying between these two teams could go down to the wire with Minnesota hosting Denver in the regular season finale Wednesday.
”We knew this was a big one coming in,” Denver’s Mason Plumlee said. ”But as big as this is, we have to forget about it.”
Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and grabbed 13 rebounds before fouling out with 1:46 remaining.
Up 98-96 with 6.6 seconds left, Will Barton took a shot that bounced off the rim and in Jokic’s direction, and he batted it in with 4.3 seconds on the clock to wrap up the win. Jokic was an uncharacteristic 6 of 20 from the field.
”Joker couldn’t make a shot to save his life,” Murray joked. ”Comes in and gets a tip-in. That’s what he does. That’s who he is, man.”
Minnesota had a familiar face available and sitting on the bench in Jimmy Butler [url=http://www.broncoscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-chad-kelly-jersey]Chad Kelly Jersey[/url] , but he didn’t get into the game. Butler has been out since suffering a right knee injury on Feb. 23 at Houston. The Wolves are 8-9 since Butler was sidelined.
”So just taking everything into consideration, we just thought it was best to wait another day,” Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said.
This game featured quite a showdown between two elite big men in Towns and Jokic. They pushed and shoved each other around before Towns fouled out with 1:46 remaining while trying to cover Murray on the perimeter.
”You want to be out there, you want to be helping the team,” Towns said. ”You just got to find ways to win regardless of the situation.”
No time for looking back, though.
”We can’t take back what happened tonight,” Towns said. ”There’s no time to weep.”
Timberwolves: G Jeff Teague (knee) was back after missing a game and scored 15 points. Derrick Rose (ankle) had four. … Towns earned his 65th double-double of the season.
Nuggets: G Gary Harris missed a 10th straight game with a strained right knee. ”Longer than I think anybody anticipated,” Malone said. ”Just not where it needs to be for him to come back.” … Jokic had nine assists.
Towns momentarily stayed down early in the third after taking an elbow to the face from Millsap. Towns remained in the game.
Moments later, Murray took an accidental hand to the face from Towns while trying to grab a rebound. Murray hit the floor before slowly getting back up.
NOT BUYING IT
In his pregame chat, Malone said he didn’t buy that Butler would sit out despite being listed as doubtful.
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Richardson was a fifth-round pick by the Steelers in 2014, but didn’t make the team out of camp that summer. He spent his rookie year on the practice squad and then moved on to stints with the Chiefs [url=http://www.lionscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-kerryon-johnson-jersey]Kerryon Johnson Jersey[/url] , Cardinals, Titans and Panthers without ever seeing regular season action. He played 27 games for Calgary in the CFL over the last two years before giving the NFL another shot this summer.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley returned to a full practice schedule last week after hurting his hamstring in early August and he said on Monday that he’s all systems go for his regular season debut.
Barkley did not play in the final three preseason games after he tweaked the muscle while making a catch in practice [url=http://www.brownscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-james-burgess-jersey]James Burgess Jersey[/url] , so his work with the first team was limited in his first NFL summer. That isn’t stopping him from feeling comforable with anything the team might throw his way against Jacksonville.
Barkley said that he’s “definitely ready” for a full workload this Sunday. That’s good news for the Giants, who drafted Barkley with the second overall pick because they envisioned a big role for him right from the start of his professional career.
Jones had joined the Giants the previous year as a center in trying to make the jump from the CFL to the NFL, and he appreciated when some new teammates made him feel welcome.
Why not do the same for Halapio? The two 27-year-old offensive linemen became real good friends and helped each other become better players.
Halapio, a guard at Florida, taught Jones some trade secrets at the spot and Jones taught his buddy how to snap and play center.
A little less than two years later, Jones is fighting to keep the starting center job he manned the final 12 games of last season. And it’s Halapio, who is the main competition.
Not only is he the competition, Halapio has been getting most of the first-team snaps in the lineup being put on the field by new coach Pat Shurmur.
Jones isn’t worried. It’s early in training camp and nothing is set. He also has no regrets about teaching the guy who might take his job.
”It’s always been like that in my life [url=http://www.ramscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-joe-namath-jersey]Joe Namath Jersey[/url] ,” Jones said Monday. ”If anybody ever gave me an opportunity I wanted to repay it to them. So that was my thing. Jon was on the practice squad and I was the backup center and if Jon was going to play I wanted to help him out and do what I could. That’s what a good teammate does.”
Learning to snap was part of the mentoring.
”He had asked me and I sort of gave him the basic training for it,” said Jones, who was the CFL’s most outstanding lineman in 2014 and missed his first season in the NFL the following year because of a training camp injury. ”After practice we would stay and practice snapping. It sort of went from there.”
Halapio took the long road to the NFL. He was drafted in the sixth round by New England in 2014. He was on the Broncos’ practice squad that season and went to the Cardinals and Patriots training camps in 2015 and ’16, respectively, getting cut each time.
The Giants signed him to the practice squad for most of 2016. He was cut in training camp the following season and re-signed to the practice squad. Injuries got him on the active roster in October and he played in 10 games with six starts at guard.
The biggest differences are blocking from a balanced stance, having to make line calls and read coverages and sometimes making the shotgun snaps.
”The more you do it, the better you get,” Halapio said. ”In the offseason I snapped a bunch, and even now I keep snapping after practice so it’s second nature.”
Halapio admits fighting Jones for a job felt odd at first.
”It’s just pure competition now,” Halapio said. ”Like coach says all the time, don’t read into who’s taking the first-team reps. Everyone is being evaluated. As far as me and Brett goes [url=http://www.brownscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-joe-schobert-jersey]Joe Schobert Jersey[/url] , we’re friends. We help each other out in the film room, on the field, outside of football. Nothing is awkward between us. Yeah, it’s just pure competition between us and everybody in the room.”
The Giants have revamped their offensive line after last year’s disastrous 3-13 season. Guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg signed elsewhere as free agents. Guard John Jerry is now a backup fighting for a roster spot.
Patriots free agent Nate Solder was signed to take over at left tackle and 2015 first-rounder Ereck Flowers was moved to right tackle. Second-round draft pick Will Hernandez is the left guard and free agent Patrick Omameh is the right guard.
The center spot is uncertain.
A former center, Shurmur says he is watching the position closely. He wants his centers to be good communicators.
Halapio might be a little stronger than Jones, who probably understands the job better and had 30 NFL games under his belt at guard and center.
It should be an interesting decision for Shurmur.
Defensive tackle Akeem Spence has been acquired by the Miami Dolphins from the Detroit Lions for a late-round draft pick in 2019.
The Dolphins swung the deal announced Thursday to plug a hole created when they released five-time Pro Bowl tackle Ndamukong Suh for salary cap reasons. Spence will join a rotation at tackle that also includes Jordan Phillips, Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor.
"Anything you can do to lighten the load on your knees and ankles, I think is important," said Roethlisberger, who worked with a personal trainer and nutritionist to cut sugar and carbohydrates from his diet to get him ready for his 15th season.
"The knees, the ankles, being lighter ... those are all positives when it comes to this age, playing football and a sport where you're pounding on your knees and you've had a couple knee surgeries."
It could be his last chance to win a championship with two-time All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell.
Bell is away from the team after he and the Steelers failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension earlier this month, meaning he will play under the $14.5 million franchise tag for the second straight year.
Bell skipped training camp last year and signed his franchise tender less than a week before the start of the season. He is expected to follow the same plan and then play what could be his final season in Pittsburgh.
"I don't know what's going on with his agents and how this whole thing works, so I'm not sure what's going to happen," Roethlisberger said.
Nobody's sure when Bell will show up either. Until then, former Pitt star running back James Conner, rookie fifth-round pick Jaylen Samuels and veterans Stevan Ridley and Fitzgerald Toussaint will carry the load.
"Le'Veon is one of the best, if not the best in the business," Roethlisberger said. "We miss him as a teammate, but I look at it as an awesome opportunity for the other guys."
"I really like where this team is at," Roethlisberger said. "If I didn't have a good feeling about this team, it probably wouldn't be as exciting, but I am excited about this group."
He led the team to a 13-3 regular season last season, which included a second straight AFC North title and third in four years. But the Steelers were upset by Jacksonville at home during the divisional round in the playoffs.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said it's reasonable to expect another big season from Roethlisberger after his renewed offseason conditioning focus.
"Regardless of position, we always say physical conditioning precedes anything else," Tomlin said. "When a guy shows up in great shape, that's oftentimes a springboard for big-time play."
While Roethlisberger hopes the additional work can prolong his career, he also reiterated that he's only focused on this season.
"I think the biggest key is physical health," Roethlisberger said. "When you get done with the season, how do you feel physically? Do you feel physically able to go back another season or not? We'll address that when the season is over and that's a long ways away."
This season, he will work with former quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner, who has taken over the play-calling duties after Haley's deal wasn't renewed in January. Roethlisberger said Fichtner hasn't changed much offensively.
"He's not going to change who he is," Roethlisberger said. "He's not going to change his approach to the game and be a different person."
As long as it leads to a Super Bowl title, that's all that matters to Roethlisberger.
"If you win more than you lose, that's important, but winning those games can lead to Super Bowl opportunities, so that's always our ultimate goal," Roethlisberger said. "There's 31 other teams doing the same thing. That needs to be our singular focus."
A look ahead to top enterprise and feature stories planned globally by AP Sports. New digests will go out each Thursday and Monday and will be repeated on other weekdays. Please note that story plans may change depending on news and other issues.
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THURSDAY, May 3
CYC–COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIPS-RATO’S RIDE
Every so often, a particularly steep descent will intimidate the 23-year-old Spanish cyclist. Understandable, considering that nearly four years ago Mauro Rato blew a tire during a race in Spain, crashed into a wall and broke six vertebrae. It’s been a long climb back – one that landed him in Grand Junction, Colorado, and riding for Colorado Mesa University. He will be among the favorites as the USA Cycling collegiate road national championships roll into Rato’s backyard this weekend. By Pat Graham. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 6 p.m. Thursday.
FRIDAY, May 4
FBO–RECYCLING THE PAIN
CINCINNATI – Defensive lineman Devon Still retired from football and started his second career, trying to help families cope with childhood cancer. He’s using lessons learned through his experience with 7-year-old daughter Leah, who became a national story during her recovery from the disease. Still calls it a way of recycling the pain and helping others heal. By Joe Kay. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 a.m. Friday.
MONDAY, May 7
BUFFALO, N.Y. -It has never been easy being a sports fan in Buffalo, where losing – and the way the NFL’s Bills and NHL’s Sabres have lost – has been as customary as the winters are long and wings spicy. The teams’ most notorious moments even have names for them [url=http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-nate-hairston-jersey]Nate Hairston Jersey[/url] , be it the Bills’ ”Wide Right,” or Sabres’ ”No Goal.” And yet, a renewed sense of hope has arisen in this rust-belt city after the Bills selected quarterback Josh Allen in the first round of the draft, and the Sabres won the NHL draft lottery over the span of three days. By John Wawrow. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos by 3 a.m. Monday.
TUESDAY, May 8
BKC–RICE REPORT-BASEBALL DRAFT MODEL
The Commission on College Basketball recommends high school basketball players be allowed to hire agents or advisers to help them weigh the pros and cons of turning professional. The commission also proposes that basketball players who declare for the draft but aren’t selected be allowed to retain their college eligibility. Those proposals are similar to NCAA rules governing baseball. Former TCU baseball star Evan Skoug said his experience with an adviser was invaluable in his draft process. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m. Tuesday.
Again, if you have questions about the Sports Showcase Digest or the material listed, please reach out to Oskar Garcia at 215-446-6632 or ogarcia(at)ap.org.
Bowen might have been one of the most talked-about players in NCAA basketball over the last year, without so much as playing a single second of a game. He’s the one-time Louisville commit who left amid massive scandal – the federal probe into the college game, including allegations that his father took money during the recruiting process – and subsequently transferred to South Carolina.
But the NCAA hasn’t cleared him yet. It might not. So he’s taking a long look at the NBA, and Bowen’s invitation to the draft combine last week was a fact-finding mission that will help him decide whether to formally turn pro or return to school with hopes that his collegiate eligibility will be restored so he can play with the Gamecocks.
”It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever been through in my life,” Bowen said after one of his 5-on-5 games at the combine. ”They took the game away from me, a game I truly love. It made me realize how much passion and love I do have for the game. I put that into my workouts every day and I go as hard as I can.”
The 6-foot-7 Bowen of Saginaw, Michigan has until the end of the month to decide whether to keep his name in the draft or not. The draft itself is June 21. And there’s been no indication if the NCAA will offer him any clarity before he has not make his stay-or-go choice.
”My lawyer and the school are dealing with it,” Bowen said.
His is a most curious case, even in a draft that has a handful of players who have been tainted on some level by the ongoing mess that reverberated through the college game last season and probably will continue having a ripple effect for the foreseeable future.
Billy Preston, the 6-1o forward who left Kansas while being investigated by the NCAA and played professionally in Europe, was at the combine trying to show his worth to NBA clubs. Same goes for the 6-4 De’Anthony Melton [url=http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-matthias-farley-jersey]Matthias Farley Jersey[/url] , who left USC after not being able to play this past season because a family friend was linked to the scandal.
Melton said the interviews with teams at the combine had little to do with basketball and mostly centered on his side of the story.
”I just broke it down for them,” Melton said. ”I told them from the very beginning to the very end. I know there’s a lot of reports out there about what happened and what was going down, I told them my feelings about everything and why I kept quiet through the whole situation. I gave them what they were asking for.”
That trio of players handled their unwanted down time in different ways.
Bowen said he locked in on academics, earning a 3.5 GPA. Preston went to Bosnia and played, albeit in only a handful of games and was back around the Jayhawks – as a fan and friend, not player and teammate – for their Final Four appearance. Melton started studying NBA games and looking at them as if he was a coach, diverting his attention away from college ball with the exception of USC’s schedule.
”Any decision I made, I don’t regret nothing,” Preston said. ”I don’t regret anything I’ve been through. It’s God. It’s in God’s hands. Whatever presents itself, I’ll definitely fight my way through it. Being over there, I think that was God putting a barrier in my way and I broke through it. I didn’t even think I would be here right now.”
He doesn’t speak ill of Louisville . He insists that he’s had no involvement with Christian Dawkins, the would-be agent who federal prosecutors say brokered and facilitated payments to players during their recruitments in exchange for them hiring him when they turned pro. He says he hasn’t even considered who he would hire for representation if he stays in the draft.
”It’s a situation I have to deal with,” Bowen said. ”It is what it is. Continue to stay focused, that’s my big thing.”
He’s also closer than ever with his father, which might surprise some considering his alleged role in Bowen’s problems. He’s been in South Carolina with his son, and the younger Bowen said they begin each day the same way – a hug in the morning, saying ”I love you” to the other before starting to attack the daily schedule.
”Everything happens for a reason,” Bowen said. ”Somebody’s situation is always going to be worse than mine. Other people in my family have worse situations than I have. I just have to learn, use it as a learning experience, use it as motivation and have a chip on my shoulder.”
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan is eyeing a stadium deal on NFL draft day: Buying Wembley.
The English Football Association has received an offer from Khan of about 600 million pounds ($840 million) for the national soccer stadium, which would continue to host England games and major cup finals after a sale.
He told The Associated Press he expects to own Wembley within eight to 12 weeks, increasing the prospect of an NFL franchise in London.
"That's possible in the long, long term," Khan said. "Right now, it's about having the certainty we can have three or four games there and then seeing how the market receives it and building on it.
"(Owning Wembley) gives certainty of an NFL presence in London. The first thing you want with certainty is you want a venue. And this gives us a stadium solution for us or anyone else."
The Jaguars have a deal through 2020 to play games in London, but Wembley is facing an increasing threat for NFL games from another stadium in north London. NFL games will also be played this year at the new home of Premier League club Tottenham, which is under construction.
The 60,000-plus capacity stadium was designed with NFL-sized changing rooms and to ensure the grass soccer pitch can be retracted and kept under lights below the stands when the artificial surface is required for NFL.
But Khan envisages after the Tottenham deal expires in a decade that only Wembley could be staging NFL games in London.
Wembley, which first opened in 1923, was rebuilt at a cost of 800 million pounds before reopening in 2007. For most of its existence it has not been owned by the FA.
Selling off Wembley would give the FA up to 500 million pounds to invest in soccer development [url=http://www.bearscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-dion-sims-jersey]Dion Sims Jersey[/url] , which could increase the chances of England winning its first World Cup title since 1966. The governing body would retain the rights to hospitality packages for games, which are valued at 300 million pounds.
"For the FA," Khan said, "it would mean Wembley Stadium returning to private ownership, permitting the FA to direct its full attention to its mandate to develop talent and serve the game with the vast resources it would realize from the sale."
An FA delegation, including England coach Gareth Southgate, attended the Super Bowl in Minneapolis in February.
"I've enjoyed a rewarding relationship with The Football Association for years and my more recent exchanges and time spent with (chief executive) Martin Glenn have served to further strengthen a connection with the FA that made it natural and ultimately possible for both parties to consider this transaction," Khan said.
"Should we be fortunate to close on the purchase, it's important to stress that the spirit and essence of Wembley would be unchanged. Wembley is a special place, beloved in London and known throughout the world."
Rob Harris is at RobHarris and facebook/RobHarrisReports
Having the opportunity to spend time with family meant a lot to him.
"But, you know, my family means everything to me," Clinton-Dix said after practice Tuesday. "If I have the opportunity to be home with them, I would love to be home with them."
The safety's absence during some voluntary workouts in May and early June was notable given that the Packers have a new defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine. A Pro Bowler in 2016, Clinton-Dix is part of the core of a defense hoping to improve following a lackluster 2017 season.
He's also entering the option year of the rookie contract signed after being drafted in the first round in 2014 out of Alabama.
Asked if his absence wasn't contract related, the fifth-year pro replied "personal issues."
Later, Clinton-Dix said he had no deadline to get a new deal done. He doesn't sound like someone who plans to hold out, either.
"What would it do, though?" Clinton-Dix said. "You're just wasting your time, really. You're getting fined and fined and fined. I'm a guy that, I need my money, man. That's why I'm here now. I need my money."
Clinton-Dix was in Green Bay for three weeks at the start of the offseason program in April. He had his team-issued tablet computer the entire time while he was away to watch practices.
"Well, you guys can take attendance. It's a mandatory minicamp, so things step up. But I feel really good, Ha Ha all the way through," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We've had change, we've transitioned through that."
McCarthy followed recent tradition and excused 16 veterans with six or more years of experience from this week's minicamp, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers. So practices this week can especially help rookies or younger players lower on the depth chart make impressions on the coaching staff.
Still, any time on the practice field with a player with Pro Bowl potential such as Clinton-Dix can help as the Packers hope to finish the offseason program strong before going on summer break.
"Scheme or not, all you've got to do is (say) 'You've got this [url=http://www.cowboyscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-jason-witten-jersey]Jason Witten Jersey[/url] , you've got this' and he's going to go out there and play," second-year cornerback Kevin King said. "Playbook-wise, I'm not worried about that. Ha Ha is going to be Ha Ha."
Always confident, Clinton-Dix used word play when asked if minicamp was a time when he could play catch-up. Pettine's scheme appears to play to Clinton-Dix's strength and allow him to spend more time closer to the line of scrimmage, rather than 20 yards out.
"I love ketchup. Love it on my hot dogs, love it on my hamburgers and I love it on my fries," Clinton-Dix said. "Catch-up won't be a problem."
A day before players report to training camp, the Arizona Cardinals have signed defensive ends Arthur Moats and Jacquies Smith to one-year contracts.
The 6-foot, 246-pound Moats has played eight seasons with Buffalo and Pittsburgh. He played in 14 games with the Steelers last season.
The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Smith played three seasons for Tampa Bay from 2013-17 and part of last season with Detroit. The 28-year old Smith has played in 31 games with 40 tackles, 13 1-2 sacks, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
The Cardinals also waived/injured defensive end Praise Martin-Oguike.
Beebe led Northern Illinois last season with an average of 14.9 yards per reception. His father was a wide receiver and special teams player on all four of Buffalo's Super Bowl teams .
The Vikings also signed cornerback Craig James (Southern Illinois), fullback Johnny Stanton (UNLV) and linebacker Brett Taylor (Western Illinois) from their camp last weekend.
Long snapper Nick Dooley, wide receiver Armanti Foreman, defensive tackle Caushaud Lyons and fullback Kamryn Pettway were waived Monday by the Vikings to make room on the 90-man roster. Foreman and Pettway were signed a week ago as undrafted free agents.
The Tampa Bay Lightning understand what it takes to be successful in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
And as the Vegas Golden Knights are also showing, the winning formula can vary from game to game and series to series.
Dominant defense is part of the equation. So is timely and opportunistic offense. Mental toughness is a prerequisite. It pays to be resilient, too.
”I just think any time you’re winning games, you’re battling through something,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
The Lightning’s latest victory has them one away from the team’s third trip to the Eastern Conference final in four years, a step they can take by beating the Boston on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC) at home in Game 5 of their best-of-seven semifinal.
The Golden Knights, meanwhile, lead their second-round series against the San Jose Sharks 3-2 and can secure a spot in the Western Conference final by winning Game 6 on the road Sunday night (7:30 p.m., NBCSN).
”I’d be the first one to tell you we’ve accomplished nothing,” Cooper said. ”We’ve won a couple of games in this series. You’ve got to win four, not three.”
”I think it has to looked at that way,” Killorn said. ”That’s a great team. You go back to Boston, you give them a chance to get back in the series, you never know what will happen.”
CONTROL YOUR TONGUE
Bruins winger Brad Marchand has been given an edict by the NHL: Stop licking opponents or you’ll be punished.
The league announced Saturday that Marchand had been put ”on notice” after licking Lightning forward Ryan Callahan in the face during Game 4 on Friday night. Marchand appeared to lick Toronto’s Leo Komarov in the first round, too.
Senior vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell spoke to Marchand and Boston general manager Don Sweeney on Saturday about the latest incident. The league said it was made clear to Marchand that his actions were unacceptable and he will face supplemental discipline if it happens again.
Marchand, whose 17 points are second on the Bruins and fourth among all players in the playoffs, could face a fine or suspension if he licks another opponent.
”It’s unfortunate that he goes that low to do that, but (it) doesn’t take us off our game. We keep going [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-taven-bryan-jersey]Taven Bryan Jersey[/url] , and we’ll let the refs handle that,” Callahan said. ”Like I said, I’m just surprised that something isn’t done because I don’t know what’s the difference between spitting in someone’s face and licking it.”
ONE STEP AWAY
As tempting as it may to be think about how close the Golden Knights are to reaching the Westeren Conference final, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said the team’s mind-set is much the same as it’s been all season.
”I think we had this mentality all year long: it’s all about the next game,” the three-time Stanley Cup champion said. ”That’s where the focus has to be. Just rest, relax and eat well. Get ready for the next one.”
NOT THE FIRST TIME
Vegas can become the third team in NHL history to win multiple series in its inaugural season. The league’s first-ever postseason saw the Toronto Arenas win the 1918 NHL Final against the Montreal Canadiens before defeating the Pacific Coast Hockey Association’s Vancouver Millionaires to win the Stanley Cup. In 1968, the St. Louis Blues defeated the Philadelphia Flyers and Minnesota North Stars to emerge from the all-expansion West Division to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
Boston trails the Lightning 3-1 and needs to win three straight to take the series – not impossible considering the Bruins won three of four meetings between the teams during the regular season.
Pedrioa underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee last October and began the season on the disabled list. He began a minor league rehab assignment last month and was added to the Boston roster on May 26.
But Pedroia lasted just three games, going 1 for 11 with a pair of walks, and when soreness in the knee remained, the team put him back on the shelf on May 30.
“It was a major surgery,” manager Alex Cora said. “We didn’t know what to expect, so we are where we are now. We’re hoping that, yeah, he’ll be back. When? We don’t know. But I still believe he’s going to contribute this season and he’s going to help us to win.”
Without Pedroia in the lineup [url=http://www.lionscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-ziggy-ansah-jersey]Ziggy Ansah Jersey[/url] , Cora has turned primarily to Eduardo Nunez at second base with Brock Holt getting 17 starts as well. Overall, Red Sox second basemen have combined for a .614 OPS and rank second-to-last in baseball with a minus-12 Defensive Runs Saved.
Nunez will likely get the nod again Wednesday night as the Red Sox continue their three-game series with the Twins at Target Field behind left-hander David Price, who is 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA over his last seven starts.
“Better fastball command, just commanding the baseball better,” Price said of his recent success. “Making better pitches with runners in scoring position. That was a big problem for me in the times I struggled this year, just runners in scoring position. Four two-out runs in Oakland that day. All the runs were with two outs. Same thing my third outing against Tampa back at home. That was two-run outs as well.”
Price is 10-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 17 games, 16 of them starts, against the Twins.
Lynn slumped out to a 8.37 ERA through his first five starts but has gone 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts since, working at least six innings in all but two of those outings.
He struck out a season-high nine with just one walk his last time out but took his first loss since May 16 after the Tigers for tagged him for three runs in the seventh inning.
“You’ve got to get through the seventh there. I wasn’t able to do it,” Lynn said after the game. “Everything was still there. Just made one bad pitch and ran into a barrel. … Ended up giving up three runs and it cost us the win.”
Lynn has three career starts against the Red Sox, going 0-1 with a 1.89 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 19 innings of work. He last faced Boston late in the 2017 season but did not take a decision after allowing two runs on seven hits over six innings.
Kirk Herbstreit will take Jon Gruden's place on ESPN's coverage of the NFL draft.
ESPN announced Thursday that Herbstreit will be part the opening night coverage of the first round in prime time on April 26 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Herbstreit will be joined by host Trey Wingo, draft analyst Mel Kiper and NFL analyst Louis Riddick.
Rounds two and three are April 27, and rounds four through seven are April 28.
Herbstreit is the lead analyst for ESPN's "Saturday Night College Football" and the "College GameDay" pregame show.
Gruden left his job as analyst on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" in January to return to coaching as head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Gruden joined ESPN in 2009 and has been part of draft coverage since 2010.
"After we talked about my role, I was pumped up," Herbstreit told AP. "I'm going to stay in my lane and let Mel and Louis and Trey kind of say, 'Hey, the Broncos really need to do this.' I'll kind of be more of breaking down some of the prospects from a college football perspective. Once they told me I was doing that and not projecting ... I'm not into that at all."
"I'm hoping to bring a little bit of the intangibles and what makes this particular guy tick," he said.
Herbstreit has been part of "GameDay" since 1996. The show has grown into a three-hour marathon, often unscripted. The draft show is even more unpredictable, but Herbstreit said his time on "GameDay" should help on draft night.
"As long as you do your homework, when you go on the set the ball can go anywhere and you're ready to go," he said.
ESPN said in a news release Friday night that McDonough signed a multiyear contract extension. The network says McDonough will do a high-profile college football game weekly throughout the season and call a College Football Playoff semifinal.
McDonough said in a statement, "Being the 'Voice of Monday Night Football' was one of the great honors of my life," but he said he missed college football.
Mike Clevinger has become a vital member of the Cleveland Indians‘ rotation.
Clevinger struck out 10 and allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings, and Cleveland beat the Chicago White Sox 6-3 on Tuesday night.
Clevinger (6-2) beat Chicago for the third time this season and was in command after giving up a first-inning run. He retired 13 straight between the second and sixth while allowing five hits.
The right-hander, in his first full season as a starter, has earned the trust of manager Terry Francona.
Clevinger is pleased to know Francona has confidence in him.
”Obviously, it took a process to get there with him, but I’m enjoying the benefits of getting that trust now,” Clevinger said.
Clevinger struck out a career-high 11 against the White Sox last week. This time, he was pulled after two walks in the eighth. He has held Chicago to three earned runs in 21 1/3 innings over three starts.
”His fastball had a lot of life and his changeup was working pretty well,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. ”Really, he’s got a pretty good repertoire.”
Yoan Moncada had a two-run double with two outs in the ninth off Zach McAllister. Second baseman Erik Gonzalez booted Yolmer Sanchez’s ground ball putting two runners on. Cody Allen retired Jose Abreu on fly ball for his 15th save in 16 chances.
Cleveland improved to 16-4 in its past 20 home games against Chicago.
Carlos Rodon (0-2) allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings. The left-hander made his third start of the season after having shoulder surgery in August.
The White Sox lost their sixth straight and dropped a season-high 24 games under .500. Chicago is 11-23 against the AL Central.
Abreu’s single put Chicago ahead three batters into the game, but the lead lasted one inning. Alonso tied the game with an RBI single in the second, and Cleveland went ahead on Rodon’s wild pitch.
Lindor singled into right-center with runners on second and third for a 4-1 lead. Brantley and Encarnacion drove in runs in the seventh.
Rodon pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season, throwing 98 pitches.
Abreu had a home run overturned in the third. His drive down the left field line was called fair by third base umpire Lance Barksdale. The ruling was reversed after a review that lasted 44 seconds. Abreu then struck out.
Moncada led off the first with a double and scored when Abreu hit a sharp ground ball through the right side.
Brandon Guyer and Rajai Davis stole bases for the Indians, who have stolen 23 bases without being caught since May 23.
RHP George Kontos became the 17th pitcher to be in Cleveland’s bullpen this season when he had his contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus. Kontos, 33, was released by Pittsburgh last month. RHP Evan Marshall (sore elbow) is on the 10-day disabled list. He was removed in the eighth inning Monday with the injury.
CLEAN IT UP
The White Sox committed three errors Monday and continued to struggle in the field Tuesday. Catcher Omar Narvaez threw the ball into center field when Guyer stole second base in the third. Rodon and Bruce Rondon threw wild pitches.
The Indians were also sloppy. Jason Kipnis dropped a soft underhanded flip from Lindor that would have forced Abreu at second base in the first. Clevinger threw wildly trying to pick Charlie Tilson off first the following inning. Gonzalez’s error forced Allen into the game in an inning that began with a 6-1 lead.
White Sox: OF Leury Garcia (sprained left knee), who has been on the disabled list since May 24, has three hits and three runs in the first two games of his rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte.
Indians RHP Corey Kluber (10-3, 2.24 ERA) [url=http://www.broncoscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-justin-simmons-jersey]Justin Simmons Jersey[/url] , coming off a rare loss, starts the series finale. He allowed four runs in five innings – his shortest outing of the season – against the Twins on Friday. RHP Reynaldo Lopez (2-4, 3.26 ERA) starts for the White Sox.