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Alex Ovechkin Scores Goal No. 700 in a Loss to the Devils



“You’ve had a tremendous career to date. It looks like you’re going strong and you might play forever,” Yzerman said in a video addressed to Ovechkin. “If you ever do break Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record for the most goals in the league,” Yzerman added, “after watching your Stanley Cup celebrations, I want to be invited to your party.”

Those celebrations, after the Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights in five games, included revelry at a nightclub and playing in a public fountain.

“Even after that many goals, every goal he scores is like his first goal in the N.H.L.; he’s jumping around and he’s very excited,” said Jari Kurri, who retired as the N.H.L.’s leading European-born goal-scorer, since passed by Teemu Selanne, Ovechkin and Jagr.

Ovechkin is best known for possessing perhaps the most dangerous one-timer in hockey history and for the childlike joy with which he celebrates. The shot has factored into his extraordinary success on the power play, where he has frequently double shifted and played the full two minutes. His 259 power-play goals rank third, and it seems a mere formality that he will break Dave Andreychuk’s record of 274.

Ovechkin was reared by athletic parents in a hardscrabble neighborhood on the fringe of Moscow. His mother, Tatiana, was one of the great point guards in Europe, winning two Olympic gold medals in basketball with the Soviet Union. His father, Mikhail, was a professional soccer player, and his oldest brother, Sergei, was an accomplished wrestler. Sergei died after a car accident when Alex was 10, and Ovechkin frequently celebrates goals by kissing his fingers and pointing skyward in memory of his big brother.

Ovechkin was selected No. 1 in the N.H.L. draft of 2004, just before the league lost a full season to a labor dispute. When he finally made his league debut in 2005-06, he scored 52 goals and collected 106 points, which both rank him third for an N.H.L. rookie.

In his third season, Ovechkin led the N.H.L. in goals (65) and points (112), and won the first of his three Hart Trophies as the league’s most valuable player. He became the first left wing to finish as the scoring champion since Bobby Hull in 1965-66.

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MLB’s crazy Arizona plan could have terrible consequences



PHOENIX — People are dying across the world.

There remains no vaccine for COVID-19.

And Major League Baseball is worried about starting a season as soon as possible, bringing in about about 3,000 players and team officials from across the nation, including dozens of countries, magically guarantee that everyone is insulated and coronavirus-free, and act like this is for the good of the country.


MLB and its players would love to have a season starting this summer. They even discussed a three-month tournament beginning in September. Anything to play some baseball before spring training commences next February. But it’s time for a reality check.

Do you really think MLB and the players’ association are about to embark on a season in which they get tested for COVID-19 whenever needed, including a result within hours, while health care workers and first responders can’t even qualify for a test? Sure, everyone would love to get paid, but no one in their right mind is that heartless.

MLB discussed the idea of having 30 teams and personnel assemble in Phoenix in May, insulate themselves from the rest of the world, sequestered in separate hotels, and play games in empty stadiums – Chase Field, 10 spring training sites and three collegiate fields.

Everyone would be under quarantine, allowing travel only between ballparks and hotels, requiring players and personnel to sit in the stands at least six feet from one another, with no family members permitted to even visit them while away, let alone watch them play games.

It would be a ghastly sci-fi movie coming to life, with players impersonating robots, with all of the personality and emotion sucked out of their bodies. The players’ association listened to MLB officials explain the concept that’s been batted around for a week on a conference call Monday. They hung up, promised to get feedback, engage again in conversations, and were left wondering how in the world it could possibly work.

IRONMAN: Ripken sharing game memories is what we need

2020 SEASON: MLB, union discuss playing all games in Arizona

The first deal-breaker, before the two sides even start talking about logistical concerns that would fill the Grand Canyon, is money. The players, by agreeing to sacrifice their health and willingness to be away from their families for at least four months, would want to be paid their full salary, at least a pro-rated share of their remaining salary for the games missed.

Sorry — two MLB owners told USA TODAY Sports they would never approve any deal if there are no fans without requiring players to take a significant pay cut – perhaps as much as 40%. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the talks. With no fans in the stands, no parking revenue and no concessions, that wipes out about $4 billion of the $10.7 billion in revenue MLB generated last year.

Owners also stress their local TV money will be slashed by playing in Phoenix. You can’t have every team playing in prime time. And who wants to stay up until 1 a.m. every night if you’re a fan of an East Coast team, unless you get sadistic pleasure watching your favorite players endure 110-degree heat in the Phoenix summer months?

You’re also talking about the loss of corporate sponsorships, and stadium naming rights considering no games are being played at their ballparks.

MLB knows it has plenty of friends in powerful places. They are in daily contact with federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Human Services, who are supportive in efforts to bring sports back.

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Certainly, it would be a great boost to the Phoenix economy when the oppressive summer heat suffocates businesses. Yet, local government officials are wary about untested players suddenly arriving, with the pandemic yet to reach its apex in Phoenix. And even if the government allows MLB the privilege of having unlimited tests, how do you explain that to locals who lack the resources to get tested?

Baseball is trying everything to keep its hopes of a 2020 season alive, discussing a myriad of ideas, but the risk of playing anytime soon should dwarf the idea that entertainment in our lives will make this deadly virus any less tolerable.

“The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount,’’ MLB said in a statement Tuesday, “and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus.”

You really want a pennant race at great risk to others? Go ahead, but you better brace yourself for the consequences, which could damage the sport and haunt its leaders forever.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

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Sports Digest: Westbrook-Gorham Rotary Club high school road race canceled



The Westbrook-Gorham Rotary Club’s Patriots Day road race for high school runners has been canceled, race director Owen McCullough announced in an email on Tuesday.

The annual race was scheduled to take place on Monday, April 20. It is a 2.2-mile race open to local high school students.


GERMAN LEAGUE: Thomas Müller signed a two-year contract extension with Bayern Munich.

The 30-year-old attacking midfielder’s contract had been due to expire at the end of next season but he is now tied to the team until 2023.

Müller has been with Bayern for 20 years, winning eight German titles and the 2013 Champions League, and marked his 500th senior game for the club in November.

OBIT: Former Atlético Madrid coach Radomir Antic, who led the club to the Spanish league and Copa del Rey titles in 1996, has died. He was 71.

The club did not provide a cause of death for Antic, who also briefly coached Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The former Serbian player managed Atlético over five seasons in 189 official matches, the fourth most in club history.


WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Ohio State assistant Carrie Banks has been hired as the new women’s basketball coach at Omaha, athletic director Trev Alberts announced Tuesday.

Banks was an assistant and recruiting coordinator for four seasons with the Buckeyes. She replaces Brittany Lange, who was fired last month after seven seasons.

“Carrie rose to the top of our applicant pool because of her depth of experience as a coach and recruiter,” Alberts said. “She has done a terrific job as an assistant coach at Ohio State, and she is ready to lead her own team.”


HALEP RECOVERING: Two-time major champion Simona Halep’s injured foot is well enough that she has started running on it without pain.

Halep said in a video posted on Twitter on Monday that she still is not healed to the point that she can play tennis.

The injury dates to February and caused her to withdraw from the hard-court tournament in Indian Wells, California, that eventually was called off because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The spread of the illness has forced all professional tennis tournaments to be postponed or canceled until at least mid-July.

That includes the cancellation of Wimbledon, where Halep would have been the defending champion this year.


COURT: Former All-Star first baseman Todd Helton pleaded guilty to driving under the influence as a first offense and has served 48 hours in jail as part of his sentence.

Helton crashed his vehicle on March 18, 2019, in Knox County and required emergency medical care. No other cars were involved and one else was hurt. Helton was given a misdemeanor citation for DUI.

Knox County assistant district attorney Sean F. McDermott confirmed to The Associated Press that Helton also received unsupervised probation for 11 months, 29 days, with his license suspended for a year. Helton also had to pay a $350 fine and attend a Victim Impact Panel.


LABOR DEAL: Ron Mix likes what he has seen and read regarding the new labor agreement between the NFL and its players.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer, a board member with the Pro Football Retired Players Association and a retired attorney, believes players from every generation will benefit from the deal struck last month that runs through the 2030 season. Mix retired after the 1971 season.

“Ten years ago, the CBA helped correct the low pension benefits for retired players,” Mix says. “A baseball player who played the same time as me and the same number of years and inducted into the Hall of Fame receives a pension of $100,000 a year. My pension is $20,000. The current players and owners should really be applauded for making sure the new CBA addressed the pensions and the needs of the thousands of players who left with broken bodies and minds.

“The new benefits are significant, improve players’ benefits by doubling in many instances. Aside from approved benefits, the new formula calls for $550 a month per vested season. This increases the pension benefits significantly for all players.”

Recently, the labor agreement’s validity has been challenged by attorneys for safety Eric Reid, and questioned by others. They believe language changed from the deal the players voted on to the one now in force should void the agreement.

Mix prefers to concentrate on the positive aspects of the CBA that narrowly was approved by the NFL Players Association membership, 1,019-959.

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Lego National Championship on BYUSN 4.7.20



Today’s BYUSN featured a taste of what this year’s National Championship could’ve been like. Slow-motion animator Jared Jacobs used his talent to create a Lego National Championship that features Voice of the Cougars Greg Wrubell’s call as BYU defeats Kansas. Plus, Jacobs made hosts Spencer Linton and Jarom Jordan a lego version of BYUSN following the championship.


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