Even more bad news for hockey fans

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Even more bad news for hockey fans

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- What seemed inevitable for the NHL has become reality. The league canceled the first two weeks of the regular season on Thursday, the second time games have been lost because of a lockout in seven years.The announcement was made in a two-paragraph statement. It isn't clear if those games will be made up, allowing for a complete 82-game regular season, if a deal can be struck soon with the locked-out players.Unable to work out how to split up 3 billion in hockey-related revenues with the players' association, the NHL wiped out 82 games from Oct. 11-24 -- beginning with four next Thursday, which would have been the league's opening night."We were extremely disappointed to have to make today's announcement," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in a statement. "The game deserves better, the fans deserve better, and the people who derive income from their connection to the NHL deserve better."We remain committed to doing everything in our power to forge an agreement that is fair to the players, fair to the teams, and good for our fans. This is not about winning' or losing' a negotiation. This is about finding a solution that preserves the long-term health and stability of the league and the game. We are committed to getting this done."The union countered Thursday by saying the NHL forced the lockout onto the players instead of letting the season go on as planned."The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners," NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr said in a statement. "If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue."A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort," he added. "For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner."Although there have been negotiations between the league and players in recent days -- unlike a three-month break at the start of the 2004-05 lockout that forced the cancellation of the entire season -- the two sides haven't gotten any closer to a deal on core economic issues."Obviously, (cancellations) might have been expected but it's also disappointing because we set out to negotiate," New York Rangers goalie Martin Biron said in a telephone interview. "We wanted to get a deal and wanted to avoid a work stoppage or any cancellations."We're still working hard to find a solution and find a way to get the core economic stuff figured out with the league and getting a deal that is fair for everybody and lasts."In the previous lockout, the NHL and the union didn't get together between early September and early December.Back then, the key words in the negotiations were salary cap, linkage and cost certainty. Commissioner Gary Bettman and the owners were committed to getting a deal that linked team costs to revenues, so each club would know exactly how much it had to spend on payroll and what number it couldn't exceed.Thus a salary cap was born for the first time in NHL history. The league produced record revenue during the seven years of that deal, which turned out much better for the players than expected.There are no major philosophical issues this time as there were with the salary cap fight, but the sides are far apart in financial figures. Players received 57 percent of hockey-related revenue in the deal that expired Sept. 15, and the NHL wants to bring that number below 50 percent -- perhaps as low as 47 percent.The players' association, led by Fehr -- the former baseball union chief -- has rejected that idea."The leadership that we have with Don and his team is really trying to look at the big picture and not just a number," Biron said. "We understand that there is some tweaking and some things that have to be fixed in our proposal, but it seems that the owners are on a one-way mission to cut salaries."The NHL claims the union hasn't done near enough to try to get closer to the league's proposal and appears willing to wait for the NHLPA to come around.Daly said the league had already lost 100 million in revenues from canceled preseason games. The players will begin feeling the real sting when they don't get their first paychecks of the season on Oct. 15.During the last lockout, Bettman followed through on his vow to cancel the season if a deal wasn't reached by a February deadline. A new collective bargaining agreement wasn't completed until July, long after major damage had been done. It marked the first time a North American professional sport lost an entire season to a labor dispute.In 2004, Daly announced Sept. 29 that there wouldn't be any hockey in October. New proposals and negotiations in December and January did little to push the sides toward a settlement, and Bettman announced Feb. 16 that the season had been lost. It marked the first time since a flu epidemic in 1919 that the Stanley Cup wasn't awarded.Earlier this week, U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez of New Jersey sent a letter to Bettman and Fehr, urging them to consider the economic impact on their state if the dispute isn't resolved.The letter warned that the absence of New Jersey Devils' games in Newark could mean millions of dollars in lost economic activity and jobs in especially tough economic times. The Devils advanced to the Stanley Cup finals last season, creating a financial boost to the city just five months ago.Now, the lockout comes on the heels of the NBA's Nets moving from Newark to Brooklyn, N.Y.Lautenberg renewed his call for a settlement after the games were called off Thursday."This cancellation of regular-season hockey games is a blow to businesses and workers in Newark and in hockey towns across the country," he said in a statement. "Local jobs and millions of dollars of economic activity are being placed at risk every day that this dispute continues."The NHL should keep in mind communities, workers, and families that are being hurt by its decision to pursue a lockout and cancel these games. Owners and players must find a way to start the season before the economies in Newark and other communities are further damaged."Fehr responded in a letter Tuesday, and offered to meet with the senators in New Jersey."As you observed, far too many people in Newark and other NHL cities will suffer as a result of this decision, including players," Fehr said in his letter, regarding the lockout. "We are currently working with players to identify small business owners who will be affected to see what we can do during this period."Unfortunately, the lockout was no surprise. Months ago, the owners made public their intention to lock out the players, and they did so the first chance they legally could. There was nothing the players could have done to prevent it -- other than to agree to the enormous concessions the owners demand."

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Papelbon blows it in 9th as Nats fall to Padres, lose series

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Papelbon blows it in 9th as Nats fall to Padres, lose series

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 10-6 loss to the San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park.

How it happened: There are certain points in an MLB season where the magnifying glass comes over each roster, when singular performances can be honed in on and cast as part of a bigger picture, despite them occurring in the vast sea of a 162-game season.

The month of July, trade deadline season, is one of those times and on Sunday afternoon the first poor outing for Jonathan Papelbon in over a month just happened to occur amidst trade rumors involving the Nats and other closers around the league. If they were already inclined to seek help for the backend of their bullpen, Papelbon didn't do his part to change their mind in this one.

The right-hander hadn't allowed a run since June 12 with seven straight scoreless appearances since he returned from the disabled list on July 4. Against the Padres, though, he found trouble early with a four-pitch walk against Wil Myers with one out. Myers moved to second on a wild pitch and then scored on a Yangervis Solarte single. Papelbon allowed three more runs on a bases-clearing double by Alexei Ramirez to make it 10-6.

Papelbon's uneven ninth followed a rocky eighth inning by Shawn Kelley, who allowed two solo homers, the second to tie the game at 6-6. It was a rare collapse for the Nats bullpen, who followed a rough afternoon for starter Lucas Giolito. Giolito made it only 3 2/3 innings with four runs allowed, two of them earned.

Wilson Ramos hit his 14th homer of the season, Daniel Murphy drove in two runs and posted his 40th multi-hit game of the season. Trea Turner had two hits including a triple. Jayson Werth added a sacrifice fly and a walk to extend his streak of reaching base to 28 games, the second-longest of his career. And Giolito got his first career MLB hit, a single in the bottom of the third.

It was a solid day for the Nats' offense, but Papelbon's ninth made the difference.

What it means: The Nats fell to 58-41 on the season and lost 2016 series against the Padres 3-4. 

Giolito struggles again: The talent is there, but Giolito remains a work in progress. He ditched his full windup on Sunday to pitch out of the stretch and his velocity remained down. The uber prospect who threw a fastball that flirted with 100 is now consistently tossing 92-95. He's also ditching his changeup. Giolito only threw four of them among his 66 total pitches on Sunday.

Giolito was yanked after 3 2/3 innings with four runs allowed, two of them earned. He didn't strike out a single batter and walked three. Giolito has now allowed six earned runs in 11 1/3 MLB innings with nine walks. 

Three of the runs Giolito surrendered were on one play in the top of the third. Myers singled to center field with the bases loaded to score two, and another came home on a throw to second by Ramos. 

Ramos hits No. 14: And we thought Bryce Harper's 451-foot homer on Wednesday night was a bomb. Ramos clubbed a 455-foot, three-run homer off lefty Christian Friedrich in the bottom of the third that nearly made it to the concourse. Ramos' sailed the no-doubter just four rows away from clearing the bleachers in left field. According to StatCast, the ball left his bat at 110 miles per hour. It was the longest homer hit by a Nationals player this season.

For Ramos, it was his 14th home run of the season. He is now just two away from tying the career-high of 16 he set back in 2013. Only one MLB catcher - Evan Gattis of the Astros - has more than Ramos this season.

Turner triples again: Turner's triple was his third in his last five games. It was a standup triple and it led off the bottom of the first. Turner then scored on Murphy's sacrifice fly. Turner's three triples in 10 games this season rank third on the Nats behind Murphy (4) and Ben Revere (5). At this rate he'll pass those guys very soon.

Up next: The Nats take Monday off before embarking on a long road trip beginning Tuesday in Cleveland. Gio Gonzalez (6-8, 4.53) will start the opener opposite Indians right-hander Danny Salazar (11-3, 2.75).

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Nolan Reimold's home run helps Orioles sweep Indians

Nolan Reimold's home run helps Orioles sweep Indians

BALTIMORE—Nolan Reimold hadn’t had many big hits recently. He made up for it by slamming his first home run since May 29 to give the Orioles a three-game sweep over the Cleveland Indians. 
 
Pedro Alvarez struck out against Cody Allen (2-4) to start the ninth, but the ball got by Roberto Perez. Perez quickly retrieved the ball, but it hit Alvarez in the back and squirted away for an error.
 
Ryan Flaherty’s bunt sent Alvarez to second, and after Caleb Joseph struck out, Reimold hit for Julio Borbon and hit a 2-0 pitch for his fifth home run of the season and his third game-ending homer.
 
The Orioles’ 5-3 win before 37,821 at Oriole Park was credited to Darren O’Day (3-1), who in his first appearance since June 1 due to a strained right hamstring, struck out the side in the ninth. 
 
Not long after last season ended, the Orioles picked up Vance Worley on waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. 
 
Early in the season, Worley started twice while Kevin Gausman was on the disabled list, and then was relegated to the long man role. 
 
He performed admirably then, and except for a short stint on the disabled list with a strained groin, Worley has served an important, but underappreciated role. 
 
The innings eater was put back into the rotation on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, and while he didn’t dazzle, he kept the Orioles in the game. 
 
On Sunday, Worley pitched seven innings, his longest outing since Sept. 21, giving up two runs on five hits. He allowed three hits and walked two in the first three innings, then gave up two runs in the fourth. 
 
Tyler Naquin’s RBI double and Perez’s sacrifice fly gave Cleveland a 2-0 lead. 
 
The Orioles had only one baserunner off Corey Kluber in the first four innings, Joseph’s third-inning single. 
 
In the fourth, Jonathan Schoop led off with a double and scored on Manny Machado’s single. Machado took second on the throw home and moved to third on Chris Davis’ infield out. Mark Trumbo walked.
 
Alvarez grounded to short, and Trumbo was out at second, and first base umpire Brian Gorman called Alvarez out at first, but it was quickly overruled after a replay challenge. Machado scored from third, and the game was tied at 2. 
 
Schoop hit a two-out homer in the fifth, his 17th to give the Orioles (57-40) a 3-2 lead. 
 
After Naquin’s double, Worley retired 11 straight and left it up to Brad Brach for the eighth. 
 
A night after he gave up two runs in the ninth, his only two-run inning of the year, Brach began by allowing a single to Jason Kipnis. Francisco Lindor grounded to Schoop at second, but with Kipnis passing him, Schoop tried to field it too quickly as was charged with an error. 
 
Mike Napoli’s single to left scored Kipnis and Cleveland (56-41) tied it at 3.
 
In the bottom of the eighth, Machado walked with one out, and on a 2-2 count, Davis, who is in an 0-for-18 slump, thought he walked and as he began his walk to first, Machado was picked off first. 
 
Davis did walk on the next pitch, but Trumbo lined out to right to end the eighth.  
 
NOTE: Jorge De La Rosa (6-7, 6.07) faces Yovani Gallardo (3-2, 5.69) on Monday night as the Colorado Rockies begin a three-game series with the Orioles. 

Virginia Tech lands four commitments Saturday

Virginia Tech lands four commitments Saturday

Virginia Tech had itself a day on Saturday as four prospects committed publicly to the football program. Three players are from the 2017 class while the Hokies also grabbed their first commitment for 2018.

Wide receiver Sean Savoy, linebacker Jaylen Griffin and offensive lineman Aiden Brown committed from the class of 2017. Wide receiver Bryce Thompson from the class of 2018 committed also committed. Savoy is a three-star prospect and Brown is a two-star. Both Griffin and Thompson are unrated, per Rivals.

In addition to the four commitments, there is more good news out of Blacksburg as four-star defensive end TyJuan Garbutt also visited the school over the weekend.


Garbutt is the eleventh ranked defensive end in the country. He was previously committed to Virginia Tech, but decommitted earlier in July. Despite the decommitment, Virginia Tech remains the leader to land the prized prospect.

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