From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says possibly using replacement referees for regular-season games is worthwhile to ensure long-term improvements to officiating.The league and the NFL Referees Association have yet to reach an agreement, and Goodell acknowledged Thursday that time was running out to make the regular officials available for the openers."We're anxious to get a deal done, but it has to get done that it's going to help us for the long term," Goodell said at a fantasy football event in Times Square. "It's not a short-term issue."Of the replacement refs who have been calling preseason games, Goodell said: "We think they'll do a very credible job."Officials probably need a week to 10 days to prepare for the season, Goodell said, and the first game is Sept. 5, 13 days away. The first full Sunday of games is Sept. 9.NFLRA lead negotiator Mike Arnold said Thursday that officials have been training on their own during the lockout and would need less than a week to prep."We're ready to go," he said.While the NFL and officials disagree on some financial matters, Goodell also characterized the differences as "philosophical." The NFL's proposal includes making some refs full-time -- currently all game officials work part-time with outside jobs -- and adding more crews.Arnold said that the union was open to discussing such issues but any proposal to increase the number of officials while decreasing the pay for current refs was not viable.Increasing the pool of officials would allow the league to replace individual officials or entire crews that are not performing well, Goodell said."Then it's based on performance, which is what fans all want, players all want, coaches all want," he said.The replacement officials have been closely scrutinized during the preseason, with any error quickly pointed out by media and fans."It's not our job to judge the replacements, because their performance speaks for itself," Arnold said.Goodell said he wasn't concerned that teams and fans would question the credibility of results if that inevitable first disputed call of the season takes place while replacement officials are on the field."We have controversial calls. Officiating is an imperfect science," he said. "They're not going to be correct all the time, but we have systems in place to try to help. We have instant replay, as an example, to try to help correct those mistakes. ... It's like any game. We get calls every Monday from fans, from coaches, from teams upset about a particular call. That happens. And it will happen going forward regardless of who's on the field."
Can the Caps beat the Buffalo Sabres for the third time in two weeks? Stream the game via CSNmidatlantic.com/CapitalsStream or tune in to CSN at 6:30 p.m. for coverage. Here is everything you need to know:
What: Washington Capitals at Buffalo Sabres
Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, N.Y.
When: Saturday, 12/3 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
How to Watch: Capitals GameTime airs at 6:30 p.m. followed by Capitals at Sabres on CSN Mid-Atlantic.
When is the Capitals-Sabres game?
The Capitals (15-7-2) play the Buffalo Sabres (10-10-6) Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET.
What channel is the Capitals-Sabres game on?
The Capitals-Sabres game is broadcast on CSN. The coverage of the game begins at 6:30 p.m. with Capitals GameTime. The game begins at 7:00 p.m with Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin. For postgame coverage, stick around for Caps Extra following the game. (CSN channel Finder)
Where can I stream the Capitals-Sabres game?
The Capitals-Sabres game, along with Caps Extra, is available to stream live here on csnmidatlantic.com/CapitalsStream and the NBC Sports app and is available to authenticated CSN Mid-Atlantic subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.
What are the lines for the Capitals-Sabres game?
Based on Friday's morning skate, here are the projected lines:
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - Jakub Vrana
Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Brooks Orpik - Dmitry Orlov
Nate Schmidt - Taylor Chorney
Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup
Brett Connolly, Aaron Ness
Capitals vs. Sabres Open Thread
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With the NHL's Olympic participation in serious doubt, Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis reaffirmed his support Friday of Alex Ovechkin should the team captain choose to leave in the middle of the NHL season to go to the Olympics.
Leonsis addressed Ovechkin's stance at the NHL's Board of Governors meeting.
"He has given a lot to our team and he doesn’t ask for much in return and whatever he likes to do in this one, I’ll support him,” Leonsis said, per Josh Cooper of Puck Daddy. "His mother was an Olympian. It’s a part of the tradition in the family and it is meaningful to him, and he’s kind of the ambassador and captain of the team. We don’t sit and talk about this all the time, but he needs to know, and he does know, that in this one instance I’ll have his back.”
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Leonsis made a similar statement in October when Ovechkin first made clear his intention to play in Pyeongchang.
Ovechkin first stated he would leave to play in Sochi for the 2014 Olympics even if the NHL did not participate. At media day for the World Cup of Hockey, Ovechkin vowed again to leave the Caps midseason in 2018 to participate in the Pyeongchang Olympics.
The difference in the two situations is that Olympic participation is not a guarantee in 2018. It seemed very unlikely that the NHL would not play in Sochi considering how many Russian players are in the league.
The outlook for Pyeongchang, however, is much more bleak. Just one month ago, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman called NHL participation in the 2018 games "unlikely." The NHL recently made an offer to the NHLPA saying they would agree to participation if the players would agree to extending the CBA, an offer the NHLPA rejected.
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