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AP Source: Time Warner Cable wins Dodgers TV deal

AP Source: Time Warner Cable wins Dodgers TV deal

LOS ANGELES (AP) Time Warner Cable Inc. has won a contract to carry Los Angeles Dodgers games for at least the next two decades starting in 2014, snatching the games away from Fox Sports after this year's baseball season ends, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The deal has not yet been finalized, although it is to be announced within days, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

The Los Angeles Times earlier reported the nation's second-largest cable operator will pay around $7 billion to carry the games.

A second person familiar with the situation said that Fox Sports, a division of News Corp., had been prepared to pay more than $6 billion for a 25-year deal to keep the Dodgers on its Prime Ticket regional sports network. But it lost the bidding war after its exclusive bargaining period ended in November. The second person was also not authorized to speak publicly.

The contract marks the second major sports rights deal in three years for Time Warner Cable, which bought the rights to Los Angeles Lakers games in 2011 and launched regional sports networks covering them last year.

After paying an estimated $3 billion for the Lakers rights for 20 years, Time Warner Cable eked out higher fees from other TV distributors in Los Angeles, including DirecTV. The cable operator has said it is bidding for long-term sports carriage agreements to give itself certainty about rising sports costs.

Unlike the Lakers deal, in which Time Warner Cable launched and owns the channels carrying the games, in this case, the team will own a newly launched Dodgers channel but Time Warner Cable will operate it, create the programming and sell the feed to distributors and advertisers. The team will also maintain ownership of the TV rights.

The deal is a coup for the team's new owners, dramatically raising the amount of revenue it was receiving from TV rights, which reached about $40 million a year in 2012.

The new owners include Guggenheim Partners and Magic Johnson. They bought the team out of bankruptcy last year for $2 billion from Frank McCourt and invested another $150 million in a joint venture with McCourt that owns the land around the ballpark.

The new arrangement could test the patience of the nearly 5 million households that pay for TV service in Los Angeles if, as expected, it results in higher monthly TV bills.

After the Dodgers channel launches as planned next year, the area will be home to six regional sports networks, up from two less than a year ago.

Time Warner Cable will have had a hand in launching all four new channels by paying to carry games of the Lakers and Dodgers and helping launch the Pac-12 Networks last year.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.