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McGinley appears favorite for Ryder Cup captaincy

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McGinley appears favorite for Ryder Cup captaincy

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Paul McGinley appears to be the front-runner to become Europe's Ryder Cup captain for 2014 after Darren Clarke raised doubts about taking on the responsibility.

McGinley also has received the endorsement of world No. 1 Rory McIlroy

``RC captaincy should be a 1 time thing... Everybody deserving gets their chance and moves on... Would love to play under Paul McGinley in `14,'' McIlroy tweeted late Sunday.

McGinley clearly has the credentials. The 46-year-old Irishman has been on three winning Ryder Cup sides and was vice captain for Europe in 2010 and for its improbable comeback win last year.

Clarke was the favorite until last week when he raised concerns about the impact the captaincy would have on his career, which he feels is on the rebound after a difficult 2012.

Clarke and McGinley have long been the two main candidates to replace Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal, with the European Tour's tournament committee expected to vote in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Others mentioned in recent months have included the 1999 British Open winner Paul Lawrie as well as the 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie.

Most, though, have seen it as a two-man race that appears to be becoming McGinley's to lose.

Clarke, the 2011 British Open Champion, said this week at the Volvo Champions in South Africa that he was wary of taking on the commitment necessary to be the next captain. ``I am exempt for another three years (for major events) and, if I was given the opportunity to do the captaincy, I'd effectively be throwing two of those years away.''

The Americans last month picked Tom Watson to lead its team at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. Watson will be 65 when the event starts, making him by far the oldest man to fill the role and the first repeat captain for the U.S. since 1987. But he's also the last American to lead the team to victory on the road in 1993, and he knows how to win in the blustery Scottish weather.

The Europeans have insisted the choice of Watson won't influence whom they pick.

``As a committee voting for a new European captain we don't have to react to Tom Watson's appointment as Europe's record in past years is pretty impressive,'' Thomas Bjorn, the longtime member of the European Tournament Players Committee, said last week in South Africa.

Still, Bjorn acknowledged that Watson has the potential to overshadow anyone Europe chooses.

``If Tom Watson is in the room or he's in a press conference, he will clearly have the edge and that is different compared to someone who has competed in your own generation,'' Bjorn said. ``But then Tom Watson deserves that right and that respect for everyone to listen to what he says. But as far as needing to be seen appointing someone to match Tom Watson, that will not happen.''

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

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Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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