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Professional leagues plan to play after superstorm

Professional leagues plan to play after superstorm

With much of the Northeast immersed in the recovery from Superstorm Sandy's devastating blow, the NFL and NBA plan to carry on with their schedules.

The New York City Marathon is still hoping that the course will be clear by Sunday and runners will be able to get to the starting line in Staten Island.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank on Tuesday said through his Twitter account the season-opening games Tuesday night in Miami, Los Angeles and Cleveland - the Wizards flew out of Washington Monday 7 a.m. - are set to tip off on time.

``For the many asking: Tonight's NBA games will be played. We are still assessing the situation with regards to the rest of the week,'' he tweeted.

Of concern: Philadelphia is supposed to host its opener on Wednesday.

However, the NBA's communications staff announced on Twitter that the Nets' first game at their new Brooklyn home against the crosstown-rival Knicks on Thursday will go as scheduled at 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin believes Sunday's game in Jersey against the New York Giants to go on as scheduled and plans to prepare that way. Tomlin said he understands the league will be looking at any logistical issues caused by the storm's aftermath may present but added the Steelers will stick to their weekly routine unless they hear from NFL officials.

Tomlin might have to wait a day for the final word. All 32 teams were notified Monday that the league's offices would be closed through Tuesday.

The NFL had already moved its trade deadline back two days to Thursday because of potential complications from the storm. The deadline now is 4 p.m. EDT Thursday, when waivers for vested veterans also begin.

Around the league, the Giants, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles reported no damage at their practice facilities. The Baltimore Ravens, though, were running a generator at their complex. Players were off but the hope is electricity will be restored for regular practice Wednesday.

Five days before 50,000 runners take to the course that meanders through the streets of New York City's five boroughs, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he expects the marathon to go on scheduled. Race organizers were moving forward with their plans - leaving open the possibility of changes from past years.

``The marathon has always been a special day for New Yorkers as a symbol of the vitality and resiliency of this city,'' New York Road Runners President Mary Wittenberg said in a statement.

``NYRR continues to move ahead with its planning and preparation. We will keep all options open with regard to making any accommodations and adjustments necessary to race day and race weekend events.''

Lower Manhattan was especially hit hard and many runners need to take the ferry to the start on Staten Island. Also, Bloomberg said it could be four or five days before the subways were running again. That could mean no trains on race day.

Record-setting Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was in Rio de Janeiro, the site of the 2016 Summer Games, but his thoughts were back in Maryland.

``I'm kind of nervous to go back home because I don't know if my house is going to be under water or not. It will be an interesting trip,'' Phelps said. ``I know that we will all sort of bounce back from everything that is going on. It's kind of wild seeing all the pictures and all the coverage - it's all I have been watching really since I have been here. It's sad. it's part of life.''

The St. Cloud State women's hockey team was stranded Tuesday in Rhode Island. The Huskies were supposed to catch a flight out of Boston on Monday after playing a weekend series against Providence College.

They hope to fly back to Minnesota on Thursday. Their home opener is Friday.

In response to the storm, Indiana State is giving fans several opportunities to make donations in the days leading up to their football game against Illinois State on Saturday.

Terre Haute Catholic Charities will give a free ticket to each fan that donates at least five pounds of items. Donors to the American Red Cross will also get a free ticket to the game.

Looking ahead on the sports calendar to August, Oak Hill Country Club, the site of 2013 PGA championship in upstate New York, lost several trees in the storm. But still standing is the famed Leaning Oak - supported by a steel beam since 1956 - on the right side of the 12th hole.

``The Leaning Oak, that tree weathered the storm and is unscathed, which is remarkable considering how long it's been supported by that steel beam for decades now,'' tournament director Ryan Cannon said, ``and the trees that did come down were not all that far from the leaning oak. pretty amazing.''

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AP Sports Writers Barry Wilner and John Wawrow contributed to this report.

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John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference

John Tortorella has no answers, walks out of postgame press conference

In each of the first three games of the series, the Columbus Blue Jackets always had an answer for the Washington Capitals.

The Caps built a two-goal lead in each game and Columbus was able to battle back and tie it each time.

In Game 4 on Thursday, however. the Blue Jackets had no answer in a 4-1 loss to Washington and that includes head coach John Tortorella.

"We weren't good," Tortorella said to the media after the game. "There's no sense asking me things about the game. I'm telling you, we laid an egg. I'm not going to break it down for you. We sucked. We sucked."

Tortorella is known for having some fiery interactions with the media. By his standard, Thursday's postgame presser was fairly tame.

The Capitals may have won Game 3, but Columbus certainly looked like the better team for most of the night. That was not the case in Game 4 as Washington dominated from start to finish. That led to the contentious postgame presser.

"We laid an egg," Tortorella said. "That's all I have to say, guys. I'm sorry, I'm not going to break it down for you. Nothing went well for us. It's on us, we have to figure it out and we will."

Reporters continued to press the head coach until he finally walked out.

Before you laugh too hard at this, it is important to consider that this may be a calculated move by Tortorella.

Sure, there have been times in which he has lost his temper in the past, but these outbursts may be more premeditated than we think.

Consider this. After their worst game of the series, a game in which the Blue Jackets only scored once and saw a 2-0 series lead evaporate in two games at home, we're talking about the head coach. We're not talking about the loss or the performance of the players. Instead, we are talking about Tortorella walking out on reporters.

Even if Tortorella was not willing to give any answers on Thursday, he will need to find some soon. The series now shifts back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday with all the momentum on the Caps' side.

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

The Caps put together their best performance of the series Thursday in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 4 of their 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series.

The win pulled Washington even with Columbus in the series 2-2.

Here's how the Caps got the big win.

4 Reasons why the Capitals beat the Blue Jackets in Game 4

1. Tom Wilson factors in the offense

Wilson’s hands are good for more than just punching.

He proved that again on Thursday as he scored the first goal for the second consecutive game. Chandler Stephenson and John Carlson provided the pressure on Sergei Bobrovsky. With Bobrovsky scrambling in the crease, Evgeny Kuznetsov passed the puck back to Wilson who fired the one-timer past the Columbus netminder.

In the first two games of the series, Wilson had no points and no shots. In the last two games, he has two goals and 13 shots on goal.

2. A great keep-in by John Carlson

We saw how dangerous it was when penalty killers fail to clear the puck in Game 1 when the Caps failed to clear in the third period leading to the game-tying power play goal.

In Game 4, the roles were reversed. Trying to kill off an Artemi Panarin penalty, Cam Atkinson attempted to clear the puck with the backhand. Carlson skillfully corralled the puck out of the air at the blue line to keep it in the zone.

The power play was able to reset and T.J. Oshie scored the rebound goal soon after.

3. Braden Holtby closes the door to finish the second period

After the Caps took the 2-0 lead, the Blue Jackets made a late push to try to pull one back.

In the last 10 minutes of the second period, Columbus had 13 shot attempts, five of which were not net. Several of those shots were high-quality opportunities, but Holtby came up with the big saves that the team was not getting earlier in the series.

His play ensured the Caps took the 2-0 lead to the locker room.

4. Alex Ovechkin extends the lead to three

Washington entered the third period up 2-0. In each of the first three games, the Caps held a two-goal lead and allowed the Blue Jackets to battle back and tie the score. Even with a two-goal lead, it still felt at the start of the third that the next goal would decide the game. If Columbus pulled within one and got the crowd back on their side, we have seen what that momentum can do for them.

This time, however, Ovechkin struck first. After a board battle behind the net, the puck trickled out to the faceoff circle. Ovechkin grabbed it and quickly snapped the puck past Bobrovsky before anyone could react.

The goal gave Washington their first three-goal lead of the series and shut the Blue Jackets’ comeback down before it could begin.

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