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Selig reviewing pending Marlins-Blue Jays deal

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Selig reviewing pending Marlins-Blue Jays deal

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) Bud Selig was on hand when the Miami Marlins played their first regular-season game in their swanky new ballpark in April. The commissioner provided a glowing review of the $634 million project and boldly declared that opposition to the facility would fade away within five years.

So far, it's not looking so good for that last prediction.

Selig said Thursday he is examining the pending blockbuster trade that sends at least three of Miami's best players to Toronto for a package of prospects just seven months after the Marlins moved into their new home, which was financed primarily with tax money.

Speaking at the conclusion of the owners' meetings, Selig said he also is aware of fan anger in South Florida but is going to do what's in the best interests of the sport.

``People have different views of that as to what you should do and how you should do it, but I think I've been able to come through all these situations and the sport's been stronger and better as a result,'' he said, pointing to his recent experience with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers going through bankruptcy proceedings.

``So when I say I have this matter under review and I've talked to a lot of our people and I've spent a lot of time here in between all the other meetings - this is a tough place to do it - that's exactly what I mean. It is under review. I am aware of the anger, I am. I'm also aware that in Toronto they're very happy.''

The Blue Jays, who finished fourth in the loaded AL East last season, are bringing in All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle and right-hander Josh Johnson under the deal, which is contingent on physicals for the players. Selig also said there is money going from Miami to Toronto, but did not offer any details and said the trade hadn't been officially presented to his office yet.

Reyes and Buehrle signed lucrative free-agent contracts with the Marlins last offseason, and Johnson has been Miami's best pitcher when healthy.

The Marlins get infielders Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez and several top prospects, a nice haul but certainly not enough to satisfy a fan base that went through similar rebuilding after the franchise won the World Series in 1997 and 2003.

``I've talked to two baseball people - I have a lot of people that I check with and talk to - who have, actually, an interesting view on the trade.'' Selig said at an airport hotel just outside of Chicago. ``They think that (Miami), in terms of young players, did very well. These are two independent baseball people. These are not chefs in these kitchens here.

``So I want to think about all of it and I want to review everything. I want to be my usual painstaking, cautious, slow, conservative self in analyzing it. ... There's a lot of variables here.''

Paul Beeston, the president and CEO of the Blue Jays, rushed by a group of reporters as he left the owners' meetings. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was seen in the lobby at the hotel but did not make himself available to media.

Loria went on a spending spree last offseason, also signing free-agent closer Heath Bell. The Marlins thought they would contend for the NL East title and draw 3 million fans in the first year of their ballpark.

But they flopped, finishing last in the division. Bell was traded to Arizona in October, with the Marlins agreeing to pay $8 million of the remaining $21 million owed to the reliever.

Asked Thursday if it's in the best interests of baseball for Loria to continue to own a franchise, Selig said he wasn't going to comment any further other than saying the trade is under review.

``I know what the commissioner can do, can't do, what his legal responsibilities are,'' he said. ``I understand the feeling and in the end I'll do what I've done in the other past situations. People always ask me, `Boy, don't you wish it didn't happen?' Well, there are a lot of situations I wish hadn't happened, but they have, and then I have to try to do what I have to do.''

Also Thursday:

-Owners approved new television deals with ESPN, Turner Sports and Fox worth about $12.4 billion from 2014-21, according to Selig.

-Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations, said the league still is looking into expanded use of instant replay.

``Whether we do something for next season or not, I think by the time we start next season I'm confident we'll have a plan,'' he said.

-There was no update on the situation in Northern California, where Oakland wants to build a ballpark in San Jose - an area that is part of the San Francisco Giants' territory.

``I know people say `Gee, it should be easy to do,''' Selig said. ``Well, the more they've gotten into it, the more complicated it's gotten. But we're headed for resolution.''

-Selig is planning to travel to next month's winter meetings to speak to team doctors and trainers about drug testing, and he reiterated his support for baseball's drug program and its penalties.

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Jay Cohen can be reached athttp://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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John Tortorella guarantees series will return to Washington for Game 7

John Tortorella guarantees series will return to Washington for Game 7

After losing Game 1 and Game 2 at home, Alex Ovechkin declared "It’s going to be fun when we bounce back and going to tie the series and come back here and play Game 5 at home.”

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella seems to be taking a similar tactic.

The Capitals won Game 5 in overtime on Saturday in a game that could prove to be emotionally draining for the Blue Jackets in a number of ways.

  • It was Washington's third straight win
  • Columbus was the better team for the majority of the game, but still took the loss
  • The Blue Jackets now face elimination despite holding a 2-0 series lead to start and losing only once in regulation

Tortorella has become famous for his fiery postgame press conferences in the past, including abruptly walking out after Game 4's presser when he declared "We sucked" to the media.

Saturday's was another fun one.

In a presser that lasted less than two minutes, Tortorella twice said, "We'll be back here for Game 7."

After such a draining game, Tortorella was asked how he would get them ready for what is sure to be an emotionally charged Game 6.

"I won't have to say a damn word to them," Tortorella said. "No. We'll be back here for Game 7."

The Blue Jackets will have to win Game 6 in Columbus to make that happen.

Barry Trotz was asked for his reaction after Tortorella's comments.

"What else are you going to say? That's good. He wants to get it out there, he believes in his team just as I believe in my team. It's our job for that not to happen."

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4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 5

4 reasons the Caps beat the Blue Jackets in Game 5

The Columbus Blue Jackets were the better team for large stretches of Game 5, but they ultimately weren't good enough. The Washington Capitals defended home ice for the first time this series and escaped with a 4-3 overtime win to take a 3-2 series lead and push the Blue Jackets to the brink.

Here's how Washington won Game 5.

A fluke bounce off of Sergei Bobrovsky’s back

Much was made coming into Game 5 of the fact that the road team had won every game to this point in the series. After winning two straight, it was imperative that for the Caps to come in and take advantage of the home crowd. But Columbus was the better team to start and scored a shorthanded tally for the game’s first goal. There was not much to like about the start…until a fluke bounce tied the game at one. Nicklas Backstrom had the puck behind the goal line and tried to feed it in front. Bobrovsky stuck his stick out to block the pass, but the puck had so much spin on it, it bounced up and off the netminder’s back into the net. A bad start ended up not costing Washington as the score was tied at 1 after the first.

The penalty kill

In the first two games of the series, the Caps gave up four power play goals on eight opportunities. Since then, Washington's PK has been lights out. The Caps gave up five power plays to Columbus in a penalty-filled contest, but killed off all five of them. Washington has not allowed a power play goal since Game 2, killing off 13 straight opportunities in the process.

A critical save by Braden Holtby

The Caps looked like they were out of gas in the third period. They held a 3-2 lead at the start, but yielded the game-tying goal to Oliver Bjorkstrand just 2:30 in and had to survive just to reach overtime. They were outshot 16-1 during that period. Luckily for them, Holtby was on point. All 15 saves Holtby made that period were critical, but none was better than highway robbery he committed on Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Considering how gassed the Caps looked that period, that goal would have been tough to come back from.

Nicklas Backstrom

There was no question who the player of the game was in this one. Backstrom scored the Caps' first goal off the back of Bobrovsky, then deflected in the overtime winner for his second goal of the game. But it goes beyond what he did on the ice. After the game, Barry Trotz said some of the team leaders stepped up in the locker room in between the third period and overtime. He would not name names, but did confirm Backstrom was one of those who spoke out.

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