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In wake of Sandy, Giants preparing for Steelers

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In wake of Sandy, Giants preparing for Steelers

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Instead of shoes at the bottom of his locker, New York Giants safety Stevie Brown had a couple of power cords.

One carried a charge into his cellphone and the other into his laptop in somewhat of a crossing pattern. A flashlight was plugged into a nearby outlet.

While the Giants (6-2) prepare for Sunday's home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-4), the electronic equipment at the bottom of the locker of the NFC defensive player of the week was a sign of another opponent the Giants are facing this week - the aftermath of Sandy.

The superstorm devastated areas of New York City and New Jersey and it has left a number of Giants without power at home, something an NFL player needs to review videotape of upcoming opponents as well as to stay warm and comfortable.

Only some players and coaches said they had power on Wednesday. Receiver Victor Cruz got it back after losing it for a couple of hours on Monday. Guard Kevin Boothe never lost power so he hosted tight end Martellus Bennett and his wife on Tuesday. Coach Tom Coughlin believes he never lost his electricity, but said he hasn't been home much since the team returned from Dallas early Monday following a win over the Cowboys. Coughlin has been busy working on preparations for Pittsburgh.

Sandy struck Monday evening and left a wake of destruction not seen in decades or ever.

``It's definitely shocking,'' said Cruz, who grew up 20 minutes from MetLife Stadium. "I mean, you've seen it with a couple of hurricanes in the past, when I was younger. I used to see all of that stuff. It never directly affected me. The past couple of years, a couple of hurricanes when you see things, when you see a couple having to evacuate their home and stuff, it definitely hits close to home a little bit.''

This storm destroyed towns and beaches, swamped cars, knocked down trees and left more than a million people without power.

Quarterback Eli Manning was one of them, and he moved out of his Hoboken residence and into a hotel after his lobby flooded.

``I saw a little bit once I got to the hotel and finally got power,'' Manning said Wednesday before practice. ``Saw some images and pictures and news just about some of the tragic events and the deaths and the fires and loss of homes, whether in New York and New Jersey and all over.

``Just some terrible stories, and obviously you send out prayers to those families and those people who are still going through terrible situations right now. So I guess I feel fortunate that we can come in and come to work and be with our friends and teammates here. My family is safe, so I feel fortunate that we're here today.''

Having grown up in New Orleans, Manning is no stranger to hurricanes. However, his family tended to evacuate before major storms as a precaution. As a player, he couldn't do that here.

``I didn't really have that option this time of getting out of Dodge,'' Manning said. ``You know it's no joke and it can be very serious and you just hope . obviously in this situation you have to ride it out and just hopefully didn't have major danger.''

Bennett walked the streets of his West New York neighborhood, helping people before heading over to the Boothes, where he pained pictures with Boothe's 2-year-old son.

``This is what this team is about,'' said Bennett, who lives by the water. ``We have a great group of guys, and anytime you are in need of help they reach out.''

``My son thought Martellus was there, solely to play with him,'' Boothe added. ``They had a great time.''

Linebacker Michael Boley has experienced tornadoes in the south and said he wasn't too scared by the howling winds in Edgewater. He also isn't worried about the storm taking some of the team's focus. He said players will stay at the team headquarters longer so they don't have a problem with power concerns in watching film.

``No a lot of things are going to change around here, storm or not,'' Boley said.

Most of the players said Coughlin is a calming influence during these unexpected problems. A couple of years ago it was a snowstorm in Minnesota that forced the team to play in Detroit.

``We're not denying what's going on. I mean, I think that's foolish,'' Coughlin said. ``Everyone has been struck by this. Although, I would like very much to make sure that the focus is 100 percent on the task at hand, I think you do have to have a little bit of a mature attitude about these young men, their families and some of the circumstances they might be going through. Just like probably 85 percent of you who don't have power. Well, there's no sense in ducking that one. I mean, we've got guys who have kind of doubled up, and families have gone to where they can, where power is in existence, especially people with young children.

``I'll try to do the best I can with that, but there's no avoiding what's happened here. Quite frankly, we don't want to. That's not our job. We realize this is a part of life. We've been struck by a blow by Mother Nature and we have to deal with it the best way we can.''

That is why Stevie Brown brings his phone, flashlight and computer to work these days, to get them charged and ready for more work in the dark.

``I just have a dog,'' Brown said. ``Me and him sit in the dark with the candles lit. It's pretty romantic.''

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

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USA TODAY Sports

3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came at the 2:30 mark of the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby. On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life. The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.

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Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."

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Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.

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