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Athletes shaken by Connecticut shooting

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Athletes shaken by Connecticut shooting

MIAMI (AP) When the Miami Heat players and coaches showed up for work Saturday morning, basketball was secondary.

Newtown was the focus.

Friday's massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., was the primary topic of discussion among the Heat, even though they were gathered to finish prepping for a Saturday night game against Washington. It's rare for anything to overshadow basketball on the Heat practice court, but clearly, this was not going to be a typical day.

``Basketball, this is nothing,'' Heat forward LeBron James said. ``These games are nothing compared to when you have a tragedy like that. It sucks that sometimes you need a tragedy to put things back in perspective, to appreciate what you have. But it does that to people. It's unfortunate that you have to have something like that to understand what's really important and some things that aren't important at all. Family is the No. 1 important thing in life.''

It's likely that many Heat players and coaches had never heard of Newtown before Friday.

That doesn't mean they weren't affected, like countless others. Moments of silence were observed before many games.

In Memphis before tipoff of a college basketball game against Louisville, a moment of silence was observed for the victims and for 32-year-old Memphis police officer Martoiya Lang, a mother of four children, who was shot and killed on Friday. Public address announcer Chuck Roberts struggled and his voice choked up a bit as he said the Memphis officer's name. And he finished after the moment ended with ``Amen.''

In England, the Queens Park Rangers soccer team wore black armbands at the request of its players during a Premier League match against Fulham. Chelsea captain John Terry on Instagram said ``So So Sad'' beneath a picture of a candle, and he urged prayers for school. Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany tweeted: ``Giving guns to everyone to `protect' their home or fighting to get rid of all the guns? How many more Newtons will it take?''

Moments of silence were everywhere, from a minor-league hockey game in Hershey, Pa.; a U.S. women's soccer exhibition match in Boca Raton, Fla.; and at golf's Father-Son Challenge in Orlando, Fla., where all players and caddies wore black ribbons to honor the victims.

More tributes - many more - are coming from the sports world over the next few days. It's expected that all NFL games this weekend will be preceded by tributes, such as moments of silence and helmet decals. The New York Giants and New York Jets both plan to wear the letters S.H.E.S., for Sandy Hill Elementary School, on their helmets this weekend. And the New England Patriots will light flares for each of the 26 people killed at the school.

``Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people impacted by that tragedy,'' Jets coach Rex Ryan said Saturday. ``It's, wow, it's amazing. ... Just a horrific deal that happened there.''

The Heat also held a moment of silence Saturday night, with many players being accompanied on the court by their children. Chris Bosh held his son, Jackson, tightly against his chest.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has shopped at the Clackamas Town Center, a mall in his native Oregon where a gunman killed two people Tuesday and then himself. One of Dwyane Wade's nephews was shot last March in Chicago, where gun violence is a major topic of discussion. Ray Allen attended the University of Connecticut, still calls it ``my state'' and expressed shock as he tried to collect information about Friday's events.

``It's still on my mind. I'm really emotional about it. My eyes water up a little bit just thinking about it right now. Your kids are what you live for,'' Heat forward Udonis Haslem said, his voice barely above a whisper.

Spoelstra typically comes into the Heat interview room after game-day practices and makes a brief statement about injury situations or what the team worked on that particular day.

He started his remarks Saturday by talking about Newtown, nothing about the Heat or the Wizards.

``We talked about it as a team today and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the community,'' Spoelstra said. ``Horrific tragedy in Connecticut. We took some time to give our thoughts and prayers to them.

``It's despicable,'' he added. ``It's a horrific tragedy. And it doesn't matter whether you have family or not or kids or not, you can't relate to a tragedy like that.''

Spoelstra said he monitored news reports on the Internet until late Friday night. James was getting updated on the day's events even as the Heat were visiting sick children in a pair of Miami hospitals on Friday afternoon, after which he immediately went home and hugged his own sons, neither of whom is likely old enough to comprehend what took place inside that Newtown school.

``Just having two kids of my own, in elementary, I could not imagine sending them off to school and them not returning,'' James said.

Haslem has three sons, and said he tried telling his oldest boy that ``things happen in this world that we have no control over.''

He's all-too-familiar with the grieving process, having lost close friends and relatives over the years. Still, Haslem insisted that he cannot comprehend what the families in Newtown feel, especially with this all happening so close to Christmas.

``You take it one day at a time. You're never going to forget about it. Time heals the wounds, slowly,'' Haslem said. ``I still grieve over my friends. I still grieve over my family members I've lost. Slowly, slowly, it gets a little bit - not a lot - but a little bit easier.

``We love the money, we love the fame, we love the sport, but at the end of the day, we do this for our kids and the legacy to give them things you never had,'' Haslem said. ``If it was about us, a lot of us would have retired after our first contract. You do this for your kids. Your kids are everything. My three kids are my heart. I just imagine someone taking my heart away from me. Might as well kill me.''

---

AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak Jr. in New York contributed to this report.

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Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals at Ducks: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Coming off of the adrenaline-pumping 5-1 win over the Sharks on Thursday, the Capitals (32-19-7) will face off against the Anaheim Ducks (22-27-9) Sunday evening. The Capitals hope to maintain their energy with a win over the Ducks, the second-worst team in the Pacific Division.
 
The Ducks broke a seven-game losing streak (which began towards the end of January) to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday, but lost again to the Boston Bruins on Friday. The Ducks are seventh in the Pacific Division, only slightly above the Los Angeles Kings.


Here is everything you need to know about the Sunday night, which takes place at 9 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.


CAPITALS at DUCKS HOW TO WATCH


What: Washington Capitals at Anaheim Ducks, Game 59 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.
When: 9 p.m. ET
TV Channel: The Capitals at Ducks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder Link)
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals at Ducks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.
Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS at DUCKS TV SCHEDULE


8 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
8:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
9 PM: Capitals at Ducks
11:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
12 AM: Caps Overtime Live


CAPITALS at DUCKS INJURY REPORT

Capitals: 
No injuries to report.

Ducks: 
Ryan Miller -- knee injury as of Feb. 15. 
Nick Ritchie -- illness as of Feb. 15.
Chad Johnson -- head injury as of Feb. 13. 
John Gibson -- back, neck and head injuries as of Feb. 8. 
Patrick Eaves -- flu-like symptoms as of Feb. 7. 
Ondrej Kase -- torn labrum in his right shoulder as of Jan. 18. 

CAPITALS at DUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alex Ovechkin, F, Capitals (39 goals, 27 assists, 66 points): Ovechkin is the leading goal scorer in the NHL. In the Caps’ last game against the Sharks, the team captain contributed one goal and one assist in the team’s blowout 5-1 win.

T.J. Oshie, F, Capitals (18 goals, 18 assists, 36 points): Oshie scored his 500th career point in his second goal against the Sharks on Thursday. He’s been a key player on the ice this February, scoring three goals and contributing with five assists. 

CAPITALS vs. DUCKS SERIES HISTORY


Number of all-time Meetings: 36
All-Time Series Record: Ducks lead 18-17-1
Last Meeting: Ducks win 6-5 (12/2/18)

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: 

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Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Former Nationals GM thinks the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are almost over

Another day, another favorite in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.

It’s not a completely new team this time around, but former baseball executive and current analyst Jim Bowden feels pretty confident in the Philadelphia Phillies landing the services of the star outfielder.

“I keep hearing there’s a lot of momentum and traction here on him going and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies,” Bowden shared on CBS Sports HQ. “And he could be rounding third and heading home shortly.”

Bowden appeared on the program to help react to the most recent betting odds on Harper, specifically those that have the San Francisco Giants as the clear favorites. Bowden disagrees with that projection, especially considering the length of the offers involved. 

It’s clear the Giants are hoping to sign Harper to a short term deal, but the former Nationals general manager is convinced the outfielder will end up getting a significantly longer deal.

10 years, $300 million is of course the terms of the deal the Nationals reportedly offered Harper months ago as the offseason was getting underway, so if he’s been holding out for a better contract then the Phillies may be forced to top it.

One point Bowden made during the interview was how badly Harper wants to win “right now.” The Giants, Padres, and White Sox don’t appear ready to truly compete for another few seasons, which is why he so emphatically endorses Philadelphia or Washington as the ultimate destination. 

The Phillies and Nats look like the only two competitors who can feasibly win the World Series as early as 2019, and if that’s truly important to Harper, it helps weed out the competition.

Of course, as with the litany of Bryce Harper rumors we’ve heard all winter long, this comes with a baseball-sized grain of salt. 

Various teams have taken turns atop the leaderboard when it comes to guessing where Harper will end up, and while the Phillies are probably the most consistent favorite of the offseason, there’s obviously a reason why they and/or Harper have yet to pull the trigger on a deal. 

The fit seems clear, and the money is there, but for now, Harper is still unemployed, which means every team still has an opportunity to wow him with an offer. It wouldn’t too be surprising if he ultimately ends up in Philadelphia, and if Jim Bowden is to be believed, that news could be coming sooner rather than later.

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