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Big Ten could reshuffle after expansion, PSU says

Big Ten could reshuffle after expansion, PSU says

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) The Big Ten might put more emphasis on geography when shuffling divisions after eastern schools Maryland and Rutgers join the Midwest-centric league by 2014.

Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner said officials within the league have had several discussions over the phone about potential divisional alignments.

``I have a feeling it will be more geography-based,'' Joyner said. ``There seems to be a lot of sentiment for that.''

It would be especially helpful, Joyner said, to ease travel issues and funding for travel, especially for Olympic sports.

Joyner made the comments in a videotaped interview with an athletics assistant communications director posted Tuesday on the department's website.

Athletic directors have already met a couple times to discuss topics related to the additions of Maryland and Rutgers, and will probably meet four or five more times before finalizing recommendations to the Council of Presidents/Chancellors for review in June, Big Ten spokesman Scott Chipman said.

The current 12-team Big Ten split into two divisions for football after Nebraska joined the league in 2011.

The Legends Division is comprised of Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern. The Leaders Division is made up of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin.

Commissioner Jim Delany had said in announcing the divisions in 2010 that the conference sought to keep competitive balance and promote new rivalries while keeping traditions and existing rivalries in mind.

Penn State last week removed ``acting'' from Joyner's athletic director and reaffirmed that Joyner would serve in that capacity until Rodney Erickson's term as president expires next year. The school has started searching for Erickson's successor, and the athletic director job would be open to a national search under the new president. Joyner would be able to re-apply.

He took the job about a couple weeks after his predecessor, Tim Curley, was placed on leave in November 2011 in the fallout from former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's arrest on child sex abuse charges.

Joyner on Tuesday likened his initial months on the job to being in a ``war zone'' after managing crisis after crisis.

``Now we're still very busy. We have a lot of things we need to do as we move forward with programs and plans,'' Joyner said. ``We're more now on maintenance and moving forward and rebuilding on where things were before.''

Penn State had a successful fall season, especially considering how the school was hit with landmark sanctions by the NCAA for the Sandusky scandal. Most notably, the football team under first-year coach Bill O'Brien had a better-than-expected 8-4 record, and the school has also had success in women's soccer, women's volleyball, women's basketball and wrestling, among other sports.

NCAA data has also shown that the school continues to have high rates in graduating athletes.

``The results speak for themselves,'' Joyner said. ``These students and these coaches have done remarkably well'' considering the turmoil of the past 15 months.

The sanctions included a $60 million fine. The first of five $12 million installments was paid last month. But Joyner reiterated that Penn State had no plans to cut sports. Athletics may have to rely more on donations to help pay for facilities and upgrades, he said.

``We're going to be all right,'' Joyner said. ``It's going to be tough.''

Curley and two other former administrators are awaiting trial on charges related to the Sandusky scandal including endangering the welfare of children and obstruction. All three men have maintained their innocence.

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Todd Reirden on TJ Oshie's surgery: 'It's a tough situation for our team'

Todd Reirden on TJ Oshie's surgery: 'It's a tough situation for our team'

ARLINGTON — Capitals forward T.J. Oshie had a surgical procedure Friday to repair a broken right collarbone and remains out indefinitely.  

Oshie was not at Capital One Arena for Washington’s 6-0 win in Game 5 of its Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. He was injured with five minutes to go in Thursday’s Game 4 loss in Raleigh when nudged from behind by Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele and slamming hard into the boards near full speed. 

“There's not one person who can take T.J. Oshie's spot for all that he is as a human being, player on the ice, off the ice all the stuff that he adds,” Capitals coach Todd Reirden said at his media availability on Sunday afternoon. “But what I did notice is that everybody picked their level up last night. And that's what we're going to need going into Raleigh for [Monday]."

That’s when Washington, ahead 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, can eliminate Carolina in Game 6. It’s something it has done successfully on the road in recent years in Philadelphia (2016), Toronto (2017), Pittsburgh and Columbus (2018). All series the Capitals were up 3-2. In all four they won Game 6. 

But they won’t have Oshie this time and he is the emotional engine that has helped fuel some of those series-ending performances. There is still no exact timetable for Oshie’s return. The Capitals have avoided ruling him out for the season and Reirden artfully dodged a question about whether he’d be ready for training camp. 

A broken collarbone usually doesn’t take longer than two months to heal barring complications. But that’s almost certainly going to be after the playoffs ends even if the Capitals make a repeat run to the Stanley Cup Final. Last year they won it on June 7 in five games against the Vegas Golden Knights. 

“I do know that T.J. Oshie is going to do everything he can, and we're not willing to put a timetable on it right now with regard to any time,” Reirden said. “Just lots of these things take a different course in terms of how they rehab and don't rehab. I just know that I can tell you about T.J., he's all-in at all times, and that's a great person to have around our room at the very least." 

Oshie had 25 goals and 29 assists in 65 regular-season games. He missed 11 of 13 games with a concussion. He had eight goals and 13 assists in the Stanley Cup playoffs last season. He also plays the “bumper” role on the top power-play unit and kills penalties.

Oshie tweeted thanks to fans both before and after Washington’s 6-0 win on Saturday. In the third period, periodic “T.J. Oshie!” chants rang from the sellout crowd at Capital One Arena. 

“It was nice to see the crowd give [Oshie] a little love,” center Nicklas Backstrom said on Saturday.  

Added Reirden: “That's obviously a tough loss for us, but we're prepared to go without him as we saw last night. It's a tough situation for our team, but I certainly liked our response last night and was proud of our effort in terms of how we played and how we were playing with him in the back of our mind."

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T.J. Oshie has surgery on injured clavicle

T.J. Oshie has surgery on injured clavicle

Caps forward T.J. Oshie underwent surgery on his right clavicle, the team announced on Sunday. 

Oshie was injured in Game 4 of the team’s series against Carolina when Hurricanes' forward Warren Foegele cross-checked Oshie in the back, resulting in him being knocked over face-first into the boards, appearing to strike them with his right shoulder and in a large amount of pain.

The team responded in Game 5 back at Capital One Arena, crushing Carolina 6-0 to take a 3-2 series lead.

As the game drew to a close, the fans on deck in the nation's capital, including Redskins' linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, began chanting Oshie's name, and it will give you chills.

The Caps will look to close out the series in Carolina on Tuesday.

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