Coach Paul returns to Syracuse - on business


Coach Paul returns to Syracuse - on business

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Paul Pasqualoni chuckled at the question: Will he bring his family to Syracuse this week when his UConn Huskies play the Orange?


To be sure, this is no sentimental journey for the second-winningest coach in Syracuse history.

``This is a business trip. Really, all I can see is getting ready to play this game,'' Pasqualoni said of Friday night's matchup. ``We're not going up to central New York to pick apples, ride on the hay wagon.''

A decade ago, when he was coach of the Orange, Pasqualoni sometimes made the time to do just that with his wife, Jill, and their two young sons. But a program that had reached lofty heights in the 1980s under Dick MacPherson and in the 1990s with Pasqualoni at the helm began to become simply ordinary and then awful after the graduation of stars Donovan McNabb and Dwight Freeney.

After going 10-3 and finishing ranked No. 14 in 2001 in Freeney's final season, Syracuse played below .500. The Orange went 4-8 in 2002, Pasqualoni's only losing season, and 6-6 each of the next two years.

Former athletic director Jake Crouthamel, who hired Pasqualoni to replace MacPherson, was a staunch supporter of Pasqualoni and gave him a positive evaluation after the Orange upset then-No. 17 Boston College in the 2004 season finale. That vaulted Syracuse into a four-way tie for the Big East championship, Pasqualoni's fourth league title, and made the Orange eligible to play in the postseason.

But the win at BC was Syracuse's first victory in 11 conference road games and only served to emphasize the team's inconsistent play. Syracuse had begun the 2004 season with a 51-0 loss at Purdue on national television, the most lopsided season-opening defeat in program history.

When Georgia Tech beat Syracuse 51-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl to end the season, Pasqualoni's fate was sealed. He was fired by new athletic director Daryl Gross, who had been on the job for less than two weeks.

Pasqualoni's departure was a public relations nightmare for a school known for its Newhouse School of Public Communications. His firing came only three weeks after new chancellor Nancy Cantor had given him a public vote of confidence to return for the final year of his contract.

Pasqualoni left after 14 seasons with a 107-59-1 record, behind only Ben Schwartzwalder's 153 victories, and a 6-3 mark in bowl games.

While Pasqualoni was plying his trade in the NFL in stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins, things deteriorated a whole lot more at Syracuse under his successor, Greg Robinson.

Robinson's first team went 1-10, the first time since Syracuse began playing football in 1889 that it lost 10 games. He was fired after four seasons, a 10-37 overall record and 3-25 mark in the Big East.

Doug Marrone, who played at Syracuse for MacPherson, is in his fourth season as head coach and has begun to rebuild the program. It's been no easy task. Despite a surprising 8-5 record and a bowl victory in 2010, Marrone is 19-24 overall and 7-16 in the conference as he struggles to transform the Orange (2-4, 1-1 Big East) into a consistent winner.

Pasqualoni, in his second season with the Huskies (3-4, 0-2), likes what he sees.

``Their personnel looks very good,'' Pasqualoni said. ``It's going to be a tough game. I'm sure they are disappointed in the number of wins they have, just like we are. But they are playing very hard and they are playing very solid football.''

This will be Pasqualoni's first trip to the Carrier Dome as an opposing coach, and he's not certain what to expect.

``That will be interesting,'' said Pasqualoni, who had more than his fair share of critics in his final seasons here. ``To tell you the truth, I haven't thought about it a great deal, other than it's a big game in our conference and it's a big game for us.''

Rest assured he's put his tenure at Syracuse far in the rearview mirror.

``Obviously, I had a lot of good years there, a lot of good experiences,'' Pasqualoni said. ``For me, it's more about the people we were with, what we achieved. I thought we achieved a lot. I thought we had a lot of great kids.

``That's not going to be some big sentimental thing for me.''

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Can slumping Nationals, Gio Gonzalez end losing streak Monday vs. Padres?

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Can slumping Nationals, Gio Gonzalez end losing streak Monday vs. Padres?

When the Washington Nationals visited San Diego on May 7-9, they won the first two games of a three-game series to move within 1 1/2 games of the National League West lead.

At the time, the Nationals were on a bit of a run and the Padres were reeling with a 13-24 record.

Two weeks after that series, the Padres and Nationals meet again in Washington, D.C (7:05 p.m. ET, Monday). And the fortunes of the two teams have changed a bit.

Since winning that series finale at Petco Park to avoid being swept by the Nationals, the Padres have gone 7-4 and are riding a three-game winning streak.

The Nationals have gone 4-4 and just lost a third straight game to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday in Washington to slip four games off the lead in their division.

The Nationals are the home team this time for a three-game series that opens Monday night with a matchup of left-handers -- Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 2.36 ERA) going for Washington with Robbie Erlin (1-2, 3.46) making a spot start for San Diego.

On paper, the pairing clearly favors the hosts.

Erlin, 27, has met the Nationals twice in his career. Both games were at Nationals Park. Erlin is 0-2 in the matchups with a 16.39 ERA.

In Erlin's two previous outings in the nation's capital, Erlin has given up 17 runs, 19 hits and six walks with six strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings. The Nationals have hit .413 against Erlin, who has a 2.68 WHIP against Washington.

This will be only the second start of the season for Erlin, who returned this year after having Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery midway through 2016.

Thirteen of Erlin's 14 appearances this season have been out of the bullpen. His one previous start was April 16 against the Dodgers. He gave up six runs (five earned), seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts in three innings.

Erlin is filling the vacancy created when rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi went on the disabled list with a slightly strained glute. The Padres are hoping Lucchesi will miss only one start, although it looks like it could now be two or three.

Gonzalez is no stranger to the Padres. He started the May 9 game that the Nationals lost 2-1. Gonzalez allowed one run, five hits and three walks in six innings. Afterward, he said he struggled with his command.

Gonzalez was not involved in that decision. During his career, he has made seven starts against the Padres and has a 3-2 record with a 3.21 ERA, a 1.357 WHIP and a .253 opponents' batting average. Against the Padres, Gonzalez has given up 19 runs (15 earned), 41 hits and 16 walks with 41 strikeouts in 42 innings.

When the Nationals were in San Diego, first baseman-left fielder Matt Adams went 3-for-8 with a double, two homers, six RBIs and three runs scored -- although he got the third game off.

Since leaving San Diego, Adams has hit only .143. Washington's Bryce Harper is hitting .125 in the last eight games with a homer and three RBIs.

Another key player in the first Padres-Nationals series was Howie Kendrick, who was 5-for-12 with a double and two runs scored. But Kendrick has been lost with a ruptured Achilles tendon and on Saturday the Nationals promoted a 19-year-old prospect from Double-A.


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Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, Time, How to Watch, live stream

When the Capitals take the ice in Game 6, they will be playing for their playoff lives. After losing Game 5 on Saturday to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Caps must win on Monday or their season will be over.

In order to do that, the Caps will have to change some things. First, they have to figure out how to win at home, something they have yet to do in this series. Second, they will have to find a way to get to Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who has been dominant the past three games. Alex Ovechkin also needs to win the matchup against the fourth line since he has only two five-on-five points through five games. Finally, the defense will have to be better. Matt Niskanen took the blame for Game 5, but really it was a tough night all around.

Also, a few penalty calls against Tampa Bay would be nice too.

Where: Capital One Arena

When: 8:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Lightning, Game 6 will be broadcast on NBCSN

Live Stream: You can watch Capitals-Lightning Game 6 on NBC Sports' live stream page.


Game 6 of the Capitals vs. Lightning 2018 NHL Playoff series takes place on Monday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Capital One Arnea.


The TV broadcast of Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBCSN. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Lightning Game 6 on NBCSN
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime


Game 6 between the Capitals and Lightning is available to stream online on Monday, May 21 live here through the NBC Sports live stream page.


Capitals projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Chandler Stephenson - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Devante Smith-Pelly -  Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos

Braden Holtby with Philipp Grubauer as backup.

Lightning projected lines:

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Andrei Vasilevskiy starts with Louis Domingue as backup.


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.