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Could Phelps lose his medals?

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Could Phelps lose his medals?

By PAUL NEWBERRY Michael Phelps retired from swimming with more medals than any other Olympian. Don't expect him to lose any of them because of ad campaign for Louis Vuitton. Phelps' longtime agent, Peter Carlisle, dismissed any suggestion Friday that the retired swimmer may have violated International Olympic Committee rules when provocative pictures for the campaign were leaked on the Internet during the London Games. The IOC, under a provision known as Rule 40, prohibits athletes from promoting non-official sponsors during a nearly monthlong period around the games. Among the possible sanctions: stripplng medals won by an offending athlete. Carlisle told The Associated Press there's no issue with the IOC because Phelps did not authorize use of the pictures, which were leaked by a source that still isn't known and appeared on several Web sites. In fact, the agent added, there are dozens of similar, unapproved uses of most top athletes' names and images during any Olympics. "He didn't violate Rule 40, it's as simple as that," Carlisle said in a telephone interview. "All that matters is whether the athlete permitted that use. That's all he can control. In this case, Michael did not authorize that use. The images hadn't even been reviewed, much less approved. It's as simple as that. An athlete can't control unauthorized uses any more than you can guarantee someone isn't going to break into your house." The ad campaign, which revolves around pictures taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, officially began on Thursday -- the day after the IOC ban ended. Among the pictures: one that shows Phelps in a bathtub, wearing only goggles and a skimpy brief, another that depicts him sitting on a sofa, wearing a three-piece suit and chatting with former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, whose record for most overall medals he broke at the London Games. "I can't count on every hand in this office the number of unauthorized uses that happen during the games period," Carlisle said. "We uncover them by the dozens. Some are by companies we don't even know. It happens constantly." Phelps won four golds and two silvers at what he insisted was his final Olympics, raising his career totals to 18 golds, two silvers and two bronzes. The 27-year-old American retired as soon as he finished his final race in Britain. Carlisle expects his client to still be a force in the world of marketing. Look no further, he said, that the Louis Vuitton campaign, in which Phelps is following other iconic figures such as Sean Connery, Bono and Mikhail Gorbachev. "In many ways, this is one of the greatest illustrations of how Michael has transcended swimming, and arguably even sports," Carlisle said. "Only global icons are even included in that campaign. If you go through the list of celebrities who've been part of it, it's pretty remarkable."

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Mystics win fourth straight, beat Sky 81-74

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USA Today Sports Images

Mystics win fourth straight, beat Sky 81-74

 In their second victory against the Chicago Sky this season, Elena Delle Donne dominated once again.

In 33 minutes of play, the star forward racked up 22 points, seven rebounds and 9 of 15 field goals against her former team. She led the Mystics in points and rebounds. 

Tianna Hawkins brought a spark off the bench, tallying 15 points, four rebounds, six of ten field goals and a +11 differential in just 18 minutes of play. 

The Mystics won all four games on this road trip, tying their season-high win streak from earlier this season. Washington is now 8-3 as they head home to host the Connecticut Sun, who just snapped a seven-game win streak.

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Free Agency Bracket: Joonas Donskoi vs. Carl Gunnarsson

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NBC Sports Washington

Free Agency Bracket: Joonas Donskoi vs. Carl Gunnarsson

It is almost time for NHL free agency to begin and the Capitals certainly have needs to fill and a limited budget. Who would be the best fit? Who would be the best free agent target for Washington to pursue? That’s what NBC Sports Washington wants to find out!

Our experts got together and made a bracket of the 16 best free agent fits. The bracket is divided into four regions: Third line forward, fourth line forward, depth defenseman and Caps’ free agent. Now we want you to tell us who you want to see rocking the red next year!

Every weekday we will match two free agents up against one another and present a case for each player. Then you get to vote and decide who advances!

Check out today’s semifinal matchup:

Joonas Donskoi vs. Carl Gunnarsson

2018-19 stats

Joonas Donskoi (27 years old): 80 games played for the San Jose Sharks, 14 goals, 23 assists, 37 points, 13:25 TOI

Playoffs: 12 games played for the San Jose Sharks, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, 12:26 TOI

Carl Gunnarsson (32 years old): 25 games played with the St. Louis Blues, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, 15:15 TOI

Playoffs: 19 games played with the St. Louis Blues, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, 14:57 TOI, won Stanley Cup

Hockey-Graph contract projections 

Joonas Donskoi: 3 years, $2,847,521 cap hit

Carl Gunnarsson: 1 year, $731,159 cap hit

The case for Joonas Donskoi

Maybe Andre Burakovsky’s qualifying offer of $3.25 million means he’s back with the Capitals for another year. But it doesn’t preclude a trade and in Donskoi you’d have a similar option at a cheaper price, which matters if you only have $9.2 million in cap space left for now.

Donskoi made the offense better in San Jose in whatever role he was asked to play. He can go up and down the lineup and had a consistency to his game that Burakovsky at times lacks. Donskoi’s stats may not always reflect that, but making his teammates around him better is a valuable asset. Either way, depth scoring is important and a priority for the Capitals. 

Donskoi has every bit the Stanley Cup playoff experience as Burakovsky does if that matters to you. Donskoi has nine goals and 12 assists in 50 playoff games and Burakovsky has nine goals and nine assists in 56 playoff games. Not much to chose between the team except Donskoi would be cheaper if Washington decided to trade Burakovsky. 

The case for Carl Gunnarsson

The Caps will need a No. 6/7 defenseman after Brooks Orpik retired on Tuesday. Yes, they gave a qualifying offer to RFA defenseman Christian Djoos and they have Jonas Siegenthaler under contract, too. Both are natural left side defensemen. Going with the kids is an option. But both of them? That becomes problematic when someone gets hurt in your top two pairings and players have to bump up. 

Gunnarsson was the hero of the “Boston Pee Party” when he scored the overtime winner in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final after declaring to head coach Craig Berube at the urinal he just needed one more opportunity. Gunnarsson had just seven points in the regular season so no one should expect a ton of offense, but the point is he delivered when it mattered most.

When he is not playing the overtime hero, he is a third-pairing, stay at home defenseman who can play on the penalty kill which is pretty much exactly what the Caps need in a depth defenseman.

Take a look at Gunnarsson’s contract projection. You can’t beat that price. Sure, those projections came out before he won the Stanley Cup, but even if his price goes up, it will not be significant. You’re tinkering at the margins of the roster here and championship experience matters. 

Who’s your pick? Vote here:

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