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Henry honors victims of Conn. school shooting

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Henry honors victims of Conn. school shooting

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) J.J. Henry slipped on a white golf cap that prompted questions because of the four letters stretched across the front. That was the whole idea.

S.H.E.S.

Perhaps it was only fitting that Henry wore the cap during the pro-am round Thursday at the Tournament of Champions, for it was the same day some 400 students who survived the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School returned to classes at a different school building in a neighboring Connecticut town.

``A couple people have asked what the letters stand for, and a few others have figured it out,'' Henry said after stepping out of the rain at Kapalua. ``It's a way to help remember and think about the families.''

And what better PGA Tour winner to wear the cap than Henry.

He grew up in Fairfield, Conn., about 20 miles south of Newtown. His aunt lived for years around the corner from Sandy Hook Elementary. Henry remembers when his middle school basketball team played games at Chalk Hill, where the Sandy Hook students now go to school.

Henry doesn't know any of the families in Newtown, but he considers them neighbors. He carries the Connecticut flag on the PGA Tour, and the connection is strong.

``This is just a way to honor those families. And growing up there ... to have something happen like it did, you're almost at a loss for words,'' said Henry, a three-time Connecticut State Amateur champion. ``Being the first tournament of the year, in a beautiful place like Hawaii, a lot of those people are cooped up in their houses in freezing cold or snow. If they happen to be a golf fan and see it, maybe that could say that all PGA Tour players are thinking about them.''

It's a small gesture that Henry hopes can grow into something much bigger.

Henry is wearing ``S.H.E.S'' in bold, black letters across the front of his cap only for the PGA Tour season-opener, which began Friday and will be broadcast on Golf Channel. On Sunday, there's a three-hour broadcast window on NBC Sports.

He'd planning another recognition and remembrance, which he expects it will involve more people. Already this week, he received an email from Nathan Grube, the tournament director of the Travelers Championship in Hartford, Conn., about what they can do.

The PGA Tour also is waiting for plans to unfold, with Travelers taking the lead as the tour's only stop in Connecticut. Henry, who went to school at TCU and lives in Fort Worth, Texas, already has the ``Henry House Foundation'' that targets children, and he has a special skybox at the Colonial. He is thinking about another skybox specifically for the families of Sandy Hook this summer at the Travelers Championship.

Perhaps they can raise enough money to one day rebuilt Sandy Hook.

``It's a small state, but they love their golf,'' Henry said.

Henry's first PGA Tour win was in Hartford in 2006, and he qualified for the Tournament of Champions by winning the Reno-Tahoe Open last year. He is starting his 13th year on the PGA Tour, a career that includes one Ryder Cup appearance in 2006.

``People know who I am in Connecticut,'' Henry said. ``If I happen to get on TV and hit some good shots, and if Golf Channel talks about it ... it's not about me,'' he said. ``I just wanted to do something as someone who grew up there and went to those schools. If Golf Channel can talk about the whole PGA Tour family, we all feel the same way. I think that's what we're all after.''

Henry did not want the week to go by without raising awareness that 20 first-grade students, along with six educators, were slain Dec. 14 by a gunman on a day that shook the country.

Henry was home in Texas when he heard the news. The shootings happened so close to where he grew up and where his parents still live, it reached a point where he had a hard time turning on the news.

``It's almost hard to talk about,'' he said.

Henry has an endorsement deal with TaylorMade, though that doesn't include the front of his hat, one of the most visible billboards among golfers. He is completing a corporate deal for that space, but in the meantime, he thought it would be appropriate to do something - anything - so that Sandy Hook would not be forgotten.

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SNEDEKER BONUS: Brandt Snedeker has earned just over $10 million in his last three years on the PGA Tour, and he collected a $10 million bonus last September when he captured the FedEx Cup. He lives modestly in Nashville, Tenn., and is not one who gets too wrapped up in money.

The FedEx Cup was an exception, but only for a second. He received $9 million up front, with $1 million deferred.

``Put it this way,'' Snedeker said. ``I never check my bank account statements, and that was the first time I've checked it.''

But whatever he spends isn't for him. Snedeker has created the Brandt and Mandy Snedeker Foundation geared toward helping children in the Nashville area. He already has made a couple of donations, and is looking for ways to use the foundation to channel more of his money.

As for himself?

Snedeker still drives the same car and doesn't plan to get another one. He doesn't plan to do much of anything with his big windfall, except to donate to charities.

``The way I look at it is I play golf for a living,'' he said. ``I'm not smart enough to play golf and manage my own money. There's a bunch of people out there a lot smarter than I am, who can do a lot better than I can. So why not find them and make sure they know what they're doing.''

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MUSINGS: Hyundai clients had the first two choices for the Thursday pro-am at the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua. The first pick was Rickie Fowler, not surprising given his popularity. The second choice of a player was John Huh, the South Korean who was the only rookie last year to reach the Tour Championship. ... Steve Stricker would not lose much by playing no more than 10 tournaments this year. Even though the PGA Tour requires a minimum of 15 events for its members, if Stricker were to fall short of that he would only use his voting rights for the 2014 season, meaning he would not be able to vote for player of the year, as an example. Stricker also said some of the deferred income from his FedEx Cup bonuses would kick in if he doesn't play the minimum 15 events. He didn't seem overly bothered. Asked if there were any negatives on his plan to go into semi-retirement, Stricker said, ``I can't think of any.''

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Remembering the other series-clinching goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov

Remembering the other series-clinching goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov

When you think about Evgeny Kuznetsov in the playoffs, most probably think of his overtime-winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2018 that ended the series and handed Washington a long-awaited victory over its archrival. But that wasn’t the first series-clinching goal Kuznetsov scored.

Before the Stanley Cup was brought to Washington, before the bird celebration, there was another epic moment of Kuznetsov’s career that now feels overshadowed by the 2018 run.

In 2015, the Caps returned to the playoffs after a one-year hiatus. They entered the postseason as the second-place team in the Metropolitan Division, drawing the third-place New York Islanders in the first round.

A back-and-forth series, it ultimately went the distance with Game 7 being played in Washington. As even as the series had been, the Caps dominated that Game 7, suffocating the Islanders and giving up only 11 shots on goal. Joel Ward put Washington ahead 1-0, but Frans Nielsen tied it early in the third period. Despite the dominant defensive performance, Jaroslav Halak (remember him?) would not allow the Caps to the chance to put the game away.

Just when it began to feel as if Halak was going to steal away another Game 7 from the Caps, a young Russian center in just his first full NHL season took over.

With less than eight minutes remaining in the third period, Kuznetsov took a pass along the half wall, showed Frans Nielsen his back and when Nielsen bit, he spun and cut to the center of the ice. Nielsen was caught a step behind and whacked Kuznetsov in desperation, actually diving to the ice to try to keep him from breaking loose. In one slick move Kuznetsov had cut through the Islanders’ defense and was in alone on net. Halak went down to the butterfly as Kuznetsov cut to center, but Kuznetsov showed incredible patience and did not immediately shoot. Suddenly, Halak was committed and helpless. He dove to his right desperately holding up the glove as Kuznetsov kept gliding across the ice, but Halak had left too much of the net open by going down too soon and Kuznetsov hit the corner.

With 7:18 remaining in the game and the series, Kuznetsov had given the Caps the 2-1 lead.

The series was a breakout performance for Kuznetsov who returned the following season and earned a top-six role, something not all that easy for young players to do under head coach Barry Trotz. It also gave a franchise still bearing the scars of Halak’s 2010 upset a measure of revenge.

And the rest is history.

What heroics does Kuznetsov have in store for the Islanders on Saturday when the two teams meet at 1 p.m.? Tune in to NBC Sports Washington at 12 p.m. for coverage.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Wizards committed more turnovers against the Raptors than they have in any game in 25 years

Wizards committed more turnovers against the Raptors than they have in any game in 25 years

Whether it's good or bad, nothing the Wizards do is subtle. 

They'll score a million points and give up two million points. They'll beat the Heat, Nuggets and Celtics without Bradley Beal but also blow an 18-point fourth quarter lead to the Bulls. 

The Wizards had some turnover issues Friday night, but again, they're never subtle. 

Washington committed 28 turnovers on the way to a 29-point loss. Following the first seven minutes of play, the Wizards had seven turnovers and seven points. 

The last time the Wizards turned the ball over that much was April 2, 1994, in a 104-96 win over the Bucks. The last time an NBA team turned it over 28 times? The 2010 Suns. 

Nine Wizards players had multiple turnovers, while five players had at least three. 

Following Bradley Beal's comments criticizing the team's culture and need to develop winning habits, the Wizards' response left more than enough to be desired. Credit the Raptors defense utilizing their length and ball pressure to take advantage of when the Wizards were loose with the ball, but it takes more than good defense to turn it over 28 times. 

The bright side is this was an uncharacteristic performance for the Wizards. They currently average the 10th-fewest turnovers per game in the NBA, so there's a good chance they clean things up on Monday against the Pistons. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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