Capitals

New Orleans told to narrow Super Bowl "clean zone"

New Orleans told to narrow Super Bowl "clean zone"

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The city of New Orleans must scale back its plans for a ``clean zone'' where the use of banners, signs and flags would be restricted during Super Bowl week, a federal judge said Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt's temporary restraining order says the city can only enforce the limits in an area near the Superdome, where the game will be played Feb. 3. The city had also planned to enforce the rules in the French Quarter and surrounding neighborhoods.

The judge's ruling comes after the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of an activist and a street preacher. They claimed a new city ordinance and a code enforcement guide trample on their free speech rights and limit their activities leading up to the title game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.

The ACLU asserts New Orleans adopted the new policies at the behest of the National Football League.

``The NFL asked them to do a whole bunch of things, including this,'' said ACLU of Louisiana executive director Marjorie Esman.

Esman said other Super Bowl host cities have enforced similar rules in recent years, but they have never been challenged in court before.

Engelhardt's order says the plaintiffs showed a ``likelihood of success'' in arguing that enforcing a broader ``clean zone'' is impermissible under the First Amendment. He scheduled a meeting Monday with lawyers for the city and ACLU to discuss the latter's request for a preliminary injunction.

``It's wonderful that the judge recognizes the city doesn't have a right to curtail speech throughout a large chunk of the city,'' Esman said.

The city, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas are named as defendants in the suit.

``We disagree with the ACLU's characterization of the Clean Zone,'' said Ryan Berni, spokesman for the mayor. ``The Clean Zone addresses issues such as signage, outdoor vending and erecting structures and tents that the City already permits. It is an additional temporary designation that seeks to protect the quality of life for residents and assists businesses in thriving during the Super Bowl. The City and other cities nationwide have instituted `clean zones' for similar major events.''

New Orleans planned for its measure to take effect on the morning of Jan. 28 and end on the evening of Feb. 5.

The ordinance, passed last month, says banners, flags and signs aren't allowed in the ``clean zone'' without the authorization of the city or the NFL. The content of any temporary signs approved by the city must consist of at least 60 percent Super Bowl or NFL branding. The guide, meanwhile, says no signs will be permitted unless the applicant is an NFL sponsor, the suit says.

The plaintiffs are Tara Jill Ciccarone, an Occupy NOLA member, and Troy Bohn, pastor of a religious congregation that regularly preaches on Bourbon Street.

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Caps Top 20 Goals Countdown - Goal 6 - Ovechkin opens Game 7 vs TB with a bang

Caps Top 20 Goals Countdown - Goal 6 - Ovechkin opens Game 7 vs TB with a bang

Always the emotional leader of the Capitals, Alex Ovechkin knew that when he woke up on May 23, 2018, that he had the chance to alter the course of his personal history and help push the Capitals to its first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1998.

Before the puck dropped on a win-or-go-home Game 7, the determination was painted on Ovechkin’s face and on his first shift in the game just 1:02 into the contest in Tampa Bay, the Capitals captain found the back of the net with a one-timer from the point to put his stamp on the game.

Number 6 on our countdown of the Top 20 Goals of the Stanley Cup run is Ovechkin’s opener in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final which catapulted the Capitals to a 4-0 win on the road.

After a strong backcheck and hit by Tom Wilson at center dislodged the puck from Chris Kunitz, he and Evgeny Kuznetsov turned the puck back towards the Lightning zone with Ovechkin trailing the play up the left wing. A drop pass from Wilson right after he crossed the blue line left Kuznetsov with the space needed to whip the puck across the zone to Ovechkin who wasted no time in firing past an unsuspecting Andrei Vasilevskiy for the opening goal of the pivotal game.

The site of one of Ovechkin’s iconic celebrations, the infamous “hot stick” celebration when the captain tallied his 50th goal of the season in 2009, Tampa has always treated the Great 8 kindly as the top line winger entered the 2018 postseason with 14 goals in 22 regular season games in the city. After the Caps finally clinched their spot back in the Stanley Cup Final, Tampa likely will always have a special place in the hearts of Capitals fans and Ovechkin alike.

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Bryce Harper on facing the Nationals: 'It's definitely going to be weird'

Bryce Harper on facing the Nationals: 'It's definitely going to be weird'

Bryce Harper's felt the love in Philly from day one, he told reporters on Tuesday.

And when he comes to his old stomping grounds next week to face the Nationals, he knows it's going to be strange.

“The Nationals are a great team, and are gonna be a great team this year and everybody knows that," he said. "For me, I just want to focus on what we can as a team; as a clubhouse and control what we can.”

"It’s definitely going to be weird walking into opposing clubhouse and seeing the other guys from afar," he added of his impending April 2 trip to Washington. "I wish those guys nothing but the best on that side of the baseball."

But that doesn't mean he's missing his old teammates. In fact, he said, everything's been just great with his new teammates from day one.

"From day one, it felt right," he said. "I always talk about family and being a family and one unit. I get that from this team. Every guy has your back and vice versa. So, I'm very excited to go to battle with these guys.”

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